While wind and solar power are taking a larger piece out of a growing world primary energy pie, fossil fuels are expected to have more absolute growth through 2050.
#energy #oilgas #oilandgas #renewableenergy #solarenergy #windenergy
By: Leen Weijers, VP Engineering, Liberty Energy
As Liberty Energy CEO Chris Wright explained in his viral video a few weeks ago, dishonest terminology surrounds the climate debate. One of these terms is “Energy Transition”. The term’s use gives the impression that there exists a quick, easy and scalable alternative to eliminate fossil fuel use without serious impact on people.
Current primary energy distribution by source, and forecasts by organizations like the EIA in their International Energy Outlook 2021, show that this “energy transition” is non-existent. As you can see in the title graph above, and also in Liberty’s ESG report on Bettering Human Lives, no present quantity of primary energy generated by oil or gas is currently replaced by renewables. A couple of headlines from the report that you don’t hear a lot:
- Global primary energy use is about to grow by almost 50% between 2020 – 2050 as impoverished people rise from poverty;
- Oil consumption rises in all EIA scenarios. In their “Reference Scenario”, oil consumption rises at about 1 million bopd/year for the next 30 years, almost the same steady yearly increase of the last 5 decades;
- Natural gas consumption will continue to growth through 2050.
The reason for this growth is simple: fossil fuels are abundant, cheap and efficient to provide reliable and dense energy at scale. They have helped to generate a quality-of-life revolution for a portion of humanity, and people in poverty who have missed out on this blessing rightfully want what you and I already have.
Sadly, few report on this blessing we take for granted. Good news about renewables breaking records, however, is widespread and often inflated. There are a few marketing strategies renewable advocates have used that make it appear as if renewables have a larger market share than they really have:
First, using the word “energy” or “power” when they mean “electricity”. Take this Reuters report as an example: “Renewable energy is expected to account for around 46% of German power consumption this year….” This sounds like Germans are running on renewables for almost half of their energy needs. But this is JUST for electricity. According to the BP Statistical Review and graphed below by OurWorldInData.org for world electricity vs primary power, worldwide electricity represents only 17% of all primary power. That’s also where is currently stands in Germany. In 2021, Germany’s top three primary energy sources were oil, natural gas and coal.
Second, reporting renewable records without mentioning they only last a short time. As an example, this article boasts renewables powering 85% of Germany’s electricity needs. But like the electricity primary power sources reported in the plot below reported by Timera Energy, records in wind and solar don’t last very long, and there are times when they don’t provide anything at all. Fossil fuels are there to back them up – you are welcome. Energy reliability is a marathon, not a sprint.
Third, reporting power capacity, not energy output. Renewables really shine using this metric because they don’t work most of the time. If you have ever spent time in western Europe, you will know that the sun there, like most Europeans, only has a 32-hour work week, while it gives little heads up when it will show up. What to do during the remaining 136 hours that week? You need to build a lot of power capacity to harvest a little energy. As per BP Statistical Review, the world capacity factor is only 14% for solar and 26% for wind. Therefore, if you see a historical power capacity growth curve, divide the solar curve’s slope by 7 and the wind curve’s slope by 4 to get energy output. Consumers pay for MWh, not MW.
Lastly, lumping in “traditional biofuels” to boost the share of renewables as part of total energy needs. These traditional biofuels kill millions of people yearly through PM2.5 particle release during indoor cooking. If there is a “transition” humanity needs ASAP, it is the transition from the traditional renewable cooking fuels to clean-burning fossil cooking fuels.
These unfair reporting methodologies have led to confusion and a belief that an “Energy Transition” is currently in the making. It is not.
The EIA primary energy forecast for the next 30 years shows that ALL sources of energy are growing. While renewables claim a larger fraction of a growing pie, fossil fuels are expected to grow faster in absolute terms.
Recently, a spark of sanity has returned to the debate about nuclear power. For a reliable, cost-effective, low-carbon and scalable energy transition, we need to take the path proposed by Robert Bryce in his book Power Hungry. In the near-term, we need more natural gas, which reduces our CO2 footprint and is cheap, reliable and abundant. For the long-term, we need to build nuclear energy, hopefully eventually nuclear fusion. Before that, let’s hope a spark of sanity returns to the discussion about the “Energy Transition”.
