Energy mix

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Current mixtures of energy sources and near-future trends.

Energy statistics

According to the US Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration the world consumption of energy in all of its forms (barrels of petroleum, cubic meters of natural gas, watts of hydro power, etc.) is projected to reach 678 quadrillion Btu (or 715 exajoules) by 2030 – a 44% increase over 2008 levels (levels for 1980 were 283 quadrillion Btu and we stand at around 500 quadrillion Btu today in 2009). ([1])

Britain consumes energy at a rate of about 5000 watts per person, and its population density is about 250 people per square kilometre. Average primary energy consumption per unit area, for Britain, is 1.25 watts per square metre ([2])

Graphical display of live CO2 emissions from electricity production

shows in real-time where your electricity comes from and how much CO2 was emitted to produce it, for most of Europe and many other parts of the world.
Estimating the marginal carbon intensity of electricity with machine learning Olivier Corradi; Tomorrow; 3 Jul 2018
How do you know where your electricity comes from? The answer, in its simplest form, is given by the electricityMap. However, when consumers are faced with a decision — for example deciding when to charge an electric vehicle — things get more subtle. So why shouldn’t you charge your electric vehicle when your electricity is physically low-carbon?
It turns out that when a consumer is asking for more electricity, that additional electricity will come from the cheapest power plant that still has spare capacity at that time. This power plant is called the marginal power plant. Typically the marginal plant is a system that can react quickly to changes in electricity demand, such as a gas turbine. It however cannot be a wind turbine or solar cells, as you can’t command them to produce more

Primary Energy in The European Union and USA Compared Euan Mearns; Energy Matters; 17 Oct 2016

The EU has a larger population and smaller land area than the USA resulting in a population density 3.6 times that of the USA. European citizens therefore have less land available to service the energy needs of its citizens. This combined with different approaches to energy policy has led to the EU now importing 55% of it energy needs while the USA imports only 10%. The USA is well on its way to energy independence. This could have foreign policy and defence implications where the UK and USA has divergent priorities to Europe.


The Breakthrough Institute's paper "Historic Paths To Decarbonisation" examines the rate at which various contries have decarbonised their energy supplies, compared with the rate thought necessary to stabilise climate change. The paper looks particularly at Sweden and France's decarbonisation following the 1970s Oil Crisis, and Ireland and the UK.

Solar Power to Triple During Next Five Years JOHN ADDISON; Cityminded; 21 Jul 2015

Global solar capacity is forecasted to triple from the 178 GW capacity at the end of 2014 to over 500 GW by 2020, equivalent of one thousand typical coal or nuclear power plants. Solar energy will be 540 GW by 2020 in the high estimate, and 396 in the low, according to the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA).
+ figures for China, Japan, USA

Wind Energy Setting Records, Growing Still: The Wind Energy Outlook for 2016 Vince Font; Renewable Energy World; 3 Feb 2016

Markets to watch include Canada, Mexico, Brazil and South Africa but China will be the biggest leader for installing wind energy capacity in 2016.


European Renewable Energy performance and costs: 2014

Europe breaks own renewables record — but can't keep up with China

The European Power Sector in 2017. State of Affairs and Review of Current Developments Sandbag, Agora Energiewende, Dave Jones, Dr. Alice Sakhel, Matthias Buck, Dr. Patrick Graichen; Jan 2018

For the second year in a row, Sandbag and Agora Energiewende have joined forces to present the state of the energy transition in the European power sector, to update what happened in 2017. Key topics include renewables growth, conventional power generation, power consumption, and CO2 emissions. We also make this data available to download in order to enable others to perform up-to-date analysis without needing to reinvent the wheel.
Overall, it is clear that whilst the energy transition in the power sector is generally heading in the right direction, a lot of work remains to ensure its implementation is as effective, cheap, secure and fair as possible.
Key Findings
  1. New renewables generation sharply increased in 2017, with wind, solar and biomass overtaking coal for the first time. Since Europe‘s hydro potential is largely tapped, the increase in renewables comes from wind, solar and biomass generation. They rose by 12% in 2017 to 679 Terawatt hours, putting wind, solar and biomass above coal generation for the first time. This is incredible progress, considering just five years ago, coal generation was more than twice that of wind, solar and biomass.
  2. But renewables growth has become even more uneven. Germany and the UK alone contributed to 56% of the growth in renewables in the past three years. There is also a bias in favor of wind: a massive 19% increase in wind generation took place in 2017, due to good wind conditions and huge investment into wind plants. This is good news since the biomass boom is now over, but bad news in that solar was responsible for just 14% of the renewables growth in 2014 to 2017.
  3. Electricity consumption rose by 0.7% in 2017, marking a third consecutive year of increases. With Europe‘s economy being on a growth path again, power demand is rising as well. This suggests Europe‘s efficiency efforts are not sufficient and hence the EU‘s efficiency policy needs further strengthening.
  4. CO2 emissions in the power sector were unchanged in 2017, and rose economy-wide. Low hydro and nuclear generation coupled with increasing demand led to increasing fossil generation. So despite the large rise in wind generation, we estimate power sector CO2 emissions remained unchanged at 1019 million tonnes. However, overall stationary emissions in the EU emissions trading sectors rose slightly from 1750 to 1755 million tonnes because of stronger industrial production especially in rising steel production. Together with additional increases in non-ETS gas and oil demand, we estimate overall EU greenhouse gas emissions rose by around 1% in 2017.
  5. Western Europe is phasing out coal, but Eastern Europe is sticking to it. Three more Member States announced coal phase-outs in 2017 - Netherlands, Italy and Portugal. They join France and the UK in committing to phase-out coal, while Eastern European countries are sticking to coal. The debate in Germany, Europe’s largest coal and lignite consumer, is ongoing and will only be decided in 2019.

Lawrence, Sovacool & Stirling

Nuclear energy and path dependence in Europe’s ‘Energy union’: coherence or continued divergence? Andrew Lawrence, Benjamin Sovacool & Andrew Stirling; Climate Policy; 1 Jul 2016

Since its initial adoption, the EU’s 2020 Strategy – to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 20%, increase the share of renewable energy to at least 20% of consumption, and achieve energy savings of 20% or more by 2020 – has witnessed substantial albeit uneven progress. This article addresses the question of what role nuclear power generation has played, and can or should play in future, towards attaining the EU 2020 Strategy, particularly with reference to decreasing emissions and increasing renewables.

Being pro-nuclear does not undermine climate and energy goals Stephen Tindale, Suzanna Hinson; Climate Answers; 26 Aug 2016

A Response to Lawrence, Sovacool, and Stirling. Nicholas Thompson; blog; 12 Oct 2016

A few months ago I read a paper, “Nuclear energy and path dependence in Europe’s ‘Energy union’: coherence or continued divergence?” and after reading it, I wasn’t sold. Their fundamental idea was that in countries which are looking to build nuclear or replace existing nuclear, emissions are not dropping as fast as emissions in countries which don’t have nuclear or are closing nuclear facilities, and that the changes in emissions were due to “path dependence”, meaning that once a country decides to go nuclear, they get stuck on that path.
The reason I wasn’t sold was there were a lot of words (21 pages), and three pages of references, but only one table that had any real data. That table showed a number of EU countries, how much their emissions had changed from 2005 and 2012, and the share of renewables in 2013 for that country. The change in emissions was presented in terms of percent reduction, without any data on absolute reduction in emissions, or the starting emissions for that country, and the growth of renewable generation also was not presented.
The data was also compared to 2005, which seemed odd considering the paper talked at length about the EU 2020 Strategy (which started in 2010, and uses 1990 as its baseline). It was also strange that in 2016, data from 2012 was being used instead of data from a more recent year.

Authors retract paper linking nuclear power to slow action on climate change Retraction Watch; 28 Nov 2016

Do pro-nuclear energy countries act more slowly to curb the effects of climate change? That’s what a paper published in July in the journal Climate Policy claimed. But the hotly debated study was retracted last week after the authors came to understand that it included serious errors.


Data Explorer National Grid

Balancing Mechanism Reporting System (BMRS)


gives a dashboard-style graphical view of current UK electricity supply and demand, based on data from BMRS.
(Wind does not show wind farms connected directly to the grid: accordingly total wind output is about double that shown.)

Wind Energy Statistics Renewable UK

UK Offshore Wind: Opportunities for trade and investment UK Trade and Investment

The UK has 5.7GW installed or under construction, and is on track to deliver 10GW by 2020

DECC stands by minimal solar growth forecast out to 2020/21 Liam Stoker; Solar Power Portal; 9 Nov 2015

projections published in August which placed UK solar capacity at 9.55GW by 2021, equivalent to roughly 9.1TWh of generation or 2.8% of the UK’s total

Nuclear Plant Status EDF

Leo Smith's Gridwatch UK National Grid Status

A control-panel style display of instantaneous, daily, weekly, monthly and annual electricity demand and supply by various sources, with informative bubbles that pop up giving additional information about the various measures.

UK Grid Graphed

The Changing Face of UK Power Supply Euan Mearns; Energy Matters; 11 Mar 2016

Clive Best's pages:

There is growing discussion in the UK about the need for new and additional sources of low carbon energy to replace the energy lost by the phasing out of fossil fuels and the closure of existing nuclear power stations. These discussions, among scientists, engineers, policy-makers and the media, commonly refer to an ‘energy gap’.
This guide has been produced by Sense About Science, a charitable trust to promote evidence-based discussion about scientific issues, with the help of some of the leading scientific institutions and learned societies in energy and related fields. More information can be obtained from these institutions via the Sense About Science nuclear library.

Scotland-England Electricity Transfers


Smart Grid Dashboard: All Island

CO2 Emissions Variations in CCGTs Used to Balance Wind in Ireland Euan Mearns; Energy Matters; 15 Apr 2016

The island of Ireland functions as a single electricity grid linked to the British mainland by two interconnectors with a combined capacity of 1 GW. The Republic of Ireland in the south has set a goal to have 40% of electricity generated from renewables, mainly onshore wind, by 2020. Variable intermittency will be balanced using frame type combined cycle gas turbines (CCGTs). As the level of wind penetration grows the CCGTs need to work harder ramping up and down to compensate for variable wind. This causes increased wear and tear on the CCGT plant and also significantly reduces the energy efficiency of the CCGTs raising their specific CO2 production. During 2014 and 2015, average wind penetration was 22%, the CCGTs produced 575 Kg of CO2 per MWh and the average fuel efficiency was 32% compared with a design specification of 55%.

Energy in Germany *


Poland Will End Coal Investments, Move Toward Nuclear Darrell Proctor; Power; 1 Nov 2017

Poland’s energy minister in September said the country was ready to shift away from coal-fired power, which provides about 90% of its electricity. Krzysztof Tchorzewski, speaking at the Krynica-Zdroj Economic Forum in Poland, said the country, whose state-run energy companies have three ongoing coal projects, plans no more investments in coal and instead hopes to open its first nuclear plant by 2030.

“After completing the investments … now being conducted in big coal-fueled units, we will not be planning new projects based on coal,” Tchorzewski said at the forum on September 6. Poland contemplated investments in nuclear power in 2009 but shelved any plans due to falling energy prices and the backlash against nuclear power after the Fukushima disaster in 2011. Prime Minister Beata Szydlo revived plans, though, after her Law and Justice Party won the country’s last general election in 2015.


Myths about Danish Wind Power: Why 39% Wind Is Not Enough Taís Pinheiro; Worldwatch Institute Europe; 7 Feb 2015

In the first week of January, the Danes celebrated the fact that 39% of total electricity consumed in Denmark in 2014 came from wind turbines. Data from the Danish Ministry of Climate, Energy and Building indicates that the amount of electricity consumed from wind power has experienced a significant increase from the 18.7% nearly a decade ago, to 32% in 2013 up to 39% today. Last year’s increase can be attributed to the decrease of energy consumption and the installation of over 100 new offshore windmills. The historical increase of wind power over the past decade is a result of massive investments in wind technology by the Danish industry since the 1970s. These investments resulted in the establishment of the first offshore wind farm in the world in 1991 off the Danish coast. In addition, Denmark has numerous wind turbines installed across the country, and Danish wind companies have spread their technology by installing over 90% of the world's offshore turbines. Glancing at these achievements, a few facts can be easily misinterpreted, such as the percentage of turbines in Denmark relative to the world, the real share of wind in the total energy production, and the necessary effort to reach 100% renewable energy.


Portugal runs for four days straight on renewable energy alone Arthur Neslen; Guardian; 18 May 2016

Portugal kept its lights on with renewable energy alone for four consecutive days last week in a clean energy milestone revealed by data analysis of national energy network figures. Electricity consumption in the country was fully covered by solar, wind and hydro power in an extraordinary 107-hour run that lasted from 6.45am on Saturday 7 May until 5.45pm the following Wednesday, the analysis says.

Electricity consumption in Portugal was secured for more than 4 days followed by renewable sources; 15 May 2016 (translated)

Portugal ran entirely on renewable energy for 4 consecutive days last week John Fitzgerald Weaver; electrek; 16 May 2016

According to, and brought to our attention by SolarCrunch, Portugal ran on renewable energy alone for 4 straight days last week. This 100% was preceded by more than 70 percent of its electricity from renewable sources of energy during the first quarter of 2013, and 63% for all of 2014. Portugal stopped burning coal in 1994.
According the the IEA, the main sources of Portugal’s energy is coming from biofuels and waste. Wind and hydropower and adding increasingly larger amounts, with geothermal and solar just starting to take off.

Portugal 2016 review IEA; 2016

Did Portugal run for four days on renewables alone? Roger Andrews; Energy Matters; 23 May 2016

Recently there has been much rejoicing in the green media that the entire country of Portugal succeeded in powering itself with 100% renewables for four straight days from May 7 through May 10, 2016. Here we look into the question of whether this is true (it is) and second the question of what caused it (the weather). Over the period in question Portugal was able to make maximum use of its hydro and wind capacity because of unusually heavy rains and strong winds, a combination of renewables-favorable weather conditions that has been described as “fantastic”, although the tourism industry may take a different view.


Gridwatch France

French NIMBYs get wind turbines removed, shift focus back to nuclear Joanna Foster; RenewEconomy; 20 Nov 2013

Earlier this month, judges in Montpellier, France ordered French energy company GDF Suez to take down 10 wind turbines near the city of Arras in Northern France. The decision comes after a six-year legal struggle between GDF and a local couple who claimed the 10 turbines, installed back in 2007, destroyed the character of their 17th century chateau. France is currently heavily dependent on nuclear. 58 nuclear reactors across France provide over 75 percent of the nation’s power mix. Nuclear reactors have long been the key to French energy independence. French President Francois Hollande has pledged to bring the country’s reliance on nuclear down to 50 percent by 2025, without lifting the country’s ban on fracking, in place since 2011.

France Burns Coal Like It's 1984 as Prices Jump on Atomic Woes Rachel Morison; Bloomberg; 18 Oct 2016

France produced the most power from fossil fuels for September in 32 years to help meet demand as nuclear generation dropped. Output from coal and gas plants more than doubled as Paris-based Electricite de France SA was forced to keep reactors offline for inspections. French month-ahead power prices have risen to near the highest since 2009. EDF’s reactors produced 26.6 terawatt-hours of electricity in September, the least since August 1998, prompting “heavy use” of stations burning coal and gas in a trend that has been increasing since April, according to a report by French grid operator Reseau de transport d’electricite. Thermal power generation was 4,132 gigawatt-hours, or 11 percent of the total. France has seven fewer reactors available than at the same time last year after EDF announced it needed more time to carry out inspections to rule out potential anomalies on steam generators at 18 of its 58 units ordered by the nation’s nuclear regulator. EDF cut its nuclear output targets for the year on Sept. 21 after the safety checks were taking longer than expected. Six reactors are due to return this week.

France’s nuclear watchdog wants to shut down 5 reactors over failure risk RT; 20 Oct 2016

The Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) has asked nuclear power utility EDF to carry out additional inspections at Fessenheim 1,Tricastin 2 and 4, Gravelines 4 and Civaux 1 reactors, according to a press release. “The performance of these inspections will require shutdown of the reactors concerned,” ASN added. The watchdog wants to check “certain channel heads of the steam generators on five of its reactors, in which the steel is affected by a high carbon concentration.” According to ASN’s analysis, “certain channel heads of the steam generators … contain a significant carbon concentration zone which could lead to lower than expected mechanical properties.” The watchdog said that it doesn’t want to wait “for the scheduled refueling outage of these reactors” and thus demands safety checks “within three months.” According to the Local, this abnormality could lead to failures in mechanical properties and even to leaks or explosions. The five reactors under scrutiny are among 18 at which ASN found abnormalities in June. Of the 18 reactors ASN says that six could be restarted after inspection. Seven others (Bugey 4, Civaux 2, Dampierre 3, Gravelines 2, Saint-Laurent-des-Eaux B1 and Tricastin 1 and 3) are being inspected and awaiting reboot.


Energy in Sweden wikipedia

Energy Use In Sweden

Sweden has invested heavily in the search for alternative energy sources ever since the oil crisis of the early 1970s. In 1970, oil accounted for more than 75 per cent of Swedish energy supplies; today, the figure is around 20 per cent, chiefly due to the declining use of oil for residential heating.
Few countries consume more energy per capita than Sweden, yet Swedish carbon emissions are low compared with those of other countries. According to the latest statistics from the International Energy Agency (IEA), the average Swede releases 4.25 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO₂) per year into the atmosphere, compared with the EU average of 6.91 tonnes and the US average of 16.15 tonnes. Sweden has found a way to reduce emissions while the economy is growing.
The reason for this low emission rate is that 83 per cent of electricity production in Sweden comes from nuclear and hydroelectric power. Cogeneration from combined heat and power (CHP) plants accounts for 10 per cent of the electricity output in Sweden, and these are mainly powered by biofuels. About 7 per cent of the electricity comes from wind power.

Swedish Energy Agency

IEA report on Swedish Energy.

Environmental and health impacts of a policy to phase out nuclear power in Sweden

How to decarbonize? Look to Sweden Raymond Pierrehumbert; Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists - Special Issue: Young People and Existential Threat; Volume 72, Issue 2, 2016

Bringing global warming to a halt requires that worldwide net emissions of carbon dioxide be brought to essentially zero; the sooner this occurs, the less warming our descendants for the next 1000 years and more will need to adapt to. The widespread fear that the actions needed to bring this about conflict with economic growth is a major impediment to efforts to protect the climate. But much of this fear is pointless, and the magnitude of the task – while great – is no greater than the challenges that human ingenuity has surmounted in the past. To light the way forward, we need to examine success stories where nations have greatly reduced their carbon dioxide emissions while simultaneously maintaining vigorous growth in their standard of living; a prime example is Sweden. Through a combination of sensible government infrastructure policies and free-market incentives, Sweden has managed to successfully decarbonize, cutting its per capita emissions by a factor of 3 since the 1970s, while doubling its per capita income and providing a wide range of social benefits. This has all been accomplished within a vigorous capitalistic framework that in many ways better embodies free-market principles than the US economy. Consequently, the Swedish experience shows that solving global warming does not require us to “tear down capitalism.” The world just needs to be a bit more like Sweden.


The looming Nordic energy crisis Rauli Partanen; energy post; 10 Mar 2016

Sweden is faced with the possible shutdown of its entire nuclear generating capacity. This could result in grid instability, price hikes and much higher greenhouse gas emissions, writes Rauli Partanen, an independent analyst and author on energy and the environment. Partanen calls on policymakers to take action to avoid a Swedish nuclear phaseout.
Nuclear power in Sweden has become uneconomical. Wholesale prices of electricity in Sweden have been much lower than the breakeven price for nuclear generation. Electricity has been sold at a record low price of €20 per megawatt hour (MWh), while the cost of generating nuclear power has been in the same ballpark, or even slightly higher. In addition, the Swedish government has set a tax on nuclear power, which has been steadily rising. After the latest hike, it amounts to about a third of the wholesale price, roughly €7 per MWh.
Sweden’s lobbying organization for wind power has written that it thinks Swedish nuclear can be replaced by building many times more wind power than Sweden has now, and by dealing with peak hours and low winds by building gas turbines. This amount of wind would be hugely uneconomical to build. The gas turbines could also cost billions of euros, and they would be running only a few hours during the year, making them monumentally bad investments. At current market conditions, nobody would build either of these without very generous subsidies from the government.

V wants to prioritize fossil settlement Dagens Nyheter

The phasing out of fossil fuels will be prioritized and decommissioning of nuclear power is secondary. It is a key point in the new ecological-economic program of the Left Party leadership hopes to support the Congress in May. - Climate adaptation should go first, said party secretary Aaron Etzler.

Boost to nuclear energy as Sweden agrees to build more reactors Richard Milne, Nordic Correspondent; FT; 10 Jun 2016

Sweden aims to produce all of its power from renewable sources by 2040 but in the meantime will build new nuclear plants to replace old ones being phased out, according to an agreement between government and opposition parties on Friday. ... Friday’s agreement does not specify which technology the plants should use. ... Permission may be granted to replace existing reactors at the same sites with a maximum of 10 to be built in all, according to the deal between the governing Social Democrats and Greens as well as the opposition Moderates, Centre party and Christian Democrats. ... Politicians emphasised that the goal of 100 per cent renewable energy by 2040 did not mean that nuclear plants would be closed then. “This is a goal, not a cut-off date that would prohibit nuclear power, and it does not mean either the end a closure of nuclear power,” the agreement stated. Ibrahim Baylan, the energy minister, said: “This is a traditional Swedish compromise.”



