JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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Renewables hit record “high” of 3.6% of total global energy production

The world still runs on coal and oil

After 20 years of subsidies, intermittent renewables account for just 3.6% of total energy generation. That’s the tiny purple sliver in the graph. Global power means not just electricity, but also fuel used in transport. And this is where wind and solar power are respectively old and slow, or modern but useless.

Someday solar powered planes might make their first round world trip in 48 hours but at the moment they need 16 months. There’s a a bit of hitch in the global energy transition.

Hello fossil wonder fuels:

Global Primary Energy, Graph, 1965-2018

Global Primary Energy, Graph, 1965-2018

Intermittent renewables are pretty useless everywhere:

Global Primary Energy, Graph, 1965-2018

Global Primary Energy, Graph, 1965-2018

 

Solar energy might have “made waves” and increased by an astounding 100GW last year, but it’s still irrelevant:

Oil remains the world’s dominant fuel, making up just over a third of all energy consumed. In 2017 oil’s market share declined slightly, following two years of growth. Coal’s market share fell to 27.6%, the lowest level since 2004. Natural gas accounted for a record 23.4% of global primary energy consumption, while renewable power hit a new high of 3.6%.

– Spencer Dale, Group Chief Economist, BP

 It took billions of dollars to get renewables up to 3.6% of total global energy. See the orange slice at the bottom of this graph (colored solid to make it easier to notice). This graph shows the changes (or stability) of global energy use since 1965.

Global Primary Energy, Graph, 1965-2018

Global Primary Energy, Graph, 1965-2018

 

Renewables subsidies were about $70b globally in 2012 and rising, according to the EIA and projected to double by 2020.

In 2012 the combined profit of the largest five oil companies (BP, Conoco, Exxon, Chevron, Shell) was $140 billion.

 h/t GWPF REFERENCE:

BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2018

Primary Energy

Electricity

 

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Renewables hit record "high" of 3.6% of total global energy production, 9.4 out of 10 based on 53 ratings

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49 comments to Renewables hit record “high” of 3.6% of total global energy production

  • #
    johnbuk

    Sorry Jo, don’t mean to be pedantic but the word is “sliver”.

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  • #
    Graham Richards

    Slither? I thought that was the description of movement around Canberra. I still think I got it right!
    Jo, smidgen, is the word you’re looking for!

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  • #
    OriginalSteve

    Hmmm….3.6% …when its running and thats modtly when the sun is shining and the wind is blowing…in ither words 3.6 poompteens of nuthin’….

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  • #
    James Murphy

    As a ‘big oil’ employee, albeit with one of the bigger service companies, not an oil company, I’m in a position to see the stats for current, and planned work related to drilling operations. Things are actually looking up, though, really, with well over half of my office fired, retired, or resigned, and facing a desolate car park, empty office after empty office, and seeing friends still out of work all over the globe, any sign of improvement is a welcome one.

    I don’t quite know how I have managed to keep my job, I don’t know why so many skilled and talented people didn’t keep theirs, and why so many incompetent people did. I’d like to think I am not one of the incompetent people, but anything is possible, it seems.

    Each year, I peruse this BP review, and, well, it’s hard to argue with the figures, yet somehow, there are colleagues who look through the same report, and still genuinely believe that oil/gas has no future, and the industry will be gone in 5-10 years. Yes, 5-10 years… they really do believe that internal combustion engines will disappear by 2030, while batteries, solar, and wind power will save the day.

    Sure, the industry has changed, and will (should) do so. Some skillsets will become obsolete, different skillsets will be in demand, but at least as far as the people I work with every day – geologists and/or engineers, I can’t see anything happening so rapidly that this industry would not be around to easily take us into retirement a few decades away, should we stick with it.

    Maybe the reality will be somewhere in the middle – aside from any pretence that solar/wind/batteries will do anything but make rich people richer, and poor people poorer.

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    • #
      OriginalSteve

      The Berlin Wall came down and Russia threw out communism ( well in name only ) but Russia collapsed as it didn’t really have anything to replace its old ways with a new one. As a result, the russian mafia wound up running a lot of russia to fill the vacuum…..

      10

  • #
    PeterS

    It might be 3.6% now but what will it be when all those 1600+ coal fired power stations are built and on-line? Will it be even less? In any case the LNP has a golden opportunity to win the next election by a landslide, assuming the majority of voters are reasonably intelligent and awake. All they have to do is expose the truth about all this, highlight that ALP would force power prices to the moon, keep saying all of it ad nauseam and Bob’s your uncle.

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    • #
      bobl

      Am I … I never knew, welcome to the family Nephew
      Bob. L

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    • #
      William

      Once they get rid of fossil fuels the proportion of wind and solar will increase significantly and to the alarmists’utter delight it will go well passed 50% as it will only have the remaining nuclear reactors and hydro (and a bit of geothermal) to compete against.

