Archive for the ‘Energy’ Category

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Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)

“CCS is the only way we can reduce carbon dioxide emissions and keep fossil fuels (coal and gas) in the UK’s electricity supply mix” (DECC), and so say many other countries around the globe. Catch the CO2 and push it back underground. Just like waste water from fracking, but on an epic scale, so where are all the protests?

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eu-justiceFrom a memo put out by the unelected EU commissars, compelling evidence for why we should demand an EU referendum before our remaining industries are forced to flee to less oppressive regimes.

What is the Energy Efficiency Communication?

The Communication on “Energy Efficiency and its contribution to energy security and the 2030 Framework for climate and energy policy” (onwards, the Energy Efficiency Communication) does two things:

  1. It assesses whether the EU is on track to reach its 2020 target to increase energy efficiency by 20% and outlines what is necessary to ensure that the target is achieved.

  2. It proposes a new energy saving target of 30% by 2030. This completes the 2030 Framework on Climate and Energy which was adopted by the European Commission on 22 January 2014. The Framework called for a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to 1990 levels and for a renewable energy share of at least 27% of energy consumption, and indicated that the cost-effective delivery of the greenhouse gas emissions reduction target requires increased energy savings (http://ec.europa.eu/energy/2030_en.htm). That is what today’s communication is delivering on. When setting the target, the Commission aims to strike the right balance between expected benefits and costs.

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Reblogged from Euan’s excellent site, Energy Matters.

“The Scottish Government’s targets are for renewable sources to generate the equivalent of 100 per cent of Scotland’s gross annual electricity consumption by 2020.” What will the consequences be for the Scottish People?

This post models Scottish electricity production and consumption in 2020 and compares this with 2012. It is assumed that Scotland’s two nuclear power stations remain operational in 2020. The reader is asked to always recall that the numbers are based on models and the conclusions therefore carry uncertainty. The consequences of this energy policy may be:

  • A large electricity surplus of about 15 TWh may be produced in 2020, worth about £2.5 billion at 17p / KWh.
  • There are currently many ideas but no certainty about where this surplus might go. It seems possible that a large part may simply be wasted.
  • Assuming that marine renewables remain negligible and hydro output remains unchanged in 2020 then the bulk of the expansion in renewables to meet the target will most likely be met by wind that will require a 5 fold increase relative to 2012.
  • In an independent Scotland the subsidy payments currently made to renewables companies by 63 million UK citizens would fall pro rata on the shoulders of 5.3 million Scottish citizens. This, combined with the 5 fold increase in wind capacity may mean a 25 fold increase in the level of renewable subsidy born by Scottish electricity consumers. Electricity bills may double.

In summary, the Scottish Government energy plan may result in a large electricity surplus that at present has nowhere to go, the number of wind turbines may increase 5 fold and electricity bills may double.

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Australia repeals carbon tax

Posted: July 19, 2014 by Andrew in climate, Energy, Politics

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Note from the co-moderator. We welcome Andrew as a new Talkshop contributor.

The biggest story in energy and climate politics, by a mile this week, is the news that at 11:15 EST Thursday the Australian Senate voted 39-32 to repeal the Climate Tax.

Following the vote, Prime Minister Tony Abbott declared it a “Useless destructive tax, which damaged jobs, which hurt families’ cost of living & which didn’t actually help the environment”. Tony Abbott made removing the bill the key promise of his election campaign.

Not everything has run smoothly for supporters of the repeal. In the days before the Senate vote Clive Palmer, leader of the PUP with 3 key senators, stood next to Al Gore while apparently discussing an emissions trading scheme. He then prevented the first attempt to repeal the bill. After the vote Opposition leader Bill Shorten described Abbott as an “environmental vandal”. This comes on the eve of Australia hosting the G20.

The reaction has been global. The Guardian is not amused, Graham Readfern writes “Science denial, so-called “free market” ideology and the interests of the fossil energy industry are the termites chewing away at the base all efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions”.

Slate ” In Australia, as the Simpsons joke goes, the water goes down the toilet counterclockwise . Now with its government voting to repeal the country’s tax on Carbon – in the process killing it’s most significant means of reducing greenhouse gas emissions – it seems that Australia’s new Prime Minister Tony Abbott, is determined to take the country in the same direction”. While some on Twitter hope for other countries to punish Australia.

On the other hand The Wall Street Journal headline simply  reads ” Tony Abbot shows that climate absolutists have a problem : democracy”. There is an Emission Reduction Fund White Paper as consolation for the supporters of the bill, but the Abbott Government seems intent on further cuts to the Green gravy train.

