How Three Brand-New Power Plants in the Netherlands Are at Risk Already of Becoming Stranded Assets

Posted by Jeroen van Agt in Unsustainable No Comments»

kolencentrale-engie-rotterdamCoal-fired power generation is vulnerable everywhere to increasingly ambitious initiatives to cut carbon emissions.

This is acutely evident today in the Netherlands, where a recent court ruling and a parliamentary motion supporting tougher actions to avert climate change represent a growing trend.

This report assesses the impact of national pressures and beyond on the value of three new coal-fired power plants put into service in 2015 by the German energy companies RWE and Uniper, and the French energy company Engie.

More broadly, we note the implications from these examples for the business case for new-build coal power in Europe and further afield.

Is Nuclear Energy the Solution?

Posted by Jeroen van Agt in Unsustainable 5 Comments»

KernenergieWhen problems such as greenhouse gases or the imminent energy crisis are brought up in conversation, nuclear energy is often cited as a solution. The advantages are apparently easy to quantify. According to many, nuclear energy is a near boundless source of energy and does not have the disadvantage of CO2. emissions.

However, thorough research has shown that these common assumptions are not at all correct. The average nuclear power plant doesn’t start producing energy for 10 years. Over its lifetime it produces more than one million tons of CO2. and ultimately very little in the way of net energy.

The Nuclear Illusion

Posted by Jeroen van Agt in Unsustainable No Comments»

A widely heralded view holds that nuclear power is experiencing a dramatic worldwide revival and vibrant growth, because it’s competitive, necessary, reliable, secure, and vital for fuel security and climate protection.

That’s all false. In fact, nuclear power is continuing its decades-long collapse in the global marketplace because it’s grossly uncompetitive, unneeded, and obsolete—so hopelessly uneconomic that one needn’t debate whether it’s clean and safe; it weakens electric reliability and national security; and it worsens climate change compared with devoting the same money and time to more effective options. These are the conclussions published in an in-depth research about nuclear power published by the Rocky Mountain Institute.

The full report: The Nuclear Illusion (PDF)

World Energy Outlook 2009 (IEA)

Posted by Jeroen van Agt in Climate, Energy saving, Unsustainable No Comments»

world-energy-outlook-2009-coverSince WEO-2008, the economic downturn has led to a drop in energy use, CO2 emissions and energy investment. Is this an opportunity to arrest climate change or a threat that any economic upturn might be stifled at birth?

What package of commitments and measures should the climate negotiators at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 15) in Copenhagen put together if they really want to stop global temperatures rising? How much would it cost? And how much might the developed world have to pay to finance action elsewhere?

How big is the gas resource base and what is the typical pattern of production from a gas field? What does the unconventional gas boom in the United States mean for the rest of the world? Are we headed for a global gas glut? What role will gas play in the future energy mix? And how might the way gas is priced change?

All these questions and many others are answered in WEO-2009. The data are extensive, the projections more detailed than ever and the analyses compelling.

The Economics of Nuclear Reactors: Renaissance or Relapse?

Posted by Mark Cooper in Unsustainable 1 Comment»

byron-nuclear-plantWithin the past year, estimates of the cost of nuclear power from a new generation of reactors have ranged from a low of 8.4 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) to a high of 30 cents. This paper tackles the debate over the cost of building new nuclear reactors. The most recent cost projections for new nuclear reactors are, on average, over four times as high as the initial “nuclear renaissance” projections. The additional cost of building 100 new nuclear reactors, instead of pursuing a least cost efficiency-renewable strategy, would be in the range of $1.9-$4.4 trillion over the life the reactors.

Metal minerals scarcity: A call for managed austerity and the elements of hope

Posted by Andre Diederen in Unsustainable No Comments»

depletion-curveIf we keep following the ruling paradigm of sustained global economic growth, we will soon run out of cheap and plentiful metal minerals of most types. Their extraction rates will no longer follow demand. The looming metal minerals crisis is being caused primarily by the unfolding energy crisis. Conventional mitigation strategies including recycling and substitution are necessary but insufficient without a different way of managing our world’s resources.