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Luin äskettäin Satu Hassilta, että 40% Suomen sähköstä voitaisiin tuottaa aurinkosähköllä, jos vain käytössä olisi muutama kWh sähkövarastoa kutakin kapasiteetin kilowattia kohden. (Tai siis näin tulkitsen hiukan epäselvää lausetta.) Näitä varastointiratkaisuja taas voi tarjota Hassin mukaan Tesla (30). Tuttuun tapaan vertailu vaihtoehtoihin puuttui (1) joten täydennetään sitä hiukan. Mallinsin Suomen aurinkosähköntuotantoa perustuen Alaskan insolaatioprofiiliin ja kulutusprofiili on napattu Tanskasta. Linkki dataan jolla voi leikkiä on tässä.  Oletin ettei varastoinnissa ole mitään hukkia (optimistista) ja sen määräksi 3kWh/kW. Tätä varastoa sitten ladataan, kun on ylituotantoa ja puretaan muuten.

PV40_Finland

varastoinnista. (Varoitus: huomaa, että tuo linkattu kertomus perustuu artikkeliin, jossa akkujen kustannuksia on kerätty mm. googlaamalla uutisia netistä ja teollisuuden väitteitä. What could go wrong?)

No mitä opimme? Rakentamalla liki 40 GW paneeleita ja varastot voimme todellakin kattaa 38% kulutuksestamme (Kuva 1)! Tässä kohdin on yleistä ilmaista innostumista ja antaa tunnelinäön vahvistua. Katsotaan nyt kuitenkin mitä tuo oikeasti tarkoittaa.

Hyvältä näyttää!

Hyvältä näyttää!

Ensinnäkin maksaisimme paneeleista (siis paneeleista asennettuna) noin 56 miljardia ja 22 miljardia varastoinnista. (Jos unohdamme varaston, osuus jää 26% tasolle koska reilu 10TWh hukataan kirkkaina kesäpäivinä jolloin tuotanto ylittää kysynnän moninkertaisesti.) Lisäksi jäljelle jäävä 62% kulutuksesta näyttää kuvan 2 mukaiselta. Kolossaalinen aurinkosähkön rakentaminen jätti edelleen tarpeen kapasiteetille, joka voi kattaa kaiken kulutuksen. Sitten kukin voi miettiä mikä on se hiiletön energianlähde, joka on taloudellinen tuollaisella tuotantoprofiililla? Vesivoimaa ei ole tarpeeksi ja biomassa ei ole ilmastoneutraalia (eikä sitä ole tarpeeksi). Ydinvoimaa taas ei kannata ajaa tuollaisella profiililla, koska se voi aivan yhtä hyvin olla päällä 24/7.

PV40_Finland_Remaining

Kuva 2: Se osa kulutuksesta jota aurinkosähkö ja varasto eivät kata. Vaadittu teho on sama kuin ilman aurinkosähköä.

No mitä jos päätämmekin kattaa 40% kulutuksestamme ydinvoimalla? Tulos on kuvan 3 mukainen. Pääomakustannukset ovat rajusti alhaisemmat, varastoa ei tarvita ja jäljelle jäävä kulutusprofiili on merkittävästi helpompaa dekarbonisoida. Jos paneeleiden elinikä on 30 vuotta, akkujen 15 vuotta (optimismia) ja ydinvoimalan 60 vuotta, aurinkosähköviritelmä vaatii pääomia noin 3350 miljoonaa/vuosi. Ydinvoimalla 270 miljoonaa/vuosi riittää. Toinen on toista suurempi tekijällä 12. Just sayin. Minusta on käsittämätöntä, että näin triviaalia asiaa tarvitsee edes erikseen sanoa yhä uudelleen ja uudelleen ja uudelleen…Huokaus.

Nuclear40_Finland

Kuva 3: Tuotetaankin 40% ydinvoimalla. Varastoja ei tarvita. (Oletin 4000 €/kW pääomakustannukset). Alla jäljelle jäävä osa kulutuksesta, joka pitäisi vielä putsata. Vaadittu teho on pienentynyt noin 4 GW eli saman verran kuin ydinvoimaa rakennettiin.

P.S. Voimme muuten hullutella kuvittelemalla, että katamme 100% kulutuksestamme aurinkosähköllä. Tarvitsisimme 28TWh varastoja siirtämään kesäajan tuotantoa talveksi. Tesla lähettäisi meille tästä laskun joka olisi noin 30 kertaa bruttokansantuotteemme suuruinen.

