The Dutch import story behind Britain’s no-coal record

No coal UK …. except for the coal powered electricity imported from the Netherlands. And of course the wood powered electricity from DRAW.

Between May 17-31, Britain saw its first two-week period without domestic coal-fired power stations generating electricity since the 1880s.

However, modelling carried out by energy market data analyst EnAppSys shows that power generated from coal has been imported from abroad over the same period – with the most coming from the Netherlands.

EnAppSys says that high carbon taxes in Britain were the key reason why the UK’s electricity system has run without coal for the last two weeks – and it adds that further no-coal records could be broken should these taxes remain at current levels.

These higher carbon taxes do not, however, apply in neighbouring regions and over the initial two-week period of zero coal, Britain imported 50.9 GWh of power from coal-fired plants operating abroad.

Of this power, only a relatively low share of the modelled coal-originating imports came from France and Ireland (0.1 GWh and 0.9 GWh respectively), with France seeing a high share of power from nuclear plants and with Ireland seeing high levels of wind generation over the noted period.

Instead, the largest share of the modelled total was from the Netherlands, where coal-fired power stations continue to operate at a high level of activity as a result of only paying around half the carbon taxes paid within the UK.

Read the whole story

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Wood Instead of Coal – Political Greenwashing

I know I post a lot of these stories about burning wood instead of coal. I do it because it is one of the greatest hypocrisies in the fight against global warming climate change catastrophe.

It’s the rave in Europe: Instead of burning coal and fossil fuels to generate heat and electricity, wood chips and pellets are being fed into Europe’s boilers. In what critics consider a dangerous sleight-of-hand and act of political greenwashing, an updated set of European Union rules encourage the burning of wood in power plants and claim it’s “carbon neutral” — meaning it won’t add to the planet’s warming — under the assumption that trees grow back.

This strategy plays a big part in the EU’s plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The rules allow European governments to subsidize power plants to convert from burning coal and fossil fuels to burning wood. Across Europe, governments are under pressure to close coal-fired plants.

So-called “biomass energy” is also becoming more popular in Japan and Korea, and some in the United States are pushing for greater reliance on wood-burning.

But many scientists and environmentalists say this is backward thinking that will accelerate the disastrous felling of forests and loss of biodiversity.

Power plants in Europe are increasing the burning of wood pellets from the United States, Canada and Eastern Europe. Environmentalists warn that old forests in those places are being chopped up and left to regrow, or in some cases replaced by forest plantations.

But it’s not only the loss of old forests that worries scientists. Studies have shown that wood-burning power plants emit more carbon dioxide per megawatt hour of electricity produced than plants burning fossil fuels.

Even taking forest regrowth into account, scientists warn that over decades and centuries burning wood adds more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere than producing energy the old-fashioned way by burning coal and fossil fuels does.

Full story here

Finland: Less Coal , More Trees

Burning whole forests for energy is Europe’s future.

Finland faces having to import biomass because, despite being Europe’s most densely forested country, it will be unable to meet an expected 70% rise in demand for the fuel after it phases out coal.

Finland approved in February banning the use of coal in energy production by May 2029, which means utilities will have to find alternatives to keep Finns warm as coal currently accounts for around 20% of the energy used for household heating.

As there are limited plans to use more gas to produce heat in Finland, and other sources such as solar and geothermal energy are not yet commercially viable, using more biomass is seen as the most economical way of meeting the country’s future energy needs.

Biomass includes forest wood, timber logging residues, and industry by-products such as wood chips, black liquor, and other bio-waste.

Estimates shown to Reuters by Poyry consultancy – which advises the government on energy, industry and infrastructure needs – calculate that Finland will need 64 terawatt hours (TWh) worth of biomass in 2030 just for energy production, up from 38 TWh currently.

Domestic supply of biomass, on the other hand, is forecast to grow by only 8 TWh between now and 2030, according to Poyry.

As a result, Poyry says the country will have to import biomass as well as improve forest management and ensure greater utilization of harvest residues.

Finland’s largest energy lobby group Energia also projects large increases in the use of biomass in the coming years.

“It’s slightly awkward that Finland would run an energy policy that we will make us a net importer of biomass. We are a forest country,” said its head Jukka Leskela.

CHEAPER TO IMPORT

Forests cover three-quarters of Finland’s land, but the country’s limited tree harvest quota is mostly reserved for the pulp industry and the government would be unable to add much more supply for energy use.

“The pressure is to limit the use of (domestic) wood… Ιt is normally used in the regions where there is a lot of wood and fewer people but now we are talking about towns with very little forest and many people. It is evident that we need imports,” said Riku Huttunen, head of Finland’s energy department, which is part of the ministry of economic affairs and employment.

