Fossil Fuel Generation Outpaces Renewables in 2021 – IEA


By Paul Homewood

The IEA has published its latest Electricity Market Report:

This is the key section:

Fossil fuel generation increased by 950 TWh last year, whereas renewables increased by 463 TWh.

Part of the increase relates to recovery in demand from 2020 pandemic levels, but it is plain that renewable energy will continue to struggle to even meet increased demand in coming years, never mind start replacing fossil fuels.

My view is that the IEA are ultra optimistic in even that assumption, as we know that coal power is still meeting the majority of extra demand in China and India. It is unlikely in the extreme that Europe and the US can offset this.

While Fatih Birol whistles in the dark, the fine words at COP26 hit the wall of reality.

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Tom Halla
January 15, 2022 6:04 am

Or it will prove so unsustainably expensive, pitchforks and torches will be brought out.

Reply to  Tom Halla
January 15, 2022 6:17 am

No pitchforks necessary, just change definitions (like those of cases, vaccines, etc. were changed).

“Renewable energy” is derived from resources that are replenished on a geological time-scale.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Scissor
January 15, 2022 6:29 am

woody biomass from well managed forests is renewable on a decade scale

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
January 15, 2022 6:56 am

Yeah, but from a CO2 sequestration perspective, the economics are better to just bury the “well-managed” biomass in an anoxic swamp than burn it and collect CO2 from power plant stacks. And use nuclear to generate the same amount of electricity.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  DMacKenzie
January 15, 2022 7:52 am

that’s absurd- the wood is just weeds from the forest- burn it and produce power and heat, with cogen- and, why do you give a dam about CO2?

woody biomass isn’t about carbon- we don’t do it to save the planet- it’s more about saving the forests- well managed forests are more likely to be saved because then those forests are ECONOMIC forests, useful to mankind- most people here do not lose sleep over carbon

woody biomass is NOT competing with any other form of energy

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
January 15, 2022 9:05 am

We have lots of biomass plants in canada, sitting beside lumber plants, burning wood waste for cogen.
Absolutely nothing wrong with that, I fully support that.
Intentionally harvesting forests just to burn for electricity I do not support.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Pat from kerbob
January 15, 2022 9:10 am

Pay attention, they D0 NOT HARVEST FORESTS JUST GO MAKE CHIPS/PELLETS- now read that real slow and you might understand. The woody biomass is a by-product of long term forest mgt. Those forests ARE GOING TO BE CUT one way or the other. The better trees go into higher value products- NOT CHIPS/PELLETS. I keep explaining that here but some people can’t grasp these simple facts.

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
January 15, 2022 9:32 am

Few would object to your statement if true, but unfortunately it is not entirely true. There are some of us with first hand experience of projects that specifically involved pellet production from essentially virgin forest resources that otherwise would not be harvested without subsidies.

Another objection that many have is that they don’t accept the fundamental premise that biomass CO2 emissions are carbon neutral because fossil inputs are ignored.

It certainly makes sense to recover value from waste wood operations in general, but in order to make this economic for power generation the scale must be sufficiently large to compensate for biomass gathering and processing, e.g. pressing into pellets.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Scissor
January 15, 2022 9:51 am

If some idiot turns a virgin forest into pellets- then they’re an idiot- and there are few idiots in the forestry world. you can’t use one example and extrapolate it to the entire industry.

To understand what it means to say burning wood for energy is carbon neutral – you have to follow the growth of the forest over time. If you manage 1,000 acres- and each year, say X tons gets converted to pellets, the forest is capturing that much every year. So, the forest itself is NOT a source of carbon. Now, you can say, but if you don’t cut the trees, more carbon will be in the forest. But that ain’t gonna happen because you and everyone else wants wood products. To push the idea that the forest ought to be doing nothing but sequestering carbon is a new fantasy called PROFORESTATION- but what this does is put the burden of carbon sequestration on to the owners of forests- which is essentially a “taking”- and if that’s going to happen, society will have to pay for this privilege. Meanwhile, if you want wood products- trees will get cut- and the weeds must be disposed of. Until recently, they were often burned in the open.

