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PEI Mistake Capacity for Output (Again!)

November 16, 2017

By Paul Homewood



The latest guff from the IEA, via PEI:



Boosted by a strong solar PV market, renewables accounted for almost two-thirds of net new power capacity around the world last year, with almost 165 GW coming online, according to a new report, writes Kelvin Ross

New solar PV capacity grew by 50 per cent last year, with China accounting for almost half of the global expansion.

That’s one of the headline findings from the International Energy Agency’s latest renewables market analysis and forecast.

The IEA notes that for the first time, solar PV additions rose faster than any other fuel, surpassing the net growth in coal.


Almost 165 GW of new renewables capacity came online last year according to the IEA

Almost 165 GW of new renewables capacity came online last year according to the IEA


Boosted by a strong solar PV market, renewables accounted for almost two-thirds of net new power capacity around the world last year, with almost 165 GW coming online, according to the new report.

And renewables will continue to have a strong growth in coming years, according to the IEA, which is forecasting that by 2022, renewable electricity capacity should increase by 43 per cent.

"We see renewables growing by about 1000 GW by 2022, which equals about half of the current global capacity in coal power, which took 80 years to build," said Dr Fatih Birol, IEA executive director. "What we are witnessing is the birth of a new era in solar PV. We expect that solar PV capacity growth will be higher than any other renewable technology through 2022."

The IEA’s renewable forecast for this year is 12 per cent higher than last year, thanks mostly to solar PV upward revisions in China and India. The report states that three countries – China, India and the US – will account for two-thirds of global renewable expansion by 2022. Total solar PV capacity by then would exceed the combined total power capacities of India and Japan today.


Meanwhile back in the real world, BP figures confirm that solar power generated 333 TWh last year, a measly 1.3% of the world’s electricity. As usual the con merchants at the IEA would like us to focus on capacity, rather then real output.

The IEA has long been no more than a puppet in hock to its political masters, but shame on the PEI for regurgitating this nonsense without doing a proper analysis themselves.

  1. November 16, 2017 10:08 am

    Paul Title error ?
    should be
    “IEA Mistake Capacity for Output (Again!)”

    • November 16, 2017 11:28 pm

      The PEI article contains no byline
      I wonder if has been automatically generated from scanning press releases ?
      I think does that
      Hence original errors are carried over.
      BTW it has open comments.

  2. Rasa permalink
    November 16, 2017 11:07 am

    ……and I suppose Solar still produces ZIP electricity after 4pm and before 9am the next day.
    The solar acolytes still don’t get the concept of 24/7/365/50years of meeting electricity demand as and when it is needed.
    Meanwhile Victoria Australia is installing 3rd world diesel generators to meet demand as they shut down the Hazelwood coal fired generator this year.
    …..shake head.
    And South Australia has compiled a list of the most inefficient ways of generating electricity and is working through that list.
    …way to go Premier Jay Weatherill

    • November 16, 2017 11:11 am

      It’s the ABC approach – Anything But Coal.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      November 16, 2017 1:49 pm

      But, but, there is always batteries for when it is not sunny. Surely they can fill the gap provided there is enough sun to charge them. Elon Musk says so, so it must be true.

      I think the IEA are trying hard to ignore the proposal in the US to dump solar subsidies which will deflate their hoped for increase.

      • November 18, 2017 3:36 pm

        I attended the Energy Institute in London on Monday on the theme of what was going to be the big thing in energy 30 years from now. Nine speakers, 5 mins each. 3 at least were lawyers advising startups etc how to get subsidies for new/clean energy projects. One such spent time on batteries as being the wonderful future informing us that in 2030 or there abouts we will be travelling in electric aeroplanes. er.. A Boeing Dreamliner uses about 200 tons of kerosene. Mass of battery to replace this (roughly 100:1 mass/energy ratio) 20,000 tons. An that too has to be got airborne… !!