AND the carbon dioxide produced from burning fossil fuels has a negligible effect on the climate. Over 95% of greenhouse gases consist of clouds and water vapour over which we have no control. Carbon dioxide consists of just 0.04% and is near saturation anyway. This means it can absorb very little more heat anyway. Carbon dioxide is a good gas and essential to life. It is not a villain.
and of the 0.04% over 95% is naturally occurring, trillions of animals breathing plus wildfires and blowing up gas pipelines,volcanoes, etc., so the amount from industrial & transportation is barely measurable – to think that that tiny amount somehow controls the earth’s weather and temperatures is beyond absurd – down right stupid
. Carbon dioxide consists of just 0.04% and is near saturation anyway.
nope and nope.
maybe you missed the memo about the stupidity of the trace gas argument.
Yes, I missed that memo. Can you post it here. Thanks.
CO2 is a weak greenhouse gas above 400pp and will harm no one above 400ppm. CO2 never harmed anyone while rising up to 400ppm. Manmade CO2 emissions increased CO2 about +50% since 1850 and that means 33% of the 420ppm of total CO2 originally came from manmade CO2 emissions.
Those are facts. Also a facts are that no one was harmed from more CO2 in the atmosphere, Siberia has warmer winter nights and C3 photosynthesis plants grow better. Adding CO2 to the atmosphere was inadvertently the best thing humans have ever done to improve the ecology. I tell that to leftists to make them go berserk.
But let’s get our facts right so we don’t get fact checked some day when leftists are finally willing to listen to real climate science. Perhaps during a Nut Zero blackout (I’m an optimist).
Water vapor is a greenhouse gas, like carbon dioxide, and represents around 80 percent of total greenhouse gas mass in the atmosphere and 90 percent of greenhouse gas volume.
Water vapor and clouds account for up to 85 percent of the greenhouse effect, compared to up to 15 percent for CO2. (these numbers are rough approximations)
But water vapor is not a DIRECT cause of global warming.
Anthropogenic emissions of CO2, methane, and other gases impede Earth’s ability to cool itself, so our planet remains warmer than it would be without such gases in the atmosphere.
This rising average temperature from manmade greenhouse gases increases evaporation rates and atmospheric water vapor concentrations, resulting in additional warming.
Water vapor is a dependent variable.
Water vapor is a “potent” greenhouse gas due to the wide range of infrared wavelengths it resonates with.
Water vapor is a positive feedback to ANY cause of troposphere warming, whether manmade or natural.
The percentage of the CO2 in the atmosphere that originated from manmade CO2 emissions is about 33%. NOT 5%, as falsely claimed by Mr. Howard.
There are large carbon dioxide flows during a year, such as when plants grow and then dis. There is only a small addition of CO2 from manmade CO2 emissions each year — about +2.5ppm a year. That +2.5ppm each year is only about 5% of the total carbon dioxide flow each year. That’s where the 5% comes from — comparing seasonal carbon flows that DO NOT increase atmospheric CO2, with annual changes in atmospheric CO2 from manmade CO2 emissions that DO increase atmospheric CO2 (although perhaps half of the annual manmade CO2 emissions are absorbed by nature — oceans, land and plants).
I decided earlier this year that I would no longer tolerate conservatives falsely claiming only 3% to 5% of CO2 is manmade, denying a greenhouse effect or claiming CO2 is not a climate change variable. Those beliefs are junk science.
We conservatives (I’ve been a libertarian since 1973) should not tolerate junk science from fellow conservatives just to be polite. I’m not polite, so comments like these are easy for me to write, and I don’t care if I get more down votes than Nick the Stroker, or even more than Griff in the old days.
CO2 is our planet’s best friend
Global warming is good news
More CO2 in the atmosphere is good news for plants
Nut Zero is a total waste of money
The climate emergency is leftist propaganda
And Greta Thunberg is a trained parrot.
Both Al Bore and John “‘Why the long face?” Kerry are climate dingbats, and I hope I have not offended other dingbats.
