Archive for the ‘Energy’ Category

Heavyweights in Europe backing away from “green” follies

January 27, 2014

The beginning of the end of “green” profligacy? Perhaps – but the EU is still dominated by earnest, self-righteous, politically correct, fanatical, “green” fantasists.

Nevertheless it is a change of political climate in the right direction – from angry, hot alarmism  to a healthy, cold scepticism.

Lobby groups such as Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth are not pleased. And that itself is a good sign. After all – as the great sage John Gummer has pointed out – such groups have been infiltrated and taken over by the Trotskyites.

The inanity of those who would connect weather with global warming is stupefying. I don’t call it “climate change” since if change could include “global cooling” all the warmists would be left without any faith and be out of a job. 

  1. ‘We must not demonise coal’ – German environment minister
  2. UK: Climate scepticism blamed as Owen Paterson slashes spending on global warming
  3. UK: David Cameron pledges to rip up green regulations

Germany:

Germany’s environment minister, Barbara Hendricks, says coal-fired power is important to the country’s economic security and should not be subject to extreme negativity.

In a separate development, Ms Hendricks told Power Engineering International that a court decision, which found the forced shutdown of the Biblis nuclear power plant to be illegal, would not have any impact on Germany’s plans to wind down its nuclear power industry. Speaking to Frankfurter Rundschau, Ms Hendricks said that while the energy transition’s dependence on coal power was ‘undesirable’, it was necessary for the country’s stability, particularly as “we can no longer expect gas to flexibly complement eco-energy.”

“Gas is unprofitable while coal is booming. We must not demonize coal. We still need to transition to a guarantee security of supply.”

She added that ‘rectivating’ the energiewende meant tacking the undesirable development of coal’s eminence. However this, she said, is to be a long term goal governed by market mechanisms/ETS. ETS, which would have to be reactivated. 

In her view backloading of 900 million ETS-certificates is to be a first step even if it is not enough. “The two billion CO2 allowances, which are too much on the European market, must be permanently removed. The 900 million ETS certificates, for which the EU has recently decided on an interim basis, are not enough. We will aggressively fight in the EU for a functioning CO2 trading system.”

UK:

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) will spend just £17.2m on domestic “climate change initiatives” this financial year, a 41 per cent decline on the previous 12 months, according to its response to a freedom of information request. …. 

The dramatic cut in domestic climate change spending comes in Mr Paterson’s first full-year as Environment Secretary – he took up the post in September 2012 . The spending now represents just 0.7 per cent of the department’s total budget for the year, down from 1.2 per cent last year.

Defra is in charge of preparing, or adapting, Britain for global warming, while the Department for Energy and Climate Change is responsible for mitigating the risks. ….  One source who worked with the Environment Secretary said: “Adapting to climate change in itself is not a priority for Owen Paterson. He doesn’t believe that floods have anything to do with climate change, so he calls the biggest aspect of adaptation ‘flood management’. When you talk to him, you don’t use words like ‘adaptation’ – instead you talk about the economic impacts and opportunities and present it as a market solution.”

UK:

David Cameron will on Monday boast of tearing up 80,000 pages of environmental protections and building guidelines as part of a new push to build more houses and cut costs for businesses.

In a speech to small firms, the prime minister will claim that he is leading the first government in decades to have slashed more needless regulation than it introduced.

Reality bites as EU backs away from climate goals

January 22, 2014

The European Commission’s new climate change and energy policy is due to be published today. Leaked reports have been circulating and it is clear that reality and the financial crisis are focusing minds and that expensive “feel-good” policies  are being dumped. After 2 decades, meaningless “climate policy” and emissions (read carbon dioxide) limitations have proven to be profligate and counter-productive. Climate has not been influenced in the slightest and European electricity prices are the highest in the world.

It is expected that binding national targets will be scrapped and instead there will instead be EU-wide “goals” or targets.