      Unfortunately, while it may then represent some 80% of our energy sources, that will be cold comfort when the wind is blowing to hard or not at all, and the sun isn’t shining because no batteries are ever going to keep our lights on and industry running for more than a few moments.

      10

  • #
    James Murphy

    3.6%… Looks to me like there’s a 96.4% consensus on energy generation.

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  • #
    Mark M

    The Australian Government has ratified the Paris Agreement.

    Our target is to reduce emissions by 26 to 28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.

    Australia has committed to spending at least $1 billion through our aid program, including a contribution to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Green Climate Fund, to support developing countries to limit or reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

    Australia is currently on track to over achieve the 2020 target of reducing emissions by 5 per cent below 2000 levels by 294 Mt CO2-e …

    http://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/resources/18690271-59ac-43c8-aee1-92d930141f54/files/2017-review-of-climate-change-policies.pdf

    Yet they can not show one example of preventing the climate from changing on any scale. Anywhere.

    We can’t build a gaol big enough. But we must, and it must run on renewables.

    Surround it with turbines and solar panels.

    150

  • #
    el gordo

    ‘Power bills will soar and gas and coal-fired stations will close if wind and solar generation increases dramat­ically, engineers say.’ Oz

    50

  • #

    I just had a weird thought. Why is coal and oil so maligned when it’s simply sunlight turned into energy? Sunlight allows plants to grow, those plants eventually die and become coal and oil, and coal and oil eventually allow more plants to grow and thus the cycle continues.

    Coal and oil are solar energy.

    91

    • #

      And all that carbon was in the atmosphere or oceans until the plants put it in the ground

      60

    • #
      OriginalSteve

      Because the brainwashed Left believe unicorns and rainbows will power the planet….

      60

    • #

      This pretty much proves that coal and oil is ostensibly solar energy: https://scitechdaily.com/scientists-develop-a-new-way-to-turn-sunlight-into-fuel/

      Photosynthesis is the process plants use to convert sunlight into energy. Oxygen is produced as by-product of photosynthesis when the water absorbed by plants is ‘split’. It is one of the most important reactions on the planet because it is the source of nearly all of the world’s oxygen. Hydrogen which is produced when the water is split could potentially be a green and unlimited source of renewable energy.

      A new study, led by academics at St John’s College has used semi-artificial photosynthesis to explore new ways to produce and store solar energy. They used natural sunlight to convert water into hydrogen and oxygen using a mixture of biological components and manmade technologies.

      10

  • #

    I think if there are any records for prior centuries,
    when a lot of people burned wood for heat and cooking,
    the “renewables” percentage was much higher than 3.6%.

    Wood is a “renewable”, right?

    Sorry, I am a professional nit picker.

    My climate change blog
    with over 20,000 page views so far:
    http://www.elOnionBloggle.Blogspot.com

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  • #
    Roy Hogue

    Let me get this right. I wouldn’t want to throw any renewable energy advocate into a tailspin by mistaking anything. If the total journey to all renerable is 100% then we are still lacking 100% – 3.6% = 96.4% of the required renewable energy capacity. Follow me so far?

    That 96.4% looks suspiciously close to the 97% of scientists who agree that the Earth is warming and you and I are causing it.

    Jo, are you sure they haven’t slipped something into the electricity your computer is drinking? You can never tell about electrons, they’re treacherous. 97% – 96.4% is only 0.6%, just the difference of a couple of misbehaving percentage electrons. Oh! Do be sure you’re using those special electrons that have those percent signs attached.

    In any case being only (3.6%/100%) X 100 = oh my gawd, we’re only 3.6% of the way to nirvana after all these years. How long ago did Al Gore begin his ministry to the great unsaved masses and just 3.6%. And already things are going to hell. What is wrong with people. That’s not nirvana.

    I apologize to any Buddhists in the audience but…I think I’ll pop the top on an ice cold beer.

    In other words, both I and our respective governments and non government-governments need a better joke. I promise I’ll be more creative if you’ll be more honest because it ain’t gonna work this way. The only ones laughing right now are those who get to put our money in their offshore bank account.

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    • #

      It might be 3.6% of the total used today but how much has energy demand increased in 20 years. I am certain renewables have not covered it. In other words no effective increase at all.

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      • #

        “https://ourworldindata.org/fossil-fuels” According to data found here, fossil fuel use has increased about 32% from 1996 t0 2016 to about 132,00 TWh. Renewable effectiveness has disappeared in the noise

        30

    • #
      OriginalSteve

      Roy, see here – 1 MW requires 228,000 square meters, or the equivalent of

      https://www.quora.com/How-many-solar-panels-are-required-to-set-up-1MW-power-plant

      From the article, at peak generating capacity, 228,000 m2 of panels = 1 MW output

      Average 1/4 acre house block in Australia is 80m *40m = 3200m2

      So 1 MW needs 228/32 = 7.1 x house ¼ acre blocks

      Now Australia has peak load of 45,000 MW taken from :

      https://www.aer.gov.au/wholesale-markets/wholesale-statistics/generation-capacity-and-peak-demand

      45 000 x 228,000 = 10,260 million m2 or 10,260 square km or an area 100 x 100 km or an area 60 x 60 miles.

