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The Green New Deal and the Growth of Renewables

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The Green New Deal and the Growth of Renewables

Unread postby MonteQuest » Thu 11 Apr 2019, 20:02:04

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), despite major growth in renewables, GHG emissions rose to a record high last year. Global energy demand grew by 2.3% in 2018, nearly twice the average rate of growth since 2010. Renewables met only 25% (.6%) of this new demand. In other words, the demand for energy was 75% greater than the new installed capacity of all renewables world-wide.

In 2004, when I first started following this, modern renewables like wind, solar, and geothermal garnered but .5% of the total energy pie. In 2018, they garner just 1.7%, and are currently growing their “share of the global energy pie” at just .1% per annum, despite wind growing its installed capacity 9.8%, down from 10.8% in 2017, and solar PV growing its capacity 29%, down from 49% in 2016. The demand for energy nearly outstrips all market share gains from the leading renewable technologies.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) also projects that bioenergy will be the largest source of growth in renewable energy over the period 2018 to 2023, not wind and solar PV. Bioenergy will account for 30% of the growth in renewable energy in this period. They forecast that in 2023, bioenergy (excluding the traditional use of biomass like wood and cow dung) will remain the predominant source of renewable energy at 50%. In 2017 – it provided four times the contribution of solar PV and wind combined. Modern bioenergy includes liquid biofuels produced from plants; biogas produced through anaerobic digestion of residues, and wood pellet heating systems.

I find this both surprising and disconcerting. This means we will feed our food, and that of other living creatures, to our machines. It also means we are trying to keep our GHG spewing internal combustion engines (ICE). But, in Nature, there is no such thing as “waste”—that can be converted to fuel—that doesn’t rob food from some other living creature in the web of life and the soil tilth. Not to mention, much of this available biomass is only possible using ancient sunlight energy (fossil fuels) in the form of fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and irrigation. We also use fossil fuels to import finite phosphorus and potassium to boost yields. We already appropriate 40% of earth’s biomass to human use. How much more can we take? Image
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Re: The Green New Deal and the Growth of Renewables

Unread postby MonteQuest » Fri 12 Apr 2019, 21:30:09

Heat is the largest energy end use. Providing heating for homes, industrial purposes and other applications accounts for around 50% of total energy consumption. Yet, in 2017, only 10% of heat was produced from renewables. 70% of that renewable heat was generated from biomass “waste”, which, in Nature, does not exist.

Today, electricity only meets around 7% of global heat demand. In the US, 37% use inefficient electric base-board heaters. And while the use of electric heat pumps in buildings is becoming more widespread, only about 1% of American homes currently have them. 48% are heated with NG, 14% use fuel oil, kerosene, and propane—fossil fuels, one and all.

That means millions and millions of fossil fuel furnaces are going to need to be replaced with heat pumps or geothermal systems. Right now, electrifying the residential sector by replacing fossil fuel furnaces with heat pumps isn’t on anyone’s radar. In fact, cheap natural gas is gaining momentum, and is still the #1 choice for heat in new home construction. Asset inertia and cultural direction are huge headwinds.

The IEA says that to meet long-term climate and other sustainability goals, renewable energy development in the heating, cooling, and transport sectors must accelerate on a massive scale. 70% of heating and cooling’s energy consumption is met by fossil fuels, while 96% of the transport sector’s energy use came from petroleum. In 2018, transport accounted for more than 29% of total final energy consumption.

Currently, EV’s have captured about 3% of the world’s 1.2 billion vehicle fleet market. It is projected to grow to 14% by 2025. The IEA forecasts 125 million EV’s by 2030. Today, China is responsible for 50% of EV’s sales. What generates the electricity for these cars, and what growth rate they experience, will be key to their impact on GHG’s.