The problem with all this is looking only at the chimney. if you do that with your blinders on, you’ll conclude that burning wood is a carbon source. But if you look at the forest as a whole, you’ll conclude that the forest gains and loses carbon. Overall, the forests of America have more carbon in them than just a few decades ago.

Besides, most people here aren’t worried about carbon- so whether or not one views woody biomass as a source is irrelevant. People should think more about the great benefits of good forestry. Good forestry means the owner is more likely to keep it as a forest- not sell it to developers, or God forbid, a solar “farm”. And guess what happens to MOST of the wood on a forest converted to a solar farm- at least in New England, it gets sent to biomass burners! And, with good forestry you have good wildlife habitat, soil protection, water yields, and the trees produce oxygen and yes, sequester carbon. You need to look at the big picture, not the small vision presented by forestry haters and those who love to cover the landscape with wind and solar “farms”.

look at great forestry:

Here in Mass. the forest land is under great threat from developers and solar “farms”. I’d rather see the forest managed including a small % going to biomass burners- rather than hideous urban sprawl and solar monstrosities.

Reply to  Scissor
January 15, 2022 5:55 pm

essentially virgin forest resources”

No such forests in the United States. Even National Parks have few areas that are truly virgin forests or even second growth forests.

Large lumber companies own or lease massive tracts of land where they grow forest products.
Large trees are harvested for lumber/poles.
Anything smaller is chipped. Some wood chips go to paper producers.

This is different than government or development companies bulldozing forests.
All too often, government and development companies chip the bulldozed trees. Chipped into mulch or playgrounds.

These lumber companies used to sell/allow individuals to obtain permits for hunting and fishing.
At least, they used to, until their lawyers started having fits.

If the land is really prime hunt/fish areas, they would lease access to a wealthier clubs who police/insure their members.

Reply to  ATheoK
January 16, 2022 8:20 am

I didn’t mention where but I was in part thinking about Western Great Lake forests in Canada.

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
January 15, 2022 1:33 pm

I agree.

Unless forests are better managed, they will present ever increasing risk for fire suppression. Forest productivity has increased immensely in just 50 years. It will continue to increase as more CO2 enriches the atmosphere.

The current suppression activities leads to bigger and more intense fires.

Building houses in forests is a tragedy awaiting. As is building combustible housing in tightly packed proximity of each other.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  RickWill
January 15, 2022 2:17 pm

I agree that forests have not been well managed- by and large- some because they were over protected- some because they were ruthlessly exploited- and a small amount have been well managed based on forestry science including silviculture, silvics, long term economics, proper logging methodologies, protection of wetlands and rare species- some states like Mass. have promoted the improvements- they sometimes over do it- but mostly oversee it rather well- now, most logging in Mass. is under the direction of licensed foresters who do a pretty good job, if not perfect- few crooks and incompetents out there than 30-40 years ago. Now there’s talk of bringing back controlled burns in western forests- that’s good, but also what would be helpful would be a very large woody biomass industry- so you wouldn’t have to burn so much- that is, why burn in the forest when you can harvest trees in thinnings and burn in facility generating needed energy.

Joao Martins
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
January 15, 2022 9:01 am

woody biomass from well managed forests is renewable on a decade scale

“Renewable” may be, but not “sustainable”.

It would be sustainable IF, and only if, the amount of renewable biomass produced in a decade would yield enough energy to supply that decade.

Or, saying it the other way round: the proportion of sustainable enegy produced from woody biomass is minimal (when compared to the social consumption and needs of energy).

Still saying it in other words: the energy that can be obtained from woody biomass will be consumed in a very small time lapse compared to the period that will be needed for its renewal (i.e., to produce an equivalent amount of biomass).

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Joao Martins
January 15, 2022 9:16 am

Of course it’s sustainable. Many forests in America have been managed for centuries- that means it’s sustainable. When I said decade, i didn’t mean that the same forest stand will be cut in another decade. I meant in the scale of decades. Most stand, if managed as uneven age forests, can be cut over and over again- usually every 15-30 years.

And yes, it’s never going to amount to a great deal- so what – that’s not the goal- the goal is to WEED THE FORESTS in order to manage them for the long term. Those wees MUST GO. They could be burned out in the open, which is what used to happen in the south- polluting the air- or in the north- they’d be cut down and left to rot in the forest. Makes more sense to use that wood for energy- and ideally in a cogen facility- but if that’s not feasible, then just for power.

