Observing the renewable energy transition from a European perspective

Archive for the month “June, 2015”

Global Warming in the Netherlands – NOT

max-temp-nl[] The maximum temperatures during 1988-2015 were indeed higher than 1952-1988, but not higher than 1910-1948.

We don’t have strong opinions about climate change / global warming, neither for nor against. We simply haven’t paid enough time to study the subject to form an opinion. But in the case of tiny Holland we are not yet convinced that global warming is real.

Buying Renewable Energy Straight From The Source

Dutch TV add offering electricity directly from renewable producers.

[] – van de bron (from the source)

Chevrolet Bolt EV

Range: 200 miles on a single charge
Cost: $37,500 (or $30,000 after tax breaks)

Editor: very expensive and the electricity needed to drive them doesn’t grow on trees, but in practice will be generated by fossil fuel in conventional power stations for many years to come, not by wind and solar.

Driving a car costs 1 kWh per 5 km. That amount of energy is enough to power a desktop computer + screen for an entire 8 hour working day. In Holland for instance, the average car commuting distance is something like 22 km or 44 km to and fro (9 kWh). In other words, if office workers would work from home, using their internet connection and Skype for communication and meetings, they would save a huge amount of energy and the need for car ownership would evaporate. Irregular car use could be satisfied using community or rented cars.

[] – GM’s 200-Mile Range Chevrolet Bolt EV Prototypes Hit The Road, Target Tesla Model III

fiat-panda-gasFor Europeans it makes much more sense to drive a Fiat Panda on natural gas as your last privately owned car. Range on natural gas is also 200 miles (300 km), but you can fall back on petrol (additional range 700 km), if you can’t find a natural gas station. Cost: 13,500 euro; that’s about half the cost of the Chevrolet Bolt EV. Fuel cost is very low: 1 euro/kg (= 25 km). And with CO2 emission of 29g/km even cleaner than a ‘clean’ e-vehicle, that outsources pollution to the power station.

[] – Fiat Panda (aardgas)
[] – Why CNG?

But why are we still muddling on with this outdated concept of a 5-seater sedan if the average occupation rate is 1.25 passengers?!

Bye, Bye Greece


It’s over. EU, IMF en ECB have enough. Over the last seven years, enormous money transfers were made, boiling down to some 30,000 euro per capita, a large part of which will be gone for ever. Our sympathy this time is with the West for a change and absolutely not with the Greeks, who kept sabotaging every reasonable solution. Now the country is going to fall flat on its face. We feel utter contempt for the so-called ‘elite’, like Tsipras and Varoufakis, although we feel sorry for all the pensioners, who will face a terrible hard time. The Greek population probably by and large doesn’t yet understand what is going to happen, like rationing of imported electricity and the break-down of most government services. The Greeks saw their own leaders on television all the time in the company of the political grands, like Juncker, Merkel and Lagarde and they were confident that they wouldn’t let Greece fall. They were wrong. For seven years Brussels did all it could, now it is over. Enjoy the collapse Greece.

The first European priority should be to ensure that the euro remains stable, send some emergency aid to Greece at best and give them time to reintroduce the Drachma. We tried our best to save Greece, now we should think of ourselves and prevent that other European countries will follow the Greek example by thinking that they can get rid of their national debts for free and thus cause the collapse the entire euro- area in the process. No mercy with Greece.

The good news: the seemingly unstoppable drive to keep expanding the EU has now been stopped. Turkey and Ukraine don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell to become EU member.

It is likely that when the full truth starts to dawn on the Greeks, their former heroes Tsipras and Varoufakis will not survive very long. We bet on a return of the colonels to prevent a possible civil war between the left and right.

Arctic Methane Emergency

Published March 22, 2015

Global warming is causing CO2 levels to hit 400 ppm, a level humans have never seen. Droughts are spreading and Miami is reporting that the ocean is backing up in the drains.

With all of the global warming a new threat has emerged, the release of methane gas, trapped in methane hydrates on ocean floors. It’s release is often referred to as the ‘methane bomb’.

The last time a ‘methane bomb’ went off on earth, 80% of life on earth vanished (about 250 million years ago).

There are only two ways to curtail such an event that I know of:

1. Plant trees, a lot of trees, especially in the melting permafrost.

2. A not so nice scenario: nuke a volcano which would spread dust in the upper atmosphere, thereby cooling off the earth enough to halt the release of methane hydrates. it is inherently dangerous to do so though. It could cause an ice age, the alternative is, of course, to fry.

