Observing the world of renewable energy and sustainable living

Archive for the category “data”

The Enormous Energy Potential of the North Sea

90% of the world’s offshore wind projects occur in the North Sea

[] – This database gives an overview of all offshore wind park projects, ranging from planned to commissioned. You can see with a glance of an eye that more than 90% of all offshore wind activity takes place in the North Sea area.

How big is the electricity generation potential of the North Sea?


[] – Sustainable Energy

On page 25 it is claimed, quoting from the Czisch book pictured below, that the North Sea area with a depth less than 45 meter encompasses 200,000 km2. In theory the potential for electricity generation is 1600 GW or three times the EU consumption. But there are other European waters, adding 400,000 km2 more. Even if rigorous restrictions are applied it is obvious that huge amounts of electricity can be generated from offshore.

Gregor Czisch – Scenarios for a Future Electricity Supply: CostOptimised Variations on Supplying Europe and its Neighbours with Electricity from Renewable Energies

Offset to the scale of their countries, especially the Dutch and Danes are the lucky ones, who can become major electricity producers and exporters into the EU.

Iron Ore Mining for Wind Turbines

World map of countries that matter in iron production. Global annual production 3.3 billion ton. China (1.4), Australia (0.8) and Brazil (0.4) together produce ca. 82% of that amount.

For the global renewable energy transition to work, hundreds of thousands of steel wind towers, monopiles and nacelle’s need to be built. The good news is, the iron is there and currently relatively cheap.

Price iron ore: $85/ton [source]
Price steel plate: $470/ton [source]
(Steel plate can be used to manufacture monopiles and towers, see video at the bottom)

Weight of a large offshore wind turbine:

Tower head mass: 60 ton/MW [pdf]
Monopile 5 MW turbine: 2200 ton [source] (strong correl. with water depth)
Tower 5 MW turbine 100 m: 389 ton [pdf]

Rule of thumb 5 MW offshore wind turbine steel requirements: 300 + 2200 + 400 = 2900 ton

One million 5 MW offshore wind turbines require 2.9 billion ton or 88% annual global steel production.

Total world electricity consumption was 19,504 TWh in 2013. [source]
Annual electricity production 5 MW offshore ind turbine: 15 million kWh or 15 GWh

In other words: with 1.3 million offshore 5 MW wind turbines you have your global 2013 electricity consumption covered, if you ignore for a moment aspects like storage. And this time entirely fossil free, which was the purpose of the operation. But this ‘back-of-an-envelope’ exercise should give you an idea of the scale of the challenge.

[] – List of countries by iron ore production
[] – True giants of mining: World’s top 10 iron ore mines

Offshore wind turbine monopile production from steel plate.

Cost Hydrogen From Renewable Energy

Cost of H2 production via electrolysis of water as a function of electricity cost

In a not too distant past the “hydrogen economy” was thought to be the follow up of the fossil fuel economy. The idea was to use hydrogen as the central storage medium.

Fuel Energy density [kWh/kg]
Hydrogen (H2) 39
Methane/natural gas 15
Diesel 13
Petrol 13
Jet fuel/kerosine 13
Ethanol 7
Ammonia (NH3) 6
Wood 5

[] – Hydrogen economy

Enthusiasm for that concept has come down considerably since, mostly because of fundamentally low conversion efficiency (50-80%) and storage problems. But that doesn’t mean that hydrogen couldn’t play a role in a renewable energy future. This IEA article makes the case that renewable hydrogen production for NH3 (Ammonia), to be used as fertilizer in agriculture, could become viable in the near future, circumventing at least the hydrogen storage problem (boiling point −252.879 °C (−423.182 °F, 20.271 K)), by converting it immediately into Ammonia (boiling point −33.34 °C (−28.01 °F; 239.81 K)).

Indeed, producing hydrogen via renewable energy is not a new idea. Until the 1960s, hydrogen from hydropower-based electrolysis in Norway was used to make ammonia – a key ingredient for agricultural fertilizers. But with increasingly lower renewable costs, renewables-based hydrogen production could once again be competitive with SMR (steam methane reforming)…
But under the right conditions, producing industrial hydrogen in this fashion could have massive consequences for the sustainability of one industry in particular – agriculture. About half of industrial hydrogen is used in ammonia production. Ammonia production alone is responsible for about 360 million tonnes of CO2 emissions each year, or about 1% of the world’s total emissions. By 2050, we expect that the consumption of ammonia will increase by around 60%.

[] – Producing industrial hydrogen from renewable energy
[] – Energy density
[] – The hydrogen economy, Jeremy Rifkin (2003)

Four Phases in Variable Renewable Energy Integration

Four phases in variable renewable energy (VRE) technologies integration.

IEA article addresses the issue of renewable energy variability and how to deal with it and identifies four phases, hand in hand with the level of renewable energy penetration in a society.

  1. No impact. You can add new renewable energy capacity without having to worry about variability at all
  2. Focus shifts to managing first instances of grid congestion and to incorporate forecasts of VRE generation in the scheduling and dispatch of other generators.
  3. In the last two phases, wind and solar start to affect the overall grid and other generators. As the share of VRE grows, the challenges that power systems face will relate both to system flexibility – relating to supply and demand in the face of higher uncertainty and variability – and system stability – the ability of the of power systems to withstand disturbances on a very short time scale.

[] – Getting wind and sun onto the grid

30,000 Solar Panels Will be Installed Every Hour Globally Over the Next 5 Years

International Energy Agency, October last year:

The International Energy Agency said today that it was significantly increasing its five-year growth forecast for renewables thanks to strong policy support in key countries and sharp cost reductions. Renewables have surpassed coal last year to become the largest source of installed power capacity in the world.