End of ranting and raving for today
Honest Climate Science and Energy Blog: The best climate science and energy articles I read today, March 12, 2023
so Richard what is your source for the 33% – I am merely repeating what I have read from other sources and considering that each human emits 2 lbs. of CO2 each day per Proff. Lindzen, that would be 15 billion lbs going up each day just from humans,along with who knows how much from the trillions of other animals on the planet, all exhaling CO2, not to mention the CO2 estimates I have seen from wildfires, volcanoes, tilling the soil, blowing up natural gas pipelines etc, the 5% seems pretty reasonable – but if the 33% is right I would like to see the source – cheers
The whole thing is completely barking mad. They call themselves green while demonising the very thing that makes the planet green.
A very good article. Energy transition, tipping points, climate justice, sustainable investment etc etc …all meaningless phrases spewed out with ease by the Climate Crisis crowd and echoed by our pathetic politicians and the MSM.
green energy cram down is a better term
By far the best use for solar is Off Grid applications where electric distribution outages don’t shut off generation. Solar’s BEST use is recharging pumped storage batteries. It’s generation time is far too short to be of practical grid use and MUST be curtailed (WRT Rooftop Solar) in the event of a distribution outage
COMMENT ON GRAPH OF GERMANY
The graph, for a windy/sunny day in March 2019 (week 10), shows the total output of all generators, MW, fed to the German HV grid, aka grid load
The graph is extremely misleading.
Most of that MW is for serving in-Germany electricity daily demand
The total output, MW, is increased by imports or decreased by exports, MW, as needed, to maintain stability on the grid, due to the VARIABLE outputs of wind and solar, 24/7/365, year after year.
Germany no longer has enough power plants to balance its own wind and solar WITHIN Germany, especially on windy days, so it uses/abuses nearby grids to help out
Poland has blocked Germany’s electricity exports, because they upset the Polish grid..
Exports means surpluses, which means low export wholesale prices, even negative wholesale prices, so these nearby countries love the German exports, because they are, on average, nearly for free,
They also love it when Germany, an 800-lb gorilla, imports, due to low wind/solar, because that means scarcity and high wholesale prices.
Mind you, these cheap exports and expensive imports came about, due to huge German subsidies for wind and solar.
These, and numerous other items, imposed an enormous ADDITIONAL cost on German households, which have the SECOND highest electric rates in Europe.
Denmark, another country besotten about wind, is a close THIRD
Recently, the UK became number ONE, because it has totally screwed up its electrical sector, aka mismanagement
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In 2021, well before Ukraine, the EU bureaucracy ordained no more long-term natural gas contracts with Russia, because it looked bad from a green point of view.
That meant increased buying on the SPOT market, which sent natural gas prices through the roof
Russia delivers gas only under long-term contracts, per worldwide industry standard practice for decades.
In 2021, most of Europe had lots of clear skies but very little wind and rain and snow.
It had plenty of solar power during a few hours of the day, but not any at night!!!!
It had almost no wind power for months
Hydro plant reservoirs and rivers had low water levels,
Barge traffic on the Rhine River came to a near halt.
France, Switzerland, and Norway had to curtail hydro production, plus they had to curtail exports.
Typically, Norway exports to Germany
Typically France Exports to Germany and the UK
Norway increased its household electric rates and EV charging rates by a factor of three
Some nuclear plants in France had to shut down, because of a lack of cooling water.
Some were shut down, because maintenance had been deferred, and could no longer be deferred.
Germany stopped the scheduled shutdown of its 3 remaining nuclear plants, and restarted retired coal plants.
Norway increased electric rates to 40 to 50 c/kWh
This meant all those bragged-about EVs became much more expensive to drive.
Total disaster in Europe, before Ukraine.
Then came Ukraine, the poorest and most corrupt country in Europe, BY FAR, which made all of the above much worse and even more expensive.
A very mild winter “saved” Europe, which now uses much less primary energy than before, because much of industry is not operating at more normal levels.
Sadly, there is no rate of change information in this analysis.
Sadly its based on false assumptions. US based parochial ones.
