Oops: Europe’s green mandates have resulted in more imported coal and wood consumption

posted at 6:41 pm on May 28, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

In their own crunchy and progressive imaginations, at least, various European governments have been noble pioneers on the forefront of imposing the types of expensive but ostensibly necessary green-energy mandates and quotas that the entire world will eventually be forced to adopt in order to deter climate change… except that the unintended consequences of trying to forcibly integrate what are nothing more than politically-favored fledgling technologies, instead of competitive and price-efficient ones, are proving to be a little rough.

The European Union has been pushing their member states to derive no less than one-fifth of their energy from so-called renewable sources by 2020, and the major hope behind the whole thing was that supporting wind and solar energies would put them into a position where they could help everybody meet those goals. Unfortunately for them, however, wind and solar have yet to emerge as the miracle technologies that green-energy advocates have been so desperately insisting they will be, despite their many generous subsidies. Not only are the recession-wracked Europeans paying an average of 37 percent more than Americans for electricity, but they are increasingly relying on buying and shipping American resources to meet their green-energy goals to make up for their underperforming renewables’ shortcomings. The WSJ reports:

Under pressure, some of the Continent’s coal-burning power plants are switching to wood.

But Europe doesn’t have enough forests to chop for fuel, and in those it does have, many restrictions apply. So Europe’s power plants are devouring wood from the U.S., where forests are bigger and restrictions fewer.

This dynamic is bringing jobs to some American communities hard hit by mill closures. It is also upsetting conservationists, who say cutting forests for power is hardly an environmental plus. …

U.S. wood thus allows EU countries to skirt Europe’s environmental rules on logging but meet its environmental rules on energy. …

Solar and wind couldn’t meet the latter goal, policy makers recognized. They said wood qualified as a renewable energy source as long as it came from forests that would grow back. Emissions from burning wood contain less of certain chemicals, such as sulfur, than coal smoke. …

What’s more, Europe’s cap-and-trade markets have been seriously struggling and carbon credits are cheaper than ever, meaning that Europe has also been importing U.S. coal at accelerated rates — while dithering over allowing companies to engage in type of natural gas development and production that has helped the United States cut down its own carbon emissions. Hey, no complaints from this side of the Atlantic (free trade helps to make the world go ’round, after all), but their scheming isn’t exactly turning out as the fail-safe environmentalist vision that they had planned, is it? They largely decline to log their own wood, because — as they interpret it — that would be a detriment to the environment, and yet they seem quite content with importing wood and much-maligned coal from the United States, at least for the time being. Effective top-down control on an entire sector of the economy based on untested green pipe dreams suddenly doesn’t seem so easy, does it?


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Don’t worry. When global warming kicks in, they won’t need heat.

The Rogue Tomato on May 28, 2013 at 6:44 PM

Failure loves company… we’re right behind!

MT on May 28, 2013 at 6:48 PM

Trees grow back,

Ben Hur on May 28, 2013 at 6:49 PM

Wood-fired power plants? Really?

That’s winning the future.

I can’t wait until they move forward to napping flint.

trigon on May 28, 2013 at 6:51 PM

You reap what you sew.

Rode Werk on May 28, 2013 at 6:54 PM

This Spring has been so cool that my Dawn Redwoods are confused such that most of the “leaves” just haven’t come in yet this year with about half of the tree still bare.
They call these things “living fossils” so I can only assume that the past was warmer than this year.

J_Crater on May 28, 2013 at 6:55 PM

Meanwhile the government bought Tesla shares way below $25. Wonder if Erika will do a post pointing out the stock is now over $110.

HotAirLib on May 28, 2013 at 6:56 PM

I see wood imports from the U.S. as a big win for U.S. workers and land owners. And I believe wood exports from the U.S. have to come from private land (not National Forests).

Mr. Joe on May 28, 2013 at 6:57 PM

On this side of the pond

In the meantime, representatives of the Southern Environmental Law Center have been critical of the pellet projects, in part because of possible shifts in attitude across the Atlantic.

“That entire policy is under active consideration in Europe now,” said Derb Carter, director of the N.C. office of the Southern Environmental Law Center. “They’re examining the assumption that this is an energy path that they want to go down. There’s active meetings going on in the UK and in the EU, and if this market goes away, the state will have been involved in making major investments at the port that have no purpose.”

Danny McComas, the chairman of the Ports Authority’s board, said he can’t predict the future but is reassured by the Europeans’ investment in pellet plants.

http://tinyurl.com/od4xms5

tmitsss on May 28, 2013 at 6:57 PM

While Europeans buy our wood, U.S. power plants can start switching from coal to natural gas (thanks to fracking). Actually they are separate plants, they just mothball the coal plant and fire up the natural gas plants (given the price is now affordable to do so).

Mr. Joe on May 28, 2013 at 6:58 PM

The Party of Science marches FORWARD!!!
Yay, Green! Go, Us! Aren’t We Great?!

..and the market in the U.S. has met the Kyoto protocol targets. The market, not the gummint…

DublOh7 on May 28, 2013 at 7:00 PM

Nothing like basing your entire economy on a ‘theory’.

