energy – selected/featured – see also alt+green techno 2020 The New Map: Energy, Climate, and the Clash of Nations by Daniel Yergin

researchgate 2017 The Degrowth Imperative: Reducing Energy and Resource Consumption as an Essential Component in Achieving Carbon Budget Targets – by John Wiseman, Samuel Alexander 2017 Energy and Civilization: A History by Vaclav Smil

energy – updated 3-2023

>alternative energy, electricity, new green techno 10-3-2023 Scientists discover how to make electricity ‘out of thin air’ – Huc enzyme means ‘sky is quite literally the limit for using it to produce clean energy,’ researchers say – by Anthony Cuthbertson

“We’ve known for some time that bacteria can use the trace hydrogen in the air as a source of energy to help them grow and survive, including in Antarctic soils, volcanic craters, and deep in the ocean,” said Professor Chris Greening from Monash University’s Biomedicine Discovery Institute. “But we didn’t know how they did this, until now.” The discovery was detailed in a paper, titled ‘Structural basis for bacterial energy extraction from atmospheric hydrogen’, published in the journal Nature …”…

>hydrogen 7-3-2023 Is hydrogen really a clean enough fuel to tackle the climate crisis? Backers say hydrogen projects should be first in line for almost $26bn in US taxpayer money – but should we believe the hype? by Nina Lakhani

…”…Hydrogen is politically hot, but is it the climate solution that its cheerleaders are claiming? Why all the hype about hydrogen?

The short answer is that the fossil fuel industry sees hydrogen as a way to keep on drilling and building new infrastructure. Friends of the Earth has tracked how the industry has successfully deployed its PR and lobbying machines over recent years to get policymakers thinking that hydrogen is a catch-all climate solution. Research by climate scientists (without fossil fuel links) has debunked industry claims that hydrogen should be a major player in our decarbonised future, though hydrogen extracted from water (using renewable energy sources) could – and should – play an important role in replacing the dirtiest hydrogen currently extracted from fossil fuels. It may also have a role in fuelling some transportation like long-haul flights and vintage cars, but the evidence is far from clear. However, with billions of climate action dollars up for grabs in the US alone, expect to see more lobbying, more industry-funded evidence and more hype. …

…Notably, the term clean hydrogen was coined by the fossil fuel industry a few months after the seminal Cornell study found that blue hydrogen has a substantially larger greenhouse gas footprint than burning gas, coal or diesel oil for heating…

…“There may be some small role in truly green hydrogen in a decarbonised future, but this is largely a marketing creation by the oil and gas industry that has been hugely overhyped,” said Robert Howarth, professor of ecology and environmental biology at Cornell University, a co-author of the paper on blue hydrogen.

>energy use, domestic, insulation, rebound effect 20-1-2023 Insulation’s energy savings “vanish” after four years Cambridge study finds

>rebound effect 10-2022 Energy shocks can have perverse consequences – The 1970s offer unhappy lessons for policymakers 2001 Technological progress and sustainable development: what about the rebound effect ? – by Mathias Binswanger

Abstract – Sustainability concepts that rest on the idea of resource- or energy-efficiency improvements due to technological progress tend to overestimate the potential saving effects because they frequently ignore the behavioral responses evoked by technological improvements. Efficiency improvements also affect the demand for resources and energy, and often an increase in efficiency by 1% will cause a reduction in resource use that is far below 1% or, sometimes, it can even cause an increase in resource use. This phenomenon is commonly labeled the rebound effect, which is well-known among energy economists, but never attracted much attention in ecological economics. The paper starts with the traditional neoclassical analysis of the rebound effect in a partial equilibrium framework that concentrates on the demand of one particular energy service such as mobility or room temperature. It also provides an overview of some of the main empirical studies based on this model that mostly confirm the existence of the rebound effect, but are controversial about its actual importance. However, we have to go beyond the neoclassical single-service model in order to take care of the variety of possible feedback affecting energy use. The paper presents two important expansions of the single-service model in order to show the potential relevance of the rebound effect to ecological economics. First, it is shown that in a multi-services model it proves to be difficult to make general statements about the relevance of the rebound effect. In this case, the overall effect of an increase in energy efficiency on total energy use depends on the on the assumptions about the substitutability between the services considered and the direction of the income effect. Second, the paper also tries to take care of the fact that changes in resource use or energy use are frequently just ‘side-effects’ of other forms of technological progress. Especially technological change of a time-saving nature can have a large influence on energy use as many time-saving devices (for example, faster modes of transport) require an increase in energy consumption that is frequently reinforced by a ‘rebound effect with respect to time’. This effect will be especially strong when wages are high and, at the same time, energy prices are low, as is currently the case in most industrialized countries. Consequently, the paper also provides a strong argument for the introduction of energy taxes.

