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You need to be a little careful with the electricity portfolios of small European countries (and in the context of electricity, the only not-small European country is Russia). Europe has a lot of cross-border load balancing, with France a major buyer of intermediate load, and Germany a major supplier. Since intermediate load is typically more CO2-intensive than base- and peak load, part of the German increase is probably attributable to increases in other parts of Europe (conversely, the French boast that their all-nuke strategy is carbon-neutral is... not totally true).

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Nov 22nd, 2013 at 04:11:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
part of the German increase is probably attributable to increases in other parts of Europe (conversely, the French boast that their all-nuke strategy is carbon-neutral is... not totally true).

How much is attributable to that, and how much is attributable to burning coal imported from the USA.  There must be figures for that somewhere.

Let's talk about energy. You say alternative energy can't scale. Is there no role for renewables?

I like renewables, but they move slowly. There's an inherent inertia, a slowness in energy transitions. It would be easier if we were still consuming 66,615 kilowatt-hours per capita, as in 1950. But in 1950 few people had air-conditioning. We're a society that demands electricity 24/7. This is very difficult with sun and wind.

Look at Germany, where they heavily subsidize renewable energy. When there's no wind or sun, they boost up their old coal-fired power plants. The result: Germany has massively increased coal imports from the US, and German greenhouse gas emissions have been increasing, from 917 million metric tons in 2011 to 931 million in 2012, because they're burning American coal. It's totally zany!

― Vaclav Smil quoted in This Is the Man Bill Gates Thinks You Absolutely Should Be Reading, Wired



Point n'est besoin d'espérer pour entreprendre, ni de réussir pour persévérer. - Charles le Téméraire
by marco on Mon Nov 25th, 2013 at 03:58:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Energy transitions are slow because we are sitting with our thumbs up our asses and waiting for them to happen automagically, instead of devoting an actually meaningful share of the gross planetary product to making it happen.

Pissing around with a few hundred billion here and there just isn't gonna cut it.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Nov 25th, 2013 at 06:02:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This article argues that the increase in coal is a short-term "bump" in the road, with three primary reasons:

... The increased coal burn that has occurred (and it has) comes from existing units. But this is due to short term economic factors, not a long term revival of coal's economics (which are terrible). In the EU, coal use has been growing since 2009 (after a steep drop in the preceding two years) but it is still below 2007 levels and well below increases in renewable energy generation.

There's a lot of reasons for this short-term bump. The most important are: 1) strict new air pollution rules that ensure a huge amount of coal-fired capacity will be retired or constrained by 2016; 2) rock-bottom carbon prices; and 3) national level coal policies. But some of these same factors will conspire to have the exact opposite effect in the long run. ...

"Europe's 'Coal Renaissance' Masks Industry Downfall"
by Justin Guay, Washington Representative, Sierra Club



Point n'est besoin d'espérer pour entreprendre, ni de réussir pour persévérer. - Charles le Téméraire
by marco on Tue Nov 26th, 2013 at 01:31:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"1) strict new air pollution rules that ensure a huge amount of coal-fired capacity will be retired or constrained by 2016"

Here in the UK, the usual opinion among energy consultants (those I've spoken to, at any rate) is that these rules will be ignored and the plants will stay online.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Tue Nov 26th, 2013 at 02:51:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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