Friday, August 7, 2015

Greece - Coal - Global Warming

Greece, is going apparently going ahead with building a new coal-fueled power plant.  This post is somewhat dubious of the idea:

Crises-Watch, 2 August 2015 (hat tip: NC)
In the current dismal economic setting, the construction of the new lignite power plant by Greece's Public Power Corporation constitutes a completely irrational move: the public energy utility will need to disburse 400 million euros for a project that has been proven to be economically non-viable. By insisting stubbornly on the construction of Ptolemaida V, the PPC threatens to entrap Greece in an outdated energy model, at a time when technological progress renders clean energy a cost-competitive basis for the reconstruction of the country’s production model.

The link about Greek Coal burning power plant does ignore one very important point.  Greece has indigenous sources of goal, but has to import oil, gas, and presumably the "alternative" sources the post champions. 

Accounting in 2012 for over 30 % of the country’s total primary energy supply of 37.1 Mtce, lignite is Greece’s most important indigenous energy resource, although the country does have modest oil and gas reserves. Oil accounted for approximately 45 % of the country’s primary energy supply and Greece has a large refining industry which exports oil products. Consumption of imported natural gas increased significantly until the global economic crisis hit in 2008; gas had a 15 % share in 2012. At 0.4 Mtce, hard coal imports accounted for 1.2 % of total primary energy supply in 2012. Security of supply, low extraction costs and stable prices are important reasons why lignite will maintain a strong position in the energy market. 

Not saying that makes it smart, but it presumably goes a long way toward improving their balance of payments.  If they go the route of the economic pariah, they could go all-in like the Germans did prior to WW2 and liquefy coal to make  "synthetic" fuel.

This situation exemplifies one key problem with the idea that we are going to curtail our use of carbon-based fuels.  Curtailment is for the wealthy, or possibly, if we want to pat ourselves on the back, the prepared.  But having closely read international news (mostly through the pink sheet hard copy, Financial Times) for a number of years, I can assure you, if you think the politicians of the United States are stupendously inept, you can make yourself feel a little bit better about it by a close reading of the local politics of the rest of the world.  Every last bit of economically viable carbon-based fuel is going to get burned eventually.


James M Dakin said...

It isn't exactly stupidity that keeps leaders tightly embracing carbon fuels. The entire globe's infrastructure is based on using them, and it was built that way when they were cheap. And while a household can ignore the economics in renewables ( in essence never paying for themselves in purely economic terms ), a nation state cannot.

PioneerPreppy said...

There is supposedly enough Coal left to last a decade or more even according to the peak resource people. If they can build it cheap enough it might be worth the payout Coal plants in the states would be worth building today if it wasn't for all the enviro-freak troubles and the Femocrat party/Government juggernaut throwing problems at them. Personally I feel coal fired plants are about the best thing we could do environmentally next to hydro or nay gas. Coal is certainly less harmful to the environment than Nuclear plants with over full containment pools and no way to handle the waste.

russell1200 said...

James: No, there is no advantage to a current leader in not kicking the can down the road. And at the household level, it is pretty much an economic proposition where you have already paid (through taxes mostly) for the infrastructure and are only paying the last bit of marginal cost. It's a no-brainer.

Pioneer: Lots of coal. Obviously environment issues. But the reason coals was getting killed, even before the newly proposed rules, is that that the fracking boom was a bubble fueled mess that was pushing all of the alternative sources out. Solar had a lesser boom from Chinese overproduction in the sector. Coal and nuclear didn't stand a chance. Not that after the Japanese fiasco, people were to excited to jump back into nuclear, but there had been talk of it before fracking started to go big time with Chesapeake Oil.