Lisätty 15.4.2015: Unohdin mainita, että voimme toki leikkiä samalla tavalla, että rakennamme ydinvoimaloita tuottamaan kaiken kulutuksemme ja varastoimaan ylijäämätuotannon korkean kulutuksen hetkiä varten. Kuinka paljon varastoa tarvitsisimme? Aurinkosähköllä arvio oli 28 TWh ja osoittautuu, että ydinvoimalla 1.8TWh riittää. Kustannukset olisivat siis varastojen osalta alle kymmenesosa. Tämä on edelleen hullua ja on halvempaa rakentaa kapasiteettia kattamaan myös huippukulutus. Ydinvoimalla sen voi tehdä eikä varastointi ole pakollista.

On näköjään taas se päivä vuodesta jolloin WWF yllyttää sinua sammuttamaan sähkövaloja ja korvaamaan ne merkittävästi enemmän päästöjä aiheuttavilla kynttilöillä (lisää murinaa täällä). Tämä ilmeisesti auttaa jotenkin ilmaston muutoksen torjumisessa. Tässä parempi tapa. Tuijota vaikka tunti tätä gif-videota kynttilöiden tupruttelun sijaan .

Loppuun vielä kissavideo, joka toivottavasti auttaa pitämään sinut kiireisenä tuon infernaalisen tunnin ajan.

 

In its latest assessment report IPCC concluded that in order to get climate change under control world needs massive expansion of nuclear power, renewables, energy efficiency, and CCS. I am a numbers guy and therefore I was delighted when I found a useful database for many of the mitigation scenarios IPCC relied on in its latest report. There is a database for the scenarios and additional information and assumptions used on many scenarios can be found in another database. I found this very interesting since articles reporting on the scenarios often explain the underlying assumptions of the models poorly. I will focus now on how the modellers approached nuclear power. I didn’t have the patience to go through all scenarios and I focused on those with 450ppm CO2 target that contained all technologies optimally (allegedly). I found that quite a few modellers dealt with nuclear power in a way that left me wondering if their modelling is simply poorly disguised ideological propaganda.

Some main approaches used to influence how well nuclear power does in the models relative to variable renewables (wind and solar):

  1. In many models nuclear capacity increases massively. Hundreds and hundreds of reactors are constructed, but amazingly nobody learns anything! Capital costs for nuclear power are typically kept almost constant throughout the decarbonization pathways. On the other hand learning effects and technological evolution are assumed for other energy sources. For wind and solar power these are often assumed to be very dramatic and there are learning effects even for fossil fuels. So this tough love only seems to apply to nuclear power.
  2. Many models assume large cost reductions for wind and solar. In the end, this is not much more than a wishful guess.
  3. Some models assume anomalously large capacity factors for wind and solar. See for example, “Message Ampere2-450-FullTech-OPT” scenario. Capacity factors for wind are almost 40% while for solar power they use about 25-31% over the course of the century. Since real figures are more like half of the assumed figures, the model drastically underestimates the costs for wind and solar. (IMACLIM scenarios seem to do the same)
  4.  Some models (IMACLIM in particular) assume very low capacity factor for nuclear.  “IMACLIM Ampere2-450-FullTech-OPT” has a nuclear capacity factor of just 45% in 2100 while for wind and solar they have 36% and 38% respectively! This doesn’t just roughly double the cost of nuclear in these models, but also underestimates the costs for wind and solar.
  5. Some models (REMIND and MERGE-ETL) postulate a world running out of uranium together with no technology development for nuclear. This “peak uranium” then limits the role nuclear power plays in decarbonization.
GlovesOn

Figure 1: Nuclear power in Remind Ampere2-450-FullTech-OPT scenario. Massive increase and then…

Let me discuss the sillyness of the last trick in more detail. Figure 1 shows what REMIND scenario got for nuclear power when all technologies were used “optimally”.  So massive increase in nuclear power until middle of the century and then rapid decline. Decline is caused by uranium supplies running out as soon as light water reactors with once-through fuel cycle have used 23 million tons of uranium. This is very strange for several reasons.

First, this number doesn’t seem to bear any clear connection to known uranium resources which are about third of this figure. Modellers probably felt that using known resources as an upper limit would have been too stupid to pass the laugh test.

Second, mineral resources have a habit of increasing together with demand since increasing demand stimulates increasing investment in exploration and technology development.  In the past one hundred years copper production has increased by an order of magnitude. All this time world has been “running out” of copper in about 40 years. Uranium is not especially rare element and there is no reason to believe we are running out of it anymore than we have for other metals such as tin which has about the same crustal abundance.

Third, from where does the assumption of no technology development come from? Wasn’t this supposed to be a scenario where all technologies are allowed? For nuclear power technologies that that improve the fuel efficiency by about two orders of magnitude are already known.

