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PostPosted: October 25th, 2012, 11:45 pm 
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Here's the EIA report Lomborg was referring to:

http://www.eia.gov/totalenergy/data/mon ... f#page=171

In Section 12, Environment, the 1973-2011 graph showing total CO2 emissions does show a drop-off during the last five years. I assume this is the 14% drop he refers to.

In Section 7, Electricity, the 1989-2011 graph, total net generation shows the 2011 level to be near peak, no drop-off to match that of CO2 and I assume this is due to lower-CO2 NG replacing coal.

Lomborg includes this statement (while ignoring other variables like petroleum in the bigger picture)... "David Victor, an energy expert at UC-San Diego, estimates that the shift from coal to natural gas has reduced U.S. emissions by 400 to 500 megatons CO2 per year."

His argument seems to rely mostly on coal vs NG use in power plants and some of the drop in CO2 can be explained by warmer winters.

The other point he's making, about fracking and NG being greener and more cost-efficient than renewables may be right for the time being, with long term results still unknown. Germany is at the renewables front, and for the time being, seems to be burning coal for the shortcomings of wind.

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PostPosted: October 26th, 2012, 8:02 am 
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frozentripper wrote:

........... and some of the drop in CO2 can be explained by warmer winters.

.


Interesting point, but I don't think the logic stands up to scrutiny. We have also had hotter summers. For quite some time now the peak power demand in Ont has been in the summer(i.e AC) rather than in the winter. Surely the further South you go the more this is the case.

This raises (again) the issue that our high energy lifestyle is to blame. It wasn't so long ago, before central A/C became the norm, that the Ont peak was in the winter. Some of us are old enough to remember the blue icicles painted on restaurant windows that said "Air Conditioned"!! Now, of course, we have come to expect that.

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PostPosted: October 26th, 2012, 9:54 am 
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frozentripper wrote:
In Section 12, Environment, the 1973-2011 graph showing total CO2 emissions does show a drop-off during the last five years. I assume this is the 14% drop he refers to.

Very little of this 14% drop has anything to do with replacement of coal with natural gas. It appears Lonborg is looking at August report (with monthly data for January, February, March, April, and May 2012). Much of these declines (which he compares to 2007), are single year declines. Emissions from residential heating is down 14.8% from previous year. Commercial sector the same: down 8.9% from previous year (much of it from heating). Transportation is down: 1.7% from previous year (gas is up 50 - 75 cents). And Electric Power Sector is down 10% from previous year (looking at first 5 months). Consumption seems to be driving this more than anything else.

If he wishes to show the impact of fuel switching on carbon emissions, he would be better off looking at actual yearly figures, rather than figures for the winter and early spring of 2012 (and with no adjustments due to weather, economy, high price of gas, etc.). Fuel switching is clearly playing a role, but not as large as the 14% figure mentioned by Lomborg.

Others suggest the same: here and here.


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PostPosted: October 26th, 2012, 11:24 am 
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Idylwyld,
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If he wishes to show the impact of fuel switching on carbon emissions, he would be better off looking at actual yearly figures, rather than figures for the winter and early spring of 2012 (and with no adjustments due to weather, economy, high price of gas, etc.). Fuel switching is clearly playing a role, but not as large as the 14% figure mentioned by Lomborg.


The trends were in terms of yearly figures in those graphs I referred to, eg. 1973 on to 2011. The assumption Lomborg seems to be making is that the NG-coal switch is the main cause for the lowered CO2 despite the near-peak electricity generation but he doesn't provide references with any numbers breaking down cause and effect - except the David Victor reference, who does say elsewhere that there have been large CO2 reductions but at the same time cautions that fracking could have some bad effects if drilling isn't regulated.

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PostPosted: October 26th, 2012, 11:35 am 
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Wotrock,

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For quite some time now the peak power demand in Ont has been in the summer(i.e AC) rather than in the winter. Surely the further South you go the more this is the case.



The midsummer spike in electricity generation from A/C use is visible in some of the graphs in the EIA report I referred to earlier. Providing electicity generated from NG rather than coal would seem to be a cleaner option.

In Idywyld's last link there is a reference to hotter summers and greater A/C use becoming a trend that could exceed the effects of warmer winters on NG and coal.

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PostPosted: October 26th, 2012, 4:10 pm 
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For a more detailed and lengthy rebuttal, you may want to look at the following.

http://co2scorecard.org/home/researchitem/24

Draws on EIA methodology for determining fuel switching due to price (market elasticities of substitution), and finds only 35% of the fuel substitution from coal to natural gas (between 2006 and 2011) is due to price. The remaining 65% is the result of what they describe as non-price factors: regulations, energy efficiency/demand management, improving cost competitiveness of renewables, and recession. EIA adds to the list other non-price factors: "generators' nonfuel variable operating costs, startup/shut down costs, emission rates and allowance costs, electricity grid flow constraints, and reliability constraints."

