Renewables, more like Internet than Oil&Gas

Renewable energy behaves more like Telecom/Internet than Oil&Gas, economics-wise, taking into account sourcing and transportation.

Oil&Gas is about exploration, find an oil field and your paramount problem is shipping the oil to the market, provided there is a market. Imagine the Dutch who just discovered an oil field in Sumatra in 1885, with no clear market nearby, how could they feel stranded.

So you fret finding buyers, then booking rail carts to the refinery, sold what is in demand and dump the rest into streams. At early times, you could sell kerosene for light and throw away the exploding part od oil. Over time internal combustion engines are developed and most of oil used. Gas used to be vented, but a market developed there too. Today all oil is used, unless there’s a glut then it stays aboard ships around the world, which is the cheapest stockage, as we learned in 2020.

Wind&Solar, you need not discover them, there are maps and no need to dig a hole in the ground. Rather you have to study government papers to find money buried in there for sustainable projects, but that’s another story.

The story is that the economics of solar and wind is now competitive and so it should be a case of “build it and we will fill it” and the best way to promote renewables in the world would be building power lines from most productive areas to markets, according to forecast consumption.

Sun and wind is there for us, To be clear, if Europe builds direct current power lines going into sahara states, should it expects those pipes to be filled wiht renewable electricity which has found a market ? Smart money would move to north afrcia and build capacity, like in the end some smart money thought it could profit from Sumatra oil and built refineries nearby.

So the global renewable energy build-up should look very much like the global broadband buildup at the turn of the century when most undersea cable would be laid (but demand took time to materailize and the bandwidth glut le to a few telecomm companies, while the slack was picked up by internet players like google etc, dark fiber).

So my question, why are we not building those power lines ? The technolgy is called High Voltage Direct Current Transmmission https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-voltage_direct_current, isn’t it ready from prime time ? Are we waiting to develop a business case for it ? Or we need first figure out how to fit it in our geopolitics ? China has already proposed those links as part of Belt and Roads so now you know. Still, if the econommics of renewable production are right, why don’t we create the market for the would be producer of the world ?

Let’s built it and they will fill it.

Le energie rinnovabili non sono come il settore Oil&Gas, somigliano piuttosto a Telecom/Internet, tutto dipende da dove si trovano.

Il petrolio lo trovi in giacimenti, quando hai il giacimento hai il problema di portarlo al compratore. Nei tempi eroici Rockfeller monopolizzò vagoni ferroviari e oleodotti in USA . Immaginatevi invece gli olandesi che nel 1885 trovano il petrolio a Sumatra e non c’è ancora un mercato in Asia, nemmeno una raffineria nè un compratore.

Invece oggi, negli anni pioneristici delle rinnovabili, tutti vogliono avere più rinnovabili e meno co2 nel proprio kix energetico, non se ne producono abbastanza, nonostante le sovvenzioni. Ma tutti dicono che ormai gli economics di solare ed olico sono giusti, sono i migliori, LCOE più basso e allora perchè non crescono più velocemente. Una modesta proposta, costruiamo una o più linee HVDC verso i paese del Sahara e vediamo se le riempono di elettricità rinnovabile

le linee HDVC sono linee a corrente continua ottimali per il trasporto su lunghe distanze oltre, gli 800 km. Se ne potrebbero stendere tante sul fondo dei mari come all’inizio del secolo, in pieno di boom internet, si stendevano migliaia di km di fibra ottica su cui far passare il traffico internet. Sulle prime, tropa fibra, molti fallimenti e fibra rimasta spenta. Ma col tempo, ce l’avete costruita e noi l’abbiamo riempita, Google et al. hanno comprato dark fiber per anni e non hanno più smesso

Possiamo ripetere l’impresa con le linee elettriche, facendo partire un boom di investimenti in rinnovabili nei paesi più dotati di sole e vento ?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s