McIntyre’s talk in London – Plus, the UK’s tilting at windmills may actually increase CO2 emissions over natural gas

UK’s Burbo Bank wind farm – pink flamingos of folly – Image Wikipedia

At The Register, Andrew Orlowski attended the talk and has a news article describing Steve McIntyre’s talk at the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining, which was an event hosted by the Global Warming Policy Foundation.

McIntyre’s statement on wind power is interesting:

The entire rationale of policy in US and Europe has been to ignore what’s happening in China and India and hope that petty acts of virtuous behaviour in both countries will cure the problem,” he said. “Even if you install windmills you’re not going to change the trend of overall CO2 emissions.”

Actually, it is worse than that. As Bishop Hill reports, it turns out that windmills in the UK at net positive for CO2 emissions. He writes:

Ever since Gordon Hughes’ report noted that wind power was more likely to produce more carbon dioxide emissions than [natural] gas, I have been looking for the figures behind the claim. In the comments, someone has now posted some details that seem to meet the bill. Although these are not Hughes’ own numbers -they were submitted in evidence to Parliament by an engineer –  I assume they are similar.

[A]s wind rarely produces more than 25% of its faceplate capacity it needs 75% backup – which due to the necessity of fast response times needs OCGT generation (CCGT can respond quickly but the heat-exchanger systems upon which their increased efficiency relies, cannot – so CCGT behaves like OCGT under these circumstances). CCGT produces 0.4 tonnes of CO2 per MWh, OCGT produces 0.6 tonnes. Thus 0.6 tonnes x 75% = 0.45 tonnes. Conclusion: Wind + OCGT backup produces more 0.05 tonnes of CO2 per MWh than continuous CCGT.

In case you are not familiar with the terms:

OCGT = Open Cycle Gas Turbine

  • In a gas turbine, large volumes of filtered air are fed in the compressor section of the engine. In an OCGT the multistage compressor squeezes the air to from normal pressure up to 40 times atmospheric pressure depending on the type of turbine.
  • Fuel is distributed to the various combustion chambers surrounding the gas turbine. This then mixes with the compressed air and ignition and combustion takes place.
  • The combustion gasses expand rapidly and this energy is transmitted to the axial turbine blades which drive the rotor shaft.
  • The rotor torque is transmitted to both the compressor section of the gas turbine and the external electrical generator.

In a combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT), the hot exhaust gases of a gas turbine, or turbines, are used to provide all, or a portion of, the heat source for a heat exchanger (called a heat recovery steam generator) to supply a steam turbine.

So I think the time has come to stop tilting at windmills. End the subsidies that make them temporarily attractive and let shale gas step in and help solve the emissions problem as it has already been doing:

PITTSBURGH (AP) — In a surprising turnaround, the amount of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere in the U.S. has fallen dramatically to its lowest level in 20 years, and government officials say the biggest reason is that cheap and plentiful natural gas has led many power plant operators to switch from dirtier-burning coal.

http://news.yahoo.com/ap-impact-co2-emissions-us-drop-20-low-174616030–finance.html

Everyone acts so surprised by this news, but I had it on WUWT over a month ago.

USA CO2 emissions may drop to 1990 levels this year

I predict that in a few years, when the subsidies run out, many wind farms will look like this one in Hawaii, now abandoned because it it too expensive to maintain:

http://img.groundspeak.com/waymarking/5132c3b0-37d9-4e23-83fd-68ca51729f7b.jpg

Kamaoa Wind Farm, Hawaii. Image from Waymarking.com

Related, via Jo Nova:

How much electricity do solar and wind make on a global scale? Answer: ‘Not much’ — EIA says 80% of our electricity comes from the fossil fuels & nuclear

Hydroelectricity produces 16% of the total. But all the vanity renewables bundled together make about 3.5% of total. Wind power is a major global industry but it’s only making 1.4% of total electricity. And solar is so pathetically low that it needs to be bundled with ‘tidal & wave’ power to even rate 0.1% (after rounding up). If world’s solar powered units all broke tonight, it would not dent global electricity production a jot. No one connected to a grid would notice.

UPDATE: Hans Labohm writes in with a supporting study:

Dear Anthony,

In The Netherlands Kees le Pair (Dutchman) has recently completed his
analysis on wind energy over here.

It confirms the conclusions of Hughes.

The English version of his report can be found here:

http://www.clepair.net/statlineanalyse201208.html

FYI.

Best,
Hans H.J. Labohm

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143 thoughts on “McIntyre’s talk in London – Plus, the UK’s tilting at windmills may actually increase CO2 emissions over natural gas

  1. “I think that I shall never see” a wind farm with more than 50% of the turbines spinning.
    (Apologies to Joyce Kilmer)

  2. How can you persuade the IPCC to do engineering-quality testing of its core assumptions with Rajendra Pachauri at the helm and battalions of NGOs controlling the texts and the press releases? And after several years of screaming that “the science is settled, the results are in, we fast approaching the tipping points of climate change if not actually passing them on our way to destruction”?

    You can’t.

    Reconsideration of core assumptions and rigorous testing of key results are not exactly the strong suits of zealots, to put it mildly.

    The IPCC is a toxic combination of politics and scientific hubris.

    Close down the IPCC before science itself is reputationally trashed for a generation.

  3. The quickest way to cut CO2 emissions and it would be done at a stroke, not slowly over the years is to generate electricity with gas. The plants are cheap and easy to make and could almost instantly take over from coal.

  4. “…government officials say the biggest reason is that cheap and plentiful natural gas has led many power plant operators to switch from dirtier-burning coal…”

    I don’t think it’s the biggest reason, but it did contribute (probably the second biggest). The biggest reason is the decline in energy consumption – even the graph says so (eyeballed). I may be wrong of course.

  5. I’m opposed to wind power as it make no economic sense. But assuming that the 75% of the time wind turbines aren’t operating that the power is replaced by OCGT or CCGT operating in an OC mode doesn’t seem correct. If wind turbines are down for, say 3 days, due to no wind I believe most of the power would be replaced by something other than OCGT.

  6. OK, the graph doesn’t say that and I was wrong. Any reliable data/graphs for USA energy consumption?

  7. its not uncommon for a wind farm to have a 35-50% downed equipment due to vibrations and stress.. yet people refuse to see that constant back up sources must be available in milliseconds. you cant do that unless those plants are UP AND RUNNING…. so the wind farm thing is pointless except for small single home uses where a hybrid system can be employed. and even that is questionable..

  8. The actual analysis is a bit more involved than this, but basically, that’s right. You’d never use a combined cycle generator for peaking and filling in voids, because it’s too expensive and not fast enough responding. So depending on a number of factors, you could end up using more gas to run a wind system than a CC system. This isn’t always going to be the case, but it’s probably going to be true in most cases.

  9. Something is getting stretched here. To say: turbines typically get only 25% of nameplate power therefore the 75% that is unused comes from gas turbines is a big leap. The gas turbines near me turn on during peak demand, and at other times nuclear power would be picking up any slack in the small percentage of power being contributed by wind.
    It seems wrongheaded to try do decide whether to turbines are worthwhile based on political considerations. If they pay a return on capital invested then they will be built. It they are uneconomic without advantageous tax treatments, then that’s not good, although there are games that can be played with that analysis too.

  10. “If world’s solar powered units all broke tonight, it would not dent global electricity production a jot. No one connected to a grid would notice.”

    If wind and solar all broke, the grid would be in better shape period. It would be more reliable.

  11. Look at the cost per KWH – nuclear is under $.01 per KWH if built without law suit delays. Gas and Coal $ .015 per KWH. Solar is not easy to asses as they include tax credit reductions – but most admit to over $ .30 per KWH and wind has the same issues for accuracy come in at over $ .15 per KWH.

    Keep in mind that solar and wind require gas/coal/nuclear base load production capabilities to insure 24/7/365 uninterrupted energy delivery. So, the capital cost of conventional energy production units is there either way.

  12. There is absolutely no logical reason, economic or environmental, to construct wind farms and solar farms or to convert food to biofuel. “Green energy” results in higher carbon dioxide emissions, damage to the environmental, and a net loss of jobs (9 jobs lost for every 4.4 jobs created, in addition to massive deficits.)

    How long will this fiasco continue?

    http://www.juandemariana.org/pdf/090327-employment-public-aid-renewable.pdf

    “…Europe’s current policy and strategy for supporting the so-called “green jobs” or renewable energy dates back to 1997, and has become one of the principal justifications for U.S. “green jobs” proposals. Yet an examination of Europe’s experience reveals these policies to be terribly economically counterproductive.

    This study is important for several reasons. First is that the Spanish experience is considered a leading example to be followed by many policy advocates and politicians. This study marks the very first time a critical analysis of the actual performance and impact has been made. Most important, it demonstrates that the Spanish/EU-style “green jobs” agenda now being promoted in the U.S. in fact destroys jobs, detailing this in terms of jobs destroyed per job created and the net destruction per installed MW.

    Optimistically treating European Commission partially funded data1, we find that for every renewable energy job that the State manages to finance, Spain’s experience cited by President Obama as a model reveals with high confidence, by two different methods, that the U.S. should expect a loss of at least 2.2 jobs on average, or about 9 jobs lost for every 4 created, to which we have to add those jobs that non-subsidized investments with the same resources would have created. ….”

  13. Extra added bonus pollution from windmills, solar, and hybrid cars comes from rare earth elements (REEs). These are needed to make the magnets in the windmills, solar panels, and multiple components of hybrid cars (as well as many fancy Ipad and Iphone type gizmos). 90% of REEs are mined in China with lax enviro laws and many mining sites are heavily polluted. But why should the US and Europe care, it’s only China.

  14. For those who fervently believe that only open-cycle gas turbine generators can follow a grid’s load, it must be true then that the grid loads were constant before about 1940. Surely, no coal, nor oil, nor gas-fired steam plant could accomplish the task.

    “1939: First 4 MW utility power generation gas turbine from BBC Brown, Boveri & Cie. for an emergency power station in Neuchâtel, Switzerland.” (source: Wikipedia)

    I have seldom seen such idiocy being passed off as truth.

  15. I fear we have a untested assumption, that being that those promoting all wind power intend to provide the same quality of service. I fear there is an expectation and hope by some that a key to success of using wind power is using “smart meters” to control demand instead of supplying in response to demand.

  16. China is thinking beyond nat gas.

    Game changer: The “green” nuclear. Molten salt thorium nuclear reactors. Much cheaper, safer, and cleaner.

    Feb 2011

    “China has officially announced it will launch a program to develop a thorium-fueled molten-salt nuclear reactor, taking a crucial step towards shifting to nuclear power as a primary energy source.”

    “The project was unveiled at the annual Chinese Academy of Sciences conference in Shanghai last week, and reported in the Wen Hui Bao newspaper (Google English translation here).”

    “If the reactor works as planned, China may fulfill a long-delayed dream of clean nuclear energy. The United States could conceivably become dependent on China for next-generation nuclear technology. At the least, the United States could fall dramatically behind in developing green energy.”

    http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/02/china-thorium-power/

    June 2012

    “The U.S. Department of Energy is quietly collaborating with China on an alternative nuclear power design known as a molten salt reactor that could run on thorium fuel rather than on more hazardous uranium, SmartPlanet understands.”

    “Proponents of thorium MSRs, also known as liquid thorium reactors or sometimes as liquid fluoride thorium reactors (LFTRs), say the devices beat conventional solid fuel uranium reactors in all aspects including safety, efficiency, waste and peaceful implications.”

    http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/intelligent-energy/us-partners-with-china-on-new-nuclear/17037

    The solution is there. Technology developed in the US in the 60’s. Just needs to be updated. Fortunately the Chinese (who do and will burn the most coal) are on to it. We can all breath easier.

  17. Bill H says August 18, 2012 at 9:29 am

    its not uncommon for a wind farm to have a 35-50% downed equipment due to vibrations and stress.. yet people refuse to see that constant back up sources must be available in milliseconds. you cant do that unless those plants are UP AND RUNNING…. …

    Let’s look at a few numbers to gain some perspective on this … this morning at I type at 10:55 AM local the ERCOT-area load here in Texas is 48,000 MW with predicted peak later today of 54,000 MW. Our peak demand during summer runs in the 65,000 MW (or 65 GW) area.

    ERCOT, the system operator in the majority of Texas frequently issues the following message when we approach those 65 GW peaks here in summer indicating ‘spinning reserves’ (actual, rotating generation equipment with summed nameplate capability) are below the preferred ‘reserve’ value of 3000 MW at any given time:

    Aug 01 2012 11:04:16 CST

    Physical Responsive Capability < 2500 MW: ERCOT is issuing a Watch due to Physical Responsive Capability being below 2500 MW.

    We regularly (seems like every other week or so) lose a generator on the Texas ‘grid’ in the range of 500 to 700 MW capacity and then grid frequency dips; here is one such message issued just today:

    Aug 18 2012 07:13:31 CST

    On 8/17/12, a sudden loss of generation occurred at 22:31 totaling 542 MW.

    Frequency declined to 59.905 Hz, ERCOT load was 48, 348 MW.

    [bolding mine]

    Given the value of the generator that ‘tripped’, it would appear that a gas peaker (or maybe several peakers) or perhaps a CCGT tripped offline; nuclear plants and coal-fired baseload plants weigh in at generation capabilities of over 750 MW each …

    Given the size of the desired ‘spinning reserve’ one can see that the equivalent of a ‘baseload’ generator or three are desired to be in the spinning-but-idle state at any given time, and this equates (in Texas; YMMV in the E and W grids!) to about 4.5% of current system load should be ‘spinning’ (generators turning and synchronized with the grid, but _not_ perhaps significantly generating electric current) as a ‘reserve’ or standby in the event of loss (‘tripping’, of either the generators or transmission lines from the generating station) of other ‘active’ generation equipment …

    .

  18. Greenie vanity electricity . . . because I am a Vegan Progressive, I recycle and my poo doesn’t smell.

    I am so at one with the university, basking in the glow of my Al Gore wall poster, cherishing the time Michael Mann said hello to me and hoping my application to study Climate Scientology at East Anglia is accepted.

