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Green, ethical, energy issues in the news (last 2 weeks)

edited 9 October 2018 at 9:41AM in Green & Ethical MoneySaving
5.3K replies 417K views
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  • edited 24 July 2019 at 10:29AM
    GreatApeGreatApe
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    edited 24 July 2019 at 10:29AM
    Piddles wrote: »
    I eventually found the source.

    You have to register to download the detailed map, but you can get reasonable detail by just zooming in on your browser on the ones on the above page.

    They have both solar and wind maps and they are really fascinating.

    For example, two areas that have both suitable wind and high solar have longstanding serious political and economic problems that maybe, just maybe, could be resolved with increased international attention.

    Western Sahara has been in a mess since the Spanish colonialists moved out. I tried to visit once, but couldn't because of all the mines. Could they potentially supply much of Europe?

    Somalia's problems, on the other side of Africa, are probably more familiar. Their position could be more pivotal in global emissions by supplying clean new capacity to India's ever growing economy?

    Apparently (anecdotally), the geology of both areas might lend themselves to underground storage of hydrogen (empty aquifers, etc.), so if it makes it out of the lab in a decade or so, it could help with seasonal demands in the northern hemisphere.


    You'd rather build two wind farms in your less windy back yard than build one wind farm thousands of miles away in someone else's back yard

    Mass wind power or solar power export over long distances are not going to happen nor is it necessary. Electricity stored as hydrogen is also not at all likely but again it's mostly not needed

    It's probably unnecessary but if you want to tap into strong winds you'd be better off invention floating wind farms for nations/areas where the sea is too deep for fixed foundations. There is more or less infinite wind if you have affordable floating offshore wind farms and you don't make yourself dependant on another nation to not screw you over


    Also if you do nuclear heating your demand for electricity falls considerably

    UK non heating electricity demand is about 265 TWh we have another 70TWh demand for electrical heating (electric showers electric tanks electric heaters for homes offices shops etc)

    So you could have a UK of

    265 TWh electricity needs
    70 TWh for transportation BEVs
    Future demand 335 TWh aka the same as today

    If you don't do nuclear heat but do heat pumps and electrical heating you'd need something closer to 550TWh of electricity and a lot of it concentrated in the coldest 4 months and you'd need a lot of hope that you don't have a windless winter week else you'd be freezing people to death. Ahhhh but hydrogen....haha
  • GreatApeGreatApe
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    Amen.

    Germany gets lots of stick for its use of lignite but at least it seems to be moving in the right direction. Perhaps not quite fast enough, but unlike here you suspect that there is more political will behind the moves.

    It's mostly a PR stunt to believe the Germans are trying harder
    Germany is moving slow. The UK has/is decarbing its grid much more rapidly and of course France has been very low fossil fuel for three decades now.
    We committed to closing our coal plants much sooner
    We committed to a carbon tax
    Both those combined mean by as soon as 2024 we will be upto 80-90% non fossil in our grid
    We are at least a decade in front of the Germans for our grid

    Germany could actually do the same. Commit to a 50 euro/ton carbon tax on its power stations and close down all its coal plants by 2024. It would very rapidly decarb.

    If Germany wanted to do something she should ban fossil car production in its borders by 2030

    Heating is the most difficult to solve
    Germany or the UK have no real plan for this not a joined up rapid plan
    The only hope seems to be install 40 million heat pumps that will cost £400 billion and only last 15-20 years but what do you power those heat pumps with in a winter's week when the wind don't blow? The answer seems to be hope we will power them with hope.

    While an individual home can install a heat pump if the nation tried to install 30-40 million we would add perhaps 50GW to peak winter demands which means we would need to build 50 large gas fired power stations. Plus probably significant grid upgrades

    You lot are too far behind. The grid is solved. Figure out how you will solve heating.
    You will probably need the government to give huge grants to households to switch to heat pumps
    Slow expensive and of too many people take it up it causes grid problems and the need for new fossil power stations
  • PiddlesPiddles Forumite
    123 posts
    Martyn1981 wrote: »
    But don't forget the 'cf'. Predictability and consistency have value too. The UK offshore wind farms generate approx 85% of the time, and the whole fleet 100% of the time.

    Also, there's a chance that off-shore wind generation costs could fall to onshore costs due to the monstrous scale of the WT's. I'm not sure on-shore can get anywhere near those sizes as transporting blades across land is tricky, even with specialised trucks. The Chinese are looking at utilising airships for this purpose, whereas building blades at a port based facility solves the issue. Straight onto transport ships and giant crane ships, whereas the cranes for on-shore have to be transported across land, roads built, and moved for each install, which is 'easy' for a ship crane.
    All good points, in particular I hadn't appreciated the problem of getting the hardware to site.

