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Sustainable Energy / a sustainable (energy) future

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Guest lecture given to first-year engineering students at the University of British Columbia, 2013 Sept 10. (APSC 150)

Title: A sustainable (energy) future

After a brief preface on intellectual self-defense, the presentation discussed the science underpinning our understanding of climate change, followed by an analysis of worldwide energy use.

The experience curve was introduced as a force arguably more powerful than Moore's Law (because it applies in virtually every manufacturing sector) and the main reason that renewables (wind and solar, for the time being) are likely to displace fossil fuel and nuclear power in the coming decades -- not for reasons of conscience, but reasons of cost.

Lastly, the metaphor of the "utility death spiral" was introduced to explain the probable impact of efficiency and renewables, on the fossil-and-nuclear dominated utility sector, in coming decades.

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Sustainable Energy / a sustainable (energy) future

  1. 1. Sustainable Energy lecture for UBC APSC 150 (first-year engineering course) Matthew Klippenstein P.Eng. PMP
  2. 2. Where did we come from? Who are we? Where are we going?
  3. 3. Where did we come from? Who are we? Where are we going?
  4. 4. Where are we going? A sustainable (energy) future Matthew Klippenstein, P.Eng., PMP 2013 Sept 10
  5. 5. Apologies to: Biomed Geological Mining
  6. 6. Preamble: A very little bit about me
  7. 7. I had a great high school chemistry teacher
  8. 8. UBC Chem Eng, 1999 a seven-year long, four-year degree notable achievements: handed in assignment on a napkin, after 1998 APEC protests (10/10) convinced Dow CEO to send book to chemical plant, while a co-op
  9. 9. “I’m the king of the world!!” Worked at Ballard Power Systems
  10. 10. while plotting next move… EV commentary for Green Car Reports, Corporate Knights adapting theatre play (staged in Surrey, 2007) into graphic novel
  11. 11. Preamble: On intellectual self-defense
  12. 12. Dennis Gartman did worse than 98.2% of mutual funds in 2009… and 82% of funds in 2010. His investment newsletter costs $400/month.
  13. 13. charisma ≠ content
  14. 14. raised $850 million; bankrupted Better Place; claims to be electric car visionary
  15. 15. For the record, I’ve been wrong a lot: thought fuel cells were the future – dissed EV’s until Chevy Volt announcement – figured EV adoption would be as slow as hybrids – didn’t think solar would get so cheap, so fast – renewables driving fossil fuel utilities into “death spiral” now, not decades from now – wind growing way faster than expected – turns out utility-scale energy storage may not be needed – believed we’d’ve hit “peak oil” by now – didn’t anticipate fracking to have as much impact, though decline rates will doom optimists – Sierra Club’s anti-coal campaign has been way more successful than I thought would have been possible – while I’m at it, I thought the Canucks would for sure win the Cup in 2011… and 2012… and 2013 – didn’t realize quite how much I’d have to write, if I kept shrinking the font with each line on this here slide
  16. 16. We are guided by our biases: I don’t like “X” “X” supports “Y” therefore, I oppose it
  17. 17. We are guided by our biases: I don’t like David Suzuki Suzuki supports action on climate therefore I oppose it
  18. 18. We are guided by our biases: I don’t like big corporations they make vaccines therefore, I oppose vaccination
  19. 19. Background: we are (a large subset of) the world
  20. 20. we’re insanely successful
  21. 21. Global population 7.2 billion humans 25 billion chickens 2 billion pigs 1 billion cattle 1 billion sheep 0.5 billion cats 0.4 billion dogs domesticated animals 0.001 billion whales 0.001 billion bears 0.0005 billion elephants
