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Germany’s Greens help the coal industry, while the US cut emissions by ignoring the greens

Oh the dilemma. German Greens have been so “successful” that coal use is rising fast. They helped get rid of the nukes in 2011, punished coal, and subsidized “renewables”. But woe…. energy has to come from somewhere, so the paradoxical crunch comes. Green policies mean that everyone is poorer, but the cheapest energy comes from coal …

The coal industry must be praying for more Green activism:

“IT’S been a black Christmas for green thinkers as Germany, the world leader in rooftop solar and pride of the renewable energy revolution has confirmed its rapid return to coal.

After scrapping nuclear power, Germany’s carbon dioxide emissions are back on the rise as the country clamours to reopen some of the dirtiest brown coalmines that have been closed since the reunification of east and west. The Australian

Though some say the problem is “carbon credits” are too cheap. (We need to be poorer?)

“…new figures show that coal power output in 2013 reached its highest level in more than 20 years. Researchers blame cheap CO2 emissions permits, and demand urgent reforms.

The stats: Germany is using almost as much coal as it did in 1990:

In 1990, Germany’s brown coal-fired power stations produced almost 171 billion kilowatt hours of power.

In 2013, it rose to 162 billion kilowatt hours…

So much money and so little achieved:

In 2014, the surcharge on electricity bills will provide some €23.5 billion of subsidies for renewable energies. A four-person household will pay a surcharge of almost €220 this year.Speigel

It’s the dirtiest kind of coal increasing the most:

Germany’s switch to renewable energies is proving surprisingly good for brown coal as the use of it surged to a new high in 2013. Environmentalists are fuming and claim Germany’s clean energy image is sullied.

The share of German electricity generated from environmentally dirty brown coal rose 6.5 percent year-on-year in 2013…  DW

UPDATE: TonyfromOz in comments points out that “dirty coal” is not so dirty if used in the newest hotter coal fired stations. See his comment below.

DW goes on to say that brown coal produces about 25% of German electricity. Combined with hard coal, it amounts to 45% of the total electricity. The reason coal is so popular is because coal is cheap and (oh the irony) because of the Green anti-nuclear stance.

“Energy experts said the gain in the use of pollutant coal was the result of a German policy aiming to phase out nuclear energy by 2022 and promoting the use of renewable forms of energy.” DW

A wicked thought just occurred to me: Big-gas companies like Shell have been sponsoring green NGO’s for decades (they bankrolled WWF from its inception, for instance). They like renewables activists (Big-Gas loves windfarms, because they need standby gas power). Imagine if coal companies were helping to sponsor anti-nuclear Greens. Two wings of the fossil fuel industry sponsoring competing activists? And none of them sponsoring skeptics? Greens, the useful idiots for every occasion? No. Surely not…

Getting back to the point:

China, meanwhile, last year approved new coal production of more than 100 million tonnes and has plans to add another 860 million tonnes by 2015.

India is set to follow China, and the IEA says coal is the fossil fuel nearly everybody wants.

In its medium-term coal outlook published last month the IEA said rising demand for coal was the “never-ending story”. In short, “coal once again exhibited the largest demand growth of all fossil fuels in 2012″, the IEA said. Despite rising demand, the world remains awash with coal, meaning in many places lower prices have pushed out gas, which is considered to be a cleaner source of energy.

Real free markets beat fakes even when they aren’t trying

The nub of the matter is that the EU spent three times as much on renewables subsidies as the US did, and had a forced “free market” in carbon emissions–but emissions are rising and coal use is increasing. In contrast, the US allowed the free market some actual freedom, and found the solution to reducing emissions:

The divergence [between the US and Europe] has come about largely because while Europe has pushed headlong into renewables with generous public subsidies, the US has harnessed new technology to unlock vast resources of unconventional oil and gas.

This meant in 2012 the US spent about one-third as much as the EU on renewable energy subsidies, $21 billion against $57bn, according to IEA figures.

It’s no accident that electricity in Germany costs almost twice as much as the US.  According to The Australian, in Australia electricity costs even more than twice as much as in the USA. So Australia is the largest coal exporter in the world, but pays 20c a KWhr for domestic industrial power–a civilization bent on slow suicide?

No wonder Ron Boswell says we should dump the Renewable Energy Target. The Australian government must get the spine to take on the irrational green dogma, not just tweak a pointless scheme. At the moment the plan is just to get the Renewable Energy Target back to 20% — it rose above that because the target was fixed in GW not in percentages and (could it be a coincidence) Australian electricity use is falling for the first time in 50 years. It is  partly due to solar PV use, but also because Australian manufacturing is in decline (perhaps in part due to the higher price of electricity, but also due to the high Australian dollar and industrial relations problems).

Graham Lloyd, environmental correspondent, does a good job in The Australian, (paywalled). This is a debate the country desperately needs.

* * *

Donna La Framboise could use some help, use the donate button on her site also if you haven’t already bought her latest book, or the famous book before that, why not buy them too? (Not only do you get great books, but they’re tax deductible for some …) h/t WattsUp

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74 comments to Germany’s Greens help the coal industry, while the US cut emissions by ignoring the greens

  • #
    Bruce

    If the German brown coal plants are like the CZ and Polish (belt-fed, direct from mine), the rationale may indeed be the lower costs here if energy costs have been pushed beyond reasonable limits due to inefficient sources. The transport costs here are quite minimal. With proper filters, these are fine, the main problem being the sulfur.