    However, I came across the table in the link at the bottom. It doesn't look like a particularly authoritative website, but is allegedly drawn from the US DOE Annual Energy Outlook 2019. What the US does is obviously far, far important for emissions than little old UK, and that table was saying that Hydro, geothermal, PV solar and onshore wind all came in equal first, closely followed by CC Natural Gas. Nuclear, offshore wind and biomass were way, way off. Offshore nearly three times more expensive than onshore.... :eek:

    COST COMPARISON OF ENERGY SOURCES 2019
  • edited 24 July 2019 at 2:42PM
    zeupaterzeupater Forumite
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    edited 24 July 2019 at 2:42PM
    Piddles wrote: »
    All good points, in particular I hadn't appreciated the problem of getting the hardware to site.

    However, I came across the table in the link at the bottom. It doesn't look like a particularly authoritative website, but is allegedly drawn from the US DOE Annual Energy Outlook 2019. What the US does is obviously far, far important for emissions than little old UK, and that table was saying that Hydro, geothermal, PV solar and onshore wind all came in equal first, closely followed by CC Natural Gas. Nuclear, offshore wind and biomass were way, way off. Offshore nearly three times more expensive than onshore.... :eek:

    COST COMPARISON OF ENERGY SOURCES 2019
    Hi

    ... yet even on that cost comparison there's ample room for improvement ...

    The LCOE for PV is showing $38/MWh, yet contracts in California are reportedly being awarded at below $20, with PV generation supplied via storage is still less at ~$33/MWh (previous discussion solar in the news thread) .... now that really does makes a considerable difference ....

    HTH
    Z
    "We are what we repeatedly do, excellence then is not an act, but a habit. " ...... Aristotle
    B)
  • PiddlesPiddles Forumite
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    Climate change: 12 years to save the planet? Make that 18 months

    So the future of the planet all boils down to whether or not Trump gets re-elected in 2020.
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  • Martyn1981Martyn1981 Forumite
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    Piddles wrote: »
    All good points, in particular I hadn't appreciated the problem of getting the hardware to site.

    However, I came across the table in the link at the bottom. It doesn't look like a particularly authoritative website, but is allegedly drawn from the US DOE Annual Energy Outlook 2019. What the US does is obviously far, far important for emissions than little old UK, and that table was saying that Hydro, geothermal, PV solar and onshore wind all came in equal first, closely followed by CC Natural Gas. Nuclear, offshore wind and biomass were way, way off. Offshore nearly three times more expensive than onshore.... :eek:

    COST COMPARISON OF ENERGY SOURCES 2019

    TBH I was really talking about the UK, where off-shore wind is going to be the big engine, supported by a mix of others.

    In the US, they have better (cheaper and more consistent) PV, and vast land resources for on-shore wind. Ironically, Texas, 'black gold' territory is excellent for both.

    If you look at most reports on 100% RE, analysis tends to suggest globally PV will provide 70%(ish) of all energy, but the UK gets only a minority from PV.

    I'm no engineer, nor expert on wind, but I'd assume that monster on-shore WT's would perform just as well as off-shore, but as discussed, transporting the equipment, especially the blades is hard, and if you see photos of the blade/nacelle installs, the cranes aren't big, they are absolute giants, which need areas prepared beforehand and large mats laid out to spread the weight.

    Not knocking on-shore at all, but if it can't match off-shore in WT size, then off-shore might catch it in terms of cost due to that advantage.

    Might be wrong, but I think on and off shore wind generation don't match exactly, which I suppose makes sense as geographical differences are bound to have an effect, so a mix of both, for the UK, helps to spread out generation, so I tend to think of them as different tools in the RE toolbox, and the more we have, the more reliable and stronger UK RE is overall.

    Tracked down an old vid showing specialised trucks in China transporting WT blades, absolutely brilliant:

    Trucks Carry Massive Wind Turbine Blades to the Top of a Mountain
    Mart. Cardiff. 5.58 kWp PV systems (3.58 ESE & 2.0 WNW)

    For general PV advice please see the PV FAQ thread on the Green & Ethical Board.
  • PiddlesPiddles Forumite
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    Climate change: Current warming 'unparalleled' in 2,000 years

    "Mr President! Mr President! Could you look over here for a second!"

    _107998019_206830.jpg
  • PiddlesPiddles Forumite
    123 posts
    Martyn1981 wrote: »
    TBH Not knocking on-shore at all, but if it can't match off-shore in WT size, then off-shore might catch it in terms of cost due to that advantage.

    Might be wrong, but I think on and off shore wind generation don't match exactly, which I suppose makes sense as geographical differences are bound to have an effect, so a mix of both, for the UK, helps to spread out generation, so I tend to think of them as different tools in the RE toolbox, and the more we have, the more reliable and stronger UK RE is overall.]
    For me it's still about getting the cost of RE electricity down to out compete fossil fuels in real terms. For the UK of course, but really for the areas of the world that are building new capacity for their fast growing economies, as climate change is truly global, what happens there effects us just as much.

