Guest essay by Eric Worrall
The South China Morning Post reports China is offering their clean energy and mass produced nuclear plant expertise to their Belt and Road partners. But past Chinese overseas mega projects in my opinion are a cautionary tale, for anyone thinking of accepting China’s offerings.
How China’s clean energy push could help the developing world give up fossil fuels
As a leader on renewable energy technologies, China should help belt-and-road and other developing nations achieve carbon goals, senior policymaker saysCountries like Bangladesh could gain from the green expertise of China, Germany, Britain and the US, researcher in Dhaka points out
Echo Xie+ FOLLOW
Published: 10:00am, 21 Nov, 2021
China could offer developing countries pathways to transition from fossil fuels to clean energy, a senior environmental policymaker has said.
Li Junfeng, founding director of the National Centre for Climate Change Strategy and International Cooperation (NCSC), said China should not only think about its own energy transition but also work with developing countries on their carbon neutrality goals.
Many breakthrough energy technologies of the past five decades, in nuclear and solar power, for instance, had been commercialised in China, Li told an environmental conference in Beijing on Wednesday.
“So we can set up programmes, together with developed countries, to help their energy transition, including countries in the Belt and Road Initiative and South-South cooperation programme,” he said.
As for nuclear energy, China is currently the only country capable of mass-producing third-generation reactors. A few of these are already in operation in the country, including the Hualong One. The reactor, at the Fuqing nuclear power plant in southeastern Fujian province, began commercial operations in January.
…Read more: https://www.scmp.com/news/china/science/article/3156754/how-chinas-clean-energy-push-could-help-developing-world-give
After the renewable energy disasters in Britain, Europe and Texas, its becoming pretty obvious to everyone except green diehards that renewables have no future as a baseload energy source, except perhaps in very remote areas.
However, before you get too enthusiastic about the idea of China providing cheap nuclear to poor countries, its worth reviewing some of China’s past Belt and Road projects, some of which in my opinion really stand out as bad faith deals.
One notorious example is the Revantador dam, built on the foothills of an active volcano in Ecuador. Predictably, the dam was silted up and cracked by almost continuous earthquakes within months of construction.
How could such a disastrous project be allowed to proceed? The answer appears to be massive corruption, a lot of government officials, including senior politicians in Ecuador, went to jail over the deal. But this doesn’t help Ecuador, which is struggling to service their enormous debt to China. I think its fair to say Ecuador now pretty much has to do whatever China tells them, or face the consequences of a massive debt default.
This problem does not seem localised to just Ecuador. While Revantador stands out as an unequivocal disaster, there appear to be many less blatant problem deals. For example, when I visited Vanuatu in 2019, every conversation with locals quickly turned to their anger at allegedly corrupt deals between China and the Vanuatu government, like the Vanuatu Convention Centre deal. Our taxi driver in Port Vila took us on a tour, pointed to the parliament and said “corruption house number one”, then at the nearby convention centre, and said “corruption house number two”, which gives you a fair idea of local feeling on the matter.
I have no doubt many poor countries will rush to embrace China’s cheap nuclear offering, they desperately need affordable electricity, and they have in my opinion been badly let down by Western suppliers. But if the cheap mass produced Chinese nuclear plants are anything like the Chinese Revantador dam project, lets just say I’m going to plan my overseas holidays more carefully in the future.
…. and not so nice
FT: Chinese missile tests constraints of physics
The Pentagon believes China launched the hypersonic glide vehicle on a Long March rocket.
China’s hypersonic weapon test in July included a technological advance that enabled it to fire a missile as it approached its target travelling at least five times the speed of sound — a capability no country has previously demonstrated.
Pentagon scientists were caught off guard by the advance, which allowed the hypersonic glide vehicle, a manoeuvrable spacecraft that can carry a nuclear warhead, to fire a separate missile mid-flight over the South China Sea, according to people familiar with the intelligence.