H/T to ‘intrepid Wanders‘ for this repost from the Uni of Reading meteorology section. No settled science here, and lab model derived from far IR wavebands used in climate models and energy budget diagrams rests on a bunch of assumptions. Who knew? Obviously not Trenberth, who has no error bounds on his energy budget. So along with cloud microphysics getting the predicted absorption of energy by clouds wrong by a large margin, we have big uncertainty in the spectral absorption lines of water vapour. Ho hum. Business-as-usual in climate science land.

Water vapour continuum

  In addition to the spectral lines, it has long been recognized that water vapour possesses a continuum absorption which varies relatively slowly with wavelength and pervades the entire IR and microwave spectral region. This has a marked impact on the Earth’s radiation balance with consequences for understanding present day weather and climate and predicting climate change. It is also important for remote sensing of the Earth and its atmosphere.

  Discovered by Hettner (1918) as a low-frequency component of water vapour absorption in atmospheric transparency window 8-14 mcr, this phenomenon remained unexplained for 20 years, until Elsasser (1938) suggested that the continuum is an accumulated far-wingcontribution of strong water vapour spectral lines from neighbour bands. This hypothesis was generally accepted until the end of 70th years when the strong quadratic pressure dependence of the continuum absorption (which could not be explained by Lorentz (1906) line profile) as well as the strong negative temperature dependence have been detected (Bignell et al.,1963;Penner and Varanasi,1967). In this connection Penner and Varanasi (1967) and Varanasi et al. (1968) suggested that the main contribution to the self-continuum could be caused not by far wings of water monomer lines but rather by water dimers. Similar assumption was made also by Viktorova and Zhevakin (1967) for microwave spectral region.

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There has been some progress in the greenhouse. On the ‘toy planet’ thread, physicist Tim Folkerts now agrees with me that longwave infra-red radiated from the air towards the surface doesn’t directly heat the ocean but makes it harder for the ocean to cool. In my view this is due to IR radiation from the ocean making the air warm, reducing the temperature differential between ocean and air, slowing the rate of the Sun warmed ocean’s heat loss. Tim says:

LWIR is indeed incapable of “heating” the oceans in the strict sense of the word (net transfer of thermal energy). The best it can do is aid in making it “a far more difficult task escaping” for the energy.

But it’s hard for him to let go of ingrained notions, so his next comment is full of ambiguities, which I have tried to deal with in my followup comment:

Tim Folkerts: The DWIR DOES amount to ~ 330 W/m^2.

Fine, no problem.

This energy DOES get absorbed by the ocean.

In the top few microns, and is soon re-emitted along with an additional ~60W/m^2 IR, upwards.

The ocean IS warmer than it would be without this DWIR from the atmosphere.

But not because it is absorbed and re-emitted from the top few microns of ocean. The thermalisation of IR in the bulk air helps keep the air warm and that warm air slows the sun warmed ocean’s heat loss.

But the reason the air is warm is because the ocean warms it with the energy it emits into it which is absorbed and re-emitted, or conducted to the O2 and N2 in the air, by water vapour (from the ocean) and co2 (mostly from the ocean). Air has very little heat capacity of its own, and is nearly transparent to incoming solar short wave radiation. And this ocean warmed air is usually convecting upwards.

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From the Guardian

Pipes and pylons operator says failure to invest more in local gas production would leave country 90% dependent on imports

The price of electricity could double over the next two decades, according to forecasts published on Thursday by the National Grid, the company responsible for keeping Britain’s lights on.

The current price of wholesale electricity is below £50 per megawatt hour but could soar to over £100 by 2035 under a “high case” example used in the Grid’s UK Future Energy Scenarios report.

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The mainstream climatologists are fond of telling us that additional co2 increases the ‘Effective Height of Emission’ of radiation to space by ‘Greenhouse Gases’, and that this must cause a rise in surface temperature because the lapse rate from the average temperature of 255K at the ‘EEH’ to the surface will mean a higher temperature. That lapse rate is what is shown by the slanting red line from surface to tropopause in Fig 1 below.

atm-temp-profile

Figure 1: The atmospheric temperature profile of Earth

But there are some problems with this theoretical scenario.

The 255K figure is derived from the 240W/m^2 solar shortwave radiation incoming to the Earth’s climate system AFTER a proportion has been removed to account for reflection by clouds. But the models underestimate the amount of solar radiation absorbed by clouds because the fundamental physics of light scattering in clouds is poorly understood.

