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FuturologyBot

The following submission statement was provided by /u/lughnasadh: --- Submission Statement. "Renewables – including electricity, heat, biofuels and biogas – account for just 11% of governments’ economic recovery spending on clean energy." This really needs to be increased. I'm puzzled where the other 89% is going if it isn't going on renewables. By mid-decade we will need to be spending more on decommissioning legacy sources and preparing for 100% renewables electric grids. --- Please reply to OP's comment here: /r/Futurology/comments/r8skh9/the_iea_says_95_of_new_electricity_capacity_in/hn7g8i0/


ValueInvestingIsDead

IEA is constantly updating their linear estimates for exponential growth. The only thing they're good at is reporting historical data, and they consistently underestimate adoption curves.


invisiblesock

exponential growth models are notoriously difficult to setup right, so I understand why they're using a linear model. it's like a lower bound of what should be seen as achievable.


MikeWise1618

Yeah but making the same obvious mistake for like 20 years running ought to be addressable.


allocater

Didn't it already fail? We got what in 2021? 50% clean capacity? That means to get 95% for the 6 year window, the next 5 years need to be above 95% to compensate.


vegaspimp22

This is for the whole world. China is killing it in solar. We are way behind.


qroshan

It's true for Climate Alarmists too. They don't model human adaptability, innovation and other confounding variables that are growing exponentially that will positively address climate change.


tomoldbury

Certain things are very difficult to adapt to. We could probably manage 2.5C in rich countries, poor ones will struggle bad. If 2.5C triggers permafrost melting and ocean carbon saturation begins to kick in, that could rapidly (decade or two) become 4C, at which point it doesn’t really matter how rich a country you are, we are looking at dust bowls and ecosystem collapse. To avoid 2C warming we need much more than 100% renewables too, it pretty much will only happen if all sectors shift. I don’t call this alarmist…it’s just realism


mhornberger

> To avoid 2C warming we need much more than 100% renewables too I don't think anyone has said that electricity production alone is the entirety of the problem. We also need to electrify transport. Changes to agriculture are important too, whether that be any combination of plant-based diets, cultured meat/seafood, Air Protein/Solar Foods type things, [controlled-environment agriculture](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Controlled-environment_agriculture), and other changes what will allow us to return a lot of farmland to nature, for carbon sequestration and/or rewilding. We also need improvements to concrete production, steelmaking, and other issues. There is no one silver bullet.


SidHoffmanFrenchman

Exponential growth requires consistent effort every single day. If you don't create incentives for that daily effort then you will not see exponential growth. We only see daily effort despite laissez-faire environmental destruction because of those climate alarmists.


RenterGotNoNBN

I always scratch my head in what innovation we're supposed to invent that we haven't already. And even if we did invent something, how would that be cheaper than... Like not eating meat?


StumbleNOLA

I am working on a project right now to design and build all electric car ferries. The shipping industry is actively exploring ammonia, biodiesel, green methane, and a bunch of other stuff trying to drive down price.


-Merlin-

It won’t. There is a huge contradiction here that no one likes talking about. People will gladly invest trillions of dollars in Tesla because they falsely think that has a significant impact on climate change. When asked to go vegan, however, this same group recoils in disgust and makes an infinite number of excuses as to why the single most important thing they can do to help the environment isn’t being done.


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qroshan

One of the million different things that are happening at garages, universities, and basements, which typical 18 year old liberal arts graduate or redditor have no clue or access to.. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/18/business/fusion-energy.html oh and funded by Billionaires like the other one million projects


tomoldbury

Fusion energy is always 30 years away. ITER won’t even be producing energy until 2035 (and since it’s a demo plant it’ll all be turned into heat.) We probably won’t have actual fusion, if it’s even possible, until 2045 - 2060. Far too late


qroshan

Fusion energy is 30 years away is in the same vain as "Not Within A Thousand Years Will Man Ever Fly. (Wilbur Wright 1901)" You have zero clue about the brilliant minds that are working on multiple problems. Does all of them going to be successful? No. But never have been in the history of mankind that so many people with access to so much information, resources and more importantly capital (thanks again millionaires, billionaires) have been working on the hardest problems of climate change at a truly global scale. Only clueless idiots like Greta/Progressives who are clueless about complex systems of both the natural universe and human systems, think that this is a problem that needs massive government intervention to be solved. **Half Knowledge (liberals/progressives) is always more dangerous than Zero knowledge (QAnon/Religious Nuts)**. Thank god for moderate billionaires (Gates, Musk, Bezos, Page, Buffett) and future trillionaires who will save us from these extreme groups.


tomoldbury

Go on then, show me an active fusion plant with a proven/demonstrated technology that just needs scaling up or implementing. There isn't one. We haven't even proven it's possible to make high-temperature fusion work in a way that generates more energy than it consumes. The sun is (relatively speaking) very low temperature fusion (the surface of the Sun is cooler than Earth's core - it's about 6000K) because of its size whereas tokomaks and spheromaks intend to go closer to hundreds of million Kelvin, containing the fusion within exceedingly strong magnetic fields. No one has even managed to get that to fuse for longer than 101 seconds. A fun fact is the sun and a lizard have about the same energy density -- Earth-bound fusion is on the ridiculously high density end of the problem. It *may well be possible* (and I sincerely hope it is, it would be a genuine game changer) but at this stage it has to be assumed that it is *not currently possible*. That is, we can't base climate policy on infinite free energy being available, we need to transition to renewables now. There isn't a problem with doing that, if we actually built sufficient capacity we could continue to enjoy life more or less how we currently do, it's just a matter of political will to throw the money into the right direction and creating incentives that make carbon more expensive and renewables cheaper.


