Archive for the ‘Energy’ Category

fusiongrid
The latest contenders for the elusive fusion crown are reviewed here. Chasing the ‘holy grail’ of energy is an expensive and time-consuming business, as IB Times reports.

In a world struggling to kick its addiction to fossil fuels and feed its growing appetite for energy, there’s one technology in development that almost sounds too good to be true: nuclear fusion, writes Matthew Hall.

If it works, fusion power offers vast amounts of clean energy with a near limitless fuel source and virtually zero carbon emissions. That’s if it works. But there are teams of researchers around the world and billions of dollars being spent on making sure it does.

In February last year a new chapter of fusion energy research commenced with the formal opening of Wendelstein 7-X. This is an experimental €1 billion (A$1.4bn) fusion reactor built in Greifswald, Germany, to test a reactor design called a stellarator.
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Dumper truck symbol = coal production [click on image to enlarge]

Dumper truck symbol = coal production [click on image to enlarge]

Can politicians put sanity ahead of ideology for Australian electricity generation following recent blackout fiascos?

The Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has reinforced his belief in the importance of coal as a pragmatic part of the global energy mix, reports PEI. The Australian online reports Turnbull as saying he had the same opinion while leader of the opposition in 2009.

“We are the biggest coal exporter in the world. If anybody — if any country — has a vested interest in demonstrating that clean coal and cleaner coal with new technologies can make a big contribution to our energy mix — and, at the same time, reduce our emissions in net terms — it’s us.”

“Our approach, and my approach, to energy is absolutely pragmatic and practical. This is not a matter for ideology.” Mr Turnbull said both renewables and fossil fuels would have a role to play in energy production in the future.
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Tim writes,

Enjoy. When I first came across this paper there was a lot of chuckling, can’t be serious, surely?

Well, I can understand someone wanting to quantify the effect, show the laws, make it a warning for any fools who need saving from themselves, ain’t engineers. I’m afraid this paper goes too far off the deep end, hints at meant seriously. Your opinion might differ.

Published PNAS

Harvesting renewable energy from Earth’s mid-infrared emissions
Steven J. Byrnes, Romain Blanchard, and Federico Capasso, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138
Contributed by Federico Capasso, February 3, 2014 (sent for review November 1, 2013)

It is possible to harvest energy from Earth’s thermal infrared emis-
sion into outer space. We calculate the thermodynamic limit for
the amount of power available, and as a case study, we plot how
this limit varies daily and seasonally in a location in Oklahoma.We
discuss two possible ways to make such an emissive energy har-
vester (EEH): A thermal EEH (analogous to solar thermal power
generation) and an optoelectronic EEH (analogous to photovoltaic
power generation). For the latter, we propose using an infrared-
frequency rectifying antenna, and we discuss its operating princi-
ples, efficiency limits, system design considerations, and possible
technological implementations.
http://www.pnas.org/content/111/11/3927.full.pdf

Actual merit? Works at night.

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Credit: evwind.es

Credit: evwind.es


Bloggers and others have been stating the obvious for years: relying on unreliable electricity generation from renewables like wind and solar energy can’t possibly work. For the hard of thinking, the clue is in the word ‘unreliable’. The penny has to drop with political leaders, or at least their voters, sooner or later – surely?
H/T GWPF

The End of the Energiewende? – by German economist Heiner Flassbeck

Stable high-pressure winter weather has resulted in a confrontation. An Energiewende that relies mainly on wind and solar energy will not work in the long run. One cannot forgo nuclear power, eliminate fossil fuels, and tell people that electricity supplies will remain secure all the same.

We have attempted unsuccessfully to find Energiewende advocates willing to explain that inconsistency. Their silence is not easy to fathom. But maybe the events themselves have made the outcome inevitable.

With nuclear power no longer available, a capacity of at least 50 gigawatts is required by other means, despite an enormously expanded network of wind turbines and solar systems.

