清洁能源的肮脏面

  坚持阅读20分钟原汁原味的英文报刊文章,看我的原创解析,既涨知识,又涨姿势。持之以恒,不断进步,阅读原版不是梦!

  

  大概150年前人类发明了光电池(photovoltaic cell,也就是利用太阳光发电的电池)和涡轮机(风能发电机)。他们目前仅提供世界7%的电能。虽然现在还不起眼,但是随着科技的发展,化石能源将无法跟他们匹敌,英国BP石油公司预测未来20年内,清洁能源就能占世界能源的一半了。这是好事情,但是清洁能源成本低,效率高,而且无穷无尽,他的的背后是对传统能源市场的无情破坏。

  原文摘要(经济学人2017.2.25期)

  At its heart, the problem is that government-supported renewable energy has been imposed on a market designed in a different era. For much of the 20th century, electricity was made and moved by vertically integrated, state-controlled monopolies. From the 1980s onwards, many of these were broken up, privatised and liberalised, so that market forces could determine where best to invest. Today only about 6% of electricity users get their power from monopolies. Yet everywhere the pressure to decarbonise power supply has brought the state creeping back into markets. This is disruptive for three reasons. The first is the subsidy system itself. The other two are inherent to the nature of wind and solar: their intermittency and their very low running costs. All three help explain why power prices are low and public subsidies are addictive.

  First, the splurge of public subsidy, of about $800bn since 2008, has distorted the market. It came about for noble reasons—to counter climate change and prime the pump for new, costly technologies, including wind turbines and solar panels. But subsidies hit just as electricity consumption in the rich world was stagnating because of growing energy efficiency and the financial crisis. The result was a glut of power-generating capacity that has slashed the revenues utilities earn from wholesale power markets and hence deterred investment.

  Second, green power is intermittent. The vagaries of wind and sun—especially in countries without favourable weather—mean that turbines and solar panels generate electricity only part of the time. To keep power flowing, the system relies on conventional power plants, such a scoal, gas or nuclear, to kick in when renewables falter. But because they are idle for long periods, they find it harder to attract private investors. So, to keep the lights on, they require public funds.

  Everyone is affected by a third factor: renewable energy has negligible or zero marginal running costs—because the wind and the sun are free. In a market that prefers energy produced at the lowest short-term cost, wind and solar take business from providers that are more expensive to run, such as coal plants, depressing power prices, and hence revenues for all.

1第一段

  At its heart, the problem is that government-supported renewable energy has been imposed on a market designed in a different era. For much of the 20th century, electricity was made and moved by vertically integrated, state-controlled monopolies. From the 1980s onwards, many of these were broken up, privatised and liberalised, so that market forces could determine where best to invest. Today only about 6% of electricity users get their power from monopolies. Yet everywhere the pressure to decarbonise power supply has brought the state creeping back into markets. This is disruptive for three reasons. The first is the subsidy system itself. The other two are inherent to the nature of wind and solar: their intermittency and their very low running costs. All three help explain why power prices are low and public subsidies are addictive.

At its heart, the problem is that government-supported renewable energy has been imposed on a market designed in a different era. For much of the 20th century, electricity was made and moved by vertically integrated, state-controlled monopolies.

  At its heart其核心,其关键点

  renewable energy可再生能源

  be imposed on强加于,这里表示不可避免地被放在一个不同的市场

  designed in a different era是修饰market

  vertically integrated, state-controlled monopolies:垂直整合的,国家控制的垄断企业。垂直整合(Vertical Integration)是指一个企业除了自己生产以外,将供应商,销售等生产各个方面都自己负责起来,从而控制成本的方法。monopolies垄断组织。

  本句大意

  At its heart, the problem is that government-supported renewable energy has been imposed on a market designed in a different era. For much of the 20th century, electricity was made and moved by vertically integrated, state-controlled monopolies.

  在本质上,问题在于政府支持的可再生能源被放在了一个不同时代设计的市场中。在20世纪的大部分时间里,电力是由垂直整合、国家控制的垄断企业制造和运输的。

From the 1980s onwards, many of these were broken up, privatised and liberalised, so that market forces could determine where best to invest. Today only about 6% of electricity users get their power from monopolies. Yet everywhere the pressure to decarbonise power supply has brought the state creeping back into markets.

  onwards向前,前进

  broken up, privatised and liberalised破产,私有化和市场自由化

  decarbonise能源供应除碳化

  creep 爬行,creep back 指又回到

  本句大意

  From the 1980s onwards, many of these were broken up, privatised and liberalised, so that market forces could determine where best to invest. Today only about 6% of electricity users get their power from monopolies. Yet everywhere the pressure to decarbonise power supply has brought the state creeping back into markets.

