Just one winter has shown that the time for green energy has not yet come

The coming to power in the United States of the Democratic Party with its Green New Deal and the plans of the European Union to completely decarbonize its economics by 2050, the future of traditional energy was called into question. However, the cold winter of 2020-2021 made us look at this problem in a new way.

First of all, it is necessary to decide what belongs to the renewable, or "green" energy, which is considered to be the "killer" of the traditional one based on burning fossil fuels. This is, first of all, the energy of sunlight, wind, water flows, waves, ebbs and flows, as well as biofuels obtained from the processing of biological waste. Just three years ago, more than a quarter of all global energy consumption came from renewable fuels. And this, without any irony, can only be welcomed, since the dependence on fossil fuels is significantly reduced, the reserves of which are limited and sooner or later will be completely depleted. Among the world leaders in the field of "green" energy, one can single out the countries of the European Union, first of all, Germany, China, the USA and other leading powers.

All this gave reason to believe that by 2050 the European Union will be able to reduce to zero harmful emissions into the atmosphere generated by the combustion of hydrocarbon fuels. Following him, the United States and China announced similar plans. The air clearly smelled "hot" for countries whose revenues largely depend on the extraction and export of oil, gas and coal. Among them were Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Angola, Libya, Azerbaijan and Russia, as well as a number of other oil-producing states. However, nature has made its own significant adjustments to these ambitious plans.

Abnormal cold weather that came from the Arctic plunged the southern states of the United States into a state of energy collapse. Numerous windmills froze and stopped generating energy, solar panels were covered with snow. The same fate befell the leading power of the EU, Germany, where almost 30 thousand wind generators stopped at once. Alternative "green" energy suddenly stopped working. If the FRG did not have access to gas and coal generation, the Germans would start to freeze in their homes, like the Americans across the ocean in Texas.

And what conclusions can be drawn from what happened? And they are extremely simple: alternative energy is good and correct, but in no case should it completely replace traditional energy. So that the energy system of a country or a union of states does not collapse overnight, balancing capacities are needed. And this requires more traditional generation, for example, nuclear, gas or coal.

As far as coal-fired generation is concerned, yes, it causes significant damage to the environment and should be phased out. The cheapest in terms of cost energy then remains nuclear. Today Technology peaceful nuclear energy allow the construction and operation of safe power plants. It is quite possible that Germany, frightened by the accident at the Japanese "Fukushima", nevertheless made a big mistake, abandoning its nuclear power plants. On the other hand, other countries are showing increased interest in them: for example, Poland, the Czech Republic plans to build a new power unit, Turkey is currently building with the help of Rosatom, and Belarus has already launched a new nuclear power plant. However, all this is quite expensive and takes a long time to build.

Then “blue fuel” remains as a relatively inexpensive and most environmentally friendly fossil raw material. The most developed gas transportation infrastructure has been created in Europe to date. These include numerous trunk pipelines and LNG receiving terminals on the coast. It is unlikely that the abnormal winter of 2020-2021 will force Brussels to completely abandon its plans to "decarbonize" the economy, but it will clearly make significant adjustments to them. The cornerstone will now be placed on the creation of technologies for long-term storage of generated "green" energy. There are already some developments in this area, but the problem is to make such stations massive and commercially viable. The task is difficult, for many years to come.

For the transitional period, which may take 20-30 years, natural gas pumped through pipes and shipped in liquefied form by tankers will undoubtedly take the role of a "buffer". And here Russia still feels quite comfortable, as it will retain a significant share of the European energy market. In the countries of Southeast Asia, everything is still much more modest, here the first violin is played by liquefied natural gas supplied by tankers. But Gazprom has already built the Power of Siberia trunk pipeline to China, and also intends, competing with Novatek, to take away the share of the Asian LNG market from the United States, Australia and Qatar. And Russian companies have good chances for this.

