That is what BP thinks will happen on the basis of projecting forward what we are doing to date. However, in what they see as a Rapid Transition Scenario, BP still sees around half of our energy needs in 2040 coming from fossil fuels in the form of gas and oil. Here from the BP Energy Outlook, 2019 in a nutshell is the story:
In this post I meant to show how the science has been showing for years now that we need rapid and concerted decarbonisation for a safe climate, and any hope of keeping global warming to 1.5˚C, in order to frame a consideration of the Finkel review. However, Abbott’s climate denialism is dramatically on full show and now George Christensen has thrown a grenade into the ring by saying he won’t vote in favour of Finkel’s Clean Energy Target. He says that most other Nationals won’t vote for it either. Indeed:
He said that, rather than legislating a clean energy target, the government would be better off building high-efficiency coal-fired power stations to replace the ageing coal fleet. Christensen contended that approach would reduce carbon pollution.
That is the title of an article by Jay Weatherill as we suffered the recent heatwave. He believes that electricity supply is a public good and should be in public hands. However, the article is really a plea to Malcolm Turnbull to keep an emissions intensity scheme (EIS) on the table.
His speech set out Turnbull’s vision for Australia’s energy future – covering renewable energy, “clean” coal, gas, power prices and electricity security. He talked up coal, saying Australia as a big exporter needs to show we are using state-of-the-art clean coal-fired technology.
The summary sentence tells us that “coal and gas will begin their terminal decline in less than a decade”. Frequently the title of an article and the summary lead-in sentence are not written by the authors. In this case the “terminal decline” of coal and gas is more than a little misleading. Continue reading Bloomberg’s New energy outlook, 2016→
Last September in the Outlook document the IEA saw oil prices rebounding, averaging $82.50 a barrel in 2015 and rising to near $100 in the coming years. Now they see prices recovering gradually to reach $73 a barrel in 2020.
The IEA now sees production as increasing by 5.2 million barrels per day over the same time period, which is substantially the same as forecast last September.
The IEA sees four main factors at play:
Emerging economies are reaching a less oil intensive stage of development.
The global economy is becoming less fuel intensive.
Concerns over climate change are affecting policies, for example the fuel economy regulations for motor vehicles in the US, which Klare says will reduce demand by 2.2 million barrels per day by 20125.
Globalisation of the natural gas market and the emergence of renewable technologies has led to inter-fuel competition beyond what would have been expected only a few years ago.
North American unconventional production (light tight oil, or LTO) has been greater than expected and has become the top source of incremental supply. Iraq supply increase is also beyond expectations.
Klare’s major point is that the oil industry assumed that demand would continue unabated no matter what the price, leading to massive investment in what he calls “tight oil” – oil from unconventional, hard to get at sources. His thesis is that production and consumption will increase, but only slowly, and to an extent and at a price that will not justify the investment necessary to extract tight oil.
The investment in tight oil dates from 2005, when production was 85.1 million barrels per day. At that time the IEA forecast that demand would reach 103.2 million barrels per day in 2015. In 2014 it was 92.9 with the forecast for 2015 only 93.2.
On the price recovery from $55 per barrel to $73 in 2020, Klare says:
Such figures fall far below what would be needed to justify continued investment in and exploitation of tough-oil options like Canadian tar sands, Arctic oil, and many shale projects. Indeed, the financial press is now full of reports on stalled or cancelled mega-energy projects. Shell, for example, announced in January that it had abandoned plans for a $6.5 billion petrochemical plant in Qatar, citing “the current economic climate prevailing in the energy industry.” At the same time, Chevron shelved its plan to drill in the Arctic waters of the Beaufort Sea, while Norway’s Statoil turned its back on drilling in Greenland.
In that sense Klare is right. Also profits like $32.6 billion in 2013 for Exxon (second only to Apple) and $21.4 billion for Chevron are unlikely to continue. Nevertheless these firms are not out of business. Some of the smaller producers in the sense of firms and countries may be, leading to possible failed states and security concerns. Russia will be producing less.