Those of you that have such a negative view of woody biomass- base your “thinking” on what you read- just like the way so many people think fossil fuels are all terrible- because they don’t bother to talk to fossil fuel producers and learn more about CO2 and “climate science” from the skeptics. So, best to talk to foresters and get the facts right. you’ll never get them right from what you read in newspapers and certainly not from Michael Moore- in his anti green energy movie- what he said about biomass was DEAD WRONG. The guy he had in the movie- is NOT an expert on the subject, in fact, that guy, I know personally- he’s a forestry hating activist- and told me that on the phone one day.

Joao Martins
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
January 15, 2022 11:15 am

Thank you for your answer.

THANK YOU NOT for, not knowing me, having put me in some bandwagons where I do not belong (in the third paragraph): you don’t know if my view of woody biomass is “negative” or positive or whatever; you don’t know if I make my opinions about that matter based on what I read, but yes, you are right, I make them by reading specialized forestry research and thinkig, not “thinking”, about their content; and you don’t know if I do or don’t talk to foresters and get the facts right: in fact, I do, I know many professionally (there is some overlaping with certain agricultural systems, my professional area).

Last edited 10 days ago by Joao Martins
Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Joao Martins
January 15, 2022 1:48 pm

great, you read about it and talk to foresters so you think you understand it sufficient to rant your opinions here – I’ve DONE it for 50 years- look at that link I gave earlier of a Facebook photo album by another forester showing great forestry MADE POSSIBLE with the help of a limited biomass market

and, your idea that some MORON sold good virgin timber for woody biomass is INSANE- would you sell a nicely functioning sports car to a junk yard? Wood is very carefully sorted to maximize profit by ALL loggers. A good sawlog is worth hundreds of times the value for biomass- no amount of subsidy would change that

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
January 15, 2022 11:28 am

I support your explanations. On top of that, it is well-known that New Hampshire experienced a great loss of forest for, among other things, shipbuilding in the 1800s. The state has since recovered its forests and we are all the better for that.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Walter Keane
January 15, 2022 1:54 pm

the main reason for that lost wasn’t ship building- there are millions of acres in New Hampshire- and not that many ships were built- much of the loss was to open up the land for sheep- in Mass. about 75% of the forest was converted to sheep farms- but that began to die off when the Eire Canal opened up- the farmers were tired of farming in frigid New England with the poor soil full of rocks- they were told they could have free or almost free land in the mid west- with extremely deep, ultra rich soils- of course they have to “convince” the Indians to leave- which they did- then the forests grew back and there was a wave of cutting at the turn of the 19th century, mostly white pine (or red spruce and balsam fir farther north) that grew into those pastures- then when the pine was cut- it grew back to mostly hardwoods with some pine- then there was another wave of cutting by mid 20th century, etc., etc.- ergo, forestry is renewable and sustainable- even though most of that cutting was not done under the direction of professional foresters- that only became somewhat common in the late 20th century

I’ve been lucky to have spent 50 years walking the forests of western Massachusetts- that’s way more than Henry David Thoreau, who I consider my favorite author. Way back in ’97, I put up the first forestry web site in Mass. and I had a big section on Thoreau.

Reply to  Walter Keane
January 15, 2022 6:36 pm

Prior to the creation of the United States, the English Crown claimed ownership of all trees used for shipbuilding in North America.

Cutting down a choice white oak or a Virginia live oak or a tall fir or spruce tree without Crown permission resulted in severe penalties.

America’s forests supported England’s fleet expansion of their great ships. Nor were those ships built in America.

After independence, forests were used for building houses, buildings and ships.

Which brings us to, only a small part of the forest has the right kinds of trees of sufficient age for ships.
Boats used smaller trees, but again certain species of specific quality.

The rest were cut to clear land or to build cities, towns, or burn as firewood.

Whether one hikes lands in Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire or Maine one comes across stone fences or piles of rocks where there used to be stone fences.
All of those places were cleared of trees for farming.

When farmers finally accepted that their ground and growing seasons were incompatible, they moved west and tried again. More land cleared and farmed.

Similar activities happened in Virginia, Carolinas, Georgia and Alabama. If stone is available there are stone fence remnants left. If not, than just dense brush.