  19. Game changer: The “green” nuclear. Molten salt thorium nuclear reactors. Much cheaper, safer, and cleaner.

    Feb 2011

    “China has officially announced it will launch a program to develop a thorium-fueled molten-salt nuclear reactor, taking a crucial step towards shifting to nuclear power as a primary energy source.”

    “The project was unveiled at the annual Chinese Academy of Sciences conference in Shanghai last week, and reported in the Wen Hui Bao newspaper (Google English translation here).”

    “If the reactor works as planned, China may fulfill a long-delayed dream of clean nuclear energy. The United States could conceivably become dependent on China for next-generation nuclear technology. At the least, the United States could fall dramatically behind in developing green energy.”

    http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/02/china-thorium-power/

    June 2012

    “The U.S. Department of Energy is quietly collaborating with China on an alternative nuclear power design known as a molten salt reactor that could run on thorium fuel rather than on more hazardous uranium, SmartPlanet understands.”

    “Proponents of thorium MSRs, also known as liquid thorium reactors or sometimes as liquid fluoride thorium reactors (LFTRs), say the devices beat conventional solid fuel uranium reactors in all aspects including safety, efficiency, waste and peaceful implications.”

    http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/intelligent-energy/us-partners-with-china-on-new-nuclear/17037

    The solution is there. Technology developed in the US in the 60’s. Just needs to be updated. Fortunately the Chinese (who do and will burn the most coal) are on to it. We can all breath easier.

  20. Friends:

    The information in the above article deserves wide publicity but it is not new. Indeed, I have been saying everything in the above article for many years.

    For example, I fully explained these matters – including the points about different gas-fired power plant types – in posts on the recent WUWT thread at

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/08/09/wind-power-not-coming-through-for-california-power-alert-issued-by-the-caiso/

    and in this Annual Prestigious Lecture which I had the honour of being asked to provide in 2006

    http://www.mininginstitute.org.uk/papers/courtney.html

    Richard

  21. Winds turbines are ecofraud beyond belief. Wasteful,polluting,ugly bird grinders bought with borrowed government money.Now Obama has granted wind a “categorical exemption” from environmental protection laws. (This new legal trick allows Obama to exempt his supporters from any legal requirement, whether welfare,immigration,environmental, etc.). While logging in three states was shutdown for an owl, and California agriculture was dried up over a common smelt, wind turbines are allowed to destroy entire populations of birds and bats. With free money and legal exemptions, turbines are popping up like mushrooms after the rain. Our great-grandkids will be paying for these and wondering why there are no eagles in the sky.

  22. The discussion re CO2 seems pretty superficial in assuming gas turbine backup. A more efficient backup (if nuclear was unavailable) might involve some form of stored energy such a pumped hydro facility. I’ll call it a battery because that is how it acts, but in this context battery isn’t to be taken literally.

    So, windmill would be used to charge a battery and the battery would supply the energy. The system would be designed so the battery could supply your design needs for some period T even if no wind energy was available. The wind farm would have to be designed with so wind statistics that gave the probably that the battery had sufficient energy that wind outage period longer than T had a low probability (actually that outages would reduce battery below the period T would gave a low probability). The backup might remain off in an outage until battery capacity fell to some threshold, say rT where 0<r<1. Then, the full system would have to be designed that the period rT was sufficient to bring the backup to full power.

    This approach could also be used with solar or other intermittent power sources. It sets the gating size for generation as the capacity of your battery (and the statistics of your intermittent energy source).

  23. GoodBusiness:

    On the basis of your post at August 18, 2012 at 9:50 am I would not want to invest in any business operated by you. For example, you say;

    Keep in mind that solar and wind require gas/coal/nuclear base load production capabilities to insure 24/7/365 uninterrupted energy delivery. So, the capital cost of conventional energy production units is there either way.

    The main reason for the very high cost of peak power’ is that power plants must operate on standby all the time so they can provide electricity for the little time when ‘peak power’ is needed. The major cost of this is the investment and depreciation costs of generating assets which are only utilised during the short times of ‘peak demand’. Adding wind power to the grid supply reduces the utilisation of these assets. Hence, adoption of wind power causes ‘peak power’ to be even more expensive because those assets get used even less.

    Also, additional power plants must be built and operated on spinning standby when windpower contributes more than 20% of the potential electricity supply. This is because of the need to manage risk of supply failures to the grid. I explain this as follows.

    Windfarms provide intermittent power. Hence, windfarms increase the risk of supply failures. Indeed, they give the certainty of supply failures when the wind is too strong or not strong enough. This increased risk of supply failures from windfarms is insignificant when there is small contribution of electricity to the grid from windfarms. All the output from the windfarms forces thermal power stations to operate spinning standby or at reduced output that can cope with the risk.

    But the problem of managing the risk increases disproportionately as the risk increases.

    Electricity is not wanted in the same amounts everywhere, and electricity is lost when it is transmitted over long distances. The additional risk management difficulties require additional spinning standby when the risk of supply failures is very large. Otherwise it would be impossible to match supply with demand throughout the grid when a large supply failure occurred.

    Therefore, additional power stations must be built and operated on spinning standby (using their additional fuel and providing their additional emissions) to manage the increased risk of power cuts from supply failures (e.g. of a power station or transmission lines) when windpower contributes more than 20% of the potential electricity supply.
    (ref. Laughton, M.A., Renewables and the UK Electricity Grid Supply Infrastructure, Platts Power in Europe. 2002).
    Indeed, this limit is the reason why the UK target for ‘renewable’ electricity generation is 20%: the UK generates hydropower (mostly in Scotland) so wind power will not reach the 20% limit if the target is met. The problem is inherent to any grid infrastructure and not only the UK’s grid.

    Richard

  24. I had a look at what a city like Vienna eats up per year. I found this city comes down to 40,000 GWh per year (and rising), and by international standards that’s a small city, with only 1.5 million inhabitants. Primary source for electricity is gas. For the public transport wind makes 1.5% of the energy produced.

    There is simply no way in hell we can feed a city like Vienna with 40,000 GWh per year simply from wind or sun. How should that work?

    My home town and the surrounding district with roughly 60,000 inhabitants still eats up 200 GWh per year, and that’s only because it’s a very rural area where most people don’t rely on electricity for heating, etc. A lot of folks still use wood, since it’s readily available. But even there, especially when considering local industry and geography… How would… I can’t wrap my mind around it. It’s not possible to feed this place with wind and solar 24/7/365.

  25. The future of wind farms opens an important opportunity for big government. Government can move the remaining grant money from renewable energy to the arts. There can be competitions for artists who can transform dead wind farms into something attractive or, at least, not stomach turning. Poets can create work that immunizes citizens against visions of wind farms. You get the idea. In addition, many climate scientists can move into the arts which is really their natural home. /sarc off

  26. This is a bit off topic, but does anybody have any comment on a recent claim being made by Obama campaign and news that wind energy constitutes about 20% (I also heard 25%) of Iowa’s energy production?

  27. “USA CO2 emissions may drop to 1990 levels this year”

    If the US has been hated by the new-world-orderites, they will be doubly so for this. Europe has screwed up their economy in no small way with the untotalled billions spent on electric toys and Lysenko-inspired “scientific” climate research (other socialist economic policies have done the rest – huge handouts for Greece, Italy, Spain … which were squandered supporting artificially high standards of living in countries that never gave economics any priority). The EU signed Kyoto and set to work to meet their targets by abdicating their responsibilities in favour of a Greenpeace-WWF-IPCC fantasy solution. The naivete is palpable. The irony stringent. Who would have thought that the “target” could have been met by doing the most economic thing. They villified the US for not signing and then EU emissions go up and US emissions go down – you will never be foregiven, even when you invoke a 2nd Marshall Plan and send economic missionaries there to straighten it all out.

    Thank God the Conservatives are in power in Canada. The Liberals who perfected the process of sending good money after bad would have contributed billions to refinance the EU’s excesses. Harper said no – they need to straighten up their economies not shore them up. Canada, which has the best government banking policies in the world has had to take some hits for it from Europe, too.

  28. richardscourtney says:
    August 18, 2012 at 11:08 am

    Electricity is not wanted in the same amounts everywhere, and electricity is lost when it is transmitted over long distances.

    Really!!??

    (Seriously, this is an ‘engineering problem’ for which there are solutions; are you totally unaware of operational DC tie lines that work over ‘great distances’? You write this continually as if you were …)

    High-voltage direct current – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-voltage_direct_current

    Pacific DC Intertie – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacific_DC_Intertie

    “The Pacific DC Intertie (also called Path 65) is an electric power transmission line that transmits electricity from the Pacific Northwest to the Los Angeles area using high voltage direct current (HVDC). The line capacity is 3,100 megawatts”

    .

  29. Philip Lee:

    I wondered when the ‘pumped storage’ excuse would come up, and you provided it at August 18, 2012 at 10:52 am where you say

    The discussion re CO2 seems pretty superficial in assuming gas turbine backup. A more efficient backup (if nuclear was unavailable) might involve some form of stored energy such a pumped hydro facility. I’ll call it a battery because that is how it acts, but in this context battery isn’t to be taken literally.

    I will not take your battery analogy literally, but I will use it as you do.

    For ‘pumped storage’ to provide a store of energy equivalent to the energy stored in one AA battery, then 100 kg of water must be lifted 10 m (i.e. 220 lb of water must be lifted 33 feet).
    Put another way
    For ‘pumped storage’ to provide a store of energy equivalent to the energy stored in one gallon of petrol (i.e. gasoline), then 13 tons of water must be lifted a kilometre (i.e. 3,500 gallons of water must be lifted 3,280 feet).

    These calculations are theoretical maxima and ignore losses in the system.

    Available places for the elevated reservoirs to provide pumped storage are limited. And the relatively low ability of ‘pumped storage’ to store energy means this technology has limited ability to ‘smooth’ output from wind turbines. For example, the UK’s entire ‘pumped storage’ capacity can provide up to 2788MW for only 5 hours before dropping to 1060MW, and the provision stops (because the reservoirs empty) after 22 hours. There is no wind when a stationary high or low pressure region exists over the UK, and such highs and lows typically stay over the UK for several days.

    ‘Pumped storage’ is a very economic method to meet ‘peak demand’. Its ability to ‘smooth’ output from windpower is so limited that it is effectively useless for this purpose.

    Richard

  30. Mr. Sowell & Lee both seem to miss the point in their comments. The historical record is one of increasing capacity and reliability in power systems by building ever larger grids (to share loads and sources) and specialized plants (baseload, peaking) . A wind or solar plant might have value as a peaking plant in some venues, but is not appropriate for baseload as the output is unavailable for frequent extended intervals. Similarly, solar and wind plants should not be considered as reliable peaking sources, they require backup plants should clouds or calms reduce the available power. Battery, pumped hydro, molten salt, and other energy storage devices cannot compete economically with building a conventional power plant. Once they can, they will.

  31. @ Roger Sowell it must be true then that the grid loads were constant before about 1940. Surely, no coal, nor oil, nor gas-fired steam plant could accomplish the task.

    Yes, it might be true. You forgot that hydropower can balance the grid.

    Cabin Creek has the ability to respond to increases in customer demand quicker than any other plant on our [Xcel] system.

  32. Roger Sowel:

    I see you are still selling misinformation about windpower. For example, your post at August 18, 2012 at 10:10 am says in total.

    “For those who fervently believe that only open-cycle gas turbine generators can follow a grid’s load, it must be true then that the grid loads were constant before about 1940. Surely, no coal, nor oil, nor gas-fired steam plant could accomplish the task.

    “1939: First 4 MW utility power generation gas turbine from BBC Brown, Boveri & Cie. for an emergency power station in Neuchâtel, Switzerland.” (source: Wikipedia)

    I have seldom seen such idiocy being passed off as truth.”

    You know your post is pure pro-wind propaganda because I repeatedly explained the matter to you recently on the WUWT thread at

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/08/09/wind-power-not-coming-through-for-california-power-alert-issued-by-the-caiso/

    e.g. in my post at August 10, 2012 at 4:25 am I wrote


    It takes days to start a power station from cold (they utilise steam turbines and anybody who has boiled a kettle knows it takes time to boil the water, to superheat the steam, and to heat all the components of the plant). Therefore, some power stations operate as “spare capacity” so they can provide the grid with electricity needed to overcome any shortfall in supply from such a failure.

    The power stations need to provide all the power supplied from the grid when the windfarms are not supplying to the grid. When windfarms do supply electricity then they displace the power stations
    (a) onto ‘spinning standby’ (so they continue to consume their fuel and emit their emissions)
    or
    (b) to operate at lower output. This reduces their efficiency so they increase their use of fuel and increase their emissions (this like driving a car at 10 mph in fifth gear: it can be done but it uses much fuel).

    The power stations operate like this while waiting for the wind to change because it takes days to start a power station from cold.

    One caveat. Gas-fired turbine units can start rapidly because they do not use steam turbines but they are very inefficient so provide very expensive electricity. Combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) units are much more efficient so they are the preferred option for gas-fired generation..

    And at August 10, 2012 at 10:28 am I wrote

    In the interim, I draw your attention to this statement from David Tolley. He is Head of Networks and Ancillary Services, Innogy (a subsidiary of the German energy consortium RWE) which operates windfarms in the UK. He said of windfarms in the UK,

    “When [thermal] plant is de-loaded to balance the system, it results in a significant proportion of deloaded plant which operates relatively inefficiently. … Coal plant will be part-loaded such that the loss of a generating unit can swiftly be replaced by bringing other units on to full load. In addition to increased costs of holding reserve in this manner, it has been estimated that the entire benefit of reduced emissions from the renewables programme has been negated by the increased emissions from part-loaded plant under NETA.”

    NETA is the New Electricity Trading Arrangements, the UK’s deregulated power market. And Tolley made the statement in a keynote address to the Institution of Mechanical Engineers on January 15, 2003. The UK has increased its use of windpower since 2003 so it can be assumed that the problem has increased since then.

    Richard

  33. Bill H says:
    August 18, 2012 at 9:29 am

    … so the wind farm thing is pointless except for small single home uses where a hybrid system can be employed. and even that is questionable..
    ________________________________
    Wind power is fine for pumping water or grinding grain where there is no other source of power AND the indigenous population can build them out of native materials and also repair them without outside direction.