The bottom line, though, is that the crystal ball is clouded. Uncertainty prevails.
By 2040 three quarters of our energy will still come from fossil fuels, with global energy demand increasing by 37% and emissions increasing by 20%, according to the IEA world energy outlook 2014. IEA Chief Economist Fatih Birol:
The International Energy Agency estimates the planet is on track to warm by 3.6 degrees Celsius. Investment in renewables needs to quadruple to an average of $1.6 trillion every year through 2040 to meet the 2-degree target.
Taking the world’s CO2 budget to limit warming to 2°C as 2,300 Gt of CO2 from 1900, we have 1,000 Gt left from 2014, and are set to use all of it by 2040:
Overall energy demand is set to grow by 1% pa, about half the growth experienced in recent decades. Demand is flat in the OECD, slowing in China, but growing vigorously in the rest of the world:
By 2040, the world’s energy supply mix will divide into four almost-equal parts: oil, gas, coal and low-carbon sources, including renewables, hydro and nuclear. Growth in oil and coal will taper to nothing, but gas will grow vigorously, with demand increasing by 50% by 2040.
World oil supply rises to 104 million barrels per day (mb/d) in 2040, but hinges critically on investments in the Middle East. As tight oil output in the United States levels off, and non-OPEC supply falls back in the 2020s, the Middle East becomes the major source of supply growth. Growth in world oil demand slows to a near halt by 2040: demand in many of today’s largest consumers either already being in long-term decline by 2040 (the United States, European Union and Japan) or having essentially reached a plateau (China, Russia and Brazil). China overtakes the United States as the largest oil consumer around 2030 but, as its demand growth slows, India emerges as a key driver of growth, as do sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
The changes in supply are shown graphically below:
Concern is expressed that ISIS is deterring investment in production in Iraq.
Oil prices are likely to rebound, averaging $82.50 a barrel in 2015 and rising to near $100 in the coming years.
Global coal demand will grow by 15% to 2040, but almost two-thirds of the increase will occur over the next 10 years.
Chinese coal demand plateaus at just over 50% of global consumption, before falling back after 2030. Demand declines in the OECD, including the United States, where coal use for electricity generation plunges by more than one-third. India overtakes the United States as the world’s second-biggest coal consumer before 2020, and soon after surpasses China as the largest importer.
Australia will pass Indonesia to once again become the largest exporter by 2030.
The graph shows the importance of China in the global market:
The graph also highlights the folly of India and developing countries polluting their way to prosperity.
The key uncertainty – outside North America – is whether gas can be made available at prices that are attractive to consumers while still offering incentives for the necessary large capital-intensive investments in gas supply; this is an issue of domestic regulation in many of the emerging non-OECD markets, notably in India and across the Middle East, as well as a concern in international trade.
If these uncertainties are met the world gas market will be transformed with Australia a major beneficiary:
60% of gas will be ‘unconventional’, meaning shale and coal seam.
There is uncertainty about the $900 billion per year in upstream oil and gas development needed by the 2030s to meet projected demand.
The IEA sees global nuclear power capacity increasing by almost 60%. However, its share of global electricity generation will rise by just one percentage point to 12%.
Some 38% of existing capacity will be retired. Once again the importance of China is seen in this graph of the changes in capacity of the key players:
Renewables will account for almost half of the increase in total electricity generation to 2040.
The share of renewables in power generation increases most in OECD countries, reaching 37%, and their growth is equivalent to the entire net increase in OECD electricity supply. However, generation from renewables grows more than twice as much in non-OECD countries, led by China, India, Latin America and Africa. Globally, wind power accounts for the largest share of growth in renewables-based generation (34%), followed by hydropower (30%) and solar technologies (18%).
Global subsidies amount to $120 billion compared to $550 billion for fossil fuels.
The growth in hydropower is an ecological concern.
