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ChrisRR t1_jad72na wrote

UK includes burning biomass in their definition of clean fuel, so take it with a pinch of salt


antrky t1_jadfc1a wrote

Good documentary on BBC panorama about how we are essentially cutting down virgin trees in Canada, turning them into pellets, shipping them half way round the world, and burning them in the U.K. as “renewable” energy.

We are also subsidising the company doing this to the tune of 1.7million pounds a day. They posted profits of £700million this year

Drax power station


QggOne t1_jadubaf wrote

There was also the Cash-For-Ash scandal in Northern Ireland. The NI executive gave a lot of subsidies for wood pellet burning.

The subsidies at one point significantly exceeded the price of buying wood pellets. This led to people burning wood pellets in empty farmhouses to make large amounts of money.

Coincidentally, a lot of those who made money out of this, were NI political party donors.


Djeikup t1_jaemp5l wrote

Sounds like they were ahead of their times with "cryptomining".


Mr_MacGrubber t1_jadntom wrote

I live near Baton Rouge, Louisiana and there are a couple of gigantic “silos” that hold pelletized wood going to the UK. They are domes and have the nib things on the top so it looks like a pair of huge tits. Haha


Muzle84 t1_jadv59x wrote

Milk of Human Kindness. Stay Strong!


SILENTSAM69 t1_jadt4w2 wrote

Poor documentary really since they don't understand how this actually is far greener than burning fossil fuels. It plays into the ignorance of the population who think planting trees helps sequester CO2.


judokid78 t1_jae8685 wrote

Well trees do sequester CO2; all be it momentarily until they decompose. But that can be like a couple of hundred years depending on the tree and the environment it grows in.

While burning biomass is at best carbon neutral, shipping it around the world is probably the worst way to do it. The shipping and transportation industry is the largest source of CO2 emissions. Adding to that industry in the name of green energy is misleading at best. Burning locally sourced biomass like some farms do is much better.

Lastly virgin old-growth forests are our best carbon sinks; trees sequestering CO2. Cutting virgin trees to burn as fuel releases previously stored carbon as well as hindering that virgin forest's ability to store carbon.


Yellow_Snow_Cones t1_jaejkc1 wrote

>Lastly virgin old-growth forests are our best carbon sinks

I thought it was the algae in the ocean that does the most scrubbing. Which isn't always good since it makes the ocean more acidic and it messed with shell fish's shells.


judokid78 t1_jaetvaw wrote

Ok maybe not best. I think you're right about algae doing more scrubbing than our boreal forests.

But I will have to check on the acid thing. As far as I know atmospheric CO2 levels contribute more to ocean acidification.


SILENTSAM69 t1_jae9zba wrote

I hate calling it green as it still causes general air pollution. Shipping it is a huge problem. Better to just use the other carbon free sources of energy like renewables, hydro, nuclear, or geothermal, than to burn biomass.

Technically no living organism is a sequestration. Maybe for a human time scale it is, but not the environmental time scale. We could be growing vegetation and treating it as nuclear waste. The best form of long storage being large heavy lawn dart style containers dropped into the north Pacific. Sadly people don't do that with nuclear waste because of public ignorance and the stigma against putting waste in the ocean.


wietlems t1_jaeku3h wrote

If I have to believe John Oliver, it's more about companies making fake claims that they are preventing forestation from happening and adding that to their numbers.


Alimbiquated t1_jaeks7d wrote

However, the documentary fails to specify what percentage of pellets are made this way. In fact most are made from sawmill waste, which is cheaper and available in enormous volume.


FartingBob t1_jadk3vi wrote

Right now 5% of the UK's power generation is currently coming from biomass, to put some data on that.


Override9636 t1_jae5ap8 wrote

What is "Ccgt" in that chart?


FartingBob t1_jae7gnu wrote

Natural gas. From their description: > CCGT: Combined Cycle Gas Turbine - These use Natural Gas to power a Turbine which turns a Generator. A second system uses the heat to produce steam which is used to turn a turbine which powers a generator. There are 39 CCGT power stations in the UK.


