IEA Forecast: Solar to surge past coal & natural gas by 2040.

Guest “so what?” by David Middleton

IEA World Energy Outlook: Solar Capacity Surges Past Coal and Gas by 2040

11/14/2019 | Sonal Patel

Solar photovoltaic (PV) could surge ahead of coal and gas and become the largest source of installed power capacity in the world by 2035 if countries pursue stated policies and targets, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in its newly released World Energy Outlook 2019 (WEO2019). 

The agency’s annual publication, which it issued Nov. 13, suggests a major shift toward low-carbon sources is inevitable. If countries pursue existing and already announced policies (a WEO2019 scenario that was formerly known as the “New Policies Scenario,” and which the IEA renamed the “Stated Policies Scenario” in the new report), the share of renewable generation—not capacity—could nearly double, from 26% today to 44% to 2040, and it will surpass coal as early as 2026. Combined, solar PV and wind generation’s share could surge from 7% to 24%. 

Solar’s explosive growth is a key change from the IEA’s report from last year (WEO2018), and the agency attributes its optimistic projections to policy changes around the world. 


Fossil-fired generation could fare much worse in the Stated Policies scenario, falling below 50% of total generation in 2040—down from two-thirds, where it has hovered for decades. Coal’s generation share, which grew fivefold between 1970 and 2013, could decline from 38% today to 25% by 2040. “In 2018, final investment decisions of new coal plants were at their lowest level in a century,” the report notes. Without additional efforts to develop carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS), “coal-fired power remains limited,” it adds.

However, natural gas-fired generation, which has tripled over the past 22 years, is set to surge nearly 50% by 2040, owing largely to the cheap shale gas supply. Yet, it will continue to hold about a fifth of the global generation portfolio by 2040, and its share could decline in Europe and Japan, the IEA suggests. Its role could also change to bolster a growing need for flexibility. 


Power Magazine

“If ifs and buts were candy and nuts…”


Figure 1. If the world commits economic suicide (Sustainable Development 2040), we can save the planet.


Figure 2. But, under the Stated Policies Scenario, we’ll be burning nearly three times as much natural gas and twice as much coal in 2040 that we were at the dawn of the 21st century… Excellent!

“If ifs and buts were candy and nuts,” we’d save the planet. Fortunately, the planet doesn’t need saving. The planet doesn’t even notice us.

WARNING: Lots of F-bombs and other clever profanities.

There is little doubt that solar PV installed capacity will continue to grow and could surpass coal and natural gas by mid-century. That said, the solar PV electricity output is unlikely to even catch coal by 2050. Coal-fired and natural gas combined cycle power plants are capable of delivering 85-90% of their name plate capacity. Solar PV generally maxes out below 30%. 2,100 GW of coal-fired power plants, operating at 50% of capacity, will deliver more electricity than 3,100 GW of solar PV, operating at 30% of capacity.

Natural gas will continue to kick @$$…

At least in these tangentially United States.

Figure 3. US electricity generation AEO2019 forecast (US EIA).

However, the vast majority of solar PV installations are for no other purpose than complying with government diktats.

In the AEO2019 Reference case, natural gas combined-cycle’s value-cost ratio is closest to 1.0 throughout the projection, indicating that its value just covers its costs. Natural gas combined-cycle units account for the largest share of new power plants (43% of the utility-scale total from 2021 through 2050). Solar PV’s value-cost ratio is slightly less than 1.0, indicating that, on average, its value does not cover its costs, but capacity is still added. In some cases, these solar PV additions may be uneconomic, but they still occur to satisfy the renewable portfolio standard (RPS) requirements in 29 states and the District of Columbia.


Solar PV value is not projected to reach parity with natural gas until the mid-2030’s.

Figure 4. Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Annual Energy Outlook 2019 and Levelized Cost and Levelized Avoided Cost of New Generation Resources in the Annual Energy Outlook 2019

This is why the vast majority of new power plant installations in the US will be natural gas-fired, through at least 2050.

Figure 5. US generating capacity additions 2018-2050 (US EIA).

Of course, energy consumption isn’t limited to electricity generation.

It will remain a fossil-fueled world

Figure 6. End-use energy consumption by sector (US EIA).

The US EIA’s International Energy Outlook 2019 actually projects renewables to become the leading primary energy source by 2050…

Figure 7. Renewables surge… But so do fossil fuels (US EIA).

However, the forecast does not indicate a planet saving energy transition. It indicates that the world will consume more of just about everything.

There has never been an energy transition, nor is one likely in the future. We burn more biomass for energy now than we did when we started burning coal.

Figure 8. There has never been an energy transition.

Renewables won’t be replacing anything. They’ll just be piled on top.

•Use of all primary energy sources grows throughout the Reference case. Although renewable energy is the world’s fastest growing form of energy, fossil fuels to continue to meet much of the world’s energy demand.

•Driven by electricity demand growth and economic and policy drivers, worldwide renewable energy consumption increases by 3% per year between 2018 and 2050. Nuclear consumption increases by 1% per year.