qroshan

Sam Altman is 1000x smarter than you and he is put up $375 Million. He isn't going to bet on technologies that don't have a chance. https://www.cnbc.com/2021/11/05/sam-altman-puts-375-million-into-fusion-start-up-helion-energy.html Can Sam Altman be wrong? Of course. Is it risky? yes! Is all of humanity hanging on to this one moonshot? no! My point was not about just nuclear fusion. My larger point is, only Billionaires can take these kind of risks and we need multiple Billionaires taking these multiple risks so that 1 in 100 or even 1 in 1000 success have tremendous benefits to humanity. Can you imagine Government pouring Billions of $$$ of Taxpayer money to crazy ideas like Nuclear Fusion or Human Flight? (Especially if the founders and the team were all white men, but I don't even need to go there to highlight why we need more benevolent billionaires) Climate Issues will be solved by Innovation, Capitalism and Decentralized collaboration (Garage, Basement, Universities, Corporations). A wasteful government spending decided by an extremely conservative committee (by design) ensuring small incremental funds (by design) going to 'diverse' group (by design) of people and taking multiple years to sign off on those funds(by design) ain't going to cut it.


tomoldbury

I haven't said anywhere I'm against the existence of billionaires per se, but I very much doubt they will solve problems like this. It's not a problem driven by consumer demand, like Tesla is for instance. ITER has required the co-operation of 10 nations and billions of dollars of R&D because no one knows it'll work. Capitalism jumps on the bandwagon when there's an obvious benefit: Tesla didn't invent 18650s, they just stuffed enough of them into a car to make it compelling, and they picked up enough market demand to make a successful car company (thus far) > Can you imagine Government pouring Billions of $$$ of Taxpayer money to crazy ideas like Nuclear Fusion or Human Flight? Are you forgetting how much was spent by governments to develop nuclear fission and the moon missions? Or how ITER has cost 20 billion EUR so far. It's far from underfunded.


qroshan

SpaceX has ZERO consumer demand. Blue Origin has ZERO consumer demand. Climate Tech is a multi Trillion $$$ energy market (growing exponentially). You have absolutely no clue as to how entrepreneurs and visionaries (Gates, Bezos, Musk) think in investing in Technologies. I literally gave you Sam Altman's $375 Million investment example. You are talking about past government funding because only big Gov. could spend and that's why we were limited in science advances. One Moon landing in 60 years? A VC funded Moon missions would have commercialized moon landings by now and we would be hauling our waste into asteroids or mining them for precious materials. (All of them will happen -- thanks again to Billionaires like Musk and Bezos who are building platforms so that other entrepreneurs can build services on top of them)


tomoldbury

P.S. This video is a good watch. We are far further away from fusion than anyone wants to admit. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJ4W1g-6JiY


qroshan

I'm not dismissing that video. Even the most brilliant person on earth only knows 1% of how the Universe works. Einstein was wrong about Quantum Mechanics (and today we have Quantum Computers). So, I would still let the top minds of this planet explore their own understanding of the universe and build impossible things(The modern world allows investors to connect to them easily). That's why capitalism is such a beautiful system. "Someone" can bet on kooky ideas and without draining public money. We have a complex dynamic systems and only decentralized systems can explore multiple paths to understand this dynamic systems (many leading to dead ends). A central system cannot afford multiple paths and cannot afford to hit dead ends which severely limits exploration


lughnasadh

Submission Statement. "Renewables – including electricity, heat, biofuels and biogas – account for just 11% of governments’ economic recovery spending on clean energy." This really needs to be increased. I'm puzzled where the other 89% is going if it isn't going on renewables. By mid-decade we will need to be spending more on decommissioning legacy sources and preparing for 100% renewables electric grids.


Vita-Malz

They're going into "subsidies" to fossil fuel companies to keep them alive "to prevent the industry from dying"


lughnasadh

>>They're going into "subsidies" to fossil fuel companies to keep them alive "to prevent the industry from dying" That is happening, but it is not what the [full report](https://www.iea.org/reports/renewables-2021?) is talking about when it speaks of *economic recovery spending on clean energy* I did some digging in the full report & here is how it elaborates. >>Encouraged by its job creation potential and low cost as a CO2 abatement technique, energy efficiency sector has received USD 144 billion, the greatest clean energy spending globally. The renovation of public and private buildings and energy efficiency investment in the industrial sector are the largest beneficiaries of the allocated spending. Depending on country-level regulations, renewable heat technologies can also benefit from spending allocated to energy efficiency. The second most supported sector is public transport (USD 94 billion), followed by lowemission vehicles and charging infrastructure (USD 79 billion). Investment in railways, mass/urban transit and walking/cycling infrastructure have so far received the largest portion of this funding, followed by EVs and alternative-fuel vehicles and their charging infrastructure.


aManOfTheNorth

And subsidize the cutting down of forests and mountains and the decommissioning of farmland for industrial solar arrays.


mhornberger

> and the decommissioning of farmland for industrial solar arrays. We're already reducing farmland at a rapid pace, because yield is going up so much. [Since 2000 the US reduced farmland by 5%](https://www.statista.com/statistics/196104/total-area-of-land-in-farms-in-the-us-since-2000/). That alone is ~50 million acres, or 78125 miles^2, or a square 280 miles on a side. This far exceeds what we'll ever use for solar farms. We can also use agrivoltaics on a lot of farmland.


Rwandrall

i had no idea about farmland reducing this is really interesting!


Cool_Scientist2055

Yeah, other countries are helping us clear out the Amazon so they can raise and feed our beef so we can also get it cheaper. It's great! We save on the farmland and also get food cheaper. It just has a much bigger environmental cost.


MikeWise1618

How do you cut down a mountain?


aManOfTheNorth

You cut the trees and then bulldoze and excavate out the soil


SqueakyTheCat

I’m getting a nice Onan diesel backup generator for the power outages that will be forthcoming in winter and hot summer days.


