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A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt 2

Discussions of conventional and alternative energy production technologies.

Re: A Critical Discussion of the Limits to Renewable Energy

Unread postby MonteQuest » Mon 11 Jan 2016, 15:54:08

onlooker wrote:I would add that without growth lenders become much more reluctant to lend especially considering the interest involved.


A debt-based monetary system that charges compounding interest, by definition, must have economic growth. End of story.

Back to renewables, please.
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Re: A Critical Discussion of the Limits to Renewable Energy

Unread postby ralfy » Mon 11 Jan 2016, 18:17:42

Much of money supply is not "real money" but numbers in hard drives. That's because it's inconvenient to use the former for large transactions.

"Real money" is no different from numbers in hard drives because it is also used as a medium of exchange. Its ultimate value lies in its practical use, e.g., metals in coins used for other things.

Finally, money in general has value only if there is a surplus of resources.
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby Tanada » Mon 11 Jan 2016, 23:07:03

The first 25 pages of this thread can be found at the link if you need to go back and review something for some reason.

topic70425.html
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Re: A Critical Discussion of the Limits to Renewable Energy

Unread postby ennui2 » Tue 12 Jan 2016, 10:46:07

MonteQuest wrote:Imagine a world where no new loans ever happen.


I can and have imagined lots of doomy scenarios, many far worse than the death of the dollar. That's different from thinking we're going to go over a cliff in the next few months, let's say. That's why I'm pressing you on making a specific prediction.
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Re: A Critical Discussion of the Limits to Renewable Energy

Unread postby ennui2 » Tue 12 Jan 2016, 10:53:40

onlooker wrote:I would add that without growth lenders become much more reluctant to lend especially considering the interest involved.


The normal mechanism to inhibit lending is raising interest rates (think of jacking up someone's interest rate on their credit card after a late payment, or if they have a bad credit rating). The reverse is actually true currently. Interest rates are dirt cheap and the only check against lending is regulation and banks trying to avoid duplicating the housing crisis. So the scenario Monte is talking about is pretty far from the actual situation at present. Also, there's a strong psychological resistance to accepting the idea that growth is "over". This encourages greater debt on the faith that future growth will cover it, and this forestalls defaults. Where the buck stops, we don't know yet.
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby MonteQuest » Tue 12 Jan 2016, 14:11:20

Shares of Sun Edison, the world's largest renewable energy company, fell as much as 29% mid-day on Wall Street today, after another analyst questioned the company's long-term survival. They could well go bankrupt this year.

The big issue is their restructuring debt that holds an interest rate in excess of 10%, incredibly high considering the fact that Sun Edison bid aggressively to win projects on the idea that it had a low cost of capital.
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Re: A Critical Discussion of the Limits to Renewable Energy

Unread postby Outcast_Searcher » Tue 12 Jan 2016, 14:27:00

ennui2 wrote:
onlooker wrote:I would add that without growth lenders become much more reluctant to lend especially considering the interest involved.


The normal mechanism to inhibit lending is raising interest rates (think of jacking up someone's interest rate on their credit card after a late payment, or if they have a bad credit rating). The reverse is actually true currently. Interest rates are dirt cheap and the only check against lending is regulation and banks trying to avoid duplicating the housing crisis.

Well, that's interesting, and it's only partly true.

It's true that interest rates are dirt cheap for the banks. However, your example was credit cards. I have a basically perfect credit rating, and only use a credit card as a convenience vehicle -- always paying the full amount each month and on time. (I've done this for over 30 years now, so I presume banks are clever enough to notice a pattern there).

And yet, last time I looked, my credit card interest rate was OVER 20%. How much sense does that make? (And no, I don't want to fool around with shopping for credit cards, rolling over balances, yadda yadda to get a low rate -- I'm just talking about having a Visa card with a major bank for convenience -- and never pay them ONE CENT in interest).

So, a few thoughts:

1). For the $trillions in outstanding revolving consumer credit -- does it really make that much difference if interest rates rise a few points? (Is an average rate of, say, 28% a deterremt while a (rough guess) average "low" rate of 25% isn't?)

2). Are people generally so hooked on debt now that they are incapable of making decisions that anyone more intelligent than, say, a rutabaga, would see are clearly self destructive (like paying 25% interest rates while their "high yield" savings account earns less than 1% -- thus raising the cost of consumer goods they buy with credit cards by roughly 25% per year they hold the debt)?