In general, it is still too early to bury traditional energy. In no case should this be considered as a "run over" to "green", the only question is their reasonable combination and balance.
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  1. Jacques sekavar Offline Jacques sekavar
    Jacques sekavar (Jacques Sekavar) 26 February 2021 19: 35
    There are many directions of alternative energy, but today only one is real - nuclear.
    Tidal power plants are several times more expensive and only in places with significant differences, and the work is subject to the influence of the lunar cycle.
    An alternative could be a neutrino technology for generating electricity or controlled nuclear fusion, but everything has not yet gone beyond the scope of experiments.
    There is a lot of garbage and everything comes exponentially, the whole planet has been dirtied, but its processing is not economically profitable and needs subsidies, and money is never superfluous.
    Therefore, for the foreseeable future, there is no alternative to traditional energy sources.
  2. Sergey Latyshev Offline Sergey Latyshev
    Sergey Latyshev (Serge) 27 February 2021 20: 37
    Oh, that’s all garbage.
    First, there is a 30-year term, which will most likely be extended.
    The technologies of production, emission reduction, etc., will not stand still.
    Secondly - in the world, and so% of biofuels is large enough. And now there will be even more ... All Argentines are happily rubbing their hands ...
    Thirdly, all this snow in Florida happens quite regularly, just like a skiff on the roads in the Russian Federation during snowfalls, so no one will move too much.
  3. 123 Offline 123
    123 (123) 28 February 2021 14: 16
    Green energy was, is and will be. For example, hydropower is also green and in Russia it is developing successfully, if I am not mistaken, its share has grown from 10 to 14%. It is just not thoughtlessly necessary to rush to extremes, destroy thermal power plants and replace them with fans and solar panels, especially where it will not work, just because they consider it necessary to do so in the "west".
    1. Jacques sekavar Offline Jacques sekavar
      Jacques sekavar (Jacques Sekavar) 28 February 2021 17: 52
      Hydropower is cheap and affordable, but not so green - reservoirs in some places turn into sedimentation tanks of various kinds of sewage, not to mention such obvious consequences as flooding of large areas, agricultural land and fertilizers, cemeteries and cattle burial grounds, rising groundwater, impossibility of fish migration and aquatic animals, flowering and overgrowing of blue-green algae, death of all living things from lack of oxygen, waterlogging and other not very environmentally friendly and economically costly consequences.
      1. 123 Offline 123
        123 (123) 28 February 2021 18: 14
        Naturally, hydropower also has its negative sides. Everything in the world is relative. In general, I don't see much sense in dividing energy into green and no.
        1. Jacques sekavar Offline Jacques sekavar
          Jacques sekavar (Jacques Sekavar) 1 March 2021 10: 15
          To live in a clean and well-groomed house, you do not need to shit in it, and this applies not only and not so much to the energy sector, but to a much greater extent to the chemical industry.
          Even the first Peter forbade deforestation closer than 50 meters along the banks of the rivers and obliged to produce birch plantations and put milestones along the roads.
          Modern water protection legislation also prohibits deforestation along river banks, construction, disposal of household and industrial waste.
          The economy directs all production processes to maximize the use of raw materials, and existing wastewater treatment plants capture up to 90% of harmful emissions - a matter of cost.
          All garbage, chemicals and plastic are not produced from unknown alien materials, which means that we can assume the possibility of a reverse process - recycling to its original state or a state close to it.
          Until recently, the PRC was the world's largest importer of waste, which means they have an economically sound application, because much attention is paid to the state of the environment.
          1. 123 Offline 123
            123 (123) 1 March 2021 12: 01
            Of course you're right yes We must take good care of nature, observe norms and legislation. I am also for all good versus all bad. But about chemistry, everything is not so smooth.

            All garbage, chemicals and plastic are not produced from unknown alien materials, which means that we can assume the possibility of a reverse process - recycling to its original state or a state close to it.
            Until recently, the PRC was the world's largest importer of waste, which means they have an economically sound application, because much attention is paid to the state of the environment.

            As far as I understand, not everyone knows how to process to a state that is safe for humans and the environment. And when it is possible, it turns out to be economically impractical. That is why waste is exported to other countries. While the Greta stands from the high stands, the children of Bangladesh are digging in their trash.
            As for China, the import of municipal solid waste has been reduced for 5 years.
            2016 - 46,55 million tons;
            2017 - 42,27 million tons;
            2018 - 22,63 million tons;
            2019 - 13,48 million tons;
            2020 - 7,18 million tons.
            The Ministry of Ecology and Environment of the PRC announced a ban on the import of solid waste by any means from January 1, 2021.

            Why do you think? In order for the "golden billion" to live in a clean and cozy little world, someone must dig into their garbage. The Chinese don't want to anymore and they need a replacement. I would not be surprised if, for example, .... Ukraine, in the fight for the environment, will soon be involved in waste processing.
  4. Anton Poluektov Offline Anton Poluektov
    Anton Poluektov (Anton Poluektov) 28 February 2021 18: 56
    You just shouldn't give up nuclear energy in favor of VIA. On the contrary, it was necessary to rely on nuclear power plants that do not harm the environment, but VIA as an addition to the nuclear power industry is very good!
  5. andreshk Offline andreshk
    andreshk (Andrei) 10 December 2021 14: 39
    Very interesting article.
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