Sent: Tuesday, November 26, 2002 9:29 PM
Subject: Viridian Note 00350: Renewable Energy
- Key concepts
- renewable energy, energy gluts,
Greenhouse effect on hydroelectricity, British
overcapacity, power markets
- Attention Conservation Notice:
interest to green energy wonks.
Glamorous pics of tourist-friendly Spain submerged
in tanker oil. You can click on these and get big
"Oil Kills." In too many ways to count, really.
(((Some rather counterintuitive news stories here. The
more I learn about the energy business, the more eccentric
it becomes. Also sordid, crooked, dirty and increasingly
violent! The energy biz is as resistant to sensible
reform as prostitution, drugs and human trafficking. In
fact it's harder and harder to tell them apart.)))
(((Britain has too much wind energy. It's hurting the
Source: Reuters, Margaret Orgill
"Wind farms may make UK overcapacity worse – Ofgem
UK: November 25, 2002
"LONDON – Britain's push to to build new wind farms could
exacerbate current problems of overcapacity in the
electricity industry, energy regulator Callum McCarthy
"The crisis in the sector, triggered by low power
prices, sent TXU Europe – once one of the UK's main
electricity suppliers – into administration on Tuesday
and has left nuclear generator British Energy on the verge
"'The outlook is for the capacity surplus to grow as
more wind and CHP (combined heat and power) plant is
connected in response to the government's incentives for
renewable energy sources,' McCarthy, chief executive of
Ofgem told a Standard and Poor's seminar on the power
industry this week.
"Ofgem's calculations show that if the government's
targets to expand renewable energy are met and all
existing power stations run to the end of their projected
lives, then the surplus capacity would grow to around 60
percent in 2010. (((They can use it to build dikes and
repair flood-shattered cities.)))
"'That is a simplistic calculation, which I doubt many
would expect to happen in reality. But the probability of
continuing spare capacity is one that seems very high,'
"A rush to build new power stations in the 1990s when
electricity prices were much higher, has left Britain's
generators struggling with a capacity surplus of 25
percent of peak demand compared with a more usual level of
15 percent. (((Oh, I'm sure if Enron were still around,
they could engineer some blackouts for you.)))
"Now companies are gearing up to build dozens of wind
farms, encouraged by the government which has a target of
boosting renewables to 10 percent of the UK's electricity
supplies by 2010 from three percent of presently.
"The government is to publish its white paper on
energy policy early next year which is expected to
underline the need to encourage renewables as part of its
stategy to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
"PLANTS MOTHBALLED, LITTLE EFFECT ON PRICES
"Cash-strapped generators have mothballed traditional
power stations with two gigawatts of capacity but this has
made little difference to prices levels.
"UK electricity prices have fallen 40 percent over the
last four years in the build-up to and after the launch of
a more competitive trading market last year.
"According to Standard & Poor's, it could take up to a
decade for prices to start rising as it will be years
before older power stations are closed down and demand is
growing slowly at between one and two percent a year.
(((US renewable energy plunges as Greenhouse Effect alters
rain patterns, destroying hydroelectric power.)))
Source: Reuters, Tom Doggett
"US renewable energy use falls to 12-year low
USA: November 25, 2002
"WASHINGTON – U.S. consumption of energy produced by
solar, wind and other renewable sources last year hit its
lowest level in 12 years, supporting the Bush
administration's claims that America can't rely on such
sources for a big chunk of its energy supplies for a long
time. (((Uh, sort of.)))
"Renewable use fell 12 percent as its share of U.S.
energy consumption dropped to 6 percent, mainly because of
a 23 percent decline in hydropower, according to a new
report from the Energy Information Administration.
"Hydropower was down due to a steep drop in snowpack
levels and rainfall in the West.
"'Consumption of all principal renewable energy
resources decreased in 2001, except for wind,' said the
Energy Department's independent analytical arm.
"Environmentalists have criticized the Bush
administration for not doing enough to promote renewable
energy sources in the White House's national energy plan.
(((Grafitti is sprouting in my Austin neighborhood,
reading "WAR = OIL." I didn't put it there. Must be
"While the administration encouraged more renewable
energy production in its plan, it said the United States
realistically will have to depend on traditional sources
like oil and natural gas to fill most of its energy needs
for the foreseeable future. (...) (((And since fossil
fuels ruin hydropower, we need fossil fuels even more! To
pump water into the drought-stricken Western US, for
"Oil accounted for 39 percent of U.S. energy use last
year, while natural gas represented 24 percent, coal 23
percent and nuclear power 8 percent, EIA said. (((Since
nuclear power has big water-cooling problems, it is also
remarkably vulnerable to Greenhouse flooding and
"For renewable energy use, biomass (ethanol, wood
waste, garbage and landfill gas) had the largest share at
50 percent, followed by hydropower at 42 percent and
geothermal at 6 percent. Wind and solar each accounted for
1 percent of total renewable energy consumption. (...)
(((Yes, but wind and solar are the green-energy white
hopes. Pretty much everything dammable is already dammed,
and there is intense NIMBY resistance to more of them.
Until really unstable climate hits, that is, in which case
dams and levees will be the order of the day in every
nation that can still pour concrete.)))
O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O
WELL, IT'S GETTING ABOUT TIME
TO STRING THE OL' CHRISTMAS LIGHTS
O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O