Category Archives: Electricity

Correcting Harmful Wind Energy-Related Policies


The following are 5  Master Resource postings examining opportunities of the Trump Administration to correct harmful wind energy-related policies,

 

U.S. Wind Energy Policy: Correcting the Abuse in 100 Days (Part I)      2/2/17

https://www.masterresource.org/wind-power-federal-laws/us-wind-policy-reform-100-days-i/

 

Federal Energy Efficiency Mandates: DOE’s End Run vs. the Public Interest (Part II)

By Mark Krebs and Tom Tanton — January 31, 2017

https://www.masterresource.org/department-of-energymoniz/eere-end-run-ii/

 

Big Wind: Threat to Air Navigation, Military Assets (Part III)

By Lisa Linowes — February 16, 2017

https://www.masterresource.org/windpower-vs-radar/wind-versus-radar-iii/

 

DOE: Breaking the Federal Arm of the Wind Industry (Part IV)

By Lisa Linowes — February 23, 2017

https://www.masterresource.org/department-of-energymoniz/doe-breaking-federal-wind-iv/

 

Wind Energy and Aviation Safety (Part V)                        3/02/17

https://www.masterresource.org/windpower-safety-issues/wind-aviation-safety-v/

 

cbdakota

Dr. Judith Curry Believes the RoadMap to Zero CO2 Emissions Is Infeasible.


 

 

I have promised some critical views from skeptics regarding the Paris Agreement Roadmap to zero CO2 emissions by 2050.  If you need to get up to speed regarding  the Paris Agreement Roadmap,  please review my last two postings. 

Let’s begin with Judith Curry’s thoughts on this topic from her posting of 25 March titled A roadmap for meeting Paris emissions reductions goals”.

JC reflections

Apart from the issues raised in this paper, there are several other elephants in this room:  there is growing evidence of much smaller climate sensitivity to CO2; and even if these drastic emissions reductions occurred, we would see little impact on the climate in the 21st century (even if you believe the climate models).

I think that what this paper has done is important:  laying out what it would actually take to make such drastic emissions reductions.  Even if we solve the electric power problem, there is still the problem of transportation, not to mention land use.  Even if all this was technically possible, the cost would almost certainly be infeasible.

As Oliver Geden states, its time to ask policy makers whether they are going to attempt do this or not.  It seems rather futile to make token emissions reductions at substantial cost.

Deciding that all this is impractical or infeasible seems like a rational response to me.  The feasible responses are going with nuclear power or undertaking a massive R&D effort to develop new emission free energy technologies.  Independent of all this, we can reduce vulnerability from extreme weather events (whether or not they are exacerbated by AGW) and the slow creep of sea level rise.

 

Dr. Curry’s remarks are very succinct.  To be a success, the roadmap requires many inventions that to date have been sought after but not delivered.  And she points out, as noted in this blog on a number of occasions, the climate sensitivity used by the warmers gives temperature increases that are unsupportable.  This roadmap is necessary in large part because it is predicated on those exaggerated temperatures the climate models produce.  That is Dr. Curry’s “elephants in the room.”

And she thinks it is way too costly.  I believe she is spot on.

Dr. Currys posting can be accessed this link https://judithcurry.com/2017/03/25/a-roadmap-for-meeting-paris-emissions-reductions-goals/

Some additional comments to follow in the next posting.

cbdakota

The Sad State Of The German Energy Program–By Fritz Vahrenholt


The following is from a posting by PowerEngineeringInternational titled “Vahrenholt rails against the ‘climate priests”.

PowerEngineeringInternation is pretty much into catastrophic man-made global warming (CAGW); but to their credit, they did capture most of the thought of Professor Fritz Vahrenholt on the sad state of the German energy program and the transition to renewables.  At the end of their posting, they list quotes by warmer scientists that provide their thoughts about what Prof. Vahrenholt said presumably to maintain PowerEngineeringIntenational in the good stead with the powers that be in CAGW.  It is instructive that they avoid actually challenging Vahrenholt’s points.  They revert to the “everybody knows the globe is warming” standby.

