Rupert Darwall: Europe’s Energy Crack-Up

Posted: January 22, 2018 by tallbloke in Big Green, Critique, Energy, government, Incompetence

biomassExcerpt from National Review.  Whichever way you look at it, burning the world’s carbon sinks to meet the EU’s arbitrary renewable-energy targets is environmentally insane. Not only will the voracious appetite of Europe’s power stations for American timber threaten valued woodland habitats in forests across Louisiana, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, and Virginia, it has damaging economic effects, as it pushes up the price of timber, with knock-on effects to the cost of building new homes. Without question, it is better for the environment to burn coal and plant trees than to cut down trees and burn them in power stations.

Since 2008, the growth of bioenergy — much of it sourced from North American woods and forests — has provided around half the expansion of renewable energy. The practice also highlights Britain’s hypocrisy as a co-founder of the Powering Past Coal alliance. Britain’s war on coal and huge subsidies for bioenergy has led to the conversion of the Drax coal-fired power station, formerly Europe’s largest, to burning wood pellets imported from the U.S. Just this week, Drax announced it is going to convert its fourth boiler from coal to wood. “Powering past coal” turns out to mean replacing coal with wood, achieved by burning American trees. Is this what greens want for developing nations?

At last year’s Davos meeting, Bangladeshi prime minister Sheikh Hasina rounded on Al Gore when he criticized her government’s plans for a modern, low-emission coal plant. It’s no wonder that developing nations’ leaders are looking to the Trump administration for responsible energy-policy realism. The indications are that it will respond with a Clean Coal Alliance to push the technology and innovation agenda unveiled at last November’s Bonn climate conference.

This development couldn’t come too soon, as the West risks lagging behind the East in development of supercritical and ultra-supercritical coal technologies, which convert coal to electricity with great efficiency and lower emissions. Whereas the U.S. has one ultra-supercritical power station and 69 supercritical plants, according to an analysis last year by the Center for American Progress, of China’s 100 most efficient coal-fired power stations, 90 are ultra-supercritical.

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  1. oldbrew says:

    Even so-called sustainable forestry practices incur “carbon debt,” with carbon paybacks running into decades and even centuries.

    Clearly this mad policy can never work.

  2. Saighdear says:

    Och it’s all as crazy as that nonsense about letting ppl out of jail v early for major serious offences, etc. Dunno WHY someone doesn’t knock some heads together for as much pain and as slooooowly as possible – so the Pain sinks in. . all getting way beyond a joke.

  3. stpaulchuck says:

    What did you expect? this is ‘Idiocracy 2.0’.

  4. BoyfromTottenham says:

    We are all watching to see what DJT has to say at Davos (other than ‘we need more snowplows’), and how the EU participants respond. Not long to wait, unless they cancel it due to excess ‘snow-bull warming’.

  5. oldbrew says:

    What happens when you try to rely on unreliables….

    The European Union is to provide €578 million to build a power link between Spain and France to carry excess Spanish renewable energy and release one of Europe’s worst network bottlenecks.

    The EU aims for each member state to reach at least a 10 percent interconnection level. Spain is currently at six, according to Commission figures.

    Why is this news?
    Because the grant is such a big one. It will be the EU’s largest-ever grant for energy infrastructure.

    Construction of the 370-kilometre Franco-Spanish subsea power cable across the Bay of Biscay will nearly double current power exchange capacity to 5,000 megawatt.

    These two countries have a large land border :/

  6. oldbrew says:

    EU ‘energy’ policies lead to expensive power which leads to…

    The new EU Energy Poverty Observatory will be launched on Monday 29 January, at an event in Brussels hosted by Energy Union Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič and Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete. Roughly 9% of the EU population struggle to attain adequate warmth.