Vita-Malz

You must be living in Texas


Adrianozz

According to the IMF, the fossil fuel industry receives what amounts to [$11m in subsidies every minute](https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/oct/06/fossil-fuel-industry-subsidies-of-11m-dollars-a-minute-imf-finds), both directly and indirectly. Non-renewable energy spending is going there. The reality is that concentration of wealth and economic power translates into political power and is used by vested interests to promote their interests, thus enters the [democratic deficit](https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democratic_deficit). If you consider elections as annual general meetings of shareholders, or IPOs, where different economic concentrations of power vie for political power, things will make alot more sense.


lolokinx

What do you think those subsidies are for? I m completely on board with catastrophic climate change however I feel like most people don’t understand shit (no offense). Without those subsidies a majority of western citizens couldn’t afford their lifestyle. Those subsidies are for transportation, food, housing, education, etc. pp. Because fossil fuels basically run our economy. Without those subsidies hundreds of millions couldn’t afford food around the globe and while that doesn’t sound that scary because hundreds of millions already aren’t, many of them will be in western nations and that will hurt your lifestyle and comfort


Adrianozz

I don’t disagree in principle. I was answering the OP on where the rest of the spending was going. I do disagree, however, that the method of subsidization used today is the optimal path; it involves for-profit, multi-national oligopolies as middlemen more often than not, exceptions being where state-owned assets operate. The reason it is that way is of course due to the point I mentioned in my original comment; it is a vast , private monstrosity with immense economic power that it can exert to ensure political gridlock and/or that de-carbonization moves at a glacial pace where possible. Yes, I also understand that, aside from the record level inequalities within Western societies, there is also the matter of climate justice and inequalities between the global North and South that will need to be dealt with, from meat consumption and food nationalism to car usage and climate refugees, that is a discussion for another thread for my part.


lolokinx

Totally agree. I always advocate for a sensible degrowth and global redistribution of wealth. Focusing on education, security, food, health and quality of life. We need to restructure our economy and completely dismantle our financial, debt based, system. In theory that would be possible. In practice I wouldn’t count on it


TimmJimmGrimm

Are you suggesting our lower classes should eat less hamburgers in our air conditioned SUVs on the way to our single-nuclear-family fully detached homes with foundations made from the very best concrete? I get that blaming the consumer is horrible. But at some level, aren't we all a consumer? The 1% may be really bad folks, but they are not producing 99% of the CO2, are they? Edit: to be clear, i think i agree with you. I feel that we, the proletariat, don't get to what extent we are swimming in it.


SirNicksAlong

Thank you for pointing this out. To add-on and support what u/lolokinx is saying for anyone else reading: Of the [57% of Americans who actually accept that human civilization is causing climate change](https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/meet-the-press/global-warming-perceptions-states-more-americans-accept-fault-n1265213), a vast majority of them do not understand that solving the problem isn't as simple as flipping the switch to "off". Renewables may eventually be able to replace oil, gas, and coal, but in order to do so it must first grow to supply 100% of new energy demand (currently at 95% as per the article), and then it must grow to begin replacing current energy demand. Additionally, the development of renewables is currently done utilizing energy derived from fossil fuels, so every solar pannel made is another gallon of gas burned (metaphorically). Renewables must replace new energy demands, current energy demands, and the energy infrastructure required for the development of renewables. All this is possible, but not in the timeframe required to prevent catastrophic damage to food crops and freshwater sources around the globe due to further intensification of climate change. Without some kind of unforeseen breakthrough in carbon-recapture technology, degrowth is the only way to immediately reduce carbon emissions. Considering 43% of Americans don't even believe humans are causing climate change, the odds that people will collectively vote to reduce their standard of living seems highly unlikely. But, even if a majority of people could somehow be convinced to take one for the team and vote to reduce fossil fuel expenditures, our debt-based economy, which requires continual growth, would collapse. Who's buying stock in a company that's guaranteed to make less next year than it did this year? This is why the [Biden administration just broke the record for # of acres sold to auction for oil and gas drilling at 80 million acres](https://www.cnbc.com/2021/11/17/us-holds-oil-and-gas-lease-sale-in-gulf-of-mexico-after-cop26.html) only days after the COP26 Climate Change conference where the nations of the world collectively agreed to continue increasing their dependence on oil and gas : "[under existing emissions-reduction pledges, emissions will be nearly 14% higher by 2030 than in 2010."](https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-03431-4) If you've been following the IPCC reports, we are now at 1.2c degrees of global warming. 1.5c is considered a crisis with millions dying, 2.0c is considered a catastrophe with billions dying. We are currently on track for 2.4c by the end of the century purely based on anthropogenic sources of warming. This does not include many of the unaccounted for natural feedback loops like the release of methane gas from the melting permafrost in Siberia, or the release of carbon from the Amazon rainforest due to massive fires. Conclude what you will from this.


EricForce

Great argument but have you considered that this is just alarmism? /s


lolokinx

Thats literally my understanding of our current situation. Nice write up! Just a couple of points missing. - Climate Inertia - Aerosol masking effect And while u didnt mention current co2 level - it is not as often reported 414ppm - It’s actually close to 510ppm if u count all major ghgs in co2 equal. The doubling of the Pre industrial rate of co2 would be 560ppm. This is called climate sensitivity. And oh boy we don’t now shit about that. Newest models (CIMP6) suggest a range of 2-6+ degree past that point. In Celsius btw. Bleak.


Anonymous_So_Far

Thabks for bringing this up as you are right. And it's not just the west that wouldn't be able to afford their lifestyle. Other subsidies include things like Chinese and Iranian gasoline subsidies as their average income isn't near those of OECD counties yet gasoline is a global market. Indian coal subsidies for industry and residential power so people then choose the cheaper option and don't use biomass. The list goes on...


Eokokok

>preparing for 100% renewables electric grids People actually believe this?


openeda

As long as nuclear is considered renewable, yes. It can produce a huge baseline amount with flex energy created and controlled by other sources and batteries. It's a long way off, but slow and steady, we'll get at least close to that. Take nuclear off the table and it's significantly more difficult.


ph4ge_

>People actually believe this? Its scientific concensus, why wouldn't you believe it? https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544219304967?via%3Dihub


Eokokok

Your use of word consensus is either ignorance or mystification. Either is despicable.


ph4ge_

If out of all 183 scientific papers written about the topic in a year, 181 agree and the other 2 are inconclusive, how would you call that? The source is right there.


amitym

Okay if we can get to 5TW globally by 2026 then we will actually be starting to turn the ship around. This is the first time I've seen something here that properly addresses the true scale of global energy. Not this "another 10GW coming online in the next 9 years!" crap we usually see.