So when will the Eruo’s start stringing up the AGW crowd?

GarandFan on May 28, 2013 at 7:01 PM

Nothing like basing your entire economy on a ‘theory’.

So when will the Eruo’s start stringing up the AGW crowd?

GarandFan on May 28, 2013 at 7:01 PM

Theory means hoax in this context.

tom daschle concerned on May 28, 2013 at 7:02 PM

Hmm. Still nothing informing the ignorant conservatives that the government has more than quadruple its investment in Tesla. I get it. Doesn’t support the narrative that green technology does work correct?

HotAirLib on May 28, 2013 at 7:03 PM

The regressives love 19th century transportation (trains) and now love 19th century energy production.

It is regressive, no doubt about that anymore they are the new Luddites.

jukin3 on May 28, 2013 at 7:09 PM

HAL, care to comment on Solyndra? If you choose to ignore this, you’re just a partisan loon. I ain’t. Lol

tommy71 on May 28, 2013 at 7:11 PM

Don’t let the reprobate derail the thread.

tom daschle concerned on May 28, 2013 at 7:12 PM

HAL, care to comment on Solyndra? If you choose to ignore this, you’re just a partisan loon. I ain’t. Lol

tommy71 on May 28, 2013 at 7:11 PM

He’s trying to hijack the thread like he always does. Tesla’s not part of the story, and HAL isn’t one of us. Don’t play.

Liam on May 28, 2013 at 7:13 PM

Europe has also been importing U.S. coal at accelerated rates — while dithering over allowing companies to engage in type of natural gas development and production that has helped the United States cut down its own carbon emissions.

Yes, we’ve agreed to fart only once a day.

squint on May 28, 2013 at 7:13 PM

“Did somebody say ‘imported wood‘?”

forest on May 28, 2013 at 7:14 PM

Trees don’t grow back in Europe?

BKeyser on May 28, 2013 at 7:14 PM

tom, I’m just having a bit of fun. Exposing hypocrisy is very satisfying, especially when they can’t face it. Lol.

tommy71 on May 28, 2013 at 7:15 PM

Kewl. I’ll not play. Both tom and Liam have recommended against it.

tommy71 on May 28, 2013 at 7:18 PM

HAL, care to comment on Solyndra? If you choose to ignore this, you’re just a partisan loon. I ain’t. Lol

tommy71 on May 28, 2013 at 7:11 PM

Well HA has written a million articles on Solyndra. Where is the article on Tesla? We only need one.

HotAirLib on May 28, 2013 at 7:19 PM

He’s trying to hijack the thread like he always does. Tesla’s not part of the story, and HAL isn’t one of us. Don’t play.

Liam on May 28, 2013 at 7:13 PM

I am not hijacking anything. The article as usual is about how bad green energy is. I am only asking why we are yet to see an article informing the ignorant conservative of how some green initiatives do work.

HotAirLib on May 28, 2013 at 7:22 PM

Well, at least they can feel good about themselves and their good intentions.

MT on May 28, 2013 at 7:23 PM

Hahaha, as expected. Obfuscation and denial (oh yeah, google it). Lol

tommy71 on May 28, 2013 at 7:23 PM

Europe is the perfect laboratory of what not to do, socially or scientifically. Too bad our politicians still intend to follow the Euro model.

Enviro types also always find a new addition to their cause. Take just windmills — How many birds will get killed? And what about the noise pollution? It also takes more energy to build a windmill than the thing will put out for several years.

The same with our fixation on ethanol. It takes more energy to create a gallon of the stuff than that gallon will produce in return; the energy gained doesn’t so much as break even with the expenditure. Coupled with the early ruination of automobile engines and the cutting of a food source, and you have one bad idea.

Green energy is more about business and gaining government subsidies than anything else. Al Gore jetting around the world to promote it should be proof enough of that.

Liam on May 28, 2013 at 7:26 PM

Green energy is just a prog system of religion. Although they believe that its science. Thats whats hilarious. Not one, there are various green companies that have failed disastrously. And our Gubmint were suckers to it. But thats not gonna shake the green religious faithful, now is it? No sirree. Still preaching the same old B.S. Lol.

tommy71 on May 28, 2013 at 7:30 PM

Did anybody bother telling the Euro-greenies that wood has a lower heating value than coal (all that water doesn’t burn well), but releases just as much CO2? Besides, living trees pull CO2 out of the air while they grow, but put it back when they’re burned!

Besides, wood can be used to build houses–it has worked for centuries. Try building a house out of coal, and see how long it lasts–or its occupant.

Dumb and dumberer.

Steve Z on May 28, 2013 at 7:35 PM

The EU Is a failed socialist experiment.

Regain your national identity, disband all this UNION crap, the UN and take care of your own damn selves.

TX-96 on May 28, 2013 at 7:47 PM

TELSA The Model S starts at $69,900, not counting a $7,500 federal tax credit, and can be optioned up to a bit over $100,000.