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      My understanding is Germany is importing Polish lignite.
      Such a lovely turn of events. Most Poles are skeptical about agw, so I’m loving the fact they’re making money selling to the STUPID Germans.


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      • #

        About a quarter of the black coal used in Germany is from the USA. The USA have much more available now since switching electricity generation substantially to natural gas; aided by the “renewable energy” drivers and the carbophobes.

        According to some sources, the USA holds the world’s largest reserves of brown coal (lignite) and a fair whack of black coal as well. Russia has similar energy reserves.

        Coal remains one of the main sources of energy, world-wide. In 2012 (pie chart Energieverbrauch), “renewables” (non-hydro) provided only 2% of the world’s energy requirements. TWO PERCENT!

        Coal OTOH provided 30%, oil 33% and gas 24%. If one takes into account the 4% of energy production from uranium (i.e. nuclear), then the “ungreen” energy sources satisfied a total of 91% of the world’s energy needs in 2012.

        If you try to do without 91%, then it’s almost like a cricket team only fielding the 12th man.


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      ianl8888


      …German brown coal plants are like the CZ and Polish (belt-fed, direct from mine)

      As are the major brown coal plants and mines in LaTrobe Valley, Victoria


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      The Germans collect the sulphur and use it to make gypsum as a building product. That offsets the costs of cleaning the sulphur from the process somewhat.


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    AndyG55

    And in the mean time, China have announced a massive expansion of coal mining in its western areas.

    (and to the bozos, yes they are shutting down some of the smaller mines nearer the main cities. Its called efficiency of scale)


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      Winston

      The trolls are notable by their absence so far, and if nothing else it shows that this whole AGW meme was NEVER about reduction of CO2 in any meaningful way, and that renewables are fatally limited in the power they supply and are economy killers.

      I’m sure “Michael the realist” will exhort us how, if only Germany had installed more solar panels, passed legislation to abolish cloud cover, and then tilted the earth on its axis by 15 degrees toward the equator, and then combined with a carbon tax of $150 a tonne, then Germany would be the industrial powerhouse and fiscal guiding light of Europe. If only pigs flew.


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        Kevin Lohse

        Well said, Winston. That bit of realism certainly deserves more than the single red it has gained from a lurking warmist so far.


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        AndyG55

        And Dr Brain will come up with some sort of irrelevant linear trend calculation to show something is related to something else to 3 dp, no less.
        Maybe CO2 vs the cost of fish heads will be a better fit?


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    Rick Bradford

    It is the responsibility of the boards of public companies (Shell, BP et al.) to maximise returns for their shareholders, so I would hope (and if I were an activist, “demand”) that they fully exploit the idiocies of the Green movement to bolster profits.


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    AndyG55

    The really stupid thing about the renewables forcing on our electricity prices is that it serves ZERO purpose wrt global CO2.

    In fact it probably causes an increase in global CO2, because our industries shut down, production goes to China or India then we have to ship that item back here.

    The whole thing is an idiocy!

    Counter-productive in basically every respect, except Green “feel-good” and Green’s aim of reducing Australia to a 3rd world country.


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    • #
      Andrew

      I remember being sneered at for predicting this at a Finsia meeting in 2006. Emitting activity would simply move to non Kyoto countries. Funny how our smelters closed just as China increased capacity as I predicted.

      Then in 2011, a senior World Bank official lecturing about “Green China” and their windmills, what a success ETS is etc. I said I would be more supportive if we got some reassurance that ETS wasn’t just about location shopping, moving activity to non-Kyoto countries. His response? “Yeah, good point.”

      Why can an informed but unqualified member of the public see what every policy expert can’t, 7 years in advance? For that matter, why did I know the EU ETS was a fraud last century?


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    star commentThere is the perception that brown coal is far dirtier than black coal when used in coal fired power generation, and this has always been the case. This perception is reinforced by journalists who repeat the oft quoted meme that it is dirtier, without actually taking the time to check for themselves, and then report it correctly.

    The problem is that brown coal (Lignite) has a much higher moisture content than bituminous and sub bituminous coal, those black thermal coals commonly used in black coal fired power plants. When that brown coal is burned in the furnace, emissions are in fact much higher than for black coal fired plants.

    However, the case now in Germany is that they have done something new.

    With these new German brown coal fired plants, they are utilising the UltraSuperCritical (USC) technology, now all but perfected by the Chinese.

    On top of that, the Germans have installed at the front end a drying mechanism, using the superhot flue gas exhaust to dry the coal prior to its injection into the furnace.

    The Lignite is first crushed into the finest of powders, almost as fine as talcum powder. It is then dried out, and is then injected into the furnace with an air mixture. All this at the rate of a ton of crushed coal every four seconds or so.

    In this manner, emissions have been considerably reduced, and here I mean considerably, around the same as for traditional black coals used in this same USC process.

    All that is detailed at the following link, and this is a pdf fromatted document, so, you’ll need a reader.

    Neurath F and G Units

    This is an 8 page document, and the relevant information starts on Page 3.

    For those of you who think coal fired power is dinosaur technology, just look at the schematic at the top of page 4, and pdf readers now have a page size magnifier at the top centre, so increase the size to greater than 130% for a better view.