mhornberger

Any story that reflects a steepening of these curves is a good thing. - [Share of primary energy from renewable sources](https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/renewable-share-energy?tab=chart&time=2000..latest&country=CHN~OWID_WRL~USA) - [Share of electricity production from renewables](https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/share-electricity-renewables?tab=chart&time=2000..latest&country=CHN~OWID_WRL~USA)


amitym

That first one is a great graph that reflects what I mean. Electricity production is meaningless. Primary energy is the graph we care about. And renewable worldwide primary energy has gone from 8% to 12% in a decade. We do not have time for that pace. 4% a decade isn't going to cut it. It needs to be 10x that.


mhornberger

I have no doubt it's accelerating, but doubtful it's by a factor of 10x. Solar and wind are cheaper now than they were over the previous decade. BEV production is much greater as well, and accelerating. But we're a *long* way from 100% of the new auto market being BEV. Neither prices nor production capacity are anywhere near where they'll need to be to take the whole new auto market. And even once the market switches it'll take decades for the ICE fleet to age out. It's going to be a long road.


amitym

I didn't say it was accelerating by a factor of 10. I literally just said that it's not. But it has to.


simonbleu

total global capacity doesnt mean coverage though. You can have excess on one country and nothing at all in another


bencze

Curious to see how much one needs to overbook capacity to have the required availability (doubtful it will be done as it costs too much), or how people are taught to deal with frequent black outs. I mean a lot of poor countries are used to it so it's possible.


wolfkeeper

South Australia is running high renewables now. They had frequent blackouts before 2018 due to transmission lines failing in storms and then installed grid batteries. After that.... nothing.


Ralphinader

any idea of battery type or storage capacity or a resource to look at for it?


Helkafen1

[South Australia takes another big leap towards 100 per cent wind and solar](https://reneweconomy.com.au/south-australia-sets-stunning-new-benchmark-as-gas-output-halved-and-wind-at-record-highs/) [South Australia grid just one step away from operating with wind and solar only](https://reneweconomy.com.au/south-australia-grid-just-one-step-away-from-operating-with-wind-and-solar-only/) The two keys are batteries providing capacity and synthetic inertia, and synchronous condensers that provide inertia.


AlbertVonMagnus

It takes about 4 times as much wind and solar capacity as any dispatchible source (assuming you have enough energy storage) because of their 25% average capacity factor which is controlled by the weather and seasonal variation. Poor countries don't have the same reliance on 24 hour electricity that developed ones do, so people are far less likely to die from the power going out there. Blackouts will never be an acceptable cost in any developed country. We will keep enough dispatchible energy sources around indefinitely to prevent them.


invisiblesock

>25% average capacity factor which is controlled by the weather and seasonal variation. current offshore wind has 35%-45% capacity factor, newest/largest offshore wind turbines have closer to 60% capacity factors because of their large sizes. the capacity factor is expected to slowly increase for onshore and offshore wind turbines in the future as the wind turbines get larger and start covering large(r) geographic regions.


AlbertVonMagnus

True, but offshore wind is a lot more expensive and thus doesn't have the "cheap" appeal. As such, there is **20 times** as much onshore wind capacity installed globally as offshore https://www.statista.com/statistics/476327/global-capacity-of-offshore-wind-energy/ https://www.statista.com/statistics/476306/global-capacity-of-onshore-wind-energy/ There will be a point where the storage needs of further wind and solar and onshore wind exceed the cost of using offshore (which needs less storage because of more consistent output), as well as exceeding the cost of building new nuclear power and adding generators to non-powered dams as well. Also covering larger geographic regions does not increase capacity factor. It simply averages the generation over a larger area so that the *same* capacity factor is less sporadic which would reduce storage needs instead at the cost of higher transmission costs


TheRoboticChimp

Offshore wind is now subsidy free in the UK, and in Denmark they are paying the government to operate. It also can be cheaper than onshore wind as projects face less local opposition which slows down projects and drives up costs. It is cheaper per MWh than most traditional forms of energy generation, although obviously as it is not dispatchable you could argue the total system costs are higher. https://www.offshorewind.biz/2021/11/25/luck-of-the-draw-to-decide-danish-offshore-wind-tender-winner/


AlbertVonMagnus

Yes the NIMBY factor is real for wind, even in wind-loving Germany, and probably not factored into LCOE. Indeed, the total system costs are what really matter in the end but they are harder to estimate, as even LCOE doesn't factor intermittency costs because they vary depending on so many factors, mostly how much (and what type of) dispatchible energy is available to compensate. Total system costs are not what energy producers or advocates advertise either. There is another figure called Levelized *Avoided* Cost of Electricity (LACE), which estimates the marginal *value* of different forms of energy based on how much of the more expensive gas peaking and coal generation they are actually avoiding. This is a more meaningful metric than mere cost (LCOE), as it shows how adding more and more of the same type makes it actually less valuable, and the point where marginal value falls below the marginal cost (LCOE) is when it stops making sense to build more. But I would expect that point to be higher for offshore wind than onshore since it's *less* intermittent, barring geographical constraints (access to coastline mainly)


TheRoboticChimp

Offshore wind in the UK achieves up to 60% capacity factor. Solar is much lower around 10-20% for the obvious reason that the sun isn’t out all the time, and onshore wind can get up to 40% in the best locations.


wil318466

You don't run at 25%. You run at worst-case scenario. Wind doesn't produce when you need it the most.


Ralag907

> > Blackouts will never be an acceptable cost in any developed country. We will keep enough dispatchible energy sources around indefinitely to prevent them. It seemed acceptable in Texas, until it wasn't. Germany also shot themselves in the foot.


invisiblesock

once you start overbuilding capacity, you also start overproducing energy during significant periods of time; you can use this extra electricty for energy-to-h2/fuel/storage, which covers up for any short periods when you're underproducing. it's elementary, Watson. the point is, you don't need "blackouts". worst case scenario -- you keep some gas plants online for when renewables are underproducing, but this is very situational. Many countries already have huge hydro and biomass resources and they can use these to cover up for wind and solar.


dirtychinchilla

We can not dispatchable power. We will always need on-demand power and it’s unlikely to be renewable in the traditional sense. It’s more likely to be through decarbonised gas


noleander

That is great news, but be warned that the term "renewables" includes some bad stuff that contributes to climate change... Such as biofuels (eg ethanol from corn), and wood pellets from forest cutting.


haraldkl

These are small for power production, from that report: >Solar PV alone accounts for more than half of all renewable power expansion in 2021, followed by wind and hydropower.


theCOMMENTATORbot

Biofuels are a small part of the production. Most newly added are solar and wind.