BBC:

  • Binding national targets on renewable energy are expected to be dropped from new EU proposals due to be unveiled on Wednesday.
  • The EU executive will also outline a goal on emissions cuts for 2030, set to be 35 or 40% below 1990 levels.
  • A source within the Commission said that going forward, there would be a EU wide target on renewable energy for 2030, but it was likely that there would not be binding national targets. 
  • As well as proposals on emissions cuts, the Commission will set out its thinking on shale gas. It is likely that they will suggest a series of non-binding recommendations as opposed to a EU wide regulation. 

  • The Commission will also outline an effort to reform the EU emissions trading scheme (ETS). 
  • The Commission’s proposals will go forward for consideration at heads of government meetings in March and June this year. ……  that the climate and energy plan may be watered down even further at these meetings.

A garbage disposal system for space junk

January 17, 2014

NASA keeps track of all the debris in orbit. About 13,000 known objects are bigger than 10 centimeters in diameter and there are more than 100,000 pieces of orbital debris between 1 cm and 10 cm. Pieces smaller than 1 cm number in the tens of millions. All pieces of debris larger than 10 cm are carefully tracked using radar and telescopes.

Many schemes have been proposed for trying to get rid of space debris orbiting the Earth. The schemes have ranged from space harpoons, clouds of of ballistic gas, housekeeping, robotic satellites and laser cannon. The Japanese have a plan for an electrodynamic tether to be attached to the debris by a robot arm. the tether then generates an electric field as it orbits around the Earth and the magnetic field then encourages the debris to drop into lower orbits and eventually burn up. A tether is going to be sent up into space at the end of February for a trial.

Electrodynamic tether

SpaceDaily: Researchers at The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) have developed what they called an electrodynamic tether made from thin wires of stainless steel and aluminium.

The idea is that one end of the strip will be attached to one of the thousands of dead satellites or bits of rocket that are jamming up space and endangering working equipment.

The electricity generated by the tether as it swings through the Earth’s magnetic field is expected to have a slowing effect on the space junk, which should, scientists say, pull it into a lower and lower orbit.

Eventually the detritus will enter the Earth’s atmosphere, burning up harmlessly long before it has chance to crash to the planet’s surface.

“The experiment is specifically designed to contribute to developing a space debris cleaning method,” said Masahiro Nohmi, associate professor at Kagawa University, who is working with JAXA on the project, told AFP. Nohmi said a satellite developed by the university is expected to be launched into space on February 28, with the tether aboard.

“We have two main objectives in the trial next month,” he said. “First, to extend a 300-metre (1,000-foot) tether in orbit and secondly to observe the transfer of electricity.” The actual reeling in of orbiting rubbish will be the objective of future experiments, he said. A spokesman for JAXA said the agency also plans to conduct its own trial on a tether in 2015.

More than 20,000 bits of cast off equipment, including old satellites, pieces of rocket and other fragments are uselessly orbiting the Earth in a band 800-1,400 kilometres (500-900 miles) from the surface of the planet at terrific speed. 

JAXA write:

If we are able to calculate the motion of debris, we can attach a propulsion system for removal. As the propulsion system, we have envisioned an “electrodynamic tether”, which is extremely efficient because it does not require fuel. The end of an electrically conductive cord (tether) is attached to the debris, transferring it to a lower orbit through the Lorentz force generated by the interference between Earth’s magnetic field and the current flowing through the tether, causing it to re-enter the atmosphere. Two methods are being considered for attaching the tether. One is a method of using a robot arm, for example, to hook the end of the tether into a 1-meter-diameter hole in a payload attachment fitting used as a base for mounting the satellite onto the rocket.  Another is a method where the side of the rocket stage, which is extremely thin for reduced weight, is approached and harpooned by the tether end to attach it. This method is considered to be a safer operation since the tether can be attached from a distance of 10 to 20m.

Total to enter fracking in the UK

January 12, 2014

The shale boom (gas and oil) in the US has changed the energy landscape not only in the US but also in the export of cheap oil and now even coal from the US.

us petroleum production boom

us petroleum production boom

But so far only the US has seen significant production of gas and oil from shale. In Europe the Green lobby is desperately trying to stop the advent of fracking even though their misguided policies  have – so far – only led to an increased use of coal and an increased price of electricity to the consumer. But the UK, Poland and other countries have huge reserves of shale and the exploitation of these reserves is both necessary and inevitable. Russia, China, South America and India also have shale reserves which will – in time – be recovered. Russia is going slow with fracking because they have large amounts of natural gas to be sold first to recover the investment in their gas pipelines to Western Europe. China is forging steadily ahead and will soon produce shale gas in earnest. India has not even finished mapping its reserves. Both China and India have some technology transfer to be achieved. Japan is spending real development money to be able eventually to use under-sea methane hydrates since they have no shale.

Fox Business: Russia is estimated to have the largest shale oil reserves of 75 billion barrels, according to the Energy Information Administration. The U.S. is No. 2 with 58 billion barrels, followed at a distance by China, Argentina and Libya.

China is believed to have 1,115 trillion cubic feet of recoverable shale gas. The EIA estimates that Argentina has 802 trillion cubic feet, while the U.S. is fourth at 665 trillion. Algeria likely has the third-largest shale gas reserves.

While the U.S. energy industry has roared ahead, shale reserves overseas face several development hurdles such as a lack of drilling resources, land ownership issues and government regulations.

In Europe, the UK will probably lead the way – even though the “politically correct” opposition in Europe will continue to live in their dream worlds. The French oil majors – stopped in their own country by Francois Hollande – are moving in.

BBCFrench oil and gas company Total is to invest in the UK’s shale gas industry, it is to be announced on Monday. Total will be the first of the so-called “oil majors” to invest in shale gas in the UK, the BBC has confirmed. The British Geological Survey estimates there may be 1,300 trillion cubic feet of shale gas present in the north of England.

…. Total is to spend tens of millions of pounds buying substantial stakes in firms with drilling licences in the north of England, where other large energy firms such as Centrica and Gaz de France have already invested.

It comes as the government is expected to introduce more incentives to encourage local authorities to allow drilling for shale gas …… Under the measures, local authorities would keep all income from business rates paid by companies drilling for shale gas, instead of giving it to the UK treasury.

In December, a report commissioned by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), said more than half of the UK could be suitable for fracking.

In his analysis, Joe Lynam writes:

That Total is now getting involved in the UK shale gas industry is not insignificant. The oil majors (BP, Shell, Total, Exxon, and Chevron) waited in the wings for five years in the US while smaller exploration companies drilled for shale gas.

When it became clear there were major commercial flows in America, then the majors piled in. Now it looks like the majors are getting interested in Britain at a very early stage – thanks in no small part to the confident reserve estimates from the British Geological Survey and the open arms of the UK government. The large energy players bring deep pockets and serious expertise with them and will be able to extract, sell and distribute any found gas quicker than smaller companies.

The advantage for the consumer could also be mouth watering – US energy costs are now a third of those in Europe. If Britain can extract 10% of the estimated reserves it could supply the entire country for almost 50 years.

UK Shale Regions

UK Shale Regions

Related Posts.

2013 report card – the year some alarmist bubbles burst

December 31, 2013
  • The global warming fantasy is falling apart
  • Fossil fuels have no significant part to play in climate
  • There is no over-population crisis as fertility rates decrease globally (but there may be a population decline by 2100)
  • There is no food crisis 
  • Poverty levels have decreased globally and are continuing to decrease
  • Infant mortality rates have decreased globally and are continuing to decrease
  • Nuclear power policy is beginning to recognise that fears about safety (Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima not withstanding) are grossly exaggerated
  • Shale gas and methane hydrates have delayed any energy crisis by about 1,000 years
  • Fossil fuels and nuclear power are recognised as being critical in withstanding a Little Ice Age or a new glaciation
  • There is no resource crisis (whether for fuels or rare earths or trace metals), and finding new sources or alternatives responds to need and demand
  • There is no crisis of culture as Occidental decadence and Oriental thrift are combining to rejuvenate a global culture
  • Longevity is increasing
  • The crisis of religious fanaticism continues and will remain till religion becomes obsolete
  • The days of the nation states and their tensions are not yet over
  • The conflict between individuals and authoritarian societies continues (irrespective of type of political system they exist in)
  • Parents are increasingly abdicating their responsibilities for their children and passing them on to society
  • “Fact” is being increasingly determined by majority opinion
  • “Consensus” of belief rather than evidence is being taken as proof of scientific hypotheses
  • Aging is increasing but the elderly are underused
  • Democracies are getting less democratic
  • “Democracy” is over-rated

Germany returns to coal – and in a big way

December 29, 2013

Reality strikes.

