Despite the hype, ‘carbon-free’ energy sources aren’t gaining traction globally

Dr. Roger Pielke Jr. tips us to this interesting yet inconvenient graph.

The graph below shows data from the BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2014, which was released yesterday. It shows the proportion of global energy consumption that comes from carbon-free sources. Guess what? It isn’t growing.

Pielke writes:

The proportion of carbon-free energy consumption is a far more important metric of progress with respect to the challenge of stabilizing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere than looking at carbon dioxide emissions.

What you should take from this however is that there remains no evidence of an increase in the proportion of carbon-free energy consumption even remotely consistent with the challenge of atmospheric stabilization of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Those who claim that the world has turned a corner, soon will, or that they know what steps will get us around that corner are dreamers or fools. We don’t know. The sooner we accept that, the sooner we can design policies more compatible with policy learning and muddling through.

 

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101 Responses to Despite the hype, ‘carbon-free’ energy sources aren’t gaining traction globally

  1. Jimmy Haigh. says:

    It reminds me of “the pause”…

  2. Halleluja Chorus !! says:

    Oh, Jimmy, Jimmy YOU freaking GENIUS – it IS THE PAUSE!!!! It must be its the right shape!!! I’m at least 97% dead sure of it.

  3. Lank is perplexed says:

    Just the handle of a hockey stick.

  4. MikeUK says:

    Looks like natural economic variability, driven by the price of oil, but no doubt the planet savers will see their influence in it somewhere.

  5. ralphcramdo says:

    There should be a chart of the number of permanent jobs carbon-free energy has created compared to fossil fuel jobs.

  6. walker808 says:

    Fossil fuels are a finite resource, sooner or later all the oil, coal and gas will be used up, renewable energy is the only hope for our long term energy needs. This report is in no way “good news”.

  7. philjourdan says:

    Someone want to correlate Carbon Free energy with Temperatures? Looks like a close fit! And of course to alarmists, correlation is causation. ;-)

  8. jones says:

    More a cricket-bat than a hockey stick…..

    What?what?….

  9. Gamecock says:

    “The proportion of carbon-free energy consumption is a far more important metric of progress with respect to the challenge of stabilizing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere than looking at carbon dioxide emissions.”

    The chart tells me that cutting emissions is the ONLY way. Twenty years of heavily subsidized development has produced no change.

  10. Gamecock says:

    walker808 says:
    June 17, 2014 at 4:07 am

    Fossil fuels are a finite resource, sooner or later all the oil, coal and gas will be used up, renewable energy is the only hope for our long term energy needs. This report is in no way “good news”.

    ===========

    Our long term energy needs are covered. Easily. Fretting over what they are going to do in 2214, long after we are all dead, is silly.

  11. ImranCan says:

    Kind of ironic ….. the growth in the percentage of carbon free energy sources seems to be perfectly inversely correlated with the amount of green propaganda on global warming.

  12. Chris Wright says:

    Yes, there seems to be an excellent correlation. It even peaks at the time of the 1998 el nino. Ironically, this correlation looks far better than the correlation between temperature and CO2.

    The conclusion is obvious: to ‘solve’ global warming, we need to build huge numbers of coal-fired power stations. The Chinese may be on the right track…

    But we should be careful. If we build too many coal-fired stations, we may trigger global cooling, which, as we well know, is far worse than global warming….
    Chris

  13. Oldseadog says:

    Maybe someone can look at the relationship between the creation of “carbon free” jobs and the losses of ordinary jobs due to high energy costs.
    Spain might be a good place to look.

  14. EnergyExpert says:

    We will start making progress as soon as we abandon the inane “All of the Above” mantra, and substitute “All of the Sensible.”

    Briefly, the definition of “Sensible” would be those sources that have scientific proof that they are a net societal benefit.

  15. Reblogged this on gottadobetterthanthis and commented:
    The graph shows that despite billions in tax incentives, and billions more in direct incentives, energy source that don’t directly produce carbon dioxide cannot compete. Cannot, that is the important point.

  16. Nick Stokes says:

    “It shows the proportion of global energy consumption that comes from carbon-free sources. Guess what? It isn’t growing.”

    This doesn’t seem consistent with what the report actually says under “Renewable Power” (electricity):

    “The share of renewable power in global power generation reached 5.3% in 2013, almost doubling in five years from 2.7% in 2008. Renewables accounted for 8% of OECD power generation in 2013, compared to 3% in the non-OECD. While the aggregate shares remain low, for some individual countries renewables now contribute a significant share of power. Eighteen countries now have a renewables share of more than 10%, up from just eight countries in 2010.”

    and
    “The rapid growth of renewable power generation continued in 2013. Global growth was 16.3%, slower than in 2012 but above the ten year trend rate of growth, and the tenth successive year of double-digit growth. Renewables contributed 34.6% of the growth in global power generation in 2013, representing 15.7% of world energy growth.”

  17. Ed says:

    Dr Helen Czerski of the BBC (recent Horizon edition) apparently thinks that battery-powered cars and aircraft are ‘carbon-free’ transport. Either she gets the fairies to charge her batteries up for her, or she’s playing dumb to keep her job with the BBC.
    BBC science programmes dumbing down? As if!