The latest edition of the IEA’s Medium-Term Renewable Market Report now sees renewables growing 13% more between 2015 and 2021 than it did in last year’s forecast, due mostly to stronger policy backing in the United States, China, India and Mexico. Over the forecast period, costs are expected to drop by a quarter in solar PV and 15 percent for onshore wind.

Last year marked a turning point for renewables. Led by wind and solar, renewables represented more than half the new power capacity around the world, reaching a record 153 Gigawatt (GW), 15% more than the previous year. Most of these gains were driven by record-level wind additions of 66 GW and solar PV additions of 49 GW…

Over the next five years, renewables will remain the fastest-growing source of electricity generation, with their share growing to 28% in 2021 from 23% in 2015.

[] – IEA raises 5-year renewable forecast as 2015 marks record year

Germany 41% Electricity Renewable in March 2017

New monthly record in renewable electricity production in Germany: 41% or 19.5 TWh, where the nuclear power share fell to its lowest level since 1970. Additionally a new peak power record was broken on March 18 of 38.5 GW, topping the old one of 38 GW (Feb 22).

[] – March was a record month for renewable power in Germany

Electricity Generation by Energy Source and Country 2014

[] – Breakdown of Electricity Generation by Energy Source

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

Moving 12-Month Total Vehicle Miles Traveled USA


Talk about ‘recovery’ is not completely unsubstantiated.

The PetroYuan is Born

Where does China get its crude oil from?

Gazprom has confirmed that since the beginning of the year, all oil sales to China have been settled in renminbi.


[] – The PetroYuan Is Born: Gazprom Now Settling All Crude Sales To China In Renminbi

Google Earth Global Power Station Overview

Screen shot free Google Earth desktop application with Delft University kml file loaded

For this rich information source you need to have Google Earth installed on your computer or get it from here:

[Google Earth Download] – no need to install the Pro version.

Next download the kml file, containing location and other information of power plants from all over the world, from this link…


… and open the kml file in Google Earth with File/Open.

Brent Oil Price on the Rise Again


Brent oil price increased with 6% yesterday to $62, recovering from a minimum of $50 on January 20, 2015. June last year: $110

Editor: if the oil price can be more than halved in six months, it can also double in six months. Low oil prices encourage economic growth, which increases demand for oil, which increases prices. On top of that, a lot of North-American production facilities with high operational costs are being driven out of business due to the low oil price. It could take some time to get them started again. Perhaps Vlad’s purse will be full again next year.

[] – Olieprijs loopt stevig op

Prices Solar Systems

Country Residential Commercial Utility_scale
China 1.5 1.4 1.4
Australia 1.8 1.7 2.0
Germany 2.4 1.8 1.4
Italy 2.8 1.9 1.5
UK 2.8 2.4 1.9
France 4.1 2.7 2.2
Japan 4.2 3.6 2.9
USA 4.9 4.5 3.3

Prices in $/Watt

This explains why Germany, China, Italy and Australia are at the forefront in installing photo-voltaic systems.

[] – Solar cell

Estimated US Energy Use 2013



Source: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Real Time Renewable Energy Production Data


In this post we have collected several sources of real time renewable energy production data and will expand this post if new data sources are available.

Read more…

Interactive IEA Data

Click on the link below to get access to a highly interactive map of the European gas trade, produced by the International Energy Agency (IEA):


Agora Energiewende

Large resource with high quality documents about energy themes, both in English and German.

[] – Agore Energiewende, publications

A selection of the publications:


– Electricity storage in the German energy transition (summary) [pdf]
– Country profile on the Dutch power system (40p) [pdf]
– 12 Insights on Germany’s Energiewende [pdf]
– Demand response: what can we learn from California? [pdf]
– Benefits of Energy Efficiency on the German Power Sector [pdf]


– Neues!Stromkabel!nach!Norwegen:!„Positivsignal für die Energiewende“ [pdf]
– 12 Thesen zur Energiewende [pdf]
– Entwicklung der Windenergie in Deutschland [pdf]
– Nachfragesteuerung im deutschen Stromsystem – die unerschlossene Ressource für die Versorgungssicherheit [pdf]
– Stromspeicher in der Energiewende [pdf]

BP Data 2013

BP recently released the data presented in both graphs. Conclusions from BP report: global oil production is still increasing (557,000 barrels per day) for four years in a row, but that is mainly because of fracking in the US (1.1 million bpd), oil production in the rest of the world combined is declining. Interesting is the large decline in European oil consumption, due to economic slowdown and massive introduction of renewables.

Oil production 2013 in million barrels per day:
1) Saudi-Arabia: 11.5
2) Russia: 10.8
3) USA: 10.0
4) China: 4.2
5) Canada: 3.9




Energy Facts – Energie Feiten

We are sorry to learn that the excellent site Energy Facts will disappear by the end of 2014. Not sure if this applies to the original Dutch version as well. Regardless, here are the Dutch and English Word documents that mirror both the Dutch and English websites:

energie-feiten (Word document in Dutch)
energy-facts (Word document in English)

The site gives information from the the standpoint of an engineer and is excellent in offering a sense of proportion in all matters related to energy.

German Solar Feed-in Tariffs Wildly Successful

Evolution of renewable energy as a share of total electricity production in Germany.

There is a new report out by the Brattle Group that evaluates a decade of German experience with solar energy, see link below.

Today, Germany has 35 gigawatts (GW) of installed solar capacity and is on track to hit 52 GW in the near future, representing about 7 percent of the nation’s wholesale generation.


[] – report

Post Navigation