  34. JohnC says:
    August 18, 2012 at 11:54 am

    Solar can help with peaking up to a point. Wind, never. Wind is a complete wild card, and is at least as likely to not be there when it’s needed most as the other way around. To help with peaking, there would have to be some reason to believe that there’s more wind during the day as at night. There isn’t.

  35. _Jim:

    re your fatuous comment at August 18, 2012 at 11:37 am.

    Yes, of course I was aware of that. But line losses exist especially when the HV AC distribution system must be used to re-route power because of a failure of a power plant or the wires from it.

    Simply, my comment was correct.

    I suspect you knew that, too. And when you choose to make fatuous and (deliberately?) misleading comments such as your post to me then perhaps you would put your full name to them.

    Richard

  36. richardscourtney responded to Philip Lee:

    I will not take your battery analogy literally, but I will use it as you do.

    Let’s take is a bit further for those who wish to jump on the battery mantra.

    Golden Valley Electric Association in Alaska installed a high capacity battery system in order to deal with short outages until the local generating system could be brought online. According to their website, it can provide “27 megawatts of power for 15 minutes.” Also, they state that it they use 13,760 liquid electrolyte-filled Ni-Cad cells with a total BESS weight – 1,500 tons.

    The battery rack is quite impressive.

    http://www.gvea.com/energy/bess

  37. Philip Lee says:
    August 18, 2012 at 10:52 am

    The discussion re CO2 seems pretty superficial in assuming gas turbine backup. A more efficient backup (if nuclear was unavailable) might involve some form of stored energy such a pumped hydro facility….
    _____________________
    I have suggested that for small facilities but it still does not address the energy density problem.
    SEE: Pump Up the Storage: Do The MATH

    Also of interest: Economics of Nuclear Power and Solar Panels Don’t Work. And No One Knows.

    There is also this The Real Costs of Alternative Energy
    What is very interesting is the plug for “Clean Gas”

    Shifting us to gas has been the main reason for the whole CAGW scam. It is why BP, Shell and Enron and WWF were in on it from the beginning funding CRU and pushing for IPCC. See my comment on the money behind the scam in my other comment. That is not to say that Enron, BP and Shell were not positioned to take advantage of the windpower and solar subsidies too but they knew from the start they were not going to work long term so gas would be the “Compromise”

  38. @ Richardscourtney,

    From you, who are almost completely ignorant about energy, engineering, and thermodynamics, that is laughable.

    Are you truly a consultant to UK policy-makers on energy matters? Perhaps I should reveal to them your outstanding comment on an earlier thread at WUWT, where you assert that wind-generated power violates the first Law of thermodynamics.

    You are indeed a laughingstock. I laugh at you, and derisively.

    My information on wind power generation is firmly grounded in facts. Yours, apparently is based on a dream world where thermodynamics does not exist.

  39. _Jim
    “The Pacific DC Intertie (also called Path 65) is an electric power transmission line that transmits electricity from the Pacific Northwest to the Los Angeles area using high voltage direct current (HVDC). The line capacity is 3,100 megawatts”
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Well yes, but that is a technique that is in general of use when transporting electricity from a single large generation point to a single large consumption point. Manitoba Hydro for example does the same from Churchill to Winnipeg. But there are two important issues to consider:

    1. Transporting electricity via DC is a way to REDUCE line losses, it doesn’t eliminate them.
    2. In the case of wind power, this technique would be of little use. Wind mills being dispersed rather than central, the costs of building in a DC transport network would easily exceed the amount saved in line losses.

    That said, I do agree that moving energy from where it is to where it needs to be is largely an engineering problem. IT can be solved economicaly provided that the power source choices are predicated on the most practical available for any given project. Wind power just doesn’t fit that bill.

  40. The view in the article is optimistic. Here in Central North America the wind can cut out completely at times. This requires 100% backup by another generation method. The much quoted 75% backup is simply a myth. It cannot be done if you wish reliability close to 100%.

    See here:

    http://ontariowindperformance.wordpress.com/2010/09/24/chapter-3-1-powering-ontario/

    That article will provide you with links to the original data at IESO and links to current data so you can confirm the drop outs. Ontario and the American mid west will give similar results in wind power I would think.

    Here in Ontario, IESO simply ignores the wind power output when scheduling the electrical generators. There is at this time no known scheduling system that will give reliable power without watt-for-watt coverage of the wind turbines — and yes I do suspect Solar is the same.

  41. This is simply false:

    “McIntyre’s statement on wind power is interesting:

    The entire rationale of policy in US and Europe has been to ignore what’s happening in China and India and hope that petty acts of virtuous behaviour in both countries will cure the problem,” he said. “Even if you install windmills you’re not going to change the trend of overall CO2 emissions.”

    Well, Muller has been giving his Physics for future presidents lectures for ever, and you can pick any of them on YT, and he explicitly stresses that what the president (sic! – are you reading this, Barack? Bush couldn’t read, so he is excused, naturally) needs to know is that NO MATTER WHAT “we” (i.e. the west) are doing in terms of CO2, if China does not pull along, all our efforts will achieve is delay global warming by TWO years, and you can rubbish that, there is no utility in that. So every US president for at least a decade had POSITIVE KNOWLEDGE of this, and there is no way arguing their asses out of this, as Muller is/was (?) their science advisor, of course. Make a T-shirt out of this and send it to your member of congress, there you go.

  42. Roger Sowell:

    I am outraged by your slander at August 18, 2012 at 1:01 pm
    You say of me

    Perhaps I should reveal to them your outstanding comment on an earlier thread at WUWT, where you assert that wind-generated power violates the first Law of thermodynamics.

    I have not made any such comment on WUWT or anywhere else.

    RETRACT AND APOLOGISE.

    Richard

  43. The reason that the USA’s CO2 emissions are reducing, is the same as why the UK’s emissions reduced – it is de-industrialising.

    This is the problem with Green dreams. If you make power expensive, then industry will relocate to China, where it will double its emissions. Thus overall, every wind farm in the West doubles the amount of CO2 that the previous generating equipment used to output.

    .

  44. Moderators:

    On reflection, I am disappointed at your not having snipped the slanderous posting from Roger Sowell. The entire post is offensive innuendo and untrue based on a stated falsehood.

    At very least I would have expected a citation would be required for the falsehood if it were not to be snipped.

    Indeed, in light of the fact that Sowell was shown – by me and others – to have provided a series of misleading and plain wrong assertions supporting windpower in the recent thread at

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/08/09/wind-power-not-coming-through-for-california-power-alert-issued-by-the-caiso/

    I would have anticipated he would have been subject to careful moderation in this thread.

    Richard

    [Reply: WUWT moderation is done with a light touch. So long as commenters abide by site Policy, they can express their opinions, whether they are right or wrong. Other commenters are always free to disagree with them if they like. ~dbs, mod.]

  45. Richard Courtney:

    I was aware of the 5 hour 2788MW limit for the UK — but you missed the point. Using that capacity with wind supplying the water pumping would make possible supplying 2788MW continuous power with standby power that could be cold, until that five hour reserve dropped to 1 hour, say, whereupon backup plants would be brought online and less power taken from the battery as the backups begin operating efficiently. The backups would continue until energy reserves are recovered with a return of the wind/solar intermittents.

    To make a concept such as this work, part of your “battery” might involve people who volunteer to be taken off the grid for short intervals in return for reduced rates (demand reduction as part of the reserve need) and there are other energy storage technologies other than hydro (wind energy to melt salt). You might also consider that the UK isn’t the only place a hydro-battery might be considered. The US has many times the UK’s capacity.

    I’m aware of the cost issues involved. If cost were the only issue involved, we would not be discussing alternatives to fossil fuels. I presume reduction of CO2 emissions have a value offsetting added costs of wind and solar power. Perhaps you might try to determine from those who value CO2 reductions this offset, so a rational cost limit could be set for alternative power plants.

    With no value for CO2 reductions, rational discussions are difficult.

    Phil Lee

  46. @ richardscourtney:

    Careful! Making a false accusation of slander is indeed defamatory.

    I shall retrieve your earlier statement when I have access to a non-smart phone system.

  47. JohnC said:
    August 18, 2012 at 11:48 am

    Mr. Sowell & Lee both seem to miss the point in their comments . . . . Battery, pumped hydro, molten salt, and other energy storage devices cannot compete economically with building a conventional power plant. Once they can, they will.

    If this is a discussion only about economics, I did miss the point and so did JohnC. The only reason this discussion is being held is that some people place a value on CO2 emission reduction. That value is not given anywhere in these discussions.

    Ignoring that value has led people to argue wind doesn’t reduce CO2 using a flawed backup scheme. The real issue is what is that value and what can be engineered to provide a net benefit.

    But you guy carry on with you snidisms.

  48. Whoops! several errors — try again.

    JohnC said:
    August 18, 2012 at 11:48 am

    Mr. Sowell & Lee both seem to miss the point in their comments . . . . Battery, pumped hydro, molten salt, and other energy storage devices cannot compete economically with building a conventional power plant. Once they can, they will.

    If this is a discussion only about economics, I did miss the point and so did JohnC. The only reason this discussion is being held is that some people place a value on CO2 emission reduction. That value is not given anywhere in these discussions.

    Ignoring that value has led people to argue wind doesn’t reduce CO2 using a flawed backup scheme. The real issue is what is that value and what can be engineered to provide a net benefit.

    But you guys carry on with your snidisms.

  49. Philip Lee:

    Thankyou for your post at August 18, 2012 at 2:08 pm concerning ‘pumped storage’. It includes this

    I’m aware of the cost issues involved. If cost were the only issue involved, we would not be discussing alternatives to fossil fuels. I presume reduction of CO2 emissions have a value offsetting added costs of wind and solar power. Perhaps you might try to determine from those who value CO2 reductions this offset, so a rational cost limit could be set for alternative power plants.

    With no value for CO2 reductions, rational discussions are difficult.

    Firstly, as I said, ‘pumped storage’ facilities exist to reduce the need for power stations to operate as reserve so they can provide power to meet the very short periods of peak demand’. So, any transfer of the ‘pumped storage’ for ‘smoothing’ output from windfarms would increase the need for power stations to operate as reserve and, thus, would increase CO2 emissions unless the power stations were nuclear. The only alternative would be to construct additional ‘pumped storage’ but, as I also said, there are few locations for such additional ‘pumped storage’ facilities. This true everywhere.

    Importantly, the above article specifically refers to the use of windpower in the UK. There are no sites for additional ‘pumped storage’ in the UK and the UK’s nuclear plants operate to provide base load.

    I addressed the issue of CO2 emission reductions form use of windpower in my above post at August 18, 2012 at 12:13 pm. Use of windpower cannot make any significant reductions to CO2 emissions from power generation and usually increases the emissions. The same is true for solar power – or any other intermittent electricity source – and for the same reasons.

    Richard

  50. There appears to be a misconception about the effective wind energy output being 25% of the installed capacity and that therefor 75% backup would be needed. The 25% value is the average over the year. However, windfarm output can vary from less than 5% of rated power to 100% during a single day. This means that backup always has to be OCGT/CCGT because only these plants can ramp up and down fast enough.

    Last week in the UK the total wind energy output was less than 100MW (one hundred megawatt) whereas the installed capacity is 4648 MW. In the current situation, where almost all countries have wind contributions below 4% there is hardly any need for backup because the grid can cope with this variability.

    However, the amount of backup has to be almost 100% when the total wind energy contribution increases to more than 10% of total electricity demand, because for long periods wind in large areas can be close to zero, like in the UK last week.

    Check out the IEA Wind 2010 annual report table 3 for an overview of national wind energy generation: http://www.ieawind.org/index_page_postings/IEA%20Wind%202010%20AR_cover.pdf
    Check out http://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/ to get an idea of wind energy contribution in a reasonably large country. This site shows graphs of all the used electricity generation types and the wind energy graph is very, very spikey…

  51. the assumption that wind needs backing up by OCGT is wrong. wind can be backed up by coal, CCGT or in fact anything else. what is important is to predict the wind power correctly. it is errors in the prediction that may need meeting with faster acting reserve (or demand management etc).

    like or loathe wind turbines, they are a low carbon source of power.

  52. I do not know about the rest of you but I really dislike being herded to a predetermined conclusion and then told it is a “Compromise” and that is exactly what I see happening here in slow motion. I also see many here falling for it without recognizing they are being lead.

    People in the USA have caught the US government bureaucrats Using the Delphi Technique to Achieve Consensus: How it is leading us away from representative government to an illusion of citizen participation The whole idea is to reach a predetermined “Consensus” but still leave the masses thinking they had participated in the decision making so the governed will feel they have “Ownership” of the decisions.

    Pascal Lamy, World Trade Organization Director General in his talks on global governance has addressed the need for “Legitimacy” it is a common thread as can be seen here and here and here and especially here So after the failure of the Soviet Union they must have wised up and now consider “Legitimacy” or “Ownership” a concern for governance.

    This is all part of the Hegelian/Marxian dialectic where a thesis (CAGW) and the anti-thesis (“Deniers” position) “played a part in the creation of a new synthetic phenomenon.” The only problem is we are not playing our part we have not moved on. We are still fighting tooth and nail over the temperature records and the science and that is why we are now called “DENIERS” in an attempt to marginalize us and remove us from the bargaining table.

    That was what Fred Krupp’s article in the Wall Street Journal was all about: A New Climate-Change Consensus: It’s time for conservatives to compete with liberals to devise the best, most cost-effective climate solutions. It is an attempt to move forward to the next step, the predetermined “Synthesis” But that is alright, our politicians have already gotten the message even if we have not, so we have this from Presidential candidate Mitt Romney:

    Mitt Romney
    MAIN PLATFORM:
    “Unfortunately, some in the Republican Party are embracing the radical environmental ideas of the liberal left. As governor, I found that thoughtful environmentalism need not be anti-growth and anti-jobs. But Kyoto-style sweeping mandates, imposed unilaterally in the United States, would kill jobs, depress growth and shift manufacturing to the dirtiest developing nations.