    The meme that brown coal is the dirtiest is now something of the past.

    You can bet London to a brick that this technology will never see the light of day here in Australia.

    Tony.


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    • #
      John F. Hultquist

      “. . . dry the coal . . .”

      Would that be water that is dried from the coal? I won’t tell them that water is a GHG if you don’t. Okay, back to my room. I’ll read your pdf link first.


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      ExWarmist

      Tony says…

      You can bet London to a brick that this technology will never see the light of day here in Australia.

      I’m happy to take the other side of that trade – Australia will, in due course use this technology.

      For economic reasons.


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      • #
        Andrew

        Could it be (as I’ve long hoped) that Abbott666 will use Direct Action to upgrade ageing coal to USC? Maybe his comments today were a signal.


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          AndyG55

          I have emailed Greg Hunt on this subject several times, explaining that the easiest way to get a CO2 reduction would be to upgrade all the power stations. He even replied with a ‘thanks”.

          So they do know its an option.


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      • #
        Peter C

        I thought we were already using some drying out technology for our Brown Coal power stations here in the Latrobe valley of Victoria.


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      Yonniestone

      I noticed Alstom is building these USC plants, they operate out of the old railway workshops in Ballarat and having done contracted work there I was very impressed with their operation, well as far as rail goes.


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      Joe V.

      Tony busts another myth. No point in telling the Greens that Brown coal is just as efficient though. Where would be the wind up factor in that ? Besides which they’d never believe you anyway.


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    llew Jones

    Abbott has made plenty of comments in the past about the long term use of coal to produce electricity.

    Let’s hope he is strong enough to roll the brain dead members in his party who want RETs continued via Direct Action. The German experience should not go unnoticed by them:

    “OPPOSITION Leader Tony Abbott has backed the long-term future of coal-fired power, arguing there is ”no reason” new brown coal plants should not be built.

    Speaking with workers at a manufacturing plant in Morwell, Mr Abbott said he could see no need to close greenhouse-gas-intensive coal power stations or to prevent new plants being built.

    ”I think there is no reason why we shouldn’t build baseload power stations using coal,” he said.

    ”You can’t run a modern economy without a lot of power. Now and for the forseeable future, the most cost-effective way of producing power is going to be coal…..”

    http://www.theage.com.au/environment/climate-change/abbott-the-future-is-bright-brown-20110720-1hoxc.html


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    Graeme No.3

    Germany is building about 20 new coal fired power stations. The number is a little uncertain as some of the proposed plans (~27) may not proceed.

    5 of these power plants were announced before the decision to phase out nuclear was suddenly taken. The reason given was to supply backup for the new wind farms in the Baltic. These have run into trouble; one hasn’t been connected to the grid for 11 months and is relying on diesel power to keep the blades turning slowly to avoid shaft bowing and salt erosion. The remaining coal fired plants are to replace nuclear as it is shut down.

    The problem is that brown coal plants are as inflexible as nuclear ones, so if demand falls they keep producing and some other method has to be shut down. Similarly if there is a surge from wind farms or solar panels, it is the alternative methods (gas (CCGT), hydro and pumped storage) that have to be shut down. So renewables have combined to shut down those methods with less emissions often enough to make them unprofitable, so they shut down for good.

    Similarly in Denmark the wind farms cause the CHP units to shut down generation, but they still have to produce the heat (circulated via water lines to towns/suburbs at average annual temperature of 8ºC) so their emissions aren’t reduced by wind.


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    pat

    aussie workers more than happy to work in the coal industry:

    9 Jan: News Ltd: John McCarthy: Jobseekers swamp Collinsville coal mine which is set to reopen after 300 were laid off when it closed
    However, it(Glencore) has maintained its push to employ people on contract leaving itself exposed to a fight from the militant union, the CFMEU…
    “As we have publicly outlined, we will continue to recruit in accordance with our staged ramp-up of production through 2014.
    “We received an overwhelmingly positive response to our call for expressions of interest, with more than 2300 applicants for mineworker positions.
    “We continue to believe that there can be a profitable future for mining in Collinsville.
    “The changes we are making will give the mine its best chance of a long-term future, providing ongoing employment to significant numbers of people and flow-on benefits to a variety of local businesses and the wider community. ”
    http://www.news.com.au/finance/business/jobseekers-swamp-collinsville-coal-mine-which-is-set-to-reopen-after-300-were-laid-off-when-it-closed/story-fnkgdg1h-1226797993223#

    how do ABC & Fairfax report this good news for Aussie workers? ABC has this piece tucked away in “Rural ABC”:

    9 Jan: ABC: Union disappointed as Queensland mine re-opens
    ABC Rural By Suzannah Baker
    CFMEU representative, Steve Smyth, says they’re disappointed by Glencore’s staffing arrangements.
    “It’s an atrocious situation where workers were at a mine and have lost their jobs and can’t even get a job back there now,” he said.
    “There are a lot of the older workers I’ve spoken to who can’t even get an interview with Glencore, let alone an interview with the labour hire companies employing people.”
    Mr Smyth says he expects only a small handful of former workers will pick up work again at the mine.
    However, the mining company says that’s not the situation.
    In a statement, Glencore says a high percentage of the initial workforce is from the local area, or are previous Theiss contractors to the mine.
    The company says candidates who missed out on the initial jobs will be considered for further positions as the ramp-up continues.
    Some local businesses have gone broke since the closure according to a small business owner.
    Brett Murphy owns a cafe in town and worked in the mines for over 30 years.
    He says they have never seen business confidence so low.
    “I’ve been born and bred in this town and I’ve never seen it to this stage ever before,” he said.
    He says they haven’t seen any extra business from the mine re-opening.
    “That’s yet to come.”…
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-01-08/collinsville-reopens/5190782

    good one, Suzannah,getting a business owner to complain before the mine even gets up and running.

