Severe Floods hit Oaxaca and Colima , Mexico – August 11-12, 2020

National Infrastructure Commission: Renewables could meet two-thirds of UK’s energy demand by 2030

By Paul Homewood

h/t Robin Guenier

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According to the Commission’s ‘Renewables, Recovery and Reaching Net-Zero’ report, published today (11 August), there is “no material cost impact, either over the short or long term”, of deploying renewables at an accelerated pace, in line with the nation’s net-zero target. The Commission had previously said, in line with the UK’s original Climate Change Act target of reducing net emissions by 80% by 2050, that renewables should account for 50% of consumption by mid-century.

By 2050, electricity generation should stand at a minimum of 465 TWh, compared to 345TWh in 2019. This will account for the electrification of sectors such as heat and transport, as well as population growth and digitisation.

The report models a variety of scenarios in which the 65% quota is met by 2050, concluding that between 86GW and 99GW of generation must be deployed by the end of 2030 – including a minimum of 40GW of offshore wind. The UK’s Offshore Wind Sector Deal is notably designed to ensure that 30% of electricity generated in the UK comes from offshore wind arrays by 2030, and that capacity increases fivefold through to 2050.

Offshore wind should be complemented with large-scale solar and energy storage, the report recommends, to account for varied generation patterns. It does not take biomass into account, nor nuclear, and recommends that the Government approves a maximum of one new nuclear plant, other than Hinkley C, before 2025.

https://www.edie.net/news/10/National-Infrastructure-Commission–Renewables-could-meet-two-thirds-of-UK-s-energy-demand-by-2030

Surprisingly, for a news site that is supposed to be an expert in these matters, EDIE don’t seem to know the difference between ENERGY and ELECTRICITY. Needless to say, the NIC are planning for two thirds of electricity from renewables, nor two thirds of energy!

The NIC plan is the usual mix of wishful thinking, but this is the first time I have seen a detailed breakdown of total system costs, which include both construction and running costs.

Their full dataset is available here, and is based around different scenarios, though they are all similar through to 2030. My summary is taken from the high electrification scenario, which targets 80% renewable generation by 2050.

Excluding generation costs, annual system costs are projected to rise from £6.9bn currently, to £15.3bn in 2030 (all at 2016 prices):

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These essentially reflect the cost of running the grid, which will keep on rising to £25.3 bn by 2050, an increase of £18.4bn from today. They are, in a way, the hidden costs of decarbonising the electricity supply, and come on top of the subsidies for renewables we are familiar with.

Astonishingly, however, the NIC claim that renewable subsidies will sharply fall after 2028:

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These numbers simply do not add up, unless the NIC have assumed much higher wholesale prices. Either way, of course, consumers are shafted.

The OBR are currently projecting that subsidies will carry on rising until 2024/25, when they will amount to £11.4bn – ie ROCs, CfDs and FITs:

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CfDs run for 15 years, which means that none will expire until well after 2030. Furthermore, when Hinckley Point comes on stream it will add £2bn to the total.

Renewable Obligations last for the lifetime of the asset, so these will still be substantial throughout the 2030s, as will FITs.

In all likelihood, therefore, renewable subsidies will be costing consumers up to £15bn a year by 2030, with little respite after that until after 2040.

[I have by the way asked the NIC for their detailed workings here. My guess is that they have assumed that rocketing carbon taxes will force up wholesale power prices, thus making subsidies appear lower).

As with projections from the National Grid and the Committee on Climate Change, the NIC seem to have simply picked renewable capacity targets off the top of their heads, with little thought of how it could be integrated in the overall grid.

About the only mention of the problem is this:

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While we know the CCC live in cloud cuckoo land, it is utterly disgraceful that the supposed technical experts of the NIC should gloss over the potentially catastrophic problems facing the nation’s electricity supply, which would be caused by their recommendations.

As we know, flexible demand may be fine for evening out the peaks and troughs in a day but useless for longer periods of shortfall. And reliance on imported electricity is hugely risky, not least when the rest of northern Europe will likely also be short of wind generation.

Which leaves us with those “storage technologies”. And here is what the NIC suggest:

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So in 2050, when we are reliant on renewables for 80% of our electricity, we will have storage capacity available of 55.7 GWh.

