Energy Maze 2016

The second largest coal company in the US has just filed for bankruptcy. Environmentalists are celebrating the potential closing of some of the ugliest proposed coal projects in the country.  But as Greenpeace points out, often chapter 11 bankruptcy gives bonuses to CEOs while cutting worker pensions.

arch coal bankruptcy cartoon.jpg

The largest earthquake in Canadas history was likely induced by fracking.  The Alberta government responded by immediately closing down the fracking operation.  The company can not resume operations until they can demonstrate the technology is safe, that could be a long time coming.

fracking protest

The Tennessee Valley Authority (the only utility in the country which could “go it alone” with the construction of nuclear power plants in recent decades) has decided to cancel two reactor projects in Alabama.  These are some of the last new commercial reactor projects in the US, bringing to a sputtering halt the much touted Nuclear Renaissance.

new-reactors-projected

Bellefonte is dead, Comanche Peak is cancelled, S. Texas got a permit but is not moving forward, No EPRs will be built in the US. Levy County is cancelled,  Turkey Point and Lee reactors are still being discussed.

The biggest news however is about investment trends in 2015.  Petroleum prices are the lowest in a decade (except for a brief period immediately after the 2008 crash).  There has been a “dash for gas”, fracking gas in particular.  Because renewables investments are structurally linked to fossil fuel prices, we would expect the investment market for new renewables capacity to have stalled in 2015.  But if had we assumed this, we would be wrong.

tumbling fossil prices.png

Despite a big drop in European renewables investment, globally new clean energy investment exceeded all fossils fuels new capacity combined.  Over 121 GW of renewables capacity came on line in 2015 at a price tag of $329 billion.  Also interesting is that emerging economies accounted for more than half of the worlds renewables investments for the first time ever.

renewables investment OECD and not

And what does the future hold?  Business as usual (as forecasted by Bloomberg) looks like this:

global renewables 2040.png

Only resource poor Japan is lower than the US

For an excellent short video on the diversified energy future of 2016

 

 

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About paxus

a funologist, memeticist and revolutionary. Can be found in the vanity bin of Wikipedia and in locations of imminent calamity. buckle up, there is going to be some rough sledding.

2 responses to “Energy Maze 2016”

  1. Kip Gardner says :

    All I can say is that I hope the projected % renewables numbers for 2040 turn out to be low, by a factor of 2 or 3! Unfortunately, I think the US will continue to use fossil fuels as long as they can be extracted here. If oil prices stay below $50.00/barrel for more than another year, I fully expect there to be calls from the US producer industry for protective tariffs, especially against imports from OPEC countries, but I expect we’ll tell Canada ‘fuck you’ as well. We’ve demonstrated a willingness to throw Canada under the bus when convenient all too often.

  2. mariannewildart says :

    Reblogged this on Radiation Free Lakeland and commented:
    Renewables on the up …. Divest from toxic dinosaur twins of fossil fuel and nuclear

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