  18. Ric Werme says:

    I wonder if “carbon-free” includes nuclear. It’s offering has dropped in the last few years. I don’t have time to make sense of the units, scales (e.g. electricity vs all energy), but this link has a bar graph showing the recent decline of nukes.

    http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Current-and-Future-Generation/Nuclear-Power-in-the-World-Today/

  19. David says:

    Carbon-free might be stable, but carbon content is going down with the increased use of natural gas, which has lower carbon content.

  20. Jknapp says:

    Nick
    Yes, it is consistent. The graph is about global energy consumption. You’re quote is about renewable electricity generation. Doubling renewable electricity generation from 2.7 to 5.3% will not make a noticeable blip in global energy consumption. Besides which, carbon free and renewable are not synonyms. How do they take wood pellet generation into account, for example? Renewable but not carbon free.

  21. Nick Stokes says:

    Jknapp says: June 17, 2014 at 5:05 am
    “Doubling renewable electricity generation from 2.7 to 5.3% will not make a noticeable blip in global energy consumption.”

    Well, it does. They say:
    “Renewables contributed 34.6% of the growth in global power generation in 2013, representing 15.7% of world energy growth.”

  22. Nigel Harris says:

    If you look at the details you’ll see that since about 2002 there has been a very substantial decline in nuclear’s share of global energy consumption. Nuclear power production/consumption FELL by 7.7% from 2002 to 2013, while global primary energy consumption rose by an astonishing 32.5% over the same period. As a result, nuclear’s share fell from 6.38% in 2002 to 4.42% in 2013.

    At the same time, the production of electricity from other carbon-free energy forms rose by 72%, growing faster than global consumption (over half the additional capacity coming from hydro and most of the rest from wind) and their combined share of global consumption rose from 6.68% to 8.92%.

    The two changes (nuclear down, renewables up) almost exactly balance each other out.

  23. Nigel Harris says:

    Ric Werme says:
    June 17, 2014 at 5:03 am
    I wonder if “carbon-free” includes nuclear.

    Indeed the figures shown on the chart are for nuclear, hydro and “other renewables”, the latter including wind, geothermal, solar, biomass and waste.

  24. charles nelson says:

    Nick Stokes. Comprehension fail.

  25. Leo Smith says:

    Th e discrepancy between the ‘rise in renewables’ and the ‘pause in carbon neutral generating fractions’ is easily explained.

    The windmills and solar panels take a lot of coal produced electricity to make.
    Once deployed, they do not result in any overall reduction of fossil fuel usage either. Since it is burnt more inefficiently to balance them.

  26. jknapp says:

    Nick Stokes,
    Energy consumption is about 580 quadrillion BTU’s. It grows about 4% per year. (Let’s let carbon free and renewables be synonyms for these purposes) If carbon free is currently 13% (from chart above) and renewables make up 15.7% of the 4% growth then renewables grow from 75.4 Quad BTU to 79 Quad BTU. While non-renewables grow from 504.6 to 524 quad BTU. That is then 13.1% for carbon free. Again, your facts are still consistent with no noticeable change in the graph above.

  27. Nigel Harris says:

    David says:
    June 17, 2014 at 5:04 am
    Carbon-free might be stable, but carbon content is going down with the increased use of natural gas, which has lower carbon content.

    Sadly, increased natural gas consumption is mainly in the USA. Over the last 10 years, global gas consumption is up by 29% but coal is up by 47%.

    The carbon intensity of global primary energy production has been pretty flat for the last decade or so at around 23 tonnes CO2 emitted per MWh of energy consumed. Again, this is a combination of two factors: a huge growth in coal consumption, increasing carbon emissions, almost exactly offset by the growth in renewable energy.

  28. David Smith says:

    Does this include hydro?
    Of it does and you take it out of the equation the graph may look extremely different.

    (The extreme enviro-nazis hate hydro because it actually works – they don’t want us to have easy access to energy sources as they want us all living in caves)

  29. Edgar says:

    Given China’s success in bringing coal plants on line, “treading water” is not too shabby for the “carbon-free” industry. Given the enormous unmet energy needs of the world and the resulting human misery, I suppose we should celebrate the global “all of the above” approach’s energy supply growth especially given sensible reductions in non-carbon subsidies.

  30. David Smith says:

    Doh! After I typed my comment asking if hydro was included, I then saw Nigel Harris @5.28 already answering my question.

    (My opinions regarding the enviro-nazis still stand)

  31. Nigel Harris says:

    Nigel Harris says:
    June 17, 2014 at 5:39 am
    … 23 tonnes CO2 emitted per MWh of energy consumed …

    Sorry, that should be 0.23 tonnes of course!

  32. Roger Sowell says:

    Nigel Harris has the better grasp on this one. Kudos.

  33. Dire Wolf says:

    @Walker808

    When the cost of carbon-based fuels equals the cost of solar/wind then their proportion will increase. Long before that nuclear and hydro-electric will increase.

    Also, why is it people still insists that methane (natural gas) will run out when it is present on planets where there likely has never been life in any great quantity if any at all (like some moons of Saturn). Methane may be a by-product of the nuclear fission/chemical heat reactions in the core and mantle of our planet. Its production may be slower than we might wish as economies grow. At the same time it may not be a “fossil fuel”.

  34. Roger Sowell says:

    Coal-based energy is increasing, nuclear-based energy stagnated after Three Mile Island meltdown – plants under construction were finished, but very few more were started.

    Meanwhile renewables are growing very quickly – but they started from an almost zero point. Their impact will be seen much more in the coming years.

    With coal reserves limited and due for exhaustion within 50 to 60 years, the world had better start building the wind turbines.

