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In ascending order of realism:

I like wind, and I don't like hairshirts.

I still like wind, but I'm not optimistic about the political will of foreign powers to regulate international shipping and aviation.

I like domestic load balancing, I still don't like hairshirts, and I still don't believe that international shipping and aviation will be effectively regulated.

(In all examples, geosequestration is used as a proxy for "dig up less fossil fuels and export more electricity to cover fuel imports.")

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Oct 15th, 2012 at 02:34:09 AM EST
Higher energy costs and the diffusion of better technology will lead to more frugal energy use, independently of supposed consumer resistance or lack of political will : e.g. lighting consumption will be slashed by LEDs, without any policy encouragements. So I'm pretty aggressive about reducing per-capita energy consumption.

For example : why assume that energy consumption on commercial properties would double?  Is the population expected to double? I would expect it to be flat, at maximum, with enormous potential to decrease.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Oct 16th, 2012 at 04:32:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The idea is to not increase costs far enough and fast enough that it induces noticeable change in the consumption of goods. Because the first behavioral change you would notice if you implemented such a policy would be the voters telling you to vacate the seats of government. Convincing people to shift from car to rail for fulfillment of their transportation tasks is going to be politically quite difficult enough without having to simultaneously convince them to avail themselves of less transportation, heating, electrical appliances, etc.

As for new technology improving efficiency, that's cool. If and when that happens, we can just scale back our expansion plans, or stop replacing plant when its design life expires. But "unspecified technical change will make our life easier at some unspecified future date" is not a policy, it's Oil E. Coyote forecasting.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Oct 16th, 2012 at 04:55:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, I'm talking about such hypotheses as  : Commercial demand for heating increases 50%, Commercial demand for lights and appliances increases 33%, that sort of "non-hairshirt" option : I just can't imagine the scenario that would lead to this, without talking about any new tech whatsoever (hint : LED lighting is not a future or cutting-edge technology, it's in full-scale deployment in commercial applications).

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Oct 16th, 2012 at 05:34:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree, serving heat and light in a more efficient manner is a growing sector in particular when it comes to industry and commercial properties. And there is a ton of money to be made. In Sweden some utilities are catching on and wants in, even though it undermines their core business, which imo says a lot.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Tue Oct 16th, 2012 at 06:30:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The "I Like Wind Power" scenario involves a considerable re-industrialization of Britain. The simulation involved has no slider for "carbon embedded in imports," which means that it substantially understates the real magnitude of the problem. Onshoring the industry producing the industrial goods consumed by British society will internalize that energy cost (at least insofar as actual industrial production is more energy intensive than the current financial circle jerk).

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Oct 16th, 2012 at 07:35:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... under the "I Like Wind Power" scenario, lighting and heating goes exclusively on the electricity budget, which is not where the residual carbon is under that model. Reducing it just means putting up a couple dozen (maybe a hundred-odd, tops) less offshore wind turbines, in a plan involving in excess of ten thousand turbines.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Oct 16th, 2012 at 07:48:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, carbon embedded in imports isn't in the baseline, and isn't in the legal targets, so it's not entirely awful to leave it out of a model of the UK's decarbonisation pathway.  The model does include embedded emissions that are exported.  So a suite of such models, if done for each country, would at least be consistent and globally representative.

Now, one can make a case that a given government does have some influence over the embedded carbon in its imports, through border tariffs and the like. But this is not an economic model, and doesn't model economic responses.

As for changes in industrial energy profiles as a result of the decarbonisation program itself, yes, that's a tough question. Of course, that sort of industrial forecasting is a nightmare in itself, let alone integrating it as just one component in an energy model.

There is a model option for "Growth in industry": to give a first-order approximation for the effect of onshoring turbine manufacture, and maybe (consequently) onshoring some steel and concrete production too, then set "Growth in industry" to A: (UK industry output more than doubles by 2050)

by LondonAnalytics (Andrew Smith) on Tue Oct 16th, 2012 at 08:54:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Which I did.

But if actual industrial production doubles, then it's not totally out of the ballpark to suggest that the electricity consumption by the support functions (offices, mess halls, etc.) would increase by 33 %, which is the assumption that eurogreen objected to.

On that note, it may be worthwhile to separate use of synthetic lighting and appliances for commercial properties from efficiency of synthetic lighting and appliances. Or it may not, since the annual TWh budget for commercial lighting and appliances is definitely on the low end of the scale.

I'll also second the call elsewhere for an incorporation of electricity-based synthetic liquid fuel and gas plants into the model - that's proven technology that can be rolled out on an industrial scale, and offers the option to use untapped solar and wind reserves to substitute for liquid fuels in those uses that cannot be electrified.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Oct 16th, 2012 at 09:19:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree that lighting is becoming such a small thing that it's not worth separating out.

Yeah, synfuels have to be one of the next big things in it.  First, I'll get multi-fuel district heating working; then I'll have a look at syn fuels.

If anyone can point me at some references for efficiencies and costs, I'd really appreciate it.  I'm in discussions with the team for the original DECC model too, so will pass these on upstream too.

by LondonAnalytics (Andrew Smith) on Tue Oct 16th, 2012 at 09:36:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
oops, yes I overlooked your imaginative doubling of the UK's industrial capacity... good luck with that. Off a low base, for sure.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Oct 16th, 2012 at 10:46:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't have hard numbers, but I think a doubling is roughly in the right ballpark for reshoring enough industry to get the net embedded energy in the foreign trade to zero. Certainly a plan that builds 50-60 thousand wind turbines will increase domestic industrial production substantially above trend.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Oct 16th, 2012 at 11:43:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The electricity demand from commercial operations is fairly unpredictable on this time scale because it depends rather a lot on how power hungry the various gadgets that get adapted in this time span are.
Sure, all the existing tech will use less power just through better engineering, but assuming this means homes and businesses will use less juice overall is dicey. This is a long enough period of time that the odds of entirely new toys and tools seeing wide adoption approaches unity.

Not entirely sure it matters, since once I pick the options to electrify industry, transport and heating, the variations between the various options on this point approach noise in the system anyway.

by Thomas on Tue Oct 16th, 2012 at 01:37:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
eurogreen:
lighting consumption will be slashed by LEDs, without any policy encouragements.

It is true that no further policy encouragements are necessary since light bulbs are already being phased out. But phasing them out (in effect ban them from being sold) was a political decision.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Oct 16th, 2012 at 06:27:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, and governments fell all over the EU when that happened. I remember now.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Oct 16th, 2012 at 08:26:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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