Reblogged from http://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/

By Paul Homewood

image

 

http://www.powerengineeringint.com/articles/2013/11/germany-initiates-new-generation-of-coal-fired-new-builds.html

The new coal fired power plant, which began operations last month in Walsum, along with the one launched in Lunen earlier this month, represent the start of Germany’s new generation of hard coal power stations.

Altogether, ten new hard-coal power stations, of 7,985MW capacity, are scheduled to start producing electricity in the next two years. This is in addition to the two lignite, or brown coal, power stations, with capacity of 2875MW, which came on stream last year.

From PEI:

 A new generation of hard coal-fired power plants has been initiated in Germany with the activation of the 725 MW Walsum facility in Dortmund. 

Steag GmbH started Germanys first new power plant fuelled by hard coal in eight years, allowing the generator and energy trader to take advantage of near record-low coal prices that have widened profit margins.

While electricity output commenced this week, the plant will begin commercial operations later in the year following “optimization works and testing,” according to an email statement.
It marks the start of Germany’s biggest new-build program for hard coal stations since its liberalization in 1998. Ten new hard-coal power stations, or 7,985 MW, are scheduled to start producing electricity in the next two years, according to information from German grid regulator Bundesnetzagentur and operators.
Coal prices have fallen to their lowest price in four years, making this type of facility extremely attractive from a profitability standpoint.
Generating electricity by burning coal currently makes a profit of 9.16 euros a MW-hour, compared with a loss of 19.31 euros a MW-hour from 
gas-fired power, according to data compiled by Bloomberg based on next-year German power prices.

The 10 new units will boost German hard coal generation capacity by 33 per cent to 32,432 MW from 24,447 MW as of Oct. 16, regulator data show.

 The Bundesnetzagentur website also lists coal plants due for decommissioning by 2018, and the capacity of these total 1458MW, a much smaller number, so it seems clear that most of the new capacity is intended to replace nuclear.

The combined capacity of the new plants, including the two lignite ones, based on 80% utilisation, will supply 13% of Germany’s total electricity generation.

It is worth comparing this new coal capacity with the UK’s offshore wind capacity, either existing or coming on stream in the next four years. As I pointed out last week, this amounts to 8.2GW, a similar scale given the UK’s lower overall demand. However, rather than supplying regular, reliable power all year round, it will supply, at best, only 40% of this capacity. For this, we will be paying some £3bn a year in subsidies.

In contrast, the new German coal plants are expected to produce a profit of 9 euros/MWh.

It is also worth noting that Germany have a batch of new gas power stations coming on stream, adding capacity of 2.6GW. As neither these, nor the coal plants, will have Carbon Capture fitted, it is difficult to see how Germany will reduce CO2 emissions in the next few years.

Shale gas potential delays new natural gas pieline under the Baltic

November 19, 2013

It will be slower than in the US, but shale gas will also be a game changer in Europe. Even though Russia has huge reserves of shale gas and shale oil, they would also prefer that the transition to shale gas should not go too fast. They have so much invested in the Natural Gas infrastructure that they need to keep the sales of natural gas going to ensure a return. Gazprom has the enviable dilemma of protecting an existing revenue stream by preventing the too rapid establishment of another revenue stream. One problem for Gazprom of course is that shale gas is much more widespread across Europe and their virtual monopoly with Siberian natural gas will be threatened.

In any case the energy scene is changing fast and the planned investment in additional gas pipelines under the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany have been delayed by Nord Stream.

Swedish Radio News: The gas pipeline consortium Nord Stream are delaying their plans for one or two more pipelines under the Baltic Sea. According to Nord Stream’s adviser, Lars Grönstedt, the shareholders want further analyses of the rapidly changing energy market. 