3). Did the very same congress that is often crying now about the mean old banks and their profits ENABLE such profits by allowing banks to lend at totally usurious rates (and huge profits) to ALL borrowers -- even those with top notch credit -- thus creating the monster they claim to hate? (To this one, I'll opine -- hell yes, and based on the lack of objections about the systemically usurious rates from even the left, I presume they were paid off by the banking lobby).
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby kublikhan » Tue 12 Jan 2016, 16:13:28

MonteQuest wrote:In 2004, when I first started posting, modern renewables share of the pie was .9%. Now it's 1.45%. And this is despite an utterly massive growth in investment and generating capacity over those 11 years.
Given the massive size of the installed capacity of the global power grid, the long life of power plants, and the miniscule starting share of modern renewables, I don't think taking newly installed capacity and comparing it to how much of total energy is generated by it is a very good way to measure. If you did this for newly installed fossil fueled generators or nuclear I think they would also garner a tiny share of the overall energy pie when measured this way. If your goal is to see if renewable capacity additions are larger now then they were in 2004, I think there is a better way to measure that. You can look at the share of new capacity that renewables took in 2004 vs the share of new capacity renewables took in 2015. The closest data I found was for 2005 and 2013. Starting in 2013, renewables passed fossil fuels in new annual capacity. Also, more capacity was added in 2013 in just renewables than all of the capacity additions made in 2005 combined(fossil fuels, nuclear, renewables). This sounds like progress to me. So we are no longer talking about just incredible growth rates from small values. Renewables now represent the majority of new capacity additions.

2005 power capacity additions(in GW)
renewable:______ 35 GW
non renewable:_ 104 GW
total:___________ 139 GW

total renewable share of new capacity additions 2005: 25.2%

2013 power capacity additions(in GW)
renewable:_____ 143 GW
fossil fuel:______ 141 GW
total(ex nuclear): 284 GW

total renewable share of new capacity additions 2013: 50.4%

In the 8 years from 2005 to 2013, renewables have doubled their share of new generating capacity going from 25% share to over 50% share

MonteQuest wrote:A study commissioned by the Renewable Energy Foundation has found that the economic life of onshore wind turbines could be far less than that predicted by the industry. By 10 years of age, the report found that the contribution of an average windfarm towards meeting electricity demand had declined by a third. That reduction in performance led the study team to believe that it will be uneconomic to operate windfarms for more than 12 to 15 years, not 20 to 25 years.
That report originated from an anti-wind lobby group. The "renewable energy foundation" in their name is a deception, they exist to undermind renewable energy:

They are not a Foundation for Renewable Energy, as their name says and as any reasonable person would conclude from their name – they actually exist to undermine Renewable Energy – in that respect their name is a deceit."

Other critics such as Maria McCaffery, chief executive of RenewableUK, a trade body that represents more than 600 wind and marine energy firms, says the Renewable Energy Foundation's true purpose is diametrically opposed to the interests of the wind energy industry. "It is an anti-wind lobbying organisation," she told BusinessGreen. "I'd like to know where the renewable energy part of their remit is. They don't foster or promote or develop, they just try to undermine the case for wind energy all the time."

In 2011 it was revealed that it had been in discussion in April 2008 with the Charities Commission about its possibly overly political nature.
Renewable Energy Foundation

A real report found that turbines did last their 25 year lifetimes, not the 12-15 claimed in the report:

There has been some debate about whether wind turbines have a more limited shelf-life than other energy technologies. A previous study used a statistical model to estimate that electricity output from wind turbines declines by a third after only ten years of operation.

In a new study, researchers from Imperial College Business School carried out a comprehensive nationwide analysis of the UK fleet of wind turbines. They showed that the turbines will last their full life of about 25 years before they need to be upgraded. The team found that the UK’s earliest turbines, built in the 1990s, are still producing three-quarters of their original output after 19 years of operation, nearly twice the amount previously claimed, and will operate effectively up to 25 years. This is comparable to the performance of gas turbines used in power stations.