General Ulysses Grant had a contract to supply wood to army bases shortly before the Civil War. Not as building material, but as firewood.

The Wilderness, as in the Battle of the Wilderness actually refers to very poor quality land stripped of elements necessary to raise tobacco abandoned to nature.
The resulting brushy tangle was described as wilderness. In a short period of time, dead brush, fallen branches, young pines and dry grass were easily ignited by black powder weapons during the Battle of the Wilderness.

Speaking of the Civil War, few things strip the land of trees faster than 80,000 – 100,000 soldiers encamped for years, using wood for heating, cooking, officer shelters, defense structures and blockades. At each and every location where tens of thousands stayed.

Last edited 10 days ago by ATheoK
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
January 15, 2022 11:39 am

Woody biomass on a decades timescale may be sustainable depending on soil conditions, management practices etc. For example, large quantities of calcium, magnesium and potassium are exported in the wood. The soil may be able to replenish its reserves within a rotation, or not. A prudent solution is to respread ash into the forest-a virtually non-existent practise in Canada. Research shows that on sensitive soils one harvest can result in a 1pH unit increase in acidity. In addition, the soil may be able to supply enough nitrogen for the crop but if not then you need to consider the CO2 and energy use around nitrogen fertilizer generation and application. The best thing about burning wood is that the carbon pathways involved are complex enough to defer any political consequences into well beyond an election cycle.

Lewis P Buckingham
Reply to  BCBill
January 15, 2022 12:43 pm

The use of forest products in building effectively sequesters carbon, as the framework can last for a hundred years.
The anti white ant and fungal treatments in Australia mean that the timber is unlikely to be burned, but will be buried if the building is demolished.
Weathering of rocks may replace Ca in some soils.
The idea of spreading ash on forested areas is a real insite.
Spreading ash on the lawn certainly greens the grass.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Lewis P Buckingham
January 15, 2022 2:03 pm

the idea of spreading ash on forests has been researched- it’s not as if forestry people are illiterate- just about every concern anyone has about forestry has been researched- but, spreading the ash results in costs and no business wants costs that aren’t proven necessary- first you have to get the ash, then you have to spend money on the labor to spread it out- in forests with high rainfall- much of it might just wash off the land into the streams- which would be a big problem in some states like Mass. where all wetlands/streams are protected religiously

Reply to  BCBill
January 15, 2022 1:47 pm

A prudent solution is to respread ash into the forest-a virtually non-existent practise in Canada. 

My view of “managed” forests is typified by this statement. Understanding is the essence of management.

CO2 is enriching forests resulting in increased productivity. At present time that has become a threat with ever increasing effort to suppress fires leading to bigger and more intense fires.

Managed forest productivity, in many locations, gives higher energy density than mounting wind turbines or solar panels on the same land. The value of wood is that the good stuff can be used for buildings and the “waste” used as fuel.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  BCBill
January 15, 2022 2:00 pm

It’s NOT true that large quantities of those minerals are exported with the wood- the minerals are mostly in the foliage and slash- some goes, sure, but it doesn’t really lower the producitivity of the forest as measured by annual fiber production.

as for spreading ash- that’s just another cost not proven to be necessary- the forests in previous times were truly “hammered” yet they grew back fine- the ones that were treated right but cut have grown back even better- I could give numbers but I’m too busy

believe it or not if you are a climate alarmist- the forests are sustainable and renewable and highly productive of many products- and especially when well managed

though, I agree, that some forests should be protected forever, especially remaining old growth and any forests with unique properties or in high aesthetic areas or with special wildlife values

I’m not just another “timber beast”- I’ve spent a great deal of time backpacking in American National Parks- I love such wild areas

but there’s enough land to have wild areas and unmanaged forests and managed forests- I just can’t except those who dislike forestry but live in nice wood homes with nice furniture and paper products, yet they read somewhere that there MIGHT be a problem- just like the way the alarmists are terrified of a trivial warming

Joao Martins
Reply to  Scissor
January 15, 2022 8:50 am

Yes, learn with the European Union: it is a question of … “taxonomy” …

Frank from NoVA
January 15, 2022 6:11 am

From Wikipedia:

“(Faith Birol) earned a BSc degree in power engineering from the Istanbul Technical University. He received his MSc and PhD in energy economics from the Technical University of Vienna.”

