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10 things I've learned about renewable energy in the past 6 weeks.

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Manuel Carmona's picture
CEO, Edytraining Ltd.

Experienced business and project development professional with a keen interest in renewable energy,  project cost estimation, project investment appraisal and project risk modelling.

  • Member since 2022
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  • Oct 12, 2022
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I have more than 20 years of experience in the project management software domain, working with companies in the oil and gas sector.

 I recently had  a conversation with a friend and former client and ..like many others , I thought that installing panels and wind turbines was the solution to the energy crisis, however....

1-The energy transition is an enormously complex problem that (as some of us believed) cannot be solved simply by installing PV panels and wind turbines without planning and control.

2-If we want to rely on  low-cost electricity generated by solar and wind energy, it is essential that an effort of equal measure is made to implement  large-scale storage in the form of hydraulic pumping, batteries, green hydrogen, and others.

3-While mass deployment of storage arrives, decisive progress must be made in the planned development of renewables: PV, wind, biomass, hydroelectric, etcetera.

4- The reliability and resilience of the transmission and distribution network is a  key element. It is necessary to be able to route  the electricity generated where needed, when needed.

5-I think we are facing a paradigm shift; In the future, electricity will be created by all of us instead of a generation companies. We are all going to be prosumers. As this report form the Tony Blair foundation indicates https://institute.global/policy/web3-and-energy-transition-policy-primer  Web3.0 and blockchain may help in the way of  automation, transparency, verifiability and democratization of generation and distribution of energy .

6-The energy transition  is a complex problem where incremental solutions must be applied, that is, milestones should be reached ; phasing out  coal first, followed by fuel oil generation, then by gas.

7-Gas plants, especially the most efficient combined cycle ones, play an important role in guaranteeing the basic electricity supply, and ensuring we have permanently accessible electricity.

8-Nuclear energy plays an important role, especially with regards to the new modular reactors with lower capacity and faster construction and commissioning periods. Nuclear has a bad name, but we should at least listen to what’s going on in the nuclear energy field before dismissing nuclear energy.  Let’s remember the goal is Net zero.

9-Electrification with renewables is a truly exciting sector with enormous growth potential in industry, transport, the domestic sector, self-consumption, etc.

..and 10 -  dogmatic positions such as requesting immediate closure of nuclear and gas plants  are not realistic. Alternatives should not be ruled out. We must not lose sight of the long-term objective which is  decarbonizing the world economy.

Discussions
Jim Stack's picture
Jim Stack on Oct 14, 2022

You have learned a lot in 6 weeks. That is actually a short time. What is the source of most of the information you have learned?

Did you account for the huge subsidies that Nuclear gets?

Did you account for the lowest price energy is Renewables?

Did you account for the reduced battery cost of 98% in the last 30 years? With longer lasting and more cost savings coming?

 

Michael Keller's picture
Michael Keller on Oct 17, 2022

Little more learning for you.

The planet’s climate is driven by the sun’s energy and the complex processes that move energy around the globe, generally towards the poles. CO2 involves a small sliver of the sun’s energy spectrum and is a minor fraction of the planet’s atmospheric gases - these are both facts.

According to the green energy political faction, we should spend trillions of dollars and impoverish tens of millions so man can control the planet’s CO2 levels and therefore control the world’s distant climate. These objectives are both religious dogmas that are not supported by reality. CO2 does not overwhelm the sun’s energy nor does it overwhelm complex planetary processes. There is zero chance of mankind controlling the planet’s CO2 levels and zero chance of controlling the globe’s distant climate.

The “transition” is a marketing ruse to line the pockets of the few at the expense of the many.

 

Mark Silverstone's picture
Mark Silverstone on Oct 25, 2022

How about some data?  Of course, correlation doesn´t prove causation, as they say.  But it certainly adds some factual information to the discussion, especially when you accuse others of "ruses". 

"In 2013, CO2 levels surpassed 400 ppm for the first time in recorded history. This recent relentless rise in CO2 shows a remarkably constant relationship with fossil-fuel burning, and can be well accounted for based on the simple premise that about 60 percent of fossil-fuel emissions stay in the air."

Yes, the "bubble" data may be questionable. No, even if the data are true, they don´t, on their own, make the inarguable case for fossil fuel emissions causing climate change.  But combined with the piles of additional data, the case gets stronger on an almost daily basis.  It really is time you had a good look at the preponderance of the data. Maybe try to refute it. But, calling it all a "ruse", without the slightest effort to support the name calling without evidence, is just wrong.

Michael Keller's picture
Michael Keller on Oct 25, 2022

Try looking at underlying fundamentals. CO2 involves a minor sliver of the sun’s energy spectrum and is a minor fraction of the planet’s atmosphere. Facts.

The climate is unquestionably controlled by energy from the sun and  complex processes that transport that energy around the globe. Facts.

Go back millions of years and CO2 levels were well over 1000 ppm. Fact. Use Google. The planet has been in existence for a vastly longer time frame than your graph.

The climate models being used are mathematically deeply flawed at fundamental levels. My opinion. Attempting to solve problems involving thousands of highly non-linear partial differential equations is difficult and leads to all manner of solutions. Fact. If the fundamental relationships are not accurate, the solutions are meaningless. Fact. If the variables change, all manner of new solutions emerge. Fact.

Mankind is not in a position to predict the planet’s distant climate , with any degree of accuracy, because we do not have sufficient information and knowledge to solve the complex problem. My opinion, based on the information summary I have presented.

The green energy mob has been hysterically claiming we are all doomed for quite some time. Fact. That includes trotting out various forecasts of imminent demise that never materialize.

There are a lot of politicians, investors, and firms using “zero carbon” as a means to unfairly enrich themselves at the expense of the poor and middle class. That is a fact.

Policy should be based on providing reliable, reasonably affordable, and environmentally reasonable energy. That policy should not be based on hysterical claims from religious fanatics who denigrate anyone who disagrees with their dogmas.

Bottom line: Employ a balanced approach. That approach does not involve one-size-fits-all.

Mark Silverstone's picture
Mark Silverstone on Oct 26, 2022

You provide no data for your «facts». Of course it’s complicated. 13.5 billion years is a long time. I’m sorry that I (NASA) don’t have data for the history of the cosmos. We work with what we have. Do you not detect a pattern for the last 800,000 years? Might the pattern change tomorrow? Of course. But the data that are available strongly indicate that action is required to avoid becoming the «frog in the warming water». 
Apart from all of the climate change data, which is proving to be remarkably prescient, the straightforward issue of pollution of our air and water and the rate of species extinction tells us we need to change our ways.  No, we cannot predict the distant future. But the models for the next 100 years or so are getting pretty convincing. Are you waiting for certainty? You are not going to get it. 
Are you worried that someone might make an honest buck? I thought that was what our society is based on. 

Of course there is no «one-size-fits-all». Technology develops too fast to put all of our eggs in one basket. But the data tell us that we need to start putting eggs in some baskets. Some look better than others.

Please suggest where you want to put eggs, how to get them there and support your suggestions and «facts» with data. 
Anything else is just blather. 

Manuel Carmona's picture
Thank Manuel for the Post!
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