      • November 19, 2017 1:38 pm

        Philip Foster–I have just finished reading a book intended for my niece’s husband for Christmas: “Tanker Pilot” by Lt. Col Mark Hasara USAF Ret. Roger flew F-4 Phantoms with the US Marines back in the day. He volunteered to go back for the Gulf War, but the planes were being phased out and his unit disbanded. He will no doubt be interested in wading the acronyms. He flies his own plane now.

        Mark Hasara flew tanker planes in the Gulf War and then did the planning for the placement of refueling areas and tanker planes for the Iraq War. I had absolutely no idea of the logistics involved in refueling. The fuel consumed by the various, Vipers, Wild Weasels, Hawgs, you name it, is simply astounding. To say I was stunned reading his accounts is a vast understatement.

  3. Jack Broughton permalink
    November 16, 2017 12:08 pm

    The green-control of the media is strong and not weakening, even the popular engineering and science technical press are now in their control. T’internet is the only hope for society to challenge the fanatical believers.

    On Woman’s Hour today, Jennie Murray was interviewing a coral reef ecologist who came up with the usual mantra of “climate change is damaging the reefs and causing hurricanes in the Carribean* was her opinion challenged ??? Woman’s Hour does not normally toe the establishment line, but on climate change dogma………….

    On the positive side, RWE in Germany have stated that closing more coal capacity will put their grid at risk, (upsetting Merkel’s attempts at a green-coalition) will the UK climate-change-acolytes see this as relevant though?

  4. Bloke down the pub permalink
    November 16, 2017 12:36 pm

    This from the FT has a more balanced view of the role of renewables.

    • Rowland H permalink
      November 16, 2017 1:21 pm

      Seems like you have to subscribe to this Japanese owned news outlet before you can read any of the articles!

      • Gerry, England permalink
        November 16, 2017 1:52 pm

        Google the headline and then up it comes.

      • wert permalink
        November 18, 2017 11:22 am

        Gerry, never works for me. The paywall works.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      November 16, 2017 1:54 pm

      Some genuine problems highlighted but then countered with drivel such as batteries. Still claiming that wind and solar will be bargain basement in cost terms. Well the report was written by noted leftish Bloomberg and funded by the renewable energy rentseekers association.

      • David Kendrick permalink
        November 16, 2017 11:09 pm

        It can only if you go solar thermal using mirrors and storage as gas, in this case artificial fuel using carbon capture syngas since it solves the storage problem. Works better if you have something local to enrich. The object is capturing energy which you can transport rather than efficiency since it seems the desel generator is now more trusted than the Ausralian power grid. It is rather a moot point since everyone who can afford it will now go off grid rather than lose their refrigerator contents so there is no market.

  5. Curious George permalink
    November 16, 2017 3:13 pm

    Please think out of the box. Capacity is extremely important – it is a machinery ready to work. Now we only have to arrange for the Sun and wind to work 24/7. Gifted university professors are working on it. The first step is to ditch old mathematics, which is inherently racist. A lot of progress has been achieved there.

  6. November 16, 2017 3:57 pm

    Make no mistake, unlike the BBC, PEI knows the difference between capacity (GW) and energy (GWh). It is deliberate deception by PEI.

  7. November 16, 2017 5:04 pm

    News : Siemens large gas turbine division to shed 7,000 jobs
    ..mostly in Germany
    .. none in Lincoln

  8. dave permalink
    November 16, 2017 6:19 pm

    The unnecessary change in the meaning of “capacity,” from an exact answer to the question “How much can it hold?” to an ambiguous answer to the question “How much can it do?,” is a good example of the “flabbification” of the English language.