Based on their analysis, they estimate only a 10% share of the carbon reductions for the period are the result of fuel switching related to price (natural gas for coal), and the remaining 90% of overall carbon reductions "were caused by the decline in petroleum use, displacement of coal by mostly non-price factors, and its replacement by wind, hydro and other renewables." While their analysis is speculative and relies on a number of assumptions, it's a bit more detailed than Lomborg. And I thought it was worth including for comparison.

What seems clear from these reports (and others globally) … natural gas has become an expanded part of our energy resource mix. What seems less clear, I think, are the diverse factors driving this change (and how they may impact future energy markets, market prices for electricity, energy investments and stock rollover, fuel security concerns, and other factors such as renewables deployment, efficiency and conservation programs, grid operability and standards, research and development, carbon cap or tax proposals, etc.). We'll see.


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PostPosted: June 5th, 2013, 10:24 am 
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Dunno if anybody is still interested here, other than "what's that smell..."

The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions...

Quote:
...a non-profit, non-partisan, and independent organization dedicated to providing credible information, straight answers, and innovative solutions in the effort to address global climate change...


... backs the shift to natural gas, along with renewables, nuclear power and some reservations.

Quote:
Leveraging Natural Gas to Reduce GHG Emissions

A comprehensive analysis by C2ES concludes that increased natural gas use can help reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in the near to medium term, but deeper long-term reductions will require broader deployment of other low-carbon energy sources as well.

"Leveraging Natural Gas to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions" examines the climate challenges and opportunities posed by the current natural gas boom.

The report synthesizes information from a series of background papers and workshops in Houston and Boston attended by several dozen experts and representatives of industry, environmental organizations, and state agencies

Among the report’s key findings:

U.S. greenhouse gas emissions are back down to mid-1990s levels, in part because electricity generators are using more natural gas, which emits half as much carbon dioxide as coal. Further reductions can be achieved by substituting natural gas for coal and oil in the transportation, manufacturing and building sectors.

Simply substituting natural gas will not achieve the deeper emissions cuts needed in the longer term. Zero-carbon energy sources such as solar, wind and nuclear are critical. Strong support also is needed to perfect and deploy technologies to capture carbon emissions from coal- and natural gas-fired power plants and bury them underground.

The potential climate benefits of increased natural gas use can be maximized only if further steps are taken throughout the natural gas system to reduce leaks of methane, the principal component of natural gas and a potent greenhouse gas.


http://www.c2es.org/initiatives/natural-gas

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PostPosted: June 5th, 2013, 11:06 am 
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Any emissions benefits completely depend on lowering the leak rate (which are currently above the level in which benefits are to be seen, according to report from World Resources Institute).

"Climate Benefits From Natural Gas Seen Hinging on Plugging Leaks" (Bloomberg, June 03).

Quote:
Leaks must be less than 1 percent of total production to ensure that the climate impacts of natural gas are lower than coal or diesel fuel, according to the World Resources Institute ...

Based on greenhouse gas data reported by companies, the EPA reduced the assumed leakage rate for natural gas systems from 2.27 percent in 2012 to 1.54 percent in 2013, according to the report. Independent studies estimate leak rates ranging from 0.71 percent to 7.9 percent.

So what is your recommendation for keeping leak rate below 1% ... better government orversight and regulation?


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PostPosted: June 5th, 2013, 1:34 pm 
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The new government regs may well be released this summer... we'll see. Some of the negative fracking news recently reported on how poorly-managed fracking operations resulted in various environmental impacts. Operations need to be well-financed enough to afford the equipment and measures necessary to prevent problems. And regs need to be tightened up to ensure that drillers comply.

Something that doesn't seem to be in the press much about methane is that the half-life of methane released to the atmosphere is much shorter than that of CO2... I don't recall the exact numbers, but methane releases will disappear much faster than released CO2... for example, a volume of methane may be down to 50% in 10-20 years while the same volume of CO2 might need 100-200. It's been a while since I read this so this is rough, still some researchers felt that CO2 releases were more harmful over the long term, in spite of methane causing a greater initial GHG effect, since methane and effects would disappear much faster. Whether this methane-CO2 difference has been considered in any of the statements quoted here, I don't know.

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PostPosted: June 13th, 2013, 9:03 am 
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California's recent decision to close two nuclear reactors permanently and replace the lost power generation with natural gas may affect their GHG emissions... renewables, wind, solar and hydro, will add into the mix but it seems NG will provide most of the new electricity needed.

In California, coal is too dirty to think about and new nuclear plants have been made illegal. A longer-term question has been whether fracking will be allowed to access the large Californian natural gas reserves.

Quote:
Nuclear plant shutdown to increase California's reliance on natural gas

By Scott DiSavino | Reuters – Sun, Jun 9, 2013.

