Nonsens protržne energetske dekarbonizacije prek “alternativnih virov” energije

Odličen članek v Open Democracy o tem, kako se v zadnjih 20 letih kljub tisočim miljardam subvencij zasebnemu sektorju za inštaliranje proizvodnje energije iz obnovljivih virov energije nismo nikamor premaknili. Njihov delež v skupni prizvodnji energije je globalno ostal enak. Tipična je razlika med Nemčijo, ki je prek enormnih subvencij zasebnemu sektorju stavila na obnovljive vire energije in po nesreči v Fukušimi celo sklenila zapreti svoje jedrske elektrarne, in Francijo, ki je prek javnih naložb v izgradnjo jedrskih elektrarn postala država, ki je najhitreje zmanjšala karbonsko intenzivnost proizvodnje energije.

Iz te zgodbe sledita dva nauka. Prvič, protržni načini spodbujanja energetske dekarbonizacije ne delujejo oziroma zelo slabo in počasi, potrebne so velike javne naložbe v izbrane energetske vire. In drugič, pričakovanja, da bodo razpršeni “alternativni” viri energije (sonce, veter) lahko poskrbeli tako za pomembno dekarbonizacijo proizvodnje energije kot za stabilnost energetskega sistema so iluzorna. Slaba pravljica. Slovenska energetska strategija mora (ob hvalevrednem, vendar po pomenu folklornem deležu “alternativnih virov”) sloneti predvsem na učinkovitejši rabi energije (nujen vsedržavni program energetske sanacije stavb) in na ekspanziji tradicionalnih, stabilnih in zanesljivih virov – hidro (srednja Sava in Mura) in nuklearne energije (NEK2). Dobro je, da se vsaj aktualni predsednik vlade tega zaveda in si upa to javno povedati.

More than two decades of climate diplomacy, carbon pricing, and, in recent years, a record build-out of variable renewable energy such as wind and solar, with very little so far to show for it all. We have barely moved.

With respect to climate change, we see, for example, market actors cherry pick the most profitable locations for charging stations instead of the nationwide network needed to overcome the range anxiety of motorists. The Norwegian government, unwilling to wait an eternity for Elon Musk to do the job, simply built such a network themselves. Together with a raft of smart incentives and perks for electric vehicle drivers like free parking, such regulatory and public infrastructural intervention in the country have achieved as of this year a market penetration rate for clean cars of 60 percent of all new vehicles sold. They expect to have completely decarbonized passenger vehicles by the middle of the next decade, years ahead of schedule.

Similarly, nuclear power has an emissions intensity as low as that of onshore wind (global mean of 12g CO2eq/kWh vs 11g CO2eq/kWh, according to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) but unlike wind can power hospitals 24/7. It should be the backbone of any clean transition, and indeed three of the four possible Illustrative Pathways that the IPCC’s latest report uses to illustrate possible strategies to avoid more than 1.5°C of warming assume between a 150% and a 500% increase in the share of primary energy from nuclear by mid-century (one keeps nuclear at about the same). However, the up-front capital costs of conventional nuclear make it unattractive to risk-averse market actors without eye-watering public subsidies, underwriting and price guarantees, as with the private finance boondoggle of Hinkley C. Advanced nuclear, with its ability to use nuclear waste as fuel and meltdown-proof passive safety designs, suffers from a related market challenge. To take next-generation reactors from concept through to commercialization needs an industrial policy to support research, development and demonstration and to shape and create markets for them.

The fastest historical declines in the carbon intensity of energy of any economy was France’s nuclearization of its electric grid—a 4.5% annual reduction rate. This is not far from the Stockholm Resilience Centre’s ‘carbon law’ of a 5% annual mitigation rate up to 2050 needed to avoid dangerous global warming. But the French effort was a centralized, public-sector ‘grand projet d’état’ performed in the dying days of the post-war Keynesian consensus in the late 70s and early 80s prior to the imposition of European energy-sector liberalization.

Thus if the source of all environmental challenges is the result of the market’s irrational production incentives or lack of incentives, then to exit from the current impasse with respect to climate change and other environmental challenges—from nitrogen pollution to biodiversity loss—we must also exit from a laissez-faire approach.

Vir: Leigh Phillips, Open Democracy

%d bloggers like this: