2TWh of hydrogen and 37 million EVs: How can the UK reach net-zero emissions?

12 July 2021, source edie newsroom

The National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO)'s latest Future Energy Scenarios (FES) report has outlined four potential scenarios for decarbonisation in the UK, three of which would see the UK reach net-zero emissions by 2050. Here, edie outlines what is required to meet the legally binding target.

Under the most ambitious scenario, the UK would reach net-zero by 2047

Under the most ambitious scenario, the UK would reach net-zero by 2047

One of the primary aims for this iteration of the report was to highlight what steps could be taken that would enable the UK to meet the Sixth Carbon Budget, which mandates a reduction in emissions of 78% by 2035. Doing so would put the UK on course to reach its legally binding target of net-zero emissions by 2050.

According to the ESO, three out of four future scenarios would enable the UK to reach net-zero by 2050 or sooner, and two would see it reach the Sixth Carbon Budget. According to the Climate Change Committee, who recommended the target, meeting the Budget would require all new cars, vans and replacement boilers to be zero-carbon in operation by the early 2030s. UK electricity production must then reach net-zero by 2035, in line with the National Grid ESO’s existing vision, and the majority of existing UK homes will need to be retrofitted in some way also.

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Visualizing the Flow of U.S. Energy Consumption

Published on By Graphics/Design: Harrison Schell

America Energy Consumption 2020

Breaking Down America’s Energy Consumption in 2020

The United States relies on a complex mix of energy sources to fuel the country’s various end-sectors’ energy consumption.

While this energy mix is still dominated by fossil fuels, there are signs of a steady shift to renewable energy over the past decade.

This radial Sankey diagram using data from the EIA (Energy Information Administration) breaks down U.S. energy consumption in 2020, showing us how much each sector relies on various energy sources.

The Balance of Energy Production and Consumption

In 2019 and now in 2020, America’s domestic energy production has actually been greater than its consumption—a development that hasn’t taken place since 1957.

Last year’s numbers were severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, seeing a 5% drop in energy production and a 7% drop in consumption compared to 2019. Total energy production and consumption for 2020 came in at 95.75 and 92.94 quads respectively.

The energy amounts are equalized and measured in quadrillion BTUs (British thermal units), also known as quads. A quad is a huge amount of energy, equivalent to 183 million barrels of petroleum or 36 million tonnes of coal.

So how is America’s overall energy production and consumption split between energy sources?

U.S. Energy Production and Consumption Share by Source

Energy SourcePercentage of U.S. Energy ProductionPercentage of U.S. Energy Consumption
Petroleum32%35%
Natural Gas36%34%
Renewable Energy12%12%
Coal11%10%
Nuclear9%9%

Source: IEA

America’s new margin of energy production over consumption has resulted in the country being a net total energy exporter again, providing some flexibility as the country continues its transition towards more sustainable and renewable energy sources.

Fossil Fuels Still Dominate U.S. Energy Consumption

While America’s mix of energy consumption is fairly diverse, 79% of domestic energy consumption still originates from fossil fuels. Petroleum powers over 90% of the transportation sector’s consumption, and natural gas and petroleum make up 74% of the industrial sector’s direct energy consumption.

There are signs of change as consumption of the dirtiest fossil fuel, coal, has declined more than 58% since its peak in 2005. Coinciding with this declining coal dependence, consumption from renewable energy has increased for six years straight, setting record highs again in 2020.

However, fossil fuels still make up 79% of U.S. energy consumption, with renewables and nuclear accounting for the remaining 21%. The table below looks at the share of specific renewable energy sources in 2020.

Distribution of Renewable Energy Sources

Renewable Energy Source2020 Energy Consumption in QuadsShare of 2020 Renewable Energy Consumption
Biomass4.5239%
Wind3.0126%
Hydroelectric2.5522%
Solar1.2711%
Geothermal0.232%

Source: IEA

The Nuclear Necessity for a Zero-Emission Energy Transition

It’s not all up to renewable energy sources to clean up America’s energy mix, as nuclear power will play a vital role in reducing carbon emissions. Technically not a renewable energy source due to uranium’s finite nature, nuclear energy is still a zero-emission energy that has provided around 20% of total annual U.S. electricity since 1990.