    New offshore may be "subsidy free", but it doesn't pay for its systems costs or backup costs. As you allude to, onshore can be placed closer to demand or strategic points on the grid at a lower systems cost that offsets its generally lower performance.

    It appears that the onshore 125m blade tip height effective planning restriction has ironically pushed investment into offshore and partly contributed to the amazing fall in offshore costs.

    But that onshore 125m height restriction needs to go.
    Last week Michael Parker, head of business development in Europe for Innogy's onshore wind business, argued that for onshore projects to cut costs to a level where they could compete in the merchant market without the security of long term contracts larger turbines would be needed than the 125 metres that appears to be the defacto limit for new projects in the UK.

    "That's the balance - which is it that people want?" he said. "Do they want subsidies or do they want increased tip [height]? Because merchant projects are undoubtedly possible in the UK because of the wind resource we have, what we need to do now though is increase that tip height."

    His comments were echoed by Edwards at Cornwall Insight who said an analysis by the Onshore Wind Cost Reduction Taskforce found that LCOE savings of between £4MWh and £7MWh were possible with tip height and rotor diameter optimisation for onshore wind. "The latest turbine specifications claim to improve load factors by as much as 26 per cent," he added. "While restrictions on onshore wind turbine height are maintained, projects will be unable to take advantage of these improvements to reduce costs. For onshore wind to keep pace with its offshore counterpart, planning decisions will need to be relaxed."

    He also argued there was a compelling rationale for loosening planning restrictions. "This will not only to benefit consumers with cheaper cleaner energy but help the government towards its decarbonisation targets, not only in terms of facilitating the best conditions for new build onshore wind but also allowing existing sites to be repowered optimally," he explained.

    Could offshore wind soon prove cheaper than its onshore cousin?
    Martyn1981 wrote: »
    Tracked down an old vid showing specialised trucks in China transporting WT blades, absolutely brilliant:

    Trucks Carry Massive Wind Turbine Blades to the Top of a Mountain
    Fantasic video. But they do make it look sooooo easy, slightly undermining your point :rotfl:
  • Martyn1981Martyn1981 Forumite
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    Piddles wrote: »
    For me it's still about getting the cost of RE electricity down to out compete fossil fuels in real terms. For the UK of course, but really for the areas of the world that are building new capacity for their fast growing economies, as climate change is truly global, what happens there effects us just as much.

    New offshore may be "subsidy free", but it doesn't pay for its systems costs or backup costs. As you allude to, onshore can be placed closer to demand or strategic points on the grid at a lower systems cost that offsets its generally lower performance.

    It appears that the onshore 125m blade tip height effective planning restriction has ironically pushed investment into offshore and partly contributed to the amazing fall in offshore costs.

    But that onshore 125m height restriction needs to go.



    Could offshore wind soon prove cheaper than its onshore cousin?

    Fantasic video. But they do make it look sooooo easy, slightly undermining your point :rotfl:

    I'm all for on-shore wind, and I assume potential remains enormous, but there is an element of the best locations (wind levels, access, etc) having been considered first.

    Counter argument comes from Scotland where they seem ready and willing to build out loads more. Good on em.

    I recall German auctions have shown a slight increase in prices lately and disappointing levels of interest. Something like €60/MWh I believe, so UK off-shore might get close, and the German prices exclude grid build out costs.


    Yes, those trucks do make it look easy, but remember those blades are tiny ........ [did he say tiny?] at just 52m and 12tons, whereas the blades for the 12MW Halide are 107m. I don't know the weight, but would it be fair to guess at 8x?
    Mart. Cardiff. 5.58 kWp PV systems (3.58 ESE & 2.0 WNW)

    For general PV advice please see the PV FAQ thread on the Green & Ethical Board.
  • edited 26 July 2019 at 2:41PM
    Martyn1981Martyn1981 Forumite
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    edited 26 July 2019 at 2:41PM
    Piddles wrote: »
    Climate change: Current warming 'unparalleled' in 2,000 years

    "Mr President! Mr President! Could you look over here for a second!"

    _107998019_206830.jpg

    Regarding the US, and the saying 'a picture paints a thousand words', take a look at page 13 of the July 2019 report by the Union of Concerned Scientists:

    Killer Heat in the United States

    Climate Choices and the Future
    of Dangerously Hot Days


    If that doesn't raise alarm, then nothing will. Look at the locations and number of days where 105F+ ('off the charts') is experienced, perhaps 1-10 days pa in Death Valley historically, but going forwards perhaps 20-25% of the contiguous 48 states by mid century. A/C ain't gonna cope at 105F/41C+.

    Edit - I've misstated the information. Off the charts is actually a temp much higher than 105F, somewhere around 130F+.

    Edit - Also page 17 for late century 2070+ results.
    Mart. Cardiff. 5.58 kWp PV systems (3.58 ESE & 2.0 WNW)

    For general PV advice please see the PV FAQ thread on the Green & Ethical Board.
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