    “Republicans should never abandon pro-growth conservative principles in an effort to embrace the ideas of Al Gore. Instead of sweeping mandates, we must use America’s power of innovation to develop alternative sources of energy and new technologies that use energy more efficiently.”

    …“With regards to our developing more energy, I want to see us use more of our renewable resources: bio-diesel, bio-fuel, ethanol, cellulosic ethanol. I want to see us developing liquefied coal if we can sequester the CO2 properly. I want to see nuclear power…..

    “We need to initiate a bold, far-reaching research initiative — an energy revolution — that will be our generation’s equivalent of the Manhattan Project or the mission to the moon. …It will be good for our national defense, it will be good for our foreign policy, and it will be good for our economy. Moreover, even as scientists still debate how much human activity impacts the environment, we can all agree that alternative energy sources will be good for the planet. For any and all of these reasons, the time for energy independence has come.”

    http://aboutmittromney.com/environment.htm

    Well you get the idea, good ole’ Mitt is already compromising just like a good little puppet.

    The really laughable part of this is the parts played by the World Bank. Robert Watson an employee of the World Bank was chair of the IPCC. The World Bank has all sorts of goodie two shoes “Sustainablility” propaganda such as Sustainable development is fundamental to the World Bank Group’s mission to reduce poverty. The Sustainable Development Network works with clients to encourage inclusive, green growth that can lead to sustainable development. We also know at the Copenhagen climate summit in 2009, the so-called Danish text, a secret draft agreement,… hands effective control of climate change finance to the World Bank; would abandon the Kyoto protocol… and would make any money to help poor countries adapt to climate change dependent on them taking a range of actions…

    Obviously the World Bank is neck deep in CAGW. so what is the World Bank’s position on dirty nasty coal?

    …The World Bank said this week that a total of US$3.4bn (£2.2bn) – or a quarter of all funding for energy projects – was spent in the year to June 2010 helping to build new coal-fired power stations, including the controversial Medupi plant in South Africa. Over the same period the bank also spent $1bn (£640m) on looking and drilling for oil and gas.

    However, the Bank Information Centre, which examined the spending, disagreed and said the figure invested in coal was $4.4bn in the fiscal year 2009-10….
    Environmental campaign groups said spending on coal in that period was 40 times more than five years ago… http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_round_up/599469/world_bank_invests_record_sums_in_coal.html

    Well it looks like there is more than one way for the central bankers to put a leash on the third world countries. This spending is forty times that of 2009 Graph Interesting that those loans came AFTER the 2009 Copenhagen mess. See Forbes analysis of the mindset of the World Bank.

  53. richardscourtney says:
    August 18, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    > On reflection, I am disappointed at your not having snipped the slanderous posting from Roger Sowell. The entire post is offensive innuendo and untrue based on a stated falsehood.

    You seem to be doing a pretty good job defending yourself. There are enough comments on this thread so that most people have moved on.

  54. davidmhoffer says:

    Well yes, but that is a technique that is in general of use when transporting electricity from a single large generation point to a single large consumption point. Manitoba Hydro for example does the same from Churchill to Winnipeg. But there are two important issues to consider:

    A) I don’t get what you are driving at (you might be making a point to others that I do not follow).

    B) The use of low-loss DC transmission around the world is a lot more prevalent than people know –

    HVDC transmission lines – a compilation of projects:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:HVDC_transmission_lines

    C) On long lines, the few disadvantages of DC are far outweighed by the benefits with regard to AC. You might be unawares that AC suffers from dielectric losses, requires substations variably every 200 miles, and the generation and final grid destination MUST be synchronized (aside from critical phase angle issues) … issues that DC does away with …

    An ABB presentation titled:
    HVDC Transmission
    An economical complement to AC transmission

    ABB
    States their case simply for DC over AC on long lines

    .

  55. steve says:

    August 18, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    the assumption that wind needs backing up by OCGT is wrong. wind can be backed up by coal, CCGT or in fact anything else. what is important is to predict the wind power correctly.
    =========================================================================
    There is no way to predict wind energy output accurately, because it has a non-linear relation with wind force. On http://www.bmreports.com/bsp/bsp_home.htm attempts are made continuously to predict wind, but in most cases the results are pathetic. Also, predictive control systems are generally unstable, which is unsuitable for electric power supply.

  56. @ richardscourtney, poor little guy…. wanting to see his patently false statement from an earlier thread…whining on and on about slander and inept moderators. Sorry, but it took me awhile to stop laughing….. [for the record, the moderation at WUWT is outstanding, an exemplar for other blogs]

    But, here is the reference, from

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/08/09/wind-power-not-coming-through-for-california-power-alert-issued-by-the-caiso/#comments

    richardscourtney says:
    August 10, 2012 at 4:25 am
    .
    .
    .

    And the windfarms contribute no useful electricity to the grid at any time. ” [note, bold in the original. - R Sowell]

    [end quote and reference]

    The above statement by richardscourtney is indeed false, because for it to be true the First Law of Thermodynamics must be violated. I wrote as much in the comments to that thread.

    Again, richardscourtney, it must be wonderful to live in a fairy land, and to make such ridiculous statements as the above. I laugh at you. Perhaps it would be more charitable for me to pity you.

    And for the record, that same comment of yours from August 10, 2012 at 4:25 a.m. had a number of other false assertions, many of which I refuted in my comments on that thread. I don’t have the time nor the inclination to follow around behind you, pointing out your many false statements and laughing at you. But, it would certainly be entertaining!

  57. richardscourtney says August 18, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    Simply, my comment was correct.

    It has a ‘consumer’ origin (IOW, no real basis) to it that I simply can’t stomach, Richard.

    Today, it seems that everybody ‘feels’ they are qualified to ‘practice’ and pass judgement on everybody else’s technical field anytime they feel like it, dam-ned be the facts or history or painful engineering lessons learned along the way. I don’t practice brain surgery for a reason and I think power system planning might possibly be a field you should avoid …

    .

  58. Roger Sowell;
    “And the windfarms contribute no useful electricity to the grid at any time. ” [note, bold in the original. - R Sowell]
    [end quote and reference]
    The above statement by richardscourtney is indeed false, because for it to be true the First Law of Thermodynamics must be violated. I wrote as much in the comments to that thread.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    I read richarscourtney’s comment in its entirety, and it is very clear his remark was in context of wind power temporarily displacing capacity which must be built in order to backup wind power, and that it made far more sense just to build the capacity and rely on it instead. From that perpective, wind power indeed provides nothing useful to the power grid and in fact has a substantive negative impact on over all economics of the grid. There is nothing in that entire comment that has anything to do with physics from an energy balance perspective, and certainly nothing at all to do with the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

    You’r out of context quote and subsequent accusation can, in my opinion, be taken as either a deliberate misrepresentation that amounts to an egregious ad hominem attack, or a complete and total misundersanding of the argument being presented to you.

    Either way Roger Sowell, you owe richardscourtney an apology. Failure to provide one will only damage your persona further.

  59. _Jim;
    For the most part I was agreeing with you, just making the point that there are limitations and in the context of wind power, dc transmission is impractical. Apologies if you meant your point to stand outside of the windpower discussion itself because I’d agree with you 100% there. We humans have progressed our capabilities to the point where we can control a considerable portion of our environment, and it drives me nuts when alarmists wail away about all the bad things that are going to happen to us as climate changes. No, we can’t stop a hurricane in its tracks obviously (yet) but for the most part we can control the things we need to. We can divert rivers, level mountains, and yes, move power from anywhere it is to anywhere we want it.

  60. According to the BP Statistical Revue wind power in Spain and Portugal exceeds 15% of power generation. However there is an interesting proviso:

    “Because of the unreliability of wind power (reflected in a low, ~25% utilisation factor), adding more wind generation capacity to the grid increases the need to boost the percentage of overall plant capacity set aside to provide ancillary services.

    “Power generation from wind turbines in Spain and Portugal actually fell in 2011, despite continued growth in capacity, due to lower than average wind speeds.”

    http://www.bp.com/extendedsectiongenericarticle.do?categoryId=9041566&contentId=7075262

    http://www.bp.com/sectionbodycopy.do?categoryId=7500&contentId=7068481

    Despite hugely increasing their wind energy production, Chinese oil companies such as the China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC), Sinopec, and China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC)
    have recently been signing oil contracts in Iraq, Venezuela and Ghana. CNOOC tried to take over the US-based Unocal, the 9th largest energy company in the world, but withdrew their bid due to political opposition.

    China’s CNOOC have recently bid $15 billion for Nexen, a Canadian oil and gas company based in Calgary, Alberta. “It has operations located around the world, including the North Sea in Europe, Colombia, the Gulf of Mexico, and Alberta’s Athabasca Oil Sands.” If successful they will gain control of significant oil sands reserves in Canada and no doubt hope to gain control of much more.

    While western politicians are martyrs to climate change and renewable energy politics, much of the oil reserves in North America, without the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, could conceivably be piped to the west coast of Canada and be shipped to China.

  61. Roger Sowell:

    At August 18, 2012 at 1:30 pmI objected to your lie at August 18, 2012 at 1:01 pm that asserted of me

    Perhaps I should reveal to them your outstanding comment on an earlier thread at WUWT, where you assert that wind-generated power violates the first Law of thermodynamics.

    I pointed out that

    I have not made any such comment on WUWT or anywhere else.

    You have compounded your lie at August 18, 2012 at 3:04 pm by claiming I said it at August 10, 2012 at 4:25 am in the thread at

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/08/09/wind-power-not-coming-through-for-california-power-alert-issued-by-the-caiso/

    That is a lie and anybody can check it is a lie with a click of a mouse.

    I repeat
    RETRACT AND APOLOGISE.

    I copy what I actually said below.

    Richard


    The remainder of your post is meaningless twaddle.

    You make silly dispute of my accurate statement that said

    And the windfarms contribute no useful electricity to the grid at any time.

    Your silly dispute ignores that my statement concerned useful electricity and I explained that this as follows.
    And the windfarms contribute no useful electricity to the grid at any time .
    The power stations need to provide all the power supplied from the grid when the windfarms are not supplying to the grid. When windfarms do supply electricity then they displace the power stations
    (a) onto ‘spinning standby’ (so they continue to consume their fuel and emit their emissions)
    or
    (b) to operate at lower output. This reduces their efficiency so they increase their use of fuel and increase their emissions (this like driving a car at 10 mph in fifth gear: it can be done but it uses much fuel).

    So, the windfarms increase both the costs of electricity and the emissions from electricity generation but provide no needed addition to electricity generation.
    Their contribution is not “useful” electricity: it is an expensive, polluting nuisance.

    Nothing you say addresses that. Instead, you assert that all electricity is “useful” if it is put on the grid and you support that assertion with daft points (e.g. concerning Laws of Thermodynamics).

    I think you know my point about usefulness is correct because you attempt to dispute my points (a) and (b) in my explanation of why the electricity from windfarms is not useful.

    And the “evidence” you provide to deny my accurate points (a) and (b) is an assertion that they are “contentious” because the American Wind Energy Association tries to refute these truths.

    Moderators:
    Needing to refute the slanderous garbage from Sowell is intolerable. And I will probably not be able to refute any more of it until tonight (it is just after midnight on a Sunday here). I strongly request that his untrue garbage is snipped.

    Richard

  62. steve says:
    August 18, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    ……like or loathe wind turbines, they are a low carbon source of power.
    _____________________________–
    That is a myth.

    They are called a low carbon source of power because no one does an analysis of the real amount of energy used to produce a wind turbine, ship it and erect and maintain it vs the amount of energy it actually NET (without standby power) produces.

    It is a bait and switch. The old fashion windmills made of wood and sail cloth were a low CO2 source of power. I certainly can see no reason they can not be introduced in the third world and built by the natives out of native materials in suitable places if applicable. However the bird slicing monstrosities are not low CO2. It takes a lot of energy to mine, smelt and forge steel and then ship it from China to wherever. It takes a lot of energy to bulldoze roads and pour concrete platforms. It takes a lot of energy to maintain them. The blades are so heavy they must be rotated USING ENERGY if their is no wind.

    This is from Charles S. Opalek, PE (Professional Engineer)

    Wind turbines have an embarrassingly low Energy Returned On Energy Invested value of 0.29. The manufacture, installation and operation of wind power facilities will consume more than 3 times the energy they will ever produce.

    Wind Power is Big Business. The big winners will be developers, land owners, brokerage houses, banks, manufacturers, governments, the “green” movement, environmentalists, researchers, academia, and the news media. The big losers will be the taxpayers and electric bill payers…

    http://www.windpowerfraud.com/

    And please call it low CO2 not low carbon. “Carbon (Diamonds) are a girl’s best friend, CO2 is a tree’s best friend”

  63. _Jim:

    I write to to answer the only point in your post addressed to me at August 18, 2012 at 3:24 pm.

    I, too, am glad you do not practice brain surgery.

    Richard

  64. _Jim says: Really!!??

    Yeah, really. There’s an equation I heard of called Ohm’s Law that, amazingly, seems to work for both AC and DC!

  65. A look at pumped storage:
    An example can be seen using Wikipedia and Google Earth. Of interest is the “pumped storage” associated with Kinzua (kin-zoo) Dam in northern Pennsylvania. Read about it here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinzua_Dam

    Use these coordinates [ 41.839736 n, 79.002619 w ] to get a better look. Zoom out until you can see the entire reservoir and compare it to the small circular storage basin on the ridge-top to the south. Can you scale this up to be really helpful? In whose back yard?

    Be sure to read the section titled “Displacements” in the wiki link. Did then, and still do, have family from this area. Visited while the reservoir area was being cleaned out, and filling, and while the circular storage area was being hollowed out.

  66. Has McIntyre become more sceptical of the science and public policy over the years? I’m detecting a sardonic overtone in his work. He used to be more neutral.

  67. davidmhoffer says:
    August 18, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    Your (Roger Sowell’s) out of context quote and subsequent accusation can, in my opinion, be taken as either a deliberate misrepresentation that amounts to an egregious ad hominem attack, or a complete and total misundersanding of the argument being presented to you.
    Either way Roger Sowell, you owe richardscourtney an apology. Failure to provide one will only damage your persona further.
    ======================================================
    The two were in a fencing match. The actual points in the argument aside, Roger took something Richard had said and presented here earlier what he, Roger, thought of Richard’s comment as if Richard had actually stated that thought.
    Again, the actual points in the argument aside, Roger can apoligize for this tactic without admitting Richard was right.

