Observing the renewable energy transition from a European perspective

Archive for the month “October, 2014”

A Century of US Demonization Propaganda

Putin the Tyrant[source]

Typical US propaganda in action. Just show a picture of a crying woman and link it to Putin. It is simplistically crude, but the US boobs…


…will fall for it, after all, aren’t we exceptional or what?! Anglosphere is the demonization champ in world history.

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Hyper-efficient Volkswagens

This is the worlds most fuel efficient car in 2013 (133 km/liter; 313 MPG), the Volkswagen 313 MPG XL1.
Weight: 771 kg.
Top speed: 160 km/h, 100 mph

Obviously this car is the horror for oil companies and many suspect that that is the real reason why these kind of cars are not allowed in the US, the cartel and 1% Nirvana.

[] – Volkswagen’s New 300 MPG Car Not Allowed In America Because It Is Too Efficient
[] – article debunks claims that XL1 is not allowed on US roads because of Big Oil conspiracy.
[] – We Drove The 261 MPG Volkswagen XL1 In Manhattan Because You Can’t


Hybrid diesel/electricity
Efficiency: 110 km/l, 256.8 mpg
Price: 22200 euro, 28000 $
E-Range: 50 km, 31 mile

[] – VW twin up!
[] – Volkswagen Up Twin Drive concept review

Editor: the standard car is based on an outdated concept. Just position yourself next to a busy road and watch the cars passing by, to verify that the average occupation rate of the standard 5-seater car is ca. 1.25, meaning that 3.75 chairs are superfluous. So why not design a 1 or 2-person car, like the XL1 above?

China Invests in Russian Solar Panel Production


Who: Solar Systems, subsidiary of China’s Amur Sirius
Where: Tatarstan
How much: $1 billion investment volume for 100 MW/year panel production

Russian law requires that panels sold in Russia are to be produced in Russia.

[] – China expected to invest $1bn in Russian solar energy

EIA Projections US Oil Production Until 2040 and Post Carbon Institute Review

Oil projections for US production from all sources according to the EIA.

Breakdown sources Light Tight Oil

‘Most likely’ production scenario according to the Post Carbon Institute compared with EIA findings.

The Post Carbon Institute critically examines the findings of the EIA report about “Light Tight Oil projections”.

[] – Full report (315p): “Drilling Deeper” [pdf]

Editor: the days that we take everything the Post Carbon Institute says for granted are over. Three years ago we started this blog in the expectation that ‘peak oil’ would start to bite soon. It did not, at least not in terms of supply contraction. Ten years ago, after an imprudent diet of Richard Heinberg literature we proclaimed to everybody who wanted to hear that ‘in ten years time Joe Sickpack would not drive a car any longer’. That was obviously wrong. Although there are signs that we approaching ‘peak car’ in terms of car ownership and miles driven, at least in the West (young westerners no longer have car ownership as a high priority), many roads are still congested. It is obvious that the practice of fracking does indeed provide a substantial ‘delay of execution’ of peak oil and hence of the old industrial society with at least a decade. But there are other reasons why peak oil watching and barrel counting has become less prominent on our agenda. It seems that peak oil is not going to be the ‘next big thing’ in the coming years. Financial and geopolitical developments are more interesting. Interesting as in catastrophic.

  • Countdown towards US financial collapse, hand in hand with the ‘dedollarization’ of the world
  • Possibility of US elites attempting the ‘flight forward’ into a police state and/or WW3 in order to stay in power
  • The relentless rise of China
  • The possibility that France could be the first to break the western status quo and move towards Russia
  • On a positive note, all the technological preconditions for a ‘solar economy’ are already fulfilled. From now on it is a matter of investment decisions. Peak oil, yawn.

German Industry at Disadvantage due to High Electricity Prices


RT reports that big German production companies have decided to no longer expand in Germany due to high energy prices.

“German industry is at increasing disadvantage owing to the growing energy price disadvantage that it faces. Average industrial electricity prices in Germany have risen approximately 60 percent since 2007, while prices in the United States and in China have increased less than 10 percent,” market research firm IHS wrote in a study published earlier this year.

[] – Germany goes green, forces energy companies abroad

RT sells German renewable transition efforts as ‘greening of the economy’, as if the environment is the largest concern, where in reality fossil fuel depletion is the real motivation. Germany is gaining long term energy security at the cost of higher energy prices in the short term.

