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A primer on electricity generation fuels in Europe and across the world

by Starvid Tue Sep 12th, 2006 at 04:56:20 AM EST

A great primer written by We Support Lee with lots of pretty graphs.

Read it here.

Frontpaged - whataboutbob


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Would you consider asking her to crosspost this over here? That would be great.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Sep 7th, 2006 at 10:57:44 AM EST
I'll do that.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Thu Sep 7th, 2006 at 10:58:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hmm, I can't seem to find any mail adress I can contact her with.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Thu Sep 7th, 2006 at 11:02:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You can leave a comment on the blog. You should also click on "links to this post" (next to the "comments" link at the bottom of the post) and reference this diary.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 7th, 2006 at 11:09:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for the pointer, I've posted a comment. But I can't seem to get the linking to work (stupid Firefox). Maybe someone else could try?

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Thu Sep 7th, 2006 at 11:28:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
...is one brilliant website. Good stuff. Hope you get it crossposted here.
by Nomad on Thu Sep 7th, 2006 at 11:35:54 AM EST
How important is electricity generation in overall emissions?

She says somewhere how well growth and electricity consumption are correlated, and then show the Swedish consumption graph, which shows that the consumption is stagnating. The graph for California would have worked as well.

Then, it seems to me that the first thing to do when your objective is to reduce CO2 emissions is to look at why you pollute so much, not how you pollute so much. It seems that the approach she uses is the same one that's being criticized here when The Economist blames nationnally owned oil companies for high oil prices: the focus on producers doesn't make sense when an average american consumes 8tep per year. Why is it not the same with electricity?

Rien n'est gratuit en ce bas monde. Tout s'expie, le bien comme le mal, se paie tot ou tard. Le bien c'est beaucoup plus cher, forcement. Celine

by UnEstranAvecVueSurMer (holopherne ahem gmail) on Thu Sep 7th, 2006 at 01:34:33 PM EST
Swedish power consumption is not stagnating, it only looks like it is. The graph only shows generation, not consumption. The last few years Sweden has been importing more power than we have exported.

The other reason is that nuclear power was overbuilt in the 80's as the elites understood that there wouldn't be a second chance to build reactors in a long time, due to the anti-nuclear referndum.

It has taken almost 20 years of "natural" consumption growth to reach the capacity level nuclear overbuilding generated. No new capacity worth mentioning has been built since 1985, until just now when growth has caught up with capacity and the two 600 MW Barsebäck reactors were prematurely closed.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Thu Sep 7th, 2006 at 01:52:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In the Swedish Energy Report 2005, I see this:
Between 1970 and 1987, electricity use increased at an average rate of almost 5% per annum. However, this rate of increase has since declined, to less than 0,5% per annum on average. In 2002 and 2003, electricity use in Sweden actually fell, before turning upwards again slightly in 2004.



Rien n'est gratuit en ce bas monde. Tout s'expie, le bien comme le mal, se paie tot ou tard. Le bien c'est beaucoup plus cher, forcement. Celine
by UnEstranAvecVueSurMer (holopherne ahem gmail) on Fri Sep 8th, 2006 at 08:28:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
sorry I hit post a bit too early.

So indeed consumption isn't stagnating, but increasing slightly.
This is the second time you mention that elites have knowingly built overcapacity because they were afraid they wouldn't get the chance to build new capacity in the future. I don't know of any other country that knowingly overbuilds nuclear capacity, besides France, but does so for quite unclear reasons. Maybe somebody else knows.

I think I saw somewhere that between 1970 and 1980 the average growth in electricity in Sweden was around 7%. Is it possible they just extrapolated?


Rien n'est gratuit en ce bas monde. Tout s'expie, le bien comme le mal, se paie tot ou tard. Le bien c'est beaucoup plus cher, forcement. Celine

by UnEstranAvecVueSurMer (holopherne ahem gmail) on Fri Sep 8th, 2006 at 08:41:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, I don't think so. 12 units were built. The people in industry (like Curt Nicolin) who extrapolated wanted 24 units. But the last two, the biggest units (BWR 90) were not really needed at the time. They should have been built in the 90's instead if reason had prevailed. Which, considering this is Sweden, it of course did not.

And of course power demand grew immediatly when those units were completed, one can't not use the power when the reactors are built, can one? So lots of power was "wasted" in the late 80's and 90's (on inefficient direct electrical heating for example) until "real" demand recently caught up with the "overbuilt" demand.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Fri Sep 8th, 2006 at 10:42:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Electric heating seems to be a good indicator of nuclear overcapacity.

Rien n'est gratuit en ce bas monde. Tout s'expie, le bien comme le mal, se paie tot ou tard. Le bien c'est beaucoup plus cher, forcement. Celine
by UnEstranAvecVueSurMer (holopherne ahem gmail) on Fri Sep 8th, 2006 at 01:53:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree.