Although we are told a change in the EEH ‘must’ change the surface temperature, no viable mechanism is offered to explain how this imperative ‘must’ will be enforced.  The more rational proponents of the enhanced greenhouse effect hypothesis long ago abandoned trying to claim ‘downwelling longwave radiation’ heats the ocean, since nearly all LW emitted in wavelengths absorbed by water vapour and co2 is absorbed with a kilometre of the surface, all downwelling longwave from above a kilometre above the surface will be absorbed, converted to sensible heat, and convected back  upwards before reaching the surface too. In any case, the 10% of LW reaching the surface from on high can’t penetrate the ocean surface by more than a few nanometres.

So much for radiative theory, but what can a look at the data for the vertical temperature profile shown in Fig 1 tell us that might be really useful?

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From Benny Peiser by email:

Europe’s Energy Security At Risk From Green & Russian Lobbies

Russian-bear-cartoonHow far will Russian President Vladimir Putin go to stop fracking in Europe? Tint his thinning hair an eco-friendly color? According to NATO Secretary General Anders Rasmussen, Russia’s myriad intelligence agencies are working directly with European environmental groups to fund anti-fracking campaigns. Putin is doing this to slow the spread of the U.S. shale revolution across the Atlantic so Russia can hold on to its monopoly of the European natural gas market. Europe’s energy insecurity – its dependence on Russian gas – has proven to be Putin’s favorite tool of geopolitical blackmail. Putin can continue to funnel rubles to Europe’s environmental activist groups and hope to slow the spread of the shale revolution. But Russian dominance of the European gas market is on borrowed time. –William F. Shughart II, Forbes, 4 July 2014

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Friends of Poland in UKIP chairman  Przemek Skwirczynski writes an excellent piece at the commentator:

Przemek Skwirczynski: UKIP gets Tories to go Polish on gas, to all our benefit

Blackpools-Shale-Gas-Dril-007As a Pole, loyal to the UK, and therefore to the cause of freedom and original thinking, before joining UKIP over a year ago I perceived it to be the real Conservative grassroots, if not a kind of think tank for open minded people of whatever origin. By now it is obvious that UKIP serves as both grassroots and a think tank in one for both the Tories and Labour.

Whatever policies it comes up with get snapped up by either of the less imaginative mainstream parties.

One of such policies was outlined during UKIP’s September 2013 conference, where the party’s energy spokesman Roger Helmer MEP set out the clean energy case for shale gas (compared to other fossil fuels) but also pointed to what should be done with the gas revenues.

Using Norway as an example, Roger Helmer suggested that the UK should create a sovereign wealth fund through which it could reinvest the profits from fracking, as opposed to spending them on current consumption as was done with the North Sea oil revenues.

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I’m of the opinion that before getting into the complexity of numerical modelling, it’s wise to put considerable effort into trying to understand the physical processes at work in the climate system, and the origins of the energy flows that drive them. David Evans’ recent series of posts over at Jo Nova’s site have generated a lot of interesting discussion (despite being roundly ignored by Anthony Watts at WUWT), and I think we can shed some light on the ‘mysterious 11yr lag’ between solar input and climate response.

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Andrew Orlowski has a hard hitting piece in todays El Reg:

UK govt preps World War 2 energy rationing to keep the lights on
By Andrew Orlowski,

josh-Ed_Lemmings_scr

Visit cartoonsbyjosh.com and buy something!

The UK government will today set out Second World War-style measures to keep the lights on and avert power cuts as a “last resort”. The price to Britons will be high.

Factories will be asked to “voluntarily” shut down to save energy at peak times for homes, while others will be paid to provide their own backup power should they have a spare generator or two lying around. And as part of the government’s wider energy market reforms, electricity producers will be able to name their price for bringing mothballed fossil-fuel-powered plants back on line.

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The aircon effect

Posted: June 9, 2014 by oldbrew in Energy, UHI
Air conditioning sign  [image credit: BBC]

Air conditioning is standard
[image credit: BBC]

Real man-made warming, just for a change…

Some US cities are getting warmer at night due to increased use of air conditioning that expels warm air from buildings.

Of course this is the classic positive feedback loop. As more warm air is expelled, the temperature rises, leading to more people using more aircon to cool down again – and so on.

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Biomass On Fire In Yorkshire

Posted: June 5, 2014 by oldbrew in Energy, flames, Incompetence

oldbrew:

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A strong warning for biomass promoters. Wood pellets are far from safe – they can also emit dangerous amounts of carbon monoxide if stored in confined spaces e.g. on ocean-going ships.