«These traditional biofuels kill millions of people yearly through PM2.5 particle release during indoor cooking. »
It is not the pm2.5 that kills,
“The first question we address is whether woodsmoke should be
regulated and/or managed separately, even though some of its separate constituents are already regulated in many jurisdictions.”
Indoor cooking is rarely done over an open fire in a habitation. Stoves for cooking and heating enclose the fire and the combustion gases are expelled through vents or flues, both for efficiency and comfort, something that’s been common for a very long time everywhere. To state that “traditional biofuels kill millions of people yearly” because of indoor cooking is extreme hyperbole or even a total fabrication.
Having lived for years in the sub-Arctic, I can assure you that the risk of death by freezing is far greater than that of particulate inhalation. The wish to regulate or manage woodsmoke would be met with laughter and derision by those that depend upon biofuels as they have since discovering the use of fire.
The greatest risks of death in the far North are 1. drowning 2.aircraft accidents 3.gunshot wounds 4 ATV accidents 5. domestic dog attacks It’s highly likely that world-wide the most common cause of accidental death is drowning.
Yeah. It rang bells for me after reading this only a couple days ago.
The problem actually is that fossil fuels are no longer abundant, nor cheap, and are mostly under countries that are inimical to the West.
The USA happens to be the exception that proves the rule.
In Europe there is only natural gas under the North sea, or Ukraine unless highly controversial fracking becomes politically acceptable Only Ukraine Poland and Russia have viable coal left (discounting German Lignite) and only Russia and IIRC Romania and Ukraine have any oil.
Japan has nothing at all. and neither does New Zealand, China is a massive importer of coal from Australia, and take a look at India… all these roseate uplands of reducing poverty and increasing energy consumption rests on te faux cornucopian proposition that since there always has been cheap abundant fossil fuel, there always will be.
Try living in Europe right now. Cheap and abundant it ain’t. Heat or eat is a bit of an exagerration, but its close.
And coal is filthy stuff, really it is! It costs a moiuntain to clean up the flues from sulphur and nitrogen oxides.
We only have one thing left that is here now, cheap enough, and can do the job and that is nuclear and all this ‘to fossil, or not to fossil, that is the question’ is all just ‘strutting and fretting upon the stage’ and is dangerous in its naivete and distracts from the real issue – what is the world population going to use in 100 years time? And it wont be fossil.
Fossil isn’t dead, but like renewables, its beginning to smell…that way.
“China is a massive importer of coal from Australia”
That statement has a suspicious resemblance to the reasoning behind eliminating Germany’s dependence on Russian gas and oil. Is there a possibility that armed conflict could be a result of this situation?
Leo, what a bunch of nonsense, conservative estimates show we have 500 years of fossil fuels left. The only reason they aren’t cheap is because of the anti fossil fuel nonsense.
Fossil fuels are very abundant. Whether they are cheap or expensive is a function of access. As Lee Raymond (former Exxonmobil CEO) used to say- if you give me a map of the world and let me pick any location I choose, I can produce oil, coal and natural gas for multiple generations to come.
The oil sands of Canada and Venezuela alone could fuel the world single handedly for more than a decade. Its all about access not reserves.
“The problem actually is that fossil fuels are no longer abundant, nor cheap, and are mostly under countries that are inimical to the West”
Have you noticed the oil reserves we have in friendly Canada. 3rd largest in the world and virtually untapped.
Hi Leo Smith ,
I can not see why you have so many Down Votes .
Maybe because you slagged off coal .
I agree with you that NUCLEAR is the answer to the worlds energy but there is massive negativity against nuclear in many countries.
This will change when people become poorer and energy becomes to expensive .
You got a few things wrong and one was that New Zealand has no fossil fuel reserves .
This is not true as there are very large coal deposits in both islands and there is plenty of off shore oil and gas resources .
Just because our ex Prime nut minister Jacinda banned all further off shore exploration and development does not mean we do not have many offshore oil and gas fields.
All countries attempting to go carbon neutral should get their heads out of the sand and look at what is happening in Asia .For every tonne of coal that Europe and North America stop using Asia is using two tonnes .
From 1999 untill 2008 world coal production was stable at 4.7 billion tonnes .
