It’s been a good run, but Carbon Counter is now dead. As of tomorrow I will be a columnist at the Energy Collective. My first piece will go live some time tomorrow. Expect a column every one or two weeks. Subscriptions & emails for this blog will not carry over, but this option seems to be available at the Energy Collective.
Here is a nice map of the countries this blog has got views. Sadly my much sought after view from Greenland has .never come along. So if anyone knows someone in Greenland who could read this blog once, you know what to do. It would make a dying blog very happy
A simple deduction from the history of energy forecasting is that we are absolutely hopeless at it. If we are looking at energy consumption levels thirty years from now or even oil prices three years from now all we see is a long history of inaccurate and largely pointless projections. There is however a market for this kind of thing. An anecdote from Dan Gardner’s excellent book “Future Babble” sums the whole business up. A British general in World War II was once angrily demanding that he get a weather forecast for two weeks ahead, when a meteorologist told him that the forecasts were completely unreliable. He responded appropriately: “Of course I know they are bloody useless, but I need them for planning.” This is very much the same attitude that politicians take to long range energy forecasts. They need a number for the cost of oil and natural gas in the next couple of decades to help provide some legitimacy to their policy decisions. Continue reading
If you were serious in your desire to decarbonise electricity the first thing you ought to do is get some at least rudimentary understanding of electricity grids actually work. Such efforts however appear to be too much for campaigning groups such as No Dash For Gas. Consider this recent tweet from them:
I’ve threatened it many times before, but I have done it this time. My Twitter account has now been totally de-activated, and will not return. There is simply too much bullshit, wishful thinking and public relations on Twitter for me to maintain my sanity any longer. I need some fresh air.
So, if you want to hear from me, you can read my blog. But more news about that in a couple of weeks…..
I don’t like re-posting about something, but I guess I’ll have to on this occasion. Christian Science Monitor has re-published a rather silly piece on wind power in Germany by “Shale Gas Expert” Nick Grealy. As I wrote at the time it’s conclusion that expensive gas caused wind farm output to drop by 10% this year is particularly silly. However, since one of my Twitter followers for some reason imagines that it is me who is making this fatuous claim I must re-direct my readers to what I wrote at the time. Hopefully Grealy’s silly ideas about wind (he says he doesn’t trash other energy source of course, but a casual glance at @shalegasexpert tells you all you need to know about his motivations: the promotion of shale gas over other energy sources.)
The World Bank is currently considering financing a lignite power plant in Kosovo. Queue the green outrage and the op-eds. What is this outrage over? A 600 MW coal power plant in Kosovo. As far as climate change goes this is rather loose change. Consider that China on average added 600 MW of new coal every 3 or 4 days for the last decade. This puts it in perspective. Continue reading
One of the great mysteries of debates around climate change is why so many people actively exaggerate the growth and current levels of renewable energy. If you really cared about climate change you should be motivated to accurately appraise where we are, and such appraisals are always sobering. A belief that renewable energy is supplying more energy than it really is should be counter productive. Yet, any observer of environmentalist’s attitude to German solar power will realise this is not the case. Hype and exaggeration is all that we get. Continue reading
Here is a rather obvious cycle. Solar power output goes up during the day, and down to zero at night. Remarkably, Germany’s electricity imports and exports now follow an identical cycle. Electricity is exported when the sun comes out and is imported when it goes down. At least during summer. Here is what happened in June this year:
“If you like me you’ll love Robert by the way, and he’s an actual scientist to boot, he deserves more readers.” I do like compliments, so thank you Nick Grealy (@ShaleGasExpert.) I don’t however like the bizarre piece this complement is contained in, which seems to imply that high gas prices have lowered wind farm output in Germany. Continue reading
It is one of the finest achievements in public relations in history. Germany has managed to be praised by environmentalists more than any other developed nation and yet is building more coal plants than more or less any other developed country. If China is watching on they should take note. The easy way to receive the adulation of Western Greens is to put up a stack of solar panels, and to just keeping building coal plants as before. Just think of the headlines: “China gets 50% of its electricity from solar power.” The green adulation will be remarkable, yet the carbon emissions will keep soaring. Continue reading