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EGEB: Fossil fuels return on investment lower than believed, solar-powered concert hall, Scottish wind

In today’s EGEB:

  • A new study reveals the EROI for fossil fuels is worse than believed.
  • An architecture firm’s winning design for a Czech concert hall, which will be solely powered by rooftop solar.
  • Scotland’s massive amount of wind power.
  • Saudi Arabia to get its first utility-scale wind farm.
  • LA looks from coal…to gas?

Electrek Green Energy Brief: A daily technical, financial, and political review/analysis of important green energy news.

A new study in Nature Energy takes a closer look at the energy return on investment (EROI) for fossil fuels and finds they’re not nearly as efficient as they’re made out to be, once all factors are considered.

While most believe the EROI of fossil fuels to be around 25:1, hovering far above renewables, fossil fuels are becoming harder to reach and are requiring more energy to extract, the study claims. Once that “final stage” EROI is considered, oil, coal, and gas have an EROI around 6:1. As the abstract notes:

This implies that fossil fuel energy-return-on-investment ratios may be much closer to those of renewables than previously expected and that they could decline precipitously in the near future.

As fossil fuels become even harder to reach, those numbers will drop further, as study co-author Paul Brockway told Bloomberg. “The transition from fossil fuels to renewables actually might not be as bad as people thought,” he said.

Pair this news with another recent study, which found that solar’s EROI is better than most believed, and there’s another extremely convincing reason to accelerate a shift toward renewables, as these researchers suggest.

Solar Sound

New York-based Steven Holl Architects and Architecture Acts won a competition to design a new concert hall in the Czech Republic. As Inhabitat details, the design involves a teardrop shape that aims to reduce energy needs, and rooftop solar panels will provide all the power needed for the hall.

The hall will undergo construction in 2022, with an opening scheduled for 2023.

Scotland Wind

WWF Scotland announced last month that Scotland has gotten 88% of its electricity from renewables so far this year. And yet, the potential from wind alone appears to be much, much more.

WWF UK says Scotland has produced enough wind energy this year to power almost double the homes in Scotland. Looking at it another way, that wind could provide enough electricity for all of Scotland and much of the north of England. WWF Scotland Climate and Energy Policy Manager Robin Parker said,

“These are amazing figures, Scotland’s wind energy revolution is clearly continuing to power ahead. Up and down the country, we are all benefitting from cleaner energy and so is the climate.

These figures show harnessing Scotland’s plentiful onshore wind potential can provide clean green electricity for millions of homes across not only Scotland, but England as well. It’s about time the UK Government stepped up and gave Scottish onshore wind a route to market.”

Scotland is aiming for 100% renewable electricity by next year.

Saudi Wind

Saudi Arabia is set to get its first utility-scale wind farm, and it’s taken another important step, as a consortium formed by EDF Renewables and Masdar has placed a 415 MW order for the Dumat Al Jandal wind park in the Al Jouf region of Saudi Arabia. Vestas will supply the turbines.

It’s the first step in Saudi Arabia’s plan to install 7 GW of wind capacity within five years, and 16 GW by 2030.

LA Gas

Los Angeles has its own Green New Deal. It also agreed to abandon plans to rebuild three natural gas plants within the city back in February, as the city aims for 100% renewable energy by 2030.

So why is the city getting ready to build a new natural gas plant in Utah?

The Los Angeles Times details how LA is moving away from a coal plant in Utah, but onto a new natural gas plant at the same site — which has many confused. As S. David Freeman, a former general manager of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, said of LA Mayor Eric Garcetti:

“Having taken our pitch and killed the new gas plants in the city, he’s got a big new one that’s still going to get built up there in Utah. I don’t know how he reconciles his new position with going ahead with that.”

The Times article examines the factors leading to this decision, and both clean energy advocates and power grid experts alike have their reasons for disagreeing with LA’s position.

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