Experts at Darpa, the Pentagon’s advanced research agency, remain unsure how China overcame the constraints of physics by firing countermeasures from a vehicle travelling at hypersonic speeds, said the people familiar with details of the demonstration.
Military experts have been poring over data related to the test to understand how China mastered the technology.
“at least five times the speed of sound — a capability no country has previously demonstrated”
UAPs are reported to greatly exceed that. Too bad this blog doesn’t get into the UAP issue. It’s extremely fascinating.
Try the full quote next time: “included a technological advance that enabled it to fire a missile as it approached its target travelling at least five times the speed of sound”
Hypersonic itself is nothing new. The X-16 was hypersonic a zillion years ago. What is new is the suborbital spacecraft launching a missile of its own.
You mean X-15 I’m sure
If this article is to be believed, the US has developed a 17xSOS glide vehicle the Common Hypersonic Glide Body
(possibly based on X-43 tech?)
“a capability no country has previously demonstrated”
Who knows, maybe the US and/or Russia did demonstrate it secretly years ago and the secrets leaked to China and they demonstrated it and announced it publicly to give the impression they are the real miltech leaders
Probably means “a capability no country has previously demonstrated publicly“
Belt and Road = shameless Debt Trap
Anyone who signs up to it is either equally corrupt or a gullible idiot.
Can be both. A corrupt gullible idiot.
Just a way of backdoor colonization.
Instead of the standard procedure they mainly use the IMF method.
The WaBenzi signing on to it expect to be living off their spoils in another country when the bills come due.
Not just a debt trap. The operating systems will be full of trapdoors that will give the Chinese Communist Party remote control of these major energy assets.
When you buy cheap carp from China, you get what you pay for
Hmmm, I wonder which Chairman Dan Andrews, Premier of the State of Victoria, Australia, is? Probably both.
By contrast, the virtuous USA will drop white phosphorus, napalm, Agent Orange and depleted uranium on undefended civilian targets — for free.
Just prick your finger and sign here. It only hurts for a minute.
The good news about Chinese reactors is they won’t be short on added lead.
Perhaps the UK should sign up according to Griff they can’t build an affordable Nuke.
It seems to have escaped you tat the next proposed UK nuke is – was – to be funded by chines money (Sizewell) then the next was to be an entirely Chinese design (Bradwell).
Japanese and Korean firms have pulled out of Wylfa and Moorside… a new model of funding is being discussed with a US firm.
‘offical’ rumour has it Chinese money is no longer acceptable for UK major infrastructure projects, especially those with national security issues…
Never trust China. The UK has the brain power and money, but need to beat back the eco fascists and unreliable loons.
Always trust China…to be untrustworthy
Strange the UK worries about that and yet allows your electricity grid to be dependent on EU countries to hold it up. France and Germany are using that very fact against the UK in trade and fishing rights deals right now aren’t they?
Why doesn’t UK have the money to fund its own needs adequately?
It isn’t a case of not having the money, but actually getting any of it back after investing it.
Please consider…..just place your head in this noose.
Speaking of nuclear do watch the video report of an interview with the Rolls Royce CEO-
Push for small modular nuclear reactors goes into ‘overdrive’ with Rolls Royce (msn.com)
Meanwhile if you’re interested in a high paying exec job in the power industry the AEMO in Oz has plenty of positions available and more popping up by the day-
Architect of Integrated System Plan to leave AEMO as staff exodus continues | RenewEconomy
Another summer coming on chaps with all those growing unreliables and aircons? Chuckle.
A great initiative…
but it won’t deliver a prototype before 2031 and at most 5 reactors for 2GW of power by 2035.
by which time we’ll certainly have 30GW of additional offshore wind.
We need more of this-
One pumped hydro project still standing as South Australia heads to 100pct wind and solar | RenewEconomy
rather than a correlated repeat of this-
Wind Energy in Australia | October 2021 | Aneroid
Not certain that the wind will blow at any time.