Paris and prices
The Executive Summary leads with a statement about the uncertainty of energy futures in very troubled times, so the IEA forecasts must be seen in this light. The IEA is urging strong intervention by decision makers in the UNFCCC conference in Paris in December, to avoid a climate catastrophe. They call it the last chance. Worth noting here is that the 2011 World Energy Outlook found that all new power supply built after 2017 would need to be zero carbon.
I’m not sure the IEA is fully aware of how cheap renewable technologies are becoming, and how disruptive these technologies will be. Nevertheless their mainstream future, dubbed the “central scenario”, already has renewables comprising about half of new capacity. The changing pattern in power supply is captured as follows:
Clearly we are relying too much on gas and coal for new supply, and we need to retire more dirty power, especially brown coal.
Finally, BP has taken a look at the future. What they find is not dissimilar to the IEA, just heading down the crapper a bit faster. They see global energy consumption in 2035 as 37% greater than now and CO2 emissions 25% more. They see a clear role for themselves to make a buck while cooking the planet.
The world’s first power-to-liquids (PtL) demonstration production plant was opened in Dresden on 14 November. The new rig uses PtL technology to transform water and CO2 to high-purity synthetic fuels (petrol, diesel, kerosene) with the aid of renewable electricity.
The article does not say how efficient the process is, but presumably less so than using the electricity directly.
Hope has been injected into the Climate Change Conference in Lima, Peru, scheduled to run from 1 to 12 December by the recent US/China agreement. The optimism stems as much from the fact that the two largest emitters in the world are finally working together as the level of ambition. The EU has also recently pledged to cut emissions by 40 percent from 1990 levels by 2030.
Countries will be working on the text of the draft agreement for Paris in 2015.
Countries are expected to put forward their contributions towards the 2015 agreement in the form of Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) by the end of March . These will then be used to craft the Paris treaty. The Lima gathering will help provide guidelines and clarity for what these INDCs must entail, especially for developing countries still reliant on fossil fuels to meet fast-growing energy demand needed to achieve developmental goals. These options could range from sector-wide emissions cuts to energy intensity goals to renewable energy targets.
We’ll be represented during the second week by Julie Bishop and Andrew Robb, a climate change denier. Seems Bishop went bananas when she found out, and Robb doesn’t want to be there anyway.
Giles Parkinson reports that we’ve sent a delegation of 14, the smallest in 20 years and probably not enough to be actively obstructive as we were in Warsaw last year.
On Sunday, Germany’s biggest utility E.ON announced plans to split into two companies and focus on renewables in a major shift that could be an indicator of broader changes to come across the utility sector. E.ON will spin off its nuclear, oil, coal, and gas operations in an effort to confront a drastically altered energy market, especially under the pressure of Germany’s Energiewende — the country’s move away from nuclear to renewables. The company told shareholders that it will place “a particular emphasis on expanding its wind business in Europe and in other selected target markets,” and that it will also “strengthen its solar business.”
E.ON will also focus on smart grids and distributed generation in an effort to improve energy efficiency and increase customer engagement and opportunity.
“With its decision, E.ON is the first company to take the necessary steps from the completely changed world of energy supply,” German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel, said Monday.
The Commission and European Environment Agency’s Progress Report on climate action says:
according to latest estimates, EU greenhouse gas emissions in 2013 fell by 1.8% compared to 2012 and reached the lowest levels since 1990. So not only is the EU well on track to reach the 2020 target, it is also well on track to overachieve it.
Kevin Anderson is not impressed:
The consumption-based emissions (i.e. where emissions associated with imports and exports are considered) of the EU 28 were 2% higher in 2008 than in 1990. By 2013 emissions had marginally reduced to 4% lower than 1990 – but not as a consequence of judicious climate change strategies, but rather the financial fallout of the bankers’ reckless greed – egged on by complicit governments and pliant regulation.
Then he really gets stuck in:
In the quarter of a century since the first IPCC report we have achieved nothing of any significant merit relative to the scale of the climate challenge. All we have to show for our ongoing oratory is a burgeoning industry of bureaucrats, well meaning NGOs, academics and naysayers who collectively have overseen a 60+% rise in global emissions.