    We are going to need them.

  35. ferdberple says:

    sooner or later all the oil, coal and gas will be used up
    =========
    cheap oil, coal and gas has been used up. however there doesn’t appear to be any shortage of the expensive variety. they keep finding more and more of that.

  36. Crispin in Waterloo but really in Ulaanbaatar says:

    @Nick

    “Renewables contributed 34.6% of the growth in global power generation in 2013, representing 15.7% of world energy growth.””

    I would like to know if the generation of electricity using water power is counted in this ‘renewables’ or not. I understand that there are extremist elements in the green movement who refuse to count water power as ‘renewable’.

    Hydro power in Africa could easily increase by 10-fold the current continental output. If it is included, so what? It was going to happen anyway. If not, the ‘carbon content’ of the ‘solutions’ is really high.

    When flying from Beijing to Mongolia yesterday I saw from the air the infrastructure China is building in order to erect giant windmills that look large even from an aeroplane. There is a road of perhaps 0.5-1.0 km long per windmill to reach them. Not to mention the wires strung across the land. They have to be made and maintained. I can’t see that a massive metal, plastic and epoxy construction gets to be counted as ‘zero emissions’.

  37. Latitude says:

    India and China are throwing off the bell curve………

  38. ferdberple says:

    coal reserves limited and due for exhaustion within 50 to 60 years
    =============
    if that was true there would be no worries about CO2. It would be self limiting. The big worry is that the third world will try and use coal to industrialize, the same way that the west did and that india and china are doing, because it is the only path that has been shown to work. the problem isn’t that we will run out of coal. rather the opposite, that we will not.

  39. Rob says:

    You can make any shape of graph you like by (re)defining what your parameters are. This graph of “non-CO2″ energy consumption includes nuclear and hydro as well as renewables (solar and wind) so the levelling off is as much to do with slowing down nuclear and hydro as anything else. I wonder where biofuels are included in this?

    Dr Pielke’s point is that there is no evidence of any major shift to reducing CO2 emissions in energy consumption and – as he is accepting of the link between CO2 and temperature – is pointing out the failure of mitigation policies to actually do anything.

  40. Resourceguy says:

    The tax credits were not an inexhaustible resource after all. Besides, they started to crowd out the other vote-buying-operations-with-borrowed-money schemes.

  41. Pamela Gray says:

    One btu of growth in solar or wind is not the same as one btu of growth in fossil fuels. 1 BTU/hr = 0.29307107 W. Different substances have different btu’s per unit of that substance (even different wood species have quite different btu’s per cord). The cost of bringing that one unit online would then also be different. How would you calculate the cost of bringing one btu of fossil fuel online versus bringing one btu of solar or wind online?

  42. Robert W Turner says:

    Hydroelectric is obviously carrying the carbon free energy market but that source is reaching full capacity. Unfortunately the graph of capital expenditure on carbon-free energy does not have the same shape.

  43. SAMURAI says:

    The Thoruim Age officially starts next year when China’s first Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor goes online.

    There is no need for governments to waste taxpayer money on LFTR development, all that is required (unfortunately) are government rules/regs/standards to be established and to let the free market determine the pace at which this new technology is adopted over conventional/non subsidized energy sources.

    Governments do an absolutely awful job at picking winners and losers and any government involvement in LFTRs will merely delay, rather than accelerate LFTR adoption.

  44. Travis Casey says:

    It would appear that 1990’s were the highest percentage in recorded history!

  45. tabnumlock says:

    Nearly all hydro and nuclear, no doubt. But why would we want to limit CO2? The earth is still in a CO2 famine. 400ppm is still too low. 1,000 would seem to be the minimum healthy level. An no, the earth will never run out of fossil fuels. They’ll just get more expensive than nuclear. Hopefully, the CO2 enrichment will stay around for a few centuries.

  46. MattS says:

    Does Dr. Roger Pielke Jr’s graph include nuclear power? If so, what would it look like if you excluded nuclear?

  47. Pamela Gray says:

    Hell folks!!! We have discovered a perfect match for the warming AND the pause!!! The cause? The growth and stalling out of renewables!! I can be all sciency about correlation being causation too. And in this case the correlation is far superior to CO2. So it must be it. Yeppers!

  48. dccowboy says:

    Wonder what contortions the AGW proponents will go through to deny this ‘pause’? ;)

  49. pyeatte says:

    Coal, oil and gas are also renewable. The same processes that produced these sources in the first place, are still at work producing more.

  50. tadchem says:

    I recognize the logistics function here. The previous paradigm prevailed until the 1960’s. Then a new factor entered and grew, with the system eventually re-equilibrating about 1995. This very closely tracks the historical data for the on-line capacity of nuclear reactors: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Nuclear_Power_History.png

  51. dccowboy says:

    I’m a little confused. The graph speaks of ‘carbon free’ energy sources, yet the ‘Statistical Review’ does not provide a definition nor does it provide a list of ‘carbon free’ energy sources.

    Without that we can’t have an intelligent discussion about what it means. Is geothermal included? It isn’t classed as a ‘renewable’.

    Given that solar & wind generation must be backed up by a ‘standby’ generator running continuously, how can they be considered to be ‘carbon free’?

  52. tommoriarty says:

    “Those who claim that the world has turned a corner, soon will, or that they know what steps will get us around that corner are dreamers or fools. … The sooner we accept that, the sooner we can design policies more compatible with policy learning and muddling through.”