Or cheap power overcapacity in general. Not that cheap power is not a good thing, but let me give you an example.

Norway. Cheapest power in the world, extensive power intensive industry, all hydro, everyone has electrical heating. So far so good. Cheap and clean and comfortable.

The problem is that power demand in Norway is growing and hydro expansion is no longer possible. So they will build natural gas power plants. The reasonable alternative would have been to change electrical heating to electrical heat pumps to accomodate increasing power demand. Or Hell, just insulate those drafty houses.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Fri Sep 8th, 2006 at 07:18:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Or build wind or nuclear power if they really want to increase generation instead of end-use efficiency.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Fri Sep 8th, 2006 at 07:21:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
End-use efficiency indeed is appealing to me. Actually, this is the reason why I oppose any energy policy that emphasises nuclear energy as a recourse: it is not a recourse to inefficient use for one, and still is the general discourse a solution, when it's nothing more than an alternative for baseload power.

I don't think it is possible to at the same time develop nuclear energy (that is brag about non-polluting-too-cheap-too-meter-our-new program-will-also-be-called-'ploughshares' electricity) and tell people that they have to spend X euros insulating theirs houses, buying special light bulbs, etc.

To me the discourses go in opposite directions.

Rien n'est gratuit en ce bas monde. Tout s'expie, le bien comme le mal, se paie tot ou tard. Le bien c'est beaucoup plus cher, forcement. Celine

by UnEstranAvecVueSurMer (holopherne ahem gmail) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 12:54:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Still, all evidence shows that improving efficiency and building renewables just doesn't hack it.

What is needed is closing fossil power plants and replacing them with something else, and that something is very often nuclear.

I see no inherent problem in promoting both nuclear power and improved efficiency.

It can be framed like this: "our power use shall be efficient and our power generation clean and competitive".

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Sun Sep 10th, 2006 at 05:37:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And how important is electricity for overall CO2 emmissions?

Well, let's compare France and Germany. Their per capita emissions should be identical except for power generation.

France: 6.80t of CO2 per capita (about 90 % CO2 free power)
Germany: 10.21t of CO2/capita (about 33 % CO2 free power)

And this in spite of a higher French per capita power consumption!

So power the kind of power generation utilized is obviously one of the most, if not the most , important factor for CO2 emissions. And it is more important in what way the power is generated than what how much power is consumed.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Thu Sep 7th, 2006 at 02:02:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A crucial observation.  The transformative power of large sources of carbon emission in the environment inevitably points to the same conclusion:  that electricity generation cannot rely on renewables alone.  Denmark should be praised for 20% wind, but it is still burning coal and its per capita carbon production remains high.

If Germany abandons its nuclear plants, its carbon production will rise.

The effect in botanical terms alone is much greater than had been previously thought:

http://www.alumni.berkeley.edu/calmag/200609/harte.asp

by Plan9 on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 11:53:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]

and the most relevant to your question:

i.e. power plants in the US (which are 50% coal and 20% gas-fired) are responsible for 40% of all carbon emissions.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Sep 7th, 2006 at 02:45:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
...up to 150.  And none of them are required to control carbon emissions.

On the other hand, Canada is building big wind farms up north on the Shield that will take advantage of the hydro transmission lines already in place.  With hydro, nuclear, and wind Canada may be able to supply the US with cleaner power.  

by Plan9 on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 11:57:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't count on it. The Canadian per capita power consumption is immense, somewhere around 4 times the European average.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sun Sep 10th, 2006 at 05:34:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
OK--I will move to Sweden instead.  I see on that great I Support Lee website you recommend that 80% of Swedes say yes to nuclear power.  

US utilities already buy some power from Canada.

Of course as Canada's Arctic continue to thaw out, surely the Canucks will not need so much electricity to get through the winters. Or may have some to spare until the ocean currents from the tropics are shut down by the influx of melt-water.

by Plan9 on Sun Sep 10th, 2006 at 01:04:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]

If I'm reading it right, that is.

by Nomad on Thu Sep 7th, 2006 at 04:24:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hello to all friends 'across the water!' -

Thank you for the gracious compliments!

I have been away from the computer for a couple of days.  I will work on posting the material here during the next day or so.

Best wishes!

by wesupportlee on Mon Sep 11th, 2006 at 10:04:47 AM EST
Says frontpaged, but it is not...

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Tue Sep 12th, 2006 at 08:35:50 AM EST
Would have been un-frontpaged after a while...
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 12th, 2006 at 08:36:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, hold-on. Something about a direct diary being posted ...
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 12th, 2006 at 08:37:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I just realised that it has been frontpaged (thought I recognised it), but now it has changed the date of when it was created, thus causing my confusion.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Tue Sep 12th, 2006 at 08:38:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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