NEW YORK (Reuters) - California's growing reliance on natural gas to fuel its power plants will increase and power prices will remain elevated following Southern California Edison's decision to retire a crippled nuclear power plant.

Both reactors at the 2,150-megawatt (MW) San Onofre plant will be permanently closed due to uncertainty over the cost and timing of restarting one of the units, said SCE, a unit of California energy company Edison International, on Friday.

While the grid agency has warned that the loss of San Onofre could cause rolling outages this summer as use of air conditioners soars, old and new power plants fueled by natural gas will likely pick up the slack.

"Any time you have a large plant closure, it affects both existing plants as well as future planning to replace the energy the plant was producing," said John Chillemi, west region president of NRG Energy Inc, which has more than 5,000 MW of gas-fired generation in California at 11 sites.

"I can tell you that when (San Onofre) first went off-line, NRG experienced increases in power generation at our southern California-based energy stations," said Chillemi.

Because the San Onofre reactors have been shut since January 2012, analysts said there should be little immediate impact to electricity or gas markets from SCE's decision not to seek regulatory approval to restart the nuclear plant.

"We kind of knew San Onofre might not come back this summer. Now we know for certain," said Paul Patterson, energy analyst at Glenrock Associates in New York.

SHUT DOWN TO KEEP PRICES ELEVATED

The year-long nuclear outage has already kept California wholesale prices higher than they should have been, according to an annual report from the grid's department of market monitoring.

Without San Onofre's output, the state relied on more expensive gas-fired generation and experienced significantly higher grid congestion costs that were borne by all customers, not just those in Southern California, the report said.

Thanks to an abundant supply of cheap U.S. natural gas produced from shale and California's ambitious goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, gas now supplies more than 60 percent of the state's power, up from 50 percent in 2000. Hydro, renewables and nuclear power make up the balance, according to federal data.

San Onofre produced enough power to supply more than a million average California homes and replacing its output could add roughly 360 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) of gas demand for the state, said energy analyst Teri Viswanath of BNP Paribas in New York.

Loss of the San Onofre plant and increased reliance on natural gas will challenge California's effort to cut carbon dioxide emissions.

Analysts said the state must now make sure the grid remains reliable without San Onofre. The plant not only supplied megawatts but allowed much-needed power from outside the state to flow to Southern California.

"All would breathe easier if more generating capacity were available in Southern California," said Hugh Wynne, senior research analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co in New York.

This summer, companies completed several grid upgrades to help avoid potential rolling outage conditions in Southern California.

In addition, programs to curb electric use during periods of high demand have been expanded.

NEW PLANTS COMING ONLINE

In Southern California alone, new generation includes three gas-fired plants - Edison Mission's 500-MW Walnut Creek plant and Competitive Power Venture's 850-MW Sentinel plant. NRG's 550-MW El Segundo plant is expected to be in service soon.

In addition to new solar plants under development, Chillemi said NRG has other projects waiting in the wings.

"We have projects in advanced development in Southern California like the Carlsbad Energy Center and expansion at El Segundo that could help meet the need," Chillemi said.

SCE officials said talks about how to replace the San Onofre generation have already begun with the grid agency and the public utility commission, but gave no details.

Calpine Corp, another big California generator with almost 6,000 MW of gas and renewable generation in the state, is building two gas-fired plants - the 120-MW Los Esteros and the 464-MW Russell City.

A spokeswoman for Dynegy Inc said the company has been looking at a possible repowering of its existing 165-MW Oakland facility in Northern California.

AES Corp also has plans to replace some of its older generating units with more efficient units. Officials at AES were not immediately available for comment.


http://news.yahoo.com/analysis-nuclear- ... 10544.html

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PostPosted: June 13th, 2013, 10:24 am 
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frozentripper wrote:
California's recent decision to close two nuclear reactors permanently and replace the lost power generation with natural gas may affect their GHG emissions

The ban on new nuclear in California, dating to the 1970s, had to do primarily with waste disposal. So it goes with ballot initiatives (and when policy is put in the hands of the people). San Onofre was closed because of the high cost of installing faulty equipment (and the high risk/high reward decision of Edison to shortcut regulatory requirements). In this instance, they gambled with a high risk alternative, and lost. And now ratepayers and shareholders are stuck footing the bill.

Investment in new nuclear has become dodgy because of poor choices of operators and vendors (San Onofre, Crystal River, and others), zero room for technical errors (without runaway costs), and failure to deliver power plants on time and on budget (mostly due to the unique, large scale, and demanding nature of the engineering on these machines). Markets don't like uncertainty (and nuclear has it's fair share of it).

Indeed … California now has to attempt to meet greenhouse gas targets (1990 levels by 2020 and 80% below 1990 levels by 2050) without these two nukes, reactor vessels installed backwards, with faulty steam generators located on a fault line in a densely populated region along the coast.


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