The USA has quickly become almost self-sufficient in energy because of its own shale gas , and it has led to Europe buying more cheap coal than before. “I can not comment directly on the shareholders’ deliberations. But I can guess that since gas has changed to such an extent just the last twelve months , it needs some deeper analysis” says Lars Grönstedt. 

Nord Stream pipeline image http://russia-media.ru/

Nord Stream’s current pipeline has two channels extending from Vyborg in Russia to Greifswald in Germany under the Baltic Sea to deliver Russian natural gas to Europe.  

Nord Stream had planned to add one or two further gas pipes and held public information meetings last spring –  including on Gotland. It is a project that is expected to cost about $9 billion, and in Sweden alone could create some two hundred jobs during construction. 

Nord Stream’s shareholders, five European energy companies , including Russia’s Gazprom , have postponed these plans. The changes in the energy market as Lars Grönstedt mention, are due in part to America’s increased shale gas . 

I suspect that Gazprom’s best way of maximising revenues is by holding up current natural gas prices but not so high that the development of shale gas is accelerated and not so high that gas users shift to coal (as the large utilities are doing in Germany). A delicate calculation and which would require a slow development of their gas distribution pipelines.

But for the private consumers, the lowest cost would be if shale gas development was speeded up.

 

German hard reality is 10 new hard coal power plants to generate 8GW

November 18, 2013

It was inevitable.

The ridiculous energy policies in Germany in subsidising renewable energy and shutting down nuclear plants is backfiring. Green Energy policy in Europe has been at the cost of about 15 million jobs in lost growth opportunities.

They left themselves no option but to return to coal.

It is only a matter of time before the intransigent “green” lobbies of Europe are forced to face realities and cut back the wasteful subsidies on renewable energy and allow the fracking of shale for gas and to return to nuclear power. It has been a costly 3 decades of “green” madness.

1. RT News: 

Germany’s ‘green energy revolution’ costing billions

In the wake of Fukushima, Angela Merkel said Germany would phase out nuclear power by 2022 and subsidize renewable energy. Average German consumers can’t afford the ‘green’ subsidies as they drive up energy prices and suck profits from energy companies.

In the next 27 years, Germany will spend 550 billion euro on renewable technologies like wind and solar, in the hope of attaining 80 percent renewable energy by 2050. 

“It’s being sold on the message it’s either wind energy or radioactive catastrophe, this plays on fear, and makes money for wind energy providers,” Petra Dahms, anti-wind power activist, told RT. 

According to the Cologne Institute for Economic Research, Germany’s energy costs are 40 percent higher than in neighboring France and the Netherlands. …… 

2. Bloomberg

Steag Starts Coal-Fired Power Plant in Germany

Steag GmbH started Germany’s first new power plant fueled by hard coal in eight years, allowing the generator and energy trader to take advantage of near record-low coal prices that have widened profit margins.

The 725-megawatt Walsum-10 plant, located near Dortmund in the western part of the country, began electricity output today, the Essen-based company said in an e-mailed statement. It will probably start commercial operations later in the year after “optimization works and testing,” it said.

The plant is the first new hard-coal-fired generator in Europe’s biggest power market since 2005. It marks the start of Germany’s biggest new-build program for hard coal stations since its liberalization in 1998. Ten new hard-coal power stations, or 7,985 megawatts, are scheduled to start producing electricity in the next two years, according to information from German grid regulator Bundesnetzagentur and operators.

“Coal prices recently fell to their lowest price for over four years in October and carbon prices are half what they were two years ago, making coal-burn extremely attractive to generators in terms of profitability,” Gary Hornby, energy markets analyst at Inenco Group Ltd., said by e-mail today.

The price for coal used in thermal plants for delivery to Amsterdam, Rotterdam or Antwerp next year, dropped to a record low of $80.25 a metric ton on Oct. 14, according to broker data compiled by Bloomberg. The contract traded at $81.60 at 2:51 p.m. London time, broker data show.

Greens fail in Berlin referendum

November 4, 2013

In Germany the greens believe that it is worthwhile to pay exorbitant prices for electricity if it is from renewable sources. That “feel-good” view does not quite pass muster in not so good times. It is beginning to sink in through the German electorate that the shift away from nuclear and coal is not only very expensive, it also achieves nothing.  A referendum called in Berlin to satisfy the Greens’ needs to reduce coal utilisation has failed to garner enough votes to go forward.

