For years, grid parity – the time when solar and wind would be cost-competitive with fossil fuels and nuclear – was the holy grail of renewables energy, a target to reach in a distant future. But the future is now.
The State of the Union speech given yesterday by President Barack Obama might well stay in the History books like John Fitzgerald Kennedy moon shot speech that sent Americans on the moon in less than a decade.
Indeed President Obama asked for 80% of America’s electricity from ‘clean energy’ by 2035 (including clean coal and natural gas, nobody’s perfect) and for more than one million electric vehicles on the road by 2015.
Even more, he called for the suppression of the billions worth of subsidies to Big Oil companies. Let’s hope Congress will give him the means to do all this.
We have heard that before : ” Wind power is far too unreliable ” or ” Nuclear power isn’t a safe solution “. Yet the reality is most of the times far from these myths. Popular Mechanics published a long article debunking energy myths. I wrote about some of them such as clean coal that … Read more
The International Energy Agency recently released a report on how carbon capture and storage (CCS) could account for 19 percent of the greenhouse gases emissions cuts needed by 2050.
The IEA specialists believe Mankind would need to install up to 3,000 plants by 2050. This however might prove to be a problem as CCS is not completely ready yet and this albeit the numerous tests around the world.
Halving the world’s greenhouse gases emissions by mid-century is indeed a challenge as the energy consumption is due to at least double meanwhile.
Alstom and various US partners have been testing carbon capture on a small Wisconsin coal-fired plant. After a year of testing, this pilot project is a success as 90 percent of carbon dioxide was captured.
The French company is willing to commercialize CCS for new and existing coal fired plants as early as 2015. But for this to happen the technology will have to increase its scale to fit plants bringing hundreds of megawatts to the grids.
This is important news as coal-fired plants are a major source of greenhouse gases emissions around the world as still many countries rely on this fuel for their electricity generation.
My post on the UK Low Carbon Transition Plan in July was short, way too short for such a news as a major economy is committing itself to cut its greenhouse gases emissions by 34 percent by 2020 compared to 1990 levels. Using all means at its disposal – energy efficiency, renewables, nuclear, electric cars, … Read more
I was wondering if we as Mankind could clean up coal and if it was worth the hassle. Indeed, Carbon Capture and Storage seems promising but is too little too late to solve our climate change problems.
To an article on the New York Times, an alternative to CCS could drastically cut greenhouse gases emissions from coal-fired plants. Called IGCC (Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle) it sounds promising.
As Ecogeek noted, it already exists and consumes a third less coal than standard plants to generate the same quantity of electricity. It is not fantastic, but it’s a start…
To a study from the Massachussets Institute of Technology : “There is today no credible pathway towards stringent GHG stabilization targets without CO2 emissions reduction for existing coal power plants.”
To me retrofitting coal-fired plants represents a huge detour from going straight to massive plans of energy efficiency and low carbon energy alternatives like wind, solar or nuclear…
The French magazine Science et Vie published this month a most interesting article on why Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) won’t be able to deliver all its promises of mitigating climate change.
Indeed to many international scientific experts putting carbon to the ground is too risky, too expansive, too little and… too late ! This may seem quite lapidary but as we will see it’s the truth.
This is quite surprising as it contrasts importantly to the important investments in this area. Indeed, with so much money one could think it would be an idea solution.
Some are trying to convince the public that clean coal is the ultimate solution to all our needs. Even if I already stated my opinion on what I consider as the panacea, I will rebut their arguments.
Clean Technica outlined no less than five reasons why clean coal will never happen, or if it would to happen, it would be at a prohibitive cost.
So both Barack Obama and John McCain are wrong on this very issue as clean coal is by no mean a reality, and this is why we have to work on cleaner alternatives.
However there is no commercial application yet, but several programs are on their way in North America, Europe or China.
The oil-producing countries from the OPEC also plan to work on this technology as it enable to keep on using fossil fuels. I will review here the main projects.