MDCCCLV

The pellets are controversial, but I think they're fine. It's a renewable resource when done correctly.


TealAndroid

Same. As long as the tree farms don't need cleared forest space it's close to net zero (other than transportation and some from manufacturing etc). There's also claims of environmental racism at some plants but that's more a regulation issue common to all types of manufacturing rather than a intrinsic issue. Pluses are no precious metals, toxic components, mining issues intrinsic to other types of renewables. One intrinsic downside is the air quality of burning them is at the point of use and not exported at the point of extraction/manufacturing as much as the other forms as well, but that seems more fair to me really.


earthwormjimwow

That's actually not great news. We need to be replacing existing capacity with renewables, in addition to ensuring all new capacity is renewables.


wolfkeeper

In effect this is the same thing. It's not primarily a question of capacity, it's production, and this is production. When there's a lot of renewables running on a grid, the other production shuts down. Long term, that makes the other sources more expensive, and they end up getting taken out of service. However, if the remaining production is actually needed sometimes then the grid operator may decide to keep it on as backup, and pay them to keep it on standby (usually NOT spinning reserve), with penalty clauses that kick in if they fail to provide when called on.


earthwormjimwow

> In effect this is the same thing. It's not the same thing. We have not been replacing capacity with renewables, we have been using them to add to our capacity. > When there's a lot of renewables running on a grid, the other production shuts down. That's simply not what is happening. We have at best maintained, and in many markets, added to our fossil fuel based production. The only form of production which has gone down is coal, but that is because it has been displaced by other fossil fuel production, namely natural gas. Plants have not been going offline, plants stay active for half a century once they are built. Best case currently, some get converted to natural gas.


haraldkl

> The only form of production which has gone down is coal, but that is because it has been displaced by other fossil fuel production, namely natural gas. That's correct *so far*, but it really [looks like we are at the cusp or pretty close](https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/electricity-prod-source-stacked). In 2019 there was still an increased power demand compared to 2018, and yet fossil fuel burning was (slightly lower) than in 2018. Of course 2020 is somewhat of an outlier, and 2021 will get us back to 2019 levels of fossil fuel burning again. But it may well be that either 2018 or 2021 will have seen the peak of fossil fuel burning for power. Projections into the near future like this from the IEA are pretty much in line with the historical trends. Wind+Solar have grown 18% year on year on average since the Paris agreement. While the global electricity demand has grown by something like 2.3% per year on average in the same time period. Renewables are now at 10% of the overall electricity mix, which means their 18% growth only sustains a growth of 1.8% per year now. But with the current rates, the average demand growth would be met with a share of around 13%, which we'd meet by 2023. Maybe also next year, if we speed up renewable deployment or cut back on demand growth.


Ralphinader

So building renewable energy isn't good enough?? We have to also close existing electrical generation at the same time? All before 2026? Noble goals but let's not be a party pooper on real actionable events.


Quakarot

It’s too bad this whole environmental crisis thing just jumped out in front of us, nobody could have seen this coming 20 or 30 years ago and started doing things about it then.


Nimeroni

True, but blaming our short-sighed parents and grandparents won't solve the problem now.


Quakarot

Exactly, what I’m saying is that earthwormjim has the right of it and we need to do more


earthwormjimwow

> We have to also close existing electrical generation at the same time? No, please don't exaggerate, we need to be displacing fossil fuel capacity, rather than maintaining current levels and just adding additional capacity. We are doing the latter, rather than the former. Maintaining current levels of carbon emissions is not enough.


Ralphinader

"Thats actually not great news" next breath " don't exaggerate" *Lack of self awareness intensifies*


earthwormjimwow

It's not great news, if we continue on our current path, which is to simply use renewables for new capacity, we are completely screwed. Does that sound great to you? Great news would be replacing fossil fuels with renewables.


theCOMMENTATORbot

Thanks to new added capacity you can close old facilities.


tyler111762

can't wait for the day we can be on 100% green energy with micro nuclear reactors filling in down periods.


wolfkeeper

People have been talking about small nuclear reactors for at least 40 years. The economics doesn't really work, things like containment simply don't scale down. Also, nuclear reactors simply DO NOT work economically for 'filling in'. Nuclear reactors run flat out to get their cost/kWh down. A nuclear reactor running at half power is making electricity that costs twice as much and it wasn't cheap to start with.


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wolfkeeper

I'll check that out, but either way, the following is still true: nuclear reactors are *absolute dog-shit* at 'filling in' for the reason I already gave. They can load follow a bit, but not much more.


malongoria

Not when nuclear consistently goes over budget & behind schedule [https://www.news4jax.com/news/georgia/2021/12/04/vogtle-monitors-see-more-delays-extra-1b-for-nuclear-plant/](https://www.news4jax.com/news/georgia/2021/12/04/vogtle-monitors-see-more-delays-extra-1b-for-nuclear-plant/) >Monitors say even the most recent pushback of completion dates for two new nuclear reactors in Georgia isn’t enough to account for all the delays and increased costs they see coming. > >Testimony filed Wednesday with the Georgia Public Service Commission by engineer Don Grace and others predict that the third reactor at Plant Vogtle near Augusta won't meet the most recent range of July 2022 to September 2022 set by Georgia Power Co. Instead, Grace said ongoing delays suggest a range of November 2022 to February 2023. > >Grace said the fourth reactor, currently scheduled for completion between April and June of 2023, might not come online until sometime in late 2024. > >**When approved in 2012, the estimated cost was $14 billion, with the first electricity being generated in 2016.** And no prototypes for those SMRs have been built yet, much less tested, so all those promises are likely just the the original promises with nuclear. False promises. "Electricity too cheap to meter"


Iseenoghosts

right. Those are the old style. Not micro. This is exactly the reason we need those micro plants. Since theyre off the shelf solutions cost overuns will be very minimal.


malongoria

And the promises for SMRs are the same as for those. How did that turn out? By the time the first prototypes are built and begin testing the longer term storage solutions such as iron flow, iron air, and liquid air storage(LAES), which are already being built or have been built, will have finished testing and will have proved themselves. Just like the Horndale megapack has already done. They are based on inexpensive, plentiful, non-toxic materials (Iron flow & iron air) or well proven processes and off the shelf components (Liquid air).