    Two words: “nuclear energy.”

  53. Barry Woods says:

    How much of that is hydro?

  54. Gamecock says:

    “The sooner we accept that, the sooner we can design policies more compatible with policy learning and muddling through.”

    “We can design policies” should scare everyone. Indeed, our energy troubles all come from the existing policies. The central planners are standing by to fix it all. Again.

  55. Pamela Gray says:

    Please excuse my temporary absence. Have to make a carbon based btu. Actually several btu’s. It is damned cold in NE Oregon! Predicting snow over the Tollgate pass tonight and into Wednesday. I live right at the bottom of those mountains after you drive up the slope to their base. BRRRRRR!!!!

  56. John F. Hultquist says:

    ralphcramdo says:
    June 17, 2014 at 4:07 am
    There should be a chart of the number of permanent jobs carbon-free energy has created …

    If you find such a report, read the fine print. The concept of a “green-job” was politicized years ago. For example, say you take a city bus and convert it from diesel fuel to corn fuel or maybe electric. This, then, allows you to classify the bus driver as a newly created green job.

  57. goldminor says:

    Pamela Gray says:
    June 17, 2014 at 8:39 am
    ——————————————
    I live in Trinity Co, California. I was up at 5:00 am and checked the outside temp. My ‘old’ thermometer read 30 F, and at 6:30 am read 34 F. I put the thermometer in the fridge to double check the read. My fridge was at 37F, so it was colder outside. It is now a pleasantly cool 54 F inside my unit.

  58. Gamecock says:

    Roger Sowell says:
    June 17, 2014 at 6:05 am

    With coal reserves limited and due for exhaustion within 50 to 60 years, the world had better start building the wind turbines.

    ===================

    “At current consumption rates, the U.S. has more than 230 years of remaining coal reserves.”

    http://www.nma.org/pdf/fact_sheets/cap.pdf

    We are not running out of coal.

    Wind turbines are not a practical energy source. Still, how would building a turbine today help in 50 years? What is the urgency?

    If “we” were to be running out of coal in 50 years, the time for action is 40 years from now. We in quotes because I expect to be fully dead in 50 years. Fretting over the distant future is silly. Let the future deal with the future.

  59. DD More says:

    From the BP report – with a little calculation
    Nuc – 4.4% total Hydro 6.7% total Other Renew – 2.2%

    walker808 says: June 17, 2014 at 4:07 am
    Fossil fuels are a finite resource, sooner or later all the oil, coal and gas will be used up, renewable energy is the only hope for our long term energy needs. This report is in no way “good news”.

    DD says – Need some reading comprehension – this is carbon free not renewable. Nuclear was up from last year as China starts putting their new units on-line.

    Nick Stokes says: June 17, 2014 at 4:39 am

    “The rapid growth of renewable power generation continued in 2013. Global growth was 16.3%, slower than in 2012 but above the ten year trend rate of growth, and the tenth successive year of double-digit growth. Renewables contributed 34.6% of the growth in global power generation in 2013, representing 15.7% of world energy growth.”

    DD says – So the growth of renewables is 15.7% of total growth => non-renewable growth is then 84.3%. So the bigger number is growing more.

    Roger Sowell says: June 17, 2014 at 6:05 am
    With coal reserves limited and due for exhaustion within 50 to 60 years, the world had better start building the wind turbines.

    DD says – Best not highlight your numbers with this report since page 43 says world Fossil fuel reserves-to-production (R/P) ratios at end 2013 has coal at over 100 years.

  60. John F. Hultquist says:

    Roger Sowell – “better start building the wind turbines”

    Roger,
    Start with your belief that coal will be a thing of the past in 50 years. Make a few additional assumptions about the realizable power from wind and the number of towers that can be placed on a plot of ground. Having done that, calculate how many towers need to be built each year and how much land that will require as wind replaces coal by 2064.

    You need to do this yourself because you will not believe anyone else. So run those numbers and report back. Thanks.

  61. Pamela Gray says:

    It was 48 F at 8:00 this morning. Up on top of the mountain it is freezing. Winter wheat fields and alfalfa in Joseph, Oregon got several night time blasts of temps below 30. I note that North central California is under another freeze watch for tonight. South central Oregon has been taking frozen popsicles up the arse for several days now!

    The camera and weather gauge appears to be broken (again) at Tollgate. One pass over (South of where I live) and 1000 ft lower it shows 39 F. So I am guessing Tollgate is getting snow right now. The forecast over the Blues, which include the hiker-popular Wallowa Mountains, is for heavy snow. Right now there are probably 100 people or more up on those trails. And likely not equipped for heavy wet snow and below freezing temps. With no cell service or Forest Rangers to go get them either.

  62. John says:

    Carbon-free = can’t get the job done.

  63. Pamela Gray says:

    Ahhhh! Nothing like some carbon units warming my chilled bones in mid-June on the edge of Oregon’s dry high-desert region. Just doing my part to bring a little CO2 catastrophic warmth to the area.

  64. PMHinSC says:

    walker808 says: June 17, 2014 at 4:07 am
    Fossil fuels are a finite resource, sooner or later all the oil, coal and gas will be used up, renewable energy is the only hope for our long term energy needs. This report is in no way “good news”.