Fourth, why is there resource constraint only for nuclear power? The resource constraints are more severe for wind and solar power (and for bioenergy). In Figure 2 I show an image I picked up from a european study on critical metals for energy technologies. The elements with greatest supply risks are used in the construction of wind and solar power. (By the way, the only nuclear related element on the list is the low risk hafnium for control rods.) Figure 3 I picked up from a fairly recent Alonso et al. paper. Authors estimated that dysprosium (used in magnets) demand in renewables heavy mitigation scenarios is expected to be a whopping 2600% higher than projected supply already in 2035!

JRC_Bottlenecks

Figure 2: Critical metals for European “strategic energy technologies” according to European commission Joint research centre study.

Figure 3: Expected demand and supply for Dysprosium according to Alonso et al.

Figure 3: Expected demand and supply for dysprosium according to Alonso et al. (2012).

What would happen if we were to apply modellers approach for renewables? Let us just take silver as an example. Silver reserves are estimated at about 530000 tons. Let us assume that “real” resource is 4 times this (remember uranium resource was set at 3 times the known reserves) and that half of this can be used for photovoltaics. There are after all other uses for silver as well. Since 1GW of solar power requires about 80 tons of silver, this means that at maximum we can have about 13TW of solar capacity as opposed to almost 90TW cumulative capacity REMIND modellers extrapolated. Instead of being the largest contributor to the primary energy supply its contribution would fall into 5-10% range. The amount of silver required to construct the solar power in REMIND FullTech scenario is about 13 times larger than the estimated global silver reserves. Now can there be ways around these constraints? Probably there are and maybe we could use less silver, but using substitutes might imply higher costs and worse performance and furthermore, if one was not permitted to use already demonstrated technologies for nuclear power why should imaginary advances be permitted for other alternatives?

What might we get if we remove this silly constraint from the model? Obviously I cannot repeat the exercise with the tools I have available, but we can get a rough estimate. Lets take the growth rate (4.8%) for nuclear power REMIND modellers established between 2020-2050 and just let it grow with the same rate until the end of the century. This is not extraordinary in the context of this model since for wind+solar the growth rate through the century was 7.6% even though capital costs are such the nuclear power seems to have a lower levelized cost of energy (5% discount) throughout the decarbonization pathway. I show the result in Figure 4. Nuclear power would end up dominating the energy supply.

I have a feeling that resource constraint was introduced specifically for this reason. Modellers first did their calculations without the constraint and ended up with a result that they found distasteful. They did not want to go on record with the scenario that might “rock the boat” or give people funny ideas. By introducing the resource limitation for nuclear power they could clip its wings and keep it supposedly as an option while limiting its role to the margin. In fact that strange 23 mton uranium resource limit seems to suggest that over the century LWR:s cannot produce more than maybe around 5% of the primary energy. I suspect that modellers worked backwards and set the resource limitation based on the maximum share of the energy supply they were ready to grant for nuclear power. Not cool.

Figure 4: There, I fixed it!

Figure 4: There, I fixed it!

Then there is PRIMES…sigh. This is a model I encountered few years ago as I was reading EU:s 2050 energy strategy. I remember glancing at the referee report and being troubled by the brief remark on page 6. Referee had asked about rather optimistic cost assumptions to which response was that if capital costs for wind are set higher then the future learning curve can be steeper. To me this suggested that modellers were perhaps fitting model to the fantasy. In the AMPERE database PRIMES scenarios for EU are also included. I was naturally most interested in the Ampere5-Decarb-AllOptions scenario which according to authors is a scenario “with all technological decarbonisation options available and used according to cost optimality; this scenario provides the least cost decarbonisation pathway for the EU.” Sounds interesting! However, as you look at the actual results you notice something weird. The capital costs assumed are such that nuclear (again) has the lowest LCOE throughout the decarbonization pathway. Despite this modellers claim that nuclear generation in EU will decline by 20% by 2050. How is this even possible?

Then I noticed a strange footnote on page 15: “PRIMES assumes that nuclear development has been significantly affected in the aftermath of the nuclear accident in Fukushima in March 2011. Both PRIMES and TIMES-PanEu impose national constraints regarding nuclear, such as countries’ decisions not to use nuclear power at all…” Please tell me that I am reading this wrong. They didn’t just exclude nuclear power from large parts of EU in their “all options” scenario for political reasons and then sell it as the cost optimal one?

I have now outlined several ways in which scenario modellers seem to suppress nuclear power from their reference scenarios where all options and technologies are supposedly on the table. This has also consequences for the other scenarios and comparisons between them. Since modellers suppressed nuclear power already in “the tech neutral” scenarios adding additional anti-nuclear policy, can be presented as not really having major cost consequences.