    only Fairfax mention i can find &, from the url, this seems to be for mobile SMH or something:

    9 Jan: SMH: Collinsville mine set to reopen
    The Collinsville community then began campaigning for the company to rehire locals, amid concerns that a fly-in, fly-out workforce would be used when operations resumed.
    Glencore says many of the 50 start-up crew are from the mine’s previous Thiess workforce or from local communities.
    However, CFMEU president Stephen Smyth says Glencore’s claim that many workers are locals is a “real con”.
    http://m.smh.com.au/queensland/collinsville-mine-set-to-reopen-20140109-30k0p.html


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  • #
    John F. Hultquist

    Jo,
    This is off topic so delete if you want.
    Donna LaFramboise has asked for some money and folks have been giving. Some that read here might be inclined.


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    pat

    8 Jan: Businessweek: Archana Chaudhary: India’s November Coal Imports rose 10%, Shipping Data Show
    India received 9.05 million tons of steam coal and 3.71 million of coking coal through 22 of the 28 ports, data show…
    http://www.businessweek.com/news/2014-01-08/india-s-november-coal-imports-rose-10-percent-shipping-data-show

    10 Jan: OilPrice: Two Bullish Missed Targets in Coal … and One Place that will Benefit
    Coal India—the nation’s largest coal miner—reported that its coal production has once again fallen short of target…
    ***At the same time, coal demand from India’s power sector is soaring. Total daily requirements are running at 1.4 million tonnes.
    http://oilprice.com/Energy/Coal/Two-Bullish-Missed-Targets-in-Coal-…-and-One-Place-that-will-Benefit.html

    6 Jan: Bloomberg: Tohoku to Buy More U.S., Canada Coal to Cut Australia Reliance
    The U.S. shipped 1.69 million metric tons of thermal coal to Japan in the first 11 months of 2013, up from 634,000 tons a year earlier, according to data from the Finance Ministry. That’s about 1.7 percent of total imports. Canada was the fourth-largest supplier, accounting for 2.3 percent, while Australia shipped 73 percent…
    Hampered by a lack of infrastructure and chronic environmental hang-ups over new projects (the company cited two expansion bans from the national environment ministry as reasons for its latest production shortfall)…
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-06/tohoku-to-buy-more-u-s-canada-coal-to-cut-australia-reliance.html

    LOL. Fairfax carried the Bloomberg piece (no doubt hoping it suggests a Japanese snub to Abbott!) but check the percentages.


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    Carbon500

    Tony: thank you for the fascinating and highly informative pdf which sets thing straight regarding ‘brown’ coal.
    We hear a lot from the warmists about ‘the science’, but here’s an example of proper science in action – i.e. engineering problem solving. I note with interest the comment that it’s been estimated that Germany has enough lignite reserves for generations to come.


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  • #

    James Hansen (ex high priest, NASA GIS), Tom Wigley (prominent UK climate researcher) and Kerry Emanuel recently published an open letter calling for the expansion of nuclear power.

    http://edition.cnn.com/2013/11/03/world/nuclear-energy-climate-change-scientists-letter/

    in their words:-

    continued opposition to nuclear power threatens humanity’s ability to avoid dangerous climate change. … Renewables like wind and solar and biomass … cannot scale up fast enough to deliver cheap and reliable power at the scale the global economy requires. … there is no credible path to climate stabilization that does not include a substantial role for nuclear power

    Any green who opposes nuclear power is helping to destroy the planet, according to James Hansen


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    Ross

    Here is a great graphic of what is happening in Germany from WUWT

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/01/07/despite-climate-campaigners-efforts-germanys-new-coal-boom-reaches-record-level/

    Why is it that all the policies applied as a result of the Green’s energy “ideas” ALWAYS have bad unintended consequences??


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    Anne

    Hi Jo,
    Not sure where to put this. Have noticed for a little time that the maximum temperature for Melbourne seems to be higher. Found out today they have created a new ‘Melbourne’ weather station at Olympic Park: look at how close it is to car parking and overhead lights! Doubt if this would tick any boxes on the ideal site list!
    Cheers

    http://www.bom.gov.au/weather-services/announcements/vic/melb-olympic-park2013.shtml


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    warcroft

    This just in. . .

    Erik van Sebille has written his first brief report/article on his Antarctica adventures.
    http://theconversation.com/scientists-at-work-stuck-in-the-antarctic-ice-we-set-out-to-study-21929

    But I especially like this comment from a reader:

    ————————————————————
    Erik, your boss is getting a hard time with those Adelie penguins suffering from too much ice:
    https://mobile.twitter.com/ProfChrisTurney/status/420897988739735553?screen_name=ProfChrisTurney

    You see, we were being told a while back (2012) that their problem was an ice shortage:
    http://www.whoi.edu/main/news-releases?tid=3622&cid=141592

    ————————————————————
    Gold! I love it! Again theyre just making it up!