IvorTheEngine t1_jaelgb8 wrote

A steam engine that runs on the waste heat of a jet engine. Sort of.


SILENTSAM69 t1_jadsz36 wrote

If by clean they only mean a climate change contributed they are not actually wrong.

Most people don't realise that while plants pull CO2 out of their air they do not remove it from the carbon cycle. Only if the plants were treated as nuclear waste, or even better buried in the ocean would that CO2 actually be removed from the carbon cycle.

The problem is that the CO2 released from fossil fuels is being added to the carbon cycle. It had been buried long ago.


frostbiyt t1_jaezbux wrote

If we planted trees, then used the lumber for buildings, wouldn't that essentially be removing that carbon from the carbon cycle, at least in the short term?


SILENTSAM69 t1_jaf3g5w wrote

It takes it out of the atmosphere for the short term, but that is still part of the cycle. All organic compounds are part of the cycle. It isn't until it is trapped in rocks that it leaves the cycle.

Creating calcium carbonate is one way to remove it. Geological processes are not very fast though. It would be interesting if we could help speed up that process.

It isn't a popular way to fight climate change,but adding aerosols to the atmosphere would reduce climate change. The aerosols we inadvertantly release actually does reduce climate change now. The problem would be worse if not for it. Adding more internationally is a solution.

Some people say we should not geoengineer the planet. The problem is we already ate doing it unintentionally. It might help if we do it intentionally.


SquatchWithNoHeroes t1_jaesgu9 wrote

Yes and no.

Depending on enviroment

Swamp, boggy terrains trap large amounts of CO2. On the other hand, the anaerobic decomposition that often occurs in such enviroments can emit large amounts of methane.

And expanding forests creates a net loss, while cutting them down obviously emits CO2.

All in all, forest can't be simply be grown magically, not all areas are suitable for forests. And I don't see many countries capable of embarking into antidesertification campaigns like China succesfuly.


SILENTSAM69 t1_jaex3to wrote

Yeah very true. At least methane is less of a concern considering its cycle is so short lived compared to CO2 taking thousands of years to pull out of the system. I see some getting confused that methane traps more heat, but scientists are less concerned about it. The life cycle of the gas in the atmosphere being a big part of the problem.


danielravennest t1_jadgn21 wrote

Biomass took CO2 out of the atmosphere while it was growing. Burning it returns the CO2. Whether it is sustainable, produces other pollutants, and the overhead emissions from harvesting and transportation is another matter.

Solar, wind, and nuclear are not CO2 free. Some emissions occur during their manufacture and maintenance. It is just a lot less than combustion.


SunnyGrassBeachRelax t1_jacgk77 wrote

And yet UK energy companies are still price gouging UK citizens.


HarassedGrandad t1_jachnpn wrote

Because getting cheap power for 25 hours doesn't fully offset the price of gas for the other 30 days in december. And when you say "uk energy companies" do you mean the wholesale suppliers who sell you the electricity (many of whom have gone bust), the generators who make the electricity, or the global multinationals who sell them the gas with which to make the electricity.

Because the only one making bank are the multinational oil companies that get to pump the gas out of the ground..


JimTheSaint t1_jadixnv wrote

Just because it's green doesn't mean it us cheap.


Squiggles87 t1_jadssgp wrote

Wind power is exceptionally cheap to produce once the infrastructure is built. The price of wind power is artificially linked to more expensive energy production means because of profit.


All_Tech_Jobs t1_jad28ay wrote

Price offsets are not instantaneous. These deployments have to pay themselves off and that will take decades.


UsecMyNuts t1_jad8kas wrote

>these deployments have to pay themselves off

So far all of them are paid off or will be by 2024. The companies who are managing them are only selling the energy to consumers. not using it to offset prices or recoup costs


upvotesthenrages t1_jadlfn1 wrote

Windmills only last 2 decades before they need replacement. Parts are replaced after 8 & 12 years, then the entire thing is decommissioned after 16-20 years.

