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Archive for the category “energy”

USA Energy Mix 2017

Energy Neutral Building in the Netherlands

TNO, a Dutch independent technical research institution, has written a report making an inventory of all possible means to achieve the official Dutch government goal of building energy neutrality by 2050.

[] – TNO-rapport TNO 2017 R10936 Inventarisatie (markt-)doorbraak technologieën voor een energie-neutrale gebouwde omgeving
[] – Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research

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Surplus Energy Economics

Tim Morgan proposes an energy- and EROI-centric view of the economy instead of a financial-centric approach.

Our comment: we do not know the work of Tim Morgan, but agree that energy is a far more important factor to explain the economy than finance. We are not as pessimistic that prosperity is a thing of the past and believe that technology can compensate for loss of cheap fossil energy.

[surplusenergyeconomics] – #108: SEEDS goes public
[] – Terrifying Tim from Tullett
[] – Speaker dr. Tim Morgan
[] – Life After Growth: How the global economy really works – and why 200 years of growth are over


Why, years after the banking crisis, is the global economy still mired in recession and burdened by enormous debts? Why have the tried-and-tested economic policies of the past failed us this time? In Life After Growth, leading City analyst Tim Morgan sets out a ground-breaking analysis of how the economy really works. Economists are mistaken, he argues, when they limit their interpretation of the economy to matters of money. Ultimately, the economy is an energy system, not a monetary one. From this, it follows that we need to think in terms of two economies, not one – a ‘real’ economy of work, energy, resources, goods and services, and a parallel, ‘financial’ economy of money and debt. These two economies have parted company, allowing the financial economy to pile up promises that the real economy cannot meet. Starting with the discovery of agriculture, Tim Morgan traces the rise of the economy in terms of work, energy and resources. The driving factor, he explains, has been cheap and abundant energy. As energy has become increasingly costly to obtain, the potential for prosperity has diminished, to the point where growth in the real economy has ceased. An immediate problem is that our commitments – including debt, investments and welfare promises – cannot be honoured, which means that we can expect the financial system to be wracked by value destruction. At the same time, we need to adapt to a future in which prosperity can no longer be taken for granted. #lifeaftergrowth

IEA Webinar – Energy Efficiency Indicators

[] – Energy Efficiency Indicators Highlights 2016 (pdf, 154p)

Graphs below:

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Tracking Clean Energy Progress: 2017

Is the world on track to meet the 2025 interim climate change targets?

Go to the original IEA tracker here for the details:

[] – Clean Energy Tracker 2017

World Energy Investment 2017

[] – World Energy Investment 2017
[] – World Energy Investment 2017, executive summary, pdf 12p

ECN Eindadvies Basisbedragen 2016

Dutch language report from the Dutch national energy institute ECN concerning the price structure and price recommendation of renewable energy.

[] – Eindadvies basisbedragen SDE+ 2016
[] – Wat kosten kern en wind?

5 Renewable Energy Gadgets

[] – Spherical Solar
[] – Vortex
[] – Pocket Sun
[] – Trinity Portable Wind Turbine
[] – Nebia Shower

Vaclav Smil – Energy and Civilization

New energy big picture book by Vaclav Smil: “Energy and Civilization”.

[] – Energy and Civilization: A History
[] – Energy And Civilization: a review
[deepresource] – Vaclav Smil on Energy Transitions
[] – This Is the Man Bill Gates Thinks You Absolutely Should Be Reading

Electricity Generation by Energy Source and Country 2014

[] – Breakdown of Electricity Generation by Energy Source

Blueprint for 100% Renewable Energy Base in Germany

d-erneuerbar[Source]Share renewable energy Germany timeline

The renowned German Fraunhofer research institute presented in 2012 a blueprint of how a 100% renewable energy base could be realized in Germany. From the summary (p31):

It is possible for Germany to have a 100% renewable energy base (electricity and space heating) with a cost comparable with today and equal electricity consumption. Assumed though is a reduction of 50% of energy required for space heating through insulation measures. Wind power opportunities need to be completely exhausted. Long term energy buffering can be done with methane gas produced from renewable electricity. Warm water production from solar collectors and industrial waste heat, combined with seasonal storage. Installed PV: 200 GW (1250 million m2), solar-thermal: 130 GW (190 million m2). 75% can be installed on existing building roof tops. Additional required surface area: 400 km2 (20 x 20 km) or 0.011% of Germany.

[] – 100 % Erneuerbare Energien fuer Strom und Waerme in Deutschland (German)

Charles Hall on EROI

Talk Princeton 2016.

Hall comes from ecology and that’s where he minted the concept of energy return on invest. It was first applied to fish and fish migration patterns. Hall discovered that my moving around at the energy cost of 1 calorie, the fish gained 5 calories (salmon eating plankton). Life in general has to engage in energy investments.

Next Hall applied EROI on humans. Hunter/gatherers need to walk/run to find food, nuts and animals. Fire enhanced EROI since it made cooking of food possible, which was more abundant and easier to acquire than animals.