This Is How a 200MW Solar Plant Looks Like


Location: Jin Chang, Gansu Province, China
Power production: 300 million kWh/year
Investment: $300 million (RMB1.8 billion)
Size: 11,416 acres
Status: completed and connected to the grid

[] – JinkoSolar Partners with Jinchuan Group to Complete and Connect the First Phase of China’s Largest 200 MW PV Plant

EU Offers to Guarantee Gas Deliveries to Ukraine


Earlier this week, Russia and Ukraine agreed on the price ($385/1000m3) of Russian gas deliveries for the coming winter. That’s settled then. Oh wait, Ukraine has no money. No worries, there is still the EU, we mean, the European tax payer. EU Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger suggested that if the Ukrainian gas company Naftogaz could not pay for the gas, the EU could buy the gas and resell it to Ukraine, obviously against soft conditions. Another suggestion could be that Russia will subtract the price of gas deliveries to Ukraine from the transfer fees it is paying to Ukraine for the right to transfer gas to Europe, through Ukraine. Europe is Russia’s most important source of income. Gazprom is lukewarm about the idea of the EU playing the cavalier, probably because in this way, Russia is loosing political leverage over Ukraine. Therefor Gazprom points at existing contracts that supposedly forbid reselling practices.

Next week a final agreement is expected between all parties involved.

[] – Ukraine’s multi-billion dollar gas debt: Who pays?

Peak Gold Now?

Youtube text: On behalf of Matterhorn Asset Management, financial journalist Lars Schall talked with exploration geologist and mining entrepreneur Keith Barron. They’ve discussed, inter alia: the challenges for gold mining companies; the effects of a downward rigged gold price on Third World countries; the “inevitability” of a gold price at 5000 USD per ounce in the future; and Barron’s support for the Swiss gold initiative.

*Peak Gold = a moment in time that gold mining peaks

[] – “I believe we’ve seen Peak Gold”, Keith Barron PhD

Country ranking by gold production 2013

Until 1985 the equation was: “gold = South-Africa”. Now China is the largest producer.
China and Russia are still able to increase production, the others are in decline, so the idea of ‘peak gold’ is not far fetched.

[] – List of countries by gold production (2013)

Editor: Keith Barron is an exploration geologist with over 27 years experience in the mining sector. He thinks that the world has reached the maximum gold production level (“peak gold”). Additionally he believes that the US in particular is not honest about its real gold stockpile and that most has been leased or sold.

The Next Generation 7.5MW Windturbines

The next generation 7.5 MW wind turbines in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, northern Germany. 140-Megawatt-Windpark located near Grapzow (Kreis Mecklenburgische Seenplatte). Part of the electricity production is used for hydrogen production.

[] – 7.5 Megawatt Wind Turbines(!) & Power-to-Gas Pilot Project In Germany
[] – Windpark mit größter Wasserstoffspeicheranlage am Netz
Google Maps – Grapzow
[] – Windpark Werder/Kessin

SolaRoad Finally Launched

It is almost two years ago that we reported on an innovative renewable energy project in Holland: SolaRoad. Now that project is finally implemented as a world first.

Photo-voltaic electricity generation requires quit a lot of space. In a very densely populated country like the Netherlands [484/km2], space needs to be treated economically. An example of this principle is: leave wheat production (22 $ cent/kg) to North-Americans and their endless empty plains and instead dominate niche world markets with something more colorful, that brings several dollar per kilo biomass and adds beauty to your landscape as a bonus:

[flower fields of Holland]

Solar panels, same story. The conventional approach of solar panels is to place panels on a roof and combine electricity generation with the protection function against wind, rain and cold. But there is a new possibility of dual use of the scarce space resource: roads. The idea behind Solaroad is to combine the transportation function of a road with the possibility of photo-voltaic electricity generation.

Potential Holland: 450 km2 road. Assuming a yield of 130 kWh/m2/year, as well as a reduction of 30% due to sub-optimal placement of the road panels (not optimal directed towards the sun), this theoretically could result in a maximum electricity production of the Dutch road system of 45 billion kWh/year. An average Dutch household consumes 3500 kWh/year. Distribution of these 45 billion kWh over 7 million Dutch households results in 6430 kWh/household. In other words, the Dutch road system alone could provide enough energy to power all Dutch homes and additionally generate a lot of surplus energy that could be used for transportation and industry.

And reserve the scarce fields for cows, vegetables and flowers, rather than solar panels. Although Holland is one of the smallest countries in the world, it is nevertheless the second largest agricultural exporter, not too far behind the US (240 times as big as Holland) and before Germany and France. Solaroad could help create the conditions for Holland to stay in the upper regions of the global agricultural production pecking order.

[] – Niederlande bauen ersten Solarradweg der Welt

SolaRoad Dutch language video.

The idea is picked up elsewhere as well

The idea has been promoted for years by the American couple Julie und Scott Brusaw. Now it is happening in the Netherlands for the first time.


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