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Electricity Has Been in a Slump for 14 Years, But All Heck Has Broken Loose in How it’s Generated

Electricity Has Been in a Slump for 14 Years, But All Heck Has Broken Loose in How it’s Generated

Electricity generating capacity additions & retirements in 2021, and the long-term change in the power mix.

In 2021, developers and power plant owners plan to bring 39.7 gigawatts (GW) of new electricity generating capacity on line, and retire 9.1 GW in generating capacity, for a net increase in capacity of 30.6 GW, according to the EIA today. 70% of the capacity additions will be from wind and solar, 16% will be from natural gas, and 3% will be from a nuclear reactor. These are utility-scale power generators and exclude rooftop solar. Of the retirements, 86% will be coal and nuclear.

Electricity generation in the US has been a no-growth business since 2006, as efficiencies in electrical equipment (LED lights, appliances, air conditioning, etc.) and further offshoring of manufacturing have kept consumption roughly stable despite growth in the economy and population. But where all heck has broken loose is in how this power is being generated (data via the EIA).

Coal-fired power generation has collapsed by over 60% in 12 years, from around 169 GW hours per month on average in 2008 to 65 GW hours per month on average over the past 12 months, according to data from the EIA. It went from “King Coal” by a wide margin in 2008 (black line in the chart below) to #3, after surging natural gas-fired power generation (green line) blew by it in 2015 as the US has become the largest NG producer in world. And toward the end of 2020, coal fell even below nuclear power (brown line).

In a few years, wind and solar combined (red line) will blow by coal as well. With wind and solar, the big enticement for power generators is that the “fuel” is free and that there won’t be any “fuel” price increases in the future, no matter what inflation will do:

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

wolfstreet, wolf richter, electricity generation, fossil fuels, renewable power, electricity

Gaia is Responding to our Actions. Will We Act Differently in Time?

Gaia is Responding to our Actions. Will We Act Differently in Time?

The Earth is not dying.
Gaia is not changing.
Gi is responding.

So often we hear the phrase ‘save the world’ or the ‘save our planet.’ We may even use it. But sometime back in my career someone wise corrected that, explaining that the planet is not dying but changing—and through that change many species, including our own, will probably die. But the Earth, in all likelihood, will not die.*

But to say the Earth is changing, just as to say it is dying, is passive, like, saying ‘Oops, too bad, we were born on a sick old planet–just our bad luck.’

No, Gaia is responding. Responding to our actions. Whatever metaphors you want to use here, feel free: You want to make Gaia into a finely-balanced aquarium filled with exotic fish, and us a wild child dropping soap in the tank to ‘clean’ it? You want to make Gaia a partner suffering from domestic abuse who finally lashes out on us, her abuser, after years of mistreatment? You want to make Gaia a complex planetary system that holds heat from space with a thin coating of co2—a layer that has increased to a level not seen in 23 million years, higher than even three million years ago when global temperatures were 2 degrees C warmer and sea levels were 15-25 meters higher? While the last isn’t artful, it is accurate.

Gaia is responding. To the altered conditions we have unleashed—with our profligate burning of fossil fuels, our cutting down of forests and ravaging of oceans, and our sheer numbers (us and our pets and livestock).

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Yes, the U.S. can go carbon neutral by 2050, says new Princeton study

Princeton Net ZeroDavid McNew / Getty Images

Yes, the U.S. can go carbon neutral by 2050, says new Princeton study

The month of December opened with good news and bad news for people concerned about the climate crisis.

A climate analysis released by the independent watchdog group Climate Action Tracker said that based on promises made by Paris Climate Agreement participants, the world could limit warming to 2.1 degrees C (3.8 degrees F) by the year 2100. Countries including Japan, South Korea, and China have promised to reach zero emissions by 2060. And while the U.S. isn’t currently a part of the agreement, President-elect Joe Biden plans to rejoin next month and has set a rigorous net-zero promise for 2050.

But the next day, another report threw cold water on that hopeful note, pointing out that many of these countries were not on track to keep their emissions promises. In fact, the study, which explores the gaps between Paris agreement goals and reality, found that countries are planning to increase fossil fuel production by 2 percent annually on average, which would push global temperature rise well past 2.1 degrees C by 2100.

Into that conversation comes a Princeton University report, published Tuesday, that presents several plausible paths for the U.S. to arrive at net-zero emissions by 2050 (complete with economic growth) — as long as government officials make swift moves to invest in sustainable infrastructure.