  22. 22. Global population 7.2 billion humans 25 billion chickens 2 billion pigs 1 billion cattle 1 billion sheep 0.5 billion cats 0.4 billion dogs domesticated animals 0.001 billion whales 0.001 billion bears 0.0005 billion elephants
  23. 23. 1,000,000 individuals
  24. 24. metabolism100 W 10 kW
  25. 25. metabolism100 W 10 kW tech etc.
  26. 26. metabolism100 W 10 kW tech etc. We are whales 10 kW
  27. 27. We are whales metabolism 10 kW Canadian domestic energy consumption 2011 = 10,600 PJ = 10,600,000 TJ  35,000,000 Canadians = 0.3 TJ / person / year = 300 GJ / person / year  365 days / year = 0.8 GJ / person / year = 800 MJ / person / day = 800,000 kJ / person / day  86400 seconds / day = 9 kJ / person / second = 9 kW / person
  28. 28. 81% 6% 13% Fossil Nuclear Renewable address this, first and fast, because…
  29. 29. it’s a hell of an inheritance
  30. 30. besides, global warming is real…
  31. 31. it runs deep…
  32. 32. it’s us…
  33. 33. and we’re “overachieving” our way…
  34. 34. into a new world.
  35. 35. Avoiding CO2… net 12 GT CO2
  36. 36. …is maddeningly affordable!
  37. 37. savings here: insulation (!) efficient cars, appliances… LED lights
  38. 38. can pay for (almost) all the rest: wind solar etc.
  39. 39. Examples in progress Denmark hit Kyoto targets promised about -21% achieved -21.5% Germany too promised -21% achieved -22.4%
  40. 40. Examples in progress DuPont cut emissions 72%* since 1990 world’s #1 chemical company Dow achieved 40% world’s #2 this is supposedly impossible, according to Jevon’s Paradox…
  41. 41. Contents: A sustainable energy future
  42. 42. efficiency: “NegaWatts” applicable everywhere: CHML, CIVL, CPEN, ELEC, ENPH, ENVE, GEOE, IGEN, MECH, MINE, MTRL 15 lm/W 75 lm/W
  43. 43. car efficiency 20% ish driver weight 10% ish net efficiency 2% ish 1000+ Wh to move driver 1 km bike weight near negligible 20-40 Wh to move cyclist 1 km
  44. 44. efficiency is the “eat less and exercise” of sustainability… polyurethane foam
  45. 45. …not fancy, but it gets you there
  46. 46. PV-powered Burnaby house (note: we live in a rainforest)
  47. 47. but we can’t shrink our way there 81% 6% 13% Fossil Nuclear Renewable
  48. 48. but we can’t shrink our way there 81% 6% 13% Fossil Nuclear Renewable we need to scale, too
  49. 49. Goal: cut coal with coal: net 12 GT CO2 4 GT if coal-free
  50. 50. without nuclear, which is safe… Fukushima: 600 deaths during evacuation 1000 cancer deaths, long-term Chernobyl: 4000 cancer deaths, long-term Coal mining: 1300 deaths, in China in 2012
  51. 51. but getting more expensive over time
  52. 52. and shuts down in heat waves 2003: France, Germany 2006: France, Germany, Spain, US (Illinois, Michigan) 2007: US (Alabama) 2008: US (Alabama) 2009: France, Germany 2010: US (NJ, Penn, Illinois, GA – turned down) 2011: US (Alabama) 2012: US (NY, Penn., South Carolina, Maryland)
  53. 53. renewables (mainly wind + solar, for now) will pick up the slack 81% 6% 13% Fossil Nuclear Renewable “relatively infinitely big” compared to current wind, solar sector almost all hydro
  54. 54. renewables (mainly wind, solar) will pick up the slack they’re riding a wave more powerful than Moore’s Law:
  55. 55. the experience curve “Each time cumulative volume doubles, value-added costs fall by a constant percentage.” An MIT study in 2012 concluded that the experience curve was even more accurate at predicting cost reductions than Moore’s Law: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jimhandy/2013/03/25/moores-law-vs-wrights-law/ thanks in part to engineers!
  56. 56. the experience curve “Each time cumulative volume doubles, value-added costs fall by a constant percentage.” it occurs “relatively everywhere”… machine tools, electrical operations: 80% aerospace, shipbuilding: 80-85% machining, electronics mfg: 90-95%