Solar and wind are nowhere near big enough yet to replace fossil fuels, and it’s unlikely they ever will be in China and India, given that 2/3rds of new oil demand is coming from Pacific Asia. In 2018, global NG use was up (+4.6%) and coal use was up (+1%). Oil demand grew by 1.3% to 1.7mbpd over the 10-yr average of 1.1mbpd.
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Re: The Green New Deal and the Growth of Renewables

Unread postby Plantagenet » Sat 13 Apr 2019, 11:25:21

One could imagine.....just barely.....that the US could go on a "war footing" and spend whatever it takes to attempt to end fossil fuel use and shift to renewables.

But it isn't going to happen. Trump and the vast majority of Rs have zero interest in doing it, and Pelosi and the vast majority of Ds have zero interest in doing it.

So we might as well just relax and enjoy the show as the world heads to climate catastrophe.

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Re: The Green New Deal and the Growth of Renewables

Unread postby Newfie » Sat 13 Apr 2019, 11:37:49

Renewables has something in common with drug usage. It’s like going from opium to heroin to opioids. The undelying problem is the idea that we can not live on less energy. As long as we are addicted to energy use we will burn every available calorie no matter the source.

The only way to reduce green house gasses is to convienced folks to use far, far less energy. If we reduce the overall amount of energy use by 50%, and retain our renewables, then we are doubling the share of renewable power.

The GND is a scam to get us to buy into a huge infrastructure project; more, More, MORE.

No! Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
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Re: The Green New Deal and the Growth of Renewables

Unread postby evilgenius » Sat 13 Apr 2019, 12:19:41

I don't deny climate catastrophe, but I think there is a whole other reason to pursue renewables. Resource wars are a far more important reason to get away from fossil fuels than climate change, in the near term. By near term I guess I mean the next twenty years. I know, why should anyone who lives in the US worry about that? The US is going to win those wars, isn't it? Probably the answer is, yes. And that's the catch, probably.

The outcome of war is never guaranteed. Never mind what waging those wars would do to the American soul. Losing one of them could prove disastrous without renewables in place as a backstop. You can't tell that to a nation full of emotional people.

Americans are as likely as any people to believe in their certain success, and they have the most powerful military in history. Some memes that get set into motion, also, take a lot longer to work their way through a society. It could be a while before the country would abandon a position it has taken during a period of high emotions, even if its leaders recognize the folly of it.

It's too bad going renewable isn't one of those things that it is so easy to get people to almost instantly agree upon as going to war is. Maybe if the US had a history of reigning with renewables, so that it could be used to induce a nostalgic fever the way that US industrial dominance or relative economic might can be so easily used? You'd think there was some kind of angle that a good communicator could use to get the people to rally around the concept of infrastructure build out and robust renewable adoption. But anything like that is going to run right into the story arc of no taxes that currently dominates the hearts of the people.
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Re: The Green New Deal and the Growth of Renewables

Unread postby Tanada » Sat 13 Apr 2019, 14:33:36

Newfie wrote:Renewables has something in common with drug usage. It’s like going from opium to heroin to opioids. The underlying problem is the idea that we can not live on less energy. As long as we are addicted to energy use we will burn every available calorie no matter the source.

The only way to reduce green house gasses is to convince folks to use far, far less energy. If we reduce the overall amount of energy use by 50%, and retain our renewables, then we are doubling the share of renewable power.

The GND is a scam to get us to buy into a huge infrastructure project; more, More, MORE.

No! Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.


Here we differ. I firmly support reduce, reuse, recycle, however I firmly believe a fission powered future will supply abundant energy without CO2 emissions. Even better, by planting crops like maize and then sequestering the corn stover we can draw down the atmospheric CO2 once we stop adding to the burden. It has been estimated that the USA alone could produce enough corn stover bales each year to offset 1/3rd of our CO2 emissions. Eliminate the emissions and sequester the excess crop residue and you can reverse the CO2 burden about 1/3rd as fast as we emitted it in the first place. Multiply that by every farming nation on the planet and we could reduce atmospheric CO2 faster than we originally put it into the atmosphere, but only if we get off fossil fuel burning first.