The study also found that more recent turbines are performing even better than the earliest models, suggesting they could have a longer lifespan. The team says this makes a strong business case for further investment in the wind farm industry.
New research blows away claims that ageing wind farms are a bad investment
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby MonteQuest » Tue 12 Jan 2016, 16:30:30

kublikhan wrote: Renewables now represent the majority of new capacity additions.


I don't dispute that. 58% of new capacity came from renewables. But they aren't displacing FF's, they are fostering new growth. Isn't doing much to reduce CO2 nor displace liquid fuels.
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby MonteQuest » Tue 12 Jan 2016, 16:37:05

kublikhan wrote:A real report found that turbines did last their 25 year lifetimes, not the 12-15 claimed in the report:


Yet, they do show some only producing 75% after 19 yrs. 25 years still doesn't compare to 40 yrs for conventional. Subtract off the two yrs for carbon pay back put it at 23 yrs. Only time will tell the true viability pro or con. Thanks for the study.
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby peripato » Tue 12 Jan 2016, 18:36:20

MonteQuest wrote:
kublikhan wrote: Renewables now represent the majority of new capacity additions.


I don't dispute that. 58% of new capacity came from renewables. But they aren't displacing FF's, they are fostering new growth. Isn't doing much to reduce CO2 nor displace liquid fuels.


Yep, people never seem to get that renewables are just a FF extender and a pretty pathetic one at that.

Image

What's worse, all the carbon is released instantly in their creation, then it takes 20-30 years, at least, to pay back the carbon debt. By then the infrastructure needs replacing, not to mention the cost of maintenance along the way.

A giant exercise in futility.
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby MonteQuest » Tue 12 Jan 2016, 18:47:03

peripato wrote:What's worse, all the carbon is released instantly in their creation, then it takes 20-30 years, at least, to pay back the carbon debt.


20 to 30 yrs? I've thought I'd read 2 yrs??? Source?
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby ennui2 » Tue 12 Jan 2016, 18:51:06

Don't assume the embodied FF energy of renewables is a static figure. Closing the loop on renewable manufacturing (or manufacturing green tech overall) is something being worked on. It's kind of like arguing against EVs because of FF-powered power-plants when these could (theoretically) be swapped out for renewables or nukes.

Unfortunately right-wing anti-renewable rhetoric is almost identical to pessmistic doomer rhetoric when it comes to FUD-ing renewables. So you have to be careful how you frame your talking points otherwise it sounds like you'd prefer that we just kept burning FFs and bake the planet that much worse. In other words, perfect is the enemy of good. We're probably screwed anyway, but in the meantime, we might as well try doing something constructive.
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby peripato » Tue 12 Jan 2016, 19:22:26

MonteQuest wrote:
peripato wrote:What's worse, all the carbon is released instantly in their creation, then it takes 20-30 years, at least, to pay back the carbon debt.


20 to 30 yrs? I've thought I'd read 2 yrs??? Source?


Check out this link Monte. Very interesting info about the current state of Solar PV, where most of the production has moved to China over the past few years.

Compared to Europe, Japan and the USA, the electric grid in China is about twice as carbon-intensive and about 50% less energy efficient. [13-15] Because the manufacture of solar PV cells relies heavily on the use of electricity (for more than 95%) [16], this means that in spite of the lower prices and the increasing efficiency, the production of solar cells has become more energy-intensive, resulting in longer energy payback times and higher greenhouse gas emissions.


An interesting graph...

Image
Source: Argonne National Laboratory/Fengqi You et al.
Carbon in Creation: Solar-panel manufacturers need electricity and thermal energy, and carbon emissions from their generation can vary widely with location. Panels produced in China, which relies heavily on coal for power, have a larger carbon footprint than those produced in Europe.

As you can gather there are many, many hidden carbon costs associated with the production of renewables. Another one for instance...

The biggest eighteen ships produce as much CO2 as all the cars in the world, so shipping those panels (and inverters) from China to America, Europe or Australia is incredibly polluting.

All this adds to the payback time of renewables like solar PV.
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby MonteQuest » Tue 12 Jan 2016, 19:31:40

ennui2 wrote: So you have to be careful how you frame your talking points otherwise it sounds like you'd prefer that we just kept burning FFs and bake the planet that much worse. In other words, perfect is the enemy of good. We're probably screwed anyway, but in the meantime, we might as well try doing something constructive.