The wind will forever blow exactly the right amounts in the exact right areas to perfectly match fluctuating and increasing demand so that each and every wind power operator will be paid generously for each generated MW no matter if there is a surplus or not.
You are just lacking in faith.
You will have to build the nukes anyhow to prop up the unreliables.
Let the UK be the experiment…..it will show how expensive electric power slows an economy down….it will show how fast changing technology makes spending large for the current tech means you can’t afford tomorrow’s better tech. There are dozens of battery possibilities being researched and developed…liquid metal batteries appear to be superior to lithium for large scale storage as an example.
I see griff still believes that wind actually delivers faceplate power.
From Wikipedia’s “Wind power in the United Kingdom” page (direct link) :
24.3GW x 24 hours (per day) = 583.2 GWh per day “nameplate capacity” for wind turbines in the UK (which includes Northern Ireland, but still …).
For the Great Britain (England + Wales + Scotland only) grid the daily electricity production by source is (approximately !) given in the graph below since the 1st of October this year (7 weeks of data).
NB : “TSD” = “Total System Demand”, in my case this includes “Embedded” Wind and Solar numbers plus an “Inter-connectors” correction.
1a) How often has “Wind” (the sky-blue line) even come close to providing 580 GWh of electricity over a 24-hour period ?
1b) What is the maximum total value reached by “Wind” electricity generators in the graph below ?
2) How little could your “additional 30GW [ 720 GWh /day ] of offshore wind” end up providing in a “stationary high” weather pattern ?
Observe attentively the “Wind” values for the 16th of October and the 2nd and 15th of November below. Imagine that being prolonged for 4 to 10 consecutive days …
That’s fine but does the wind blow when it’s 40c?
The problem with offshore wind is that it’s stupid.
Creates a new meaning to the term “China Syndrome”.
You mean not holidays near Sellafield in good ol’ Cumbria?
France was only informed about the worlds worst nuclear fire in 1957 decades later. At least Britain had stockpiles of material ready to send to Chernobyl – been there, done that.
Take Africa where the Chinese involvement over many decades has not improved the quality of lives of poor Africans. The Chinese government has however profited from their exploits in Africa.
Apparently their “exploits in Africa” were aided by the artist Hunter Biden, who assisted in China buying a cobalt mine in the Congo. What a tangled web of corruption and intrigue.
10% for the Big Guy.
The UN and the great world finance order will probably finance the renewables and refuse to finance the nukes. Exactly the opposite of what should be done.
The whole idea of the UN’s ‘Green Climate Fund’ was that developing countries could use the money to ‘buy’ green technology and expertise from developed countries to help them cope with climate change. Which all went tits up when the developing countries said stuff it, we just want the money to spend ourselves thank you. This idea of China’s is basically how the Green Climate Fund was supposed to work, but without the attached strings and crippling debt. Wonder if they’ll get many takers?
Let’s do the math:
[The following costs merely take into account storage capacity, that is the physical battery field(s), not the storage of electricity.]
Batteries are astronomically expensive. 100 MW for 24 hours = 2,400 MWh. At $1.5 million per MWh that is a whopping $3,600 million or $3.6 billion.
The Washington, DC area serviced by Pepco (three jurisdictions, including Washington, DC) witnessed a summer peak for August 2008 of 6,888 MW. With two-weeks battery backup (14 days) to cover for unusual weather events – cloud cover/windless days – we come to this ‘affordable’ figure that’s divided over a phased-in period of 10 years…
(1) 6,888 MW X 24 hours = 165,321 MWh.
(2) 165,321 MWh X $1.5 million = $247,968,000,000
(3) 14 days X $247,968,000,000 = $3,471,552,000,000/10 = $347,155,200,000
(4) We divide that amount by the three jurisdictions’ combined budgets = $22.81 billion…
(5) $347,155,200,000/$22,810,000,000 = 15.2
Pepco’s customers would have to see their local taxes increase approximately 15 times for each year of the ten-year phase-in period, and those taxes will only cover the physical batteries to be used for storage, not actual storage of electricity, nor current generation of electricity, nor anything else that taxes are used to implement, including the paychecks for government personnel!
