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China signs 30-year deal for Russian natural gas

Discussion in 'Energy, Environment, and Policy' started by RubberToe, May 21, 2014.

  1. RubberToe

    RubberToe Member

    Jun 28, 2012
    Pasadena, Ca
    Here it is:
    China signs 30-year deal for Russian natural gas - The Washington Post

    As someone who has been following Tesla, Solar City and the renewable energy field for quite a while, I was struck by this headline. Many of us are looking forward to a future where we finally are able to cast off fossil fuels entirely. Then along comes a headline where the worlds most populous and fastest growing country inks a 30-year deal to buy natural gas from one of the worlds largest producers of natural gas. 30 year deal. So does that mean that the Chinese are essentially saying that they will absolutely, positively require large amounts of natural gas as far as 30 years in the future? No matter what? Apparently so. What happens after that? Why not sign a 70 year agreement, or even a 120 year agreement?

    Also note that there is no mention in the article at all about what environmental effects there may be associated with a yearly amount of gas that is equal to 1/4 of China's entire required supply :confused:

    One can only hope that the cost of solar and stored energy falls so much that it won't be worth the effort to pipe the gas out of the ground...

  2. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

    Jul 12, 2012
    China uses a lot of coal for heatig and electricity. This should help them replace it and help their push for renewables, since every gas turbine kWh allows for a kWh of renewables.
  3. stopcrazypp

    stopcrazypp Well-Known Member

    Dec 8, 2007
    Realistically, the only viable near term replacement for China's coal plants are natural gas ones, so they will definitely be increasing natural gas demand. China's also expanding nuclear but the pace of that is obviously slower than just building CCGT plants.

    And natural gas is also becoming popular in China for home heating and cooking.
  4. Jeff Miller

    Jeff Miller Member

    Jan 2, 2013
    I think it means that. And the fact that the new fossil fuel electrical generating capacity the Chinese built in 2013, mostly coal, exceeded the wind capacity that they built in 2013 by a factor of 6 and exceeded the solar capacity they built in 2013 by a factor of 27, seems to confirm that they intend to be using fossil fuels for a very long time to come - all of that generating capacity has a long expected life.

    Over the long run, it's possible that solar and wind + storage will, by itself, become so cheap that it will displace fossil fuels, but, at least on the storage side, we are currently far from that goal. Also, in the absence of a cost for dumping carbon into the atmosphere, there is no particular economic incentive for the energy system to decarbonize - fossil fuels are cheap and plentiful. There is so much easily accessible coal in the world that it will effectively always be cheap and plentiful. That is our problem.

    To displace fossil fuels in time to prevent a climate catastrophe, we need to impose a hefty fee or tax for pulling carbon out of the ground and sticking it into the atmosphere. We also need large and immediate investments in third and fourth generation nuclear (many 1000s of new reactors) and in renewables (solar on every roof, more wind, more energy efficient buildings, more research in energy storage). Absent these deliberate policy measures, I don't see any reason at all to believe that worldwide carbon emissions will, of their own accord, stabilize let alone decline over the coming decades. And if they do not decline rather drastically, the climate in fifty or one hundred years will look nothing like it has over the last ten thousand years.
  5. AudubonB

    AudubonB Mild-mannered Moderator

    Mar 24, 2013
    Denali Highway, Alaska
    I know that this post is in the "Environment" forum, but this development is what those of us who follow the political developments in eastern Europe have been expecting. That Mr Putin's Russia has effected this means he has that much more ability to disregard all of Europe's and the US's posturing regarding sanctions over his irredentist actions.

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