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COP27 - Contrition of where they are going wrong: Clean Energy Transition not working... despite trillions "invested"/lost

Chris Bradley's picture
Director, TORC Clean Energy

Seasoned International Financier. Qualified Solicitor and Barrister with strong financial risk analysis background. 30 years (Frontier Markets, Western Europe & Asia) Structured Resources /...

  • Member since 2020
  • 1 items added with 282 views
  • Nov 16, 2022

Key COP27 theme to date seems to be many leaders providing empty battle cries without any solution - "Be Brave! - for what? Running off a cliff or a feasible solution? No admission that to date, despite a trillion $ dropped in the EU alone, $600/t thermal coal and $300/MWh grid power proves all efforts have crashed and burned. No Contrition. No "well that's not working" Just more "let us go over the top" in a Somme of Green Waste and green hipster fashion photo ops. The problem is rarely identified and solutions rare as rocking horse bio fuel...Many African NGOs (the Green Hipster crowd) claiming success with Solar Micro Grids - are you kidding me? The very function of solar (works 15% of a day and NOT on demand) means it is the opposite of a Grid. Solar + Grid = Failure...  I mean does it give you light at night or are they still using their kerosene lanterns? There is also the obvious security issue. One clown even said we provide power so kids can do school work. Double down on Li-Ion Batteries? Please, - at $1000/MWh or $1/kWh who can afford that?

President Biden Stated at COP27 that “if countries can finance coal in developing countries, there is no reason why we cannot finance renewable energy in developing countries.” That is just wrong. Comparing a Solar Variable Renewable Energy Farm to an On-Demand Base Load Coal Fired Power Station is like saying you can use tomato sauce to replace vegetables. The two are Chalk and Cheese. One as the names suggests (Variable) usually provides power when you don't need it and the other provides power for your industrial processes, as the name suggests, On-Demand.... So if you replace all your fossil fuel base load with PV and/or Wind, your industry literally stops! All the talk about spending and committing... to what? Needs more talk on what Clean On Demand Generation is available to replace Fossil Fuel On Demand Generation? Answer = beyond stuff that relies on geography & geology (Hydro/Geo), none. After $5 trillion spent on the wrong stuff (must be, coz EU paying triple now for fossil fuel power gen). Maybe they pause before they rush to the next PR photo opportunity of a Wind or Solar Farm opening or ground breaking? There is a compelling need to commit to investing R&D on stuff most likely to succeed - most of the $5 Trillion was spent on panels, turbines and batteries invented well over half a century ago. Whose carbon footprint impact is very questionable. Lithium brine ponds in South America are arguable more damaging than Amazon deforestation.  And all that this "greatest investment in human history" has done is shift value / money into the pockets of the new Green Energy Barons. The only honest out come of COP27 should be contrition, "well that did not work, what shall we constructively do?". By constructive I mean the "First Movers Coalition" committing to "source 10% net-zero emissions aluminum by 2030" is a slow clap... Aluminium is the easiest commodity to shift to a "green commodity class" go ask Norway, NZ, or Russia. Actually that is awkward RUSAL is the largest producer of Green Aluminium in the world (and Russia core source of Palladium for GH2 electrolysers …) ...Opps.

As the green elite and their courtiers reflect in the Red Sea Resort sipping their Shirly Temples watching the Sun go down - there are Clean Transition activists at the tip of the spear close to solutions but NO R&D finance - its all gone to planting trees that would have grown anyway (with the extra CO2), useless panels and li-ion batteries!   
COP27 Dream Team Out comes:
>Scope 3 GHG recognition,
>Planting trees does not count "Real Zero not Net Zero"
>Admit there is presently no Deployable Clean Energy On-Demand Solution but will commit greater allocation of the MASSIVE Green pie into R&D to find one!


