Fuel savings can pay for green energy shift

Street lamps powered by wind and solar energy line the side of a road leading from Athi-river town in Machakos county, approxima
Street lamps powered by wind and solar energy line the side of a road leading from Athi-river town in Machakos county, approximately 25 kilometres from the Kenyan capital Nairobi, on August 19, 2015

Making the global switch from climate-altering fossil fuels to renewables by 2050 would require an extra $1 trillion (880 billion euros) per year, but the bill will be covered by lower energy costs, a Greenpeace report said Monday.

On top of some 600 billion euros per year already earmarked by governments and businesses for investment in renewables, the extra funding would be needed to build enough green generators to replace coal-, oil- and gas-fired power stations, it said.

The investment would be more than offset by annual savings of nearly $1.1 trillion in fuel costs, said the report entitled "Energy (R)evolution", compiled by experts from Greenpeace and the German Aerospace Centre.

Wind turbines, for example, run on a "free" energy source—the wind, while a power station has to be constantly refuelled with expensive coal or gas.

"Because renewables don't require fuel, the savings... (until 2050) are $1.07 trillion per year, so more than meet the costs of the required investment," said a Greenpeace statement.

The world's nations are seeking to curb rampant emissions of climate-altering in a bid to slow global warming, but the cost of the transformation is often held up as a major obstacle, especially for poor and developing countries.

"The solar and wind industries have come of age, and are cost-competitive with coal," said the report's lead author Sven Teske of Greenpeace, and warned the fossil fuel industry was "moving rapidly into irrelevance".

"Every dollar invested in new fossil fuel projects is high risk capital which might end up as stranded investment."

The report highlighted that as many as 9.7 million people could have jobs in the solar power industry by 2030—more than 10 times as many as today and equivalent to the current number of jobs in the coal sector.

Wind industry jobs could increase tenfold to nearly eight million.

'Economically favourable'

The researchers based their forecasts on UN estimations for economic development and population growth, and assumed the world's energy system would be completely "decarbonised" over the next 35 years.

They also considered rising energy demand in fast-growing Africa and Asia, offset by lower demand in rich nations resulting in a peak of global demand by about 2020.

And the study assumed that renewable energy costs come down as the technology and availability improves.

In the short term, electricity could become slightly more expensive—by about $0.02 per kilowatt hour, said the authors.

But "as prices rise for conventional fuels, these costs will become economically favourable across all world regions by 2030, and by 2050 the fuel cost savings will be 1.7 US cents/kWh," said the report.

Last week, environmental advocates including wildlife documentary filmmaker David Attenborough and climate economist Nicholas Stern, called for investment in research and development to make renewable energy cheaper than coal within 10 years.

And a recent study in the journal Science Advances warned that if mankind burns all the fossil fuel left on Earth, releasing some 10,000 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, virtually all of Antarctica's ice would melt, sea levels would rise by tens of metres to flood entire cities, and temperatures would skyrocket to unbearable levels.


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Journal information: Science Advances

© 2015 AFP

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Sep 21, 2015
First we got to stop paying such exorbitant subsidies to the renewables. It isn't -actually- cheap if we keep paying solar power over 23 cents a kWh plus state level subsidies and incentives.

Wind turbines, for example, run on a "free" energy source—the wind, while a power station has to be constantly refuelled with expensive coal or gas.


Running them still isn't free. Danish wind power for example accrues about 3% upkeep and maintenance cost per unit per year. After 25 years the real cost of the turbine is almost twice the up-front cost.

Also ironically, wind turbines themselves use kilowatts of power when they aren't producing any - to keep the oils warm and the bearings unstuck.

And Greenpeace like many others are still ignoring the grid integration problem: when the renewable sources themselves become cost-competitive with fossil fuels and the switchover would become theoretically possible, you still got the energy storage and grid reinforcement to solve.

Sep 21, 2015
Actually, it is over twice the original cost over 25 years. I forgot the cost is 3% more each year instead of 3% relative to the original, because the aging hardware requires more and more maintenance over time.

By year 23 the cost of the turbine is e^(0.03 * 23) = 1.99 times the original cost.

In other words, the cost of having the turbine increases exponentially with time, while the energy produced increases linearily, which means the price of energy increases exponentially the longer you try to keep the turbine. That sets the economical lifetime of a wind turbine.

