Finally The Guardian admits it

The global coal industry will “never recover” from the Covid-19 pandemic, industry observers predict, because the crisis has proved renewable energy is cheaper for consumers and a safer bet for investors.

A long-term shift away from dirty fossil fuels has accelerated during the lockdown, bringing forward power plant closures in several countries and providing new evidence that humanity’s coal use may finally have peaked after more than 200 years.

That makes the worst-case climate scenarios less likely, because they are based on a continued expansion of coal for the rest of the century.

It never was true that just carrying on would lead to that RCP 8.5. It was necessary that we used ever more coal – not just more, but as a greater portion of our energy supply – for that to ever come to pass.

Now, I wonder. Will the next time someone presents a prediction based upon “business as usual” – which is almost always that RCP 8.5 that isn’t going to happen – The Guardian tell them to bugger off?

20 thoughts on “Finally The Guardian admits it”

  1. ‘As demand for electricity has fallen, many utilities have cut back on coal first, because it is more expensive than gas, wind and solar.’

    And government compels grid operators to choose wind/solar first. The fix is in. Silly Jilly can’t stop lying.

    As wind/solar make greater penetration, your industries will leave.

    ‘providing new evidence that humanity’s coal use may finally have peaked after more than 200 years.’

    Gibberish.

  2. Bloke in North Dorset

    They’re going to be in for a shock.

    Greenies have been telling us for years that we have off shored some/most of our CO2e production.

    It looks like there’s going to be a massive change in logistics with a lot of near and on shoring in the future. This will require more electricity and as we all know coal is the means of marginal production. The more marginal the production the dirtier the coal.

  3. The “cost” of wind power doesn’t include what the true cost would be if we had to rely on it and not burn fossil fuels so we can have electricity in the days and weeks when the wind doesn’t blow much. The end of April and beginning of May were a two week period where we would have been stuffed. The worst point was May 3rd at 4AM. Total demand was about 20GW and even though we have 21.5GW of installed wind power (enough to supply this demand), because of the calm conditions it was only producing 0.155GW. Being night time solar wasn’t doing anything either.

  4. BiND:

    “…and as we all know coal is the means of marginal production.”

    Really? I would’ve thought Natural Gas, with the supply impact of fracking. At an operational level, gas can be used either base-load in CCGTs or as a response resource in SCGTs, while as far as I know (I don’t work with any coal plants, but we do have biomass, which is pretty similar) coal is pretty-much limited to base-load in Rankine cycle (conventional boiler) plants. That makes gas the marginal fuel either at a planning or operating view. At least, that’s the way one large utility analyses the market. Possibly different across an ocean with different fuel supply issues, I suppose.

  5. Tbh, even if climate change wasn’t bollocks, I’d still be in favour of building big, fuck-off coal plants, just to own the libs.

    I’d prefer nuclear though.

  6. Thought the recent Michael Moore documentary put a rather hefty boot into the renewables side even if it was advocating more extreme policies

  7. The Grauniad is lying through its fangs. Coal is cheaper than renewables *because* the price of coal goes down when the cost of renewables goes down in order for coal to be sold. That is so obvious that even the Grauniad cannot fail to see it.
    Electricity generating corporations use Renewables because they are required to do so – or pay massive fines – by New Labour legislation (and similar legislation in other countries). Not so long ago I looked at the accounts of the Lincolnshire Offshore Wind Farm – it made profits solely from selling “Renewable Obligation Certificates” as the cost of send the electricity it generated to shore exceeded the sale price of that electricity to the grid.
    It is a HORRIBLE LIE to say that Renewables are cheaper for consumers because the UK consumer has to pay for the subsidies to windfarms and solar panels. “Dirty” is an adjective that should be used for Grauniad lies.

  8. @Steve

    Nuclear, especially the Thorium route, has been suggested as a viable nuclear alternative for years, if not decades.
    It very predictably gets shouted down by the Usual Suspects, because nuclear ( O.M.G.!) ..

    Afaik, the chinese are more practical, and will be eventually exporting the tech when we’re all shivering in the dark munching Government Approved Granola in our Sustainable Homes.
    And we’ll be welcoming them as liberators…

  9. @BiND “coal is the means of marginal production”
    Bollocks. That is hydro, followed by gas.

