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THE Alternative Energy (general) Thread pt 3(merged)

Discussions of conventional and alternative energy production technologies.

Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby ralfy » Thu 27 Nov 2014, 21:06:43

kublikhan wrote:
ralfy wrote:The U.S. alone needs an energy return of at least 40.
The US alone? Did you mean: "The biggest energy pig on the planet needs..." I would like to know how that calculation was done anyway. Considering oil and gas, which provide 2/3rds of our energy, only have an EROEI of about 15. My math says the US is already quite a bit below an EROEI of 40.

ralfy wrote:Given these points, the only "solution" is to decrease energy and material resource consumption significantly. But that can't be a solution in a global economy that requires the opposite.

Capitalism obviously ignores such implications as it is assumed that the global economy can continue growing as long as solar energy is a solution. But it's not a solution.
Why is solar not a solution?

ralfy wrote:Conservation ultimately doesn't take place in capitalism as unused resources are sold for profit and then used to generate more profits
Then why have some countries successfully conserved resources? For example, Germany cut it's oil consumption. Even during years of cheap oil:
Germany Crude Oil consumption

Also, what solution would you propose ralfy?


Oil consumption for the U.S., EU, and Japan has been lower because of economic crises. It is rising for the rest of the world because of a growing global middle class. Therefore, expect the world to require both higher energy returns and quantity, together with more material resources needed.

Solar is not a solution because it cannot provide the energy returns and quantity that the global capitalist system needs. As various sources point out, the equivalent of one Saudi Arabia in new oil will be needed every seven years just to meet economic growth. Given low energy returns for unconventional production and other sources of energy plus a growing global middle class plus dealing with both environmental damage and global warming plus a growing human population, then even more will be needed.

Finally, as pointed out in one thread, the world is already in overshoot, with ave. ecological footprint exceeding biocapacity. The former will rise as more people worldwide want not just basic needs but even conveniences, and the latter will drop because of environmental degradation and global warming.

Given that, there is no solution to peak oil. The global population will eventually lower energy and resource consumption. The question is whether or not they it can do so smoothly or will be forced to do so due to combinations of crises, some of them catastrophic.
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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby ralfy » Thu 27 Nov 2014, 21:08:12

Ulenspiegel wrote:
MonteQuest wrote:
ralfy wrote: Given these points, the only "solution" is to decrease energy and material resource consumption significantly. But that can't be a solution in a global economy that requires the opposite.


Precisely. Our capitalistic system only knows one way; up. Our money system only works with continuous growth.


Sorry, that neglects the increase of efficiency. You can produce more with less input. When efficiency is cheaper, e.g. due to fuel taxes, it is used.

That is of course no long term fix but may allow us to muddle through ("transition under stress") the next two or three decades.

BTW: Even an different economic structure reqires an shift from "finite" energy carriers to something better.


Efficiency in capitalist systems leads to more consumption, as what is conserved is sold for profit. In fact, what motivates efficiency is profit.
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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby MonteQuest » Thu 27 Nov 2014, 22:07:45

Ulenspiegel wrote:
MonteQuest wrote:
ralfy wrote: Given these points, the only "solution" is to decrease energy and material resource consumption significantly. But that can't be a solution in a global economy that requires the opposite.


Precisely. Our capitalistic system only knows one way; up. Our money system only works with continuous growth.


Sorry, that neglects the increase of efficiency. You can produce more with less input.


Jevon's Paradox
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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby kublikhan » Sat 29 Nov 2014, 00:43:37

MonteQuest wrote:
Ulenspiegel wrote:Sorry, that neglects the increase of efficiency. You can produce more with less input.
Jevon's Paradox
Jevons paradox occurs when a new disruptive technology is applied(Steam engine, electric motor, etc), particularly for producers. It does not apply to consumer level improvements in efficiency, such as adding insulation to your house. Also, as I pointed out earlier, Jevons paradox effects rely on the increase in efficiency lowering prices. If energy prices are rising, either because of a supply squeeze, taxes, etc, Jevons paradox does not apply.