At a mid-January meeting in parliament buildings in London, Professor Fritz Vahrenholt provided a very detailed monologue on the motivations behind Germany’s energy transition, and why he feels it’s misguided and potentially disastrous.

Had the lecture been delivered by somebody from the coal power sector, they might have been written off as a ‘climate denier’, but given Vahrenholt’s background and pedigree as a backer of renewable energy, he is not so easily dismissed and his position must cause some unease for those so adamant that climate change is manmade.

It should give pause for thought too to the public at large. Governments and media around the world, not just in Germany, are convinced that man is responsible for the recently observed temperature rises and Polar ice cap reduction.

But Vahrenholt believes that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the main body from which the rest of the world takes its cue on such matters, is not approaching the problem with the correct scientific rigour.

The merits of the science aside, he takes most issue with the behaviour of his own country’s government for ‘trying to save the world.’

Germany has the second highest electricity prices in Europe, and in phasing out nuclear while stimulating over-production of renewables, it has reduced power prices to a pitiful extent, and ironically came to rely on coal. The last two factors mean the prospect of a lack of investment in the country’s future energy infrastructure, while targets for reducing CO2 look likely to be missed.

Much of Germany’s current problems arise from what he believes was an emotional reaction to the Fukushima disaster by Chancellor Angela Merkel – an order to accelerate the phasing out of a power source that had provided 30 per cent of the country’s electricity.

Vahrenholt says there is an endgame for the Energiewende, ‘though this reckless policy has worked until now’, referring to the German proverb ‘the donkey goes on to the ice until it breaks.’

“There will come a point when the rural population, or wildlife protection agencies, or a weakening economy or failures in the grid itself will force a return to conventional generation.”

He said one of the reasons the German population still backed the policy is because they are still relatively economically prosperous, with a weak euro and the work done by Merkel’s predecessor, Gerhard Schroeder, continuing to sustain the economy.

“The second reason it works is that energy intensive industries are exempted from the levy. They are profiting because of the overcapacity from renewables leading to sinking prices.”

Vahrenholt mocked the government’s current strategy of trebling wind farm capacity as the wind cannot be predicted and their output fluctuates enormously.

“Nil multiplied by x is still nil,” he said, while the price keeps mounting, and the carbon price remains too low to encourage carbon capture and storage at lignite plants which remain essential to fill the intermittency gaps, as gas-fired power plants are mothballed or closed completely.

He reserved his gravest criticism for the damage being wrought on the German countryside where the use of biofuels is having a bad impact. Pesticide use and monoculture has led to major declines in bird of prey numbers.

He calculated that to maintain the policy there would have to be a wind turbine ‘every 2.7km whether the landscape is lakes, wood or towns.’

A particularly acute sign of the failure of the policy is the current rate of progress and expense in bringing renewables from wind plants in the north to the south, where nuclear shutdowns are most keenly felt.

“6100 km cables are planned to be built but four years later only 80 km have been laid. Government has underestimated the resistance to the imposition of overhead power lines on this scale– so all plans have been torn up and they areof course also be added on to household bills.”

We are talking about DC cables which have never been built at this scale underground. In the best case scenario these cables will be laid five years after the nuclear shutdown.” now going underground at huge extra cost, which will

Re-dispatching of power is another feature of the new reality for the German electricity system. The grid operator would previously be called upon to interfere between power plants and customers once a day on average. This procedure now occurs 20 times a day, amounting to 6000 interventions a year in order to have guarantee system stability.

Because the merit order that facilitated market prices for power no longer works, thanks to the success of renewable energy, no new conventional power plants are being built. 69 power plants with a total capacity of 8000 MW are in the red as a result, as power plants are no longer profitable in the current scenario.

Due to a lack of supply in southern Germany the government was forced to intervene, creating a law whereby plants were only permitted to close by the grid agency with a minimum lead time of one year. These requests are being denied anyway, according to Vahrenholt, who very much paints a picture of a government making it all up on an ad-hoc basis.

“A term used in banking was system relevancy = the same term is now in use for power plants who are not allowed to close in Germany even on negative figures.”