•As a share of primary energy consumption, petroleum and other liquids declines from 32% in 2018 to 27% in 2050. On an absolute basis, liquids consumption increases in the industrial, commercial, and transportation sectors and declines in the residential and electric power sectors.

•Natural gas is the world’s fastest growing fossil fuel, increasing by 1.1% per year, compared with liquids’ 0.6% per year growth and coal’s 0.4% per year growth.

•Coal use is projected to decline until the 2030s as regions replace coal with natural gas and renewables in electricity generation as a result of both cost and policy drivers. In the 2040s, coal use increases as a result of increased industrial usage and rising use in electric power generation in non-OECD Asia excluding China.

US Energy Information Administration

About that Paris thingy…

Figure 9. Can you say?

However, it all boils down to one simple principle:

Source: First Coast Advisers

148 thoughts on “IEA Forecast: Solar to surge past coal & natural gas by 2040.

  1. Dave

    “Figure 2. But, under the Stated Policies Scenario, we’ll be burning nearly three times as much natural gas and twice as much coal in 2040 that than we were at the dawn of the 21st century… Excellent!”

    Great post…

    • Yeah, the biosphere will love it.

      Solar photovoltaic (PV) could surge ahead of coal and gas and become the largest source of installed power capacity in the world by 2035 if countries pursue stated policies and targets

      We all know that you need 3x-4x the required power in terms of installed power capacity for solar. So even if the if and but and could be’s come true we will still be massively more reliant fossil fuels than solar.

      The constant efforts to “talk it up” in the hope that this will somehow change the maths, the economic reality or the laws of physics are painful.

      • All we have to do is to learn how to run our lights on a power capacity, not just power. That little technical problem will be solved by our gifted Professors of the History of Science at Harvard and elsewhere. Does anybody dare to doubt it?

    • Great post … EXCEPT the Yogi Berra quote is wrong.

      As a Yogi fan for almost 60 years, I have read all his books, and many about him.

      He’s my favorite “philosopher”.

      The quote you attributed to him was not an original, and it’s unlikely he ever said it.

      Yogi’s quotes can be recognized best by observing they don’t sound right at first.

      If it sounds like an educated person might have said it, it was never said by Yogi.

      You have to think about his sayings for a moment, before they make sense.

      That predictions quote is not his, and may date back to a prior century.

      Yogi often said: “I really didn’t say everything I said”.

      And that’s in the classic Yogi Berra style!

  2. Like right now, I enjoy having reliable electricity at night on a calm cold November night. How does solar do that? It can’t.

    The GreenSlime billionaires want to take my being able to afford reliable electricity at night in 10 years away from me. And they are paying for a propaganda campaign right now lthe likes of which have never been seen before.
    They need me to have a 2x- 3x electric bill, my money that goes into their bank accounts because they bought the Democrat politican supplicants today that allowed them to do it.

    Frack them. Frack them all.

      • I do have 3 portable gasoline generators, but buying the gas for them would be expensive. Going out to re-fill my Honda 5.5 kW one every 12 hours would bite.

        Green elitist billionaires and multi-millionaires pushing the climate scam don’t care. They can afford whatever it costs for them have reliable access to electricity.
        And $10/gal gas would just mean far fewer people on the roads and freeways with their Bugattis and Porsches.

        • Honda makes a home natural gas co-generation system that feeds electricity to your house and captures the engine heat for hot water.

          They’re a bit spendy, but you won’t need the gas can anymore.

    • The answer is, there may not be that many calm November nights, at least not within HVDC transmission range of your house.

      And you are really talking sundown to 11pm, not all night for peak demand… a chunk of that can bet met by pumped storage and hydro, also demand response. all those are used on winter evenings in the UK for demand as people come home.

      and indeed battery storage may provide, though likely only for domestic consumers.

      In short, it is never just wind or just solar and the response is a complex, but manageable patchwork.

      • There are limited locations on earth where pumped storage can be utilized; and where are the rivers that environmentalists will let you dam up for new hydro?

        You describe a patchwork system that is far from manageable.

      • I love how griff is so confident that the wind will always blow when needed.
        Second, heat and AC have to run all night, as does the refrigerator and water heater. It would also be quite inconvenient if the alarm clock doesn’t go off in the morning because the power didn’t stay on all night.
        Third, pumped hydro is very inefficient and there aren’t many places where it would work in the first place.
        Fourth, hydro is pretty much tapped out. Beyond that, your fellow enviro-nuts are pushing to have existing dams torn down, and you believe they would be willing to allow new ones to be built?
        Fifth, overnight is when you are supposed to be recharging your electric vehicles. This would make the overnight hours draw more power than the daylight hours.
        Sixth, when are these magical batteries supposed to appear? And lets not forget the trillions in cost just to provide back up for a single small country.
        Seventh, I just love how griffie has faith that somehow, if we all wish hard enough, it will all work out.

      • Halifax, NS is 300 km closer to London, England by air than to Calgary, AB by land.

        The energy it would take to build a 5,000 km transmission line may be greater than the amount of energy it would ever transmit. It’s an energy return on energy invested problem.