    In the 1960’s we were told that fossil fuels would be exhausted in 50-60 years and by 2000 we would have nuclear energy produced by fusion. Depending on which comment you want to believe we have 50-230 years of fossil fuels and unlimited nuclear produced by fission is available today. So much for “renewable energy is the only hope….” If this report is a crutch that helps green energy apostles become more reality based than it is indeed good news.

  65. Just an engineer says:

    Roger Sowell says:

    June 17, 2014 at 6:05 am
    Meanwhile renewables are growing very quickly – but they started from an almost zero point. Their impact will be seen much more in the coming years.

    With coal reserves limited and due for exhaustion within 50 to 60 years, the world had better start building the wind turbines.

    We are going to need them.
    ——————————————————————————————————————

    Government support remains the single most important factor behind the fast growth of wind generation. Future growth is also dependent on further technological advances in offshore wind. This segment of the wind market is led by the UK, where offshore wind capacity reached 3.7 GW by the end of 2013.

    The growing share of wind power in the electricity mix also presents unique operational challenges to grid operators. Because of the unreliability of wind power (reflected in a low, ~25% utilisation factor), adding more wind generation capacity to the grid increases the need to boost the percentage of overall plant capacity set aside to provide ancillary services.

  66. Matthew R Marler says:

    Carbon-free and carbon-based energy generation are growing together. Much of that carbon-free is nuclear, right? I downloaded the report, but have not made time to read it yet.

    On a related note, the California Independent Systems Operator yesterday received more than 20% of its total supply of electricity from renewables: http://content.caiso.com/green/renewrpt/DailyRenewablesWatch.pdf. Sometimes recently the renewables have contributed to meeting 25% of peak demand. It’s very expensive energy; I voted in the minority to repeal the law requiring that 33% of electricity be generated “renewably”, and I think it harms California’s businesses and “unrich”; but the “progress” to date has an interest of its own.

  67. Doug Proctor says:

    Thr step change at 2003 looks like an artifact of redefinition or correction.

  68. Matthew R Marler says:

    Roger Sowell: Coal-based energy is increasing, nuclear-based energy stagnated after Three Mile Island meltdown – plants under construction were finished, but very few more were started.

    Meanwhile renewables are growing very quickly – but they started from an almost zero point. Their impact will be seen much more in the coming years.

    With coal reserves limited and due for exhaustion within 50 to 60 years, the world had better start building the wind turbines.

    Aside from TMI, do you have a case against nuclear power? Japan has restarted its nuclear power plants; Germany is inadvertently showing how important theirs are; China and India are building new ones, as are other countries. Despite TMI, the US gets substantial power from nuclear.

    Ironically, the San Onofre nuclear power stations N. of San Diego are shut down due to manufacturing defects in replacement pipes.

  69. Matt Bergin says:

    I just calculated that it would take 160,000 1.5 MW wind turbines to supply Ontario, Canada’s electric needs at peak demand using 12.5 % of name plate output. To have that many turbines there would be one turbine every 2.2 square miles in a province that is three times the size of Texas with a total population of only 12.8 million.

  70. RandyM says:

    Nick Stokes says:
    June 17, 2014 at 4:39 am

    “It shows the proportion of global energy consumption that comes from carbon-free sources. Guess what? It isn’t growing.”

    This doesn’t seem consistent with what the report actually says under “Renewable Power” (electricity):

    “The share of renewable power in global power generation reached 5.3% in 2013, almost doubling in five years from 2.7% in 2008. Renewables accounted for 8% of OECD power generation in 2013, compared to 3% in the non-OECD. While the aggregate shares remain low, for some individual countries renewables now contribute a significant share of power. Eighteen countries now have a renewables share of more than 10%, up from just eight countries in 2010.”

    and
    “The rapid growth of renewable power generation continued in 2013. Global growth was 16.3%, slower than in 2012 but above the ten year trend rate of growth, and the tenth successive year of double-digit growth. Renewables contributed 34.6% of the growth in global power generation in 2013, representing 15.7% of world energy growth.”

    ======================

    It seems like you might be comparing apples to oranges with this. The initial statement is referring to power consumed while the following paragraphs were referring to power generated. While I understand most power generated will be consumed, not all of it will, and I imagine that becomes more of an issue (power generated vs percent of that consumed) with solar and wind while we still lack the ability to reliably store it in appreciable quantities.

    It’s also worth pointing out that it’s possible to have an increase in the rate of growth without having an appreciable increase in total consumption if the other sources have continued to increase their rate of growth at a higher rate.

    I could be misunderstanding you or overlooking something but just a couple things to consider.

  71. ristoi says:

    In my new blog there is different graphs from same data. Still fossils rule.

  72. Sun Spot says:

    Torture the data more vigorously and adjust the past, you will then see a significant increase in green energy world wide.

    p.s. just publish the graph keep the data secret

  73. Matthew R Marler says:

    Nigel Harris: The two changes (nuclear down, renewables up) almost exactly balance each other out.

    Thank you for several good comments.

    California is similar to that,without the “exactly” balance: renewables up, nuclear down, gas-powered electricity generation also up.

  74. Gamecock says:

    Matthew R Marler says:
    June 17, 2014 at 11:41 am

    California is similar to that,without the “exactly” balance: renewables up, nuclear down, gas-powered electricity generation also up.

    ==========

    I thought California was going with the “let power generation happen in other states; we’ll buy from them” plan. That should help them reach their emissions goals.

  75. Willis Eschenbach says:

    Nick Stokes says (emphasis mine):
    June 17, 2014 at 4:39 am

    “It shows the proportion of global energy consumption that comes from carbon-free sources. Guess what? It isn’t growing.”