The plan by then is that we will need 596 TWh of generation a year, or 1.63 TWh a day. When the wind does not blow and the sun does not shine, we would therefore have enough storage to last us 49 minutes.

Heaven knows what we are supposed to do for the rest of the winter.

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August 13, 2020 at 02:27PM

Climate change concerns evaporate in US polls

Donald Trump would be delighted if Biden and Harris make climate change a leading issue.

Climate change is the luxury fear people wear on their sleeves when they can afford it. It’s a piece of fashion. Optional and discarded at a moments notice.

Amid COVID-19, Americans don’t care about climate change anymore

Will Johnson, Fortune Magazine

In a survey we at the Harris Poll conducted last December, American adults said climate change was the number one issue facing society. Today, it comes in second to last on a list of a dozen options, ahead of only overpopulation. Among Gen X men, in fact, more than third dismiss climate change as unimportant. COVID-19 and the recession have, of course, reordered priorities around the world.

We asked a panel of U.S. adults a series of questions about today’s most crucial issues, environmental policy options, and their own behavior. In all three categories, I was personally surprised and discouraged to discover that our devotion to the world around us is flagging.

The pandemic is undoing years of activism:

And when the pandemic ends—or at least is suitably controlled—American adults say they’ll behave in ways that […]Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

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August 13, 2020 at 01:31PM

Does this mean it’s okay to lie when journalists are in the room?

Short video – Does this mean it’s acceptable to lie during debates?

Dem VP pick implies she was lying during the debate, and that it is OK for her to lie during debates. It also implies that you can’t trust anything she tells journalists

You may not think this post is climate related until you realize that this liar strongly supports the Socialist-inspired Green New Deal.

Thanks to Winston Smith for this video

The post Does this mean it’s okay to lie when journalists are in the room? appeared first on Ice Age Now.

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August 13, 2020 at 12:50PM

Study outlines five thermal energy grand challenges for decarbonization

Green dreamland

Only five ‘grand’ challenges? Better be quick — we keep hearing there’s supposed to be a climate emergency on. Yes, throw out existing successful energy solutions when there’s nothing of equivalence to replace them with. Then wonder what to do next, while muttering about climate change. Great plan! Or maybe not.
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Solar and wind power are an important part of solving the problem of climate change, but these renewable technologies on their own probably will never provide the energy for many industrial processes, like making steel, reports TechXplore.

Approximately 90 percent of the world’s energy use involves generation or manipulation of heat, including the cooling of buildings and food.

Maintaining modern economies and improving life in developing economies while mitigating climate change will require five major advances in how we convert, store and transmit thermal energy, according to a new paper in Nature Energy from Stanford University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

“Modern renewable technologies are the most inexpensive source of electricity we have today, but solar and wind power are intermittent and account for a small percentage of the world’s energy,” said Arun Majumdar, one of three co-authors and a Stanford professor of mechanical engineering. “We need to increase this percentage, but we also must decarbonize heat and use heat to store electricity from solar and wind.”

The analysis underscores the urgent need to research and develop thermal technology breakthroughs that potentially could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least one gigaton, which is about 3 percent of annual energy-related GHG emissions globally.

“We as a species are endangering ourselves with the infrastructure we have erected to improve our quality of life,” said co-author Asegun Henry, associate professor of mechanical engineering at MIT. “There are a few instances in history when scientists and engineers have come together and achieved something very remarkable in very short timeframes. This must be one of those times.”

Heat as energy storage

One major challenge in thermal engineering is to store excess wind and solar power as heat energy over multiple days and then convert it back into electricity when needed.

The full decarbonization of electricity would reduce man-made, global GHG emissions by about a fourth. Getting 70 percent or more of our electricity from intermittent renewables will require massive additions of electricity storage.

Expanding the most common current technology, pumped hydroelectric storage, is limited by geography, and lithium-ion batteries are too expensive for storing excess renewable power over multiple days.

“The key advantage for thermal energy storage is its potential for low cost at large scale,” said co-author Ravi Prasher, associate laboratory director for energy technologies at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

“While it is relatively easy to convert electricity to heat,” Prasher explained, “the key challenge for thermal energy storage is the large efficiency penalty when converting heat back to electricity.”

Full report here.

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August 13, 2020 at 01:51PM