World coal production has topped 8 billion tonnes twice since then and China consumes 5.3 billion tonnes .
Governments and electorates have to l wake up and ask why are they destroying their countries economies when fossil fuel use is increasing at such a rate in Asia.
There Is No Energy Transition, Just Energy Addition
Correct statement, well formulated !
The reference to woodsmoke by the author and commentators is not the main subject of the article. The main point clearly is the hardcore reality is that our standard of living is fossil fuel dependent and appears to be that way going well into the future.
Very good article and clear summary of why decarbonization is not happening. Just one quibble.
As pointed out by Steve Milloy’s excellent Junk Science article here a few days ago, PM2.5 doesn’t kill anyone. However, high PM2.5 emissions from solid fuel burning is an indication of incomplete combustion that produces a myriad of hydrocarbon gases and condensable liquids – much of which consist of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) that are quite harmful. There are more than 100 harmful chemical species in smoke from burning wood or dung under conditions that do not produce high combustion efficiency. When combustion is nearly complete (as occurs in modern low emission wood heating appliances) the PM2.5 emission portion is mostly soot (carbon) and the long chain PAH’s pretty much disappear.
” (as occurs in modern low emission wood heating appliances)”
Modern wood stoves with combustors are pricey — they are nice when the situation allows.
Use this string with images for a look. Catalytic Combustor Wood Stoves
In the US all wood burning consumer appliances are regulated by EPA and certified to produce emissions of less tan 2.0 g/hr in standardized tests. Poorly designed old unregulated stoves could produce over 200 g/hr. Both catalytic and non-catalytic wood burner are at least 95% cleaner than their predecessors. Google “EPA Burn Wise” for details. And, yes EPA went overboard and clean burning appliances are much more expensive than they need to be.
The top graph really says it all. Note that as all new energy sources have been added , there never has been any transitions from an old fuel to a new fuel, always just additions / slices to an ever growing energy pie.
Note also that as that energy pie has grown, so has overall quality of life around the globe.
Lastly, lumping in “traditional biofuels” to boost the share of renewables as part of total energy needs. These traditional biofuels kill millions of people yearly through PM2.5 particle release during indoor cooking.
biofuels? you meant natural gas
Mosher, this is a new low even for you. The studies used to prove this claim are so biased, so incredibly stuffed with a-priori assumptions and spurious correlations, that even flat earthers think it’s a bit much.
Actual, valid studies have shown no correlation between gas stove use and childhood asthma: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24429203/
The food you cook produces far more particulate pollution than the stove: https://www.osti.gov/biblio/1172959
Their model assumed no ventilation and still could only produce tiny, tiny amounts of these pollutants, far below even the EPA’s stringent standards.
“Mosher, this is a new low even for you”.
And THAT is really low !
I wrote an article about indoor cooking pollution in 2020. The unusual formatting helped me to type it — I have a vision disability. It’s not about cooking with wood or animal dung — it’s about cooking inside a typical US home.
Here’s a quote:
“According to the World Health Organization, India’s capital city, New Delhi, has THE WORST outdoor air quality of any major city.
During the dirtier Indian winter months, fine particulate matter levels are about 225 micrograms per cubic meter.
That’s not much different than the 280 micrograms per cubic meter that was reached during the final hour of cooking a big Thanksgiving dinner inside a test house !”
Honest global warming chart Blog: CO2 is fake air pollution — Consider real air pollution, inside your home ! (elonionbloggle.blogspot.com)
What’s uppermost in the minds of the elites is “how difficult can we make it”?
I was under the impression it was … How much more $€¥£ can we bilk from the public utilizing CC as a sledgehammer?
Hey! The graphics and charts and data show that wind and solar have almost NO PART of the Global Primary Energy pie. Almost zero….they only show up on the “projections” of the future, not in the present.
“wind and solar power are taking a larger piece out of a growing world primary energy pie”
It is easy to say “larger piece” — but it is meaningless if the original piece might as well have been zero — beside which any increase would look large.
There is a niche place for wind and solar.
But that niche is not suppling the grid.
(I have an over 40 year old solar powered calculator. It still works. Bit won’t run my house.)