Figure 2: The box on the left has nuclear power in it and the box on the right had it removed. Amazingly it looks almost the same as the other empty box!

Figure 2: The empty box on the left has nuclear power in it and the box on the right had it removed. Amazingly it looks almost the same as the other empty box!

Since I am a bad boy I will conclude with some rough estimates on what would it take to replace (gasp!) solar and wind power at the end of the model scenarios with nuclear power that generates the same amount of electricity. I simply estimate the required nuclear capacity (90% CF) and use modellers assumptions about capital costs. Required yearly outlay is roughly total capital required divided by the lifetime of the plant. I will use 30 year lifetime for wind and solar and 60 years for nuclear. (Numbers are in billions of 2005$…I think.)

Model Wind+solar capital Nuclear capital (Wind+solar)/year Nuclear/year
Remind 450-FullTech-OPT 74540 62753 2485 1046
Message 450-FullTech-OPT 40620 64150 1354 1070
IMACLIM 450-FullTech-OPT 5680 5765 189 96
Primes Decarb-AllOptions (EU) 1430 826 48 14
Primes HIEFF-NoCCS-NoNUKE (EU) 1555 900 52 15

In all models the required yearly outlay (at 2100 or 2050 for PRIMES) for energy supply is dramatically lower if we replace wind and solar capacity with nuclear power. This despite the fact that MESSAGE and IMACLIM assumed unrealistically high capacity factors for variable renewables. It is remarkable than even though this kind of chicanery was going on behind many models, IPCC still ended up concluding that nuclear power must expand massively. This is perhaps partly because not all scenario builders were intellectually dishonest about this issue and some models ended up, for example, with ten fold increases in nuclear capacity. On the other hand I am afraid that all 450ppm scenarios are utterly unrealistic….and don’t get me started on their absurd bioenergy projections. 

P.S. I spent some time copying the data I was interested in from the database. Interface seems a bit uncomfortable for that. Here is a link to some of the data I extracted.

P.P.S.  For laughs you might want to check IMACLIM model with 550 ppm goal and CCS excluded. Since the original one was very strongly dependent on CCS one would imagine that ruling it out would have interesting consequences for the energy mix. See what modelers assumed for the capital costs of nuclear here to suppress that out of control (critical?) nuclear growth early in the century.

LOL

LOL

Vaalien alla taas sieltä täältä kuuluu lupauksia siitä kuinka Cleantech pelastaa maailman ja siinä sivussa Suomen kansantalouden. Tuotamme saman entistä alhaisemmalla resurssien kulutuksella ja tästä innostuneena ulkomaanasukit innostuvat ostamaan entistä enemmän meidän tuotteitamme. Olen käsitellyt teemaa jonkin verran jo aikaisemmin (täällä ja täällä), mutta törmäsin uuteen esimerkkiin. Lentokoneiden polttoainetehokkuus on parantunut viimeisten vuosikymmenien aikana hurjasti.
AircraftFuelEfficiency1
Tämä Cleantech-sektori on samalla kasvanut innostavasti niin, että lopputuloksena on ollut alan päästöjen moninkertaistuminen. No mutta tulevaisuudessa kaikki on varmastikin ihan toisin ja onpa hyvä, että “suunnitelmat” ilmastonmuutoksen torjumiseksi eivät nojaa kriittisesti energiatehokkuuden päästöjä vähentävään vaikutukseen  #sarkasmia #we_are_screwed. Tätä huomiotani ei sitten pidä ymmärtää väärin. En vastusta tehokkuuden paranemista. Se on hyvä asia, koska se kasvattaa tuottavuutta ja sitä kautta talouskasvua. Sen sijaan viisaan on syytä suhtautua suurin varauksin sen kykyyn alentaa päästöjä. FlightCO2emissions

Tässä vielä laskettelua erikoisvalmisteisissa LED asuissa, koska… miksipä ei.

P.S. Jos jollain on mielessä ehdokas Uudeltamaalta, joka ymmärtää näiden asioiden päälle, vihjeitä otetaan kiitollisuudella vastaan.

Päivitetty 14.3.2015: Hesarissa oli tänään tähän liittyvä juttu. IT-sektorin energiankulutus on ollut rajussa kasvussa samaan aikaan, kun yksittäiseen laskutoimitukseen vaadittava energia on laskenut eksponentiaalisesti vuosikymmenestä toiseen.