        There are transmission lines from Alberta over the mountains to BC, and it appears that on windy days power is shipped east to west over the mountains, vs on non windy days in spring when hydro reservoirs are full and the water can be sent downstream as per international treaty and the price is better than the natural gas combined cycle turbine bid, hydro power is shipped back west to east.

        In short, somebody thought of all that decades ago and it did help with intermittency, but it isn’t near enough to get to a high percentage of renewables.

      • You really don’t understand solar at all do you Griff! Here in Colorado at 6500′ and 300 sunny days a year, we can expect 4.2KwHrs of output per 1Kw panel per day. It stops long before sunset.

      • Griff, I also live in the UK.
        How much electricity per day has our 13GW of Solar Power supplied this whole week?
        It hasn’t got above 2GW for 6 days and the 1 other day just made 4GW and thay were peaks for the day for about 30 minutes.
        You sir are living in an alternate universe to reality and are all over UK online newspapers spreading your fantasies.

      • Do us all a favor and move off-grid and live just on solar, wind and if you can find a property that would allow for pumped storage. Then live there for say 5 years and get back with us then on how it works out.

      • Griff my power would be 20% to 40% cheaper if we forgot about so called renewables power. First of all solar and wind cannot exist with fossil fuels and second of all for each watt of solar and wind there needs to be a like generator capacity of either fossil fuel, hydro or nuclear power plants to back up the wind and solar. Don’t tell me batteries will work, at best all the batteries in the world would not keep up the power grid in the US for an hour. If you honest such battery schemes will double if not triple our power cost only to give us a few more minutes of useable power. Last of all what is this madness, it looks like climate sensitivity to CO2 is les than 2C per doubling something that would not get us to the a climate optimal temperature. The world does not have a fever it is in a hypothermic state, it borders on being to cold not to hot.

      • Pumped storage and hydro won’t work in mountainous Kalifornia. The Sierra Club doesn’t want to destroy all of its splendor, but rather preserve it for city folk to hike through. They won’t even allow brush to be cut to prevent forest fires from engulfing towns and cities. Many of the dams they currently have are scheduled to be destroyed so the land can be reclaimed for hikers, who must be registered (dues paying) Sierra Club members.

        Nope, that won’t work.

        And “domestic only” does matter to smelters. Just ask the companies who incurred millions of $$ in losses when they lost power. All that molten steel just hardened in the transport buckets.

        Don’t know how you’re going to make that work without magic. Kalifornia will make it – as long as Arizona and Nevada supply them with real power.

    • The billionaires get control of the best land, then work with their friends the real estate ‘developers’ to jack us up $420,000 for a ‘view lot’ in Calgary.

      When we asked the builder about energy efficiency or heat exchangers in the $979,000 ‘spec home’ there’s just a blank stare. The HVAC technology is straight out of 1967, except for the quality and durability which is pure 2019.

      The municipal building codes are little help, but the City does like those yummy property tax hikes.

      They won’t stop building crap mcmansions with high energy use and shiny kitchens until people stop buying them. I doubt the situation is any different in Edmonton despite their having declared a ‘climate emergency’.

      • Good question. I have been wondering the same. James Delingpole made reference to a fund that was designed (IIRR) to short the entire renewable energy industry. It was about a year ago, but I can’t immediately find it. There was a sort of baby entrance for small investors, as I remember.

        In a sense, a good deal of the discussion on WUWT is about this ‘big short’ – how much longer does it have to play out, before physics and economics finally win? The faith of people like Griff, and all the policy makers, politicians and voters that have been entranced, has kept the bubble growing so far. Without major and unforeseen technological innovation the bubble must pop, eventually. But when? If I had a few billion candies and nuts, I would have a go myself.

    • – 2040?

      – Yet we’re promised the earth will be toast in 11-12 years.

      – Funny how they ignore their own predictions.

    • MarkW, modern-day state LEFTIST — they are all LEFTISTS; there is NOTHING “liberal” about them — are all about FASCISM, which, at its core, is ALL ABOUT making tons and tons of RULES and REGS in order to CONTROL the means of production … and, in addition, to control any other portion of society, often through brutal means, upon which they can lay their grubby paws.

      This is what it is all about for LEFTISTS: contempt for the “masses” — their term for WE The People, the Citizens — and centralized command and control.

      Note that this highlights the critical difference between Fascism and Socialism: both govt types are on the “Centralized Command and Control” end of the political spectrum — that is, anti-liberty and anti-individual rights — where Fascism wants to CONTROL the means of production [but permitting private ownership], while SOCIALISM wants to OWN the means of production. Totalitarianism is the extreme variant of socialism, where totalitarianism owns and controls everything. [Totalitarianism is the practical manifestation of Communism — where all such movements seem to get stalled out … geez, I wonder why — where Communism is the faux utopia, distracted by countless torments and murders of the “masses”, which can never be attained.]

      Note one of the archetype examples of USA green-whacko FASCISM was in pre-election 2008 when 0-bama advised power plant owners — specifically coal and natural gas — that they can operate and build all the power plants they want but that the EPA — staffed by UNELECTED and UNACCOUNTABLE bureaucrats — will “rule and regulate” them out of existence.