This winter could go down in history as the event that proved the German energy transition to be unsubstantiated and incapable of becoming a success story.
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Solar towers in California [image credit: ucsusa.org]

Solar towers in California [image credit: ucsusa.org]


It may sound good but California’s Mojave project showed projects like this are not always exactly what they may seem. Scorched birds brought bad publicity for example.

The world’s tallest solar tower is currently being constructed in Israel’s Negev desert, the latest example of the Jewish state’s newfound emphasis on renewable energy, The Tower reports. The tower, which will be 250 meters (820 feet) tall, is encircled by around 50,000 mirrors, called heliostats.

Unlike the more common photovoltaic solar panels, which convert sunlight directly into power, the heliostats reflect the sunlight into the tower to heat a boiler, which will produce the steam to spin a turbine to generate electricity. With a taller tower, more mirrors can be placed in a smaller area to reflect the necessary amount of sunlight to run the turbine. 

There are only about a dozen solar tower fields around the world, including one in California with three towers, each of which is 140 meters (460 feet) tall, surrounded by 170,000 heliostats.

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os_wind
At the end of the day this still looks like trying to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear in terms of efficiency.

The amount of energy generated by renewables fluctuates depending on the natural variability of resources at any given time. The sun isn’t always shining, nor is the wind always blowing, so traditional power plants must be kept running, ready to fill the energy gap at a moment’s notice.

Because the grid has no storage, and unlike coal or nuclear, there is no control over the fluctuating production of renewable energy, the energy they produce has to be consumed straight away, or risk collapsing the electrical grid.

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big-greenVia Jo Nova

The geniuses in the UK government decided to take £10,800 from every UK household to cool the world by a figure which, rounded to the nearest tenth of a degree, is 0.0 degrees C a century from now.

Hot air: Bombshell report shows green levies backed by government will cost the economy £319bn by 2030
The huge sum is three times the annual NHS budget for England
The policy will be adding an average burden of £584 a year to every household by 2020 and £875 by 2030
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The evolution of gas reciprocating engines 

Posted: December 10, 2016 by oldbrew in Energy, innovation
Tags:

recip1
Experts say reciprocating gas engines can respond faster to load changes than any other prime mover, can compete with small gas turbine systems and also help fill in an efficient way the gap left by the lack of energy storage in most grid systems, as Power Engineering reports.

In southern Minnesota, where wind turbines and ethanol plants are commonplace, two communities have turned to reciprocating engine technology to meet their future power generation needs.

The Fairmont Energy Station, a 25-MW project completed in 2014, and the Owatonna Energy Station, a 38-MW project now under construction, feature highly flexible, quick-starting, low-maintenance reciprocating engines suited for today’s market, which places a premium on rapid-cycling capabilities.

Minnesota is home to about 100 wind power projects and ranks No. 7 in net wind power production in the U.S. That means Minnesota power producers must have reliable backup power to fill the sudden gaps created by growing supplies of intermittent wind power. The $30 million Fairmont plant is well suited for the job, capable of reaching full capacity in just eight minutes. That’s significantly faster than power plants using the latest gas turbine technology.

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Carrington Power Station near Manchester

Carrington Power Station near Manchester


Britain has backed itself into a corner over electricity supply by rigging the market to favour renewables, but as the Daily Telegraph explains, things will have to change.
H/T GWPF

As a result of Britain’s energy policies, building new gas-fired power plants is no longer economic. Now, the Government has to subsidise gas investors to keep the lights on.

Four years ago this week, the Government unveiled plans for a bold new dash for gas. New gas-fired power stations, then-energy secretary Ed Davey said, would be required to “provide crucial capacity to keep the lights on”.

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The European Union’s proposals for revising its renewable energy policies are greenwashing and don’t solve the serious flaws, say environmental groups.

The EU gets 65 per cent of its renewable energy from biofuels – mainly wood – but it is failing to ensure this bioenergy comes from sustainable sources, and results in less emissions than burning fossil fuels. Its policies in some cases are leading to deforestation, biodiversity loss and putting more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than burning coal.