One such path requires an investment in solar and wind manufacturing, which offers long-term domestic employment opportunities without incurring too many additional technology costs. The caveat? Manufacturing capacity for turbines and photovoltaics would have to increase drastically by 2050 — up to 45 times for wind and 120 times for solar. These strides aren’t achievable without short-term public and political support — progress that has been difficult due to the Trump administration’s habit of burying dozens of studies outlining the promise of renewable energy infrastructure.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Why The World Can’t Quit Fossil Fuels

Why The World Can’t Quit Fossil Fuels

Have the recent pronouncements of the death of oil and reigning renewables been more rhetoric than reality? Yes and no. It’s true that peak oil is now closer than ever, and globally we’re seeing a more earnest effort to decarbonize than ever before, in large part thanks to green stimulus packages for post-COVID economic recovery. But for all of the advances that green energy is making around the world, it’s just not enough to achieve the kind of greenhouse gas emissions reductions necessary to curb the impact of climate change. In fact, it’s not even close. This week Axios reported on the “chasm between CO2 goals and energy production,” saying that “projected and planned levels of global oil, natural gas and coal production are way out of step with the kind of emissions cuts needed to hold global warming significantly in check.” This reporting is based on a brand new study. The second annual “Production Gap Report” is the continuation of a project developed in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The 2020 report was put together by the UN, the Stockholm Environment Institute, the International Institute for Sustainable Development, the Overseas Development Institute and the climate think tank E3G.

The purpose of the report, which is modelled after and alongside UNEP’s Emissions Gap Reports is to synthesize and communicate “the large discrepancy between countries’ planned fossil fuel production and the global production levels necessary to limit warming to 1.5°C and 2°C.” And, as it turns out, that discrepancy is still quite large, even after the COVID-19 pandemic took a huge bite out of fossil fuel demand and the oil and gas industry as a whole.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

GREEN ENERGY DOUBLE-TALK BEGINS: First Major Oil Producer Announces Deadline to End Oil Extraction, But There’s A Catch

GREEN ENERGY DOUBLE-TALK BEGINS: First Major Oil Producer Announces Deadline to End Oil Extraction, But There’s A Catch

According to the Washington Post article published yesterday, Denmark was the first major oil-producing country to announce a deadline to end oil extraction. While this may sound like a “Victory” for the Green Energy Movement, there’s a catch. While Denmark announced that it would end all oil extraction by 2050, the country will likely run out of oil reserves well before that date.

I find this quite hilarious because all anyone has to do is look at a bit of data, and you can find out that Denmark’s oil-producing days are quickly coming to an end… WITH OR WITHOUT GREEN ENERGY.

The Washington Post article titled, Denmark becomes first major oil-producing nation to set deadline to end extraction, stated the following:

The decision was applauded by some environmental activists, with Greenpeace celebrating it as a “watershed moment,” although other groups had hoped for a faster timeline.

Denmark’s new rules mean companies will be barred from receiving new licenses to search for and extract oil and gas resources. Previously issued licenses will remain valid until 2050.

Denmark is the top oil producer in the European Union, but it has come under mounting pressure as the E.U. aims to become carbon-neutral within the next 30 years.

“It’s a historic decision for Denmark,” Dan Jørgensen, the Danish climate and energy minister, told The Washington Post in an interview Friday.

Please note the BOLDED text in the quote from the article above. What a laugh indeed. “The decision was applauded by some environmental activists??” Are you kidding me?? Even Greenpeace celebrated it as a “WATERSHED MOMENT.” Listen, I really admire some of the work being done by Greenpeace, but this is pure BOLLOCKS.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

On Fabric (aka Fossil Energy is Indistinguishable from Magic)

On Fabric (aka Fossil Energy is Indistinguishable from Magic)

I recently purchased a 6 piece queen sheet set for my bed and marveled at how something so useful, and so difficult to make myself, could be so inexpensive, costing only $30, or about 2 hours of my labor at minimum wage.

I did a little digging and found this video on how fabric was made before fossil energy:

And this video on how fabric is made today with fossil energy:

A podcast I monitor serendipitously had an episode today on the history of fabric making.

https://www.econtalk.org/virginia-postrel-on-textiles-and-the-fabric-of-civilization/

Author and journalist Virginia Postrel talks about her book The Fabric of Civilization and How Textiles Made the World with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Postrel tells the fascinating story behind the clothes we wear and everything that goes into producing them throughout history. The history of textiles, Postrel argues, is a good way of understanding the history of the world.