      This is a TEXTBOOK FASCISM … govt CONTROL of the means of production.

      IOW: govt picking winners and losers … where the govt is then for sale and which leads to MASSIVE crony profiteering … with the end result being democracy — where one and all, in front of the law, are supposed to be treated equally — is brought to die.

  3. America has over 600 years of good quality coal beneath us. With the technology of Carbon Capture Utilization this coal can be combusted and put into the atmosphere less CO2 than a natural gas power plant.
    This CCU System turns CO2 into good paying full time jobs and money.
    This affordable CCU System comes with an ROI. The Utilities will be reimbursed their investment for putting in these CCU Systems. Agriculture is also going to benefit greatly.
    Sidel designed this System to be a CCU Win-Win System.

  4. We have plenty of examples of places trying to move renewables past 16% or so. So far all those places have failed. So, what are they proposing to do differently?

    Well, except for small jurisdictions backed up by a much larger grid like Denmark backed up by Germany. When they’re calculating the percent of renewable, they have to consider the size of the grid they’re attached to.

  5. So if solar and wind are surging ahead of coal and gas, where is all the base load back-up power going to come from?


    • Calizuela is the preview of America’s future under progressive rule.
      We’ll get our electricity whenever our keepers find it profitably convenient.

      • After reading Joel’s comment below I wish to change the phrase “our keepers” to “the oligarchy”.

      • The only way solar and wind could ever beat out fossil fuels would be the entire grid could be a giant, contiguous battery.

    • Your 3x monthly electric bill, that’s where.
      The grid operators will be buying electricity from independent producers on the spot market when wind and solar fail. The spot market operators will be making their money running fast-start NG-gas turbines swelling power @ > $140/MWh.
      The cost will be passed thru to your electric bill.

      • IMHO, because many renewable friendly state regulators are opposed to the expansion of NG pipeline capacity, many of these spot market peaker plants will be fueled by LNG and will be located wherever they can be easily serviced by rail tank car transport.

        We should expect to see more of these gas turbine powered peaker plants being installed in the mid to late 2020’s as more and more baseload coal and nuclear is retired without direct replacement.

        The use of these LNG fueled peakers will be labeled as a temporary expediency. But in reality, these gas turbine peakers will become a permanent feature of the power generation landscape.

      • Obviously Griff you have absolutely no idea how the electrical grid works. It would be best to keep your fingers off of the keys so you don’t display your ignorance.

        • Reminds me of the old, old warning: –


          {easily found on the Wikithingy that I can edit, so your wording may vary.]


      • You don’t need baseload or backup…

        Only true if your don’t want or need steady, reliable power available 24/7 (including when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing). Otherwise, yes you do.

  6. Why not burn most of our municipal waste in fluidized bed combustion systems to generate power and quit hauling it out into the ocean? Makes more sense than creating megatons of hazardous wastes producing enough solar panels to cover the necessary area of the planet to replace the much denser power sources.
    If we lose our unwarranted fear of CO2 trash to energy is a solution to two of humanity’s most pressing problems, waste disposal and cheap energy.

    • In Essex County, NJ, there is a waste-to-electricity plant that burns 2,800 tons per day and has a rated output of 65MW. That’s pretty tiny for a power plant, and it’s the largest such plant in NJ. One of the unintended consequences is that household batteries contain enough heavy metals (lead, cadmium, mercury) that the ash left over is considered hazardous waste and can’t go in a standard landfill.

  7. The same people will have most of the cars in the nation at home at night charging their batteries, but it won’t be from solar energy. What is that going to do to their forecast? Just to service this need there will be very large quantities of CO2 pumped into the atmosphere.

    • Well, you know, just like fusion energy, there’s a quantum revolution in battery tech that’s “just around the corner”.
      Just wear your unicorn hat and keep thinking positive thoughts.

      No, you have to wear the hat. “If you want to be in the band, you have to wear your hat” (Steve Earle)

      • Quantum revolution or not, they will still need charging and it will have to come from the spinning reserve of thermal power generation.

  8. Art

    We will do the stupidest thing possible, we will build out both.

    I envision towing my ICE vehicle with my BEV vehicle until I run out of battery and then pull to the side and tow my BEV vehicle with my ICE vehicle. I will age both vehicle at the same time. Why? Because I am about as stupid as you can get. All the while forcing the next seven years of CO2 (building out Solar PV) into the atmosphere hoping to reduce CO2 in the next seven years.

  9. With solar, as we are soon to see in Ca, since the electricity is only generated between 10-4 any increase will only make it more worthless. Once you generate more than you use, it is literally worthless. (I know there is the collateral damage to base load)
    It would be equivalent to having to burn the gas as it is being pumped or it is worthless, if there was no storage. That is the beauty of fossil fuels.