  68. MikeM;
    Yeah, really. There’s an equation I heard of called Ohm’s Law that, amazingly, seems to work for both AC and DC!
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Are you certain? If you took the average voltage of an AC circuit, it would be zero. Yup, zero. AC differs from DC not only in that it has a cycle that is 1/2 negative and 1/2 positive, but also in that AC has a peak voltage considerably higher than the “effective” voltage. Since current rises and falls with voltage, but power rises and falls with the current squared, power losses in an AC circuit are much much much higher than in a DC circuit of the same effective voltage. In addition, there is a certain amount of capacitance in a long stretch of wire, which is nearly meaningless in a DC cirquit but which can become significant in a AC circuit.

  69. If windmills increase CO2, I’m all for them. The earth is currently CO2-deprived, compared to its past history. More CO2 is good for biodiversity!

  70. The problem with solar and wind is they are a very good way to provide electricity (or maybe hot water?) to remote areas as long as reliability is not an issue. …..and that’s about it for now.

  71. Roger Sowell says: August 18, 2012 at 1:01 pm “Are you truly a consultant to UK policy-makers on energy matters? Perhaps I should reveal to them your outstanding comment on an earlier thread at WUWT, where you [Richardscourtney] assert that wind-generated power violates the first Law of thermodynamics.”

    Roger Sowell says: August 18, 2012 at 3:04 pm “richardscourtney says: “And the windfarms contribute no useful electricity to the grid at any time.””

    FAIL. Pathetic, Roger Sowell. No such assertion was made by Richard in that link. Your continuing sophistry only compounds your guilt.

  72. richardscourtney sa1d:
    August 18, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    Thankyou for your post at August 18, 2012 at 2:08 pm concerning ‘pumped storage’. It includes this

    I’m aware of the cost issues involved. If cost were the only issue involved, we would not be discussing alternatives to fossil fuels. I presume reduction of CO2 emissions have a value offsetting added costs of wind and solar power. Perhaps you might try to determine from those who value CO2 reductions this offset, so a rational cost limit could be set for alternative power plants.

    With no value for CO2 reductions, rational discussions are difficult.

    Firstly, as I said, ‘pumped storage’ facilities exist to reduce the need for power stations to operate as reserve so they can provide power to meet the very short periods of peak demand’. So, any transfer of the ‘pumped storage’ for ‘smoothing’ output from windfarms would increase the need for power stations to operate as reserve and, thus, would increase CO2 emissions unless the power stations were nuclear.

    Having failed several times to be understood by Richard Courtney, I’ll try the “see spot run” version.

    1. My post at 2:08 used the example of ‘‘pumped storage’ as a concrete example of energy storage — that is, a battery. It isn’t the only way of implementing a battery. But, even if it were, using it as I describe does not mean that this repurposing requires additional standby power sources generating CO2 to replace the smoothing now performed by pumped storage. There several ways, in addition to nuclear power, that could be used to add battery capacity without added emissions. I won’t discuss these ways because it require more complex sentences than “see spot run”.

    2. It all depends on the value of CO2 reductions, which Mr. Courtney doesn’t know or would rather not say.

    3. I’ve seen no discussion of the statistics of energy generation from a large wind farm in the UK. Some statistics like the mean huorly energy output and the standard deviation of that energy output would be central to rational discussion to a design of a suitable battery system. Similar statistics are needed for solar too.

    4. All a battery adds is cost, saying it will cost too much is a waste of breath so long as the cost of added CO2 of alternatives is unknown.

    5. Saying that 75% of reserve capacity is need as a hot backup isn’t supportable without knowing the battery capacity and the statistics of #3.

    6. As a hint of power allocation, I’ll mention my personal system. Because power is unreliable where I live, I have a real battery backup for my computer. It only has a very limited capacity, but it is backed by a natural gas fueled whole house generator that does not start up until power has failed for a minute. My battery supplies energy for time critical functions (computer, music, etc.). Anything that can be off for a minute (refrigerator, heating, lights, etc.) has whole house generator backup and about a third of the house has no backup. If it is essential to reduce CO2, an approach using wind and solar should also control demand along similar lines should be a part of a battery and backup design.

  73. Sorry, but this quotation from above is incorrect, imo:
    [A]s wind rarely produces more than 25% of its faceplate capacity it needs 75% backup.

    Wind power is not nearly that GOOD.

    The actual required conventional generating backup for wind power is between 90% and 100%, not 75%.

    The Capacity Factor of wind power is typically about 15- 25% – close enough. However, much of the time the wind is blowing when this power is not needed, and other times when the power is needed, the wind is not blowing. Wind power typically cannot be stored and is worthless except when needed, usually at peak demand times.

    The Substitution Factor (how much conventional generating capacity can be permanently retired due to addition of grid-connected wind power) recognizes this problem, and it is between 8% and 4% according E.On Netz for their large German network. Hence the need for 90-100% conventional backup.

    For proof, see Fig. 7 at http://www.wind-watch.org/documents/wp-content/uploads/eonwindreport2005.pdf

  74. Incidentally, the above information (90-100% backup required for wind power) has been publically available since 2005 when E.On Netz published it excellent Wind Report 2005, and possibly much earlier.

    I have widely publicized this information for about a decade, so it should not be news to anyone who follows the subject.

    I have long believed that corn ethanol used for motor fuel, and grid-connected wind power and solar power are energy and economic nonsense.

    I wrote these conclusions in articles published as early as 2002.

    My point is that this information is not new and it has been clearly stated in public forums such as this one many times before, for about a decade.

    The fact that it has been routinely ignored is, I suggest, a measure of the utter incompetence and corruption that pervades the entire subject of energy and the environment.

    But I digress – my immediate concern, which I apologize for carping about yet again, is the use of 40% of the huge USA corn crop for gasoline additives. Due to the drought this season, corn now costs over US$8 per bushel – and corn is a staple for many poor people in the Americas.

    This situation is simply wrong – it is a monstrous ethical and humanitarian failing, and our leaders in the USA and Canada should have the courage and integrity to end the fuel ethanol mandate immediately.

  75. I suppose it would be useless to point out to richardscourtney, and his various supporters, who evidently also fervently believe that

    And the windfarms contribute no useful electricity to the grid at any time.” [note, this is the verbatim statement from richardscourtney, bold in the original. - R Sowell]

    that, as I write this at 10:15 p.m., California’s grid operator reports approximately 2,700 MW is generated from wind-power in the state. Furthermore, the Castaic Lake Power Station consumes approximately 1,500 MW when pumping water at night up into Pyramid Lake, a regular occurrence as a long-standing practice of pumped storage hydroelectric.

    I am quite sure that richardscourtney must be correct in his hotly defended statement, and the wind power from the nearby wind farms, Tehachapi, and Banning Pass, are contributing nothing at all to those six big motor/generators, rated at 250 MW each, which turn the pumps to send the water back up the mountain. Yes, that must be true, as the power is wind-generated, the wind farms are connected to the grid, and 10:15 p.m. Is indeed, part of ” at any time.”

    Since richardscourtney tells us that the grid benefits not at all from wind-generated electricity (“no useful electricity”), those Castaic motors that consume roughly 1,500 MW must be obtaining their power from another source, perhaps the shut-down nuclear power plant a few miles away at San Onofre.

    Yes, those two cold and shut down nuclear reactors could be the source. I’m so relieved that richardscourtney has corrected everyone on the effect of wind power on a grid.

    For a moment there, I thought that Califilornia has actually found an effective and economic way to time-shift a good part of the night-time wind-generated electricity into useful peaking grid power.

    Silly me.

    Sarcasm intended.

  76. Philip Lee:

    This a perfunctory reply to your post at August 18, 2012 at 8:38 pm because it is after 7 am on Sunday morning and I have important duties at 8 am.

    You say

    1. My post at 2:08 used the example of ‘‘pumped storage’ as a concrete example of energy storage — that is, a battery. It isn’t the only way of implementing a battery. But, even if it were, using it as I describe does not mean that this repurposing requires additional standby power sources generating CO2 to replace the smoothing now performed by pumped storage. There several ways, in addition to nuclear power, that could be used to add battery capacity without added emissions. I won’t discuss these ways because it require more complex sentences than “see spot run”.

    A “battery” with sufficient storage capacity at reasonable cost does not exist. If you invent one then you will make a fortune.

    If you are going to build a nuclear plant to ‘fill in the gaps’ when windpower is not providing electricity then why not operate it all the time and not waste money building the windpower.

    You say

    2. It all depends on the value of CO2 reductions, which Mr. Courtney doesn’t know or would rather not say.

    Absolutely false!
    I have repeatedly explained in this thread – including in replies to you – that the use of windpower INCREASES CO2 emissions from a gridded electricity supply system. Windpower does NOT provide CO2 reductions. And I have repeatedly explained why this is.

    You say

    3. I’ve seen no discussion of the statistics of energy generation from a large wind farm in the UK. Some statistics like the mean huorly energy output and the standard deviation of that energy output would be central to rational discussion to a design of a suitable battery system. Similar statistics are needed for solar too.

    See my answer to your Q1. The data is not relevant because no such “battery system” can be built at reasonable cost. Any discussion which assumes such a “battery system” exists is not “rational”.

    You say

    4. All a battery adds is cost, saying it will cost too much is a waste of breath so long as the cost of added CO2 of alternatives is unknown.

    Windpower increases CO2 emissions so your question is a waste of space on this thread.

    You say

    5. Saying that 75% of reserve capacity is need as a hot backup isn’t supportable without knowing the battery capacity and the statistics of #3.

    Rubbish! See answers to Q1 and Q3.

    You say

    6. As a hint of power allocation, I’ll mention my personal system. Because power is unreliable where I live, I have a real battery backup for my computer. It only has a very limited capacity, but it is backed by a natural gas fueled whole house generator that does not start up until power has failed for a minute. My battery supplies energy for time critical functions (computer, music, etc.). Anything that can be off for a minute (refrigerator, heating, lights, etc.) has whole house generator backup and about a third of the house has no backup. If it is essential to reduce CO2, an approach using wind and solar should also control demand along similar lines should be a part of a battery and backup design.

    (a) We are discussing total system performance of the entire grid and not your small part of it. A power station must continue to provide power all the time whether or not you take electricity from it all the time: otherwise it would not be available to supply electricity when you wanted it.
    (b) It is not essential to reduce CO2 and if it were then intermittent electricity sources such as wind and solar would increase CO2 emissions from a grid system (as I have repeatedly explained to you).
    (c) Invent the “battery and backup design” which you desire and make a fortune. Its use would drastically reduce need for power stations whether or not windpower were used.

    Richard

  77. Sowell:

    Apologise then go away.

    Windfarms do NOT contribute and useful electricity to an electricity grid supply at any time.
    This has nothing to do with thermal dynamics and if you are incapable of understanding the issues then it is because – as you say – you are “silly”.

    Richard

  78. The truth is that windmills started as a naive, innocent but wrong headed idea.

    Then it became an industry with people raking off millions from it.

    Polarisation of views is always associated with financial interests and associated political manipulation.

    Run an article about the activities of Timothy Yeo MP to see what I mean about that. Note the business interests of the Prime Minister David Cameron’s family, not to mention those of Nicholas Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister.

  79. “Rhys Jaggar says:
    August 19, 2012 at 1:52 am”

    Not to mention The Royal Family who “own” large tracts of land, and the shoreline, which will be, at great expense to consumers, rented to wind farm operators.

    The Royal Family have alway moaned about being “poor” and “not able to pay the upkeep” of their properties, which seemed to get worse when The Queen started “paying taxes” some years back. The ruling eliets are very much in bed with each other on this money spinner.

    No-one mention the “civil list”!

  80. The economics for the East Australia grid were compared in a series of papers by engineer Peter Lang starting with this one of Jan 2010. He also deals with solar in subsequent studies. I’ve seen no credible rejection of his calculations, only minor arguments about his wording of assumptons & caveats. http://www.masterresource.org/2010/01/peter-lang-on-australias-windpower-costs-and-small-emissions-gains/ Google further for several more essays of his, they are particularly clear.
    Peter’s way of expressing the cost to the economy of each tonne of CO2 avoided by various major types of electricity production is enlightening.

  81. @ Roger Sowell

    Yes, your numbers confirm that wind power doesn’t contribute useful energy to the grid.

  82. davidmhoffer:

    Your post addressed to MikeM at August 18, 2012 at 6:05 pm provides the false impression that electrical resistance losses do not occur from AC transmission. I am sure you did not intend to imply that.

    My statement which induced the discussion said “electricity is lost when it is transmitted over long distances. And that statement (as you said in an earlier post) is true.

    Different technologies will provide different losses but that does not alter the truth of my statement.

    And, yes, Ohm’s Law does apply to AC current. Although, as you say, the average AC current is zero, the RMS AC current is positive.

    Richard

  83. wind power prediction accuracy depends on time horizon. 1 hour ahead it is very accurate, 1 day ahead less so. the fact that the wind speed and wind power are nonlinear is a red herring. it doesn’t make prediction difficult. the wind->power transfer function is well known for wind turbines. if you can predict the wind, then you can predict the wind power.

    and if you can predict wind power, you can schedule electricity generation for it when the wind power drops. OCGT, CCGT or anything else. ramp up and down times for the scheduled generation are important, that is why discussion of the unpredictability of wind is irrelevant unless discussing over what time horizon.

    wind power prediction is not perfect, but will get much better over time.

  84. ” The blades are so heavy they must be rotated USING ENERGY if their is no wind.”

    you honestly think wind companies rotate wind turbines using grid electricity if there is no wind to rotate them?

  85. ps you can see a nice illustration of the contributions of the various electricity producers in the UK here

    http://www.geog.ox.ac.uk/~dcurtis/NETA.html (best in google chrome)

    you can also see that wind power ramps up and down quite slowly compared to CCGT and coal power. obviously that rate of change will be higher the higher the total wind on the grid.