“The owner of the plant receives only the operational cost,” Vahrenholt said, with obvious implications for investment in new plants.

Noting the latest figures showing a 2.5 per cent rise in CO2 in Germany last year, he also expressed doubt about the claims for storage (prohibitively expensive) and electro mobility (limited solution) as potential answers, making for a very dark narrative indeed.

To add more to an already gloomy picture, the professor said the Energiewende was creating an ‘ecological disaster’ through its assertiveness in building wind farms and biogas plants.

“Turning grassland into monoculture maize means deserts of maize replacing other food sources and ruining ecologies, a disaster for biodiversity. Birds of prey are also victims of the green religion. Take the lesser spotted eagle – there are only 100 braces left in Germany. The red kite lose 1000 each year due to wind turbines. The common buzzard is losing 11000 per year. The environment minister says the red kite could be gone by 2025.”

“The same problem exists for bats. Wind turbines are going into forests and other sensitive areas – because we want to save the world and destroy our nature.”

“In the transportation of equipment to the forest, paths are created and bats take that freeway and fly directly into turbines. They go through but their lungs are bursting and evolution has not prepared them so 240 000 bats are killed each year in Germany even though by law it is forbidden to kill a bat.”

He said the chance of a ‘policy correction’ would only happen under certain circumstances:
The average global temperature doesn’t rise as much as predicted
Loss of German competitiveness becomes acutely felt
or
the spoiling of the German landscape becomes a major political issue.

The glimmer of hope in Vahrenholt’s thinking is that future generations would have technology such as thorium reactors or nuclear fission that could save the day, but ‘it will take a long time to redress this misguided energy policy.

cbdakota

 

Renewable Energy Uses 100X Manpower Compared to Fossil Fuels


solar-panelsThe International Renewable Energy Agency of the US Bureau of Statistics provided employment data for three categories–Solar; Oil and Gas Extraction; and Coal Mining.  Bloomberg drew a chart of employment over the period of 2012 to 2015.  That chart is shown below:

Energy Jobs

Stanislav Jakuba looked at the employment in each of these three endeavours to compare electricity production versus manpower in his posting “Renewable Energy: High Jobs, Little Power (inefficiency personified”.  He offered this analysis:

Ever wondered why has our standard of living not been improving?

The upward-aiming line in the above chart indicates one reason: growing employment in the renewable-energy sector. That employment contributes a miniscule amount to power production, and it does so at a dreadfully high operating cost.

Here are the numbers.

As illustrated, 200,000 people work in the solar industry (Photo-voltaic and Concentrated Solar Power combined), and they enabled the generation of 3.0 GW in 2015, which comes to 15 kW per employee. The down-sloping lines, combined, represent the 400,000 employees in the fossil fuel industry.

Assuming that about a half of those are needed just to supply fuel to generate the 310 GW electricity reported for that year, then the remaining 200,000 employees were responsible for 1550 kW per employee.

In other words, one employee in the fossil fuel industry produces 1550 kW, while it takes 100 employees in the solar business to produce roughly that amount.

Solar is thus the most expensive source of electricity. Plus, its output varies daily, sometime randomly (because of clouds and storms) and always intermittently (because of nights). Its inexhaustibility parallels the abundance of nuclear fuel, but the latter provides cheap and steady electricity, as well as heat, and is no less “clean” than solar.

The true cost of renewable energy is presently covered by subsidies drawn from our taxes, from Government borrowing abroad, and from various fees attached to our monthly utility bills.”

Jakuba has some addition thoughts on this topic in his  posting which can be read by clicking here.

I keep reading that solar and wind are now competitive with natural gas and coal.  Show me the cost number when they remove all the subsidies and when they  include operating cost and investment for the backup fossil fuel generated power–because these renewables not reliable supplies.

I am not sure that I completely  agree with the comparison technique, but they do have one heck of a lot of manpower for such a puny output of electrical power.

The politicians said these renewable projects would create jobs.  They sure were right about that.  Although, it looks like they carried it too far.

cbdakota

 

 

Drain The EPA Swamp-Part 6—Make EPA Perform Required Economic Assessments.