    This doesn’t seem consistent with what the report actually says under “Renewable Power” (electricity):

    “The share of renewable power in global power generation reached …

    Nick, please tell me that this was a senior moment, and that in fact you actually do know that there is a difference between “global power generation”, which refers to electricity alone, and “global energy consumption” … because if you don’t know that, my friend, you are in deep waters with no life preserver.

    w.

  76. Willis Eschenbach says:

    My thanks to Roger Pielke and Anthony for highlighting this issue. Yes, as several folks said, there has been a fairly large percentage growth in solar, wind, and the like. But most of Roger’s graph is from two non-intermittent sources, hydropower and nuclear.

    For those interested in the large percentage growth in solar, wind, biofuel, and the other intermittent energy sources, here you go …

    You can see why a percentage growth rate doesn’t mean diddly squat when you start with half a percent … yes, getting to 1% is a 100% increase, but so what?

    And of course, almost every bit of this increase was subsidy-driven or requirements-driven. Why? BECAUSE WIND AND SOLAR WON’T WORK WITHOUT DIPPING INTO MY POCKETS TO PAY FOR IT!

    Forgive the shouting, but this kind of highway robbery deserves some shouting. We started subsidizing wind and solar under Jimmy Carter in the 1970s, with the promise that it was temporary and they would soon be market-ready.

    We are now half a century into this madness, and people today, this very day, are making the same bogus claim—it’s just a temporary subsidy, they’ll be market-ready any day now.

    Meanwhile, electricity costs are skyrocketing, just as Obama hoped for …

    w.

  77. Nick Stokes says:

    Willis Eschenbach says: June 17, 2014 at 12:45 pm
    ‘Nick, please tell me that this was a senior moment, and that in fact you actually do know that there is a difference between “global power generation”, which refers to electricity alone, and “global energy consumption”’

    I explicitly spelled out that it was electricity. You quote me doing so. But you can’t have renewables doubling their share of power generation without it contributing to global energy consumption. And my quote set out that arithmetic:
    “Renewables contributed 34.6% of the growth in global power generation in 2013, representing 15.7% of world energy growth.”

  78. GeorgeGR says:

    Nick Stokes, “Renewables contributed 34.6% of the growth in global power generation in 2013, representing 15.7% of world energy growth.”
    We are talking percentages. The above statement means that although renewables were growing in 2013, non renewables grew faster. Of all the growth (100%), renewables only accounted for 34,6 %, a little over one third. Renewables are losing out to non renewables which added twice as much during 2013.

  79. RACookPE1978 says:

    Nick Stokes says:
    June 17, 2014 at 1:52 pm (disagreeing with)

    Willis Eschenbach says: June 17, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    “Renewables contributed 34.6% of the growth in global power generation in 2013, representing 15.7% of world energy growth.”

    Ah, but “renewables” are always quoted and praised based on their nameplate (theoretical, right-out-of-the-package, fresh-on-the-pole, right-at-beginning-of-lifetime) 100% rating… Not at their actual production ability: Which, as others have written about is around 8-12% for solar, and about 18% for wind. Thus, if the US retires 15,000 GWatt of useful production by forcing the retirement of coal plants, it needs 6 x 15,000 GWatt to replace the production, and 10 x nationally to replace local outages. And that ignores regional long periods of low winds (the east coast Bermuda high for example) plus the nightly 18 hours of darkness and dusk when solar is useless.

    Regardless, if worldwide renewable nameplate energy growth were 15.7% (1/6) of total energy GROWTH, but 34.6% of power production GROWTH (and what renewables are “pure heat” such as concrete production, steel smelting and refining, chemical production, etc?) , then actual renewable “ability to generate energy” is only 1/6 of of 1/6 of the GROWTH in energy production! Further, we have seen in the US a “flat” electrical energy production since 2007: With today’s power production slightly lower than what could have been generated prior to Obama’s disastrous policies.

    Brazil, South Africa, China, and India are NOT growing due to their renewables” portfolio, but in spite of their renewables.

    Since that flat-line total in the face of increasing demand includes these absurd unrealistic nameplate renewables increase, it means we are even closer to failure of the national grid due to instabilities in produciton.

  80. Nick Stokes says:

    Nick Stokes says: June 17, 2014 at 1:52 pm (disagreeing with)
    “Regardless, if worldwide renewable nameplate energy growth were 15.7% (1/6) of total energy GROWTH, but 34.6% of power production GROWTH (and what renewables are “pure heat” such as concrete production, steel smelting and refining, chemical production, etc?) , then actual renewable “ability to generate energy” is only 1/6 of of 1/6 of the GROWTH in energy production!”

    No, they distinguish between installed capacity (in GW) and production, and the figures are for energy produced. For wind, they say:
    “Wind power now generates 628 TWh of electricity, 2.7% of total world electricity generation. That is almost equivalent to the total power generation of Germany.”
    That’s 628 TWh actually generated in 2013.

  81. Matthew R Marler says:

    gamecock: I thought California was going with the “let power generation happen in other states; we’ll buy from them” plan. That should help them reach their emissions goals.

    On the CAISO web page I linked to, that is in the “imported” electricity category.

  82. Matthew R Marler says:

    Willis Eschenbach: Forgive the shouting, but this kind of highway robbery deserves some shouting.