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    Andrew

    I informed a debate on Facebook that China has explicit policy of doubling emissions by 2020 (based on WUWT’s parsing of what they told Warsaw about CO2 “intensity.” Believe it on not my friend responded [blah blah] “Tony Abbott.”

    I’m wondering whether they will understand the concept “China’s current 5 year plan is to build 250 times the coal generation capacity of Hazelwood”?

    I know “useful idiot” is a technical term, but a little bit of vomit comes up at calling Milne’s Monkeys “useful.” SHY is up over 1500 deaths since her policy genius resulted in “accidents happening.”


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    janama

    The ridiculous aspect of this is that the Germans have freaked out about their nuclear power just because of Fukushima. The web has been flooded by the anti-nuclear movement with pages and pages of absolute drivel. No one has died because of Fukushima and no one will die. Fukushima had delivered a constant 4.6GW for 40 years. It was about to be de-commissioned when the accident occurred.

    For Germany to close it’s nuclear power stations is just Green hysteria.


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    Lucky

    I may be out-of-date, I hope so, but I understand that in the UK, the EU has directed the very large DRAX power station to be converted from coal to wood chips (to be imported from Virginia), the result- more CO2 emissions (not a bad thing), much higher costs, all to promote sustainability, whatever that may be.


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      Kevin Lohse

      Unfortunately, it’s all too true. Due to the vagaries of democratic elections within the Conservative and Unionist Party, we have a social democrat and his watermelon wife “leading” a Right-wing party. S**T happens.

      Pascal Bruckner, one of the few left-wing philosophers worth giving shelf-space to, defines “Sustainable” thus:-

      Everything now has to be sustainable, development as well as mobility, the future as well as love. For the sake of preservation at any cost, people would like to do away with the ephemeral, the ,”poignant grandeur”, of the perishable. Isn’t the problem with progress, with waste, with plastic bags, precisely that they are durable, that they stubbornly cling to existence? Hasn’t an American author demonstrated that in the event of humanity’s disappearance the remains of our cities and factories would continue to exist for at least 500 years, despite the erosion and deterioration of their materials? If everything started being durable, life would quickly turn into a nightmare. We would lose the tremendous charm of that which passes and never returns, and of which nature itself, with it’s cycle of seasons, provides a fine example. We would lose what Buddhism nicely calls the impermanence of things. (the Fanaticism of the Apocalypse – The seductive attraction of disaster)

      For those of a non-spiritual disposition, “That’s Entropy, Man! (Flanders and Swan, The Second Law of Thermodynamics).


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      Joe V.

      I understand the EU only diktated that the Coal burning had to stop once it had reached the quota (another artificial construct of government trying to sound like free markets) the EU imposed.

      The clever commercial people worked out they could destroy the arboreal forests and burn loads of diesel shipping the woodchips across the pond to burn in Drax cheaper than burning the coal they were sitting on. And the sooner they could start doing it the more they would save.

      That resinous woodsmoke is far more stimulating for the lungs than derdy coal. Just think of hickory chips on the barbie.


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      You are not out of date. So far one third of the 3.2GW Drax B complex has been converted to wooden pellets. These will be imported from the USA. For each MWh produced the company will get one renewable obligation credit, with a current value of £42. Annually that is about £180 million of subsidy, making the unit cost of electricity produced 75% more expensive than from coal.
      This is not the only coal-fired power station to start using wooden pellets. Ironbridge power station has converted 500MW. This is 5km by road from where Abraham Darby first produced iron using coke. Before that charcoal had been used. The process was much cheaper, switching from limited resources of wood to plentiful supplies of local coal. This is why the area claims to be the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. Can you spot the irony?
      http://manicbeancounter.com/2014/01/12/the-irony-of-ironbridge/


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    Gos

    The greens of this world forget that sooner or later the people of this planet will have the penny drop that the enviro/green types are not interested in their welfare,that the enviro/greens want to starve your families make them freeze,suffer from heat and thirst to force you onto the unemployed list,to deny you the right to medical assistance,people will eventually will kick against the pricks and will strive to protect their families,which if the past is anything to go by then there will be bloodshed.


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    Peter Miller

    Wouldn’t it be great if we could have two grids to deliver our electricity?

    The regular grid and one which is connected only to ‘green renewable’ supplies of expensive and unreliable wind and solar power,

    The former would be exclusively for people living in the real world and the latter would be for ‘climate scientists’ and ecoloons. While this would not rid us of these two parasitical groups, it should seriously reduce their numbers. Those that remain could happily rant away their smug, pointless, little lives in increasing energy poverty.

    The use of coal fired energy sources (especially those plants using new technology) is beneficial to all, something blatantly obvious to everyone, except those in the ecoloon community. And then there is their hostility to fracking, the obvious solution to the western world’s energy problems, as clearly demonstrated by what has happened in the USA.

    The ecoloons deserve their own power grid, exclusively using their own approved sources of energy.


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      An alternative suggestion. In the far North of Scotland there are a huge number of wind turbines. There are more planned, such as 2.5GW in the Moray Firth (Beatrice + McColl fields) with insufficient capacity to transmit that power southwards. Much cheaper would be to develop a major research centre in Thurso for all the world’s climate scientists. As well as the renewable energy to provide for all their needs; it is not too far from the Arctic to view the polar bears and vanishing ice; the locals are a very welcoming people (genuinely – my mother was born near there); the area has become more deprived since the closure of the Dounreay fast-breeder nuclear reactor, so needs the investment; and it is one area of the world where future generations will hugely benefit from a few degrees of warming.