Solar Set for Global Dominance


Tuesday, June 23 2015

More solar will be added over the next quarter-century than any other form of power-generation, spurred by huge and sustained booms in the utility-scale and distributed PV sectors across both the rich and developing worlds, according to new figures from Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

[] – Solar set for global dominance after $3.7tr investment boom – BNEF


More Evidence That Peak Oil is Now


Earlier, ASPO chairman Kjell Aleklett predicted that peak oil would be 2015-2016. Now Ron Patterson of has analyzed new EIA data and comes tentatively to the same conclusion:

I am now more convinced than ever that 2015 will see the peak in world crude oil production. I have very closely studied the charts of every producing nation and my prognosis is based on that study. I see many nations in steep decline and most every other nation peaking now, or in the last couple of years, or very near their peak today. These include the world’s three largest producers, Russia, Saudi Arabia and the USA.

Editor: the delay of execution thanks to fracking has now been consumed. Expect the oil price to go up substantially soon. Again: peak oil is a confusing term. Far more interesting is peak fossil, since most applications of oil, gas and coal are interchangeable. Nevertheless, peak oil will make itself felt, especially for those people who recently bought a new car fueled by diesel or petrol. That was probably a miss-investment.

[] – 2015 Could Be The Year Of Peak Oil

Saudi Oil Minister Announces Russian-Saudi Petroleum Alliance

petroleum-alliance[source] Putin and Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman

Russian-Saudi thaw. Last year September there were rumors/conspiracy theories that the oil price crash was the work of Saudi-Arabia, that had turned the tap open full blast after instructions consultations with US foreign minister John – where’s my bike? – Kerry. Purpose: hurt Russia with low oil prices.

Whatever the truth of that, those were the days that are no more [Alfred, Lord Tennyson]. This is 2015 and Saudi Arabia is a little bit angry with the US, that all of a sudden plays nice with Iran. And what do jealous lovers do? Right, they pick up the phone and call an old lover, the one lover Saudi-Arabia knows the US hates most: Ivan, just to rub it in.

The two new found partners inked six deals concerning oil cooperation, space cooperation, peaceful nuclear energy cooperation, and nuclear technology sharing.

Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi made an interesting remark:

“I am optimistic about the future of the market in the coming months in terms of the continuing improvement and increasing global demand for oil as well as the low level of commercial inventories.” This, the minister said, “is expected to improve the level of prices.”

“Improving oil prices” from the point of view of oil producers probably means “increasing oil prices”.

Editor: we hope and also expect that oil prices will increase soon, because peak oil is finally upon us. We need higher oil prices to ensure that sun and wind remain competitive and that the transition momentum doesn’t stall. And furthermore we want to see a Russia with a full purse, if necessary at the cost of Europe. Not because we are traitors to the European cause, we are merely traitors to the West, which we want to see blown up, to pave the way for Paris-Berlin-Moscow and the resurrection of European civilization at the end of the age of globalism and Anglo-Soviet 20th century. And old, ‘backward Russia’ all of a sudden has found new strength and has become European avant-garde.

[] – Russia and Saudi Arabia ink nuclear energy deal
[] – Saudi’s star prince keeps rising, visits Putin in Petersburg
[] – Saudi Arabia and Russia Ink Six New Deals, Embark on New ‘Petroleum Alliance’

Nasa Climate Study Warns of Unprecedented North American Drought

[] – Nasa climate study warns of unprecedented North American drought

Nord Stream Pipeline to be Doubled


The Austrian oil company OMW has signed a memorandum of understanding that it wants to participate in the construction of two further legs of the existing Nord Stream pipeline Viborg-Greifswald. Additional partners: Royal-Dutch Shell, E-ON and Gazprom (51%).

Extra capacity: 55 billion m3/year.

[] – OMV will bei Gasprom-Pipeline „Nord Stream“ einsteigen
[] – Gazprom baut zwei neue Leitungen für Ostseepipeline
[] – Russia’s Gazprom to expand Nord Stream gas pipeline with E.ON, Shell, OMV

There is still a little problem though:

[source] Needs permission from the Americans

Time to go, Angie. This job is not for you. Hand over to Steinmeier or Gabriel, no elections needed.

Groundwater Depletion Worldwide


Two new studies show that the world’s population is consuming groundwater at a rapid pace even without knowing when it might run out. Satellite data revealed that a third of the world’s largest groundwater basins are in extreme distress. However, it is difficult to say how much water still remains in them.

  • Arabian Aquifer System the most overstressed groundwater source
  • The situation would only worsen

[] – World’s Groundwater Draining At Alarming Rate

Samsung 8 kWh Storage


Residential energy storage systems of 8.0 kWh and 5.5 kWh were recently introduced by Samsung SDI at Intersolar Europe 2015 in Munich, Germany. The two new systems were designed to work well with electricity generated by solar PV power, and they use lithium-ion batteries. There is a product warranty for 5 years and a performance guarantee for 10.