    • Title–Increased atmospheric vapor pressure deficit reduces global vegetation growth
      From the Abstract — Six Earth system models have consistently projected continuous increases of VPD throughout the current century.
      From the discussion–“Our results imply that most terrestrial ecosystem models cannot capture vegetation responses to VPD. Thus, problems reproducing the observed long-term vegetation responses to climate variability may challenge their ability to predict the future evolution of the carbon cycle.” VPD=Vapor Pressure Deficit Seems that we don’t understand the carbon cycle yet.

      • Interesting study but it does not shed much light on the cause of climate change.

        VPD varies tremendously during the day, every day. I remember, decades ago, back on the farm we had to stop bailing hay at about 5 PM because it got to ‘tough’. That is how we described the moisture content of the hay rising rapidly, i.e. VPD getting too low.

        A simple word count suggests that the article might have questionable validity in the real world:
        Model 91
        Estimate 27
        Actual 7
        Measured 6
        TPW 0
        Irrigation 0

  10. It’s been already said…. you can’t wish or legislate unreliable energy to become reliable. Do people really believe large scale grid storage is practical today or even in the near future?

  11. “Solar photovoltaic (PV) could surge ahead of coal and gas and become the largest source of installed power capacity in the world by 2035 if countries pursue stated policies and targets.”

    So much wrong in such a short little opening sentence.

    First – COULD. Yeah. I could win the lottery (actually, would need to buy a ticket first… so bad example) but until that actually happens I should not be quitting my day job.

    Then – IF. Close friend of could. I could quit my day job if I won the lottery, or maybe I could win the lottery if I brought a ticket. It is also not even a reasonable ‘if’. If I walked to the kitchen I could get a drink from the fridge is reasonable. If I went to the moon is not.

    and finally… “countries pursue stated policies and targets”. This is basically an open confession that PV cannot complete in a free market. If (that little word again) PV was so wonderful it would have gone viral decades ago. We didn’t need government policies to force us to switch over to smart phones. We wanted them because we – the market – decided they did everything we wanted and more.

    The fact that people like David even need to point out the junk in these sorts of press releases reflects badly on society.

    • Craig from Oz

      “if countries pursue stated policies and targets”

      Beat me to it!

      I stopped reading there. So far I doubt any country has truly hit any renewable targets, except perhaps China and India achieving their ambitions to expand coal fired power stations.

      If I’m correct then what’s going to change to induce everyone to hit targets?!

    • First – COULD. Yeah. I could win the lottery (actually, would need to buy a ticket first… so bad example) but until that actually happens I should not be quitting my day job.

      strictly speaking *your* buying a ticket is not necessary, you merely have to have possession of a valid winning ticket. How you came about the ticket (you bought it, someone gave it to you as a gift, you found it on the street, you stole it from someone else, etc) isn’t all that relevant* as long as it’s a valid ticket that contains the winning numbers.

      * except where someone has cause to challenge you over it. IE someone claims you stole it from them or that they are in someway the real owner or part owner of the ticket (such as an office pool) entitled to some or all of the winnings.

      Not that anything I just typed matters all that much, as your odds of winning are abysmally low should you have a ticket, and pretty much non-existent if you don’t.

      • Mmmmmmm.
        We have a guaranteed £25 million for the winner this weekend on the [UK] Lotto.
        I have proudly invested [Have I listened too much to Mr. J Corbyn? Might have done!] in a ticket.
        I have a chance – one!
        Indeed – my “odds of winning are abysmally low”.
        But I m i g h t win.
        Otherwise, my investment is valueless [echoes of Corbyn, J.?].


  12. Ann, you are correct generate more solar than you use it is worthless. But, that’s exactly what the Green’s want. Excess solar is priced at $0.00 input price to large storage batteries making storage appear much more affordable. Look for subsidies for battery storage to be a bigger ticket item in the 2020’s than solar panels and windmills. I live in California I see this stupidity up close and personal…economic horror is standard fare on all fronts.

  13. Ann, speaking of economic horrors, take a look at this. Only a few people have any comprehension of a billion dollars, a trillion (1,000 billion) doesn’t sound that different to them. Need money? Just tax the one percenters right? Or maybe Liz’s wealth tax?
    …a study earlier this year in Energy & Environmental Science found that meeting 80 percent of US electricity demand with wind and solar would require either a nationwide high-speed transmission system, which can balance renewable generation over hundreds of miles, or 12 hours of electricity storage for the whole system (see “Relying on renewables alone significantly inflates the cost of overhauling energy”).
    At current prices, a battery storage system of that size would cost more than $2.5 trillion.

    • If there would be 100,000,000 families in the US, the $2.5E12 battery storage would the cost each family $25,000 every five years or so, thus and annual extra bill of $5,000.
      Then comes the other extra bill of renewing the wind industrial generators every 15 years and the solar PV every 20 years. And we should not forget all the distributed active electronics, like inverters, needs to be renewed every 20 years or so.
      The extra bills obviously does not stop there. Then comes cost for hugely extend and strengthen the grid at all levels from HVDC down to household level, which may be a cost that can be spread over a few decades, but may bite as hard as the batteries, if not harder.
      And for all this to work, you also have to renew the batteries in your BEV every 10 years or so, or the road salt has eaten your car, so better change the whole BEV at least every 10 years.