Another example of someone who was turned into a nitwit in grad school.

Last edited 10 days ago by Frank from NoVA
Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Frank from NoVA
January 15, 2022 6:31 am

economics- the dismal science
energy economics- the hopelessly politicized dismal science

Peta of Newark
January 15, 2022 6:32 am

Quote:”The industrial sector contributed most to demand growth, followed by the commercial and services sector and then the residential sector

Enquiring minds, as their blood boils, demand to know why Boris Constantly Drunk Johnson is so intent on hammering the domestic/residential sector.

What *really* is actually going on here – why do our political leaders hate the little people so intensely?

Last edited 10 days ago by Peta of Newark
Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Peta of Newark
January 15, 2022 8:32 am

I’m sure it somehow involves sugar.

Reply to  Jeff Alberts
January 15, 2022 9:18 am


Reply to  Peta of Newark
January 15, 2022 10:22 am

What good are sheep if you can’t fleece them?

Reply to  Peta of Newark
January 15, 2022 12:46 pm

useless eaters — not of my tribe

Dave Andrews
Reply to  Peta of Newark
January 16, 2022 7:59 am

Bojo was one of six children and he is doing his best to carry on that tradition with number five on the way. So he’s also trying to expand the residential sector whilst hammering it

January 15, 2022 6:44 am

And again, reality settles in. The only renewable sources of energy are coal, gas, oil, hydro and nuclear. Solar and wind are laughable crap which has to be sustained by gas, coal, oil, hydro and nuclear. And those facts are not going anywhere.

very old white guy
January 15, 2022 6:52 am

Everyday I read something with the word renewables in it. There are no renewables other than wood. Fossil fuels are required to make all the so called “renewables”.

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  very old white guy
January 15, 2022 7:09 am

Wood also requires heavy inputs of fossil fuels for harvesting, processing and shipping.
There is no free lunch.

Reply to  very old white guy
January 15, 2022 7:24 am

There are no renewables other than wood. 

I believe that wood pellets take quite a bit of energy to process.

Reply to  very old white guy
January 15, 2022 12:42 pm

Plants are renewable. Oxen are renewable. People are. People used to row a lot.

Ron Long
January 15, 2022 7:16 am

Good news for our friends from the Chlorophyll Crowd. Eat your vegetables.

Reply to  Ron Long
January 15, 2022 8:25 am

Can them if you have extra. The prospect of some volcanic cooling is increasing.

January 15, 2022 7:24 am

If the largest growth in demand was in China and China met that demand with coal power, then China accounts for coal meeting more than half the increase in demand.

If you strip out China, the rest of the world is ditching coal, stopping new coal and going renewable.

Reply to  griff
January 15, 2022 7:30 am

“ the rest of the world is ditching coal, stopping new coal and going renewable.”

And suffering as a result

Funny you should omit that fact, griff

Last edited 10 days ago by fretslider
Reply to  griff
January 15, 2022 7:42 am

Only Europe, N. America and Australia are “ditching” coal. The rest of the world is building it as fast as they can.
Even in those places that are “ditching” coal, the wisdom of doing so is being widely questioned.

Peter W
Reply to  griff
January 15, 2022 7:48 am

And paying through the nose as the result, while suffering blackouts and freezing in the cold when the wind does not blow and the sun does not shine.

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  griff
January 15, 2022 7:56 am

If the rest of the world was (supposedly) jumping off a cliff, that still wouldn’t make it a good idea.

Reply to  griff
January 15, 2022 7:57 am

On a cold, windy, snowy Saturday morning in Kansas, wind is performing at 25% below its short term forecast, and 40% below its name plate capacity. Guess what is making up the difference? Mostly coal.

Reply to  griff
January 15, 2022 8:22 am

“If you strip out China, the rest of the world is ditching coal, stopping new coal and going renewable.”

Again Griff, the atmosphere is well mixed so that makes the whole “renewable” effort rather pointless doesn’t it? Unless of course it’s all about virtue signaling and wealth redistribution…

Reply to  griff
January 15, 2022 8:31 am

So basically no point in anybody doing anything until you go convince China then Griff … on your bike son.

