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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Solar boom to bust in China: worlds largest solar PV projects drop 43% as subsidies cut

The advantage of communist autocrats is that they can create government havoc so much more efficiently.

The Chinese solar boom was so big it became the world’s largest solar market. It was so big it pushed up global “clean energy” investment to a record high. China became the veritable show pony of the solar spruikers: “leading the world in clean energy investment”. Mashable tells us it was so big “the solar boom could be seen from space“.

But the star advertisement for renewable glory was all based on subsidies:

The Chinese solar boom was “pretty significant”

A couple of months ago the Chinese government admitted they were cutting the subsidies to make electricity cheaper again for consumers. That hit the stock market. Now projects are being cancelled and orders are drying up for the hapless manufacturers.

The free market might be telling us something China’s solar industry is at a crossroads

“Without subsidies there’s no return on investment for over a decade, so investors and property owners aren’t interested in distributed solar. With subsidies it only takes seven years to recoup the investment,” he adds.

China’s solar manufacturers are unhappy with recent government policy changes [...]

China: solar stocks plummet as solar subsidies cut to “make electricity cheaper”

Back from travels finally. So much to catch up on.

Last week, the world leading nation in solar panel manufacturing announced big cuts to subsidies in order to make their electricity cheaper. Can you believe? The cuts are big enough for The Motley Fool to headline this “Why the Lights Went Out on Solar Today”. (h.t GWPF)

Image by  Snowacinesy

Put this in perspective — in late 2016, Scientific American declared that China Is Dominating the Solar Industry. Apparently, the Chinese forced the prices down, drove US leaders out of business, and the US could only hope to be second.  Without a hint of impending doom, Scientific American went on to title one sub-part: AN INDUSTRY PROPELLED BY TAX CREDITS. The Chinese government picked a “winner”, grabbed the industry from all over the world, brought it to China, and ran with it. Now apparently rising electricity prices hurt too much. Who could have seen that coming?

“According to some veterans in the U.S. solar industry, China bought solar companies and invited others to move to China, where they found cheap, skilled labor. Instead of paying taxes, they received tax credits.”

Last week the Chinese government announced [...]

Here is what’s holding back China’s plans for world domination

Australia may be the worlds largest exporter of coal, sending out 388 million tons in 2015, but China’s production of coal the same year was 3,747 million tons — nearly ten times as much, and nearly half of global coal production. But the Chinese coal boom is turning. David Archibald describes the geopolitical ramifications. For me, the next question is what stops China doing nukes?    — Jo

PS: There is a rumor that Australia has only 4-5 days of fuel stocks today, and is especially low on aviation fuel. Anyone with info, please comment or email joanne AT this site.

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Here is what’s holding back China’s plans for world domination

Guest post By David Archibald

One of the reasons that China produces the world’s cheapest solar panels, for example, is because it has some of the world’s cheapest coal-fired power

There is no doubt that China wants to subjugate Asia, echoing Japan’s role during World War II.  For those who think China’s economy might overtake the United States economy, and thus make China a more formidable adversary, this article aims to provide detail on China’s main constraint in that ambition: that its domestic coal production is near its peak and will then [...]

Chinese scientists find 2,000 years of not-hockey stick

There was no Medieval Warm Period in China. No little ice age either. Not warm in Roman times either.

Obviously CO2 controls this climate.

(Click to enlarge)

Quansheng et al show that weather is lumpy, that modern warming is a lot like past warming. They go so far as to say that there are regular cycles and hint that sun might have something to do with it, and volcanoes.

“…centenial variation is significantly correlated with long-term changes in solar radiation—especially cold periods, which correspond approximately to sunspot minima, as well as the frequency of large volcanic eruptions.”

They go on to say that rate of warming was about half a degree per century lately. It may have been  the fastest rate, but then again, it may not. It was hard to tell with the error bars being so wide. It was all done with proxies and has a ten year resolution. Obviously it is in need of having homogenadjustoided thermometer data added after 1960 as is the custom in climate science.

The Medieval Warm Period was global Medieval Warm Period found in 120 proxies. Plus Roman era was similar to early 20th Century. Sun controls half of the groundwater recharge [...]

India, China: Clean dust, pollution off solar panels every two months, and still lose up to 35% of production?

How often do you clean your solar panels? Spare a thought for the poor sods in the Middle East, India and China, where migratory dust coats solar panels and hangs around in the air, blocking incoming sunlight. Researchers in India who cleaned their panels every few weeks and discovered that they got a 50% jump in efficiency each time. If the cleanings happened every two months, the total losses were 25 to 35 percent.

The article very much blames human pollution for half the capacity loss, but in the detail, the press release admits that 92% of the dust on each panel was natural. Apparently human made particles are smaller and stickier which makes the 8% human-emitted-dust equivalent to the 92% of other dust.

Either way, real pollution and natural dust will slow the clean-green-energy future in India and China until we get auto-cleaning panels or roof slaves. Unfortunately, cleaning panels also risks damaging them, so the price of solar power really needs to include the cost of windscreen-wipers/slaves, electricity losses, damage to panels, and damage to the panel cleaners too.

