Home  |   About  |   Energy  |   Politics  |   Software  |   Music

27 February 2013

The mystery of disapearing comments

In the past few days several readers have complained that their comments on this blog are being deleted. Yesterday evening I posted several replies to the few comments in the Solar Price post, I got no error messages and all of them where still visible a few hours later; this morning only one was left. I have re-checked the comments settings and there are no constraint options in place, it is all left with the defaults. I'm very sorry for this but there is nothing I can do at the moment.

If you are being affected by this please leave a note at this thread in Blogger's help forum; don't forget to mention your operating system and web browser. In case there's something you really need to tell me please use my e-mail address (available in my profile).

Thank you for helping.

23 February 2013

Press review 23-02-2013

Back in 2010 at a public address on Peak Oil I took the liberty for some futurism. I told the audience that while Oil is the larger concern at the global scale, in Europe it is Gas that poses greater challenges in the short term. I ventured in saying that it wasn't hard to predict a serious supply issue in our continent in the following 5 or 6 years, especially in Britain and Ireland, that are at the tip of all piped gas routes. It turns out this was very close to happen last month.
The Telegraph
Keeping Britain's lights on will come at a price
Alistair Buchanan, 19-02-2013

On Wednesday January 16, due to unplanned outages and cold weather, National Grid had to find power to supply roughly a million homes to keep the lights on.

Fawley, an oil-fired plant in Hampshire, was one of the power stations that responded. Next winter Fawley will not be there. Indeed, about 10pc of our current generation stock goes next month as coal and oil-fired power stations close earlier than expected to meet environmental targets. [...]

Ofgem estimates that, by 2020, 60pc to 70pc of our generation may have to come from gas to fill the gap. That’s up from about 30pc today. The Government asked Ofgem to look at gas security of supply last year and we concluded that in all but the most extreme circumstances, supplies for domestic consumers should be secure. However, power stations and large industrial users may be affected in a squeeze. The big worry about gas for all consumers is what price will we have to pay to get it? Because just when we need more gas, world demand for gas is set to rise while our own supplies are predicted to fall by another 25pc by 2020.

18 February 2013

The Price of Solar Power

All across Europe feed-in tariffs and subsidies for solar power are being cut or even scraped. In Portugal and Spain these actions are justified with the debt crisis, even though they expand these states' trade deficit. This month the Spanish government took a decisive move to scare investors away and expel most renewable energies from the electric gird, particularly Solar.
Exclusive: Foreign investors set to sue Spain over energy reform

(Reuters) - Foreign investors in renewable energy projects in Spain have hired lawyers to prepare potential international legal action against the Spanish government over new rules they say break their contracts.

The Spanish Parliament approved a law on Thursday that cuts subsidies for alternative energy technologies, backtracking on its push for green power.

That measure, along with other recent laws including a tax on power generation that hit green energy investments especially hard, will virtually wipe out profits for photovoltaic, solar thermal and wind plants, sector lobbyists say.
Diving into the numbers what one finds behind this policy U-turn is something entirely different.

Update III: Follow up research on this topic has been published in the peer reviewed article Photovoltaics: new policy challenges for Europe.

Update II: The Solar Power Cost Calculator is an open source web application that implements the mathematical formulas used in this post.

16 February 2013

Press review 16-02-2013

Today's theme is the so called currency war. I've written regularly on this issue through the years, notably during the time of TheOilDrum:Europe. The international monetary system we have these days was the result of a gentlemen's agreement made at the New York Plaza Hotel back in 1985. When OPEC lost control of oil prices, in the 2004-2008 period, an essential pillar of this system was rocked. There are many more gentlemen at the table now, and with very different goals and perspectives on the world economy. Some sort of new agreement must be reached, but it is not at all evident how it can be beneficial for all the parties involved. Meanwhile, the competitive devaluation that the Plaza Accord put an end to is definitely back.

Global Currency War Could Get Nastier: Brazil

The global "currency war" could get even worse if Europe joins the fray, says the man widely credited with coining the term.

Brazilian Finance Minister Guido Mantega told Reuters European countries should focus on reviving their economies with more investments, rather than trying to weaken the euro to protects jobs as France has suggested ahead of next week's meeting of G20 economic powers.

09 February 2013

Press review 09-02-2013

This post starts what I hope to be a weekly review of press articles. The idea is to have a collection of news pieces to read on a snowy Saturday morning or a hot Sunday afternoon. These are articles that usually don't make it to the front pages but that are relevant to our society in transition. Otherwise it may just things that are interesting.
Windfarms break energy record in Spain
Monday 4 February 2013 09.56 GMT

Over the last three months wind farms produced more electricity than any other power source in Spain for the first time ever, an industry group has said.

The country delivered over six terawatt hours of electricity from wind farms during January, according to data from grid operator Red Electrica de Espana, the Spanish Wind Energy Association said in a statement.

"Since November 1, wind has been the top technology in the electrical system," the group said in a blog posting. "The last time any technology exceeded six terawatt-hours of monthly generation was in 2010, when it was combined-cycle gas turbines."