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        Joe V.

        Construction of a new 400kV overhead pylon line is already well advanced, marching its way south across the Highland landscape.
        http://www.sse.com/BeaulyDenny/#
        I must say the new pylon towers , which are much rtaller than existing power lines, are still more agreeable than the frequent clusters of white windmills already despoiling the Highland landscape.


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          But 400Kv only equates to 1.2GW. There is possibly another 2.5GW or more capacity needed by 2020. Additional capacity will have also to extend right the way down into Lancashire and Yorkshire for times of high winds. From Beauly, near Inverness, it is about 500km to Preston or North Yorkshire.


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    Ceetee

    KK must be loving this and so he should. Coal is natures gift and IMHO to use it is to be be part of it’s cycle. Good for Poland, a nation that has far too often suffered for the ambitions of its neighbors.


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    pat

    time for the propaganda to stop:

    12 Jan: WUWT: Scandal: BBC’s six-year cover-up of secret ‘green propaganda’ training for top executives
    David Rose of the Mail on Sunday tears the BBC a new one, thanks to an “amateur climate blogger”.
    Tony Newbery, 69, from North Wales, asked for further disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act. The BBC’s resistance to revealing anything about its funding and the names of those present led to a protracted struggle in the Information Tribunal. The BBC has admitted it has spent more than £20,000 on barristers’ fees. However, the full cost of their legal battle is understood to be much higher…
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/01/12/scandal-bbcs-six-year-cover-up-of-secret-green-propaganda-training-for-top-executives/#more-101035

    11 Jan: Daily Mail: David Rose: BBC’s six-year cover-up of secret ‘green propaganda’ training for top executives
    Mr Newbery, who finally won his battle last month, said: ‘It is very disappointing that the BBC tried so hard to cover this up. It seems clear that this seminar was a means of exposing executives to green propaganda.’ The freshly disclosed documents show that a number of BBC attendees still occupy senior roles at the Corporation…
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2537886/BBCs-six-year-cover-secret-green-propaganda-training-executives.html#ixzz2qBlfEG9a


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    Stonyground

    @Peter Miller
    I reckon that the effect could be achieved using some kind of smart meter that could simulate the kind of power supply that you would get using only renewables. The green nuts could all be asked to voluntarily sign up for one and we could ask them for proof that they had done so every time that they sound off about renewable energy. Surely if renewable energy actually worked, Germany would be shutting down their coal fired power stations and changing over to wind, solar and biomass.


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    Joe

    I am not sure that I see the ‘irony’ in the German situation of brown coal fired stations replacing the nuclear powered stations. Firstly in Germany, the Greens poll around 10% or so like here and did not ‘make the call’ on shutting down the nuclear stations. I think that has been on the agenda since the Chernobyl days, long before the Greens were at 10%. The more recent Fukushima event probably just rekindled Germany’s nuclear fears somewhat. If we could not go out and pick mushrooms in our forests like we had done for thousands of years, we might have that same fear. In any case it would not be unreasonable to assume that the Greens may simply dislike nuclear power more than ‘so called’ carbon emitting power. That would not be ironic and probably just shows the carbon fear and adoption of the AGW story is not as universal as some make out. The gist of the article seems to show that the AGW story is not having as drastic an effect and that our habits are not changing that much as countries continue to grow their coal use. I am not sure that we should be applauding the US for reducing their emissions if emissions are not a problem in the first place just because they spent less money on it than the EU. I am not sure that we should be applauding the concept of cleaning up the brown coal emissions if they are not a problem in the first place. They are all still wasteful initiatives if they are driven by the AGW story. Who is to say there are not other problems with the new US solutions that may be the topic of scientific debate at a later date? The fact that Germany’s coal use is nearly as much as 1990 figures does not tell me a lot unless we see some total energy use figures alongside. I think the usage figures are grey as Germany still imports energy from France and pretty much all of that is nuclear. I am not sure how you can have a dogma about the nuclear power in your country when your nearby neighbours harbour no such dogma. But I guess that is the very nature of a dogma. While many here like to knock the renewables, especially solar, I think the anger is more about Governments mandating they be part of the public supply grid and subsidising them accordingly. Australia was once a hotbed of scientific research into solar and it has resulted in some fantastic science. It is a matter of horses for courses and solar has allowed us great achievements in far flung places, not just outer space but many remote regions where a coal powered plant is not an option. Renewables have been used for thousands of years before any coal powered stations were built and fuels like wood still provide the main source of heating and cooking for billions on our planet. Even for us in this centralised society we still have a choice when we fire up the BBQ and many of us still choose the old renewable wood as a fuel of choice. Remember too that this debate about coal powered stations is predicated on the desire for a central power supply with an associated distribution system and more of us are looking to be independent of that model and coal power does not lend itself to the small scales. Remember too that solar panels generally have quite high intrinsic engery due to their alluminium glass and silicon components and so you don’t have to feel guilty about starving the plants of their CO2. :) The graphs I have seen for solar supply in Qld (I think) show them supplying half of the afternoon peak before they expire and traditionally this peak is supplied by the gas powered stations. This peak during the summer months can command as high as $12/kWh and is a lucrative market for the gas stations as this is basically all they supply. This NEM price dwarfs the 44 cents paid to some solar suppliers at this same time and needless to say the gas stations _hate_ the solar suppliers. It would be interesting to recalculate the ‘worth’ of the solar input based on the 1/2 hourly NEM rate that other suppliers earn. The ‘cost’ of solar to non-solar customers assumes a zero value of the electricity they supply and treats the 44 cents or whatever it is as an additional cost. I think we would be surprised if we saw the same figures for what the gas fired power costs us because similarly they only supply the lucrative peak market.