Jim Stack's picture
Jim Stack on Nov 16, 2022

This seems to be Koke brothers mixed up information. 1st Micro GRID systems have battery storage and can easily provide nice efficient LED  light at night. It is 24/7. Compared to building and shipping coal to a remote village it is much lower in cost up front and life cycle.coal plants also require water so uses no water.

       I don't see many articles that twist the facts like this. 


Doug Houseman's picture
Doug Houseman on Nov 22, 2022

While I can agree with some of the items and I understand the cynicism in the article. There are ways to make real progress in reducing Green House Gases, and the overall impact on the environment.

Let us start with;

1) upgrading the existing transmission system - reconductoring and raising voltage.

2) creating a program to build nuclear power plants in a serious fashion - 40 to 100 new plants, built in a coordinated fashion with plans to repower each existing plant site as an add-on to the initial program.

3) build reprocessing plants for nuclear fuel, reusing the existing fuel rods for making new fuel rods

4) build SMR's that "eat" nuclear waste (designs exist) to reduce the waste that is removed from fuel rods

5) duplicate the success of Ludington's pumped storage facility that is "damless" - no river required, including using the technology Japan used to build salt water pumped storage

6) stop trying to use lithium batteries for stationary storage, reserving them for transportation and portable power (e.g., hand tools)

7) upgrade building codes and make them retroactive upon sale of existing buildings - create highly efficient buildings

8) Serious amounts of renewables need to be built, but they need to be firmed by storage of some sort, and only allowed to bid into capacity markets if they are firmed (and only to the level of firming) - firming needs to be for a minimum of 24 hours - capacity should change with season.

9) up the requirements for Energy Star, and remove the lowest 10 percent of the appliance models from the market every 3 years. Continually raise the bar, and expand the items that are covered. Find a point where the business case for more efficiency does not work to stop at - until technology changes.

10) stop tearing down coal, nuclear and other plants, until they are FULLY replaced with something else. They should be paid a standby fee until fully replaced and have fuel contracts in hand or on site. 

11) create robust demand response programs that are NOT centered on reducing comfort - there are other loads that can be controlled

12) tame the "wild west" of EVSE networks, protocols, interoperability, and restrictions. As bi-directional charging grows, it needs to be operable as a single network.

13) carefully review the various laws and FERC regulations/rulings for renewables to find the right rules for reliability.

14) Clean up both the state and federal permitting process and create 1 federal office of permits, that is responsible for helping to secure all the permits from the Coast Guard to the Corp of Engineers, to EPA, to FERC to..., a similar office should exist in each state. Any infrastructure should be able to use these offices to lower the permitting time (e.g. Lets get transmission down to 3 or 4 years from the current 14+, and pumped storage from 15+ to 2 or 3).

We can do other things to both lower the costs, and reduce GHG emissions, but this would be a great start.

Audra Drazga's picture
Audra Drazga on Nov 23, 2022

Love the solutions provided here, Doug!  

Michael Keller's picture
Michael Keller on Nov 28, 2022

There is zero chance that man can control the planet’s future climate. Green energy is fundamentally a financial scam that only succeeds in making most folks poorer and the environment more heavily stressed.

Energy policy should be based on providing reasonably priced energy with reasonable environmental impacts. Zero GHG emissions is a marketing ploy.

Richard McCann's picture
Richard McCann on Nov 22, 2022

This is simply a rant by an uninformed individual who doesn't want his current comfort upset by the addressing the threat that we face. Nothing here to see, folks, just move along.

Michael Keller's picture
Michael Keller on Nov 28, 2022

The threat we face is having our pockets picked clean by a bunch of green energy religious fanatics, aided and abetted by politicians and companies. 

Roger Levy's picture
Roger Levy on Nov 28, 2022

Nice to see a little ‘venting’ due to frustrating climate change boondoggle. Some of the constructive suggestions could stand improvement but the willingness to challenge the ‘king’s new clothes’ movement is constructive.  Now read Doug Houseman’s comments and you have a real plan.

Chris Bradley's picture
Thank Chris for the Post!
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