I like to think that at Climate Plus we cover all the important issues and happenings. In this edition we look at two significant reports, one by Jeffrey Sachs to the UN Secretary General and the IEA’s World Energy Investment Outlook 2014.
As usual use Climate clippings as an open thread on climate change.
Renowned economist Jeffrey Sachs found that Australia could cut emissions from its energy sector to zero by 2050 and still grow GDP by an average of 2.4% over that period. That was in an interim reportrecently delivered to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon plotting
specific measures for the world’s 15 largest economies, including China, India and the US, to cut their emissions quickly and deeply enough to meet an international agreed goal of limiting warming to two degrees above pre-industrial levels.
What we do matters!
found that it’s technically possible for Australia to get almost all of its electricity from renewable sources by 2050 and to offset the rest by storing carbon in soil or planting more trees.
We can do that while GDP grows at 2.4% per annum, but it is interesting that our per capita growth rate is the lowest of the 15, India the highest.
It was scary, but could have, should have been scarier.
The program depended heavily on the last interglacial, the Eemian, as an analogue for now. It made the link through temperatures and probably got them a bit wrong. We’ll likely get more than 2°C this century, and the Eemian global average was possibly only 1°C higher than now.
Fundamentally the problem is this. CO2 levels during the Eemian which produced around 9 metres of sea level rise were never above 300 ppm. At 400 ppm, as we are now, the implied sea level rise is more like 20 to 25 metres, played out over the centuries.
Still they could have pointed out just how horrendous a 9 metre rise would be, other than the throwaway comment about most mega cities being displaced. At 9 metres significant chunks disappear from continents as in China:
At the end it suggested that we could cope by building sea walls, except that it would be expensive. Sea walls are not going to cope with nine metres, let alone 20.
This Skeptical Science post gives useful information about the Eemian, although it too arguably needs updating. I think scientists are settling on a higher sea level rise for the Eemian than the 5 metres suggested, more like the 9 metres of the Catalyst program. Also at least some parts of Greenland are thought to have been 10°C warmer than now, rather than 5°C.
Radio National’s generally excellent Background Briefing program has turned its guns on a ‘clean coal’ technology called DICE – Direct Injection Carbon Engine. Would you believe, a DICE engine runs on a slurry of finely ground coal and water? One purpose seems to be to make brown coal as emissions efficient as black coal – a pointless exercise in terms of current climate mitigation needs. Inherently significant energy must be spent to get the coal into the required state.
The history seems to be one of shonky technology projects run by shonks, but the CSIRO is now involved and our visionary government is throwing money at the venture.
The International Energy Association’s latest report is billed as its first full update since the 2003 World Energy Investment Outlook. It’s been out since 3 June. So far I’ve failed in my ambition to do a separate post, so I’ll just do a brief note here.
This post from the Post Carbon Institute is a packet of joy. It says that the IEA report “should send policy makers screaming and running for the exits” or looking for early retirement. Seems we need a mere $48 trillion in investment through to 2035 to keep things on track. But:
The IEA forecasts that only 15 percent of the needed $48 trillion will go to renewable energy. All the rest is required just to patch up our current oil-coal-gas energy system so that it doesn’t run into the ditch for lack of fuel. But how much investment would be required if climate change were to be seriously addressed? Most estimates look only at electricity (that is, they gloss over the pivotal and problematic transportation sector) and ignore the question of energy returned on energy invested. Even when we artificially simplify the problem this way, $7.2 trillion spread out over twenty years simply doesn’t cut it. One researcher estimates that investments will have to ramp up to $1.5 to $2.5 trillion per year. In effect, the IEA is telling us that we don’t have what it takes to sustain our current energy regime, and we’re not likely to invest enough to switch to a different one.