“Burning forest biomass on an industrial scale for power and heating has proved disastrous,” says Linde Zuidema, bioenergy campaigner for forest protection group Fern. “The evidence that its growing use will increase emissions and destroy forests in Europe and elsewhere is overwhelming.”

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Credit: atlanticsuperconnection.com

Credit: atlanticsuperconnection.com

The proposed route in to the UK is via Scotland. Could be interesting with Scottish leaders keen on leaving the UK.

A multibillion pound project aimed at using the power generated by Icelandic volcanoes to fuel British households has lined up a major French infrastructure investor to back its development.

Sky News has learnt that Meridiam, a global asset manager…has agreed to finance part of the development cost of a new 1,000-mile-long pipeline between Iceland and the UK.

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Emilia-Romagna, Italy

Emilia-Romagna, Italy


‘European bioenergy plants do not have to produce evidence that their wood products have been sustainably sourced’ – Guardian reporter. Looks like an open invitation to unscrupulous operators to cheat for profit.
H/T GWPF

Protected forests are being indiscriminately felled across Europe to meet the EU’s renewable energy targets, according to an investigation by the conservation group Birdlife.

Up to 65% of Europe’s renewable output currently comes from bioenergy, involving fuels such as wood pellets and chips, rather than wind and solar power.

Bioenergy fuel is supposed to be harvested from residue such as forest waste but, under current legislation, European bioenergy plants do not have to produce evidence that their wood products have been sustainably sourced.

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Facts and Fallacies on World Fossil Fuel Use vs Renewables

Posted: November 18, 2016 by oldbrew in Energy
Tags:

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Robert Lyman dips into the published data and finds that ‘In spite of trillions of dollars spent subsidizing wind and solar generation around the world, it barely registers as a supply source.’

Friends of Science Calgary

INTERNATIONAL ENERGY AGENCY 2016 REPORT ON KEY ENERGY STATISTICS

IMPORTANT POINTS FOR THE CLIMATE DEBATE

Contributed by Robert Lyman © 2016

The International Energy Agency (IEA) is perhaps the premier international authority in terms of collecting data on world energy supply and demand and producing analysis for policy makers. It posts its data online, and each year publishes a report on “key energy statistics”. The following, from the 2016 IEA report, are some notable statistics that call into question the theses that the countries of the world are dedicated to reducing fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions and that wind and solar energy sources will soon replace coal, oil and natural gas.

  • The world total primary energy supply by fuel rose steadily from about 6,100 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe) in 1971 to about 13,700 Mtoe by 2014.

  • In 2014, the shares of primary energy supply by energy source were:…

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Familiar sight in Texas [image credit: StateImpact Texas]

Familiar sight in Texas [image credit: StateImpact Texas]


Close to a trillion dollars worth of oil at today’s prices – this should be music to the ears of the incoming Trump administration. Anti-fossil fuel groups not so much.
H/T GWPF

The US Geological Survey said Tuesday that it found what could be the largest deposit of untapped oil ever discovered in America, reports Business Insider.

An estimated average of 20 billion barrels of oil and 1.6 billion barrels of natural gas liquids are available for the taking in the Wolfcamp shale, which is in the Midland Basin portion of Texas’ Permian Basin. Based on a West Texas Intermediate crude oil price of $45 per barrel, those deposits are worth about $900 billion.

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  • smart-meterDr John Constable: GWPF Energy Editor

The UK’s new secretary of state for Business, Greg Clark, has just given his first public speech on energy. It suggests, unfortunately, that he is not yet sufficiently confident of his brief to resist the views of his civil servants. Indeed, this speech could easily have been written for Ed Miliband, or Chris Huhne, or Ed Davey, and suggests that the rent-seeking green interests in the electricity sector are re-injecting themselves into the national bloodstream through an interventionist industrial strategy. This will result in overcapitalisation and reductions in productivity.