  86. as for how much energy a wind turbine produces and how much it consumes in manufacture…

    wind turbines cost $1.2million to $2.6 million per MW installed. let’s call it £1million per MW.

    http://www.windustry.org/resources/how-much-do-wind-turbines-cost

    That cost is the energy, wages, accountants etc.

    If the cost were overwhelmingly energy then the amount of energy per MW installed would be…

    £1million/0.1 = 10million kWh (assuming all electricity at 10 p per kWh)
    £1million/0.03 = 30million kWh (assuming all gas at 3p per kWh)

    How much does a 1MW wind turbine produce?
    1000 (kW) * 0.25 (capacity factor) *8600 -> 2 million kWh per year

    over 20 years, 40 million kWh

    obviously the production energy is a massive overestimate assuming the whole cost is energy, which it isn’t.

  87. Roger Sowell says:
    August 18, 2012 at 10:10 am

    For those who fervently believe that only open-cycle gas turbine generators can follow a grid’s load, it must be true then that the grid loads were constant before about 1940. Surely, no coal, nor oil, nor gas-fired steam plant could accomplish the task

    All steam boilers have something called a ‘ramp rate’. As a general rule, those boilers that ‘run the hottest’ are the ‘most efficient’. This is based on well known laws of thermodynamics.

    The fundamental problem in materials science has been for a very long time(longer then my lifetime) to find materials that will ‘run hot’ while still maintaining the necessary flexibility to endure frequent rapid thermal expansion/contraction cycles.

    This is why your automobile engine only runs at 20% efficiency. We know how to design internal combustion engines that run at 50+% efficiency since the at least as far back as the 1970’s, but they end up cracking after a few days of normal driving.

    Thermal Power plants built in the 1940’s generally ran at about 25% thermal efficiency, while the best ‘base load’ plants today get in excess of 40% thermal efficiency and combined cycle plants run at base load approach 60% thermal efficiency.

    Wind does ‘ramp’ up and down relatively quickly…sometimes it ramps in the opposite direction of load. I.E. The wind stops blowing just as people are getting up and starts blowing just as people are going to bed. This means thermal power plants have to potentially ramp twice as fast as before.

    If you want an energy efficient grid then load following with hydro is the preferred method. This is why the 2020 Chinese renewables plan(the best thought out plan in the world) calls for 400 GW of hydro and 200GW of wind. Once you get beyond a ratio of 2 parts water to 1 part wind then you end up having to run your thermal plants at reduced efficiency which adds to CO2 emissions.

    In Europe, the ‘hydro load following resources’ are already ‘over subscribed’, just as they are in the US Pacific Northwest. The people who were saying ‘how great windmills are’ when the first few were tied into European and and Pacific Northwest Hydro resources were telling the truth.

    Geographic separation of the windmills will have some ‘averaging effect’….but anyone who watches CAISO and Bonneville wind generation figures will tell you that a 1,000 mile north/south separation is ‘insufficient geographic separation’ which is why windmills are being built in Montana East of the Rocky Mountains and tied into the Bonneville/CAISO grids.

    Unfortunately, high voltage DC lines capable of 5 GW transmission capacity cost about $2 million per mile to build.

  88. steve says:
    August 19, 2012 at 7:20 am

    ” The blades are so heavy they must be rotated USING ENERGY if their is no wind.”

    you honestly think wind companies rotate wind turbines using grid electricity if there is no wind to rotate them?

    Er, uhm, YES. They absolutely do. And must.

    Now, the advantage of the very small (0.5 MegWatt to 2 MeWatt) wind turbines is that the electric turning gear motor required when the wind is absolutely zero is not very large. But a turning gear for a 1200 MegWatt real power plant turbine generator is relatively small as well. On average, a wind turbine creates useable power only 21-13% of the time. Speaking a differently, to get ONE wind turbine’s RATED power, you must build and install 5 wind turbines. BUT, you must provide the power lines and controls and transmissioin towers and transformers for 6 wind turbines – since at any single moment, all 5 MIGHT be able to generate power. (The remaining turbine is for restart and overload currents.) BUT, in addition to the lines and towers for the six wind turbines, you must keep a conventional power turbine standing by at unloaded (and wasteful) power ratings waiting for the wind to fail over the area. Those low power levels are wasteful of fuel, inefficient of what is burned, and very, very illegal in terms of NOX and particulate emissions! Further, they greatly harm the steel and alloys of the turbines and generators, and cause much increased maintenance and parts replacement of blades, seals, shafts, burners and bearings.

    Like the wind turbine, you MUST keep the rotor and generator turning to prevent bowing and bending so a restart can begin. (The turning gear motors trip out as soon as the steam or wind is forceful enough to maintain rotation.) At many sites, though no power can be generated at winds less than 5 knots, that wind can turn blades enough to prevent bowing.

    From the outside, the many slowing rotating blades on a near calm (low wind) day are doing nothing at useful. You just can’t tell the ugly things are doing nothing but wasting money.

    No wind turbine anywhere in the world can compete against conventional electric grid power without subsidies or unusual situations: thus, at the South Pole, their wind turbine is effective. But then again, there is no grid there either. 8<)

  89. wind power needs backing up by conventional power stations. it does #NOT# need to be running or consuming fuel. wind power is inherently predictable (though not perfectly) but far more predictable than conventional power. in the UK we have 2GW of spinning reserve in case a couple of large power stations fall off the grid. we have no and need no extra back up for the wind.

  90. harrywr2:

    re. your post at August 19, 2012 at 7:53 am

    Now that is what I call a post! Facts, illustrations and explanation. Excellent!

    Thankyou harrywr2.

    Richard

  91. All of the disadvantages of wind power can be seen in any uncontrollable power generation source. They all, in effect, force the grid to pay for the power practically twice : once to the windmill owner and once to those maintaining the backup power generator. This is true irregardless of whether that backup generator must idle or instead has enough excess capacity to handle any lapses in wind in the course of its normal operation – that’s because any output that it’s not called upon to produce (because the wind is supplying it) , means that the plant functioning as the backup is now operating at a lower capacity and therefore its power has to cost more per kilowatthour – while it saves on fuel not being used, there are other operating costs that remain more or less constant , regardless of how much power it generates, and now those costs must be spread over fewer kilowatthours of product,. A new nuclear plant can eliminate a large coal plant entirely, but no amount of uncontrollable power can ever allow for the closure of a single conventional plant. And having all the windmills linked together doesn’t solve anything – it’s not a matter of wind or no wind, but of how much – no such network can make any guarantees to any of its members of constant power of a given magnitude. But to avoid backup capacity requires such guarantees. Uncontrollable power is simply worth far less than controllable power.

  92. steve:

    Your post at August 19, 2012 at 8:07 am is mostly correct. It says

    wind power needs backing up by conventional power stations. it does #NOT# need to be running or consuming fuel. wind power is inherently predictable (though not perfectly) but far more predictable than conventional power. in the UK we have 2GW of spinning reserve in case a couple of large power stations fall off the grid. we have no and need no extra back up for the wind.

    As I explained above (at August 18, 2012 at 11:08 am), when windpower is a trivial contribution to a grid supply it merely displaces existing power stations. This reduces the safety margin for risk management but the reduction is tolerable.

    However, as I also explained above (at August 18, 2012 at 11:08 am), the reduction becomes intolerable as the supply of windpower to the grid increases and, therefore, additional conventional generating capacity is needed.

    These are the results of model studies conducted by the UK’s National Grid Corporation which indicate the effect of wind power’s intermittent supply on the generating plant required to achieve the UK’s renewables target of 20%:

    Windpower at 2% of 400 TWh is
    0.5 GWe of windpower and 59 GWe of Conventional capacity that requires 9.5 GWe of Spare Capacity.
    i.e. a total of 68.5 GWe of Generating Capacity is needed when windpower input is 2%.

    Windpower at 5% of 400 TWh is
    7.5 GWe of windpower and 57 GWe of Conventional capacity that requires 14.5 GWe of Spare Capacity.
    i.e. a total of 71.5 GWe of Generating Capacity is needed when windpower input is 5%

    Windpower at 20% of 400 TWh is
    25 GWe of windpower and 55 GWe of Conventional capacity that requires 30 GWe of Spare Capacity.
    i.e. a total of 85 GWe of Generating Capacity is needed when windpower input is 20%

    ref. Ruffles P. ed. ‘The Costs of Generating Electricity’, Royal Academy of Engineering, 2004

    Richard

  93. Roger Sowell says:
    August 18, 2012 at 10:39 pm
    I suppose it would be useless to point out to richardscourtney, and his various supporters, who evidently also fervently believe that [blah blah blah]
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Sir, that entire rant speaks to the economics and efficiencies under discussion. You egregious comment upthread accused richardscourtney of making a statement that violated the 1st Law of Thermodynamics. By providing us with your lengthy response regarding efficiencies and economica you have tacitly admitted that these are exactly what richardscourtney was saying in the first place, and that you know full well that your accusation was a blatant falsehood.

    You how him an apology, or we are left to assume that you are the type of person who simply throws blatant falsehoods around hoping that they will stick. Everything you write will be read in that context.

  94. @richardscourtney

    in the most extreme example there is required 85GWe of generation capacity. we almost have this now. ie if we build wind and don’t dismantle any existing power stations we have all we need. when the wind blows, we offset conventional generation, when it doesn’t, it is all supplied by conventional generation (which we have). unpredictability issues are small and will be overcome with better predictions and possibly some management of non-critical loads.

  95. Even the “see spot run” language doesn’t help Richard Courtney’s understanding as demonstrated in his “perfunctory” response (August 19, 2012 at 12:33 am), under time pressure he says, where he spends several minutes stamping his feet to say “you’re wrong”.

    Thanks to Geoff Sherrington for his post (August 19, 2012 at 3:04 am) elevating the discussion by pointing to the report:

    http://bravenewclimate.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/lang_2010_emissions_cuts_realities_v1a1.pdf

    Emission Cuts Realities – Electricity Generation
    Cost and CO2 emissions projections for different electricity generation options for Australia to 2050

    By Peter Lang, January 2010

    Fig. 7 of this report shows CO2 reductions for wind and solar contrary to Courtney’s feet-stamping protestations. More importantly, Lang estimates a cost on each tonne of CO2 emissions avoided in his Chart 11 for the various technologies studied. These costs range from about $50/tonne for nuclear & CCGT plants to $200/tonne for solar & wind & gas (Australian dollars I assume — see his report for his definitions).

    Oscar Wilde wrote that some people know the cost of everything and the value of nothing. In an effort to avoid that description, I’ll offer the value of CO2 emission avoidance is the cost of the damage to the environment ascribed to it by the IPCC. From Climate Change 2007: Synthesis Report — An Assessment of the IPCC, p. 69, “Peer-reviewed estimates of the social cost of carbon (net economic costs of damages from climate change aggregated across the globe and discounted to the present) for 2005 have an average value of US$12 per tonne of CO2, . . . .

    We do have the problem of reconciling the different units of currency and the 45 year difference in dollars, but it seems to me that the cost of avoiding CO2 emissions is not supported by the value accorded avoiding damage to the environment.

  96. German Renewable Electricity production 1st half of 2012 = 25.1% (source BDEW)
    Windenergie 9.2 %
    Biomasse 5.7 %
    Wasserkraft 4.0 %
    Photovoltaic 5.3 %
    Sonstiges 0.9 %

  97. AC vs DC power transmission. If I recall my history correctly, Edison promoted DC power and Westinghouse promoted AC power. Edison lost because DC power would require generators placed along the lines at rather short intervals to keep the lines charged. AC power did not.

  98. steve:

    At August 19, 2012 at 9:41 am you say

    in the most extreme example there is required 85GWe of generation capacity. we almost have this now. ie if we build wind and don’t dismantle any existing power stations we have all we need.

    No! Whether or not the UK has 85 GWe of generating capacity is not relevant to the increase in generation that is needed for the grid to accept windpower and remain reliable.

    Please read what I wrote or – preferably – the reference which I provided and was reporting.

    The scenario studies considered windpower supply to the grid as percentages of grid supply. It clearly shows that for a supply of 400 TWh the needed operating plant capacity increases from 68.5 GWe to 85 GWe when the percentage of windpower increases from 2% (0.5 GWe) to 20% (85 GWe).

    Please note that as I said – and referenced – these estimates are from UK’s National Grid Corporation.

    Richard

  99. Philip Lee:

    re your post at August 19, 2012 at 10:31 am

    I have repeatedly taken time to explain the issues to you. You have ignored everything I have said (repeatedly) and have responded with unfounded and unjustifiable insults.

    I will not bother to waste any more time on your posts whether or not they are addressed to me.

    Richard

  100. As usual you fellows are arguing inconsequential details. You have accepted that man made CO2 is causing global warming. The saintly Mr. McIntyre certainly has accepted it. He is just arguing statistical details. You have lost the war even if you win some battles.

  101. George Steiner:

    Please explain the relevance to this thread of your post at August 19, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    Richard

  102. @richard

    and my point is we don’t need to increase conventional plant at all. just not dismantle it. wind power will offset conventional generation and when its production is negligible, the demand will be made up by our currently available production.

    national grid scenarios are not the only scenarios. and they won’t necessarily be objective. that said they are useful. but my firm impression after having studied this is that wind power offsets conventional generation. timing and unpredictability issues are small and can be overcome.

  103. George Steiner says:
    August 19, 2012 at 12:59 pm
    As usual you fellows are arguing inconsequential details. You have accepted that man made CO2 is causing global warming. The saintly Mr. McIntyre certainly has accepted it. He is just arguing statistical details. You have lost the war even if you win some battles.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    If you are so silly to think that the war is simply about CO2 causing warming, then you have much to learn.

  104. steve;
    and my point is we don’t need to increase conventional plant at all. just not dismantle it. wind power will offset conventional generation and when its production is negligible, the demand will be made up by our currently available production.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Except that in the real world power demands are not flat, they are increasing. There is no conventional capacity to not dismantle. Build new capacity with wind power = build new conventional capacity too.