    • Dennis, I recall a few years ago, T. Boone Pickens was all excited about building a nationwide network of wind farms, all interconnected. He barely got into the planning stage before he realized it was impossible and dropped it. Liz should speak to him.

        • No more difficult than having modern life continue allegedly powered by green renewables.
          Anybody there…?

          • I think it was the part about “Liz should speak with him” where Mr Picken’s being deceased may be a bit of stumbling block.

        • That would be quite a feat, since Mr. Pickens is deceased.

          Not a problem, just need to catch him on election day when he, along with the other dead voters, goes to vote (for the democrats, natch)

    • Dennis,
      $2.5T just happens to be the net worth of all the billionaires in the US. I’m wondering how taxing that $2.5T will pay for a that + a $4T/yr medicare for all plan?
      Logic does not seem to be strong suit of the left

      • Even if they could get their hands on all that money, it would work for one year as the rich would move all of their remaining assets as well as most of their income generating activities to some country that is a bit less larcenous.
        (Along with all the jobs that used to be generated by that income generating activity.)

    • I saw these calculations on the news.
      It takes a little over 11 days to count 1 million seconds. To count to 52 trillion seconds would take approx, 1,650,000 years.
      Also a stack of 50 pound notes to equal 42 billion pounds would be approx, 6500 miles high. Kinda puts it in perspective.

  14. Here in Australia a couple of billionaires are starting to invest in a huge solar farm near Tennant Creek, with a new interconnectGeoffor to Darwin and Singapore. While some parts of this plan are workable, I cannot see how intermittency will be tamed.
    I feel that these investors need to be warned about it because large scale crashes take many others with them.
    What, fellow WUWT bloggers, would be the most valuable way to warn them of this risk? My own humble words fail me. Geoff S

    • Geoff, I don’t know anything about Australia, but here in Cali the investor’s exposure is what will happen if the utility you have a “purchase power agreement” goes bankrupt. The installer’s have special low interest loans because the banks consider the utilities financially strong and/or favorably regulated. The installers have grid priority so they are assured of a market…and if they are curtailed they get paid anyway. Throw in a 30% investment tax credit that they can sell and hey can’t miss! No problem for anyone,,except the taxpayer and rate payer. Liberals the world over tend to come up with the same stupid schemes so I suspect Australia has about the same mess.

      • Please learn the difference between plurals and possessives. Hint, one of them doesn’t use an apostrophe.

        • Please learn that nobody like grammar Nazi’s. This is the comments section of an internet forum, not a term paper or forum submission to a prestigious academic journal. As such, it’s an informal communication forum, the participants of which include a number of people for whom English is not their primary language. Not to mention that, being an informal communication forum, typos happen and people don’t always proofread their informal postings very rigorously, if at all. As long as the poster is getting their intended meaning across (IE you know what they meant, which you clearly did), strict adherence to grammar isn’t required and being a grammar Nazi just makes you look like a jerk.

          If you could not understand their point due to extremely bad grammar, by all means point that out. such is clearly not the case here, which leaves us with you’re being a jerk,

          • Prime example of lack of proof reading in informal communication is one of my own typos:
            “nobody like” should be “nobody likes

        • Hey Jeff, any chance you’re a liberal and I may have hurt your feelings? I certainly hope so. But honestly thanks for the comment. I shouldn’t be so careless with my apostrophes.

          • Dennis, you’re too nice. Telling him where he can shove the apostrophe would be my preferred response to a grammar Nazi.

    • Good idea Theo.

      I just dropped two ice cubes into a large tumbler and drowned them in Scotch. It’s after 1am here and I need to get to sleep, but the mind-numbing stupidity of the IEA prediction is keeping me awake. [Pause for first sip of Scotch – Aaahhh!].

      Rather than pick apart the foolish input assumptions that produce the IEA’s “Big-Renewable” forecast (e.g. IF you keep paying wind and solar generators huge subsidies to destabilize the grid, they will happily continue to do so), let me suggest my own forecast:

      Due to very low solar activity at the end of SC24 and the beginning of SC25, Earth will cool sporadically and significantly, resulting in failed harvests, extreme cold periods and great human suffering. Excess Winter Deaths will accelerate. Storms will become more violent, as they do during cold periods. Global warming advocates will blame this extreme weather on fossil fuel combustion, but over time even the most imbecilic elements of humanity will reject the warmists’ hypothesis that ”global warming causes global cooling”.

      As human suffering becomes more and more severe, there will be Nuremberg-style trials of the leading advocates of global warming extremism, and many will be dispatched to unheated prisons in Northern climes, there to spend the rest of their lives pondering the downsides of climate extremism and climate fraud.

      Monuments will be erected around the world to mourn the tens of millions of innocents who suffered and died due to the actions of global warming extremists, and the names of politicians who led us into this catastrophe will live in infamy.

      How depressing! Now I really need that drink! Aaahhh!

      “Turning and turning in the widening gyre
      The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
      Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
      Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
      The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
      The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
      The best lack all conviction, while the worst
      Are full of passionate intensity.”
      – W. B. Yeats

      • Allan, you really shouldn’t be putting ice in whisky, unless it is just cooking grade in which case ice might be required to take awy the poor taste. Up to half and half water is acceptable in good stuff, with plenty of water.

