Mathematician Mary Hutzler, is an important voice in energy forecasting. Before she left the Energy Information Agency in 2004, Mary had served as both the acting administrator and deputy administrator of the agency. She was also the director of the EIA’s Office of Integrated Analysis and Forecasting. After 25 years with the agency, Mary in 2004 moved to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTSas where she served as the Associate Director of Statistical Programs). While at the BTS Mary served for 6 months as its Acting Director. During Mary’s career at the EIA, she planned, directed, and managed all mid- and long-term analysis and forecasting at EIA, as well as the production of EIA’s annual forecasting publications. Hutzler oversaw development of the National Energy Modeling System, for which she received a Presidential Rank Award in 1999. Thus Mary Hutzler was for many years one of the top, if not the top energy analyst for the United States government.
Mary is thus uniquely qualified to analyze, and report EIA data. She gas just posted her analysis of the latest EIA 2035 energy forecast. Mary’s conclusions are extremely sobering. We are loosing the war against AGW. Mary reports that the EIA’s 2010 assessment indicates American carbon dioxide emissions will grow over the next 25 years. Hutzler states,
The agency expects liquid fuels and other petroleum demand to be up almost 10 percent by 2035, natural gas demand up by almost 7 percent, and coal demand up by 12 percent, all from 2008 levels.
Even with large gains in renewable capacity, fossil fuels will still dominate our energy landscape by 2035 to fuel the country’s economic growth expected to increase at 2.4 percent per year. Energy consumption is expected to increase by 14 percent by 2035 with large percentage increases in renewable fuels, but far larger absolute quantity increases in fossil fuels, making them the dominate source of energy for the foreseeable future. Carbon dioxide emissions will therefore continue to grow and EIA expects that growth to average 0.3 percent per year. However, due to structural changes in our economy and to efficiency improvements, carbon intensity (carbon dioxide emissions per unit of gross domestic product) will continue to decline. EIA expects that decline to be 2.1 percent per year. Carbon dioxide emissions per capita also decline by 0.6 percent per year.
But does the EIA ignore the growth of renewables?
EIA is forecasting an . . . 81 percent for all forms of renewable energy (hydropower, biomass, wind, solar, and geothermal). Hydropower is expected to be 22 percent higher due to improved water conditions and some minor capacity additions, biomass 88 percent higher, and wind, solar, and geothermal combined 187 percent higher. . . .
The largest increase in renewable generating capacity is expected from wind power (46 gigawatts), followed by biomass (29 gigawatts), and solar power (13 gigawatts). Except for wind power, most of the renewable penetration is not in the central station generating sector, but at industrial sites (for biomass) and on residential and commercial rooftops (for solar). Because, of the lower capacity factors for wind and solar power, the increase in renewable generation comes mainly from biomass, which supplies almost half of the increase in renewable generation. Wind power supplies 32 percent of that increase, followed by hydropower (10 percent) and solar (4 percent).
For those of us who view biomass conversion to energy as a step back for soil conservationl, this forecast is extremely discouraging.
The EIA also foresees very little progress for Nuclear power.
EIA is forecasting an increase of 11 percent for nuclear energy,
The reason for EIA pessimism is clear, the German renewable model has not only failed, but failed dismally. A recent report from the Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung titled “Economic impacts from the promotion of renewable energie” sets out the German renewables failure with brutal honesty.
* on-shore wind, widely regarded as a mature technology, requires feed-in tariffs that exceed the per-kWh cost of conventional electricity by up to 300% to remain competitive.
* (despite) having the second-largest installed wind capacity in the world, . . . the estimated share of wind power in Germany’s electricity production was 6.3%
* We estimate that the wind power subsidies may total 20.5 Bn € (US $28.1 Bn).
Solar PV performance was even worse. Solar PV had
* a feed-in tariff of 43 Euro-Cents (59 Cents US $) per kWh in 2009,
The total German solar subsidy including a feed in tariff between 2000 and 2009 cost an estimated
53.3 Bn € (US $73.2 Bn)
The feed in tariff alone cost German consumers
* 43 Euro-Cents (59 Cents US $) per kWh in 2009,
For this huge price the German renewable policy has lead to
* 6.3% of German electricity being generated by wind
*0.6% of German electricity being generated by solar PV.
In contrast German nuclear power plants, which the German Greens and Socialists were intent on shutting down, produce 28% of all German electricity. Thus without any recent investments, no subsidies, and despite political opposition German nuclear power produces 80% of German carbon free electricity. Urick Fahl of the University of Stuttgart estimates that it cost 7€ to eliminate a ton of CO2 with a European Pressurized Water Reactor. (For any who wonder the cost of eliminating a ton of CO2 with a LFTR could run as low as $1 per ton.) In contrast it costs between 611 and 716 € (US $1,050) per tonto eliminate CO2 with photovoltaics. The cost of carbon abatement with wind runs between 91 € and 54 € per ton, that is between 8 and 12 times the cost of carbon abatement with nuclear. Clearly further investments in renewables, coupled with a failure to set reasonable goals is the route to national suicide.
Daily Kos blogger “nnider” recently chose to leave Daily Kos because his use of the word stupid to describe critics of nuclear power was censored. But what can we say of people who favor mans of fighting AGW that are 100 to 1000 times less effective than nuclear power?