Sopivasti vaalien alla ilmestyi uusi kuvia kumartamaton kontribuutio ilmasto- ja energiakeskusteluun. Janne Korhosen ja Rauli Partasen kirja “Uhkapeli ilmastolla” kannattaa ehdottomasti hankkia. Kirja keskittyy moniin teemoihin, joita itsekin olen nostanut esiin. Kirja ei myöskään ole paksu vaan on selvästi tarkoitettu nopeasti luettavaksi ajatusten herättäjäksi ja (kuten kirjoittajat itsekin kertovat) keskustelun avaajaksi. He perustavat väitteensä asiallisiin tutkimuksiin ja lähteisiin, joita esimerkiksi ympäristöjärjestöt itse tuntuvat pitävän luotettavina ainakin silloin, kun viesti sopii ennakkoasenteisiin. (Itse asiassa osa lähteistä on järjestöjen itse tilaamia tai kirjoittamia raportteja.)

Kirja paneutuu ympäristöjärjestöjen huolestuttavaan sinisilmäisyyteen uusiutuvan energian mahdollisuuksista ja etenkin väitteisiin, että mitään muuta kuin uusiutuvia ei tarvita. Kirjassa esitetään esimerkiksi oheinen IPCC:n SSREN raportiin perustuva kuva 164 skenaariosta ja siitä minkälainen rooli uusiutuvilla voisi olla vuonna 2050. AINUTKAAN skenaario ei kyennyt tyydyttämään edes nykyistä energiankulutusta pelkästään uusiutuvilla ja tämä raportissa, jonka tekijät omasivat positiivisen ennakkoasenteen alaa kohtaan.

Keskusteltuaan tämän uskomuksen vaarallisuudesta suhteessa ilmaston muutoksen torjuntaan kirjoittajat jatkavat käsittelemään laajalle levinnyttä vääristelyä  ydinvoimasta ja säteilysuojelusta. Tiiviissä ja hyvin luettavassa paketissa he debunkkaavat yleisimmin esitetyt uskomukset sekä teemaan liittyvästä tieteestä kuin myös keskustelusta eri energialähteiden taloudellisuudesta.

Tekijät varoittavat harjoitetun epärehellisyyden vaarantavan ei ainoastaan työn ilmastonmuutoksen torjumiseksi vaan myös nakertavan pohjan uusiutuvan energian lisäämiseltä. (Amen to that!)  He ilmoittavat myös olevansa valmiita korjaamaan väitteitään mikäli kuulevat parempia perusteluja. Eli jos olet kirjan luettuasi heidän kanssaan eri mieltä, ryhdy pohtimaan järkevämpiä argumentteja kuin ne mitkä tässä kirjassa ammutaan alas.

Ensi keskiviikkona 11.3 järjestetään muuten Bio Rexissä Helsingissä energiakeskustelu. Jos olet onnekas, saatat saada kirjan paikan päältä.

Bullshit If you are sane and follow discussions around energy and climate policies, you have probably observed a troubling lack of epistemic virtues among many participants. This is probably caused by a toxic mixture of incompetence, ideological fundamentalism, social inertia, and greed. For future reference, here is a small list of dishonest tricks that I have encountered with some regularity. Focus is on those arguments that are used to counter the thinking of people like me. Namely people who are concerned of environment, climate change, social justice etc. while at the same conclude (based on pretty robust scientific research/analysis) that, for example, nuclear power will be a critical part of any attempt to address human needs while minimizing environmental damage. (I kind of suspect that writing stuff like this is not an optimal communications strategy with those who don’t get it, but I am doing it in any case. Lets take this as some kind of private therapy in an obscure corner of the internet…I am human as well and there is a limit on how much I can take.)

Is there some nonsense I have missed? I will update the list as new stupidities appear.