The logistics of moving biomass from northern Finland was also a limitation, he said, as shipping from neighboring countries was cheaper for utilities.

Such imports could come from other countries around the Baltic coast, including Russia, from where Finland is already sourcing some of its biomass, said Leskela of Energia.

That is despite pressure from the European Union on its member states to reduce their energy reliance on Russia.

Energia’s estimates show biomass will account for nearly 60 percent of the fuel mix in Finland’s combined heat and power (CHP) plants in 2030, up from less than 30 percent currently.

By 2030, all Canada’s efforts will be cancelled out by just 27 days’ worth of China’s increased carbon emissions.

Canada is run by idiots.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced  this month his government would move to impose a minimum price on carbon (i.e., a carbon tax) on any province or territory that did not voluntarily do so by 2018. The question most Canadians are asking is: how much will this new tax cost us?

Figures will vary by household and province, but by 2022, when the tax will be a minimum of $50 a tonne, the average Canadian household could face $2,569 in new taxes. This, pro-carbon taxers insist, is necessary to reduce Canada’s carbon emissions. After all, climate change is a global issue. Surely Canadians must do their part to help solve the problem.

On the surface, this argument is extremely appealing. And sometimes, sacrifices must indeed be made in the service of an important objective. But to get a sense of just how much Canadians’ sacrifices will help in achieving the goal of fighting climate change, it’s worth unpacking the numbers.

We can start with the Trudeau government’s carbon emissions target for 2030, which would bring Canada’s total annual emissions down from 748 megatonnes (Mt) this year, to 524 Mt by 2030. Assuming we can meet that target — and that’s a big assumption — Canada’s total annual emissions would drop by 224 Mt.

Now consider the biggest contributor to global carbon emissions: China. In 2014, China’s annual carbon emissions were estimated at 10,540 Mt. China is a very large and rapidly developing country. It understandably wants to focus on raising the living standards of its people. Yet, despite strong economic growth in recent decades, the country still has hundreds of millions of people living in relative poverty, especially when compared to more developed countries like Canada. Accordingly, its climate change commitments are less stringent than Canada’s: China’s existing policy will see annual carbon emissions rise to about 13,600 Mt in 2030.

Its annual emissions will thus increase about 3,060 Mt over this period, which means that by 2030, all Canada’s efforts will be cancelled out by just 27 days’ worth of China’s increased carbon emissions.

Article here.

 

China Placing A Global Bet On Coal

China dupes the world.

China, known as the world’s biggest polluter, has been taking dramatic steps to clean up and fight climate change.

Sort of.

So why is it also building hundreds of coal-fired power plants in other countries?

Money. And so it can keep conning the suckers.

China’s overseas ventures include hundreds of electric power plants that burn coal, which is a significant emitter of the carbon scientifically linked to climate change. Edward Cunningham, a specialist on China and its energy markets at Harvard University, tells NPR that China is building or planning more than 300 coal plants in places as widely spread as Turkey, Vietnam, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Egypt and the Philippines.

For many years, four huge electric power plants burned coal within the capital city, Beijing, contributing to the city’s choking smog. But within the past four years, all four stopped burning coal.

A visit by NPR on Saturday to one of the plants, the Huaneng Beijing thermal power station, showed that it now burns natural gas

Probably NG from coal gasification which has produces a lot more CO2 for the whole process.

Rest of article here.

Does replacing coal with wood lower CO2 emissions? Nope.

Burning wood makes more CO2 than coal.

The conclusions high points:

  • biomass used to displace fossil fuels injects CO2 into the atmosphere at the point of combustion and during harvest, processing and transport.
  • the first impact of displacing coal with wood is an increase in atmospheric CO2relative to continued coal use
  •  before breakeven, atmospheric CO2 is higher than it would have been without the use of bioenergy, increasing radiative forcing and global average temperatures, worsening climate change, including potentially irreversible impacts that may arise before the long-run benefits are realized.
  • biofuels are only beneficial in the long run if the harvested land is allowed to regrow to its pre-harvest biomass and maintained there.
  • The carbon debt incurred when wood displaces coal may never be repaid if development, unplanned logging, erosion or increases in extreme temperatures, fire, and disease (all worsened by global warming) limit regrowth or accelerate the flux of carbon from soils to the atmosphere.
  • harvesting existing forests and replanting with fast-growing species in managed plantations can worsen the climate impact of wood biofuel.
  • growth in wood harvest for bioenergy causes a steady increase in atmospheric CO2 because the initial carbon debt incurred each year exceeds what is repaid.
  • using wood in electricity generation worsens climate change for decades or more even though many of our assumptions favor wood

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