Handling Pellets – Things to Consider

Paul Homewood reports from the scene…

Originally posted on NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT:

By Paul Homewood

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-south-yorkshire-27694978

The BBC report:

Firefighters are spending a third day tackling a major blaze at a wood recycling plant in South Yorkshire.

Four crews have been at the R Plevin and Sons’ site in Crow Edge, near Penistone, since the wood chippings fire was discovered at about 08:10 BST on Monday.

Smoke can seen seen six miles (9.7km) away in Barnsley and smelled from Sheffield, 17 miles (27km) away.

People living near the fire have been asked to keep windows and doors closed.

The blaze could take another two days to put out, South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said.

Station Manager Andy Hoyland said a water pump from a neighbouring brigade was being used to carry water from a nearby reservoir, to help extinguish the fire.

The blaze was “a big job”, said Mr Hoyland.

Wood chipping fire

The blaze, which can be seen and smelled from miles away…

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Bungling BBC Get It Wrong Again

Posted: May 23, 2014 by oldbrew in Energy

oldbrew:

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Britain running out of oil?

Funny – could have sworn the BBC was reporting today that oceans of oil are waiting to be tapped under southern England. The BBC eh – LOL.

The consultation comes as a new report by the British Geological Survey (BGS) estimates there are 4.4bn barrels of oil in shale rocks in southern England.

Perhaps they get a small benefit of the doubt as the oil report wasn’t available at the time of the article below, but surely the author knew something was in the, er… pipeline? (sorry)

Originally posted on NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT:

By Paul Homewood

h/t Dave Ward

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-27435624

According to the BBC:

In just over five years Britain will have run out of oil, coal and gas, researchers have warned.

A report by the Global Sustainability Institute said shortages would increase dependency on Norway, Qatar and Russia.

There should be a “Europe-wide drive” towards wind, tidal, solar and other sources of renewable power, the institute’s Prof Victor Anderson said.

Professor Anderson said: “Coal, oil and gas resources in Europe are running down and we need alternatives.

“The UK urgently needs to be part of a Europe-wide drive to expand renewable energy sources such as wave, wind, tidal, and solar power.”

Apparently it takes real journalists to point out the real facts.

From the Register, Tim Worstall reports:

Comment Among the more surprising things that the BBC revealed to us last week was that the UK was going to run out of…

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image credit: Vattenfall Europe

image credit: Vattenfall Europe

Vattenfall pulled out in early May: ‘The group said that CCS was not among its priorities anymore.’

That puts a big dent in the UK’s carbon storage ambitions announced a few days ago, as discussed here at the Talkshop:
Another financial opportunity for CO2 scare merchants

Press report:
Vattenfall throws the towel in on CCS

CCS process [image credit: European Commission]

CCS process [image credit: European Commission]


It’s well known that there’s big money to be made peddling unproven claims that the world’s climate is under threat from man’s activities, and the BBC seems keen to publicise such things.

The latest idea to join the queue at the ‘climate change trough’ is to charge countries for burying their ‘surplus’ CO2 under the North Sea. It’s a variation of the carbon capture and storage plans that seem to be going nowhere fast.

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For many years, environmental activists have pushed for bans, moratoria, or other restrictions on hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”), alleging the process is a threat to public health and the environment. But in recent months, increasing numbers of environmentalists have distanced themselves from the “ban fracking” agenda. Many have even embraced shale gas on environmental grounds, revealing how extreme and marginalized the campaign to restrict hydraulic fracturing has become.

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From the Telegraph:

woodfire-cavemanTaxing issue for king coal
Drax has fallen victim to the Government’s efforts to clean up the way we generate energy in this country. The majority of electricity in the UK still comes from our fleet of coal-fired power stations, of which Drax is one of the biggest in Europe. However, that is all set to change as the Government steadily increases the amount of tax it charges from this year on power generated by burning coal. The Government is trying to shift to cleaner and more modern gas-fired power stations. In order to survive, Drax has drawn up plans to convert its coal-fired generators to run on vast amounts of wood chip, or biomass.

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National Grid monitor [image credit: gridwatch]

National Grid monitor
[image credit: gridwatch]


The climate alarm-favouring Guardian poses an unlikely question. Advocates for and against are the chief executive of Renewables UK and a Conservative who runs a website called ConservativeHome.

Since it offers a choice of views let’s give it a go, just this once.

Maria McCaffery and Mark Wallace debate the costs, subsidies and future of windfarms