Support for nuclear power has been growing slowly, and last year was the first which saw nuclear electricity generation overtake coal. However, this might not last as three nuclear plants including New York’s Indian Point nuclear plant are set to be decommissioned in 2021, with a fourth plant scheduled for retirement in 2022.

It’s worth noting that while other countries might have a higher share of nuclear energy in their total electricity generation, the U.S. still has the largest nuclear generation capacity worldwide and has generated more nuclear electricity than any other country in the world.

Converting Energy to Electricity

The energy produced by nuclear power plants doesn’t go directly to its end-use sector, rather, 100% of nuclear energy in the U.S. is converted to electricity which is sold to consumers. Along with nuclear, most energy sources aside from petroleum are primarily converted to electricity.

Unfortunately, electricity conversion is a fairly inefficient process, with around 65% of the energy lost in the conversion, transmission, and distribution of electricity.

This necessary but wasteful step allows for the storage of energy in electrical form, ensuring that it can be distributed properly. Working towards more efficient methods of energy to electricity conversion is an often forgotten aspect of reducing wasted energy.

Despite the dip in 2020, both energy production and consumption in the U.S. are forecasted to continue rising. As Biden aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030 (from 2005 emission levels), U.S. energy consumption will inevitably continue to shift away from fossil fuels and towards renewable and nuclear energy.


CCC: UK 'has no coherent plan to reduce emissions this decade', despite net-zero pledge

24 June 2021, source edie newsroom

The UK Government has not yet backed up its long-term climate target of net-zero by 2050, often described as "world-leading" by Ministers, with realistic and ambitious delivery plans, the Climate Change Committee (CCC) is warning.

With current policies, the UK is only likely to deliver one-fifth of the emissions reductions needed by 2035

With current policies, the UK is only likely to deliver one-fifth of the emissions reductions needed by 2035

In its latest progress report to Parliament on reducing emissions, published today (24 June), the Committee states that the UK Government is failing to support “important statements of ambition” on decarbonisation with “firm policies”. In other words, despite the introduction of a legally binding net-zero target in 2019 and subsequent short-term funding pots like the £12bn provided in the Ten Point Plan, most high-emitting sectors are still unprepared to decarbonise at the scale and pace needed.

2020 is, overall, dubbed a year of “climate contradictions” between talk and action. The CCC has also pointed to “high-carbon blunders” in policymaking such as failure to block a new coal mine in Cumbria, voicing support for lowering green taxes on flights and closing the Green Homes Grant with less than 10% of the £2bn originally promised issued. The recent cut to overseas aid spending is additionally said to be “undermining” domestic green finance commitments.

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Huge "Bennachie-shaped" waste plant approved for-former Inverurie paper mill site.

https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/aberdeen/3262576/huge-bennachie-shaped-waste-plant-approved-for-former-inverurie-paper-mill-site/


Thermal recycling: Not in my backyard?

Thermal recycling is reliable, makes environmental sense and has no technical alternative – and yet it has an image problem. A number of examples in Europe show how new projects can nevertheless be implemented with great success.....

lifestyle, environment, Horizontal

Image From Mads Claus Rasmussen - AFP / picturedesk.com

The Queen of Denmark is amused. Every morning when Margrethe II looks out of the windows of Amalienborg Palace, she sees the chimney of Amager Bakke. This has now become a familiar and much-loved sight. Located in the centre of Copenhagen, with a ski slope on its roof, hiking trails, the world’s highest artificial climbing wall and a mountain bike trail, the waste incineration plant – which was completed in 2017 and has an annual capacity of 400,000 tonnes – has very quickly become a new landmark in the city.