Sep 21, 2015
If it's real what you say, just build more turbines and substitute the old ones before the maintenance costs rises too much. We do the same with cars, planes, ships, every industrial equipment, why should the wind turbines be eternal? Coal fueled electric power plants are not, neither nuclear ones.

fay
Sep 21, 2015
If it's real what you say, just build more turbines and substitute the old ones before the maintenance costs rises too much. We do the same with cars, planes, ships, every industrial equipment, why should the wind turbines be eternal? Coal fueled electric power plants are not, neither nuclear ones.

the problem of course isnt swapping old turbines by new ones, the problem is paying for that. while conventional power plants pay for themselves during their lifetime, wind+solar dont.

Sep 21, 2015
Just Generate Mild Electric Shocks to prevent approaching birds! Because renewables don't require fuel, the savings... (until 2050) are $1.07 trillion per year, so more than meet the costs of the required investment


Sep 21, 2015
@Fay: How can you say this? Wind turbines generates electric power, so "pay for themselves" too!

Sep 21, 2015
If it's real what you say, just build more turbines and substitute the old ones before the maintenance costs rises too much.


Indeed. That is how it's done. There's a certain economical lifetime for a turbine, after which it is dismantled and a new one built.

The real trouble becomes when you consider that a great deal of the construction of these turbines aren't recycled or recycleable. Concrete, fiberglass, steel rebar, etc. cannot be recycled - only downcycled to less valuable products - so the consumption of fuels turns to a consumption of raw materials in a similiarily unsustainable way. On a massive scale because we need so many turbines.

And the further trouble is that no economically viable process exists to produce things like concrete without fossil fuels.

Sep 21, 2015
@Fay: How can you say this? Wind turbines generates electric power, so "pay for themselves" too!


Yes - if the electricity is sold at a high enough price.

The question is whether this price is lower or higher than that of fossil fuels or other alternatives. If higher, then the turbine does not pay itself back because it cannot ask for a higher price than the competition - nobody would buy it.

Hence why renewable power continues to be subsidized and given right-of-way on the grids. We are being forced to buy it and pay the higher price.

This has numerous harmful consequences, not the least of which the fact that the renewable energy producers don't need to place any money on research and development because they're already making good profit. Those who do just make less money, which dis-incentivizes any actual progress in the whole field of renewable energy.


Sep 21, 2015
The subsidized energy has the issue of removing competition and breaking the energy market.

Take for example solar power. When one person in a neighborhood installs panels, they can sell the power back to the electric company at a good profit at the peak of consumption, but when everybody installs solar panels nobody can sell because the peak vanishes. There's no consumers, only producers who all try to sell at the same time, and the price goes to zero.

In other words, they would compete each other to the point that it becomes pointless to install more solar panels. Same thing happens with wind power. Building one more turbine in the same area would reduce the profit for the others because they all tend to operate at the same time.

So in come the subsidies, which pay a fixed price that doesn't change with supply and demand, and the competition vanishes. Now the supply no longer meets demand, but the people are still making money, and the market is broken.

Sep 21, 2015
The so called renewable energy sources have never been competitive with traditional energy sources and are not now competitive. As Eikka noted, they continue only because they are subsidized by governments and they do not have to compete in the market. And all the alternative sources of energy -- including ethanol production -- require the expenditure of traditional energy to sustain them

Solar panels are not produced by solar energy.

Wind turbines are not produced by wind energy.

Ethanol is not produced by burning ethanol.

All of these so called improvements are produced and sustained by the use of traditional energy sources.

This is smoke and mirrors. Does it make sense to expend our traditional sources of energy to produce a politically correct and more costly substitute?

Certainly, we should research alternative energy sources and seek to develop the technology of production, storage and distribution of alternatives. But buying PC energy is foolish.

Sep 21, 2015
@ Eikka: 1) You have not to replace a wind turbine as a whole, you can substitute only what need to be. For instance, reinforced concrete foundations can last centuries, the steel pole tens of years, if properly repainted when it needs to, gears and bearings every couple of years and so on. And the same for others power plants. Do you think that concrete from a dismantled coal power plant could be recycled? You keep talking about a general problem as it only affect green economy!
2) There is not such a thing like renewable electric power or coal electric power, the electric power is just the same, so is its price. If the electric power should be too cheap for wind turbines it would be too cheap either for coal power plants plus coal mining plus coal movement plus ashes filtering etc. etc...

Sep 21, 2015
@ Eikka, Dogbert:
3) The onshore wind generation cost is the same of coal plants, or lower, without "government support". Please see https://en.wikipe...y_source from the U. N. Agency IRENA.

By the way, if we have to wait for renewable power to build renewable generators we will wait forever...

