Green energy accounted more than 30 % of global energy consumption 2023

Lauantai 18.5.2024 klo 16.25 - Mikko Nikinmaa

It is good news that renewable energy contributed more than 30 % of global energy last year. However, even though this milestone was reached, the global use of fossil fuels still increased. This is mainly because of the increased energy consumption in global South, and simultaneous droughts in, e.g., China, which have caused a decrease in hydroelectric power production that was compensated for by coal and oil burning. Without decreased hydroelectric power production, it is likely that energy production with no carbon dioxide emissions would have increased enough to cause a decrease in fossil fuel-based energy production. With marked building of wind and solar energy power stations, it is estimated that 2023 was the last year with an increase in fossil fuel use.

It is commonly stated that one cannot rely in wind and solar power, since the energy production is highly variable, and in many areas very unpredictable. However, in most cases a combination of wind and solar power is quite constant energy source: when it is cloudy and rainy, and little solar energy is gained, normally it is very windy with large energy production from wind mills; in contrast, when sun shines and solar energy production great, it is normally calm, and little wind energy becomes available. Thus, when both types of power stations are plentiful, variation in energy production is reduced. One can further decrease the variability by energy storage: when energy is cheaply produced by windmills, some of it can be used to pump water to storage sites, which can generate hydroelectric power when little wind power is available.

New ways of renewable energy production will become cheaper with their increased use, and it can be said that energy production using fossil fuels soon becomes markedly more expensive than using renewable sources. In this scenery, it is problematic that in many countries the conservative right has not realized that one should reduce fossil fuel use. For example, in Finland the conservative (Kokoomus-Perussuomalaiset) government has increased the fossil fuel use and support during the past year. Similarly, the US republicans seem to support the oil lobby. And it appears that the republican presidential candidate, Trump, is very much against wind energy.

It is kind of funny, everywhere conservatives say that they are the parties that care of economics. However, their present decisions are not in line of any economic thinking, but supporting energy production using means that are outdated, expensive, and cause environmental damage, which will become very expensive to remediate. I guess this shows mainly that they are hoping to get the golden days of childhood (which only exist in memories) back.

Kommentoi kirjoitusta. Avainsanat: renewable energy, wind power, solar power, fossil fuels

Energy Production and Transfer

Tiistai 28.11.2017 klo 19.55 - Mikko Nikinmaa

The energy and heat production have traditionally been done in large units, which have also been responsible for electricity and energy transport. Because of the centralized system, it has been possible to build power plants for billions of euros/dollars. While the electricity transport system should be minimally nationwide or continentwide and owned, e.g., by European Union, the actual production should and could increasingly be done in small units. I discuss first the transport, which should, in my opinion, be free of private profit making, and then energy production and distribution, where the state-owned transport units could be used by different-sized companies.

The transport of electricity and heat should be carried out by nations or even bigger units. It should not be done by private companies. A good analogy is road system. In most European countries road system is nation-owned. This makes it impossible for private companies to make large profits, and the same should be true for electricity. The biggest injustice that has been experienced by Finnish consumers is that they largely must pay to a foreign company for electricity transport. This company makes big profits throughout the year, and whereas one is able to have different companies to compete for the price of electricity, one cannot have competition on the price of electricity transfer. Adding to the injustice is that one has to pay fixed price for the transfer regardless if one uses one unit or a 1000 units of electricity. If one uses little electricity, one may pay 90 % or more in transport of alectricity and less than 10 % in the actual electricity. Needless to say that the private company pays hardly any tax to Finland.Interestingly, the transport of electricity in Finland was state responsibility, until it was privatized, and sold abroad. The question is why? As an exact analogy, the roads shoud then also be.

If the energy and heat transport were state owned, the companies could buy and sell energy from small units. Again an analogy to roads, different sizes of transport companies are using the state-owned roads. The same could be done with energy transport. The energy companies would make their profits from selling and buying the product. This way all the excess heat generated in different factories, individual solar panels etc. would come to maximal use. With the present-day digital systems, it would generate no problem to be able to do this.

The state-owned transport system, and private companies doing the buying and selling the energy could generate much more effective system than we have presently, with the net result that the waste would decrease, and one could be diminishing the use of fossil fuels more rapidly than with the present system.

Kommentoi kirjoitusta. Avainsanat: fossil fuels, climate change, wind power, solar power