  57. 57. the experience curve and it’s been around a long time...
  58. 58. the experience curve and it’s why renewables will scale
  59. 59. the experience curve and it’s why renewables will scale way easier to double production here (renewables) …than here (FF, N)
  60. 60. Renewables make electricity cheaper they add “supply” to “supply & demand”
  61. 61. wind energy requires: - civil / structural - computer (modelling, Big Data) - electrical (inverters etc.) - eng phys (most of the above) - environmental (site selection) - mechanical - materials
  62. 62. wind’s experience curve…
  63. 63. will make it cheaper than FF
  64. 64. GE’s new turbines achieve 50% capacity factor: costs probably in this range a lot cheaper
  65. 65. 440,000 kills (US est.) While turbines do kill birds each year http://www.nature.com/news/the-trouble-with-turbines-an-ill-wind-1.10849#/bird high estimates used for each case
  66. 66. 440,000 kills (US est.) 1,000,000,000 kills (US est.) While turbines do kill birds each year it’s good to keep perspective… http://www.nature.com/news/the-trouble-with-turbines-an-ill-wind-1.10849#/bird high estimates used for each case
  67. 67. Steven Chu cost curve solar requires: - civil / structural (large arrays) - computer (modelling) - electrical (inverters etc.) - eng phys (most of the above) - environmental (site selection) - mechanical - materials - chemical (silicon & CVD, baby!)
  68. 68. Steven Chu cost curve Solar is also following a cost curve… http://www.irena.org/DocumentDownloads/Publications/RE_Technologies_Cost_Analysis-SOLAR_PV.pdf
  69. 69. Steven Chu cost curve Solar is also following a cost curve… http://www.irena.org/DocumentDownloads/Publications/RE_Technologies_Cost_Analysis-SOLAR_PV.pdf 2013 actual2013 actual (currently ahead of schedule)
  70. 70. …driven by exponential growth…
  71. 71. …which will eventually slow as costs drop, market grows, sales increase but it gets harder to scale production
  72. 72. but not before FF/N utilities face a “death spiral”
  73. 73. Efficiency + renewables…
  74. 74. …cut demand…
  75. 75. …and reduce market prices…
  76. 76. …causing FFN plant closures… RWE (#2 German utility) shut 3.1 GW E.On (#1) shut 6.5 GW, might shut 11 GW more RWE CEO: “[closed because] … wholesale prices have fallen by around a fifth, and the growth of renewables means that the hours that fossil fuel plant operate are being dramatically reduced.”
  77. 77. …and retail rate increases… Revenue = Retail Sales x Regulated Price + Market Sales x Market Price
  78. 78. Revenue = Retail Sales x Regulated Price + Market Sales x Market Price …and retail rate increases…
  79. 79. Revenue = Retail Sales x Regulated Price + Market Sales x Market Price …and retail rate increases… to maintain revenues, utilities must raise rates (and/or shut plants to reduce costs)
  80. 80. …drive efficiency, renewables use.
  81. 81. FF/N utilities’ “death spiral” more renewables less FF/N demand cheaper wholesale electricity utilities shut plants, raise rates renewables even more attractive
  82. 82. Or, as Germans might say, kesseldammerüng (death of the kettle)
  83. 83. kesseldammerüng (kettle reference is because thermal power plants are glorified kettles)
  84. 84. TL;DR? translation for non-Reddit users: “Too Long; Didn’t Read?”
  85. 85. "Things happen fairly slowly, you know. They do. These waves of technology, you can see them way before they happen, and you just have to choose wisely which ones you're going to surf.” 2008
  86. 86. one such wave is starting to hit the energy sector
  87. 87. Fossil Nuclear Renewable this will change
  88. 88. Fossil Nuclear Renewable for the better Fossil Nuclear Renewable
  89. 89. because of the experience curve
  90. 90. …especially if you help it along.

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