      San Francisco is 232 square miles in area, so to power all of Australia at peak load in peak sunlight conditions, you’d need ( 60 x 60 )/ 232 = 15 x the area of San Francisco.

      This of course is only during sunlight hours, assuming all panels are working, in best case conditions. Maybe have a 25% fault rate, so 20 x area of San Fran.

      Now the USA peak load is 966,000 MW according to https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=9671

      So you would need 400 x area San Francisco ( or 92,800 square miles of solar panels).
      By comparison, to power all of the USA, you’d need a bit over half of California ( total size of 163,000 square miles ) covered in solar panels.

      For the benefit of Californians, your peak power consumption from 2017 was 50,116 MW
      https://www.caiso.com/documents/californiaisopeakloadhistory.pdf
      so you would need about 3,500 square miles of solar panels or approx 2% of total California land area.

      Hopefully Ive got this right.

      40

      • #
        Roy Hogue

        And Steve, they wouldn’t be happy even if every last square inch of California was covered in solar panels. Well…maybe they would make an exception for the governor’s mansion and leave it uncovered. But they are real nymphomaniacs, oops, well I can’t say what I really want to say so let’s just say they’re real fanatics when it comes to solar panels.

        00

        • #
          Roy Hogue

          And Steve, if you just did due diligence and made a simple mistake it would b devastating to heir cause.

          00

  • #
    Rosco

    The real number for just how little return for investment in wind and solar comes from other agencies.

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/xv1p4xkg9ixs6h5/World%20Energy%202017.png?dl=0 shows that “Biofuels and Waste” – that is BURNING something – contributed about six times the energy of every wind turbine and solar paneletc in 2015 !

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/zovpl1crmu9rfpm/World%20Energy%202014.png?dl=0 shows that “renewables” produced 13.8% of world energy in 2014 and shows the proportions of these sources. 10.1 % came from “Biofuels and Waste” – burning something !

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/5skeen8goxodcpl/World%20Energy%20Product%20Share%202014.png?dl=0 shows just how little of that 13.8% came from wind and solar – 5.8 % of 13.8 % = bugger all.

    Hydro accounted for 3 times that and we all know what the Greens think of hydro.

    These come from the International Energy Agency – which is a cheer squad for renewables mind you.

    Their most recent reports don’t use such damning graphs anymore ! Your guess is as good as mine as to why not.

    110

  • #
    RickWill

    The term “renewable” should not be applied to wind and solar power generation. They are NOT renewable forms of energy production. They consume too much energy in their manufacture, installation and maintenance to ever recover it over their lifetime of operation.

    The 3.6% is an impressive increase over the 0.7% just 8 years ago. Demonstrates the willingness of governments to burden their constituents with an uneconomic form of energy production for no good purpose other than transfer of wealth from poor to wealthy.

    50

    • #
      yarpos

      You can bet there will be some unprecedented, exponential growth headlines flowing from that. They are probably warming up on the grid at Renew.

      If you asked the average disinterested person what the % of usable energy delivered by intermittents was I am sure they would have it at a far higher number, probably an order of magnitude higher. They are brainwashed by AGL ads, political sound bite announcements and brain dead “enough power for 30,000 home style” statements.

      50

  • #
    Jonesy

    Its time to draw attention to all the hypocrites. All the MPs who proclaim green intentions..kick them out of their busines class airline seats, flick their smart meters to ONLY supply wind power, take away their taxpayer funded commcars and tell them to start walking and be damned glad we dont rip the transport delievered clothes off their backs.

    They use our very infrastructure to destroy us, our water, our power, our transport. Enough! Our dams and irrigation infrastructure is to feed humans and prevent drought induced famine…not keep water flowing down a river in a drought. Our electricity was built to drive industry with cheap reliable power and also give homes and us a comfortable reliable cheap micro climate. Our roads and rails to transport our produce and goods in a timely, reliable and economic manner. Without transport we ALL would starve.

    Humans first!

    80

  • #
    bobl

    Jo, if you have the data I’d like to suggest an update. While renewables have gone up in percentage terms the absolute value of renewable generation is much less than just the increase in total generation over the period, for $70 Billion renewables aren’t even able to satisfy growth in energy use let alone replace legacy generation. IE Total consumption went from about 9000 MBOE to around 14000 MBOE (5000 MBOE) but all the renewables so far replaces just 250 million MBOE representing just 5% of the INCREASE in total energy use. If renewables can’t even meet the growth in energy use, how on gods earth is it ever going to replace fossil fuels?