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    Asmilwho

    Hi Jo,

    You wrote:
    “The nub of the matter is that the EU spent three times as much on renewables subsidies as the US did”

    Talking of EU subsidies I bumped into the EU’s “Horizon 2020″ project the other day

    http://ec.europa.eu/programmes/horizon2020/en/news/horizon-2020-launched-€15-billion-over-first-two-years

    Where as you can see, a rather large amount of money has been earmarked to stimulate R&D in Europe. Not such a bad bad idea, you may think, until you read this section of the Summary of Horizon 2020 first calls: MEMO/13/1122:

    “It is expected that at least 60% of the overall Horizon 2020 budget should be related to sustainable development, and that climate-related expenditure should exceed 35% of the budget”

    Yes, that’s a MINIMUM of another 5 250 000 000€ dedicated to “climate-related expenditure” in JUST THE FIRST TWO YEARS

    The vast scale of tax payers money pouring into these schemes beggars belief


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    Robber

    Can anyone point to a source that provides comparative costs for electricity generated by wind, solar, gas, coal in Australia?


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    AndyG55

    Hi Robber.

    Tony in OZ has had many good posts on this topic.

    Jo, if you are there.. Maybe get Tony to write a page for the reference section ??


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    Andrew McRae

    When looking for the reason as to why USA CO2 emissions decreased, the supply side is not the only side of the equation.

    In contrast, the US allowed the free market some actual freedom, and found the solution to reducing emissions… the US has harnessed new technology to unlock vast resources of unconventional oil and gas.

    The result of the USA’s deregulated free market in finance has been a global financial crisis which put the USA in a recession from which it has not recovered. Manufacturing jobs had already been moving out of the USA for many years before 2008. Worked hours per week has been falling for a decade. In 2010 their total coal consumption was less than it was in 2007, but so was total energy usage. Natural gas did not 1:1 substitute for reduced coal use. The CO2 emissions decreased because total energy use decreased. Total energy use per person (a typical quality of life indicator) has therefore also been decreasing.
    With current day technology, the only two ways to decrease annual CO2 emissions is to either decrease CO2 emissions per generated watt by going for more nuclear or else by decreasing total energy use by heading for poverty. Nobody in the USA was trying to decrease CO2 emissions, which you correctly note was achieved “without even trying”, but it was achieved through less production.


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      Andrew, you mention here:

      Natural gas did not 1:1 substitute for reduced coal use.

      Have a look at this data from the EIA in the U.S.A.

      Net Generation By Energy Source

      It needs some explanation for other readers who only have a small understanding of electrical power generation, so I’ll attempt to actually do that.

      Now, note the top line there, the data for 2003. Look at total generation from the coal fired sector. (1973.737TWH) In 2003, the average age of all coal fired power plants was just under 49 years, and keep in mind here that a coal fired plant has an expected life span of 50 years.

      When I started looking at this data in early 2008, that average age of all coal fired plants was now 49.5 years. Those old coal fired plants needed replacing, and pretty quickly at that, considering that around 600 coal fired plants were older than 50 years, some up to 90 years old in fact.

      Around this time, a lot of those older coal fired plants started to refit with NG units leading up to full replacement of the plant by NG. That takes time in planning, and then construction, and after 5 years the NG sector got to the stage where those new plants were coming on line, so it was pretty much a direct change from coal fired to NG plants.

      Now, still on that top line for 2003 note the total generation from the Natural Gas generating sector. (649.908TWH)

      Now, scroll down to the bottom there where it shows the data for the rolling 12 months, so still a full year here.

      Note the totals for Coal fired power and Natural Gas fired power.

      Coal fired power has dropped 388TWH and NG has risen by 453TWH.

      So, not only has coal fired power been replaced in its totality by NG, in fact NG has ramped up its power delivery by way way more than Coal fired power has fallen.

      Now, also note the total electrical power generation (far right total) Compared to 2003, power generation has in fact risen by almost 150TWH, a huge amount of power.

      Even now, the average age of all the coal fired power plants is still around 46 years old. Not one plant larger than 800MW Nameplate Capacity has closed since I started doing this in 2008. Some units at those plants have closed down, but an overall plant closure has not happened.

      The only reason CO2 emissions have fallen is that older and less efficient coal fired plants have been replaced by cleaner burning NG plants which have less overall emissions.

      However, when it comes to electrical power generation, NG has ramped up to the point where it now provides 27.4% of all U.S. power consumption, up from 16.7% in 2003. NG power is now the second largest generator of power in the U.S. after coal fired, and supplanting Nuclear Power, which just trundles along supplying virtually the same as it always has.