I'm pretty sure perpetuating overshoot--even with renewables--isn't constructive. But it will be good to have some around after the population crash, no? :)
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby MonteQuest » Tue 12 Jan 2016, 19:35:38

peripato wrote: As you can gather there are many, many hidden carbon costs associated with the production of renewables.


Wow! This was the next thing I was going to look at. I'll give it a good read. :)
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby MonteQuest » Tue 12 Jan 2016, 20:23:02

Here's a Cliff Notes of that link:

The cumulative energy and CO2 balance of the solar PV industry is negative, meaning that it has actually increased energy use and greenhouse gas emissions instead of lowering them. For solar panels manufactured in China, the carbon footprint and the energy payback time are almost doubled. The declining cost of solar PV is not due to more efficient manufacturing processes and scale economies, it's the consequence of moving almost the entire PV manufacturing industry from western countries to Asian countries, where labor and energy costs are cheaper and where environmental restrictions are less, or nonexistent.

“For the deployment of solar PV systems to grow while remaining net greenhouse gas mitigators, they must grow at a rate slower than the inverse of their CO2 payback time. A 2009 paper, which takes into account the geographical distribution of global solar PV installations, sets the maximum sustainable annual growth rate at 23%, while the actual average annual growth rate of solar PV between 1998 and 2008 was 40%.”

That’s an eye opener. The aggregate of solar panels actually increased GHG emissions and energy use from 1998 to 2008.

Then it gets worse: solar PV grew on average by 59% per year between 2009 and 2014.

Then even worse. In 2013, with 87% of the production in Asia, the maximum sustainable growth rate is 12%. Better geographic distribution moves that up to 16%. At the 16% maximum sustainable growth, meeting TODAY'S electricity demand would take until 2045 -- with no net CO2 savings. By that time, according to the forecasts, total global electricity demand will have more than doubled.

But think about that. From 2009 to 2014, all the solar panels in the world, viewed as one large energy generating plant, did not generate any net energy or CO2-savings.

Looks like we are going to have to relocate where we build and install these puppies.
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby peripato » Tue 12 Jan 2016, 21:06:42

MonteQuest wrote:
peripato wrote: As you can gather there are many, many hidden carbon costs associated with the production of renewables.


Wow! This was the next thing I was going to look at. I'll give it a good read. :)

Yes, I'm sure you'll enjoy it. All those who are beholden to Solar Jesus though will conveniently turn away...

Looks like you beat me to the punch... 8)

For the deployment of solar PV systems to grow while remaining net greenhouse gas mitigators, they must grow at a rate slower than the inverse of their CO2 payback time. For example, if the average energy and CO2 payback times of a solar PV system are four years and the industry grows at a rate of 25%, no net energy is produced and no greenhouse gas emissions are offset. If the growth rate is higher than 25%, the aggregate of solar PV systems actually becomes a net CO2 and energy sink. In this scenario, the industry expands so fast that the energy savings and GHG emissions prevented by solar PV systems are negated to fabricate the next wave of solar PV systems.


So it isn’t only the ERoEI that counts, it's the time difference between the EI and the ER – as the EI has to be consumed all up front, and then the ER trickles in over the next 25 years.

It's the worst of all possible worlds. We pump the carbon into the atmosphere instantly, whilst squandering FF's for a questionable outcome.

So much for a rapid transition to renewables...
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby StarvingLion » Tue 12 Jan 2016, 21:38:35

The Bums in the Universities have no solutions for Peak Oil other than cough cough 19th century doozies...

THE MIGHTY SOLAR CELL AND WINDMILL...Hahahaha.

They know 80% of the universities will be shut down due to bankruptcy and so they invented that AGW scam to prop up the pathetic outputs of the solar cell and windmill as an actual feature.

When your 19th century shit devices output piddly amounts of electricity, its not an economic disaster...its saving the world from CO2 climate change DOOM!!!
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby MonteQuest » Wed 13 Jan 2016, 00:04:46

peripato wrote:It's the worst of all possible worlds. We pump the carbon into the atmosphere instantly, whilst squandering FF's for a questionable outcome.


To me it makes perfect sense. Anytime to try to wring the energy density of FF's out of renewables, the ecological footprint approaches the same size when you add up all the consequences, both numerically and environmentally.
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