    Can you do that chart?

    30

  • #
    Hasbeen

    Wind has it’s place as a transport fuel.

    In my early retirement period I sailed 53,000 nautical miles around the Pacific over 7 years. Less than a 1000 of those was under fossil fuel power. It is a great & inexpensive way to travel.

    I started with a state of the art wind generator. That lasted less than a year. It was so annoying & unreliable, even in the trade wind belt, where the wind damn near always blows, that I gave it to a fool who wanted it, & bought a 600 watt Honda generator.

    This little thing, not only kept my lights on for over 6 years trouble free, but would drive a sewing machine to repair my sails, & small power tools as required.

    Yes wind is a great power source, & could even drive ships around the world again today, but they would need a “proper” power plant to provide their electricity.

    70

  • #
    Ross

    While I agree the above figures for total energy production and consumption present an interesting picture I think the following from the BP report on electricity figures is the most telling :

    “Coal remains the world’s dominant source of power, with a share of 38.1% in 2017, almost as much as natural gas (23.2%) and hydroelectricity (15.9%) combined, which sit in second and third positions. Renewables’ share of power generation was 8.4% in 2017, having risen 6.1% percentage points since 2007″

    So with all the subsidies, PR spin, political policy support and general MSM falling over themselves to support them, renewables have only increased 2.3% (of the total) in 10 YEARS.

    Morrison does not have to pull out of Paris (even though that would great) —all he has to do is point out these figures and say there is no way renewables will grow to meet Australia’s needs in the near to mid term future so Australia needs to build new HELE coal fired stations. ( Obviously if he had the equivalent Australia only figures it would be more effective. I assume they would not be that much different over that 10 year period)

    10

  • #
    Sean McHugh

    Someday solar powered planes might make their first round world trip in 48 hours but at the moment they need 16 months.

    There will never be a genuine solar airliner. Better chance of there being a steam one.

    40

  • #
    Komrade Kuma

    These greeny goons are so up themselves with the perceived sheer brilliance of their ‘renewable’ energy solutions to the world’s CAGW crisis they remind me of that rather tacky joke I heard as a schoolboy about a mouse ravishing a female elephant. She was blissfully unaware of the rodent’s depraved paroxysms of lust while he is absolutely convinced she is orgasmic on account of his ardent attention.

    Sorry to go to such a grubby analogy but, such is their utter conceit, thats about the level these imbeciles operate at in ‘the purple sliver’ zone.

    10

  • #
    theRealUniverse

    Renewable energy is a contradiction in terms. ‘Renewable’ implies that the ‘other’ forms are limited in supply. Looking at Gas and Oil, which on face value seem limited in supply due to false assumptions made 100 years ago. The moon Titan has something like 15% hydrocarbons in form of methane, ethane in its nitrogen atmosphere and methane lakes. This is pretty much natural gas. Something tells me there werent any fossils on Titan.
    “But with that notion now exploded in the article ‘NASA Finds Lakes of Hydrocarbons on Saturn’s Moon, Titan‘ thanks to NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, energy scientists are now compelled to admit that petroleum oil is, in fact, substantially mineral in origin and occuring all through the galaxies.

    Two Years ago it was reported that the Max Planck Institute, Germany have discovered that the Horse Head Nebula galaxy in the Orion constellation contains a vast field of hydrocarbon (see ‘Top German Scientists Discover ‘Fossil Fuel’ in the Stars‘). ”

    There is a lot of argument over oil origin, obviously alot of so called debunking of the abiotic theory, this will come mainly from vested interests in the ‘peak oil theory’ debunked by mainly Russian chemists.

    “After considerable research, in 1956, Russian scientist Professor Vladimir Porfir’yev announced that “crude oil and natural petroleum gas have no intrinsic connection with biological matter originating near the surface of the earth. They are primordial [originating with the earth’s formation] materials which have been erupted from great depths.”
    https://anticorruptionsociety.com/anatomy-of-a-con-job/con-2-oil-is-not-a-fossil-fuel-it-is-renewable/

    I am pretty firm on the abiotic side. Makes more sense especially for gas as described above. If can be shown to be at least 80% true that will give the greens an enormous headache.

    30

  • #
    el gordo

    ‘Asked by his host on 2GB what was ultimately more important, complying with Australia’s international climate obligations, or lowering power prices, Morrison said: “Power prices.” He counselled against being “distracted by ideological debate”.

    Guardian

    10

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    J Martin

    3.6% ? Didn’t Matt Ridley find it was less than half a percent ?

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    [...] “Wind and Other” energy was invisible 30 years ago and is now just visible as a contributor to the world’s energy supply. In some parts of the world like Australia it [...]

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