        • Jim Beam, Jack Daniels… ice.

          Woodford Reserve… neat.

          There’s drinking Whiskey/Bourbon… And there’s savoring Whiskey/Bourbon… It’s all good.

          • David Middleton

            “Figure 2. But, under the Stated Policies Scenario, we’ll be burning nearly three times as much natural gas and twice as much coal in 2040 that <b<than we were at the dawn of the 21st century… Excellent!”

            Great post…

          • No matter how you spell it, whisky/whiskey is an umbrella term for a type of spirit distilled from a mash of fermented grains.

            to-ma-to, to-mat-o

            And as this little sub-thread started with ATheoK’s post mentioning bourbon, the proper spelling of which (to be pedantic) would be Whiskey. so David’s comment about Whiskey/Bourbon is perfectly fine as is. If anything, it’s ALLAN’s veering off ATheoK’s topic of bourbon to Scotch (aka whisky) that was the cause of any confusion (hence why David likely felt the need to put “/Bourbon” after every mention of “whiskey”).

          • We could have an entire thread on the nuances of whiskey… Scotch, single malts & blends. Canadian blended whiskey. Irish blended whiskey. Kentucky bourbon. Other whiskeys that would be bourbon if they came from Kentucky… It’s all good.

            Personally, I never add water. Really good single malts and reserve whiskeys, I drink neat. Most blends and Jim Beam-level bourbons, on the rocks.

          • LOL. I just happen to be sipping Woodford Reserve, neat. You do rings around me, intellectually, but at least we enjoy the same libation.

        • Thank you Seadog – I am familiar with the concept:
          “And a drop of water, to release the serpents”…

          Most of the time I prefer water in my Scotch, but occasionally ice is preferred to minimize dilution.

          Nowadays, I drink so infrequently that it hardly matters anymore. I’ll have a glass to mark the passing of good men, or the fall of scoundrels.

          Best, Allan

        • “chemman November 21, 2019 at 2:19 pm

          You do know that when the Ice melts it will cause Scotch Level Rise and overflow your glass.”

          – Great picture – poster child for Climate avengers worldviews.

  15. The costs are moderated through labor, environmental, and monetary arbitrage. The environmental consequences are mitigated through sociopolitical inoculation. The profits are clean, green, and renewable. The science is settled through a [social] consensus. Who in their right mind would resist the temptation?

  16. ““In 2018, final investment decisions of new coal plants were at their lowest level in a century,” the report notes.”

    What about in 2019? Hasn’t East Asia committed to lots of new coal plants, both domestically and (by China) abroad?

  17. “the largest source of installed power capacity” – but the smallest source of delivered electricity. Says it all.

  18. “Solar’s explosive growth is a key change from the IEA’s report from last year (WEO2018), and the agency attributes its optimistic projections to policy changes around the world.”

    IOW, to declarations primarily in the first world, right? E.g., Australia, NZ, UK, Germany, Canada, and US states and cities. But what if the “Yellow Vests” kick back, or vote out the greenies after electricity prices double and/or become unreliable, as has happened in some regions (Ontario and Alberta, for instance).

    • Absolutely it will.

      currently sea ice extent is hovering around 2nd lowest on record, with a noticeable absence of ice in the Bering, Chuckchi (mostly) and along NE Alaskan coast. And that’s 2 months after minimum

      • It’s been hovering there for about 12 years, when is this mythical death spiral supposed to start?
        This years low was well above the record minimum.

      • currently sea ice extent is hovering around 2nd lowest on record

        Yeah? so? They’ve been predicting an “ice free” arctic since the lowest on record, with a noticeable absence of ice freeness and a noticeable lack of ice going below that 1st lowest on record.

        In 2007 German online national daily Die Welt here warned that “an team of international climate scientists and researchers at NASA claimed the Arctic summer would be ice-free already in 2013.

        Arctic summers ice-free ‘by 2013’ declared a BBC headline in 2007
        in the article Professor Maslowski is quoted as saying “you can argue that may be our projection of 2013 is already too conservative.” because it didn’t take into consideration minima of 2005 and 2007 thus he believed “that the global climate models underestimate the amount of heat delivered to the sea ice by oceanic advection,”

        “Things are happening much faster in the Arctic. I think it will be summer ice-free by 2015,” said David Barber (in 2008) , an Arctic climatologist at the University of Manitoba.

        And that’s just a few of the many, many, many failed predictions about an ice free arctic.

      • currently sea ice extent is hovering around 2nd lowest on record

        Meh. Yawn. Zzzzzzz… Wake me up before you go go…

  19. There is something dodgy about the time scale and the economics in the renewable dictation.

    It took about 120 years to develop the modern infrastructure to very different levels in different parts of the world. It has been a somewhat exponential development, partly due to the extra capacity provided by the use of more practical and energy denser energy sources.
    The totalitarian unicorn riders (the Greens) seem to anticipate that we will continue this exponential development trend the next 20 years, making it achievable to almost redo the whole infrastructure using long ago abandoned unpractical low density energy sources.