It is now a year since Amber Rudd, then Secretary of State at the Department of Energy and Climate  (DECC) gave her “reset” speech. I was in Japan at the time, and showed the text to an impressed but disbelieving colleague from the University of Tokyo. “This is an ENERGY policy”, he said, as if anything from a British politician would obviously focus on climate change and little else besides.

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Massive costs, high prices, loss of industrial competitiveness and built-in unreliability – welcome to the ‘energy transition’.

STOP THESE THINGS

europe power prices 2

STT has a ‘thing’ for the English language.

In the hands of adept practitioners, our mother tongue is capable of conveying all manner of complex concepts and ideas, and doing so with verve and wit.  However, in the hands of the well-paid spin doctors and useful political idiots that run with, and run cover for, the wind industry, the English lexicon has been forced to suffer all manner of outrageous torments and abuses.

One such victim is the word “transition” and its derivatives.  Politicians of all hues appear to throw that word around with gay abandon, whenever talking about their efforts to foist a heavily subsidised wind powered ‘future’ on their hapless constituents.

As South Australia’s power pricing and supply calamity unfolds, we are repeatedly told by State and Federal politicians alike that this is all part and parcel of “transitioning” to an all renewable powered future.

However, the question…

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US energy sources in 2015 [credit: EIA]

US energy sources in 2015 [credit: EIA]


A ‘$676 billion drag on the economy’ by going down the EU path, or ‘nearly half a trillion dollars’ from fracking? The U.S. chose fracking, as The Daily Caller points out.

The U.S. would lose more than 7 million jobs if it adopted the kind of energy policies popular in many European countries, according to a report published Friday by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The European energy policies would impose a $676 billion drag on the U.S. economy, the report states, and result in Americans paying an extra $4,800 per year to heat their homes.

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Small modular reactor [credit: ANS Nuclear Cafe]

Small modular reactor [credit: ANS Nuclear Cafe]


With enough government backing SMRs could be a competitive alternative to unreliable renewables in the long term. PoliticsHome reporting.

Small modular reactors (SMRs) could be operating in the UK by 2030 and the Government has a crucial role to play in encouraging early investor confidence, according to a new report by the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI). 

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As the article below says:
‘The tiny contribution of wind and solar to grid electricity cannot make up for the loss of more traditional electricity sources due to low prices.’

One of many problems with renewables unfortunately. And its even more unfortunate when those problems seem to be getting ignored by those in charge of our electricity supplies.

STOP THESE THINGS

kites Wind can be a whole lot of fun – while it lasts …

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Intermittent Renewables Can’t Favorably Transform Grid Electricity
Our Finite World
Gail Tverberg
31 August 2016

Many people are hoping for wind and solar PV to transform grid electricity in a favorable way. Is this really possible? Is it really feasible for intermittent renewables to generate a large share of grid electricity? The answer increasingly looks as if it is, “No, the costs are too great, and the return on investment would be way too low.” We are already encountering major grid problems, even with low penetrations of intermittent renewable electricity: US, 5.4% of 2015 electricity consumption; China, 3.9%; Germany, 19.5%; Australia, 6.6%.

In fact, I have come to the rather astounding conclusion that even if wind turbines and solar PV could be built at zero cost, it would not make sense to continue to add them to…

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Electricity prices going way up and security of supply heading down – is this really what people want, or do they just not yet realize where this is going?

STOP THESE THINGS

warning_health-hazard-405x300

America has some perfect examples of what not to do, if it wants to remain an industrial and manufacturing power-house, with a standard of living that much of the World can only envy.

South Australia has set the pace with spot prices that rocket in minutes from $70 per MWh to $2,000 to $4,000 and all the way to the regulated market price cap of $14,000 per MWh, every time wind power output collapses on a total and totally unpredictable basis.

And much of Europe is in the same boat: think Spain, Germany, Denmark and the UK.

From what’s coming out of the USA, Americans don’t seem that keen to follow the path set by countries facing social and economic disaster, thanks to their ludicrous attempts to run on sunshine and breezes.

Donn Dears LLC is among them.

Europe’s High Cost of Renewables
Power for USA
Donn Dears
19 July…

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