    Speaking of highways, they are subsidized also. As are airports, libraries, and public parks. It’s hard to do anything without experiencing tax angst.

    Granted, one subsidy does not justify another, but when the electrical workers are out repairing the lines, it’s comforting to know that they are protected by subsidized police; and that the subsidized firemen help with the electrical fires.

  83. george e. smith says:

    “””””…..walker808 says:

    June 17, 2014 at 4:07 am

    Fossil fuels are a finite resource, sooner or later all the oil, coal and gas will be used up, renewable energy is the only hope for our long term energy needs. This report is in no way “good news”……”””””

    “””…FOSSIL…””” fuels ARE renewables; by definition.

    Get it; they are STORED chemical energy derived from SOLAR ENERGY, and biological processes.

    Ethanol corn, IS fossil fuel, that has simply not yet reached the fossil stage.

    It is the SUN that is the FINITE source of energy; about 1,000 W/m^2 maximum available terrestrial rate of available energy renewal.

  84. Brant Ra says:

    And then of course there is Lattice Assisted Nuclear Reactions….
    http://coldfusionnow.org/interviews/2014-cflanr-colloquium-at-mit-full-coverage/

  85. ATheoK says:

    Once ‘renewables’ hit their life cycle end, they need replacement. Looks like that chart above is illustrating that renewables have hit a plateau where new construction roughly equals equipment going off-line.

  86. Willis Eschenbach says:

    Matthew R Marler says:
    June 17, 2014 at 7:04 pm

    Willis Eschenbach: Forgive the shouting, but this kind of highway robbery deserves some shouting.

    Speaking of highways, they are subsidized also. As are airports, libraries, and public parks. It’s hard to do anything without experiencing tax angst.

    Sorry for the lack of clarity. I don’t mind taxes. I do mind my taxes being poured down the same “renewable energy” rathole for the last 50 years. And particularly I hate “renewable mandates”. These mandates are both pouring my taxes down a rathole while simultaneously raising my electricity rates.

    w.

  87. Willis Eschenbach says:

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    June 17, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    Matthew R Marler says:
    June 17, 2014 at 7:04 pm

    Willis Eschenbach:

    Forgive the shouting, but this kind of highway robbery deserves some shouting.

    Speaking of highways, they are subsidized also. As are airports, libraries, and public parks. It’s hard to do anything without experiencing tax angst.

    Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention. You mentioned “subsidized policemen”. Policemen are not subsidized. They are government employees, as are firemen and librarians.

    A “subsidy” is a partial payment of something sold in the marketplace, which is often designed to assist one of Obama’s wealthy friends make even more money passing off some crappy technology as being almost ready for the krool, krool market … and if you’ll just give him a half-billion dollars, it will be right there.

    As such, it has nothing to do with libraries, firemen, or any of the normal government functions. Governments can run quite happily and do all of the normal government functions without subsidizing anything.

    Note that I’m not saying that they are all bad. We got railroads across across the US by the judicious use of subsidies, for example.

    I just object to subsidizing some brain-dead green money pit for which we get nothing in return. We got the railroads, and they worked well. We didn’t get the energy, and ethanol doesn’t work for beans.

    w.

  88. philjourdan says:

    @Willis – makes a big difference when Hydro is eliminated. As well it should be. Just about every river than can be dammed has been. And Hydro is the oldest energy source in the world still in use.

  89. Canman says:

    Solar and wind are subject to the “Duck Curve”. What do their proponents do when presented with this. They duck!

  90. policycritic says:

    walker808 says:
    June 17, 2014 at 4:07 am
    Fossil fuels are a finite resource, sooner or later all the oil, coal and gas will be used up, renewable energy is the only hope for our long term energy needs.

    Then why have global oil resources increased since 1980?

    Besides, 4,000 papers in Russian and untranslated say oil can be produced in a lab. Which they have done. Laboratory-pure solid marble (CaCO3), iron oxide (FeO), wet with triple-distilled water, and subjected to pressures up to 50 kbar–the earth’s mantle is 30 kbar–and temperatures to 2000 C. They got oil. Stuff they could put in their gas tanks. They used this discovery to produce the huge Dneiper-Dunetz field in the Ukraine, producing more oil than the entire Alaskan reserves. And it’s why they are the number one producer of oil globally today, or were the last time I checked. They bring in oil in every field they drill, whereas American and British oil producers only hit one field for every 28 they drill (ref: USGS) whose discovery doesn’t rely on seismic readings.

  91. tabnumlock says:

    100 million years of stored, concentrated sunlight vs one day’s worth of intermittent sunlight. HMMM.

  92. more soylent green! says:

    walker808 says:
    June 17, 2014 at 4:07 am
    Fossil fuels are a finite resource, sooner or later all the oil, coal and gas will be used up, renewable energy is the only hope for our long term energy needs. This report is in no way “good news”.

    Sooner or later? Or three to five centuries? It depends upon your reference frame.

    Is there any reason to doubt technology won’t advance during that time? Any reason newer, better, cheaper and cleaner energy sources won’t be discovered? Technology advances, but you can’t force it and you can’t legislate or regulate it into existence.

  93. Willis Eschenbach says:

    philjourdan says:
    June 18, 2014 at 4:55 am

    @Willis – makes a big difference when Hydro is eliminated. As well it should be. Just about every river than can be dammed has been. And Hydro is the oldest energy source in the world still in use.

    Phil, truly, you should do some research first before committing your misconceptions to the electronic winds. Many, many countries have rivers that could provide power.

