Sunday, August 31, 2014

From Benny Peiser's Global Warming Policy Foundation

Fear Of Russia Pushes Europe Back To Coal
Reducing Dependence On Russian Gas Pushes Germany To Coal

Germany will continue to need coal-fired power plants, its energy regulator said, warning that Europe's biggest economy should not rely solely on renewables or risk increasing exposure to Russian gas as it shuts down nuclear plants. "Those who call for an end of coal power generation don't have much interest in a reliable energy policy," Jochen Homann, president of the Federal Network Agency, or BnetzA, told an energy industry conference Wednesday. "We will close further nuclear plants; these capacities need to be replaced," he said, adding that coal power was vital to achieve this. --Reuters, 27 August 2014

Coal is the fuel of choice in many parts of the world. In 2013, it reached its highest market share of global energy consumption in over 40 years. Even as fears grow that its high carbon emissions make it the biggest cause of climate change, use of coal for power generation and other purposes grew by 3 percent in 2013, faster than any other fossil fuel. Its share of the world energy basket went above 30 percent for the first time since 1970. --Cuckoo Paul, Forbes 11 July 2014

New coal power stations designed to burn Europe’s massive deposits of lignite pose a serious threat to the continent’s decarbonisation efforts, according to figures released on Wednesday. Analysts from Greenpeace’s Energy desk compiled data from the German government that shows burning Europe’s reserves of lignite would wipe out the EU’s entire carbon budget from 2020 until the end of the century. Despite this, lignite-fuelled power stations are still being built, locking in consumption of the fuel for decades. There are 19 such facilities in various stages of approval, planning or construction in Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Greece, Germany, Poland, Romania and Slovenia. --Karl Mathiesen, The Guardian, 27 August 2014

The number of new coal and gas-fired power plants is rapidly growing and very few old ones are being retired. Almost the entire developing world is relying on coal for its industrialization. --Holly Welles, Princeton Environmental Institute, 26 August 2014

According to a new report from Precergy, new research suggests that Chinese coal-fired power plant installations are set to rise strongly in the short-term, as coal power capacity experiences a mini renaissance. Just 42 GW of new coal-fired power plants were installed in 2013 – the worst year for coal capacity additions in China since 39 GW were installed in 2004. During the intermediary period, a peak level of 82 GW/year was achieved in 2006 before levels stabilised to around 60 GW/year between 2008 and 2011. --World Coal, 22 August 2014

To tackle air pollution, China is planning to build 60 coal-to-gas plants. The CO2 released would equal three-quarters of all energy-related CO2 in the U.S., far more than China currently produces by burning coal. --Jack Chang, The Associated Press, 22 August 2014

German government estimates the Energiewende to cost up to €1 trillion by 2040, or about $1.4 trillion, or almost half Germany’s GDP and nearly as much as the country spent on the reunification of East and West Germany. Average electricity prices for companies have jumped 60% over the past five years because of costs passed along as part of government subsidies of renewable energy producers. Prices are now more than double those in the U.S. “German industry is going to gradually lose its competitiveness if this course isn’t reversed soon,” said Kurt Bock, chief executive of BASF SE the world’s largest chemical maker. --Matthew Karnitschnig, The Wall Street Journal, 27 August 2014

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