Here is an estimate of a wind/solar lull in New England in 2050
WIND AND SOLAR TO PROVIDE 30 PERCENT OF NEW ENGLAND ELECTRICITY CONSUMPTION BY 2050https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/wind-and-solar-provide-50-percent-of-future-new-england
FUTURE NEW ENGLAND GRID CONDITIONS WITH MULTI-DAY WIND/SOLAR LULL IN 2050
– (W+S) would average about 96,061 MWh/d, in 2050
– (W+S) would average about 0.15 x 96,061 = 14,409 MWh/d, during a lull in 2050
Operation in 2050
It was assumed the NE grid load would remain constant from 2020 to 2050, to simplify the analysis.
In the real world, this assumption would not be valid, due to increased use of EVs and heat pumps.
Column 2 shows the output flexibility of a plant. Only Gas, Hydro, and Oil plants can quickly vary their outputs to counteract (W+S) output variability.
Wind and solar have wind/sun-dependent, random outputs. They could not exist on any grid, without the presence of other generators that can quickly/automatically vary their outputs to counteract the output variations.
Pumped storage systems, grid-scale battery systems, and connections to nearby grids can also be used to counteract output variations.
Columns 3 and 4 show the production of various electricity sources in 2020.
Pumped storage systems and battery systems have losses, which reduce the load on the grid.
Column 5 shows MWh/d in 2050, with (W+S) increased to 30% of total NE grid load.
As a result, the NE grid fossil percent of 42.9% in 2020 became only 0.3% in 2050
Column 6 shows NE Lull production of (W+S) would be (15% x 64,041 = 9,606) + (15% x 32,020 = 4,803), a total of 14,409 MWh/d, in 2050, for a shortfall of 133,844 MWh/d,
It is assumed the shortfall would be offset by:
1) A spare capacity of CCGTs (100,000 MWh/d)
2) Rolling black-outs (25,000 MWh/d); about 100 x 25,000/320,203 = 7.8% of the NE daily load.
3) Battery storage (8,844 MWh/d)
BTW, if rolling black-outs would cause too much protest from people, they could be reduced, if the spare capacity of CCGTs would be increased. Increasing battery storage would be too expensive, as shown below.
The shortfall would be variable during a (W+S) lull. The CCGTs would need to be operated at a CF = 0.75, and ramping up/down, to offset these variations.
The wind/solar shortfall would require a capacity of 100,000 MW/d / (24 h/d x 0.75, CF) = 5,556 MW of CCGTs.
The reserve CCGTs would have to be fueled, staffed, and maintained in good working order, to counteract the (W+S) shortfall, if called upon to do so by ISO-NE.
Per Battery University, to achieve a long life, say 15 years, Li-ion batteries should not be discharged to less than 15%, and not be charged in excess of 80%; i.e., a working range of 65%. That range also happens to have the highest operating efficiency
Because battery systems perform other functions, in addition to counteracting (W+S) lulls, battery average “fullness” is assumed at 75%, i.e., available capacity to counteract wind/solar shortfall would be 75%, average – 15%, low point = 60%
The battery system working capacity would be 8,844 MWh/d x 6 days, shortfall x 1/0.60, available withdrawal x 1.01, transformer loss = 89,324 MWh, delivered as high voltage AC to the NE grid.
Turnkey capital cost:
CCGT plants: 5,556 MW of CCGTs would be about $7 billion; life about 40 years
Battery systems: 89,324 x 1000 kWh/MWh x $500/kWh = $45 billion; life about 15 years
NOTE: The Hornsdale Power Reserve, HPR, battery system, 100 MW/129 MWh, in Australia, was the largest battery in the world in 2017. It is located on a 10-acre site.