[Jevons Paradox] seems less likely to hold for dedicated energy efficiency technologies such as thermal insulation, particularly when these are used by consumers or when they play a subsidiary role in economic production. These technologies have smaller effects on productivity and economic growth, with the result that economy-wide energy consumption is likely to be reduced.

Policy implications
Energy efficiency may be encouraged through policies that raise energy prices, such as carbon taxes, or through non-price policies such as building regulations.

3. Rebound effects may be mitigated through carbon/energy pricing – whether implemented through taxation or an emissions trading scheme
Carbon/energy pricing can reduce direct and indirect rebound effects by ensuring that the cost of energy services remains relatively constant while energy efficiency improves. Carbon/energy pricing needs to increase over time at a rate sufficient to accommodate both income growth and rebound effects, simply to prevent carbon emissions from increasing. It needs to increase more rapidly if emissions are to be reduced.
The Rebound Effect: an assessment of the evidence for economy-wide energy savings from improved energy efficiency
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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby kublikhan » Sat 29 Nov 2014, 01:15:01

ralfy wrote:Solar is not a solution because it cannot provide the energy returns and quantity that the global capitalist system needs. As various sources point out, the equivalent of one Saudi Arabia in new oil will be needed every seven years just to meet economic growth.
The UN disagrees with you. They put together a proposal to get us on 80% renewable energy by 2050:

Renewable sources such as solar and wind could supply up to 80 per cent of the world's energy needs by 2050 and play a significant role in fighting global warming, a top climate panel concluded Monday. The report concluded that the use of renewables is on the rise and their prices are declining. With the right policies, the report said, they will be an important tool both in tackling climate change and helping poor countries use the likes of solar or wind to develop their economies in a sustainable fashion. "The report shows that it is not the availability of the resource but the public policies that will either expand or constrain renewable energy development over the coming decades."
80% renewable energy possible by 2050: UN panel

Another UN report about getting us to 80% renewable electricity by 2050:
The report suggests renewables will have to grow from their current 30% share to 80% of the power sector by 2050. "There is a myth that climate action will cost heavily, but inaction will cost much more." "The second thing is they said that it is affordable, it is not going to cripple economies."
Fossil fuels should be phased out by 2100 says IPCC

Many nations around the world are already finding it economical to build renewable energy plants to meet their energy needs. And the price/EROEI of renewables gets better with each passing year:

Market economics often made new fossil fuel generation cheaper – a dangerous choice considering the climate imperative of meeting rising power demand with low-carbon electricity. But those days are ending, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s (BNEF) Climatescope 2014 report, which finds renewable electricity is now just as affordable an option as fossil fuel in 55 emerging nations across Africa, Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean.

BNEF suggests the scale may have already tipped toward renewables in these markets. Clean energy capacity in the surveyed nations grew 143% between 2008-2013, nearly twice as fast as in the richer Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) nations, and has more than doubled over the period to 142 total gigawatts (GW).

“Not only is demand for energy growing faster in the developing world than in the more developed countries, but on a percentage basis demand for clean energy is growing faster in the developing world.”

Market Economics Make The Equation Simple
According to BNEF, favorable market economics are key to renewable energy’s fast growth. High fossil fuel costs are intersecting with lower renewable prices, especially relevant considering many Climatescope nations rely on volatile fossil fuel imports. “Clean energy is the low-cost option in a lot of these countries,” said Zindler in an interview. “The technologies are cost-competitive right now – not in the future, but right now.”
Renewables Now Cheaper Than Fossil Fuels In Developing Countries

ralfy wrote:
kublikhan wrote:what solution would you propose ralfy?
Given that, there is no solution to peak oil. The global population will eventually lower energy and resource consumption. The question is whether or not they it can do so smoothly or will be forced to do so due to combinations of crises, some of them catastrophic.
Perhaps I should rephrase. Given your outlook for the future, what actions would you propose we follow?
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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby MonteQuest » Sat 29 Nov 2014, 11:32:46

kublikhan wrote: Jevons paradox occurs when a new disruptive technology is applied(Steam engine, electric motor, etc), particularly for producers. It does not apply to consumer level improvements in efficiency, such as adding insulation to your house.


