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Renewables Fail: fossil fuels, coal, same dominance of our energy mix as 20 years ago

Posted By Jo Nova On June 17, 2018 @ 1:40 pm In AGW socio-political,Electricity,Global Warming,Renewable | Comments Disabled

Despite 20 years of non-stop propaganda and belligerent namecalling, strangely, expert green policies have achieved exactly nothing of what they said they aimed for. Coal provided 38% of our power in 1998 and it is still the same 38% in 2017. The non-fossil fuel sector has actually declined slightly as nukes decrease.

We spent billions doing exactly what was asked. Perhaps following the advice of people who think the debate is over and “denier” is a scientific term might not be the best national energy policy?

BP Energy Review, Graph, Fuel shares in power generation, 2018.

Fuel shares in global power generation for the last 20 years  |  BP Energy Review, 2018.

Long-term dominance of fossil fuels unchallenged

Graham Lloyd, The Australian

Global demand for coal and gas to generate electricity was back on the rise last year …

Most striking had been the failure of renewable energy to make an impact on the fossil fuels share of power generation, BP group chief economist Spencer Dale said.

“Despite the extraordinary (global) growth in renewables in recent years, and the huge policy efforts to encourage a shift away from coal into cleaner, lower carbon fuels, there has been almost no improvement in the power sector fuel mix over the past 20 years,” he said.

The share of coal in the power sector in 1998 was 38 per cent, ­exactly the same as 2017.

“The share of non-fossil fuel in 2017 is actually a little lower than it was 20 years ago, as the growth of renewables hasn’t offset the ­declining share of nuclear,” ­Mr Dale said.

h/t Pat.

Engineers and other skeptics predicted this would happen. At this point, honest Greens who care about CO2 emissions would be asking for help. Since they aren’t, we can  assume the expert green policies are achieving what the Greens want, they just aren’t being honest.

If renewables were cheap and reliable the developing world would be rushing to follow the west. The Chinese are not stupid, they sign pacts to do nothing while they use coal and nukes. They tried solar, but realized it’s toxic, costs more and are cutting subsidies.

Make no mistake, renewables policies are achieving “Green” aims

Policies pretending to reduce CO2 have shrunk the role of the free market, turned a fifth of all homes in Australia into subsidized generators, and increased government control of our energy as a larger sector becomes dependent on handouts. They’ve demonized independent energy producers, created a crisis and are using that crisis to blame “privatization” and the free market. They’ve polluted the concept of a free market to the point where people came to think that a fake market where the government entirely  and artificially fixed supply and demand was “free”. They’ve polluted the word pollution

If the Greens/Labor really cared about CO2 they’d be doing something different.

BP toes the line of the Ruling Class perfectly

Why wouldn’t BP? It profits from it – gas sales increase with more unreliable wind and solar generation, plus pandering holds the bullies at bay.

Spencer Dale, Group Chief Economist at BP gnashes teeth, “Oh Woe”

The power sector really matters. It’s by far the single biggest market for energy: absorbing over 40% of primary energy last year. And it’s at the leading edge of the energy transition, as renewables grow and the world electrifies. This year’s Statistical Review for the first time includes comprehensive data on the fuel mix within the power sector, aiding our understanding of this key sector.

Global power generation increased by 2.8% in 2017 close to its 10-year average. Almost all that growth came from the developing world. OECD demand edged up slightly, but essentially the decoupling of economic growth and power demand in the OECD seen over the past 10 years continued, with OECD power broadly flat over the past decade.

Spot a problem: half the growth in total power generation and yet only making 8% of total power?

The increase in global power generation was driven by strong expansion in renewable energy, led by wind (17%, 163 TWh) and solar (35%, 114 TWh), which accounted for almost half of the total growth in power generation, despite accounting for only 8% of total generation. Although wind continued in its role of the bigger, more established, elder cousin, it was solar energy that made all the waves.

This is striking and worrying, and we recommend …doing more of the same.

Standing back from the detail of what happened last year, the most striking – and worrying – chart in the whole of this Statistical Review is the trends in the power sector fuel mix over the past 20 years.

Striking: because despite the extraordinary growth in renewables in recent years, and the huge policy efforts to encourage a shift away from coal into cleaner, lower carbon fuels, there has been almost no improvement in the power sector fuel mix over the past 20 years. The share of coal in the power sector in 1998 was 38% – exactly the same as in 2017 – with the slight edging down in recent years simply reversing the drift up in the early 2000s associated with China’s rapid expansion. The share of non-fossil in 2017 is actually a little lower than it was 20 years ago, as the growth of renewables hasn’t offset the declining share of nuclear. I had no idea that so little progress had been made until I looked at these data.

Worrying: because the power sector is the single most important source of carbon emissions from energy consumption, accounting for over a third of those emissions in 2017. To have any chance of getting on a path consistent with meeting the Paris climate goals there will need to be significant improvements in the power sector. But this is one area where at the global level we haven’t even taken one step forward, we have stood still: perfectly still for the past 20 years. This chart should serve as a wake-up call for all of us.

Keep calm and keep doing what we’re doing

Conclusion: Global energy markets in 2017 took a backward step in terms of the transition to a lower carbon energy system: growth in energy demand, coal consumption and carbon emissions all increased. But that should be seen in the context of the exceptional outcomes recorded in the previous three years. Some backsliding was almost inevitable. The road to meeting the Paris climate goals is likely to long and challenging, with many twists and turns, forward lurches and backward stumbles. To navigate our progress will require timely, comprehensive and relevant data. That’s the role of BP’s Statistical Review.

Remember coal and nukes are the enemy of gas.

REFERENCE

BP Statistical Review of World Energy, 2018.

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