    The model that is pursued is given in a report from the EU and projected to the Danish “final solution”, from where I have extracted this image:
    Notice that batteries are used on virtually all scales, from grid to household. The batteries alone are bound to cost the citizens a lot in maintenance, installation, upgrade and renewals. This model is undoubtedly less costly and better achievable in northern Europe, than most other places on the planet. Have a look at the interconnections in the Baltic area with live data:
    Several countries positively help stabilize the grid, with Norway as a main player.But if Germany and Poland gets more unicorns and less conventional power, and the new gas pipeline from Norway gets build, Norway will be the determine factor, deciding price and availability of electricity and gas.

    Hopefully northern Europe does not come into conflict with Norway, or it will be back to the Viking huts for the sheeple and a long walk for the elite along Bifrost to Valhalla.

    My assumption is that in some regions the new IEA World Energy Outlook could go a bit along their way, but I prefer to think that their predictions from previous years are much more plausible.

  20. The IEA must be high on something; call it Greencrack laced with Hopium. By 2040, the Climageddonist ideology will be long gone, with any remaining adherents viewed as flat-earth wackos. With the ideology supporting the “Green” faux-industry gone, wind and solar will fade from the scene as their impossibility of providing economic, reliable power becomes apparent to even once-stalwart Believers. As before the whole “climate change” nonsense started, the electric power mix of individual countries will be determined by a combination of what is most easily obtained, and politics, but certainly nuclear will see a surge, with coal and gas remaining at least as big. With the anti-coal hysteria gone, coal power will see a resurgence, taking its rightful place as a competitor to gas.

  21. Thank you Seadog – I am familiar with the concept:
    “And a drop of water, to release the serpents”…

    Most of the time I prefer water in my Scotch, but occasionally ice is preferred to minimize dilution.

    Nowadays, I drink so infrequently that it hardly matters anymore. I’ll have a glass to mark the passing of good men, or the fall of scoundrels.

    Best, Allan

  22. The magic words in such statements are always “may”, “can” or some gramatical version of these. Dont worry, will never happen.

  23. We know what kinds of impacts the emergence of new fracking technologies have had on our ability to economically produce more oil and gas in the United States.

    What about the rest of the world? For example, could China produce significantly more oil and gas than it does today by employing these new extraction technologies? What about the Middle East? Indonesia? Venezuela?

  24. The elephant in the room that almost never gets mentioned – certainly not in the agenda-pushing liberal media – is that “power generation” (i.e. electricity) represents only about 15% of most countries’ energy use (including the US, UK). Most of the other ~85% comes from fossil fuels.

    The media likes to talk about electricity generation as if it is all energy use:

    “UK renewable energy capacity surpasses fossil fuels for first time”, Guardian
    “The UK Now Gets More Than Half of Its Energy From Renewables”, Global Citizen

  25. “11/14/2019 | Sonal Patel

    Solar photovoltaic (PV) could surge … ” There’s the weasel word ‘could’, right in the very first line.

  26. … Solar PV generally maxes out below 30%. … 3,100 GW of solar PV, operating at 30% of capacity. …

    30% sounds a bit high, like maybe by a factor of 2. It seems like location would have a lot to do with what actual capacity factors turn out to be.

  27. “… Solar photovoltaic (PV) could surge ahead of coal and gas and become the largest source …”

    Jimmy Hoffa could regain the Presidency of the Teamsters any day now.

      • Elvis is dead. Former Atlanta Falcons coach Jerry Glanville used to leave 2 tickets for Falcons home games at the Will Call window, just in case Elvis showed up… Until…

        “I haven’t heard from Elvis since his daughter married Michael Jackson. I think it killed him.”
        — Jerry Glanville

  28. Society will be extremely wealthy in the future in order to be able to afford huge installed capacity of effecively useless energy sources.

    • Society will be extremely poor in the future because society wasted its wealth on huge installed capacity of effecively useless energy sources

      There fixed it for you

  29. Installed capacity and actual generation are two separate metrics. People will celebrate that we spend money to install more renewables but won’t understand that we are going to be burning more fissile fuels. I have a technical background and worked in utilities for almost four decades. I have younger relatives with political science degrees who always want to explain the science and technical aspects of future electric generation.
    The holidays will again be fun this year.

  30.  John Endicott

    November 22, 2019 at 8:50 am
    Dennis, you’re too nice. Telling him where he can shove the apostrophe would be my preferred response to a grammar Nazi.

    Upon further reflection you’re absolutely correct. Jeff really is a jerk. I’m looking forward to reviewing his future postings.

  31. fossil fuels to continue to meet much of the world’s energy demand –> fossil fuels continue to meet much of the world’s energy demand.

  32. In the 2040s, coal use increases as a result of increased industrial usage and rising use in electric power generation in non-OECD Asia excluding China –> In the 2040s, coal consumption increases as a result of increased industrial demands and rising consumption in electric power generation in non-OECD Asia excluding China.

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