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European Energy Market

Around half of the coal burnt in the world today is used in China for heating and electricity. After decades of inaction, the Chinese government is now ranking the pollution brown coal causes as a major problem, and is taking steps to reduce its dependence on this fossil fuel.

Also ERoEI, the EROI is an index for the amount of energy gained for each unit of investment to extract it. The EROI for oil has fallen since 1900 from over 100 to less than 15 today, reflecting the passing of the age of easy oil.

In the case of power generating plant, the various fuels have ERoEI of: Nuclear = 5-15 (optimised plants up to 24), Photovoltaic (P/V) 3-7, Wind 16-25, Hydro = 10-270 (very dependent on location). Some reports claim the ERoEI for a new generation of nuclear power plant could be in the hundreds, but for now this remains theoretical.

EROI for energy sources
    Conventional Oil (USA):
  • 2000: 10
  • Domestic oil 1930: 100+
  • Imported oil 1970: 24-39
  • Domestic oil 1970: 20-37
  • Imported oil 2005: 17-31
  • Domestic oil 2000: 11-14
    Other non-renewable (USA):
  • Coal 2005: 40-80
  • Natural gas: 10-16
  • Nuclear: 5-16
  • Tar sands: 1-8
    Renewables (USA):
  • Hydroelectric: 20-40
  • Firewood: 30
  • Windmill: 28
  • Photovoltaic: 8
  • Biodiesel and gasahol: 3