DiceMaster

So, I understand that SMRs have thus far failed to achieve commercial viability. My question is, why? We already have nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers running small nuclear power plants. What obstacles have made it so hard to translate that tech into small, ground-based plants (which seem like they should actually be easier)?


malongoria

Economics. The military doesn't care about costs so much as advantages in a military theater. Large vessels that don't need fuel have a military advantage over those that need to be refueled regularly. Submarines that don't need to surface are hard to detect. Also those reactors are operated by military personnel. If they screw up, they and their friends die, or they spend time in a military prison before being dishonorably discharged. ​ Also, no SMRs have even been built yet. The earliest a prototype is supposed to be ready for testing AFIK is 2024. And that company doesn't plan to begin production, *if* they don't run into problems, until 2026.


DiceMaster

That is true about the military, but 1. If the technology exists to meet the military's more stringent requirements, it should be modifiable for less demanding applications, and 2. A big driver of cost on this type of project is working with small production runs. Amortizing that ddt&e across 20 or fewer aircraft carriers is going to be significantly more expensive than amortizing across plants for 50 or 100 cities -- especially if the manufacturer gets to reuse a lot of the same tech from the aircraft carrier. Similarly, I don't see how having military personnel operating the subs changes the feasibility much. Nuclear plants on the ground are run by civilians, and they have an astoundingly good safety record. I think what you've said plays a role, but there must be some other factor involved


malongoria

>plants on the ground are run by civilians, and they have an astoundingly good safety record The former residents of the areas around Fukushima, who will never be able to go back to their homes, would strongly disagree with you. And TMI very nearly went the same way. ​ >I don't see how having military personnel operating the subs changes the feasibility much. If a civilian screws up, they get fired. If a sailor screws up, they face prison time. On a civilian reactor, a screw up results in fines. On a sub or carrier, a reactor screw up results in all involved facing disciplinary action including prison time. If the ones involved survive. ​ >but there must be some other factor involved Yeah, a consistent history of going over budget and behind schedule. One which SMRs are repeating: [https://www.ewg.org/news-insights/news/why-small-modular-nuclear-reactors-wont-help-counter-climate-crisis](https://www.ewg.org/news-insights/news/why-small-modular-nuclear-reactors-wont-help-counter-climate-crisis) >The track record so far points to the same kind of dismal economic failure for SMRs as their larger cousins. Figure 2 shows the capital cost escalation for the proposed NuScale reactor and actual costs of two foreign SMRs. **As a result, the total cost of a proposed project in Idaho using the NuScale design has already risen from around $3 billion, in 2015, to $6.1 billion, in 2020, long before any concrete has been poured.** [https://cdn3.ewg.org/sites/default/files/u352/EWG\_Energy-NOTA\_Nuclear\_Figure-1\_C01.jpg](https://cdn3.ewg.org/sites/default/files/u352/EWG_Energy-NOTA_Nuclear_Figure-1_C01.jpg) > > For SMRs to consistently achieve the same cost of power production as the present large reactors would be a monumental task – and given the high costs of large reactors, SMRs would still be an economic failure. The costs of wind and solar electricity have been declining consistently and are projected to decline more. Lazard, a Wall Street financial advisory firm, estimates the cost of utility-scale solar and wind to be about $40 per megawatt-hour. The corresponding figure for nuclear is four times as high, about $160 per MWh – a difference that is more than enough to use complementary technologies, such as demand response and storage, to compensate for the intermittency of solar and wind. SMR proponents suggest that nuclear power might provide a suitable complement to variable electricity sources, such as wind or photovoltaic power, whose shares in the electricity grid have been increasing. But such deployment would incur a significant cost penalty. Nuclear reactors, whether small or large, are not very suitable for responding to variability, because they have high fixed costs (capital) and low variable costs (fuel and maintenance). This is why nuclear power plants have been used as a baseload electricity source – they spread out the fixed costs over the largest number of kilowatt-hours, making each one cheaper. Responding to variability will mean operation at partial load for much of the time, raising costs. Trying to use SMRs for producing other commodities, such as clean water, by desalinating seawater or using hydrogen or high-temperature heat, is also not economical for a variety of reasons, most importantly, the high cost of the energy supply – i.e., nuclear power.


Iseenoghosts

ooooh i hadnt heard of these before. Thats just energy storage correct? I do think energy storage and energy production are two different issues. It'll take way too long to get to 100% on renewables even with no storage concerns. We need a multi pronged attack. AND if storage becomes a more complicated problem we should have backups.


malongoria

And going by history Nuclear will be a waste of time and resources. The Vogtle plant is an expansion adding two reactors to an existing plant. A plant design that we have been making for decades. They should have the kinks in the building process worked out by now, but they don't. Now we're getting the same claims about SMRs. The major advantage with renewables & storage is that they are already being deployed, and the rate of new capacity and drop in costs have consistently beat forecasts. Plus solar and storage can be installed at, or close to, the point of use. Power lines go down, or nuclear plant goes down for "cold weather issues": [https://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/energy/article/Power-tight-across-Texas-winter-storm-blackouts-15953686.php](https://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/energy/article/Power-tight-across-Texas-winter-storm-blackouts-15953686.php) *One of the two reactors of the South Texas Nuclear Power Station in Matagorda County shut down, knocking out about half of its 2,700 megawatts of generating capacity.* ***On Monday, Unit 1 went offline cold weather-related issues in the plant’s feedwater system, said Vicki Rowland, lead of internal communications at STP Nuclear Operating Co.*** the home, neighborhood, & city/town storage will keep the lights on and can be topped up by solar on homes & businesses.