John Garrett
Reply to  griff
January 15, 2022 8:38 am


If…, if…, if…

Q: If you call a dog’s tail a leg, how many legs does a dog have?

A: Four. Calling a dog’s tail a leg doesn’t make it so.

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  griff
January 15, 2022 9:01 am

Griff, you know very well that both Germany and Japan are increasing coal due to unsound nuclear policy.

Joao Martins
Reply to  griff
January 15, 2022 9:12 am

” … the rest of the world is ditching coal, stopping new coal and going renewable. ”

Yes, going renewable until they reach the edge of the abyss: Then they stop and… (NO, NOT TO THINK) … restart coal power plants.

And that is the failure of you, griff, and your brotherhood: you just ask to cancel and do not, want not (and know not) propose alternatives. Real alternatives. Real replacement options, not some foul calculations scrabbled on a newspaper margin.

Reply to  griff
January 15, 2022 9:51 am

Just a failure in logic. The rest of the world is still building new fossil fuel plants without China. The rest of the world would only have more new ‘renewable’ than fossil if China had zero new renewables. The reality is that the increase in renewable includes new hydro in China, as well as solar (paid in part by money from the rest of the world).

Climate believer
Reply to  griff
January 15, 2022 10:38 am

“…and going renewable gas”


In 2019, around 84% of global primary energy came from coal, oil and gas.

King Coal
Reply to  griff
January 15, 2022 12:19 pm

The UK has been using coal Generation this week as there was no wind for the windmills! Most of the week grid was running on 50+% gas and 5% coal – fossil fuels kept the lights on yet again and again and again – the green blob will be the first to moan when they can’t charge their EVs or mobiles or are sat shivering eating cold food – hypocrites!

Reply to  griff
January 15, 2022 12:31 pm

Earlier this year, griff proclaimed that it didn’t matter that wind output plummeted to nothing for weeks, because a coal plant was able to make up the difference.

Reply to  griff
January 15, 2022 2:04 pm

the rest of the world is ditching coal

Australia just exports more coal and buys manufactured items from the countries importing that coal. That is how Australia balances its accounts. In fact the accounts are unbalanced but on the plus side by a big margin:

UK is not exporting any coal so has to go into debt to buy the goods it can no longer manufacture:
It is a not a pretty picture with rapidly declining financial position throughout this century. UK already owes the rest of the world 33% of its annual national production. That rate of accumulating international debt is staggering. This is the inevitable result of relying on fairy farts as the source of energy. It is illusionary because the intermittent generators require more energy to make and install than they produce over their lifetime.

Reply to  RickWill
January 15, 2022 4:46 pm

Griff thinks like most lefties that everyone else should just divide the world money evenly so debt is not a problem 🙂

Reply to  griff
January 15, 2022 2:58 pm

And if my aunt had wheels, she’d be a wagon.

Reply to  griff
January 15, 2022 6:52 pm

Specious sophistry.

Why don’t you name the country and their energy generation?
Because most are expanding fossil fuel energy generation.

January 15, 2022 8:42 am

“Fossil Fuel Generation Outpaces Renewables” and always will without an unknown technological breakthrough. “Renewables” are a parasite on our economy and environment. All the renewable energy products should still be in the research stage rather than widespread usage since they are not reliable, economically sound, and don’t provide environmental benefits (unless you hate birds, bats and natural vistas).

Color me shocked that intelligent governments chose to provide reliable energy for usage rather than depend on whether the wind is blowing or the sun is shining.

Rud Istvan
January 15, 2022 9:50 am

I did a deep dive into IEA numbers and predictions for ebook Gaia’s Limits. Their numbers are generally well founded. Their written/spoken conclusions from them much less so. As the future renewables prediction here.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
January 15, 2022 8:16 pm

I dove in several times.

Each time, the numbers and their sources changed. Usually to misdirect easy analysis or tracking of inconvenient numbers like subsidies, investments.
Spreadsheets that I developed were only useful to remind me where I had found that data previously.

The last time, IEA claimed that information detailing subsidies came from state and regional spreadsheets. Numbers that were incomplete that I could not track from journal entries to summary accounts.