>climate crisis, drought, hydro-power 8-2022 Climate change: Drought highlights dangers for electricity supplies – By Matt McGrath

energy > political econ 11-7-2022 Germany: Energy, Europe, and Evolution Stephen Dover

examines “…the current state of the German energy dilemma, how it has evolved, and the choices the German government, industry and ordinary citizens face, knowing the reach of their decisions span potentially conflicting economic, strategic and environmental objectives. The path Germany takes will have broad investment implications. …”…

>energy >electricity storage, batteries 6-4-2022 ‘Freeze-thaw’ battery can store energy for months in huge boost for renewables – Breakthrough marks major step towards ‘seasonal battery solution’ – Anthony Cuthbertson 4-2022 A freeze-thaw molten salt battery for seasonal storage – by Minyuan M. Li,1 Xiaowen Zhan,1,2 Evgueni Polikarpov,1 Nathan L. Canfield,1 Mark H. Engelhard, J. Mark Weller, David M. Reed, Vincent L. Sprenkle, and Guosheng Li 25-2-2022 Forget ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’ – A new book suggests that the best way to save the planet is through abundance. By Derek Thompson > GM page-‘Electrify Everything’ by Saul Griffith 16-2-2022 Harnessing the fossil fuel industry to combat climate change? It’s more than a pipe dream -Richard Meade

“Many might choke at the suggestion Big Oil could play a key role in saving the climate. But, culpability for past actions aside, it is worth considering how fossil fuel interests might be recruited to combat global warming. International commitments to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 leave less than three decades to achieve monumental change. A healthy dose of pragmatism will be essential.”… 7-2-2022 In Southeast Asia, decades-long deals stymie shift away from coal – Power purchase agreements that ensure “coal lock-in” for decades are complicating the region’s transition away from fossil fuels – by Nyshka Chandran 4-2-2022 NSW fossil fuel projects approved since Paris agreement set to release 3bn tonnes of emissions – The 23 coal and gas approvals could release six times the greenhouse gas Australia emits in a year, environment group warns – by Adam Morton 12-1-2022 A 21st-century reinvention of the electric grid is crucial for solving the climate change crisis – Charles F. Kutscher, Jeffrey Logan

In the summer of 1988, scientist James Hansen testified to Congress that carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels was dangerously warming the planet. Scientific meetings were held, voluminous reports were written, and national pledges were made, but because fossil fuels were comparatively cheap, little concrete action was taken to reduce carbon emissions.

Then, beginning around 2009, first wind turbines and then solar photovoltaic panels decreased enough in cost to become competitive in electricity markets. More installations resulted in more “learning curve” cost reductions – the decrease in cost with every doubling of deployment. Since 2009, the prices of wind and solar power have decreased by an astonishing 72% and 90%, respectively, and they are now the cheapest electricity sources – although some challenges still exist.

With the planet facing increasingly intense heat waves, drought, wildfires and storms, a path to tackle the climate crisis became clear: Transition the electric grid to carbon-free wind and solar and convert most other fossil fuel users in transportation, buildings and industry to electricity.

The U.S. is headed in that direction. Early projections suggest the world just wrapped up a record year of renewable electricity growth in 2021, following a record 33,500 megawatts of solar and wind electricity installed in the U.S. in 2020, according to BloombergNEF data. Even faster growth is expected ahead, especially given the Biden administration’s plans to tap high-value offshore wind resources. But will it be fast enough?

The Biden administration’s goal is to have a carbon emissions-free grid by 2035. One recent study found that the U.S. will need to nearly triple its 2020 growth rate for the grid to be 80% powered by clean energy by 2030. (As difficult as that may sound, China reportedly installed 120,000 megawatts of wind and solar in 2020.)

The foundation of this transition is a dramatic change in the electric grid itself. 10-2021 Why the high cost of gas actually makes renewable energy such as wind and solar more expensive as well – Spiking gas prices are affecting the cost of every other energy source, making some people a lot of money – by Richard Vaughan

According to Dieter Helm, Professor of economic policy at the University of Oxford and who also penned a review for the Government on energy security, there are two reasons. The first is that the UK’s move away from fossil fuels towards renewables has “not been thought through”. Speaking to the BBC’s Today programme, he said Britain is one of the “least prepared” countries in Europe for an energy supply shortfall. There is very little storage for gas, leaving the UK particularly “vulnerable” to soaring gas prices.

What is the other reason?

An energy market that is fit for the last century. According to Prof Helm, the energy market does not function as it should as more energy is produced by renewables, which are intermittent by their nature. The overall energy price is dictated by the “last unit coming onto market, which is gas”, he said. So while the cost of wind, the cost of nuclear and the cost of solar have not changed, the entire market is getting a price based on gas. It means some energy providers that are generating electricity without the use of gas are making an awful lot of money as they can charge higher prices.