Thin Film Solar Efficiency Record 18.6%

Thin_Film_Flexible_Solar_PV_Installation_2Thin film solar cells are flexible

The record was accomplished by US company First Solar. In general, thin film solar cells are less efficient, but cheaper, certainly if you integrate thin film solar in the roof of new houses.

In 2013 thin-film technologies accounted for about 9% of worldwide deployment, while 91% was held by crystalline silicon

thinfilmForecast of Thin Film Solar Cell Production and Market Share (2006~2015). Date: 2011

[] – First Solar Sets New Conversion Efficiency World Record Of 18.6% For Thin-Film Solar Module
[] – Thin film solar cell

BP World Energy Data 2015


Includes: crude oil + shale oil + oil sands + natural gas.

Highlights data:

  • 90% production increase comes from USA and Canada, the rest from Brasil. Price drop will probably eliminate further North-America production growth this year.
  • Largest decline came from Libya.
  • Russia and China, the world’s #2 and #5 producers, together produced nearly 18% of the world’s oil. But recently, their annual gains have been shrinking.
  • Iraq and Iran have the potential to make significant production gains.

[] – ASPO USA Peak Oil Review, 15 June 2015

European Oil Majors Favor Carbon Tax


Quite a breakthrough:

For large companies such as Shell, BP and Statoil to join forces and unequivocally state, as they now have, that a price on carbon should be a “key element” of climate policy frameworks is a refreshing boost to pre-Paris United Nations climate talks.

Editor: we are in favor of a carbon tax. This increases the price of fossil fuel and gives a competitive boost to wind and solar methods of energy generation, that are the future anyway. There is no need to wait with massive introduction of solar and wind until the last fossil fuel has been burned. Leave fossil before fossil leaves us.

[] – The good, the bad and the ugly when oil giants shift to natural gas

US Shale Output Shrinking


It comes now from the US Energy Information Agency, and is headlined by Bloomberg Business, so yes, it’s official. As Bloomberg put it, “US Shale Boom Grinds to a Halt.” Which, actually, is overstating the case by a good bit, there isn’t going to be a “halt.” Nevertheless, as sane people everywhere have been insisting for years, the shale boom is, as it always was going to be, a bust.

Editor: this is it folks, global peak oil is knocking on the door. We do expect oil prices to substantially rise again, somewhere between now and the end of next year.

[] – It’s Official: The Shale-Oil Boom is Over

Halliburton fracking job in the Bakken (Wikipedia)

More Global Economic Output With Less Energy


It seems as if some decoupling takes place between economic growth and growth of energy consumption.

[] – Three things you shouldn’t miss this week

Energy Generation and Birds


Professional environmental justice warriors like to accuse wind turbines of being bird meat choppers. Yesterday night on German television our favorite Krimi (detective) Tatort, showing a battle between a wind turbine manufacturer and bird protectors. Der Spiegel evaluates the program and refers to a Danish study with the following result:

Number of birds killed per GWh generated electric energy:

Wind – 0.27
Fossil – 5.18

Case closed.

P.S. why is it so difficult to mount a few low energy led lights in/on the rotor blades, so the birds are warned, especially in offshore operation?

[] – The avian benefits of wind energy: A 2009 update
[] – “Tatort”-Faktencheck: Kungeln Naturschützer wirklich mit der Industrie?

Moving 12-Month Total Vehicle Miles Traveled USA


Talk about ‘recovery’ is not completely unsubstantiated.

Born in the USA – Fracking Goes Global


The US has now overtaken Russia as the world’s largest oil producer, thanks to the controversial method of fracking.

The estimated amount of oil that can be ‘fracked’ outside the US is 141 billion barrel. With a daily global consumption of ca. 85 million barrel, that would be 1659 days of 4.5 year, a sobering number for those who thought that peak oil supporters are essentially Flat Earth Society material.

The industry is now preparing itself to expand outside the United States. Main candidates: Saudi-Arabia and Mexico, both countries with lax or non-existing environmental standards, not unlike the United States.

Again, according to the peak oil smart guys, is peak oil now or next year at the latest. And peak oil means: conventional + shale.

This doesn’t necessarily mean apocalyptic scenes soon; ‘peak oil’ is a confusion term. It would be much better to talk about ‘peak fossil’. And for the foreseeable future there is enough fossil material to be burned, perhaps even in unimaginable quantities.

[] – “There Could Be Trouble” As US Fracking Revolution Prepares to Go Global

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