US Offshore Wind Economics?

This model outlines the economics of an offshore wind project, based on guidance for Equinor’s flagship, 816MW “Empire Wind”: an exciting development off New York, constructing c80 x c10 MW wind turbines, each as tall as the Chrysler building.

Base case IRRs are c5%, at current wholesale power prices of 6c/kWh, although this is a punitive scenario ignoring optionalities and externalities.

IRRs could be uplifted to 10%, through a combination of power marketing, continued cost-deflation, levering the project, carbon prices and feed-in tariffs.

Download the model to flex each of these variables and test the resulting economic sensitivity. A variant of the model is also provided for a floating offshore wind farm, which requires >2x higher power prices.

 

Power Trains? Electric, diesel or hydrogen

This data-file compares diesel trains, electric trains and hydrogen trains, according to their energy consumption, carbon emissions and fuel costs. The data are presented apples-to-apples, per passenger mile, based on worked examples. Seven train routes are compared on 20 metrics overall.

Travelling by train should be 2-15x more fuel-efficient, and 3-20x less carbon intensive than travelling by car.

Electric trains are most efficient and cost-effective. The drawback is that electrifying tracks can cost c$1.4M/km. Nevertheless, we are most positive on the electrification opportunity around railways, particularly using next-generation combustion technologies.

The world’s first hydrogen trains launched in Germany in September-2018. To be cost-competitive with entry-level diesel trains requires c$12/kg hydrogen, $6/gallon diesel and a $50/ton carbon price.

Relative costs and economics can be compared by varying inputs in the file.

 

Energy Economics of e-Scooters

This data-file contains all our data on the energy economics of e-scooters, a transformational technology for urban mobility, where demand has exploded in 2018 and 2019. And for good reason. The data-file includes:

  • Our projections of the oil demand destroyed by scooters
  • Our projections of the electricity demand created by scooters
  • Number of US travel-trips using shared bikes and scooters from 2010-18
  • Scooter costs versus car and taxi costs per mile
  • Average ranges and battery sizes of incumbent scooter models
  • Relative energy economics of scooters versus gasoline cars and EVs
  • Relative time taken to charge scooters versus EVs using solar panels
  • The proportion of scooter trips that replace gasoline car trips in eight cities
  • Profiles of the top 4 e-scooter companies
  • A timeline of shared mobility from 1965 to 2018.

The download will also enable you to adjust the input assumptions, to test different scenarios.

Major technologies to decarbonise power?

Leading Oil Majors will play a crucial role in decarbonising the energy system. Their initiatives should therefore be encouraged by policy-makers and ESG investors, particularly where new energy technologies are being developed, which will unlock further economic opportunities to accelerate the transition.

In order to help identify the leading companies, this-data file summarises c90 patents for de-carbonising power-generation. It is drawn from our database of over 3,000 distinct patents filed by the largest energy companies in 2018. These technologies will secure the role of fossil fuels, particularly natural gas, in a decarbonising energy system.

De-carbonising carbon?

Decarbonisation is often taken to mean the end of fossil fuels. But it could become more feasible simply to de-carbonise fossil fuels. This 19-page note explores two top opportunities: next-generation combustion technologies, which can meet the world’s energy needs relatively seamlessly, with zero carbon and little incremental cost. They are ‘Oxy-Combustion’ using the Allam Cycle and Chemical Looping Combustion. Leading Oil Majors support these solutions to create value advancing the energy transition.

Next-generation nuclear: the cutting edge?

This data-file screens c20 companies at the cutting edge of nuclear technology, to assess whether fission or fusion breakthroughs can realistically be factored into long-run forecasts of energy markets or the energy transition.

Our conclusion is “not yet”. Despite many signs of exciting progress, the average technical readiness in our sample is TRL 4 (testing components). Nine companies are working to lab-scale prototypes. Energy gains and system stability remain key challenges.

The best case scenario could see fusion reactors commercialised in the 2030s, but technical challenge remain. The pace of progress is however accelerating slowly (chart below).

This database summarises each company, including its technology, location, employee count, notable backers, technical technical readiness, earliest potential commercial date and recent milestones. Our notes also cover expected costs or technical details that have been disclosed.

Boeings and batteries?

We have applied the equations of flight to a Boeing 747. Fuel economy of 5-6 gallons per mile is calculated as a function of the plane’s mass, velocity, distance travelled and aerodynamics. Hence for a 10,000km journey, jet fuel makes up c30% of the take-off weight (which is more than all the passengers).

To fuel the same journey with battery-power would require the batteries to weigh 12x more than the entire plane, at batteries’ current energy density. The maximum range of a battery-powered 747 is currently around 90km.

With some heroic assumptions over the next 10-20 years, a battery-powered 747 could be extended to cover c1,000km. But overall, because of the long range, Trans-Atlantic air travel looks immune to electrification.

Download the model and you can see our calculation methodology, as well as testing your own inputs.

Hydrogen Cars: how economic?

We have modelled the relative economics of hydrogen cars fed by renewable energy and hydrolysis of water, to assess whether they can be cost-competitive.

In our base case US assumptions, hydrogen is c85% costlier than gasoline. In Europe, all in costs of hydrogen can match gasoline cars with c20% deflation across the board, free renewable energy and c$75/bbl oil inputs.

The model breaks out full-cycle costs as a function of: oil prices, oil taxes, power prices, renewable prices, hydrolysis costs, carbon costs,  vehicle costs and capital costs. Download the model and you can flex these variables.

 

Round Trip Battery Efficiencies

This data-file derives the ‘net round trip efficiency’ of nine different battery solutions for storing energy. Rough costs are also estimated.

Net round trip efficiency is calculated as the energy efficiency of the battery (kWh recovered per kWh fed in) divided by the energy efficiency of the displaced energy source.

We see great potential in “good batteries”, for example, electrification of the vehicle fleet, which can achieve c3.5x uplifts in efficiency.  We see less potential in “bad batteries”, for example, backing up the grid with hydrogen, which reduces total system efficiency by c35%.

Oil Companies Drive the Energy Transition?

There is only one way to decarbonise the energy system: leading companies must find economic opportunities in better technologies. No other route can source sufficient capital to re-shape such a vast industry that spends c$2trn per annum. We outline seven game-changing opportunities. Leading energy Majors are already pursuing them in their portfolios, patents and venturing. Others must follow suit.