For those who prefer video:

Postrel described the process required to make fabric products:

  • get fiber
    • grow plants or breed sheep
    • harvest plants or sheer sheep
    • clean fiber
    • transport fiber to spinner
  • spin fiber into thread
    • align fibers
    • stretch and twist
    • transport thread to weaver
  • weave fiber into fabric
    • set up warp threads
    • pass weft thread through alternate warp threads
    • cut and hem edges
    • transport fabric to manufacturer
  • manufacture final product
    • dye fabric
    • cut fabric
    • sew fabric
  • transport product to consumer

Postrel also provided some interesting data:

  • A single pair of jeans requires 10 Km of thread.
    • The fastest pre-fossil energy manual spinners in the world could produce 100m of thread per hour taking 13 x 8 hour days to produce enough thread for one pair of jeans.
    • A modern fossil energy spinning plant can produce 10 Km of thread in a few seconds.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Big Banks’ Green Bafflegab

The Big Banks’ Green Bafflegab

Look behind their pro-climate ads and do what they do. Follow the money.

There must be a basement somewhere on Bay Street full of English majors. Every day they churn out great reams of verbiage about “environmental, social and governance strategy” and fill annual reports with a dozen different ways to say that the big five Canadian banks care about the environment.

Except the numbers tell a different story, and if you want to know the truth, then the old adage “follow the money” will steer you in the right direction, passing quickly through all the green bafflegab and arriving at the conclusion that the banks are sacrificing our climate to make a profit.

The latest news is a recent pledge by TD to achieve a “target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions associated with our operations and financing activities by 2050,” trumpeting that it’s the first Canadian bank to do so. Sounds good, yes?

But dig deeper and there’s no mention that since the Paris Agreement TD has financed more than C$135 billion in fossil fuel projects, the eighth largest amount out of all the banks on the planet. What will TD’s net-zero pledge do to alter this climate-killing practice? It doesn’t say. But judging from the collective shrug from the oil patch, probably not much.

What TD does say is that it will “work closely with clients” rather than decide that certain clients probably shouldn’t be clients. Notably, Suncor, Cenovus and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. all also have 2050 net-zero pledges, so presumably TD will continue to finance them, whose products rapidly fill our atmosphere with “green” carbon while our life-support systems fail.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Renewables must help pay for transmission and their energy storage backup of fossil power plants

Renewables must help pay for transmission and their energy storage backup of fossil power plants

Preface. Wind and solar advocates don’t include transmission and backup costs in their net energy calculations. But without fossil backup, the electric grid will come down due to lack of storage. There is almost nowhere left to put pumped hydro storage in the ten states that already have 80% of hydropower, there is only one Compressed Air Energy Storage plant in the U.S. in one of the few salt domes in three states along the Gulf coast that have salt domes (with half of it powered by natural gas turbines), and it would cost $41 trillion dollars to make Sodium Sulfur (NaS) batteries lasting 15 years to back up just one day of U.S. electricity generation (Friedemann 2015).

Mexico is asking renewable companies to pay for transmission and natural gas / coal backup for when the wind isn’t blowing or the sun shining. About time, because this is all a gigantic waste of money if wind and solar can’t stand on their own, a dumb investment when we could have used the money to convert to organic farming, plant more trees, beef up infrastructure and other efforts to prepare for peak oil, coal, and natural gas and the lifestyle that will be forced upon us.

***

Garcia, D. A. 2020. Renewable firms in Mexico must contribute to grid backup – CFE chief. Reuters.

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Private renewable energy firms in Mexico should pay for part of the baseload power underpinning the flow of electricity on the grid, the head of the state power company said….Renewable operators had not been pulling their weight in contributing to the infrastructure that sustains them.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Invisible oiliness of everything

The Invisible oiliness of everything

Preface.  Even a simple object like a pencil requires dozens of actions to make and dozens of objects that took energy to make.  This is why it is unlikely wind, solar, or any other contraption that make electricity, have a positive return of energy, or energy returned on energy invested.  If you look at all of the energy of the steps to create a wind turbine or solar panel, they don’t produce as much energy as it took to make them, and certainly not enough extra energy to replace themselves.  Besides, electricity is only about 15% of overall energy use, with fossils providing the rest transportation, manufacturing, heating, and the half a million products made from fossils as feedstock as well as energy source.

***

Just as fish swim in water, we swim in oil.  You can’t understand the predicament we’re in until you can see the oil that saturates every single aspect of our life.

What follows is a life cycle of a simple object, the pencil. I’ve cut back and reworded Leonard Read’s 1958 essay I Pencil, My Family Tree to show the fossil fuel energy inputs (OBJECTS made using energy, like the pencil, are in BOLD CAPITALS, ACTIONS are  BOLD ITALICIZED).

pencils“My family tree begins with … a Cedar tree from Oregon. Now contemplate the antecedents — all the people, numberless skills, and fabrication:

All the SAWS. TRUCKS, ROPE and OTHER GEAR to HARVEST and CART cedar logs to the RAILROAD siding. The MINING of ore, MAKING of STEEL, and its REFINEMENT into SAWSAXES, and MOTORS.