Sep 21, 2015
Sorry, I did't pasted correctly the link in previous message. See http://www.irena....atID=494

Sep 21, 2015
Some folk do not get it. We are going to alternative energy for good reasons, whether you like it or not. Costs and health are the big concerns for the short term, but continued existence is the Big One. We simply have to change or face an environment perhaps not conducive to our continual existence.

Sep 21, 2015
It's always the same old argument. 80% of the objection to green energies are costs that have direct parallels to gas-chugger energy.

"Oh that electric car uses plastic bumpers and an aluminum frame! How AWFUL!" And lets totally ignore that the gas-chugger car it's replacing needs the exact same parts.

"Oh those solar panels are SO expensive to manufacture and install. How AWFUL!" And lets just totally forget all the costs associated with manufacturing and installing a coal or nuclear plant.

"Oh those wind towers use concrete bases! How AWFUL!" And lets just forget all the concrete that goes into coal and nuclear plants.

etc etc etc and on and on the straw man arguments go.

fay
Sep 21, 2015
it is striking how most physorgers have absolutely no notion of economics. So heres econ 101: theres a difference if sth costs 1M during its lifetime and produces 800k worth of electricity or sth costs 1G and produces 2G worth of electricity. So yes, wind/solar indeed does produce electricity which pays for the costs, but it simply doesnt produce enough! Otherwise it wouldnt need subsidies. I am against subsidies in both renewables and in conventional, let there be a level field and let the best solution win.

Sep 21, 2015
So yes, wind/solar indeed does produce electricity which pays for the costs, but it simply doesnt produce enough!

Do you have any evidence of that? The data I'm aware of (e.g., http://news.stanf...213.html ) says you're wrong.
Otherwise it wouldnt need subsidies.

Since nuclear, coal, oil, and natural gas all have subsidies, are you claiming that none of our power systems work?

Sep 21, 2015
I forget how many terrawatts of solar energy is the planet is capable of producing, but in terms of KW/hrs on a 1m^2 surface here is an excellent resource for your location;

http://www.pveduc...diation#

1 meter^2 will produce over 5KW/hrs per day in my mom's home town based on yearly average, and she only uses about 3.5KW/hrs per month (with AC running) based on her bills! So 1 meter^2 (at 100% efficiency obviously) would be way more than she uses for refrigeration, home heating, cooking, hot water and lighting combined! Because of efficiencies, technology and Moore's law applied to tech, it won't take to long before solar is the predominate energy source for the developed world.



.


Sep 21, 2015
Howhot I think your figures are off. The average home uses about 7KWH per day.

"Making the global switch from climate-altering fossil fuels to renewables by 2050 would require an extra $1 trillion (880 billion euros) per year, but the bill will be covered by lower energy costs, a Greenpeace report said Monday."

These people just refuse to address the 24/7 problem with renewables. When THAT is solved we can begin to talk about renewables replacing fossil. Until then, fossil or nuclear will not be ending.


Sep 21, 2015
@howhot2 - The map in your link is the amount energy per day in the sunlight itself; since solar panels are roughly 20% efficient the amount of electricity would be ~5x lower, or 1 kWh/m2/day. Also please re-check your numbers on the kWh/month used. 3.5 kWh would cost less than $1 at typical electrical rates, so even 3.5 kWh per day would be quite low.

@MR166 - Wind electricity is already cheaper than gas, coal, nuclear or oil, even before subsidies, and PV is getting close), but these LOW COST renewables are indeed intermittent. However both hydroelectricity and solar thermal power plants can run 24/7, and are MORE dispatchable than nuclear, coal or combined cycle gas plants (but these have their own issues - hydroelectricity requires dams, and solar thermal is still more expensive than fossil fuels).

At current cost trends solar thermal electricity will be cheaper than coal in about 20 years, so we should already be TALKING about replacing fossil fuels for generation.


Sep 22, 2015
This comment has been removed by a moderator.

Sep 22, 2015
Yeah, and them-there auto carriages will scare the horses.

Sep 22, 2015
This comment has been removed by a moderator.

Sep 22, 2015
@ Docile: Please read the post of Lord_jag. Do you think that current fossil or nuclear power plants uses no steel? No concrete? Are made out of air, maybe? And you think that will last forever? No need for maintenance or substitution? Have you an idea of how much does it costs to dismiss a nuclear plant, when it becomes too old to be economically viable?

fay
Sep 22, 2015
But fossil fuels get subsidies.