  从1980年开始,他们中许多不是破产了,就是被私有化了或者市场自由化了,这样市场力量就能够决定哪里是最好的投资方向。如今仅有大约6%的人从垄断企业中买电。而且处处都要求能源供应除碳化的压力让国家(电力供应)回到市场。

This is disruptive for three reasons. The first is the subsidy system itself. The other two are inherent to the nature of wind and solar: their intermittency and their very low running costs. All three help explain why power prices are low and public subsidies are addictive.

  disruptive 有破坏性,扰乱性的

  subsidy system这里是政府补贴制度,也指助学体系,后面的public subsidies指国家公共补贴

  are inherent to是...固有的

  intermittency 间断性

  本句大意

  This is disruptive for three reasons. The first is the subsidy system itself. The other two are inherent to the nature of wind and solar: their intermittency and their very low running costs. All three help explain why power prices are low and public subsidies are addictive.

  这种情况基于三个原因具有扰乱性。第一个在于补贴制度本身。其他两个原因跟风和太阳能本身有关:他们的间断性以及运营成本。所有三个原因能解释为何能源价格低,而且公共补贴必不可断。

  整段大意

  At its heart, the problem is that government-supported renewable energy has been imposed on a market designed in a different era. For much of the 20th century, electricity was made and moved by vertically integrated, state-controlled monopolies. From the 1980s onwards, many of these were broken up, privatised and liberalised, so that market forces could determine where best to invest. Today only about 6% of electricity users get their power from monopolies. Yet everywhere the pressure to decarbonise power supply has brought the state creeping back into markets. This is disruptive for three reasons. The first is the subsidy system itself. The other two are inherent to the nature of wind and solar: their intermittency and their very low running costs. All three help explain why power prices are low and public subsidies are addictive.

  在本质上,问题在于政府支持的可再生能源被放在了一个不同时代设计的市场中。在20世纪的大部分时间里,电力是由垂直整合、国家控制的垄断企业制造和运输的。从1980年开始,他们中许多不是破产了,就是被私有化了或者市场自由化了,这样市场力量就能够决定哪里是最好的投资方向。如今仅有大约6%的人从垄断企业中买电。而且处处都要求能源供应除碳化的压力让国家(电力供应)回到市场。这种情况基于三个原因具有扰乱性。第一个在于补贴制度本身。其他两个原因跟风和太阳能本身有关:他们的间断性以及低运营成本。所有三个原因能解释为何能源价格低,而且公共补贴必不可断。

2第二段

  First, the splurge of public subsidy, of about $800bn since 2008, has distorted the market. It came about for noble reasons—to counter climate change and prime the pump for new, costly technologies, including wind turbines and solar panels. But subsidies hit just as electricity consumption in the rich world was stagnating because of growing energy efficiency and the financial crisis. The result was a glut of power-generating capacity that has slashed the revenues utilities earn from wholesale power markets and hence deterred investment.

First, the splurge of public subsidy, of about $800bn since 2008, has distorted the market. It came about for noble reasons—to counter climate change and prime the pump for new, costly technologies, including wind turbines and solar panels.

  splurge挥霍,滥用

  counter 反击,抵消

  prime the pump采取措施使某事发展

  wind turbines and solar panels风力涡轮机和太阳能电池板

  本句大意

  First, the splurge of public subsidy, of about $800bn since 2008, has distorted the market. It came about for noble reasons—to counter climate change and prime the pump for new, costly technologies, including wind turbines and solar panels.

  首先,公共补贴从2008年开始滥用了大约8千多亿,严重扭曲了市场。人们总是用高尚的理由来使用——减少气候变化,开发如风力涡轮机和太阳能电池板等新而且低成本的技术。

But subsidies hit just as electricity consumption in the rich world was stagnating because of growing energy efficiency and the financial crisis. The result was a glut of power-generating capacity that has slashed the revenues utilities earn from wholesale power markets and hence deterred investment.

  hit 这里表示出现,到来,同时表示对于电力市场宛如打击

  stagnating停滞,不景气

  glut 供过于求

  slashed the revenues大幅削减盈利,slash答复削减,revenue收入

  utilities 公共事业部门,比如公共运输,公共供电

  wholesale power markets整个电力市场。wholesale 不加区别地; 全部地

  deterred investment遏制了投资,deter阻止,使不敢

  本句大意

  But subsidies hit just as electricity consumption in the rich world was stagnating because of growing energy efficiency and the financial crisis. The result was a glut of power-generating capacity that has slashed the revenues utilities earn from wholesale power markets and hence deterred investment.