NE would need 89,324 MWh/129 MWh = 692 of such systems on 6,924 acres.
NOTE: The battery systems would be near 15% full after a 6-day wind/solar lull.
If a second lull would occur a few days later, existing electricity sources would not have been able to fill the battery in those few days, i.e., a second battery, of similar capacity, would be needed, unless additional CCGT capacity and connection capacity to nearby grids were available.
NOTE: Battery-system aging, under year-round utility service (8,766 hour/y), would be at least 1.5%/y, compounded
Their capacity reduction would be at least 10%, at the 7-y mid-life, and at least 19%, at the 14-y near-end-life.
NOTE: Remember, none of those costs would be charged to owners of solar and wind systems.
The costs would be charged to ratepayers, taxpayers, and added to government debts.
Now I hope both of you realize the folly of your ways. You are attempting to use MATH to bolster an argument against renewables. And of course Renewables are a WMD in the arsenal of Climate Change Zealots
WMD…Weapon of Maths Destruction
An updated Chernobyl reactor?
Buying Chinese Stuff on/off ebay is an enlightening experience – one that mnay more people should try.
Certainly inexpensive compared to identical items that have already been imported and warehoused locally so if you’re not in any great hurry, fine.
Until you get something that has been damaged in the post or is complete crap and nothing like its description
So then you say, via ebay of course to keep it above board and official, that you want a return, refund or replacement. You’re ignored otherwise anyway.
At which point the vendor comes over all apologetic, offering ‘a’ ‘b’ or ‘c’ but never a return/exchange.
And for very good reason, our Never Better™ economy has seen to it that return post/haulage/parcel-delivery rates to China are simply obscene
But, on condition of a partial ‘refund’ which could be 50%+ in fact, you must first ‘close the case‘ with ebay.
Never never agree to that – if you do, the vendor will disappear and because *you* closed the case, you are saying that everything is fine AND to cap it all, ebay make sure you cannot re-open it.
In miniature = exactly what’s described with that dam-building project
some people seem to have forgotten the Chinese motorway in Montenegro!
There is minimal safety risk from light water reactors, even if they are constructed and operated badly.
The Fukushima reactors had almost everything possible go wrong. The radiation death toll is zero. Studies have found that the evacuation killed some people. These deaths were caused by ignorant fear of radiation. If the population hadn’t evacuated, there would have been no deaths from the reactor failure.
The impact of a reactor accident is not (to date) deaths, but effective denial of use of large areas of land and agricultural product
Eric, I normally look forward to your commentary, but this one is poorly researched. China has just completed one Hualong 1 reactor in Karachi, Pakistan. A second one is due to come online in the next few months. Each of the reactors cost around $5 billion and were completed in roughly five years. Pakistan’s energy problems — frequent brown.outs and constant load shedding — will be over as soon as both of these reactors are connected to the grid. Interesting factoid: nuclear will soon supply greater share of electricity in Pakistan than in the U.S.
China also flew the first enriched Uranium & atom bomb plans to Pakistan decades ago and is still at it. https://www.theklaxon.com.au/home/china-running-pakistan-nuke-proliferation-via-embassy
This while Pakistan wants to legalize extremist organizations like the TTP and TLP. https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/is-pakistan-heading-down-the-same-path-as-afghanistan/
What could possibly go wrong?
Meanwhile, what are their proxies in Australia doing to the people? Is Australia a testing ground for policies before they’re adopted by other countries? Citizens all around the world should demonstrate in front of the Australian Embassy.
AUSTRALIA – The army is now transferring positive Covid cases and contacts in the Northern Territories to ‘Quarantine Camps’ by army truck.
So it wasn’t a conspiracy theory then.
A cheap Chinese reactor for you?
what could go Wong.?
Come right in said the spider to the fly.