  9. Graeme No.3 permalink
    November 16, 2017 7:34 pm

    In Australia, where various State Premiers and both major parties in Federal Parliament are running amok with the electricity supply, the wholesale price for electricity has doubled with similar increases in the retail price. Part of the demand for solar PV is from consumers anxious to protect themselves from the results of further lunatic ‘decisions’.
    They count on ‘generating’ enough excess to pay their bills (via the Feed In Tariff). There is much discontent with the difference between the rate they get and the rate they are charged (allowing for the various fiddles with the retail cost e.g. daily service charge) which can vary from 4 to 7 times i.e. feed in 8-16¢ v retail close to 60¢. People don’t understand that their contribution doesn’t help the conventional generators at all.

    Then they find out that solar doesn’t work during a blackout so they are pressured to buy batteries, which are quite uneconomical but some succumb. One chap boasted of ‘solving’ his electricity problem by spending $8000 to (almost) eliminate an annual bill of approx. $600. Given the expected life of batteries and inverters I would say that he has been easily parted from his money.

    Then the gullible State Governments have to replace blown up coal fired power stations with batteries and diesel generators. Various large manufacturing companies are getting subsidies to avoid job losses impacting the State budgets. And as the State Governments have to pay for (most of) the Feed In tariffs that further deteriorates the budget. Shortly the vultures will come home to roost.

  10. John F. Hultquist permalink
    November 16, 2017 7:41 pm

    Far better an approximate answer to the right question, which is often vague, than an exact answer to the wrong question, which can always be made precise.
    [John Tukey, statistician]

    Notice the word “net” in this:
    “… renewables accounted for almost two-thirds of net new power capacity …

    Coal, hydro, nuclear, gas, and wood power production units were built and achieved “scale” many years ago. It should not come as a surprise that a new form of production might grow faster than one already here.

    For example, a newborn grows faster than I do. Actually, I’m getting shorter and wider, but let’s not go there.

    Further, getting electricity from wind is about the same as building earthworks with spoons. Lots of folks are employed, not much is accomplished.

    • Curious George permalink
      November 16, 2017 10:17 pm

      Net? Neat.

  11. November 17, 2017 10:37 am

    O/T BBC busy pushing the Tesla distraction trick today
    EMusk MO : make a big promise, fail to deliver, so make a bigger promise to distract.

    • mikewaite permalink
      November 17, 2017 2:29 pm

      I suspect that you are correct stewgreen, but I think that we may be missing an opportunity by concentrating too much on Musk . His method of operating has created a significant general distaste for the man , despite his considerable engineering talent , and that I think that unfortunately tends to cloud the subject of electric vehicles generally.
      If there are going to be vehicles and trucks on our highways they might as well be electric as diesel or petrol driven , as long as one can afford them and the transport costs are not increased so that the costs of supermarket goods increase.
      The advantage of promoting electric vehicles is that it makes it imperative to have a stable, increased power supply and makes it necessary to rely not on temperamental wind and solar but nuclear , gas or even a return of coal. That is the big prize. That is the objective that we should keep in mind . It matters little to me if the car in front of me at the lights is electric or petrol, in fact better if electric because then I am not inhaling fumes whilst we wait.

    • Alaskan Sea permalink
      November 18, 2017 10:03 am

      Plenty about Musk’s truck, but what is the payload. I bet the range figures are for an empty lorry. I’m sure the right PR team could come up with some impressive numbers for a coal powered steam lorry.

      • Russ Wood permalink
        November 18, 2017 10:30 am

        Yep! Steam lorries! I remember them bringing goods from the Liverpool docks in the 40’s. There used to be one in the Liverpool museum. Imagine – two crew, one to drive, and t’other to stoke the boiler!

      • November 18, 2017 4:48 pm

        An HGV 40 tonner will need a 40 ton trailer to carry the batteries to go perhaps 200 miles. Most HGVs like to go 600-700 miles between fill ups if they can.

  12. November 19, 2017 1:44 pm

    Has anyone recently engaged these “wizards of smart” in a discussion of what it takes, in the way of resources, to produce a battery? Has anyone pointed out the materials and money required for the same? I thought not.

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