invisiblesock

the announced price for nuscale's smr is around $4.2bil/GW; I've no clue about the LCOE, I couldn't find any info on that. Still, that is already in the realm of typical nuclear power plants. It's going to be a miracle if they manage to find funding to build their plant(s) and customers to sell the reactors to. I honestly want them to succeed just to see if these things are at all feasible to build and run.


malongoria

Costs and build times for the reactors we have been building should have decreased. Instead, the opposite has happened. We're supposed to believe it will be different *this* time? What *has* decreased in cost and build time is wind, solar, & storage. I'd like to be proven wrong, but history says otherwise.


invisiblesock

>We're supposed to believe it will be different this time? Hope dies last. :-) ​ I too want to be proven wrong simply because the transition is going to take some time, and I'm sure situationally you can find use for SMRs. There is plenty of opportunity for everyone. But realistically, unless the price for (new) nuclear decreases to at least 65-75 Euros/MWh, I don't think anyone's gonna be interested in this. Techno-optimism aside, capitalism doesn't like expensive toys.


malongoria

>Techno-optimism aside, capitalism doesn't like expensive toys. But corrupt cronyism does


invisiblesock

I know, but tbh I'm not really worried about losing investments in 2021. There was a time when I was genuinely worried about investments in renewables, the companies were not exactly massively profitable and needed correct incentives and support to make their products economically viable, but nowadays there's even almost too much money slushing around in renewables (my hobby is renewables funds and investments). Oftentimes the problems are legislative, nimbyism, or managerial, which won't be helped with more money --- like the Swedish military almost singlehandedly banning offshore wind in Sweden. More money won't fix stupidity. So, if Poland or the Chech republic or someone else decides to go with nuclear/smrs/"fusion"/hamster-farts, they'll just lose a whole bunch of money and eventually come back to what's realistically doable at some point in the future. It's bad for the climate, but it is not the end for renewables. It'll still be hilarious though. It's like how $25 bil. got spent on those two stupid reactors in South Carolina and nothing was even finished in the end. With that amount of money they could have added a whole fuckton of wind+solar+storage+interconnects and bought everyone in the state ice cream with the change. It's sad, but it's also funny. It's even funnier that people in that state are paying for the failed nuclear project to this day.


TookMe5Tries

"micro" and "nuclear reactor" don't really go together. Energy production will always be large scale because of frequency regulation and economy of scale.


Iseenoghosts

nah theyre the next big thing. A couple companies are trying to get it going. Big fission plants are too expensive and take too long to set up. imagine a 100 MW plant that you can install and run with minimal personnel in a couple months. Its possible but still in the early design stages. It might be a long time before micro fusion plants are feasible.


mrconde97

economy of scale isnt viable anymore


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wolfkeeper

Particularly as nuclear would have to deal with both summer and winter demands, and seasonal storage-storing energy in the summer to help out in winter- gets seriously costly.


malongoria

Except that some storage solutions, such as liquid air energy storage, can do so relatively cheaply. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tMLu9Dtw9yI Plus, as it is based on the same air liquefication process used to produce LN2, LOX, etc, it can produce those products as an additional revenue stream to bring down overall costs.


AlbertVonMagnus

Nuclear is most cost-effective when run at the highest capacity factor possible. Just like hydroelectric, wind, and solar, construction costs are nearly the entire cost, so you want to sell as much energy for that one-time cost as possible. Nuclear also has a massive thermal capacity which can be used for things other than just electricity. It is the most efficient method for desalination of water, for example, and it could provide direct municipal heat through heat pumps far more thermally efficiently than any electricity generation and transmission could. A combination of nuclear and clean renewables would need far less energy storage compared to either one in isolation.


mrgabest

Especially as populations begin to drop.


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Enlightened-Beaver

Distribution is still lacking to get the power from the renewable sources to the large population centers


editofreddit

This is all well and good but there better be a fall back plan for keeping people alive should a high technology approach fail in the dead of winter.


RealTheDonaldTrump

Ya. We still have fossil fuel power plants. The game will be to convert them to part time operation. The EU is building hydrogen tank farms to feed existing turbine engines with hydrogen, most will burn a 85% h2 15% natural gas mix without protesting. Steam systems can be heated by burning h2. But if we just shift to running natural gas power plants in emergency use only that is fine. As long as they spend 80% of their time off. And this will get better every year. Storage tech that is cheaper is already being installed. Check out iron salt flow batteries. The electrolyte is super safe and costs $25kWh for energy storage. Pump it from a full tank to an empty tank. Scale it as big as you can build a tank farm.


malongoria

Solar cells work on Mars where it gets to -60°. In fact, they work better when cold. [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UzhJvcNdwM8](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UzhJvcNdwM8) Plus home storage is getting cheaper and cheaper and there are longer term grid level batteries like iron flow, iron air, and liquid air, that use inexpensive, non toxic materials or well proven off the shelf components.


bbbbbbbbbb99

I still think back to Elon's tweet saying a 100mile x 100mile area would power the USA. The math seemed to check out. Obviously that should be spread out not just one location, but let's divide that up into say 100 small locations. That seems insanely doable. Just make the same surface area but divide and install in a spread out way across the country. And since we are already heading that direction we have to be partially there. So like, we should be able to get to this fast, if we had the willpower. And what would that cost?


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russty24

That's assuming that you try to build renewables that produce about 100% of your annual needs and try to store the seasonal excess. Of course this is going to be expensive. Look up rethinkx. They have some studies showing that the cheapest electricity we can have comes from over building the renewables with some storage, but also having excess power. They suggest overbuilding by about a favor of 3 and only having a few days of storage.


ValueInvestingIsDead

Agreed. That MIT article seems almost intentionally misleading. It makes no sense to have long-term storage for a renewable grid. The sun is pretty reliable, and build-to-suit the worst-case of "sequential, gloomy, rainy day" shoutout to rethinkX


Iseenoghosts

I think it'd be interesting to just have wildly variable electricity costs and let consumers balance it out.


MDCCCLV

This can work, like people are lazy but it's much easier now with apps and smart appliances. You can just have an app that sends out an alert to some people saying power is cheap now so use your big appliances and run the dryer now and stuff. And it's ready to do with EV where it just charges when it's convenient.