Renewable California Roger Andrews; Energy Matters; 30 June 2016

California is considered by many to be a world leader in the transition to renewable energy. But how much progress is it really making? This post looks into this question and finds that California has indeed significantly increased the percentage of renewable energy in its in-state generation mix – or at least would have done were it not for the impact of the recent drought on hydro output – but that it has made no progress towards increasing its zero-carbon generation, which because of the shutdown of the San Onofre nuclear plant remains lower than it was in 2002 even when the impact of the drought is factored out. This result underscores the importance of nuclear as a key ingredient in reducing CO2 emissions, a fact which seems to have escaped California’s attention.

A more detailed look at the California grid data Roger Andrews; Energy Matters; 13 Oct 13

  • CA produces less clean energy than in 2010
  • duck curve not a problem yet but would be with much more solar
  • lot of references in text and comments

California Overview: Anti-Nuclear Policies Result in Les Clean Power, Higher Emissions Environmental Progress; 6 Oct 2016 (slideshow)


A discussion of Canada's energy requirements, in particular the challenges of supplying power to remote communities in the North and Arctic regions, and to the oil sands industries, Canada's nuclear regulatory system, and the companies planning to build reactors for these applications: Canada edges closer to SMR build after VC funding deal Nuclear Energy Insider, 26 Jan 2016.

Pembina Institute

The Pembina Institute is working to solve today’s greatest energy challenges — reducing the harmful impacts of fossil fuels while supporting the transition to an energy system that is clean, safe and sustains a high quality of life. We provide our expertise to industry and government leaders, and we advocate for a strong, science-based approach to policy, regulation, environmental protection and energy development.


GridWatch Electricity Generated in Ontario pie chart of proportion by sources at current instant and other statistics

Revitalizing the Bruce Power Site

Regulated Price Plan Price Report May 1, 2016 to April 30, 2017 Ontario Energy Board; 14 Apr 2016

p20 has table of relative costs of nuclear, hydro, gas, wind, solar, bio

Ontario Clean Air Alliance


Boondoggle: How Ontario’s pursuit of renewable energy broke the province’s electricity system Terence Corcoran; Financial Post; 6 Oct 2016

critical of wind & solar - paper has other similar pieces


Energy by source  % of total supply Total Unit Cost (cents/kWh)
Nuclear 58% 6.8
Hydro 23% 5.7
Gas 9% 14.0
Wind 8% 13.3
Solar 2% 48.1


Solar, Wind, Hydro and Nuclear energy in China Next Big Future; 2 Jan 2016

Nuclear Power in China World Nuclear Association; 30 Nov 2015

China is on an epic solar power binge Richard Martin; MIT Technology Review 22 Mar 2016

In 2015, the country added more than 15 gigawatts of new solar capacity, surpassing Germany as the world’s largest solar power market. China now has 43.2 gigawatts of solar capacity, compared with38.4 gigawatts in Germany and 27.8 in the United States. According to new projections, it seems that trend is going to continue. Under its 13th Five Year Plan, China will nearly triple solar capacity by 2020, adding 15 to 20 gigawatts of solar capacity each year for the next five years, according to Nur Bekri, director of the National Energy Administration. That will bring the country’s installed solar power to more than 140 gigawatts. To put that in context, world solar capacity topped 200 gigawatts last year and is expected to reach 321 gigawatts by the end of 2016.

Nuclear growth revealed in China's new Five-Year Plan World Nuclear News; 23 Mar 2016

China's operating nuclear generating capacity will double over the next five years under the country's latest Five-Year Plan. The plan also calls for the preparation for construction of inland nuclear power plants and work on a reprocessing plant to start by 2020.

Low energy prices and China's drive for a smaller and more efficient coal industry is killing solar power and coal companies NexBigFuture; 20 Mar 2016

China's Coal companies shifting to solar, wind, ultra-efficient coal and nuclear energy

10-20 years of pressure on solar and coal as China shifts energy mix and US technology keeps oil prices low NexBigFuture; 20 Mar 2016

Facing Grid Constraints, China Puts a Chill on New Wind Energy Projects COCO LIU; Inside Climate News; 28 Mar 2016

Chinese regulators said the windswept regions of Inner Mongolia, Jilin, Heilongjiang, Gansu, Ningxia and Xinjiang will suspend the approval of new wind projects in 2016, according to a March 17 statement published on the website of China's National Energy Administration. The six regions have installed nearly 71 gigawatts of turbines, more than the rest of China combined. It's at least the fourth time in five years that Beijing has ordered wind operators there to slow down growth.