Correct. But in the macro economy Jevons does apply.
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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby ralfy » Sat 29 Nov 2014, 21:29:19

kublikhan wrote:
MonteQuest wrote:
Ulenspiegel wrote:Sorry, that neglects the increase of efficiency. You can produce more with less input.
Jevon's Paradox
Jevons paradox occurs when a new disruptive technology is applied(Steam engine, electric motor, etc), particularly for producers. It does not apply to consumer level improvements in efficiency, such as adding insulation to your house. Also, as I pointed out earlier, Jevons paradox effects rely on the increase in efficiency lowering prices. If energy prices are rising, either because of a supply squeeze, taxes, etc, Jevons paradox does not apply.

[Jevons Paradox] seems less likely to hold for dedicated energy efficiency technologies such as thermal insulation, particularly when these are used by consumers or when they play a subsidiary role in economic production. These technologies have smaller effects on productivity and economic growth, with the result that economy-wide energy consumption is likely to be reduced.

Policy implications
Energy efficiency may be encouraged through policies that raise energy prices, such as carbon taxes, or through non-price policies such as building regulations.

3. Rebound effects may be mitigated through carbon/energy pricing – whether implemented through taxation or an emissions trading scheme
Carbon/energy pricing can reduce direct and indirect rebound effects by ensuring that the cost of energy services remains relatively constant while energy efficiency improves. Carbon/energy pricing needs to increase over time at a rate sufficient to accommodate both income growth and rebound effects, simply to prevent carbon emissions from increasing. It needs to increase more rapidly if emissions are to be reduced.
The Rebound Effect: an assessment of the evidence for economy-wide energy savings from improved energy efficiency


It applies to consumers through planned obsolescence and the need to keep businesses running by creating and marketing new products.
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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby ralfy » Sat 29 Nov 2014, 21:41:58

kublikhan wrote:
ralfy wrote:Solar is not a solution because it cannot provide the energy returns and quantity that the global capitalist system needs. As various sources point out, the equivalent of one Saudi Arabia in new oil will be needed every seven years just to meet economic growth.
The UN disagrees with you. They put together a proposal to get us on 80% renewable energy by 2050:

Renewable sources such as solar and wind could supply up to 80 per cent of the world's energy needs by 2050 and play a significant role in fighting global warming, a top climate panel concluded Monday. The report concluded that the use of renewables is on the rise and their prices are declining. With the right policies, the report said, they will be an important tool both in tackling climate change and helping poor countries use the likes of solar or wind to develop their economies in a sustainable fashion. "The report shows that it is not the availability of the resource but the public policies that will either expand or constrain renewable energy development over the coming decades."
80% renewable energy possible by 2050: UN panel

Another UN report about getting us to 80% renewable electricity by 2050:
The report suggests renewables will have to grow from their current 30% share to 80% of the power sector by 2050. "There is a myth that climate action will cost heavily, but inaction will cost much more." "The second thing is they said that it is affordable, it is not going to cripple economies."
Fossil fuels should be phased out by 2100 says IPCC

Many nations around the world are already finding it economical to build renewable energy plants to meet their energy needs. And the price/EROEI of renewables gets better with each passing year:

Market economics often made new fossil fuel generation cheaper – a dangerous choice considering the climate imperative of meeting rising power demand with low-carbon electricity. But those days are ending, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s (BNEF) Climatescope 2014 report, which finds renewable electricity is now just as affordable an option as fossil fuel in 55 emerging nations across Africa, Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean.

BNEF suggests the scale may have already tipped toward renewables in these markets. Clean energy capacity in the surveyed nations grew 143% between 2008-2013, nearly twice as fast as in the richer Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) nations, and has more than doubled over the period to 142 total gigawatts (GW).

“Not only is demand for energy growing faster in the developing world than in the more developed countries, but on a percentage basis demand for clean energy is growing faster in the developing world.”