    Coal takes hours to get operational and days to reach its optimal performance.
    Gas takes minutes to start operating and a bit longer to reach optimum performance.
    Hydro is running in seconds.

  10. As demand for electricity has fallen, many utilities have cut back on coal first, because it is more expensive than gas, wind and solar

    Really? Every cost comparison I’ve seen always has coal as cheapest, even more so if Gov’t penalties removed

    In Aus PM Scot Morrison wants coal resurgence to boost economy post Wuhan Virus

    @dcardno

    Yes – @BiND No

    @john77

    +100 Entire green energy business is a scam sold on emotion

  11. Locally lots of hydro to the point where the electricity company is, rather confusingly, called BCHydro, yet the greenies have been blocking the building of a new dam to increase capacity for ages. Even if you go down the renewable route they will find something else to complain about.

  12. “Nuclear, especially the Thorium route, has been suggested as a viable nuclear alternative for years, if not decades.”

    THORIUM ?!?! HA HA HA HA. It has been dead for decades for GOOD REASONS. You can switch off whenever someone mentions thorium.

    “The “cost” of wind power doesn’t include what the true cost would be if we had to rely on it and not burn fossil fuels so we can have electricity in the days and weeks when the wind doesn’t blow much.”

    But Andy, you CAN’T have electricity in the days and weeks when the wind doesn’t blow much.

    Not to worry. Most of your population will move elsewhere. Denmark or Norway will invade, and the isles will become provinces. The invaders will build electrical generation facilities. So, in the end, nothing will change, except you will have a new government.

    And a difficult language to learn.

  13. …the electricity company is, rather confusingly, called BCHydro…

    Oh – we’re neighbors!
    On of my acquaintances is sky-high about electric vehicles; hard to get him to shut up about them and their wonderful awesomeness. I asked hi how he felt about Site C (and Site E; I think the geology didn’t work out for Site D): dead set against them!
    I told him that electrification of light road transport (cars and light trucks, leaving the big rigs alone) would require the equivalent of 8 to 12 Site-C equivalents, depending on how you do the math – to a rough approximation, doubling provincial electrical capability. He flatly refuses to accept it: we can get there through efficiency gains, he says.
    Lord help us…

  14. Bloke in North Dorset

    Gas and hydro are used when electricity is needed quickly eg during the advert break in Corrie when 1,000s put the kettle on. They won’t be the solution if the average load If we increase the permanent load by, say, 20%.

  15. @dcardno, tweedledum
    Coal is “marginal baseload” — i.e. what we call on when there is a seasonal or secular change in energy demand as opposed to a fluctuation — because the plants are already built and sitting idle. We don’t have to build a new plant to use it, just dust and old one off and chuck some coal in.

    @john77
    There’s the cost of coal and then there’s the cost of coal delivered to a power station. Coal is much more difficult/expensive to transport than liquid or gaseous fuels, so even coal that’s free at the mine head could be more expensive than other things

  16. @ Matt
    That is why most coal-fired plants (most, not all) in the UK were built near coalfields. The most recent, Drax, was built there when NCB started to develope the South Yorkshire coalfield.
    OK, it *is* theoretically possible to have a coal-fired generator built in such a place that the cost of transporting coal from Colombia or Australia was greater than the cost of delivering and burning gas but that would be so incredibly stupid that only a totalitarian government would do so – in which case the market influences of consumers and investors do not apply.

  17. They’re living in a dream world. Countries are going to have to dig their economies out of the the shit Coronavirus has left. If it takes burning coal, they’ll burn coal. Having 25% unemployment is a helluva incentive.If it comes down to don’t burn or don’t eat…

  18. They’re living in a dream world. Countries are going to have to dig their economies out of the the shit Coronavirus has left. If it takes burning coal, they’ll burn coal. Having 25% unemployment is a helluva incentive.If it comes down to don’t burn or don’t eat… You choose

  19. @Matt May 18, 2020 at 7:36 am

    Bollocks. As john77 says. Plus during coal strike we found pit to power from Aus & Poland cheaper than UK coal, most transported by road not rail

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