China Stops Building Wind Turbines Because Most Of The Energy Is Wasted Andrew Follett, Energy and Environmental Reporter; Daily Caller; 29 Mar 2016

China wind curtailment transmission line costs Texas
Warning: The Daily Caller is an unreliable source

China to plow $361 billion into renewable fuel by 2020 Reuters; 5 Jan 2017

China will plow 2.5 trillion yuan ($361 billion) into renewable power generation by 2020, the country's energy agency said on Thursday, as the world's largest energy market continues to shift away from dirty coal power towards cleaner fuels.
National Energy Administration (NEA) said in a blueprint document that lays out its plan to develop the nation's energy sector during the five-year 2016 to 2020 period.
The NEA said installed renewable power capacity including wind, hydro, solar and nuclear power will contribute to about half of new electricity generation by 2020.
Last month, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the country's economic planner, said in its own five-year plan, that solar power will receive 1 trillion yuan of spending, as the country seeks to boost capacity by five times. That's equivalent to about 1,000 major solar power plants, according to experts' estimates.
Some 700 billion yuan will go towards wind farms, 500 billion to hydro power with tidal and geothermal getting the rest, the NDRC said.
Illustrating the enormity of the challenge, the NEA repeated on Thursday that renewables will still only account for just 15 percent of overall energy consumption by 2020, equivalent to 580 million tonnes of coal. More than half of the nation's installed power capacity will still be fueled by coal over the same period.
2.5 trillion yuan total - 1 trillion solar == 1.5 trillion
1,500 billion - 700 billion wind - 500 billion hydro == 300 billion tidal + geothermal

"From pollution to solution: will China save the planet?" with Barbara Finamore Oxford Martin School; YouTube; 18 Jun 2019

This is a joint book talk with The Rockefeller Foundation Economic Council on Planetary Health at the Oxford Martin School
Now that Trump has turned the United States into a global climate outcast, will China take the lead in saving our planet from environmental catastrophe? Many signs point to yes. China, the world's largest carbon emitter, is leading a global clean energy revolution, phasing out coal consumption and leading the development of a global system of green finance.
But as leading China environmental expert and author of Will China Save the Planet? Barbara Finamore will explain in this talk, it is anything but easy. The fundamental economic and political challenges that China faces in addressing its domestic environmental crisis threaten to derail its low-carbon energy transition. Yet there is reason for hope. China's leaders understand that transforming the world's second largest economy from one dependent on highly polluting heavy industry to one focused on clean energy, services and innovation is essential, not only to the future of the planet, but to China's own prosperity.

South America

Costa Rica

Costa Rica Targets 93% Clean Electricity in 2015 United Nations Framework on Climate Change (UNFCC) Newsroom; 6 Jan 2015

Costa Rica’s achievements in perspective Suzanna Hinson; Climate Answers blog; 4 Feb 2016


Burned in Chile: The folly of merchant solar power Carlos St James; LinkedIn; 28 Mar 2016

This January Chile hit two significant milestones: installed capacity of solar energy passed the one gigawatt mark, and it surpassed wind. Surely a great omen for a country known for its solar resources and stable economy. Yet losses are mounting at some power plants, caused by weak planning on behalf of the public sector and an unwillingness from the private sector to acknowledge some real risks in the rush to invest – decisions that are now costing the industry millions and scarring Chile’s porcelain reputation.


Uruguay makes dramatic shift to nearly 95% electricity from clean energy Guardian; 3 Dec 2015

In less than 10 years, Uruguay has slashed its carbon footprint without government subsidies or higher consumer costs ...
the main attraction for foreign investors like Enercon is a fixed price for 20 years that is guaranteed by the state utility.

IEA report for 2013

Renewable Energy Investment Opportunities brochure 2014


Live Supply and Demand Renew Economy

Germany’s ‘Energiewende’ as a model for Australian climate policy? Graham Palmer, Energy Matters; June 2014

history of anti-nuclear movements in Germany & Australia

The Australian town that wants to get off the grid BBC News; 23 Aug 2016

The 300 residents of Tyalgum, set among the rolling hills near the Queensland-New South Wales border, are fond of saying their town is "beautiful 24-7". Soon, if all goes to plan, this little town in a region famed for its alternative lifestyle could be the first place in Australia to get off the electricity grid and keep the lights on 24-7 using 100% renewable energy. The idea was hatched in September 2014 by local entrepreneur Andrew Price, a 10-year veteran of the renewable energy industry who runs the company Australian Radio Towers.
Then there's Tyalgum's economic makeup - the town is reliant on tourism and there are few stable jobs, so electricity bills hit locals hard. According to Mr Price, the 300 people of Tyalgum collectively spend A$700,000 (£406,000, $534,000) a year on electricity, with 55% of that going to maintain the poles and wires. The project to take the town off the grid has attracted A$15,000 in government funding so far. Solar energy systems will be granted to property owners across the town through a lottery. They will then pay a portion of the money they save on electricity into a fund which will be used to install systems on the other 120-odd homes in town. Building the infrastructure needed to take the entire village off the grid is expected to cost A$7m.

The Battery of the Gaps ACTINIDEAGE; 1 Sep 2016

Approaching 62 hours becalmed on the mainland – what would this mean for battery storage? Paul McArdle; WattClarity; 30 Mar 2015

This morning I noted (and tweeted) that there was virtually no wind production collectively coming from all wind farms across the mainland. This situation has continued through till this afternoon, which means that for the past 15 hours total wind production NEM-wide has been below 400MW, and as low as 200MW (with most of what is being produced in this spell coming from Tasmania). What’s more, the total wind production has been below approx 550MW since midnight heading into Saturday morning.