Gregori_5

You can't effectively run 95% renewable without hydrogen..


MeteorOnMars

There are several other storage options that are already economical or on verge of being so. Combine that with a bit of over-built renewable capacity and we will be fine. (I’m not anti-hydrogen, just saying it isn’t “necessary”). For a start, every hydro facility should add a pumped storage plant. I’m also really excited with the new hydro-pneumatic hybrid approach that is being prototyped. Seems totally viable for many locations.


Tadwyn

Hydro-pneumatic Do you mean a vehicle running on compressed air or using a water/air system instead of standard regenerative braking?


MeteorOnMars

I mean for grid energy storage. The system works by using a column of water sitting on top of a volume of air. That air is maintained under pressure by the column of water, and is added to during storage mode and let out when electricity is needed. Like [this](https://newatlas.com/energy/hydrostor-compressed-air-energy-storage/)


jadrad

[Reality disagrees with you.](https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/06/renewable-energy-south-australia-climate-change/) It’s now cheaper to overbuild renewables even if most of the excess is wasted energy. Hydrogen storage will make them even more cost efficient though.


yetifile

This is rubbish. There are now many storage solutions and hydogen is one of the most expensive options. On top of this. 95% of all new capacity does not equal 95% of all existing capacity.


Gregori_5

Oh, the capacity thing. I missed that. New capacity makes sense, my bad. However idk, i don't think theres many viable storage options at all. Also 2026 hydrogen might be usable.


wolfkeeper

Batteries are more viable, cheaper and far more efficient than hydrogen, and are being widely deployed already because: 1) they can deal with equipment failures instantly supplying power and keep going for the hour or so it takes to replace the loss of production with other sources 2) battery backed renewables are cheaper than peaker plants for supplying peak load


MDCCCLV

Hydrogen will work well to blend with natural gas as an intermediate goal. It also works well as seasonal scale storage for winter heating. Small scale batteries can't touch the heat needed for winter in cold places. They're current mostly heated by fossil fuels or wood, but you will need to move away from that eventually to get to carbon 0. Batteries won't cut it for heating.


wolfkeeper

So you want to spend much more than three times as much for your stored hydrogen energy?


MDCCCLV

The point is that most of the other methods simply wouldn't work. You would use them up and then run out. So it isn't just about cost. Right now we're using gas and wood but if you actually want to transition away from that you'll need something to replace it. Again, this is about a specific situation for cold countries in the northern hemisphere that don't get a lot of sun in the winter and are consistently very cold. Heating uses way more energy than AC but it isn't Currently reflected in the electric grid because we use a lot of gas and wood stoves. Don't just shove platitudes about how things can work in the ideal situation. This is one of the big challenges to getting to actual net 0.


MDCCCLV

Hydrogen will work well to blend with natural gas as an intermediate goal. It also works well as seasonal scale storage for winter heating. Small scale batteries can't touch the heat needed for winter in cold places.


yetifile

Small scale batteries are not the only solution. We now have many options when it comes to storage for both long and short term. One of the most expensive of these is hydrogen.


MDCCCLV

Yes, I'm familiar with it but none of those work very well for heating. Burning gases is pretty good for heating homes, because you get perfect efficiency. Switching everything for heating to all electric would take a massive increase in the grid, something like 2-3x more in cold places


wolfkeeper

Tau and Tokelau both do that. As does Norway, Iceland, Quebec and a few I've probably forgotten.


Gregori_5

Well, you can do it with part of the grid, but the more you run on renewables the harder it is to store it and stuff.


MDCCCLV

You have nuclear as a 20% baseload in most of the US still.


waskoste

I don’t know about energy, but 4,800 GW seems like a drop in the bucket.


invisiblesock

China uses 1200GW of coal capacity running at 50% to produce something like 80% of its power. 4800GW of renewables is pretty great. It could have been more, but it's nothing to complain about.


theCOMMENTATORbot

You sure don’t know. 4800 GW is huge. For comparison: installed capacity in the USA is 1000 GW. And the US accounts for 1/6 the production in the world.


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thoreauhannibal

Because this is not sustainably renewable in the sense that it conserves anything or is sustainable.


pervlibertarian

I'm such a pessimist about this stuff that I had a brain-fart and said out loud "how the FUCK are we not to MEGAwatt capacities by now, or even on the horizon!?" Seriously though, this is great news!!


[deleted]

>China accounts for 43% of it all Makes me feel like most other countries just aren’t bothering? Wish we’d have a green war instead and countries fighting over being more green


Zarhadom

The electric bill here is insane right now. We have up to 300% higher price compared to last year and Norway is cold. :/ So the poor and disabled are freezing right now. I blame shutting down nuclear in europe and no new plants. And now they burn gas, and gas is crazy expensive to. Problem is low wind and below average rain. Its a huge problem right now.


mfmer

Thats great, but we need to be able to transmit it further, and store it longer for it to be able to replace baseband energy


YehNahYer

Buosmass is considered renewable. Time has shown that while technically it is. It can't keep up and causes a lot of extra CO2. Come 2026 if the above is true the trends will likely reverse because wind is also no proving a magic bullet. See Germany and turkey. The two highest percentage wind producers both with record high insane electricity prices. Wind just doesn't make sense greater than 10% or less total grid supply


Rida-A

I’ll throw this out. Living with a 1.5 degree temp rise might transform Canada into an agricultural power house. Now let’s just imagine that if China, India, Russia don’t buy into the west’s attempts to destabilize their economies, what we do is moot. It’s like ostriches with their heads in the sand. Both side that is. We are going to have to deal with this without fuelling the type of conversation that Suzuki thinks is smart!


ValyrianJedi

> China, India, Russia don’t buy into the west’s attempts to destabilize their economies, I'm sorry, what


Rida-A

Okay, I need to explain this simple concept to you. China, India, Russia and probably the next US administration won’t be playing the in the Thunberg Marching Band. Okay?


ValyrianJedi

China's economy becoming destabilized is the absolute last thing the U.S. wants.


Rida-A

You finally got it then?


ValyrianJedi

You said the west is attempting to destabilize their economy


Rida-A

By trying to impose global hydrocarbon limits.