  1. Don’t do the actual comparison: This trick is very common. Claim that nuclear is very expensive or dangerous and suggest the opposite for your favored options without actually backing it up with anything else except rhetoric. tumblr_mgdfszcXfZ1qf1n0wo1_250This trick also appears in many “real” publications on mitigations scenarios. By simply excluding option with more nuclear power, you can proceed to suggest how it is not playing an important role in your scenarios. Leaving it out makes your life easier, since costs of your favored policy options can be conveniently hidden. This trick has also different shades of gray. Some people might allow the idea of nuclear power into their modelling, but then kill it by choosing appropriately crazy input paramaters (which they might fail to disclose clearly).
  2. Subtract subsidies from costs and then report the resulting number as a demonstration how cheap renewable energy sources are. Don’t ever highlight what you just did! This is so dishonest that I am always amazed that people still dare to use it. (Some examples here and here)
  3. Play fast and loose with discount rates: If you want to make stuff you don’t like appear more expensive, quietly use a higher discount rate for that. (Example here)
  4. Cherrypick: Pick the worst you can find for stuff you don’t like and best you can find for your favorites.  (For example, for wind use 40% capacity factors and 1000€/kW capital cost…)
  5. Draw the boundaries close: ignore system wide costs (extra capacity, grids etc.) Somebody else can pay those, no reason for you to internalize the external costs you cause. External costs are for others.
  6. Confuse costs, investments, profits etc. : If somebody says renewables are costly, counter this by saying investors find it very profitable. vladimir-putin-laughingIf the other side points out, that profits are due to subsidies and the transfer of risks to society at large, leave the scene quickly.
  7. If Wall Street bankers (Citi, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Lazard…) say something nice about renewables, treat this as especially credible message as opposed to usual nonsense riddled with conflicts of interest.
  8. Rely on gray literature: Reality has a clear pro-nuclear bias so instead of reading what actual experts say write your own stuff that says the opposite. Remember, actual education or training doesn’t matter. You become an expert by just repeating your opinion sufficiently many times on paper. In fact, if you disagree with conclusions experts draw, in just few minutes (without reading the paper) you can write a comment online that reveals the critical mistake some expert working on this for years apparently made. Then you can just move on as if nothing happened. Create a self-referential library of nonsense so that you can use the existence of previous nonsense to improve the “credibility” of your new reports.
  9. Call renewable industry lobby groups “independent research institutes”. (I have seen this happen. This sounds crazy, but is true.)
  10. Come up with fantastic external costs for stuff you don’t like: nuclear power externality of us consuming the uranium of future generations, GIF-disbelief-furrowed-brow-incredulous-Louie-CK-WTF-GIFmillions dying from radiation in a core melt reactor accident as opposed to none from Fukushima etc. etc. Here you can let your imagination fly! These are costs that nobody is “really” paying so how can you be called out for that? (If the scientific reports by eggheads don’t please you, balance those by quoting some random financial analyst in a TV program.  I kid you not. This is not Onion.)
  11. Ignore environmental and climate damage you cause: bioenergy..I am looking at you!
  12. Ignore the fact that your favored energy source was technically dependent on those dirty energy sources with high external costs.
  13. If current costs do not please you, come up with your own. If you wish to appear sophisticated, make an IAM (integrated assesment model) where future costs of stuff you like are really cheap and then use it to justify policies here and now. Nobody will be reading these things decades from now on…just do it! Of course if succesful it burdens the current generations with hidden costs, but do not ask what my favored energy source can do for you, but rather what you can do for my favored energy source!
  14. When called out for dishonesty and unable to defend, leave the scene. Lying_GIFRepeat the same claims elsewhere where hopefully audience is more gullible. Never learn and never acknowledge being wrong. That sends a wrong signal. 
  15. Doublespeak: appeal to populism, people, community, ordinary people, being against corporations, all the while promoting socially regressive income transfers for the wealthy.
  16. Climate change is a planetary emergency, we need to stop using fossil fuels. Nevertheless, cost your alternative by assuming small penetration of renewable energy sources. 
  17. Germany doesn’t pay subsidies for renewables (because there feed in tariffs are not included in the federal budget). There is no subsidy…rather “a surcharge in which energy consumers make a compulsory contribution towards transforming the energy system.” Again this is not from Onion, but from PV PR material from Fraunhofer institute in Germany.
  18. Science fiction: If your vision seems to make little sense based on technologies now available, come up with cheap future technologies that somebody else will invent to make it alright.
  19. Ignore tradeoffs: Society really can have no other use for resources except to satisfy your technology fetish.
  20. Move the goalposts so that energy revolution is just around the corner decade after decade after decade. This is really about commitment to faith and identity and not about what happens in the real world.
  21. Use popular or political will as an argument: Something must be done since politicians have set a “goal”. It is not that politicians could make dumb decisions or that people could be clueless or ill-informed.
  22. Ignore political risks: Of course your vision will not be undermined by let us say escalating costs undermining the political support. Politics is fixed and people do not adapt to changing circumstances.
  23. Call lower taxes for some uses of fossil fuels a subsidy even though fossil fuels in total are taxed heavily. Pretend that this is just the same as transfers to RES producers. tumblr_mhuxtaBFvE1rlpjl3o1_500Also, if state oil company effectively pays for lower oil prices for citizens in OPEC countries, this is clearly the same thing as citizens paying subsidies for RES producers in rich countries. Nuance is for losers! 
  24. Manufacture and cost your products relying on fossil fuel powered 24/7 power sources, but tell others this is not necessary. After all baseload is a myth!
  25. Focus on electricity! That is where your fetishes are and that is most important.
  26. In common sense economics prosperity is related to productivity. If little input (all inputs) is needed for a valuable output, productivity is high. lol_ricky_gervaisInstead of talking of this, talk beside the point. Focus on subsets…things like “energy productivity” and equate prosperity with those even if your policies lower the total productivity by requiring, for example, more labour, more materials, and reduced capacity utilization. Here is an earlier post (in finnish, sorry). Last column of the table gives primary energy produced (million kWh) per job for different energy sources. (For PV and wind estimates are 0.6 and 2 respectively.)
  27. Ignore resource limitations of your favored technologies. Biosphere is there for the taking, carbage has loads of useful energy, mineral requirements for solar and wind are irrelevant. Mining is damaging only when others are doing it.