      Now, those older coal fired plants would mainly have been used as running reserve, only delivering power when it was needed. NG fired plants are perfect for this application as they can be run up quickly when needed, while those coal fired plants were turning and burning, but not delivering power until called upon.

      Now while there has been a greater usage of NG than the coal fired power it replaced, can that be pointing a finger at anything else?

      Well yes, it does. It shows, quite graphically, that while there has been a considerable ramping up of wind power, that wind power needs constant, and readily available backup for when wind is not delivering, a further indictment that wind power is all but useless.

      Note also another quite startling outcome.

      Look at the top again at the full column for power delivery for each of those years, and note specifically how coal fired power generation has been falling off dramatically over the last 6 years especially, as more and more coal fired plants close down, replaced in totality by NG plants.

      Now, scroll back to the bottom and look at the latest rolling 12 Month totals, and note how coal fired power generation has risen by 80TWH in this last year. So here we have less coal fired plants, considerably less, and yet they are having to work harder and longer to supply more electricity.

      Is Coal fired power dying?

      Not on your life.

      Tony.


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    nc

    Looks like France is not paying attention, wants to shut down a bunch of its reactors. They seem to ignore the economic troubles in Japan since they shutdown their nukes.

    Those in France hang onto your wallets.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-25674581


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      Joe V.

      Why should France build more nuclear reactors on their own soil, when Britain will pay them to build then in England ? That’ll solve the problem of transporting the nuclear waste too, if its already in Englsnd,.


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    David

    Meanwhile, here in Cameron la-La Land (he of the ‘suspicion’ that recent floods in the UK were connected to climate change) – we are CONVERTING our biggest coal-fired power stations (Drax and Eggborough), both sat on top of coalfields, to run on WOOD CHIPS..
    Not just any wood chips – these are IMPORTED from America – an 8000km round trip for a convoy of ships (running on diesel, presumably) – and the process basically involves trashing North Carolina’s forests (until someone there shouts: ‘Whoa..! Enough..’)..
    Not only that, but wood chips have an annoying tendency to self-combust in storage heaps – fires which can literally take weeks/months to put out…
    But – hey – who’s counting – when political eco-lunacy is unassailable..?


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      Carbon500

      Agreed David – absolutely crazy. Importing wood chips from America to burn over here in power stations converted for the purpose.
      Future generations will look back with incredulity.


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    PhilJourdan

    The law of unintended consequences. Idealist never learn the lesson.


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    [...] scrapping nuclear power, Germany’s carbon dioxide emissions are back on the rise as the country clamours to reopen some of the dirtiest brown coalmines that have been closed since the reunification of east and [...]


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    Farmer Gez

    Just drove past Waubra (Vic) windfarm and only two towers out of dozens turning. Temperature was 42c. Surely this is peak demand time. What a farce!


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      Gee Aye

      they probably overheat!


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      ATTENTION MattB

      I shouldn’t really be doing this, aiming a direct comment at just one person, but what Farmer Gez has said here has prompted me to reply now.

      Go back and look at the comment at this link from MattB on the Guest Post I had explaining the Christmas Load Curve. I read the comment at the time, and written at the time Matt came in, 9 days after the Post was put up, I didn’t reply at the time, well, because no one goes back that far to read comments at old Posts, and, well, really, Matt had absolutely no idea what he was talking about anyway, so what would have been the use of actually explaining it at all.

      So, keeping in mind the intent of my Post, here we have yesterday, a stinking hot work day, and in fact probably one of those days erroneously termed Peak Power Days, when home air conditioning would have got a real workout.

      But, did it?

      Well no, as the Load Curve shows.

      Here is that Load Curve, the third graph down as you scroll down the page, and that total was at 4PM, at around 32,000MW.

      Now, work finishes at 5 PM, so everyone rushes off home, and turns on their home air conditioning, and according to MattB, that initiates a further spike in power consumption to add to what you already see there.

      So then, what size would that spike be if all those homes, cooking during the day, and now with residents coming home from work all turning on their conditioners at around the same time, and the compressors working flat out overtime to get that huge temperature down, probably taking at least an hour or even more, those compressors being the largest electricity consuming item in the conditioner.

      All those conditioners being turned on at the same time would lead to a consumption of around 4,000 to 6,000MW an astronomically high amount of power consumption.

      So, then, go back to the load curve.

      Is there a spike that size on that curve starting a around 4PM?

      Well, no, there isn’t. In fact, power consumption starts to drop, as people leave their work places and go home.

      Another green warmist myth exploded, not by me, but by actual data.

      Also, now go back just one day, to the graphs shown at this link.

      Look at the black line on the second graph on the screen there. This shows the output generated power from every wind plant east of the WA border.

      Note how during the period of peak power consumption, 8AM to 10PM, the, umm fundament, has fallen out of wind power completely.

      That’s an average of around 300MW from 2660MW Nameplate, and for most of the time of maximum consumption, it struggles along at below 300MW, as low as 150MW, meaning that barely one wind tower in 20 is actually turning, a capacity factor of around 5%.

      Now, go and look at this chart of power costs. Look at yesterday for South Australia, the State with the greatest reliance on Wind Power. It is far and away the highest priced electricity in Australia. That’s for power they have to purchase wholesale at around $400/MW, power they can only sell at retail for around $300/MW, after everybody takes their cut.

      When electrical power is needed the most, you just cannot rely on Wind Power.

      Tony.


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