Friday, October 12, 2012

Europe's Green energy policies usher in the "Golden Age of Coal"

Germany (and Switzerland) are shutting down all their nuclear power plants, and the European environmental movement is successfully blocking shale gas extraction.  The result?  Europe is building a bunch of new coal fired power plants:
Coal has been displacing gas generation in Europe since 2009 and the International Energy Agency expects this trend to continue, Ms Anne Sophie Corbeau, senior gas analyst for the International Energy Agency said that “We will have a Golden Age of Coal in Europe, at least over the next 5 years.”
Meanwhile, US Carbon Dioxide emissions are at the same level they were in 1992, because we've moved aggressively from coal to gas.  This is a win for carbon emissions (if you care about that, which I don't), but it's also a win for reduced pollution and it's cheaper power.

At this point every leftie who ever said "we need to be more lie Europe" can shut up and sit down in the back of the room.  Grown ups are talking.


ProudHillbilly said...

Just read an article in Der Spiegle about the disaster solar is for Germany. Basically, they forced a move to something that doesn't work. Consequently, they are having to buy power from countries that have nuclear plants.

Dave H said...

Gas has certainly been good for my business. A lot of the newer power plants are combined cycle plants where they run two gas turbines, each attached to a generator, and the waste heat from the turbines heats a boiler to drive a steam turbine with a third generator. They're very efficient and, as you noted, low emission. The reason they're good for my business is each one of those generators gets its own electricity meter.

Anonymous said...

There are many years left before the nuclear reactors get shut down; basically, they are to be allowed to serve out their intended lives.

This is a knee-jerk reaction; once the Fukushima panic has faded, it is seems likely that this idiocy will be reversed.

Solar for Germany isn't a disaster. On sunny days more than covers the peak demand. The problem comes when the sun isn't shining. Also the solar is too expensive, and huge subsidies are being cut. This is having the obvious follow-on effect on an industry that cannot sell its products with government support.

MSgt B said...

"US Carbon Dioxide emissions are at the same level they were in 1992, because we've moved aggressively from coal to gas"

Not entirely true. A large part is also due to the fact that many of the coal plants we're running have wet-stack flue gas scrubbers attached. Think of it like smoking through a water pipe instead of rolling it in paper. Only a little more advanced than that. (Okay, I'm looking for an analogy that can be understood by your average Occutard.)

A 500MW coal plant with a "scrubber" puts out about as much pollution as a single SUV, and it provides power day and night, even when the wind's not blowing.

Clean coal is real.

All hail King Coal!