As for Infrastructure, I think I have made it clear I am a huge advocate of building long lasting infrastructure that only needs replacement on 50-100-200 year cycles. Building a road that has to be replaced every 20 years is ridiculous, we know how to build them to last. We just choose not to so we can keep the road crews happy.
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Re: The Green New Deal and the Growth of Renewables

Unread postby Newfie » Sat 13 Apr 2019, 15:01:31

Not so much differ as bringing different approaches. We agree we need to get off fossil fuels. If there are additional strategies for doing that then fine.

I don’t support massive infrastructure for renewables that just adds to our already wasteful usage. We need to control that usage. Otherwise it would be just like the “Green Revolution” that promises to eliminate hunger but in reality added more mouths.
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Re: The Green New Deal and the Growth of Renewables

Unread postby Zarquon » Sat 20 Apr 2019, 18:02:22

evilgenius wrote:I don't deny climate catastrophe, but I think there is a whole other reason to pursue renewables. Resource wars are a far more important reason to get away from fossil fuels than climate change, in the near term. By near term I guess I mean the next twenty years. I know, why should anyone who lives in the US worry about that? The US is going to win those wars, isn't it? Probably the answer is, yes. And that's the catch, probably.

The outcome of war is never guaranteed. Never mind what waging those wars would do to the American soul. Losing one of them could prove disastrous without renewables in place as a backstop. You can't tell that to a nation full of emotional people.


You got me thinking... OK, here's a funny little back-of-the-envelope numbers game:

* The cost of the Iraq war was a little higher than the $80 billion Cheney had promised. Estimates range from two to three trillion. Let's be generous and say two trillion dollars.

* Today, you get a Watt of solar power installed for under a dollar, if you build a utility-scale plant (i.e. many MW):
https://news.energysage.com/solar-farms-start-one/
Let's ignore the details, economies of massive scale etc. and say that the money spent on devastating Iraq would have bought the US about 2000 GWp of solar power, IOW two trillion Watts installed.

* Of course we install these panels in Texas, because it's big, sunny and most of it is pretty useless anyway. The NREL online calculator says that 1 KWpeak in Houston should yield about 1400 KWh/year. Default parameters for the calculation, I just picked Premium panels instead of Standard. For my two trillion bucks I can expect a little quality.
https://pvwatts.nrel.gov/pvwatts.php

* Our 2000 GWp would therefore have yielded about 2800 TWh/a. Did I get my numbers right? Lots of zeroes there.

* US Electricity use in 2017 was about 3820 TWh.
https://www.statista.com/statistics/201 ... ince-1975/

Therefore, instead of spending all that borrowed money on the idiotic oil war on Iraq, it could have paid for enough panels to cover more than 70% of US electricity consumption. Saddam would happily keep an eye on the Iranians, ISIS would not have been created, no refugee crisis in Europe etc etc. Of course Exxon et al. would have had to book a few reserves elsewhere. But there you are. Power problem solved.

And before anyone says "But the intermittency!" I say that the equally stupid war in Afghanistan would have paid for the damn batteries. Do your own math on that.
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Re: The Green New Deal and the Growth of Renewables

Unread postby Newfie » Sat 20 Apr 2019, 18:42:02

Thee is no doubt that we spend a tremendous amount to keep our military and their exploits.

But to add to your point, had we spent that money on renewables then we would have been far less exposed to the vagaries of the ME. 911 may well have not happened in the first place. So, yeah, I get it.

Ironically it seems Trump was the less expansionist of the two candidates. I don’t like Trump, nor his militarism, but it is better than the offered alternative.

There is lots to be considered and revised on this from IMHO. For example drone strikes which are simply assassination on foreign soil.
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Re: The Green New Deal and the Growth of Renewables

Unread postby lpetrich » Sat 04 May 2019, 12:58:56

Newfie wrote:Renewables has something in common with drug usage. It’s like going from opium to heroin to opioids. The undelying problem is the idea that we can not live on less energy. As long as we are addicted to energy use we will burn every available calorie no matter the source. ...