  28. Claim somebody (small village or tropical island will do) is producing with XXX% of their energy with variable RES even though the region has precisely no one whose consumption pattern would fit the production pattern of variable RES (..and ignore the difference between energy and electricity, see point 25).waitwhat Argument clearly becomes invalid when applied to other energy sources. For example, city of Loviisa in Finland with two nuclear power plants produced more than 3000% of “its energy” with nuclear power. Comment like this is SO inappropriate trolling.
  29. Base your energy visions fundamentally on burning biomass, but in public talk mainly about solar and wind. They don’t feel quite so paleolithic.
  30. There is no reason to decarbonize right now with existing technologies since Elon Musk is building a battery gigafactory, Lockheed Martin soon has fusion reactors ready, solar electricity will soon be free, solar power in Sahara etc. etc. ad nauseam…and we cannot stay below 2 degrees warming in any case.
  31. If the energy vision of your own organization tells that bioenergy is not climate neutral and currently forests are used at unsustainable rates, don’t let it stop you from promoting substantially more biomass burning as a tool to combat climate change. (This is what, for example, Greenpeace Finland is doing.)
  32. Compare UK strike price for Hinkley point nuclear power plant with expected feed in tariffs for solar in Germany and claim this demonstrates how costly nuclear is. (Ignore the fact that strike prices for renewables were in fact higher and that rate of photovoltaics installations has collapsed in Germany with the reduced FiTs and that we are dealing with different countries.)
  33. Claim wind and solar reduce the wholesale prices of electricity so much that country actually saves more money than what it pays in subsidies.
  34. “Renewable energy and energy efficiency are the most efficient way to reduce emissions…”. If somebody points out to historical records that demonstrates this is not true,
    tumblr_m57t1xMTJn1rnvlqyrepeat “Renewable energy and energy efficiency are the most efficient way to reduce emissions…” LOUDER! “Renewable energy and energy efficiency are the most efficient way to reduce emissions…”. In fact, you should just ignore the history of human development. From now on everything is different and no useful insights can be gained from studying history. Other than corporate conspiracy there are no real reasons why we have the energy infrastructure we have.
  35. Something amazing will happen when solar power reaches “grid parity”. If somebody suggests that gas, coal, nuclear, biomass, hydro, wind… have all reached “grid parity” long time ago, just ignore. This is clearly irrelevant to the upcoming revolution. So is the absence of affordable storage and the dependence of PV owners on the usual grid electricity most of the year.
  36. Production from variable renewables looks kind of steady…when you average it over a week (… or a month).
  37. Nuclear power is unreliable too since its fuel must be changed.
  38. Talk of exponential reductions in RES prices and exponential increases in installation rates even when this is not true. To support this narrative, be silent whenever the data points fail to fit the storyline. (Facts to be ignored: wind power today costs about the same as 10 years ago and installations have been around 40GW globally since 2008. Exponential growth would have implied about 600GW capacity today when the real one is about 370GW.)
  39. Talk about installed capacity and not about actual generation. This trick allows you to make something with small capacity factor appear larger. (We can produce all the power for humanity with renewables in very short order. Build few of these and use explosives produced “renewably”. The trick is to make power last more than few microseconds.)
  40. Ignore lifetime difference between different technologies. You care about the future generations so it makes perfect sense to build infrastructure for your generation only. Lifetimes will affect economics as well as required installation rates if we are to reach some desired cumulative capacity. You can only lose if you try to be honest here since 60 year design lifetime of a nuclear power plant will always beat the lifetime of generators exposed to elements.
  41. “Too Cheap to Meter” – the phrase beloved by commentators for whom the present upfront cost of nuclear capacity is not excuse enough to reject it: they gleefully parade this apparent past claim by “the industry” as indicative of its inherent unviability. The underlying drivers of cost escalation have been described by actual experts, but it must be pointed out that “It is not too much to expect that our children will enjoy electrical energy in their homes too cheap to meter”, uttered by Lewis Strauss in the 50s, referred to the potential of nuclear fusion, not the fission which is commonly derided.The ultimate irony is the regular claims by some commentators who believe current wind and solar technology are more than sufficient to enable a wide transition to clean energy systems barely stop short of asserting that the “free fuel” for these generators will make conventional metered, grid-supplied power redundant. (I thank actinideage for bringing this to my attention.
  42. Opposing argument is invalid because energy policy is about values and should therefore be decided by pop philosophers and bishops.
  43. MindBlownRES subsidies are not regressive income transfers, since all consumers pay them, electricity consumption can be reduced with efficient gadgets, and municipalities can hire poor people consultants to help them reduce their energy consumption. (This one again from Fraunhofer p25.)
  44. If somebody expresses concern, that single minded focus on climate change ignores and sometimes makes worse other environmental problems, attack them as bad human beings. At the same time cheer mitigation options with obviously disasterous environmental consequences. (Example from Joe Romm,an attack and confirmation that Franzen kind of had a point)
  45. Renewable energy surcharge (in Germany) is not really caused by renewable energy.
  46. Something is clearly realistic in a small country since much larger country has done it. Here is an example from Australia “The wind turbine installations will need to remain at 2,600 MW a year for the coming 15 years. This is equal to the development in the German wind power market between 1999 and 2014, a country smaller in area than New South Wales.” This was from a report lobbying for renewables by Sven Teske et al. (Teske has been writing these for Greenpeace as well.) Since New South Wales has less than 10th the population of Germany, might there not be other relevant constraints?
  47. Following Carbon Tracker, if wind and solar do not appear to be cheap enough today compared to fossil fuels, just change or “update” the assumptions for fossil fuel generators. Reduce load factors…presumably because China has built plenty of power plants in the assumption of rapid demand growth and these power plants are not fully utilized…yet. This is supposed to tell you something relevant in other countries as well. Also shorten the plant lifetime dramatically since emissions must be reduced. Do not acknowledge that large capital investments and well working generators make it hard to reduce emission and until now emissions reductions have never been a priority. Let me guess, in 2025 with emissions reductions nowhere to be seen, Carbon Tracker reduces coal plant lifetime to 10 years to get an even higher cost?
  48. Rooftop PV is free since “The cost of these systems is absorbed by the building owners, and does not directly affect calculated electricity costs under this model. “ Blakers et al.
  49. “Have you encountered ”survival of civilization hangs in the balance but you need to build them on time and budget” argument yet?”: @DeepShort7. This is a funny argument and used mainly by people who are instinctively anti-nuclear, but sufficiently clever to be embarrased by most anti-nuclear nonsense. This argument is only used for nuclear and not for the stuff they like. Doing otherwise would be immoral since “survival of the civilization…” 