    From there it justs gets worse. You’ve now doubled your capital cost for the capacity you want because you have to build it twice. Then the efficiency of the conventional capacity gets crushed to a fraction of what it could be because you cannot run it at maximum efficiency, so you wind up burning way more fuel than you otherwise would have, so you dramaticaly increase operating costs on top of your doubled capital investment. Then you have to take into account that the captial costs are going to be even higher because the lifetime of a conventional power plant being brought up and down, even if it was designed to do so (which the existing conventional plants aren’t btw) dramaticaly reduces the life of the plant, so you will actually have to build two or three of them in the same timeframe that you otherwise would have built one.

    That anyone other than people whose jobs depend on building and maintaining wind power actually think the idea has merit is beyond me.

  105. davidmhoffer says:
    August 19, 2012 at 1:37 pm
    George Steiner says:
    August 19, 2012 at 12:59 pm
    As usual you fellows are arguing inconsequential details. You have accepted that man made CO2 is causing global warming. The saintly Mr. McIntyre certainly has accepted it. He is just arguing statistical details. You have lost the war even if you win some battles.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    If you are so silly to think that the war is simply about CO2 causing warming, then you have much to learn.

    On the contrary, the only reasons advanced for subsidizing and building ‘alternative’ or ‘renewable’ energy systems like wind and solar are (a) to reduce CO2 emissions to avoid man-made ‘global warming’ (or ‘climate change’); (b) to reduce our dependence on foreign sources of energy, namely oil; (c) to save money. If anthropogenic CO2 does not cause global warming (as it does not); and if ‘alternative’ energies would not do much (if anything) to reduce oil imports (new domestic fuels will do much more); and if ‘alternative’ energies would not save any money (but actually raise electricity rates to industry and homes); then there is no reason to even consider them, and much of this thread, while intensely interesting, would be essentially academic.

    /Mr Lynn

  106. steve:

    Pretending you were saying something else when proved wrong is not nice.

    At August 19, 2012 at 8:07 am you asserted

    wind power needs backing up by conventional power stations. it does #NOT# need to be running or consuming fuel. wind power is inherently predictable (though not perfectly) but far more predictable than conventional power. in the UK we have 2GW of spinning reserve in case a couple of large power stations fall off the grid. we have no and need no extra back up for the wind.

    (emphasis added: RSC)

    At August 19, 2012 at 8:52 am I referenced and quoted analysis from the UK’s National Grid Corporation which shows your assertion is plain wrong: significant windpower on the grid requires much more “backup” so there is large increase to total requirement for operating generating plant.

    At August 19, 2012 at 9:41 am you made a post that displayed a misunderstanding of the analysis.
    So, at August 19, 2012 at 12:10 pm I replied to explain that misunderstanding.

    Now, at August 19, 2012 at 1:29 pm you respond to that explanation saying

    and my point is we don’t need to increase conventional plant at all. just not dismantle it. wind power will offset conventional generation and when its production is negligible, the demand will be made up by our currently available production.

    No! That was not your point. And if it were then so what? Significant use of windpower does require additional generating plant to operate.

    Richard

  107. Mr Lynn:

    I respectfully suggest that you have misread the discussions on this thread because (at August 19, 2012 at 2:36 pm) you say

    On the contrary, the only reasons advanced for subsidizing and building ‘alternative’ or ‘renewable’ energy systems like wind and solar are (a) to reduce CO2 emissions to avoid man-made ‘global warming’ (or ‘climate change’); (b) to reduce our dependence on foreign sources of energy, namely oil; (c) to save money. If anthropogenic CO2 does not cause global warming (as it does not); and if ‘alternative’ energies would not do much (if anything) to reduce oil imports (new domestic fuels will do much more); and if ‘alternative’ energies would not save any money (but actually raise electricity rates to industry and homes); then there is no reason to even consider them, and much of this thread, while intensely interesting, would be essentially academic.

    (a) Much of this thread is about the fact that windpower increases emissions from a gridded electricity supply system.

    (b) Windpower increases fuel use and, therefore, cannot reduce fuel demand. Also, oil is not normally used for power generation so windpower cannot displace much use of oil.

    (c) Most of this thread is about the fact that the use of windpower increases the costs of power generation.

    Hence, according to your argument this thread is not “essentially academic”. And this true whether or not anthropogenic CO2 causes global warming.

    Richard

  108. Richard
    Please check out this info.

    http://www.nationalgrid.com/uk/Electricity/Data/Realtime/Demand/Demand8.htm

    It shows that the daily change in power provided by the national grid is varying by up to 15 GW – this is NORMAL.

    The NG do not throw in the towel with this variation. There is adequate capacity to cover the peak and they have “no problem” throttling back the stations to keep frequencies in check during the troughs.

    When wind power generates more than nuclear ( these are not easy to control to different power levels, so usually provide the base load (less than 22GW) then the grid may have a problem chosing to kill a nuke or cut a few turbines on the grid. Until then there are few additional problems.

    a number of these posts deal with windtubines and spinnig reserves etc:

    http://climateandstuff.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/windturbines

  109. @richard

    with respect, my point is exactly what I want my point to be.

    and my point is, that in my opinion, having significant wind on the UK system does not require the building of new conventional plant. the plant we have will back up any future installed wind when wind output is low. – if we have not dismantled it by then.

  110. richardscourtney says:
    August 19, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    “. . . according to your argument this thread is not “essentially academic”. And this true whether or not anthropogenic CO2 causes global warming.”

    Granted, the arguments you and some others offer here do much to obviate the usual reasons for promoting wind power, and thus I will concede are of more than academic interest; that was a bit of hyperbole.

    However, I don’t think George Steiner’s point should be so easily dismissed. We would not be having this discussion if the governments of Europe, Australia, and the USA had not completely bought into the idée fixe that mankind’s use of fossil fuels is driving the Earth toward the precipice of catastrophic global warming. Without that ideological dogma, the other arguments (supply, price) would carry little weight. The driving factor is not whether anthropogenic CO2 actually causes global warming, but whether The Powers That Be believe that it does.

    Absent that, nobody would have bothered with all these wind farms. And we have to be careful not to get so far into the weeds (to use the current cliche) that we end up seeming to concede the CO2 claim. If wind power actually produces more CO2, that is only an argument against it if you are a CAGW advocate.

    /Mr Lynn

  111. Mr Lynn;
    If wind power actually produces more CO2, that is only an argument against it if you are a CAGW advocate.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    I fail to follow your reasoning. Wind power has neither economic benefits nor CO2 reduction benefits. Yet the CAGW crowd advocates for it anyway. Either they have been duped into believing it has benefits which it doesn’t, or they know full well that it doesn’t and don’t care because it serves their agenda. Either way it is one more demonstration of the hollow case for CAGW.

  112. davidmhoffer says:
    August 19, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    If you’re a CAGW zealot, then “It produces more (not less) CO2″ would definitely be an argument against wind power. If your not, then, “Hey, what’s wrong with a little more CO2? Good for plants!”

    /Mr Lynn

  113. Mr Lynn
    If your not, then, “Hey, what’s wrong with a little more CO2? Good for plants!”
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    The marginal increase in CO2 driven by wind farms cannot possibly compensate via benefit to plants for the economic disadvantage. For the money lost we could increase crop production by far more for far less.

  114. I think wind power advocates, who aren’t all CAGW nutters, would also argue from a position of energy security. There is an implicit subsidy for oil use due to the occasional wars that are fought, oil supply being one of the causes.

  115. steve:

    I hope you are not offended by my answering two of your post in this single response: I do not intend any confusion.

    Firstly, your post at August 19, 2012 at 5:01 pm is – to put it politely – unhelpful. It says

    with respect, my point is exactly what I want my point to be.

    You are making a ‘humpty dumpty’ argument (i.e. “my words mean whatever I want them to mean when I want them to mean it”).

    You made an assertion which I showed was wrong so you claimed you were talking about something else. Such behaviour inhibits rational discussion.

    And as I said at August 19, 2012 at 3:03 pm, your ‘something else’ is irrelevant. This is because additional operating plant increases costs, fuel usage and emissions whether the equipment for that additional operation already exists or needs to be built.

    Then at August 20, 2012 at 12:06 am

    I think wind power advocates, who aren’t all CAGW nutters, would also argue from a position of energy security. There is an implicit subsidy for oil use due to the occasional wars that are fought, oil supply being one of the causes.

    Perhaps. If so, then they are mistaken for the reasons I stated to Mr Lyn at August 19, 2012 at 3:48 pm; i.e.

    Windpower increases fuel use and, therefore, cannot reduce fuel demand. Also, oil is not normally used for power generation so windpower cannot displace much use of oil.

    Richard

  116. SergeiMK:

    Thankyou for the links you provide to me at August 19, 2012 at 3:49 pm . I already had them but others following this thread may find them useful.

    Yes, as I have repeatedly said and explained, at present trivial levels of windpower in the UK do not cause problems to the grid. The link you provide to UK National Grid data confirms this.

    But as I also explained (repeatedly) at higher levels of windpower input to the grid there is substantial additional generating capacity needed for risk management. My post at August 19, 2012 at 8:52 am quotes and references estimates of this additional need made by the UK’s National Grid Corporation.

    The National Grid Corporation needs to get such estimates right because it operates the grid. If it overestimate the need for generating capacity then it is accountable for wasted investment, and if it underestimates the need then it is accountable for power cuts.

    Hence, I will accept the estimate of the National Grid Corporation in preference to that of the pro-AGW propaganda blog of the other link you provide.

    Richard

  117. @richard

    windpower reduces fuel use. because the plants that it needs to back it up don’t need to be running.

    if you think running windpower increases energy use then that is your perogative but I don’t think we can have a useful debate and can agree to differ. plus i have to go to work

  118. Building windfarms creates roads and power cables that reach all the way to new brownfield sites where once there were greenfield sites.

    Windfarms are very profitable without any subsidy. But only once they are converted to housing.
    Which fortunately, they can be. Unlike most low ground which is already built on in the UK or prone to flooding.

    That’s why the need to have backup power generation running with extra costs and no CO2 reduction is entirley irrelevant.
    In the UK this all about manipulating the planning laws to enable the exploitation of marginal agricultural land for housing.

  119. steve:

    At August 20, 2012 at 2:49 am you say:

    windpower reduces fuel use. because the plants that it needs to back it up don’t need to be running.

    Sorry, but they do need to operate. The reasons for this have been explained by me and others in this thread. Perhaps the simplest reason to understand is that it takes days to boil the water, to superheat the resulting steam, and to get all the components of a power station up to temperature and operating in a stable manner. If this is hard to understand then try to boil a kettle in an instant.

    I fail to understand how people can convince themselves it is possible within a few hours to switch on and off a power station that uses steam turbines.

    Richard

  120. davidmhoffer says:
    August 19, 2012 at 8:54 pm
    The marginal increase in CO2 driven by wind farms cannot possibly compensate via benefit to plants for the economic disadvantage. For the money lost we could increase crop production by far more for far less.

    No doubt, but you missed the point: If in arguing against wind power, or any other Alarmist ‘solution’ (like banning coal plants) you concede that anthropogenic CO2 is bad, even “for the sake of argument,” then you have effectively lost the argument.

    /Mr Lynn

  121. Richard:

    since you did not like the web site I linked to above here are some relevant links without the need to visit.

    http://www.gepower.com/prod_serv/products/tech_docs/en/downloads/ger3574g.pdf

    Fast starting and loading is characteristic of STAG combined-cycle generation systems. This enables them to operate in mid-range, with daily start peaking service as well as baseload.

    Typically, STAG systems can achieve full load within one hour during a hot start and within approximately three hours for a cold start.

    Hopefully, country wide calm can be predicted more than 3 hours ahead?
    From the House Of Lords.

    http://www.parliament.the-stationery-office.co.uk/pa/ld200708/ldselect/ldeconaf/195/19507.htm

    102. As the amount of wind generation rises, the potential short-term change in wind output will also increase, and National Grid will have to hold more reserve to cope with this increase. The company told us that if renewables provided 40% of electricity generation—the share the company believes would be needed to meet the EU’s 2020 energy target—its total short-term reserve requirements would jump to between 7 and 10 GW. Most of this would be standing rather than spinning reserves. This would add £500 million to £1 billion to the annual cost of these reserves—known as balancing costs—which are now around £300 million a year (Q 293). This is equivalent to around 0.3 to 0.7 pence per kWh of renewable output.

  122. sergeiMK:

    Thankyou for your post at August 20, 2012 at 5:02 am. Yes, I covered the issues of gas plant above.

    I am incredulous of the 3 hour start up claim but – for sake of argument – I will accept it at present.

    Perhaps you would care to explain why the public should have to pay (as your post reports) the additional

    £500 million to £1 billion to the annual cost of these reserves—known as balancing costs—which are now around £300 million a year

    in addition to the cost of the windpower they are needed to support?

    Richard

  123. SergeiMK says:
    August 19, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    It shows that the daily change in power provided by the national grid is varying by up to 15 GW – this is NORMAL.

    Yes..and it’s highly predicable as well.

    See figure 35 here.

    http://site.ge-energy.com/prod_serv/products/tech_docs/en/downloads/ger3574g.pdf

    A nice efficient combined cycle gas plant running at less then 40% capacity needs 40% more fuel per output KWh then if it were running at 100% of capacity.

  124. Mr Lynn;
    If in arguing against wind power, or any other Alarmist ‘solution’ (like banning coal plants) you concede that anthropogenic CO2 is bad, even “for the sake of argument,” then you have effectively lost the argument.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Nonsense. They propose wind power as a means of reducing CO2. It doesn’t. End of argument,

  125. At 20% of windpower penetration into the Netherlands energy system, the net benefit of windpower projects becomes negative, i.e. more fossil fuel is consumed than if no wind projects were operating (the Netherlands report cited). What this says is that at current efficiencies, the 20% is the upper limit of usefulness (in reducing fossil fuel usage). It doesn’t say that the cost of energy with windpower is equal to or less than the cost of energy without windpower. The costs of windpower, however, are also determined by the efficiency of windpower and the cost of production, installation and maintenance.

    If windpower is only 23% effective over an annual period, then one could say that the Netherlands needs to have 4X as much faceplate capacity as peak demand. You don’t have to produce electricity to the grid if there is not enough demand (including transferred, foreign demand). There might not be enough wind for that many wind turbines, or you may realise that there are periods in which, nationwide, there is not enough wind for actual demand, so conventional sources of electricity production would have to exist. But you could achieve close to 100% of your electricity production from windpower in theory (exluding the above maximum potential issues). But at some undeclared cost.