Why I waited to comment on the SA blackout: reflections on preliminary findings Ben Heard; DecarboniseSA; 6 Oct 2016

South Australia was rolling along merrily and in good shape when warnings of extreme weather came in. About 24 hours later when the extreme whether struck, we were asking for about 1800 MWe of power from our grid, which is connected to the much larger state of Victoria via two interconnectors. About half that power was coming from wind at the time, much of which is based in the north of the state, roughly 20% was coming from gas in South Australia and the balance (30%) was coming through the interconnectors (which is coal, basically).
A section of transmission line south of Port Augusta, near Melrose, was hit with extreme winds, quite possibly tornadoes, and wrecked. Eventually three lines went out of service and six wind farms reduced output. This sudden imbalance of supply/demand was felt as a major drop of frequency. In response, the grid started clamouring for frequency from the rest of the system to stay in operational range (49.5-50.5 Hz). So, virtually instantaneously, it was pulling in supply from other synchronous generators who felt the perturbation in the system, including across the interconnector.
At first it was ok then…more supply gone…more frequency being lost…more clamouring for stability.
This need for more stability was felt as a demand for 900 MWe through an interconnector designed for 600 MWe. That’s too much. To stop potential for damage, the interconnector cut us off, and it was lights out for South Australia.

World-Leading Queensland Solar + Wind + Storage Project Backed By ARENA Giles Parkinson; Cleantechnica; 19 Oct 2016

A world-leading project that will combine solar PV, wind energy and battery storage, and which could ultimately be one of the biggest power stations in Queensland, has received financial support from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. kennedy wind mapARENA announced on Friday that the Kennedy Energy Park — being built by Australia’s Windlab and Japan’s Eurus Energy near Hughenden in north Queensland — will receive $18 million in “recoupable” grants to help fund the $120 million first stage of the project. That first stage will comprise 19.2 MW of solar PV, 21.6 MW of wind and 2 MW/4 MWh of battery storage. But over time, the project may expand to 600 MW of solar PV and 600 MW of wind energy, and more battery storage, and provide the equivalent of “baseload” power to north Queensland, enough to meet one fifth of Australia’s renewable energy target. It would also account for a sizeable piece of the new wind and solar projects required to meet the Queensland government’s own 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030, which was outlined earlier this week.

Mini-grids / small 100% renewables projects: Tasmania, El Hierro, Ta'u etc

The Myth of Sustainable Power from Renewables Institute for Energy Research; 17 mar 2016

Two islands—one off Spain and one off Australia—are using renewable energy to supply power to their homes and industries in the hopes that they can be free of fossil fuels. Tasmania, an island off the south coast of Australia, was virtually 100 percent renewable, but had to bring in diesel generators to get it through an energy crisis. El Hierro, one of the Canary Islands off of Spain, had been 100 percent diesel-powered, but turned to a hybrid wind/pumped storage hydroelectric system to replace the diesel generators, only to find that the island is still dependent on them. In each case, the cost has been huge, and should be cautionary tales to policymakers who want to tinker with the electricity systems we depend upon.

Islands Trying To Use 100% Green Energy Failed, Went Back To Diesel ANDREW FOLLETT, Energy and Environmental Reporter; Daily Caller; 18 Mar 2016

The islands of Tasmania and El Hierro tried to power their economies with 100 percent green energy, but both islands eventually went back to diesel generators after suffering reliability problems and soaring energy costs.

El Hierro Renewable Energy Project

Energy Matters

At the end of June 2017 Gorona del Viento completed two years and four days of full operation. Over this period it supplied 39.1% of El Hierro’s electricity demand – far short of the 100% promised by its backers – and 9.0% of its total energy consumption. (In June 2017 it supplied 61.2% of El Hierro’s electricity and 14.1% of its energy.) Since startup GdV has made progress integrating wind generation with the grid without compromising stability, and it can now fill El Hierro’s electricity demand with 100% renewables for periods of days, but only during periods of strong and sustained winds. These periods could be lengthened if the performance of the pumped hydro system could be improved, but there is no certainly that this can be done. The likelihood is therefore that GdV will continue to be capable of supplying El Hierro with renewable electricity only when wind conditions are favorable, which they are for only a fraction of the time.
Gorona del Viento (GdV) supplied 57.3% of El Hierro’s electricity in 1Q 2018 and 13.2% of its total energy consumption, up from 44.0% and 10.1% in 1Q 2017. Since project startup in June 2015 GdV has supplied 42.2% of El Hierro’s electricity and 10.0% of its energy.
In 4Q 2018 Gorona del Viento (GdV) supplied only 27.7 % of El Hierro’s electricity and 6.4% of its total energy consumption, down by a factor of almost three from the 74.2% and 17.1% recorded in 3Q 2018. Since project startup in June 2015 GdV has supplied 45.2.% of El Hierro’s electricity and 10.4% of its energy. During 2018 it supplied 56.6% of El Hierro’s electricity and 13.0% of its energy, up from 46.3% and 10.6% in 2017. Whether this is a result of improved practices or stronger winds in 2018 is unclear at this time.

Gran Canaria Chira-Soria

Chira-Soria – Another Flawed Renewables Project

King Island

King Island Renewable Energy Integration Project Hydro Tasmania

Nearly 100 years ago Hydro Tasmania embarked on a clean energy journey, becoming one of Australia’s leaders in renewable energy development. Today, we continue our proud history of clean energy with the King Island Renewable Energy Integration Project (KIREIP).