What needs to be done? : It cannot be right that while the cost of renewables is decreasing, the cost of energy for households and businesses is ballooning, threatening the closure of whole industries. Prof Helm said while legacy costs have a minor role to play in the current pricing, the main issue is that the country is at the whim of a “badly designed market for the last century”. There needed to be changes to the market that based the price of electricity on its “cost, not on the basis of the cost of the most expensive fuel at any point in time” 7-2021 Energy and Civilization: A History by Vaclav Smil – by Giulia Vaglietti

Energy and Civilization: a history [1] is a fascinating analysis that illustrates how human history is deeply connected to the ability to transform, store or use multiple forms of energy over time. In fact, Smil interprets evolution of complex societies as improvements in the capacity to manage increasing flows of energy from higher quality sources as well as to enhance energy use efficiency. These concepts, essential to understand the entire book, are briefly introduced in chapter one. The remaining part of the book can be instead divided in two macro-topics: how energy production and use evolved over time and the feedback loop between the increasing complexities of societies and the adoption of new technologies (an important take away is that an innovation is nothing without the right incentives to adopt it).   16/3/2021    From Carbon To Metals: the Renewable Energy Transition    By Frances Coppola

The world is transitioning from a carbon-intensive to a metals-intensive economy. Low-carbon technologies use much larger amounts of metal than traditional fossil fuel-based systems. Demand for metals is thus rising exponentially, fuelling a boom in mining and production.

But this creates an environmental challenge. Metals extraction and processing is a significant contributor to global warming and a major pollutant. Unless more environmentally-friendly ways of generating energy from renewable sources can be found, saving the planet from carbon emissions may prove extremely costly for our fellow creatures and even for ourselves. …

Low-carbon technologies are considerably more metal-intensive than fossil fuel-based technologies. For example, an electric car typically contains 80kg of copper, four times as much as a petroleum-fuelled car. Both wind and solar power plants contain more copper than fossil fuel ones: a typical solar plant contains about 5kg of copper per kilowatt, as against 2kg per kilowatt for a coal-fired power station. This is driving a new boom in metals extraction and processing. The metals boom is primarily driven by three technologies: • solar (photovoltaic) power • wind power • batteries and other forms of energy storage …    read whole essay here with comments 4-2020 Redox-Flow Cell Stores Renewable Energy as Hydrogen – A hybrid energy system combines a redox-flow battery with a water electrolyzer for low-cost grid storage – By Sandy Ong

When it comes to renewables, the big question is: How do we store all that energy for use later on? Because such energy is intermittent in nature, storing it when there is a surplus is key to ensuring a continuous supply—for rainy days (literally), at night, or when the wind doesn’t blow.  Using today’s lithium-ion batteries for long-term grid storage isn’t feasible for a number of reasons. For example, they have fixed charge capacities and don’t hold charge well over extended periods of time.  The solution, some propose, is to store energy chemically—in the form of hydrogen fuel—rather than electrically. This involves using devices called electrolyzers that make use of renewable energy to split water into hydrogen and oxygen gas. 2019 The decoupling of GDP and energy growth: A CEO guide

Springer – GM PDF –  2015 More growth? An unfeasible option to overcome critical energy constraints and climate change –  Iñigo Capellán-Pérez       read or download DF here

Abstract : Growing scientific evidence shows that world energy resources are entering a period shaped by the depletion of high-quality fuels, whilst the decline of the easy-to-extract oil is a widely recognized ongoing phenomenon. The end of the era of cheap and abundant energy flows brings the issue of economic growth into question, stimulating research for alternatives as the de-growth proposal. The present paper applies the system dynamic global model WoLiM that allows economic, energy and climate dynamics to be analyzed in an integrated way. The results show that, if the growth paradigm is maintained, the decrease in fossil fuel extraction can only be partially compensated by renewable energies, alternative policies and efficiency improvements, very likely causing systemic energy shortage in the next decades. If a massive transition to coal would be promoted to try to compensate the decline of oil and gas and maintain economic growth, the climate would be then very deeply disturbed. The results suggest that growth and globalization scenarios are, not only undesirable from the environmental point of view, but also not feasible. Furthermore, regionalization scenarios without abandoning the current growth GDP focus would set the grounds for a pessimistic panorama from the point of view of peace, democracy and equity. In this sense, an organized material de-growth in the North followed by a steady state shows up as a valid framework to achieve global future human welfare and sustainability. The exercise qualitatively illustrates the magnitude of the challenge: the most industrialized countries should reduce, on average, their per capita primary energy use rate at least four times and decrease their per capita GDP to roughly present global average levels. Differently from the current dominant perceptions, these consumption reductions might actually be welfare enhancing. However, the attainment of these targets would require deep structural changes in the socioeconomic systems in combination with a radical shift in geopolitical relationships. Keywords Renewable limits Fossil fuel depletion Global warming System dynamics Peak oil Scenarios 2014 The real dependence of our GDP on fossil fuels Gaël Giraud

The majority of models used to explain the growth process do not include energy as an essential factor that can influence it. In these models, the elasticity of GDP to energy, i.e. the sensitivity of GDP to the variation in energy consumption, is always below 10%. Yet this type of calculation is based on two unrealistic assumptions. My own empirical research, conducted on almost thirty countries, and over more than forty years, shows that in reality, the elasticity of GDP to primary energy ranges between 40%, for areas that are the least dependent on oil, such as France, and 70% for the USA, with a global average in the region of 60%..  3-2021   Don’t believe hydrogen and nuclear hype – they can’t get us to net zero carbon by 2050   Jonathon Porritt
Big industry players pushing techno-fixes are ignoring the only realistic solution to the climate crisis: renewables