Next step agriculture allowed for food storage, yielding in EROI in the range of 10-50, enabling leisure, resulting in socializing, like story telling.

Next step fossil fuel exploitation. Secret: you want more wealth? Use more energy. During Hall’s lifetime, energy use per capita, as well as wealth increased by a factor of 7.

Next graph that shows the % of GDP spent on energy, with a sharp decline after 1850 (application of coal). In the 1990s that % went up again. Hall states that EROI of most of our fuels is declining as they are depleting.

Hall acknowledges the importance of technology and that technology is in competition with depletion and refers to his book about (low) EROI of solar with Pietro. Pietro today is even more pessimistic about EROI of PV-solar than before.

Refers to the reality of peak (conventional) oil. Decline EROI of Norwegian North Sea oil from 1:40 to 1:20. Patterns applies to everywhere else. Net energy cliff. Offshore wind has EROI of 52. Shows picture with peak fossil (all included) at 2045. Familiar pyramid of cultural achievements as related to EROI. For arts you are supposed to need 14:1 (a ridiculous notion, the highest art was created before the fossil fuel age).

Hall has extremely little hope for renewable energy and suggests that by 3000, humans will be hunters-gatherers again. Hall nevertheless says it is wise that we move the renewables and downplays importance climate change a little and that the EROI discussion-implications are more important for society.

[cassandralegacy] – Charlie Hall speaks about EROI (and many other things)

What Countries Are The Most Energy Efficient?


1. Germany
2. Italy
3. EU
4. China

13. USA

[] – List of countries by energy intensity (2003)

Country Ton of oil/million $ GDP
Italy 123
UK 141
Japan 154
Germany 164
France 170
Netherlands 172
USA 222
China 231
Russia 519

Countries like Russia and to a lesser extent the US with lots of resources don’t need to invest too much time and effort in reducing energy waste as other (European) countries and Japan, that have few natural energy resources.

The video and Wikipedia differ about China, probably due to 12 years time difference.

List 1990 – 2014

[] – Energy intensity level of primary energy (MJ/$2011 PPP GDP)

[] – Energy intensity of GDP at constant purchasing power parities

It is encouraging that the world needs ever less energy to produce the same: -1.5% per year.

Rijswijk Buiten, Holland’s Most Sustainable Residential Area

Rijswijk Buiten is located near The Hague. Unlike almost any other group of houses, these ones no longer have a connection to the natural gas grid. Electricity comes from solar panels and powers heat pumps for space heating via floor heating.

Between now and 2023, 3500 new energy neutral homes without connection to natural gas grid are planned to be build. From 2020 every new build home in the Netherlands must be energy neutral like the ones presented here in Rijswijk Buiten.


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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

Sustainable Energy — Without the Hot Air

Book on renewable energy from 2009, by David JC MacKay, completely online, including 12 MB pdf (370p).

[] – Sustainable Energy – Without the Hot Air


Losing Our Energy Slaves

[] – Our ‘energy slaves’ impact environment

Estimated US Energy Use 2013



Source: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

EU Study Recommends Onshore Wind Energy As Cheapest Energy

Structure externalized costs of diverse energy sources

Ecofys on behalf of the European Commission presented a study, giving thumbs up for onshore wind energy.

Onshore wind is cheaper than coal, gas or nuclear energy when the costs of ‘external’ factors like air quality, human toxicity and climate change are taken into account, according to an EU analysis.

The report says that for every megawatt hour (MW/h) of electricity generated, onshore wind costs roughly €105 (£83) per MW/h, compared to gas and coal which can cost up to around €164 and €233 per MW/h, respectively.

Nuclear power, offshore wind and solar energy are all comparably inexpensive generators, at roughly €125 per MW/h.

[] – Wind power is cheapest energy, EU analysis finds
[] – EU report: Subsidies and costs of EU energy [pdf]
[] – It should be kept in mind that Ecofys is a renewable energy consultancy firm, so not entirely impartial.

Energy Efficiency Country Ranking

Country Energy Intensity (toe/million $)
Switzerland 122
Italy 123
Denmark 133
Austria 139
UK 141
Spain 143
Japan 154
Germany 164
France 171
Norway 172
Netherlands 172
Hungary 179
Belgium 206
Australia 208
Sweden 217
USA 222
China 231
South-Korea 238
Canada 293
Iceland 401
Russia 519
Ukraine 566

An interesting question in a world that is slowly running out of fossil fuel reserves is: how much energy does a country need to generate its wealth? The table gives the answer for a number of OECD countries, plus a few countries of special geopolitical interest. Keep in mind that geographical location has an inevitable influence on energy use; colder countries need more energy for space heating. The units in the right column represent tonnes of oil equivalent per million constant year 2000 international dollars.

Switzerland needs 1031 barrel of oil to generate 1 million $ income, Russia 4386.

[] – List of countries by energy intensity

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