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Green public transport thanks to waste incineration: a bus powered by hydrogen from the incineration plant on the road in the German city of Wuppertal

Image from Rupert Oberhaeuser / Caro / picturedesk.com

READ MORE from PIOTR DOBROWOLSKI at Waste Management World:

https://waste-management-world.com/a/thermal-recycling-not-in-my-backyard

Statkraft partners with GE as stability project reaches ‘critical milestone’

Image: GE Power Conversion.

Image: GE Power Conversion.

Statkraft has signed a deal to install GE’s Rotating Stabilizer technology as part of a new approach to provide stability on Great Britain’s grid.

Earlier this year, National Grid ESO awarded Statkraft four stability contracts, including two at Keith in the northeast of Scotland. It is here that two of GE's Rotating Stabilizer synchronous machines will be installed in an effort to manage grid stability as the amount of non-synchronous generation from solar, wind and interconnectors grows.

Commenting on the project, managing director of Statkraft UK, David Flood said: “We are delighted to have reached this critical milestone in providing stability services to the grid. Our project at Keith builds on our electricity market and renewables expertise and helps Statkraft deliver our vision of being a renewable energy system integrator.”

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UK Government launches new taskforce to tackle greenwashing in finance sector

9 June 2021, source edie newsroom

The UK Government is set to launch a new advisory group tasked with creating a 'green taxonomy' for finance, in a bid to crack down on greenwashing in the investment space.

Pictured: Chancellor Rishi Sunak at the recent G7 Finance Ministers' Meeting. Image: HM Treasury, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Pictured: Chancellor Rishi Sunak at the recent G7 Finance Ministers' Meeting. Image: HM Treasury, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Called the Green Technical Advisory Group (GTAG), the taskforce will comprise of members from NGOs, trade bodies and academia, alongside organisations that will use the finalised taxonomy and organisations with expertise in creating such frameworks. It is set up to be independent from the Treasury and other Government departments.

Organisations represented within the GTAG's membership include the Green Finance Institute, WWF, the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC), the Confederation of British Industries (CBI) and the Aldersgate Group. Under the category of taxonomy and data experts sit representatives from the likes of the UN Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), the Climate Bonds Initiative and the Government’s own Environment Agency and Committee on Climate Change.

The Green Finance Institute’s executive director Ingrid Holmes has been appointed as chair of the GTAG. Holmes also heads up policy and advocacy at investment manager Federated Hermes International. Prior to taking up these roles, she was a director at think-tank E3G, contributing to the establishment of the now-closed UK Green Investment Bank.

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Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas) - the forgotten greenhouse gas.

Emissions of the greenhouse gas commonly known as laughing gas are soaring. Can we cut emissions from its greatest anthropogenic source?
In the world's effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions, the source of our food is coming into the spotlight. There's good reason for that: Agriculture accounts for 16 to 27% of human-caused climate-warming emissions. But much of these emissions are not from carbon dioxide, that familiar climate change villain. They're from another gas altogether: nitrous oxide (N2O).

Also known as laughing gas, N2O does not get nearly the attention it deserves, says David Kanter, a nutrient pollution researcher at New York University and vice-chair of the International Nitrogen Initiative, an organisation focused on nitrogen pollution research and policy making. "It's a forgotten greenhouse gas," he says.

Yet molecule for molecule, N2O is about 300 times as potent as carbon dioxide at heating the atmosphere. And like CO2, it is long-lived, spending an average of 114 years in the sky before disintegrating. It also depletes the ozone layer. In all, the climate impact of laughing gas is no joke. Scientists at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have estimated that nitrous oxide comprises roughly 6% of greenhouse gas emissions, and about three-quarters of those N2O emissions come from agriculture.

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Why are energy-from-waste schemes so troublesome?

by Roddy Wilkie at Construction Manager Magazine  14.03.2019

Development of CCS in Fortum Oslo Varme

The EU’s 27 members will need to find a way to deal with 142 million tonnes of residual waste by 2035. That’s assuming they hit their own targets under the bloc’s Circular Economy Action Plan. 