However, before you get too enthusiastic about the idea of China providing cheap nuclear to poor countries,
REMEMBER THAT CHINA ARE THE UNCONDITIONAL AND ETERNAL RACIAL ENEMY AND WE MUST OPPOSE ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING THEY DO! MAGA!!!
Slavery, diversity, labor and environmental arbitrage, selective-child. Progress.
I say it as I see it. Looks like it, sounds like it, smells like it. The statement was /SARC, it’s not my opinion of course.
China Offers Renewables and Cheap Nuclear to Poor Countries
In regard to nuclear power, every country is a poor country.
The last place on earth that I’d want to be is anywhere near a chinese made nuclear reactor.
Which is indeed what a Chinese nuclear expert said about them…
China warned over ‘insane’ plans for new nuclear power plants | China | The Guardian
and this guy
Nuclear expert raises concerns about Chinese role in UK’s new nuclear plants | Nuclear power | The Guardian
Resident plonker Griff of course quotes the Grauniad, so it must be true!
WIND AND SOLAR TO PROVIDE 30 PERCENT OF NEW ENGLAND ELECTRICITY CONSUMPTION BY 2050
China, India, etc., to Continue High Levels of Coal Burning, per Glasgow COP26
China and India will not sacrifice their economic progress on the altar of global warming. Do you really believe China and India can afford to stop burning coal? Do you think they want to? Of course not.
India made it perfectly clear at the beginning of the Glasgow COP26, the developed nations should de-industrialize first, before asking developing nations to follow suit.
India declared it would not sign the statement of COP26 goals regarding coal burning. The statement read “close down coal by 2030”. India insisted that be replaced by “phase down unabated coal”.
Unabated refers to the common practice of Indian households, etc., cooking over open fires with coal, a major source of local air pollution. It would be phased down (no time limit was stated).
All this means:
1) Burning coal in power plants, with air pollution abatement systems, would be unaffected (no time limit was stated).
2) The major coal burning countries, such as China, India, Australia, Brazil, etc., would continue to burn coal.
Despite various RE boosters, such as financial adviser Bloomberg, hyping China’s wind and solar efforts, the reality is, almost 80% of China’s electricity growth is from fossil fuels, almost entirely coal. Because China is so big, that fossil growth is worsening its own air pollution, plus the air pollution around the world; the soot falls on snow/ice-covered areas. Melting of snow/ice is much quicker.
China burns about 4 BILLION metric ton of coal each year, more than the rest of the world combined. Its reliance on coal is increasing.
China has expanded its mines to produce an additional 220 million Mt of coal in 2021, up almost six percent from 2020.
China is planning to build 43 new coal-fired power plants and 18 new blast furnaces.
From third qtr. 2020, to third qtr. 2021, China added 460.2 TWh of fossil electricity, which is 3.9 times the total annual electricity supply of NE, or 76.7 times the annual electricity supply of Vermont.
Electricity production growth was 586.9 TWh, up 10.7%, of which 460.2 TWh, or 78.4%, was from fossil fuels, mostly coal.
Wind growth was 89 TWh, up 28.4%, from a low base
Solar growth was 12.6 TWh, up 10.2%, from a low base.
Nuclear growth was 33.2 TWh, up 12.3%, from a low base
China plans to build 200,000 MW of near-zero-CO2 nuclear plants; about 150 units, each 2,350 MW, on about 75 sites, at a cost of $440 billion, by 2035
Amortizing the capital cost at 3.5%/y over 60 years would be ($17,556,485,920/y) / (200,000 MW x 8,766 h/y x 0.90, CF) = $0.01113/kWh, about one third the cost of EU and US nuclear plants.
“Our relationship with China has now probably never, ever been better”, – Donald J. Trump, January 21, 2020, Davos, SW
A little bit of China bashing I suspect.
Chineese aid to many country’s has been hugely beneficial.
What has the West done except to sell arms . .