But solar panels will definitely power all the other parts of the world that are near enough to the [...]

Climate leader China, taxes all kinds of pollution but not CO2

Looks like China is going to apply punitive taxes all sorts of human pollution even noise pollution, but they’re not taxing CO2:

Polluters will be charged for contributing to air, water and noise pollution, according to a copy of the legislation on the NPC’s official web site.

But CO2 did not make the list, which includes air and water pollutants such as sulphur dioxide and sulfite, taxed at rates beginning at 1.2 yuan ($0.17) and 1.4 yuan ($0.20) per unit respectively.

It also stipulates a monthly tax ranging from 350 to 11,200 yuan ($50 to $1612) for noise pollution.

China is the worlds largest emitter of CO2 and they are happy to do symbolic things for the climate, like sign the Paris agreement where they can commit to do nothing til 2030, and not much after that. But taxing carbon does  actual collateral damage on an economy. China is obviously having none of that.

For a change, the thing that apparently inspired these new laws was a real pollution problem:

The new law was precipitated after 20 cities in Northeast China went on high smog alerts, which forced the closure of factories and the removal of cars off [...]

Emergency Theater for Paris Agreement: China, US rush to sham ratification

Tell the world it is all an act.

It’s a do or die moment for The Cause. Brexit has hit them hard, and the Trump factor threatens to wreck everything. The Paris agreement has stalled pathetically at 1.1% of all human emissions (they need 55% to come into force). They need a gamechanger or the illusion of one.

Next week expect a grand performance from US and China — or rather from two men who look solemn and can sign important looking carbon chastity vows on behalf of 1.8 billion people. Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping will say they have ratified the Paris agreement. Expect triumphant parades, and smiles, handshakes and talk of a historic moment. It’s all for show. China will agree to do nothing different until 2030 when its population growth peaks, and Obama can’t get the support of Congress.

But the gala performance may work if enough other countries fall for it — especially the stupidly obedient Anglosphere, and the trapped EU. India, Russia and Brazil will only buy into it they are fed enough pork. But the pork has to come from somewhere, and that’s us — The West. That’s who this show is [...]

Something serious happening to the Chinese economy?

Something suddenly changed in December last year in the world’s second largest economy (some say it’s the first). For the last few years private investors in China have been running away at a faster and faster pace. Apparently, no one wants to invest in the Chinese economy except the government, and six months ago, the State launched a rocket.

The massive growth of China is partly thanks to rampant money-printing. Say hello to Malinvestment. The Chinese economy is sick. It’s distraction time. Anyone want to stoke a war?

 

I saw the graph on the ABC news last night thanks to Phillip Lasker. The original graph came from Bloomberg under this unlikely headline:

 China Proves Doubters Wrong For Now as Credit Boom Stokes Growth

“Stoking Growth” is not always desirable — to go biological — cancer “stokes growth” and so does Ebola.

“The amount of cash Beijing is shoveling into the economy is stunning,” said Andrew Collier, an independent analyst in Hong Kong and former president of Bank of China International USA. “Given high fixed-asset investment among state-owned enterprises, it’s likely most of it is being consumed by the inefficient state sector. This is [...]

Coal power on the rise: Will China end up selling electricity to Germany?

Get a load of this.  China has been adding a new idle coal fired plant nearly every week. It is building 368 coal fired plants and planning a further 803. The Greens think the Chinese have over capitalized, made a bubble, and have built a bunch of white elephants (maybe they have). But Germany has crippled its electrical generators in order to make the weather cooler, and pays exorbitant prices per kilowatt hour that are driving businesses overseas. Merkel is still trying to get solar power to work in a land where the only thing that will make the current panels economic is if the Earth changes its orbital tilt.

Well say hello to the savvy Chinese investors who may be able to solve both problems. It seems hard to believe but all that surplus energy might just find its way to Germany. With new ultra hot coal power there is talk they can produce electricity so incredibly cheap they can send it on ultra high voltage lines all the way to Berlin. Barking? They’ll probably earn carbon credits for doing it too.

The Times UK

Coal’s future burns bright — Graham Lloyd

Greenpeace likes to think [...]

5.5 million dying from air pollution, shame no one cares

A bike used to transport coal for domestic use in China.

The death tally: Real pollution kills 5 million people annually,  CO2 saves 500 million with extra crops.

The problem: The poor lack cheap clean electricity.

The groupthink solution: Restrict coal consumption, reduce “emissions” (and make electricity more more expensive).

What do countries with low air pollution do? They burn coal. (75% of Australian electricity comes from coal.)

What do people who care about the poor do: A)  Copy success, or B) Start a carbon market?

Some people are conflating issues here.

New research shows that more than 5.5 million people die prematurely every year due to household and outdoor air pollution. More than half of deaths occur in two of the world’s fastest growing economies, China and India.

Power plants, industrial manufacturing, vehicle exhaust and burning coal and wood all release small particles into the air that are dangerous to a person’s health. New research, presented today at the 2016 annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), found that despite efforts to limit future emissions, the number of premature deaths linked to air pollution will climb over the [...]