If you look at the trends cited and ignore misleading explicit price forecasts, the IEA’s implicit message is clear: continued oil price stability looks problematic. And with fossil fuel prices high and volatile, governments will likely find it even more difficult to devote increasingly scarce investment capital toward the development of renewable energy capacity. (Emphasis added)
1. Mandate time of use meter roll out over remaining States in the NEM (NSW, QLD, SA, TAS)
2. Reinstate the carbon tax with zero exemptions and zero compensation, but start it at a lower level, say $10/t. This would raise around $5bn of revenue and continue to discourage electricity consumption. It would send a price signal to all carbon producers, however of itself it would not induce much fuel shifting.
3. Encourage the construction of distributed PV solar on any building where the majority of the electricity consumption is during the day or where the costs of being connected to the grid are high. Examples of the former category include many Federal and State Government owned buildings, factories and warehouses. All that flat Western Sydney metal roofing is ideal for solar.
4. We would use some of the funds raised to subsidise the take-up of onsite storage and encourage grid defection and the creation of micro grids, particularly in rural areas. Network investment and pricing models would need to be sharply revised.
5. Networks in general would have their monopoly pricing status revoked. In the world of the “Nu-tility”, the network is no longer a monopoly – it competes with distributed electricity and possibly with other distribution business models. If networks put prices up too much they will face competition of their own.
6. We would incentivise closure of some brown coal fired electricity in Victoria, possibly via means of environmental regulation, but possibly with a capacity closure auction.
7. Likely continue with the current renewables target.
I can’t say I like all of these but they are a starting point for discussion. The article also had this table comparing renewable and fossil “subsidies”. (Excluding state subsidies which are quite significant.)
Last week, for the first time in memory, the wholesale price of electricity in Queensland fell into negative territory – in the middle of the day. For several days the price – normally around $40-$50 a megawatt hour – hovered in and around zero. Prices were deflated throughout the week.
There were several reasons for this. A restricted interconnector to NSW added to the volatile trading, as did uncertainty about the carbon price. But the overall softening of prices was primarily the result of the newest and one of the biggest power stations in the state – rooftop solar PV.
There is 1,100MW of it on more than 350,000 buildings in Queensland alone (3,400MW on 1.2 million building across the country), and it is producing electricity just at the time that coal generators used to make hay (while the sun shines).
The article also had this table showing just how large the grid owners and retailers are costing consumers.
This article argues that the Japan free trade agreement may hasten the production of solar fuels from the Pilbara. A key argument is based around Japanese fears of LNG supplies being exposed to deteriorating relationships with China (as well as price uncertainty.)
Liquid ammonia is the logical solar fuel for production in the Pilbara. Renewable ammonia can be produced from renewable power, water and nitrogen from the air. Theoretical water consumption is 1.6 litres water per kg of ammonia so this shouldn’t be a problem even if desalination is required. (Other solar fuels such as gasoline require a source of CO2)
Liquid ammonia could be transported using LNG facilities. The big disadvantage of liquid ammonia is that one kg of LNG has the same energy as 2.9 kg of liquid ammonia. However, to some extent this disadvantage will be off set by the fact that ammonia can be used in fuel cells.
This article argues that “off river pumped storage” using small turkey nest dams overcomes the problems of using pumped storage systems with the dams in river valleys.
Off-river electricity storage has several advantages over typical on-river facilities:
– There are vastly more potential sites
– Sites can be selected that do not clash with environmental and other values
– The upper reservoir can be placed on top of a hill rather than in a valley, allowing the elevation difference to be maximised
– No provision needs to be made for floods (typically a major cost).
A system comprising twin 10ha reservoirs, each 30m deep, with a 750m elevation difference, can deliver about 1000 megawatts for five hours.
Between 20 and 40 of these systems would be enough to stabilise a 100 per cent renewable Australian electricity system.
How much does it cost?
As the reservoirs are tiny (just a few hectares) compared with typical hydro reservoirs, they are a minor component of the cost. Most of the cost is in the power components (pipes, pumps, turbines, transformers and transmission). Initial estimates suggest that the cost of an off-river system at a good site is around $1000 per kilowatt of installed capacity.