I am reblogging the PowerLIne posting “Federal Judge Denounces EPA As A Rogue Agency”. This is an important report  relating the failure of the EPA to conduct required economic evaluations of the potential loss or shifts of  which may result from the administration or enforcement  of provisions of the Clean Air Act.  EPA has not done this. US District Judge John Bailey says the law requires this and the EPA Administrator says it will take two years to come up with a system to do what the law requires.  The Judge tells the Administrator  “This response is wholly insufficient, unacceptable and unnecessary”. 

More evidence of the EPA acting on it own and not complying with the law.

cbdakota

From the PowerLIne website–“Federal Judge Denounces EPA as Rogue Agency”.  Click here to read the posting.

killing-coal

 

The First US Nuke In 20 Years Goes Online—TVA Project


The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) announced that the Watt Bar Unit 2 nuclear generation unit is now online at full power, providing commercial electrical energy.  It is the first new nuclear power generation unit in 20 years.  Good for them. TVA has 6 other Nukes providing power.

wattsbarnukes

TVA president and CEO Bill Johnson said:

“TVA’s mission is to make life better in the Valley by providing reliable, low-cost energy, protecting our area’s natural resources and working to attract business and growth – all priorities simultaneously supported by the completion of Watts Bar Unit 2..”

A Westinghouse pressurized water reactor is expected to generate 1,150 megawatts (summer net capability). The capital cost of the complete generation unit was $4.7 billion.

Continue reading

Small-Scale Renewables Program Failure.


Operation of a small-scale wind farm was undertaken at Lake Land College** about 4 years ago. Now the College is planing to tear down the two wind turbines because of high maintenance cost and the wind farm’s inability to provide the College’s power requirements.

According to a Daily Caller posting, the turbines returned a negative 99.6% return on investment. The posting tells us the  College got  $987,697.20 in taxpayer support for the wind power. The turbines were funded from a $2.5 million grant from the US Department of Labor.

two wind mills

The college has spent $240,000 in parts and labor attempting to keep the wind turbines in operation. But they are now inoperable with an  estimated cost of $100,000 to get them back online.

From the Daily Callers posting:

“School officials’ original estimates found the turbine would save it $44,000 in electricity annually, far more than the $8,500 they actually generated. Under the original optimistic scenario, the turbines would have to last for 22.5 years just to recoup the costs, not accounting for inflation. If viewed as an investment, the turbines had a return of negative 99.14 percent.”

“Even though the college wants to tear down one of the turbines, they are federal assets and “there is a process that has to be followed” according to Allee. (Allee is the Director of Public Relations)

“The turbines became operational in 2012 after a 5-year long building campaign intended to reduce the college’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to fight global warming. Even though the turbines cost almost $1 million, but the college repeatedly claimed they’d save money in the long run.”

But the College nor the US Government are not through with renewable power despite this lesson. According to the Daily Caller posting we learn that they are going solar:

“Lake Land plans to replace the two failed turbines with a solar power system paid for by a government grant. “[T]he photovoltaic panels are expected to save the college between $50,000 and $60,000 this year,”Allee told the DCNF.”

Because the wind farm was planned to be a teaching tool for the College students. It could be that some of maintenance was done be the students. However, maintenance must have been lead by professionals.

Third world countries have vast and legitimate needs for electricity for their people. But the greens tell the third world countries that they do not want to provide them with fossil fuel powered plants. And the World Bank says it will not provide them funding for fossil fuel plant. A study done in a remote part of India found that spreading solar cells around did not work because they needed many trained people distributed through out the area the solar cells were being placed and they just did not have that kind of talent. Enough talent can be concentrated in a power plant. Someday these countries, as they advance, will develop these people but they do not exist now. The people in this part of India, of course did not like loosing power every night, either.

You also wonder who in the Department of Labor determines the appropriateness of these awards. Already having put $2.2million in renewables, they are going for more.

I hope the College knows that they wont have power in the evening. (sarc)

cbdakota.

**Lake Land College, located in Mattoon, Illinois, is a two year community college.