Market Economics Make The Equation Simple
According to BNEF, favorable market economics are key to renewable energy’s fast growth. High fossil fuel costs are intersecting with lower renewable prices, especially relevant considering many Climatescope nations rely on volatile fossil fuel imports. “Clean energy is the low-cost option in a lot of these countries,” said Zindler in an interview. “The technologies are cost-competitive right now – not in the future, but right now.”
Renewables Now Cheaper Than Fossil Fuels In Developing Countries

ralfy wrote:
kublikhan wrote:what solution would you propose ralfy?
Given that, there is no solution to peak oil. The global population will eventually lower energy and resource consumption. The question is whether or not they it can do so smoothly or will be forced to do so due to combinations of crises, some of them catastrophic.
Perhaps I should rephrase. Given your outlook for the future, what actions would you propose we follow?


Not just the UN. Even the IEA argues that we will need to replace at least 70 pct of oil demand per annum with renewable energy. That means strong government regulation, cooperation between economies, and oil and gas producers going for maximum depletion rates (that's why the IEA chart shows crude oil production achieving a plateau across several decades).

The catch is that what took place the last few decades and what is currently taking place is the complete opposite.

In addition, we have low energy returns not just for renewable energy but for oil as well, which is needed to manufacture and transport components used for renewable energy. There's also low energy quantity, which was shown in a chart shared recently.

On top of that, we have a growing global middle class, which is part of economic growth. That means the amount of oil needed to maintain that global economy plus transition to renewable energy will have to increase.

Thus, we need more oil to maintain economic growth, especially a growing global middle class.

Then we need more oil on top of that because the energy returns for non-conventional production is not high. Again, these are needed for mining, manufacture, and transport of resources and goods needed for renewable energy.

Given these points, there is clearly no solution to the problem of global economic crises. The only way out is to lower energy and resource consumption, which will happen in any event given such crises.
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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby dashster » Sun 30 Nov 2014, 03:53:49

pstarr wrote:Sorry. We can not simply "replace" petroleum with renewable energy. We must first replace the petroleum transport system with an electric transport system. That is a multi-trillion-dollar project.

Stop dreaming people. Get real. Dare I say, give up or get some imagination.


The price rise and sustained plateau for oil prices seems to have caused some people to break off of the Cornucopians. I refer to them as the Copaceticans. They have faith in some "principle" that economists like to raise called the "substitution good". As they put it: "Even if we start to lose oil production something will come along to take its place". I would guess they are thinking that "good" will be renewable energy but as you note, only some seem to think about the PLUS electric transportation. The conversion to both is so underestimated that they think the transition will be done painlessly in the marketplace. Just like if butter went into terminal decline, we would painlessly switch to margarine. The good news for the United States, as always, is that they have a multi-trillion-dollar project from which to divert funds - the United States Military.
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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby ralfy » Sun 30 Nov 2014, 21:51:46

This was shared in the past:

"It Will Take 131 Years To Replace Oil, And We've Only Got 10"

http://www.businessinsider.com/131-year ... il-2010-11
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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby misterno » Mon 01 Dec 2014, 12:49:02

Solar energy could dominate electricity by 2050: IEA

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/09/2 ... 1K20140929

Not surprising if you ask me
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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby kublikhan » Mon 01 Dec 2014, 19:41:09

MonteQuest wrote:Correct. But in the macro economy Jevons does apply.
I answered this one earlier. In the macro economy, energy costs are only 10-15% of final costs. Say you are saving money on a primary fuel like heating oil or natural gas because you installed insulation in your house. Perhaps $1,000 a year in savings from not burning those fossil fuels. Now you go out and spend that $1,000 in the general economy. Only 10-15% of that is energy costs. $1,000 in energy savings, $100-$150 of new energy spending. So you still saved energy.

ralfy wrote:It applies to consumers through planned obsolescence and the need to keep businesses running by creating and marketing new products.
See above.

pstarr wrote:Sorry. We can not simply "replace" petroleum with renewable energy. We must first replace the petroleum transport system with an electric transport system. That is a multi-trillion-dollar project.

Stop dreaming people. Get real. Dare I say, give up or get some imagination.
Chicken and the egg problem pstarr. No one wants to get an EV because there are not enough charging stations. And no one wants to build the charging stations because there are not enough EVs. Besides, EV has an energy density problem that makes it a poor fit for cars and heavy trucks. Better to go for the low hanging fruit first like petroleum used in electricity generation, heating, increased mass transit, etc.
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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby kublikhan » Mon 01 Dec 2014, 19:48:00

The catch is that what took place the last few decades and what is currently taking place is the complete opposite.
Globally, we are shifting to getting more of our electricity from renewable sources than from fossil fuels. Sure the pace may be slower than we like. But it is at least going in the right direction:

In the EU, renewables were 72% of new electric generating capacity. 10 years ago, fossil fuels represented 80% of additions in the EU.