BBCA bid to renationalise the electricity grid in the German capital Berlin has narrowly failed in a referendum. 

The measure was backed by 24% of those eligible to vote, but a quorum of 25% was needed for it to pass. It had been supported by green groups, who believe the current provider relies too much on coal. Opponents said it would burden Berlin with debt.

The wording had called for Berlin to set up a public enterprise to trade in electricity from green sources and sell it to residents. Voters were also asked to decide whether the city government should open the way for the grid to be taken back into public ownership.

There has been disappointment in Germany that privatisation of the energy grid has not always led to the hoped-for falls in prices and improvements in quality. The switch from nuclear to solar and wind power has also led to a steep rise in electricity costs.

But the authorities in Berlin – which is already 60bn euros (£50bn; $80bn) in debt – said the city could not afford to renationalise the grid.

Berlin has the dubious pleasure of paying the highest electricity prices in Europe (which may ensure a place for some residents in their imagined green heaven but may lead them to bankruptcy in this life). Berlin residents pay more than twice the price that Helsinki residents pay.

Forbes: 

Residential-Energy-Prices-by-City-EU-2013

The good people of Berlin pay more for electricity than residents of any other major city in the European Union, according to the Household Energy Price Index for Europe.

VaasaETT, an energy think tank based in Helsinki, Finland, tracks monthly prices of electricity and natural gas for utility customers in the capital cities of 23 European countries.

The price customers pay per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity varies by as much as 127% across these 23 countries.

After adjusting for purchasing power, Berlin becomes the place with the most expensive electricity in Europe followed by Prague and Lisbon.

Meanwhile, Helsinki has the cheapest electricity followed by Stockholm. …

 

Biofuels produce twice as much carbon dioxide per kWh as natural gas

October 31, 2013

Of course, carbon dioxide is proving to be of much less importance to global warming than the alarmists would have us believe. Sharply increasing carbon dioxide concentrations have had no impact on global temperatures for the last 17 – 18 years and the supposed link between man-made carbon dioxide emissions and global temperatures is looking very shaky.

It has been another “feel-good” assumption that burning wood, peat, bioethanol and biofuels in general are “carbon neutral”. But that is just wishful thinking. “… only about half as much CO2 per kWh is released when using natural gas rather than wood”.

“Both this and the original method used models of the forest. Models are by definition simplifications. The simplifications a researcher makes will vary according to the issues at hand, the questions being asked. You realise how much earlier analyses have oversimplified things when more refined models yield completely different answers.” 

ScienceNordic reports that scientists from the Cicero Centre for Climate Research and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology used a new method for quantifying the contributions of bioenergy to global warming as compared to fossil energy such as oil and gas.

But further research now indicates that the real climate effect of wood burning is less advantageous.

“By refining their method I determined that the emission of one kg of CO2 from biomass is the equivalent of about 1.25 to 1.5 kg fossil CO2.  So it’s much higher and less climate friendly,” says Bjart Holtsmark, a researcher at Statistics Norway.

In other words, if Holtsmark’s calculations are correct, the climate impact of using slow-growing forest wood for fuel is greater than the burning of fossil fuel, given a 100-year time frame.

Holtsmark says that the original method failed to account for how logging leaves behind dead tree parts. When trees are cut, a considerable amount of tree “waste” remains in the forest to rot and oxidise – and emit CO2.

“This aspect of the carbon balance sheet for bioenergy needs to be included,” he says. “The usual practice in forestry is to take out the trunks, while leaving the branches, treetops, stumps and roots. But the trunk only comprises half the tree’s living biomass.”

He explains that even if the branches and tops are taken out with the trunks, the stumps and roots will be left behind to oxidise into CO2. …… 

…. Holtsmark also asserts that the combustion of timber releases more carbon dioxide per kWh of heat energy than oil and gas.

“For example, only about half as much CO2 per kWh is released when using natural gas rather than wood. When this is taken into account, the picture for bioenergy from slow growing forests becomes even less advantageous.”


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