The GND is a scam to get us to buy into a huge infrastructure project; more, More, MORE.

I disagree. Renewable sources are VERY valuable, and enough development of them should be able to give a First-World-scale lifestyle to everybody on our planet. It should also make possible mining of garbage dumps and desalination of seawater on a massive scale, thus solving a lot of resource problems.
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Re: The Green New Deal and the Growth of Renewables

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Sat 04 May 2019, 17:15:14

Every single energy infrastructure renewal in this country is underfunded. By the time green power sources come on line, energy demand has increased, no FF plants are retired, we run both the existing plant, the new green plant, and we start building again to meet future demand.

That will continue to happen unless two things happen, which are demand infrastructure renewal, and mandatory energy conservation for everyone.

For example, there is a Federal energy standard for new homes called Energy Star. Compliance with the standard is entirely voluntary for new homes, with no requirement to retire non-compliant structures. An older uninsulated home can consume 10X the energy as a compliant structure. Not to mention, the Energy Star standard is arguably far too little to solve the problem, as other standards such as the European PassivHaus specify structures tha use less than a third the energy of an Energy Star structure.
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Re: The Green New Deal and the Growth of Renewables

Unread postby Plantagenet » Sat 04 May 2019, 17:23:50

lpetrich wrote: Renewable sources are VERY valuable, and enough development of them should be able to give a First-World-scale lifestyle to everybody on our planet....


Why do you think everyone on the whole planet should live with a "First-World scale lifestyle"? What is so great about everyone in the whole world living just like you do?

IMHO One of the great treasures of our planet is the incredible diversity of cultures and lifestyles that humans have developed through the millennia. I don't see why its desirable for everyone on the planet to give up their own cultures and lifestyles and switch to living a "First-World lifestyle" instead.

Cheers!
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Re: The Green New Deal and the Growth of Renewables

Unread postby kublikhan » Sat 04 May 2019, 17:35:58

KaiserJeep wrote:Every single energy infrastructure renewal in this country is underfunded. By the time green power sources come on line, energy demand has increased, no FF plants are retired, we run both the existing plant, the new green plant, and we start building again to meet future demand.
That's not what's been happening in this country. Total energy demand has been more or less flat for over the last decade. Coal plants have been retired. Oil consumption has fallen. Renewables and rising efficiency has taken their place. Total fossil fuel consumption in this country has fallen this past decade.

Code: Select all
US total energy use(in Quads)
Year Gas Coal Oil FFs Renew Nuke  Total
2007 24  23   40  87  7      8     102
2018 31  13   37  81  12     8     101

US energy use 2007
US energy use 2018
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Re: The Green New Deal and the Growth of Renewables

Unread postby Plantagenet » Sat 04 May 2019, 17:41:50

kublikhan wrote:Total energy demand has been more or less flat for over the last decade. Coal plants have been retired. Oil consumption has fallen. Renewables and rising efficiency has taken their place. Total fossil fuel consumption in this country has fallen this past decade.

Code: Select all
US total energy use(in Quads)
Year Gas Coal Oil FFs Renew Nuke  Total
2007 24  23   40  87  7      8     102
2018 31  13   37  81  12     8     101

US energy use 2007
US energy use 2018


Unfortunately, the significant reductions in CO2 emissions from the US in the past decade have been totally swamped by a much much greater increase in CO2 emissions from China.

This clearly shows its not practical to tackle global warming by reducing emissions on a local or even a national basis. Steps must be taken to reduce CO2 emissions on a GLOBAL basis to effectively combat GLOBAL warming.

Cheers!
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Re: The Green New Deal and the Growth of Renewables

Unread postby mmasters » Sat 04 May 2019, 20:46:02

China and India need a green new deal, they are by far the worst offenders. The US shouldn't suffer the most from new regulations just because idiots like Obama and AOC can't see the bigger picture. Totally glad Trump got us out of the Paris Climate deal. What a joke!
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