Since nuclear, coal, oil, and natural gas all have subsidies, are you claiming that none of our power systems work?

conventional power sources can be profitable even without subsidies, renewables so far cant. Again, i¨m not a proponent of subs anywhere. The subs are the only reason we argue here like mad. Because if i didnt pay for that s*** i wouldnt care.
The link about solar zz posted doesnt say much about economics. Again, if solar needs x construction energy to produce 1,1x energy and other source needs x construction energy to produce 10x of energy guess which energy will be cheaper and which will be uncompetitive.
As for the raw materials, of course conventionals need building materials as well, but it must be compared relatively to energy produced. I think, but am not sure, that conventionals would again far surpass renewables in such metric, mainly with taking into account the storage

Sep 22, 2015
Interest Groups always posting innumerable number of Comments boring readers to death; Gullibles are misled like Sheep by them. What a Shame!
Just don't reply to them...OR Select...Ignore the User.

Sep 22, 2015
So heres econ 101: - Fay


Here's reality 101 ...

The powers that be
They like a tough game
No rules
Some you win, some you lose
Competition's good for you
They're dying, to be free
They're the powers that be

They like a bomb proof cadillac
Air conditioned, gold taps,
Back seat gun rack, platinum hub caps
They pick horses for courses
They're the market forces
They like order, make-up, lime light power
Game shows, rodeos, star wars, TV
They're the powers that be.

If you see them come,
You better run - run
You better run on home.

http://youtu.be/Zfae65UZauU

Sep 22, 2015
I just love it when the greenies try to compare renewable subsidies with nuclear and fossil subsidies. Do me a favor and quantify the subsidies of both on a $/KWH basis. Oh, by the way, don't forget to subtract from the "Subsidies" all the income and real estate taxes that nuclear and fossil energy companies pay from the calculations.

fay
Sep 22, 2015
here might be the key to resolve the argument:
http://www.world-...l-Costs/
unfortunately i dont have time to study it now. Its an overview of subsidies and taxes according to the energy sources

Sep 22, 2015
No, fay, the World Nuclear Association is a propaganda outfit.

Did they include the real cost of long-term waste storage? If so, it is a lie, because we have no way to achieve long-term storage yet. They have only had 50 years or so to find a way, and are still failing.

Did they include the Federally-insured loans to the power companies so they could afford to take a chance on a nuke? Did they include the current costs to build new units, or just the old ones?

Sep 22, 2015
Fay - love your unbiased source of information there! I am on record as supporting nuclear - and I hope to see such things as small scale - modular - thorium nukes in our future. What is disingenuous - is people like MR - suddenly coming out of the woodwork - and hating on renewables, and subsidies - after decades of silence on fossil fuels subsidies. The data is now coming in - and it is clear that renewables such as wind, solar, geothermal etc. have the potential to be the cheapest - cleanest energy source - failing some major breakthrough in nukes, cold fusion, or some other technology. I just push for a fair reckoning of the situation - and your world nuclear association is not the place to go for that. Try reading this one - http://www.euract...tudy.pdf


Out of all the Skippys arguing about this stuff your ideas are the closest to what I think. I wish I could write them down like you do.

Sep 22, 2015
docile said:
It's the opponents of progress, who are pushing wind-mills while denying http://www.e-catworld.com...


So, let me see if I have your argument. You advocate installing cold fusion devices which do not exist (they are always 5 years away). You say we should not install windmills even though they do exist. The fact that Rossi has been touting this for more than a decade with no verifiable results should send up a warning flag. No one knows how it is supposed to work and when anyone wants to check the auxiliary power wire he won't let them. Are you so gullible you actually think this is the way things should work in science? e-Cat is a scam and you have fallen for it.

Sep 22, 2015
So, let me see if I have your argument. You advocate installing cold fusion devices which do not exist (they are always 5 years away). You say we should not install windmills even though they do exist.


Well I don't know if what Zephir-Skippy is always talking about the cold fusions is right or not. But I know if I want to put in the generator in my back yard, when I go out shopping I can pick the windmill or I can pick the diesel or I can pick the cold cat thing. Since I am only going to use him for the really big storm every few years or so, I don't think I will go with the windmill because it would be too big and not fit into my shop/garage building. And the really big storm will probably blow him over anyway.

So I will go with the cold cat thing because Zephir-Skippys says he is so good. But only if Zephir-Skippy will loan me the diesel one until the cold cat thing gets here and is up and running.

Sep 23, 2015
Ira, I am sorry I can only give you a 5. That deserves a 10, at least.

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