One m3/sec of water falling one m will generate 9.807 kW
It’s advertised as being about renewable energy. According to reporter Stephen Long on local radio, he and a photographer went to the United States and looked at developments, not just in alternative technologies in power production, storage etc, but also in new models of distributed energy production.
He likened what’s happening to the challenge of the new media to traditional newspapers. Old energy systems will have to adapt or shrink and die.
Newspapers, telecommunications and the entertainment industry have all felt the chill winds of change brought on by new technology. Now science is revolutionising power generation. Technology is making alternative sources of energy cheaper, more user-friendly and, crucially, it’s decentralising production to the rooftops of homes and commercial buildings across Australia.
So why is the Federal Government moving away from its commitment to renewable sources of energy? Why would it consider reducing renewable energy targets, favouring greenhouse-gas emitting coal and gas?
This edition contains a miscellany from the absolutely central scientific issue of climate sensitivity to adaptation in Bangladesh.
1. Sense about climate sensitivity
The fourth IPCC report in 2007 estimated that the planet will warm between 2 and 4.5°C warming in response to a doubling of the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, with a best estimate of 3°C. Since then a number of studies suggested a lower sensitivity, leading the IPCC’s fifth report to extend the range to 1.5°C at the lower end and omit a best estimate entirely.
Dana Nuccitelli reports on a new paper by Kummer & Dessler which shows that recent studies suggesting an insensitive climate are flawed. Without going into the detail they converge on a value around 3°C.
2. CO2 fertilization won’t slow global warming
Some contend that increased CO2 in the atmosphere will enhance plant growth leading to an increase in soil carbon. A study of this issue found that any such gains were offset by increased microbial activity in soils. Along the way the researchers found that soil carbon was less stable than previously thought.
3. Bangladesh uncovers the crippling cost of climate change adaptation
Bangladesh has found the cost of climate change adaptation quite crippling in a new report.
They are spending $1 billion a year, 6-7% of their annual budget, on climate change adaptation. Only a quarter comes from aid.
The irony of the finding will be lost on few people: the average European citizen emits as much carbon in 11 days as the average Bangladeshi in an entire year. Yet it is the government and the people of Bangladesh who are expected to pay for the escalating costs.
Within the country it is the poor who are most severely affected.
After the report Bangladesh sees climate adaptation expenditure as central to their development.
4. Deutsche Bank rules out funding for controversial Abbot Point coal terminal
The same article tells us that Keith DeLacy, former Qld Labor treasurer who would do just about anything to turn a buck, said on the front page of the Oz that renewables had “no place in a modern society”.
Meanwhile economist Jeffrey Sachs, advisor to UN secretary general on the Millennium Development Goals, is in Australia telling us that we can’t mine all that coal unless we invest in carbon capture and sequestration technology. We just need to get serious:
Put in real money, probably $20 to $30 billion I would say, minimum, to get scaled, serious demonstration programs working in China, in India, in Australia, in Canada, in the United States and to test the geology and the engineering of this technology.
Sachs is a man who thinks big!
6. EU’s energy strategy
Not surprisingly, the EU has been taking another look at its energy security strategy in view of the political instability to their east.
The EU imports over half the energy it consumes at a cost of more than €1 billion per day. Two-thirds of its gas is imported, with nearly a third coming from Russia. Half of that is transported via Ukraine.
Russia has already twice pulled the plug on gas supplies to Europe arriving via Ukraine, in 2006 and 2009.
The bottom line is that there will be a continued dependence on Russia for the foreseeable future:
The EU energy security strategy doesn’t look like it’ll take a rifle to that Russian bear just yet. But with a tweak to address vulnerability here and a spotlight on energy dependence there it may just help the EU avoid a mauling – and drive an ambitious EU 2030 climate and energy deal too.
Shale gas and nuclear energy are being left as options that member states can explore if they wish.
Reminder: Use this thread as an open thread on climate change.