Barred on May 28, 2013 at 7:49 PM

Europe is the perfect example that you can’t fix stupid. But you can benefit from it :)

jimver on May 28, 2013 at 7:49 PM

Meanwhile the government bought Tesla shares way below $25. Wonder if Erika will do a post pointing out the stock is now over $110.

HotAirLib on May 28, 2013 at 6:56 PM

And that – if true, which is doubtful – has what to do with the subject of this article?

You leftoid drones are too stupid to be allowed to walk about alone. You need keepers to escort you out of your mother’s basement.

Now, shut up and sing Daisy, you idiot.

Solaratov on May 28, 2013 at 7:58 PM

No matter what way you cut it, a modern political state burning wood for energy is ludicrous.

tom daschle concerned on May 28, 2013 at 8:19 PM

The Law of Unintended Consequences strikes again. The fact that Germany is busy shutting down all its nuclear plants to please the Greens isn’t helping anything, either. Except for the French economy, as they are busy selling a lot of nuclear-generated kWh to… Germany.

The next time the deep-ecos wax enthusiastic about how “pristine” and “green” some marvelous new “ancient and traditional” energy source is (as they have about everything from solar and wind to ethanol and/or steam-powered cars), might I humbly suggest that they;

1. Ask themselves “If it’s so great, why were previous experiments with it abandoned”?

2. Ask themselves, “Is the technology now better than it was then?”

3. Find out if it’s “crash-worthy” before pouring vast amounts of (taxpayers’) money into it. and

4. Remember that natural laws (Ohm’s Law, the Laws of Thermodynamics, etc.) cannot be repealed by an Act of Congress.

I don’t mind them repeatedly making fools of themselves, but I do rather resent the collateral damage they do in the process.

clear ether

eon

eon on May 28, 2013 at 8:45 PM

This is what happens when you confuse political science with actual science.

rightmind on May 28, 2013 at 8:51 PM

Under pressure, some of the Continent’s coal-burning power plants are switching to wood.

We sort of explained this would happen. Deliberately moving to a more primitive state means more primitive (and less effective) energy production, medicine, that kind of thing.

. . . there are still books available on this . . .

Trees don’t grow back in Europe?

BKeyser on May 28, 2013 at 7:14 PM

We manage our forests. :)

Sort of.

Axe on May 28, 2013 at 9:13 PM

http://americascoalminers.com/pg-ri-coalhouse.php

House Built of Coal

tmitsss on May 28, 2013 at 9:25 PM

Meanwhile the government bought Tesla shares way below $25. Wonder if Erika will do a post pointing out the stock is now over $110.

HotAirLib on May 28, 2013 at 6:56 PM

The government should sell the stock and pay the profits to its shareholders–the taxpayers. Maybe HAL doesn’t pay taxes, so he won’t get any money back from Tesla.

Steve Z on May 28, 2013 at 9:38 PM

Hmm. Still nothing informing the ignorant conservatives that the government has more than quadruple its investment in Tesla. I get it. Doesn’t support the narrative that green technology does work correct?

HotAirLib on May 28, 2013 at 7:03 PM

Well it doesn’t, do you know anything about investing? I didn’t think so. I know your a partisan hack but maybe you should research what exactly happen there if your dealing with your own money. Hey, I hear Tesla has a 1 billion dollar stock tender out there, maybe you should get in on ground floor opportunity? After all the Feds made out like bandits, right.

whbates on May 28, 2013 at 10:34 PM

From the quoted article, emphasis mine:

Emissions from burning wood contain less of certain chemicals, such as sulfur, than coal smoke.

Erika, this statement is an out and out lie.

I was involved in issues surrounding the construction of a cogeneration plant for a major facility in Australia that had to be called “multi-fueled” so that it could hang a “green” fig leaf in front of the fact that it burned coal. The fig leaf, of course, was “biomass” – the greenies’ fancy name for wood.

(To give you an idea of size, the facility will generate 550 tonnes of steam per hour and 104MW of electricity; to do this, it will burn approximately 800,000 tonnes of coal per annum)

Now, a few facts about “biomass” (from here on out, called wood)- of which this facility is notionally designed to burn up to 30% wood, blended with coal:

* Sulfur emissions are higher with wood than coal (approx. 10% higher, IIRC);

* While kiln-dried wood has a calorific value of ~20GJ/tonne, average shredded wood has 50% moisture content, lowering the calorific value to 10GJ/tonne (meaning that for every one tonne of coal burned, two tonnes of wood must be substituted)

* Since there is no single source of wood, it cannot be transported by rail, so burning wood at 30% of energy total for the facility would require almost 30 B-double trucks per day;

* Delivered cost of plantation wood is notionally $120/tonne, at least 40% higher than the notional cost of coal in this market; and

* Use of native wood in any form (even where the wood is useless for any other purpose) will bring about demonstrations from the greenie groups.

Using wood for baseload power generation and cogeneration has been “out” since the very beginning of electricity plants for a reason.

These people are absolute idiots.

Wanderlust on May 28, 2013 at 10:43 PM

Clearly an enumerated power of the federal government is wise investment in publicly traded companies.

-hotairlibtardedsincebirth

tom daschle concerned on May 29, 2013 at 2:35 AM