The growing of HEMP, LUBRICATED with OILDIRT REMOVEDCOMBEDCOMPRESSEDSPUN into yard, and BRAIDED into ROPE.

BUILDING of LOGGING CAMPS (BEDS, MESS HALLS). SHOP for, DELIVER, and COOK FOOD to feed the working men. Not to mention the untold thousands of persons who had a hand in every cup of COFFEE the loggers drank!

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Greenwash

Greenwash

An operation of fossil fuel giant ExxonMobil near Chicago, USA [Richard Hurd, Flickr CC BY 2.0]

The harm caused by the climate crisis has become undeniable – and terrifying. The floods, storms and raging fires, and the death and displacement they bring, have contributed to a global upwelling of concern and demands on governments to take action. But this has led to new behaviour by the fossil fuels lobby that will undermine efforts to prevent catastrophic climate breakdown if not rigorously challenged.When people experience the frightening reality of a warming world, they are resistant to Big Oil’s previous tactics of denying that climate change is happening or pretending its impacts will be negligible. But rather than shift their huge investment power to renewable energy and take the financial hit from admitting that the vast majority of fossil fuel reserves are unburnable, companies such as Shell and BP have adopted a different approach: greenwashing. In efforts to continue with business-as-usual operations and keep on drilling and mining, fossil fuel companies are ramping up their use of public relations to paint a green veneer over their destructive practices. They try to portray themselves as caring, responsible corporate citizens, while continuing to mine, drill, burn and spill.

Ramped-up rhetoric

If someone is making money from oil, coal or gas but tries to persuade us that they are on our side on the climate crisis, and they’ve got a way to tackle it without stopping burning fossil fuels – that is greenwash. From fossil fuels industry get-togethers to oil company reports, the industry is ramping up its rhetoric about being part of the solution. ‘International Petroleum Week’ earlier this year portrayed itself as ‘Delivering a low-carbon future’, while the ‘Oil and Money’ conference in 2019 claimed to offer ‘Strategies for the energy transition’.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Climate Change dominates news coverage at expense of other equally important existential issues

Climate Change dominates news coverage at expense of other equally important existential issues

Preface. I’ve noticed that in the half dozen science magazines and several newspapers I get practically the only environmental stories are about climate change. Yet there are 8 other ecological boundaries (Rockström 2009) we must not cross (shown in bold with an asterisk below) and dozens of other existential threats as well.

Global peak oil production may have already happened in October of 2018 (Will covid-19 delay peak oil? Table 1). It is likely the decline rate will be 6%, increasing exponentially by +0.015% a year (see post “Giant oil field decline rates and peak oil”). So, after 16 years remaining oil production will be just 10% of what it was at the peak.

If peak oil happened in 2018, then CO2 ppm levels may be under 400 by 2100 as existing and much lower emissions of CO2 are absorbed by oceans and land. The IPCC never even modeled peak oil in their dozens of scenarios because they assumed we’d be exponentially increasing our use of fossils until 2400. They never asked geologists what the oil, coal, and natural gas reserves were, assumed we’d use methane hydrates, and many other wrong assumptions.

Meanwhile, all the ignored ecological disasters will become far more obvious. They’re papered over with fossils today. Out of fresh water? Just drill another 1,000 feet down. Eutrophied water? Build a $500 million dollar water treatment plant. Fisheries collapsed? Go to the ends of the earth to capture the remaining schools of fish.

The real threat is declining fossil production, yet climate change gets nearly all the coverage. And I’ve left out quite a few other threats, such as “nuclear war” with 17,900 results since 2016 in scholar.google.com.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Georgia Recount – Still a Fraud & Agenda 2030

This is why there should be a computer program that people go online to vote and we eliminate this outrageous fraud because these people have no idea what they are doing to the country because the “agenda” was never told to the people. We call this democracy where people can run for election and promise one thing to get their vote with the full intention of doing something completely opposite.

Stalin was exactly correct and this election in 2020 will be direct proof that you cannot trust the people counting the votes. This is absurd and it will only lead to a civil war with blood in the streets all because the real agenda is to impose communism. Trudeau of Canada though they defeated Trump and came out and told the people of Canada that Agenda 2030 is being implemented from the World Economic Forum.

Listen carefully to what Trudeau is saying. “This Pandemic has provided an opportunity for a reset … to reimagine economic systems to address extreme poverty, inequality, and climate change.”