For now, the UK is still signed up to that target as part of the Brexit deal struck last December. 

At the moment, there is enough waste-to-energy capacity in the EU to deal with 100 million tonnes of residual waste, material that can’t be recycled or reused. So the EU will need to increase incineration capacity to cope with an additional 40mt by the 2035 deadline. That means EU countries will need to build more waste-to-energy plants over the next ten years. 

At the same time, the UK is aiming to reduce its carbon emissions by 68% by 2030 (the EU’s goal is a reduction of 55%) and net zero emissions by 2050. 

Fortum Oslo Varme offers a way to achieve these two ambitious goals. We are ready to fit our waste-to-energy plant on the outskirts of Oslo with technology that would capture 90% of the CO2 emissions from the plant. Once the project is running, about 400,000 tonnes of liquefied CO2 will be taken by zero emission trucks to the harbour. From there the CO2 will be taken over by the Northern Lights project and transported by ship to a terminal on the west coast of Norway. There it will be pumped into rock formations 3,000 meters below the seabed in the North Sea for safe storage.   

Our Oslo waste-to-energy plant has been operating for over thirty years and annually deals with 400,000 tonnes of residual waste from Oslo, the surrounding area and the UK. The energy generated by the plant is used to produce electricity and district heating for around 200,000 people in the city. 

Equipping the plant with CCS capacity will cut Oslo’s CO2 emissions by 14% by itself. The project is essential for the city’s plans to cut emissions by 95% by 2030.  

The Norwegian state has already pledged funding for the transport and storage of the carbon and has agreed to pay around half of the project’s start-up and running costs for 10 years. Fortum Oslo Varme has applied to the EU’s Innovation Fund for energy and decarbonisation solutions for the remaining funding. 

At Fortum Oslo Varme, we believe that this project is essential if the EU and its partners are going to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. The CCS technology can be rolled out to around 500 similar waste-to-energy plants across the EU that will also need to cut their emissions over the next ten years. It can also be used for the extra 100 plants of the size of Fortum Oslo Varme that the EU will need to deal with the 40 million tonnes of residual waste it faces as more and more landfill sites are closed. 

It is important to be aware that incineration does not compete with reuse and recycling. Even if Norway and the EU achieve the ambitious targets for reuse and recycling there will still be waste that we cannot dispose of any other way. Much of this is from biological sources so if we use CCS technology we are actually removing CO2 from the atmosphere. 

We have to deal with the climate challenges with the tools we have at hand today –  and that includes incineration of residual waste and CCS. We can’t wait for miracle solutions that may never be invented or considered good enough. 

At Fortum Oslo Varme we strongly believe this project could be a blueprint for cities on how to best deal with non-recyclable waste, while producing heat and electricity for city inhabitants and meeting ambitious greenhouse-gas emission reduction targets in the coming decades. 

Fortum Oslo Varme (FOV) AS is owned 50/50 by the City of Oslo and Fortum Participation Ltd. Oslo and the surrounding region, one of the most prosperous regions in Europe, have a population of more than 1.2 million.

Oslo is aiming to be a fossil-fuel-free city by 2050.

Launching the carbon capture and storage project at the waste-to-energy plant is an important steppingstone towards meeting this goal.

Fortum, founded in 1998, is the world's fourth largest heat supplier and has a number of combined heat and power (CHP) plants as well as biomass plants for energy recovery and district heating.

Circular use of resources, recycling, district heating and overall sustainable waste management are key features of Fortum's business.

With the vision “for a cleaner world” Fortum aims to be at the forefront of developing both the industry, technology and new green jobs.

With approximately 19,000 professionals and a combined balance sheet of approximately €69 billion, we have the scale, competence and resources to grow and to drive the energy transition forward. Fortum's share is listed on Nasdaq Helsinki.

By Jannicke Gerner Bjerkås, Director Carbon Capture and Storage, Fortum Oslo Varme AS