A first look at the King Island, Tasmania, Renewable Energy Integration Project Roger Andrews; Energy Matters; 24 Jan 2018

Tasmania’s King Island project has been under development since 1998 and is arguably the world’s first attempt to demonstrate how an island can transition from diesel generation to wind. An analysis of generation data indicates that while its “advanced control system” does a good job of integrating wind generation with the local grid the project is not capable of supplying King Island with much more than 60% renewable electricity, once more because of prohibitive energy storage requirements. King Island and its offshoot projects (Coober Pedy, Flinders Island, Rottnest Island) further highlight the costs of replacing dispatchable generation with intermittent renewables in isolated island grids and the need for continued diesel backup if demand is to be met year-round.

An update on the King Island Renewable Energy Integration Project Roger Andrews; Energy Matters; 16 Oct 2018

A number of operating small-scale renewables plants provide advance warning of the potential problems involved in transitioning the world to renewable energy, but only two of them – Gorona del Viento in the Canary Islands (GdV) and King Island, Tasmania (KI) – provide grid data that allow their performance to be checked. In this post I summarize the results of another batch of KI data covering the period from July 15 through September 30, 2018. Over this period KI generated about 60% of its electricity from renewables, effectively the same estimate as I made for October and November 2017 in this earlier post. Like GdV, however, KI will always need fossil fuel backup to fill in gaps when the wind does not blow.

Thursday Island, Australia

Wind and solar on Thursday Island Roger Andrews / Mark; Energy Matters; 8 Feb 2018

In this post Mark documents the results of wind and solar data from Thursday Island that leaves him sceptical of the claims made by Prof. Andrew Blakers that wind generation spikes in Queensland will offset wind generation lulls in the rest of Australia
While rummaging around the internet to see if I could find any information on the performance of wind farms in Queensland (and especially in Far North Queensland – Andrew Blakers’ supposed panacea for the rather more correlated wind farm outputs in the NEM area), I came across Thursday Island, which installed a small two turbine wind farm 20 years ago. Thursday Island is about as FNQ as you can get – about 25 miles into the Torres Strait that separates Australia and Papua New Guinea. The bonanza came when I encountered a pamphlet from Harwell complete with charts showing monthly performance of the wind farm and its contribution to local power demand.


Solar power on the island of Ta’u, a preliminary appraisal Roger Andrews; Energy Matters; 15 Dec 2016

A 1,400kW(p) solar PV array backed up by 6,000kWh of battery storage and a smart grid has been installed on the island of Ta’u in American Samoa. It’s reported that this system already allows Ta’u to obtain 100% of its electricity from renewable sources for 100% of the time, and this brief review suggests that it will in fact be capable of delivering 100% electricity for almost 100% of the time if and when it reaches full operation. However, the operator Solar Power (recently acquired by Tesla) foresees potential problems in integrating 100% solar energy with the grid and plans on a “phased approach” to identify and resolve them. Consequently the system will not supply 24/365 renewable electricity immediately, and its ability to deliver it in the future will be dependent on whether a grid fed by 100% solar energy can be made to work.


In Nigeria, a Template for Solar-Powered Minigrids Emerges Chris Warren; GreenTech Media; 20 Feb 2018

This new distribution system will soon be delivering continuous power from a 30-kilowatt installation ofsolarpanels located on a nearby hillside that the local government happily donated to the project’s developers, Lagos-based Rubitec Solar. At night, a trailer full of batteries will keep the electricity flowing, and a large generator will provide backup power in case the combination of solar and batteries are ever unable to satisfy demand.
It’s hard to overemphasize what a change this newly installed minigrid represents to a rural village in Nigeria. Access to power is one of Nigeria’s most common and challenging chasms, a dividing line that determines a community’s quality of life and prospects.
But by embracing a solar-powered minigrid, Gbamu Gbamu is set to vault past much larger grid-connected urban areas in terms of reliable access to electricity. “This fills an enormous unmet need in Nigeria. Half of the country is not on the electrification network. The half that is connected receives very little electricity, usually just a few hours' [worth] each day. And the other half may not be connected for a decade, if ever,” says James Lykos, deputy director of the Office of Economic Growth and Environment at the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Nigeria mission, which has supported the development of Gbamu Gbamu’s minigrid.
“When you have electricity, you can engage in better economic opportunities, and it helps resolve poverty. This can have a transformative impact on rural communities, and indeed, the country as a whole,” says Lykos.
Developing minigrids throughout Nigeria, including the one at Gbamu Gbamu, is one of the main components of the Nigerian Energy Support Program (NESP), which is co-funded by the European Union and the German government and is being implemented by GIZ, the technical arm of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. In addition to Gbamu Gbamu, five other minigrids have been developed during the first phase of NESP. USAID partnered with GIZ to support two of the minigrids, including the one in Gbamu Gbamu.



This Country Isn’t Just Carbon Neutral … It’s Carbon Negative Cole Mellino; EcoWatch; 19 Mar 2016

Bhutan is often overlooked by the international community. The small nation lies deep within the Himalayas between China and India, two of the most populated countries in the world. But the country of about 750,000 people has set some impressive environmental benchmarks. As we’ve written about in the past, Bhutan is not merely carbon neutral, it’s also a carbon sink—making it one of the few countries in the world to have negative carbon emissions. This means the country’s carbon sinks, such as its forests, absorb more carbon dioxide each year than its sources of pollution, such as factories, emit. “According to recent figures, the country emits around 1.5 million tonnes of carbon annually, while its forests absorb over 6 million tonnes,” Proudly Carbon Neutral said.