China's renewable power capacity additions surpassed new fossil fuel & nuclear additions for the first time.
Global Status Report

Renewables made up just over half of total net additions to electric generating capacity from all sources in 2012.

The United States added more capacity from wind power than any other technology, and all renewables made up about half of total electric capacity additions during the year.
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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby ralfy » Mon 01 Dec 2014, 22:05:14

kublikhan wrote:
The catch is that what took place the last few decades and what is currently taking place is the complete opposite.
Globally, we are shifting to getting more of our electricity from renewable sources than from fossil fuels. Sure the pace may be slower than we like. But it is at least going in the right direction:

In the EU, renewables were 72% of new electric generating capacity. 10 years ago, fossil fuels represented 80% of additions in the EU.

China's renewable power capacity additions surpassed new fossil fuel & nuclear additions for the first time.
Global Status Report

Renewables made up just over half of total net additions to electric generating capacity from all sources in 2012.

The United States added more capacity from wind power than any other technology, and all renewables made up about half of total electric capacity additions during the year.


The world has been doing this because of peak oil, not because solar energy is a "solution."
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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby Tikib » Mon 08 Dec 2014, 02:36:13

Solar energy could have been the solution if we switched 20 years ago as well as changed our lifestyles and breeding rate. But its far too late now.

It might still be possible to convert a small oil and sun rich country like Saudi Arabia if they started right now. But that's just a daydream as they are far too addicted to oil and endless growth like the rest of us.
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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby dashster » Mon 08 Dec 2014, 19:41:34

ralfy wrote:
kublikhan wrote:
The catch is that what took place the last few decades and what is currently taking place is the complete opposite.
Globally, we are shifting to getting more of our electricity from renewable sources than from fossil fuels. Sure the pace may be slower than we like. But it is at least going in the right direction:

In the EU, renewables were 72% of new electric generating capacity. 10 years ago, fossil fuels represented 80% of additions in the EU.

China's renewable power capacity additions surpassed new fossil fuel & nuclear additions for the first time.
Global Status Report

Renewables made up just over half of total net additions to electric generating capacity from all sources in 2012.

The United States added more capacity from wind power than any other technology, and all renewables made up about half of total electric capacity additions during the year.


The world has been doing this because of peak oil, not because solar energy is a "solution."


I don't think fear of Peak Oil or fear of oil shortages is driving solar or wind energy. It is from the global warming, air pollution side of things. The idea is to eliminate coal power plants. Who among the mainstream acknowledges Peak Oil?
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Re: Is solar energy the solution?

Unread postby ralfy » Tue 09 Dec 2014, 00:09:21

dashster wrote:
ralfy wrote:
kublikhan wrote:
The catch is that what took place the last few decades and what is currently taking place is the complete opposite.
Globally, we are shifting to getting more of our electricity from renewable sources than from fossil fuels. Sure the pace may be slower than we like. But it is at least going in the right direction:

In the EU, renewables were 72% of new electric generating capacity. 10 years ago, fossil fuels represented 80% of additions in the EU.

China's renewable power capacity additions surpassed new fossil fuel & nuclear additions for the first time.
Global Status Report

Renewables made up just over half of total net additions to electric generating capacity from all sources in 2012.

The United States added more capacity from wind power than any other technology, and all renewables made up about half of total electric capacity additions during the year.


The world has been doing this because of peak oil, not because solar energy is a "solution."


I don't think fear of Peak Oil or fear of oil shortages is driving solar or wind energy. It is from the global warming, air pollution side of things. The idea is to eliminate coal power plants. Who among the mainstream acknowledges Peak Oil?


For me, it's been high oil prices, which is the result of peak oil. For global warming, countries had been engaged in emission cut agreements, but usually involving cuts in the rate of increase.
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