I think I will stop here for now. The list is getting longer than I thought. Sorry, for the misleading title.

In case you have missed it, there is apparently amazing energy revolution going on in Germany. Photovoltaics are an in integral part of the associated hype. I checked the rates of monthly installations.

Figure 1: Monthly installations of PV in Germany 2009-2014.

Figure 1: Monthly installations of PV in Germany 2009-2014.

Installations increased rapidly from the early 2009. What caused this increase? I might of course be wrong (I don’t think I am), but this increase coincides quite nicely with the collapse in the German share of the photovoltaics industry and increasing Chinese dominance in the marketplace. Germans had adjusted their feed in tariffs based on German manufacturing costs. This attracted Chinese who could produce same thing far more cheaply and gave rise to investment bubble in Germany. Subsidies were sold  as buying Germans a large share of an exponentially increasing export market. Instead German producers of photovoltaics panels collapsed. Strangely enough silence on this has been deafening and and the same argument is used to sell similar policies in other countries as if nothing happened. (Does anyone know a country were subsidies are NOT justified by capturing export markets?)

Figure 2: Market shares of photovoltaic cells

What causes those spikes in installation rates? As has been demonstrated time and time again, installations are driven by subsidies and they tend to peak just when some form of subsidy is about to expire. Sure enough, if I check what has happened to feed-in tariffs in Germany I find a clear correlation with installation rates and FiT changes (see Figure 3).

Figure 3: Fractional change in the Feed in Tariffs

Figure 3: Fractional change in the Feed in Tariffs

Since the monthly data is more noisy I finally show the results over half a year periods. It is quite interesting that decrease in installations since the start of the Energiewende buzz has been exponential (to a good accuracy) with a half-life of about a year. The current rate of installations with 25 year lifetime, implies around 50GW of solar capacity which translates to less than 10% of German electricity consumption. We are saved!

Figure 4: Installations over half a year periods. For your convenience I makrk the start of the Energiewende hype with an arrow.

Figure 4: Installations over half a year periods. For your convenience I mark the start of the Energiewende hype with an arrow.

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