 

I warned back in April 2020 that this agenda was deliberately orchestrated. These people try to discourage people from listening to me by constantly misrepresenting my case and even what happened while protecting the bankers as they stole $400 million from our company. I know far too many people and many insiders release material to us because they know that the big powers all tend to read this blog. Our computer began to pick up the shifting capital flows in preparation for this scam in August 2019. It became clear that the agenda was set in motion by December 2019. Even Bill Gates began liquidating stocks for the big crash. They shifted the capital flows to the Big Tech stocks by shutting down the economy and forcing people to buy online. All of this was pre-planned.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Today’s Contemplation: The Coming Collapse VIII

Image for post
Chitchen Itza, Mexico (1986) Photo by author

Once again, a comment I posted in response to an article on The Tyee.

Where to begin? I realise this article is primarily about a federal political party and its future but there are two underlying issues that are discussed that need far more exploration and understanding if we are going to be projecting where a particular party or even government will be down the road (let alone the entire world).

If we are going to be discussing energy and Peak Oil then there is SO much more to bring into the conversation. Yes, politics plays a role (as it always does) but the topic is vastly wider than sociopolitics. It encompasses virtually everything in our complex, globalised industrial world. Everything. From the way we create potable water, to how we feed ourselves, to how we build and heat our homes (I’ve purposely focused on the three items we NEED to live…everything else is icing but just as dependent on energy, especially fossil fuels).

First things first. There is NO substitute for fossil fuels. At least not one that can sustain our current world the way it is configured. No, alternatives to fossil fuels cannot do it. They are not ‘clean’ as the mining, refinement, and manufacturing processes for them are environmentally damaging. They have a low energy-return-on-energy-invested (EROEI) and provide little ‘bang for the buck’. They cannot fuel many important industrial processes such as steel and concrete production. They depend very much on continued exploitation of fossil fuel, both upstream and downstream. They are NOT a panacea.

We are stuck with fossil fuels, until and unless we are ready and willing to give up probably 90% or more of what we consider ‘modernity’.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

A life on our planet – review

A life on our planet – review

I watched David Attenborough’s film A life on our planet the other evening. The first, and largest, part of the movie was very well made. Perhaps not much new, but very well presented and with excellent footage and narrative. Some images are very strong, even brutal, such as a lonely orangutan sitting on a tree trunk in a devastated landscape. I think most viewers got the message: this has to change! And let me underline that this is a film worth watching.

Because the film is so compelling and Attenborough such a sympathetic person, viewers may accept all of its statements and arguments. This would, however, be a mistake in my opinion.

I totally agree with Attenborough that human population needs to stabilize. And it is true that, as far as we know today, birth rates falls when countries get richer (or vice versa). The problem is that lower population growth in one country is associated with increasing total resource use rather than the opposite. At least in the short term and with current consumption patterns, there is no relief for nature from lower population growth.What I missed in the first part was a lack of analysis of the underlying drivers causing the threatening sixth mass extinction. This is also reflected in shortcomings of the much shorter and optimistic second part of the film. The processes and technologies he claims will save the wilderness and human civilization are renewable energy, intensive farming methods, diet transformation, rewilding and reduced population growth.

His claim that renewable energy will make energy everywhere more affordable (than now) is wishful thinking with no evidence in reality.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 A simple way to understand what’s happening … and what to do

The world seems to be coming apart at the seams. It’s critical to understand why, so that we can avoid the worst and find the best responses so as to move toward the environmentally and socially healthy future we want. It turns out that there’s a relatively simple frame for gaining such understanding.

This straightforward explanation proposes that the main force driving societal change is available energy—an assertion that’s backed by a substantial amount of scientific research. Those with the patience and curiosity to investigate further can find other contributing factors to societal evolution—technology, investment, laws regarding property rights, histories of injustice, and more, many of which entail complex systemic interactions that take time to tease apart and comprehend mentally. These are important. But not as important as energy.

Energy is necessary in order for any organism to do anything whatsoever. For humans, food is energy that powers labor. But, in addition, people long ago learned how to harness energy from fire, water, and wind. Using firewood, paddlewheels, and sails, we built agrarian societies with irrigation systems, cities, cathedrals, mills, and seagoing ships, and created some pretty great art, music, and literature along the way. People also used energy from various sources to engage in wars and conquests, and to enslave millions of others in order to steal the fruits of their forced labor. In addition, humans deforested enormous regions to harvest firewood, and ruined millions of acres of soil with unsustainable farming methods.

When humans started using fossil fuels, a couple of centuries ago, they gained access to millions of years’ worth of solar energy that nature had gathered, stored, and transformed into energy sources that were far superior, at least over the short term, to firewood. It was a game-changing moment.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
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