Just try looking up the alleged subsidies applied to fossil fuels that are actually costs for DOE research centers. What was easy to find around 2012 is darned hard to find now.

An eye opener back in 2012 were their “estimates”.
e.g., home installed solar is a never ending gift to renewable energy advocates.

  • All it takes to increase the home installed solar numbers is a revised estimate when not enough users installed new home solar.
  • There is no such thing as failed, declining or removed home solar installations, efficiencies or resulting energy generated.
  • A significant portion of home solar arrays are thermal. Again, all it takes to improve the numbers is another estimate revision. Nor do thermal solar arrays ever stop working at peak efficiency.

Actively disguising, burying, misusing data is just as wrong as the endless temperature adjustments.

Ed Fox
January 15, 2022 11:06 am

How many coal plants were added to build solar panels and wind turbines?

What percentage of added renewable power is being built with renewable power?

How many years of solar power does it take for a solar panel to produce the energy required to make a second solar panel.

Mike Jonas(@egrey1)
January 15, 2022 11:56 am

Looking at the chart, there is a total disconnect between the patterns in the actual data up to 2021 and the predictions after 2021. If the surge in coal power in 2021 is a correction of unsustainable declines in 2019-20, then surely coal will resume its upward trajectory, not stagnate. And given the modest and steady increase in renewables up to 2021, there seem to be no grounds for a large and sustained surge in renewables from 2022 onwards.

The predictions look like warped wishful thinking based on an assumed need to ‘decarbonise’.

However, there is one rather sinister interpretation: “Global” has two major components: 1. China and India. 2. The rest. The huge increase in coal generation capacity in China and India is driving up coal usage. If all or most renewables growth is in the rest of the world, and if all or most coal usage growth is in China and India, then we can reasonably expect to see China and India power ahead while the rest of the world sinks.

For its own survival, the rest of the world has to join in the surge in coal usage as part of a return to reliable energy.

Dave Andrews
Reply to  Mike Jonas
January 16, 2022 8:24 am

In their recent publication Coal 2021 IEA said that coal demand is expected to surpass the record of 2013 in 2022 and rise to an all time high in 2024 driven by China (+ 135 Mt), India (+ 129 Mt) and SE Asia (+50Mt).

Coal fired power production would rise 4.1% in China, 11% in India and 12% in SE Asia

Chris Hanley
January 15, 2022 12:13 pm

Emissions from electricity need to decline by 55% by 2030 to meet our Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario ….

“Fatih Birol whistles in the dark”, worser than that, a glance at the total global primary energy consumption (2019) suggests a genuine case of ‘denialism’.

Last edited 10 days ago by Chris Hanley
michael hart
January 15, 2022 12:24 pm

“While Fatih Birol whistles in the dark, the fine words at COP26 hit the wall of reality.”

And yet people like Fatih Birol still crank out Enviro-twaddle in the face of reality.
It pleases me that reality will wash away their intentions like a sandcastle in the face of an incoming tide, but saddens me that they are still being paid to write it.

January 15, 2022 2:09 pm

Well this shocking legacy simply requires an emergency program for the drastic backlog of unreliables that’s been inherited-
Germany plans emergency program for “huge, gigantic” 2030 emissions task | RenewEconomy

It’s an enormous gigantic task but every true Green climate changer must be prepared to ‘deeply affect social reality’ and jackboot these NIMBYs and obstructionists out of the way and if some nature conservation and animals have to be sacrificed in the process then so be it. This is a new dawn and the Greenshirts are on the march with new realities.

January 15, 2022 5:34 pm

My view is that the IEA are ultra optimistic in even that assumption, as we know that coal power is still meeting the majority of extra demand in China and India. It is unlikely in the extreme that Europe and the US can offset this.”

Based upon IEA’s absurd levels of renewables in 2022, 2023 and 2024, I’d suggest they’re flat out delusional.

Andy Pattullo
January 16, 2022 9:53 am

The easiest way to make accurate predictions about the future is just to extend existing trend lines forward. No supercomputer, no massive calculations, and predictions that come fairly close to realities much of the time. Yet here we are again with climate doomsayers and green carpet baggers claiming that on the date of their prediction the trends will miraculously change in the direction of their preferred future state, without any valid explanation why other than wishful thinking.

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