    Not only that, but in a monumental joke, big stacks of the “Clean Development Fund”climate change money from the Eurofools was sent to China, and guess what they did with it?

    Yep. Built dams. Apparently they didn’t get your memo that there are no more rivers to dam …

    w.

  94. philjourdan says:

    @Willis – what part of “just about” means “every last one” to you?

    You are arguing the wrong issue.

  95. Matthew R Marler says:

    Willis Eschenbach: A “subsidy” is a partial payment of something sold in the marketplace,

    OK. Your objection was that the money was coming from you. That objection covers everything that takes money from your pocket.

    which is often designed to assist one of Obama’s wealthy friends make even more money passing off some crappy technology as being almost ready for the krool, krool market … and if you’ll just give him a half-billion dollars, it will be right there.

    You are shifting your ground again, now objecting to cronyism.

    One of the things you don’t like (me neither) is the renewable fuel standard for generating electricity in CA. That also is not a “subsidy” by your definition.

    Face it: you wrote an unworkably broad objection, which now you are refining.

  96. Matthew R Marler says:

    Willis Eschenbach: These mandates are both pouring my taxes down a rathole while simultaneously raising my electricity rates.

    I apologize. I am reading in reverse order and didn’t notice that you had posted twice.

  97. Willis Eschenbach says:

    Matthew R Marler says:
    June 18, 2014 at 1:44 pm (Edit)

    Willis Eschenbach:

    A “subsidy” is a partial payment of something sold in the marketplace,

    OK. Your objection was that the money was coming from you. That objection covers everything that takes money from your pocket.

    Matthew, I’m sick of charming folks like not quoting me. Here is exactly what I said:

    And of course, almost every bit of this increase was subsidy-driven or requirements-driven. Why? BECAUSE WIND AND SOLAR WON’T WORK WITHOUT DIPPING INTO MY POCKETS TO PAY FOR IT!

    My objection is clearly that they WON’T WORK.

    .. which is often designed to assist one of Obama’s wealthy friends make even more money passing off some crappy technology as being almost ready for the krool, krool market … and if you’ll just give him a half-billion dollars, it will be right there.

    You are shifting your ground again, now objecting to cronyism.

    Nope. I’m objecting to subsidies, which are often given to cronies.

    One of the things you don’t like (me neither) is the renewable fuel standard for generating electricity in CA. That also is not a “subsidy” by your definition.

    Face it: you wrote an unworkably broad objection, which now you are refining.

    Gosh. You mean that I didn’t put every single sub-section of my objection into a 12-sentence post? And that I immediately followed it by another post further refining my position? And that when you asked about it, I further explained my objection, viz:

    Sorry for the lack of clarity. I don’t mind taxes. I do mind my taxes being poured down the same “renewable energy” rathole for the last 50 years. And particularly I hate “renewable mandates”. These mandates are both pouring my taxes down a rathole while simultaneously raising my electricity rates.

    It’s called a DISCUSSION, Matthew, and generally you don’t put every objection into every line of the interchange. This is totally unworthy of you.

    w.

  98. Willis Eschenbach says:

    Matthew R Marler says:
    June 18, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    Willis Eschenbach: These mandates are both pouring my taxes down a rathole while simultaneously raising my electricity rates.

    I apologize. I am reading in reverse order and didn’t notice that you had posted twice.

    You jumped up ready to accuse me without quoting what I said on the subject and without doing your homework. You made totally false claims, and you were unpleasant in the process.

    You want the unvarnished truth, Matthew?

    I [reject firmly] your pathetic apology.

    Seriously. I’m sick of people flying off the handle to attack me for things I never said, getting all nasty about things I already explained, busting me for claims I’ve never supported, all in an unpleasant fashion … and then thinking that saying “I apologize” somehow excuses the personal nature of the attack.

    An “I apologize” is quite sufficient for a simple error.

    It is entirely inadequate for your most unpleasant and totally unwarranted personal attack. Do you talk like that to your co-workers? What have I done to deserve your mudslinging?

    w.

    PS—Yes, I am encouraged that you actually apologized, that’s a good thing. And yes, you are forgiven for your sins of commission and sins of omission. I’m not a man to hold grudges.

    But in future, if you think I’ve done something wrong, ask for clarification, and lay off the attacks. I used to think you were one of the good guys. Now, I’m starting to wonder.

  99. Raving says:

    Renewable wind power with a 10-20 year lifespan? Going to be interesting to watch renewing the renewables

  100. Matthew R Marler says:

    Willis Eschenbach: Quooting me: OK. Your objection was that the money was coming from you. That objection covers everything that takes money from your pocket.

    Matthew, I’m sick of charming folks like not quoting me. Here is exactly what I said:

    And of course, almost every bit of this increase was subsidy-driven or requirements-driven. Why? BECAUSE WIND AND SOLAR WON’T WORK WITHOUT DIPPING INTO MY POCKETS TO PAY FOR IT!

    My objection is clearly that they WON’T WORK.

    Your objection was clearly about the money coming from your pockets. With money from your pockets, they do work.

  101. Matthew R Marler says:

    Willis Eschenbach: It’s called a DISCUSSION, Matthew, and generally you don’t put every objection into every line of the interchange. This is totally unworthy of you.

    You wrote an overly broad objection, which you subsequently refined after DISCUSSION from me. Everyone is sloppy sometimes, and this time it was you.

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