Their ROI is not decades, that wouldn't make sense.

Biomass, the 2nd largest source of "green" energy in the UK is practically fossil fuel light. It requires the import of brand new trees from Canada to keep it running.


All_Tech_Jobs t1_jae3t83 wrote

As with anything as more efficiencies are included in the manufacturing/supplier process the price will go down. But that happens incrementally per deployment.

As parts are replaced the overall costs become cheaper and when a new windmill has to be deployed that becomes cheaper but as even you say that's 20 years.

Wind power from what I've read has a very low ROI. One figure I saw was 4%. The article then says the windmill would have to be in service for 22 years to make that money back. And 8% was considered the barometer.of whether a product was worth investing in.

So how much do you gain? If you hard cut at 20 years you're not making your break even. At that point you're relying on the manufacturing efficiencies to be cost feasible for each deployment which does not happen overnight when you consider the entire supply chain.

This same exact thing happened with solar panels. Very high cost for those initial end users who had to wait much longer to see any ROI versus those now getting into. A better manufacturing and supply chain process means less cost means faster ROI to the end user.


Fonky_Fesh t1_jacwks0 wrote

Srsly what do u expect? Do you know how expensive a bunch of windmills and solar panels on god knows how much land is?


danielravennest t1_jadfu28 wrote

UKP 1,125/kW all in for wind turbine

Land area per home for a solar farm is 645 square feet. On a rooftop the same installation needs about 300 square feet because you don't need space between rows like a solar farm. Rooftop installations don't use more land since the house is already there.

Enough solar farms for all 25 million UK residences would take up 578 square miles. You wouldn't build that much because there are other renewable sources. If you did, the UK's land area is 94,000 square miles, so about 0.6%

Agrisolar is dual-use of land for solar and agriculture. A common example is grazing sheep under the panels. That reduces the net land usage.

Land-based wind turbines consume about 1% of the wind farm's area, for access roads and the turbine base. They are compatible with other land uses, like farming. Offshore wind turbines consume no land area, of course.


upvotesthenrages t1_jadlmpx wrote

That doesn't include decommissioning, or the cost for backup energy when the wind isn't blowing as much.

You need to look at system cost, not LCOE.


Fuckyourdatareddit t1_jae2n8d wrote

Fuck all compared to every other form of power generation.

I’ll never understand you people, so fucking arrogant that with two seconds of “thinking” you somehow have the impression you’ve come up with pricing problems nobody who actually works in the industry has ever noticed


dontyousquidward t1_jadskwf wrote

in this thread: "it's not perfect! scrap the whole thing!"


autotldr t1_jackj56 wrote

This is the best tl;dr I could make, original reduced by 77%. (I'm a bot)

> The UK's electricity grid ran on 100 per cent clean power for 25 hours during December, setting a new monthly record and providing further evidence that the energy system can enable a zero-emission grid.

> The record-breaking performance during December meant there were nearly 100 hours when the grid delivered more clean power than it needed last year.

> The report acknowledged that some fossil fuel generators were required to stay running in order to provide flexibility and inertia services to grid operator National Grid ESO during the periods when demand was fully met by clean sources of power.

Extended Summary | FAQ | Feedback | Top keywords: grid^#1 clean^#2 power^#3 during^#4 zero^#5


The-Brit t1_jad9fdo wrote

Mainly gas at the moment according to Gridwatch


tj0415 t1_jadflr7 wrote

Last month was windy as fuck, not so much in Feb.


markhewitt1978 t1_jadg9dl wrote

57%. No wonder the price is so high.


IvorTheEngine t1_jaelu5l wrote

That's just the gas that is used to generate electricity. The UK uses a lot of gas for heating too, especially at this time of year.


jazzwhiz t1_jadt067 wrote

I remember Denmark had a day over 100% while I lived there, the news article had mentioned that they sold the extra inland to Germany. I also remember that it was the day when it was so windy, everyone had to walk their bikes or risk getting blown over, ha!


