Observing the world of renewable energy and sustainable living

Archive for the category “energy”

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. Hall 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. Hall 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.

[] – 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.


Read more…

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

Zero Energy Home

Dutch language video. This is claimed to be the most energy efficient home in the Netherlands with no fossil fuel usage. Meanwhile the ‘zero home’ is a ‘plus home’, supplying surplus energy for a car to drive 36.000km/year. Location Groenlo/Netherlands. Person in the video Ronald Serne (inhabitant). Panes with three layers glass. Total autonomous electricity production 5000Kwh (4 persons, including 2 children), divided over 3500 Kwh direct consumption and 1500 Kwh for generation of 2500 Kwh heating and 3600 Kwh hot water. Energy neutrality only over the entire year; feed-in into the grid of generated excess electricity during the summer is accepted. Ingredients of concept: thorough isolation, air-tightness, soil heat exchanger, three layered glass, southern orientation, passive solar energy, heatpump, thermal solar sollectors, heat storage.


Read more…

Electric Energy Consumption Country Ranking

Interesting details: most western European countries consume ca. 20 kwh per day (Germany, France, Spain, Netherlands, Russia). US citizens consume almost double that amount: 39 kWh. Canadians top the list with 52 kWh, Australia 34 kWh. Coming world power China is at 7 kWh.


Philips CFL Breakthrough – 50% Savings

Philips Electronics developed a new LED CFL tube, called TLED (TL + LED), which consumes less than 50% of the current fluorescent tubes and is the world’s most energy-efficient LED lamp suitable for general lighting applications. The people from Philips achieved 200 lumen/Watt, a world record. Since 20% of electricity consumption is dissipated in lighting, this innovation could lead to reduction of global electricity consumption of 10%. The Dutch multinational company just made the energy transition 10% easier, as far as electricity is concerned. For the US alone replacement of all existing lighting with these TLEDs would reduce power consumption with 100 terrawatt or the equivalent of 50 medium sized power plants. Philips intends to start production in 2015.


The World According To Shell

1. Shell energy supply

4. Shell oceans energy sources

6. Future electric power supply
Electric power supply in 2100.

[Shell – New Lens Scenarios] – Report, 12 MB, pdf

Vaclav Smil on Energy Transitions

Youtube text: Vaclav Smil of the Faculty of Environmental Studies, University of Manitoba, discusses Energy Transitions in this lecture which was part of the Waterloo Global Science Initiative (WGSI)Equinox Summit, hosted by the Perimeter Institute. Uploaded August 2012.

[] – Can We Live again in 1964’s Energy World?

Read more…

Estimated US Energy Use 2011

Instructive graph showing which energy sources are used and for which purpose. Note that most energy is used in transport and that more than 50% of the energy is wasted.

Source: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (October 2012)


IEA – World Energy Outlook 2012

The IEA recently presented its World Energy Outlook report for 2012. Kjell Aleklett, chairman of Peak-Oil club ASPO took a look at it and discussed the report in an article linked to below. Aleklett challenges the findings of the report and instead believes that “During the coming 50 years the production of oil will fall by half“. The IEA believes that global oil production will rise until 2035, with contributions from main players as follows, where the plusses (Iraq, Brasil, Kazakhstan, Saudi-Arabia, Canada, USA, Venezuela) dominate the minusses (Russia, China, UK, Norway):

The IEA believes that this will be the future of US oil and gas production, with large increases in production of unconventional oil and gas:


The prediction made by the IEA is that by 2020 the US will overtake Saudi-Arabia in oil production.

It is interesting the see the IEA’s development of predicting SA’s output for 2030 in time:

World Energy Outlook ……. 2004 2006 2008 2010 2012
Scenarios for 2030 (Mb/d)….22.5* 15.6 15.6 13.2 11.4

Implicit message from the IEA to the world: “do not take our predictions serious“. Message from us to the IEA: “we won’t“.

[] – more about the IEA.

Global Energy System 2010

Overview of the global energy flows from source to destination in 2010.


Silver Price

Author of the article points to an often forgotten relationship between the silver price and energy market. Core message article: silver demand only just got started. Reason: investment demand has overtaken industrial demand, the public wants silver coins, not in the least because of a deteriorating confidence in paper money. Between 2002 and 2011 the percentage of silver investment as compared to industrial application rose from 9% to 58%. In short: institutional and retail investors have been the predominant force in pushing silver from an average of $4.60 an ounce in 2002 to averaging over $35 an ounce last year. LBMA in London is the largest physical gold and silver market in the world and there has been strong US silver export to Britain to meet rising investor demand. But additionally silver production is highly energy intensive, because the ‘low hanging fruit’ (where did we hear that expression before?) has already been picked. In six years time the silver content of ore declined 34%. The author suggests to see silver as a store of energy. Now that peak conventional oil is upon us and shale likely a fata morgana, oil and gas. This implies that the ‘energy content’ of silver will increase and thus the price. People increasingly turn away from any kind of paper values (fiat money, metal certificates) and demand the real stuff. What we see happening is a bank run on the LMBA. With declining energy liquids supply, silver production will decline. The author concludes: “Get ready. As the forces for pushing silver over $100 have just begun.


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