11/24/2016

Renewables and Fossil fuels

If we say we will invest in a green economy and phase out fossil fuels over a period of 150 years I’m sure that’s feasible. If you mean doing it in 35 years, I think you will find its impossible. 
I’m not “interested in fossil fuels” in the sense that I really don’t worry about increasing their consumption. I’m interested in not seeing Europe do a lemming over the economic cliff by mindlessly pursuing renewables out of a dogmatic belief that fossil fuels are evil. 
I look closely at the situation in Spain, and I don’t see how the economy can carry those renewable costs, while at the same time they have to grapple with communists posing as populists (Podemos) and the rather cumbersome regulatory and monetary system they have. And I’m simply looking at this coldly on a technical and economic basis. Neither solar nor wind justify the costs unless there’s cheap storage, and the only cheap available storage is hydro, which enviromentalists oppose (besides, regulations make it impossible to build a dam). 
I see many of you repeating the opinion that politicians are bought and so in. I guess you don’t realize the turbine and solar power corporations also lobby. In their case they are a parasite lobbying for subsidies, preferential generation rights, etc. This means we need to do our own analysis, rather than trust urban legends and propaganda. 
Regarding stranded assets, most agencies seem to be predicting a gradual increase in oil consumption until 2040. So let’s say the world averages 90 million barrels of oil per day over the next 25 years. That’s over 820 billion barrels. 
Now let’s take a conservative approach and say that somehow we get oil demand to drop at 5 % per year thereafter. That’s an additional 720 billion barrels. 

So, if we take a very conservative “green” view, we see 1540 billion barrels will be produced. But “reserves” are about 1600 billion, and a significant fraction are in Venezuela, in the Orinoco oil belt. That’s very heavy oil, and I think those reserves are over estimated. If we take half of Venezuela’s reserves out of the list, it seems we can barely increase production to 100 mmbo by 2040, then decline at 5 % or more per year, while we continue to sniff around for more oil to fill the gap.
 In other words, at this point that “stranded oil” idea isn’t something I worry about. I worry about the fact that we are supposedly increasing production to 100 mmbopd when I think that’s a tall order. 
Note: I don’t include ethane, propane and butane as “oil”. Some agencies do, which tends to confuse the public. Today’s real crude oil and condensate production is about 81 million barrels of oil per day. 

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