    That is what I get out of this report. The net negative at >20% penetration has to do with resultant inefficiencies in the other 80%, not in the efficiencies of the 20% windpower. If the ratio were reversed, that fossil fuel contributed 20%, the inefficiencies would be more about costs involved in having them sit idle most of the time. The inefficiencies of cost (energy invested in creation and implementation) of the 4X demand capacity would have to be factored in (amortized over 15 or so years), but we are talking of societal cost really, not business profit type cost in switching to a green energy source.

    The cost comparison needs to be between operating (including replacement) costs of 4X demand capacity (perhaps less in time). We do not have to pay less for power, but it is competitively better to do so, and every dollar spent on energy is a dollar not spent on something else, like a latte. The only non-disruptive way to ‘go wind’ is if you can drop the cost per produced calorie of windpower in a full-cycle scenario to 23% or lower of that of coal or natural gas (in the Netherlands). All other ways will change how we direct our personal wealth and cause (at present) undesired societal changes.

    All eco-green energy solutions are theoretically viable. Studies such as this give us guidelines as to what is required of the green solutions to effect no change, or the change that would result in their widespread use.

    Very useful for those who wish to be practical and helpful on both sides of the debate.

  126. davidmhoffer says:
    August 20, 2012 at 7:12 am
    Nonsense. They propose wind power as a means of reducing CO2. It doesn’t. End of argument.

    Maybe, if wind power is the only issue, and there are no other arguments the greenies like (it’s “cleaner,” etc.). Otherwise, it’s “wack-a-mole”: we can use ‘batteries’, or solar combined with wind, or maybe even that nasty nuclear stuff for backup. One way or another, it comes back to reducing CO2 as the raison d’etre. The overriding point is: CO2 is not a problem. So we don’t need a solution of any kind.

    /Mr Lynn

  127. M Courtney says at August 20, 2012 at 3:16 am

    Building windfarms creates roads and power cables that reach all the way to new brownfield sites where once there were greenfield sites.

    Windfarms are very profitable without any subsidy. But only once they are converted to housing.
    Which fortunately, they can be. Unlike most low ground which is already built on in the UK or prone to flooding.

    That’s why the need to have backup power generation running with extra costs and no CO2 reduction is entirley irrelevant.
    In the UK this all about manipulating the planning laws to enable the exploitation of marginal agricultural land for housing.

    Matt:

    As you know, I agree what you say. And I note that this thread is about the UK situation. So it could be argued that your post is all that needs to be said about the subject.

    However, WUWT is not a UK site so the more general points (i.e. those listed by Mr Lynn) are also worthy of discussion in this world-wide forum.

    Dad

  128. I await release of the text of McIntyre’s presentation, to see how he actually positions himself and what he actually recommends regarding the IPCC reports and the reality of CO2 emissions in China and India where they want the benefits of modern industrial society.
    Reading Orlowski’s August 17 article, recognizing the difficulty of summarizing a measured presentation, it seems that McIntyre is saying these things:
    – politicians are constrained by the IPCC, even though it’s work is of bad quality (I guess because it is a UN body, though we know how hopeless the UN is – even its head is getting fed up with its inability to protect people from war).
    – politicians are playing do-gooder games instead of making substantive efforts
    – analyses can be kept simple
    – an “engineering-grade” review of a climate model should be funded
    – funding for solid work might be obtained by stopping spending on bad and ineffective programs

    Certainly McIntyre focuses on the science, including the effect of such behaviour as hiding data and denying blunders like using data upside down.

    I doubt he’ll go as far as http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/04/04/kareiva_new_environmentalism_essay/ “Get rid of hippies, save the planet”

  129. steve says:
    August 19, 2012 at 7:20 am

    ” The blades are so heavy they must be rotated USING ENERGY if their is no wind.”

    you honestly think wind companies rotate wind turbines using grid electricity if there is no wind to rotate them?
    _____________________________
    Yes. Metal will deform underload and just the weight of an unsupported rod/propeller will cause torque. I have certainly seen lots of examples.

    Energy consumption in wind facilities

    …’In large rotating power trains such as this, if allowed to stand motionless for any period of time, the unit will experience “bowing” of shafts and rotors under the tremendous weight. Therefore, frequent rotating of the unit is necessary to prevent this. As an example, even in port Navy ships keep their propeller shafts and turbine power trains slowly rotating. It is referred to as “jacking the shaft” to prevent any tendency to bow. Any bowing would throw the whole train out of balance with potentially very serious damage when bringing the power train back on line….

    Article also lists several other consumption of grid electric that is not even metered.

    I am really surprised I would have to explain that BTW.

  130. steve says:
    August 19, 2012 at 7:51 am

    as for how much energy a wind turbine produces and how much it consumes in manufacture…

    wind turbines cost $1.2million to $2.6 million per MW installed. let’s call it £1million per MW.

    http://www.windustry.org/resources/how-much-do-wind-turbines-cost

    That cost is the energy, wages, accountants etc…. over 20 years, 40 million kWh.
    _______________________________
    First as I showed in the above comment the Wind turbines USE power and that power is not metered so we do not know how much. Second you are not taking into account the cost of maintenance. Third you are assuming they will all run for the allotted twenty years.

    The Kamaoa Wind Farm consisted of thirty-seven 250 kW wind turbines with an operationally typical total peak output of 7.5 MW. As of 2006 the turbines were falling into disrepair, and they were finally shut down on August 15, 2006. The wind Farnm began in 1987 and the final turbine toppled this year. The scrap metal was shipped off to China. Also outraged conservationists sued America’s ‘deadliest’ wind farm [Kamaoa] four years ago, as a result, it has agreed to grind to a halt for four months every year to avoid causing more carnage during the migration season… if a turbine’s owner had walked away from his investment or gone bankrupt, it was sometimes the hapless farmer or rancher who owned the land who had to foot the huge clean up bill…

    …A dark side of the wind industry that many media outlets have failed to report on is the thousands of documented cases of serious accidents. These include numerous documented cases of turbines falling over, blades flying off, injuries to workers and the public, and at least 99 reported fatality accidents….
    How many tragedies have occurred worldwide is a well-kept secret within the wind industry. In the United Kingdom alone, however, Renewables UK, an industry trade association, has admitted to 1,500 wind turbine accidents/incidents in the UK…..

    Caithness also has documented 221 separate incidences of blade failure, with pieces of blades documented to have flown over 1,300 meters—or 4,266 feet (4/5 of a mile). Blade pieces have gone through roofs and walls of nearby buildings.

    At least 121 structural failures have been recorded too, including entire wind turbines that have crashed to the ground….

    Around 168 wind turbine fires have been documented. … fire departments helpless to watch as oil in turbine components burned hundreds of feet in the air—out of reach of hoses—whirling burning debris across the landscape.

    There are also many instances of ice throws hurling chunks of ice off blades—94 times in 2005 alone….

    The end of last year marked the first time in U.S. history that more wind turbines were operating out of warranty than were covered, according to Wind Systems magazine, while many more are approaching the end of their warranties. Hidden costs of maintenance have climbed sharply,…

    http://eastcountymagazine.org/node/9238

    I rather have nuclear.

  131. Age of nuclear reactors:

    Decommissioning starts after 25/35 years (extended to over 40 years for some)

    The mass of reactors are all 24 to 32 years old.

    in 10 to 20 years these will need decommissioning.
    Where will they throw the junk?
    How much will it cost?
    Who will attend the radioactive junk for the required number of decades?
    Who will pay?

  132. [adapted from my 2009 comment]

    Here is an excellent report from Germany. E.On Netz is (probably still) the largest wind power generator in the world.

    E.On Netz Wind Power Report 2005, Germany

    http://www.wind-watch.org/documents/wp-content/uploads/eonwindreport2005.pdf

    Capacity Factor was ~20% (” The average feed-in over the year was 1,295MW, around one fifth of the average installed wind power capacity over the year”).

    Perhaps more important than Capacity Factor is Substitution Factor, ~8% in 2005 and dropping to 4% by 2020 (this is “an objective measure of the extent to which wind farms are able to replace traditional power stations”).

    Because wind does not blow all the time, you need almost 100% conventional power station backup for installed wind power.

    In conclusion:

    Wind power does not require “75% backup” or “4 times backup” – when wind power forms a significant component of grid generating capacity, it requires almost 100% backup from conventional power sources.

    That is why wind power requires huge life-of-project subsidies and why it is fundamentally uneconomic.

    Pumped storage is not a solution, except perhaps in the few parts of the world where hydro power is significant, and where additional pumped storage is available that is not already dedicated to other uses.

    When wind power is significant, it can dangerously destabilize the entire electrical grid – see the example below from Christmas 2004 in Germany.

    ****************************************

    EXCERPTS from
    E.On Netz Wind Power Report 2005, Germany
    formerly at http://www.eon-netz.com/…/EON_Netz_Windreport2005

    FIGURE 5 shows the annual curve of wind power feed-in in the E.ON control area for 2004, from which it is possible to derive the wind power feed-in during the past year:
    1. The highest wind power feed-in in the E.ON grid was just above 6,000MW for a brief period, or put another way the feed-in was around 85% of the installed wind power capacity at the time.
    2. The average feed-in over the year was 1,295MW, around one fifth of the average installed wind power capacity over the year.
    3. Over half of the year, the wind power feed-in was less than 14% of the average installed wind power capacity over the year.

    The feed-in capacity can change frequently within a few hours. This is shown in FIGURE 6, which reproduces the course of wind power feedin during the Christmas week from 20 to 26 December 2004.

    Whilst wind power feed-in at 9.15am on Christmas Eve reached its maximum for the year at 6,024MW, it fell to below 2,000MW within only 10 hours, a difference of over 4,000MW. This corresponds to the capacity of 8 x 500MW coal fired power station blocks. On Boxing Day, wind power feed-in in the E.ON grid fell to below 40MW.

    Handling such significant differences in feed-in levels poses a major challenge to grid operators.
    __________

    In order to also guarantee reliable electricity supplies when wind farms produce little or no power, e.g. during periods of calm or storm-related shutdowns, traditional power station capacities must be available as a reserve. This means that wind farms can only replace traditional power station capacities to a limited degree.

    An objective measure of the extent to which wind farms are able to replace traditional power stations, is the contribution towards guaranteed capacity which they make within an existing power station portfolio. Approximately this capacity may be dispensed within a traditional power station portfolio, without thereby prejudicing the level of supply reliability.

    In 2004 two major German studies investigated the size of contribution that wind farms make towards guaranteed capacity. Both studies separately came to virtually identical conclusions, that wind energy currently contributes to the secure production capacity of the system, by providing 8% of its installed capacity. As wind power capacity rises, the lower availability of the wind farms determines the reliability of the system as a whole to an ever increasing extent. Consequently the greater reliability of traditional power stations becomes increasingly eclipsed.

    As a result, the relative contribution of wind power to the guaranteed capacity of our supply system up to the year 2020 will fall continuously to around 4% (FIGURE 7).

    In concrete terms, this means that in 2020, with a forecast wind power capacity of over 48,000MW (Source: dena grid study), 2,000MW of traditional power production can be replaced by these wind farms.

    *****************

  133. Jim Berry says:
    August 18, 2012 at 9:23 am

    I’m opposed to wind power as it make no economic sense. But assuming that the 75% of the time wind turbines aren’t operating that the power is replaced by OCGT or CCGT operating in an OC mode doesn’t seem correct. If wind turbines are down for, say 3 days, due to no wind I believe most of the power would be replaced by something other than OCGT.

    Nope. You don’t get advance notice, notwithstanding claims of forecasters. And no other generator type can ramp fast enough. And the CCGT turbines are effectively operating in OC mode when forced to respond quickly (what would you do with rapidly varying surplus heat output, anyway?)

    As the Dutch study says, wind is “a black hole money pit”.

  134. sergeiMK:

    Your post at August 21, 2012 at 4:41 am says in total

    Age of nuclear reactors:

    Decommissioning starts after 25/35 years (extended to over 40 years for some)

    The mass of reactors are all 24 to 32 years old.

    in 10 to 20 years these will need decommissioning.
    Where will they throw the junk?
    How much will it cost?
    Who will attend the radioactive junk for the required number of decades?
    Who will pay?

    Please explain what relevance any of your post has to the use of windpower.

    Failing that, then perhaps you will forgive those who interpret your post as a troll comment intended to avoid discussion of the thread’s topic and, therefore, they decide ‘to not feed the troll’.

    Richard

  135. It was just a response to: Gail Combs says: August 20, 2012 at 5:18 pm
    … I rather have nuclear.
    —————-
    Rather than waste this posts pixels here is an interesting page:

    http://www.claverton-energy.com/didcot-a-coal-fired-power-station-and-potential-impact-of-large-wind-energy-on-maintenance-costs-of-two-shifting-power-stations.html

    Station efficiency is 35% net, at base load, and this takes into account the ancillary power of about 100MW which is needed to run the coal mills and fans.

    To cover black start conditions the station has four 27 MW Rolls Royce Avons. These can be at full load in less than 5 min ( just over 2 minutes is possible). They can also be used for peak lopping. Fuel is kerosene

    For most of its life the station has been used for two shifting and sometimes for triple and quadruple shifting. In the early 2000s , Didcot A had 720 starts in one year, and over 400 in another year. After an overnight shut down the station takes 3.5 to 4.0 hours to reach full load. From a cold start it is three days.
    … In terms of load following, the load change on each unit is 5MW/minute.The minimum reasonably stable load on each 500 MW unit is 265MW.

    http://www.claverton-energy.com/wind-turbine-kw-input-when-the-wind-isnt-blowing-maximum-output-capacity-annual-load-factor-and-the.html

    Required power in still air is about 1% of power pruduced with wind blowing
    This compares to 10% continuous losses with Didcot

  136. sergeiMK:

    Thankyou for your answer to me at August 21, 2012 at 9:43 am.

    I am especially appreciative of your honesty: i.e. you post I queried has no relevance at all.

    Richard

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