  但是补贴是在由于能源效率增加和经济危机而导致富有国家电力消耗不增的时候出现的。这就导致了电量产量过剩,从而让公共部门从整个电力市场挣得的利润大幅减少,从而遏制了投资。

  整段大意

  First, the splurge of public subsidy, of about $800bn since 2008, has distorted the market. It came about for noble reasons—to counter climate change and prime the pump for new, costly technologies, including wind turbines and solar panels. But subsidies hit just as electricity consumption in the rich world was stagnating because of growing energy efficiency and the financial crisis. The result was a glut of power-generating capacity that has slashed the revenues utilities earn from wholesale power markets and hence deterred investment.

  首先,公共补贴从2008年开始滥用了大约8千多亿,严重扭曲了市场。人们总是用高尚的理由来使用——减少气候变化,开发如风力涡轮机和太阳能电池板等新而且低成本的技术。但是补贴是在由于能源效率增加和经济危机而导致富有国家电力消耗不增的时候出现的。这就导致了电量产量过剩,从而让公共部门从整个电力市场挣得的利润大幅减少,从而遏制了投资。

3第三段

  Second, green power is intermittent. The vagaries of wind and sun—especially in countries without favourable weather—mean that turbines and solar panels generate electricity only part of the time. To keep power flowing, the system relies on conventional power plants, such as coal, gas or nuclear, to kick in when renewables falter. But because they are idle for long periods, they find it harder to attract private investors. So, to keep the lights on, they require public funds.

  vagaries 指难以预测的情况,单数是vagary

  favourable weather有利天气

  To keep power flowing为了保持供电源源不断

  conventional power plants传统发电产,plant发电厂

  to kick in when renewables falter在新能源不稳定的时候起作用,kick in指开始运行和起作用;falter原意是蹒跚,颤抖

  idle 空闲的,没起作用的

  本段大意

  Second, green power is intermittent. The vagaries of wind and sun—especially in countries without favourable weather—mean that turbines and solar panels generate electricity only part of the time. To keep power flowing, the system relies on conventional power plants, such as coal, gas or nuclear, to kick in when renewables falter. But because they are idle for long periods, they find it harder to attract private investors. So, to keep the lights on, they require public funds.

  第二,清洁能源偶尔间断。风和太阳的情况难以预测——尤其是在气候没那么有利的国家——涡轮机和太阳能电板只在部分时间产生电能。为了让电能源源不断,电力系统依靠如煤、气或者核能等传统发电站在新能源不稳定的时候顶替上来。但是由于他们很长时间都处在闲置状态,所以很难找到私人投资者。因此为了保持电能不间断,他们需要公共资金。

4第四段

  Everyone is affected by a third factor: renewable energy has negligible or zero marginal running costs—because the wind and the sun are free. In a market that prefers energy produced at the lowest short-term cost, wind and solar take business from providers that are more expensive to run, such as coal plants, depressing power prices, and hence revenues for all.

  negligible or zero marginal running costs可忽略不计或者零边际成本。边际成本:增加一单位的产量随即而产生的成本增加量。

  at the lowest short-termcost以最低的短期成本生产

  take business from providers从其他电能供应厂里夺取业务

  depressing power prices抑制电价,depress压低,使跌价

  本段大意

  Everyone is affected by a third factor: renewable energy has negligible or zero marginal running costs—because the wind and the sun are free. In a market that prefers energy produced at the lowest short-term cost, wind and solar take business from providers that are more expensive to run, such as coal plants, depressing power prices, and hence revenues for all.

  每个人都被第三个因素影响:新能源的边际运营成本可以忽略不计或者为零——因为风和太阳是免费的。在一个青睐用最低的短期成本产生能源的市场中,风和太阳能会从其他成本更贵的供电厂如煤电厂中夺取市场,降低电价,从而降低所有人的利润。

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