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I couldn’t agree more. “Energy transition” just another worthless/meaningless bumper sticker slogan used for the low information listener/viewer. Fossil fuel needs to be as clean as is practicable, nuclear needs to be expanded as much as possible. Wind and solar need to be withdrawn from the grid in a manner that least disturbs the grid.
As Liberty Energy CEO Chris Wright explained in his viral video a few weeks ago, dishonest terminology surrounds the climate debate.
people who lose on the facts always whine about their opponents superior terminology.
second there is no climate debate. there is a policy debate, but the climate definately exists
Australia is winning the race to NutZero. End of April will prove an interesting time as the three remaining generators at Liddell shut down for the last time.
Winter in Australia in 2023 will produce some spectacular wholesale electricity prices. Retail electricity prices are always spectacular with accelerating inflation. All the hidden costs to get free, “renewable” energy into households and business. The problem is that these costs are baked in and create a huge margin over the wholesale price of electricity. There is lots of stuff that does not come for free like:
The attached chart is from the AEMO dashboard and highlights the supreme delusion in the electricity supply industry in Australia. This is a chart they actually highlight. You have to read the title carefully to appreciate what it means. But this is what “renewable” proponents focus on. It underscores why delusion prevails over sanity.
Is there any proven effect of the “strict” (but non Chinese) anti COVID measures, even the most drastic ones, on community spread, in a country with essentially open borders? (not you Australia, not NZ)
No, of course not. Yet these measures are described as common sense.
Is there any proven, significant, long term effect of any fuel economy mandate? (or even medium term effect?)
They invent mandates and conclude they work, because “common sense”.
On a related topic, in today’s UK Telegraph we read:
The piece goes on to consider the view of the UK’s National Grid and the Climate Change Commission:
Conclusion: It is not going to happen. There are no plans, there’s no money, there’s no even agreement between the responsible organizations on what it is that is proposed.And even if it were done, the effects on global emissions and on the global climate, which allegedly is the reason for this madness?
The Telegraph should note that the number of households in the UK is actually c.28m considerably more than 20m plus. What difference would this have made to the article I wonder.
Yes, I noticed that too. It makes the outlook even worse, doesn’t it? More households to be connected with more capacity, more cars to charge, more heat pumps to power in the peak hours.
In another sense its immaterial, since even to do the conversion for 23 million households is pretty clearly impossible. Or, if possible, at least definitely not going to happen. Not even planned for, as far as can be seen.
I guess if you are proposing to do the impossible or unaffordable, the best way to keep the show on the road is NOT to plan at all, as that will make the impossibility or the cost obvious.
None-it is fantasy land.
The slope of the curve is positive. To anyone who understands math…that means it is increasing, ie getting larger. There is no “transition”.
“They have helped to generate a quality-of-life revolution for a portion of humanity,”
This is from World Bank
“Since 2010, more than a billion people have gained access to electricity. As a result, 90 percent of the planet’s population was connected in 2019.”
All the citizens of the two most populace countries on the planet have access to electricity. In the case of India and Bangladesh they have gone from 50% and 10% access, respectively, to 100% in under 30 years.
The trajectory of improvement is staggering and has not been achieved with UN charity or Marxism, but solid science and engineering. And yet, in spite of the direction of improvement being so blatant ourworldindata does not mention the 90% access and only mentions access being 87% in 2016, and goes on to say “This means 13% of the world did not have access to electricity in 2016.” The World Bank is equally negative with this:
“Yet 759 million people still live without electricity, with about half of them living in fragile and conflict-affected settings. Despite accelerated progress in recent years, the SDG target of universal access by 2030 appears unlikely to be met, leaving an estimated 660 million without electricity, especially if the COVID-19 pandemic seriously disrupts electrification efforts.”
When they say oil, what do they mean? It must be oil by-products; Heating oil, gasoline, jet fuel, propane, and other distillates. Those broad strokes, don’t really help matters. The NE U.S. uses plenty of heating oil, but the rest of the country has used natural gas for years.
There will be no transition from oil and oil products or natural gas. It’s too bad there are so many idiots in high places.