CuppaTeaThreesome t1_jaedjxi wrote

Shame we didn't take the Energy Price Guarantee £50,000,000,000 and rather give our tax directly to energy companies who've made the most profit ever, invest in more wind and solar and live in a world where energy is free and we only had to pay a daily standing charge to maintain, invest in infrastructure.

Start with *free energy for the NHS £0.5bil saved. All over 65 *free energy. Then Schools, freeing up resources for councils.

All of this is possible, all engineering challenges and energy battery storage issues are known.

Yes it's a lot of HUGE turbines at sea and 600c Molten sand to keep. And lots of new problems. Nuclear energy contracts need to playout.

The £65bil tuss lost would have been handy too.

*FREE energy is subject to infrastructure cost and your personal usage allowance tariff. Like phone data costs, to prevent coin mining and other uses this badly thumb typed bored commuter drivel doesn't cover. My stop is here. Bye.


[deleted] t1_jadl7hg wrote

Have rates gone down at all?? Will they??


IvorTheEngine t1_jaen33i wrote

No, because that was just one short period.

Rates aren't going to go down for decades, because even after we've built enough turbines to replace all the existing power stations, we'll still need to build enough to drive our vehicles, heat our buildings and replace gas and coal use in industry.

We've all gotten too used to cheap, dirty power.


Scramswitch t1_jadmxcc wrote

clean energy doesn't mean cheap. depending on what they're using, costs could rise


Fuckyourdatareddit t1_jae2rt4 wrote

Apart from the fact that clean energy is the cheapest form of power generation


[deleted] t1_jae29l8 wrote

If I was a home owner, I'd make my own energy.


IvorTheEngine t1_jaenfkg wrote

That's pretty difficult in the UK, because most energy is used for heating. You can do OK in the summer though.


_DeanRiding t1_jaerrh4 wrote

Also I'm pretty sure you have to hook it up to the National Grid don't you? Don't you just get a rebate from them depending on how much you produce?


xLoafery t1_jae3a8g wrote

cool! Can't wait for more days like this in the future.


coswoofster t1_jaewi8h wrote

Awesome. Congrats Britain. So good.


ButtercupQueen17 t1_jaekkl6 wrote

We could switch the entire planet to renewables in 10 years if there was enough pressure. Everyone is just lazy.


AggravatingAd421 t1_jae21zx wrote

How much oil do those turbines require per week?


Redstone2008 t1_jaei6x6 wrote

It’s incredibly difficult to find values for this, mainly because depending on weather conditions and the type of turbine it will consume differing amounts of oil. I’d love to give you an estimation but I don’t presently have the time to research and provide a good estimate as too how much they require.

I will note that the oil being used by the turbines is not being burned/converted to CO2, it’s being used as lubrication. This isn’t saying it’s free of CO2 production, as the synthesis of the industrial lubricants used in wind turbines produces considerable amounts of CO2.


theshadow62 t1_jae79r7 wrote

Collected by fans that use fossil fuel oil to run.


REPOST_STRANGLER_V2 t1_jadj7zb wrote

Awesome, now lower our electric bills...

We got people freezing but hey at least we're "green" while India and China keep screwing the environment with fossil fuels.


ERRORMONSTER t1_jaer5n1 wrote

>The report acknowledged that some fossil fuel generators were required to stay running in order to provide flexibility and inertia services to grid operator National Grid ESO during the periods when demand was fully met by clean sources of power.

This is a huge caveat. They're basically saying they outsourced all the things that renewables currently don't do very well to other sections of their grid so they could claim 100% renewable.

It's kind of like saying this one town by a wind farm was powered by 100% renewable energy. Not technically incorrect, but very, very misleading.


Winston_Orwell t1_jadijx3 wrote

25 hours is fucking measly


megamef t1_jadt6m5 wrote

But it’s the UK, and December. I feel like there’s about 3 hours per day of real sunlight at that point if the year. I go to work in the dark and come home in the dark in December.


upvotesthenrages t1_jadlt9z wrote

It also included biomass, aka burning trees shipped across the Atlantic from Canada.