Renewable Energy in Decline

By Steve Goreham

Originally published in Communities Digital News.

The global energy outlook has changed radically in just six years. President Obama was elected in 2008 by voters who believed we were running out of oil and gas, that climate change needed to be halted, and that renewables were the energy source of the near future. But an unexpected transformation of energy markets and politics may instead make 2014 the year of peak renewables.

In December of 2007, former Vice President Al Gore shared the Nobel Peace Prize for work on man-made climate change, leading an international crusade to halt global warming. In June, 2008 after securing a majority of primary delegates, candidate Barack Obama stated, “…this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal…” Climate activists looked to the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Conference as the next major step to control greenhouse gas emissions.

The price of crude oil hit $145 per barrel in June, 2008. The International Energy Agency and other organizations declared that we were at peak oil, forecasting a decline in global production. Many claimed that the world was running out of hydrocarbon energy.

Driven by the twin demons of global warming and peak oil, world governments clamored to support renewables. Twenty years of subsidies, tax-breaks, feed-in tariffs, and mandates resulted in an explosion of renewable energy installations. The Renewable Energy Index (RENIXX) of the world’s 30 top renewable energy companies soared to over 1,800.

Tens of thousands of wind turbine towers were installed, totaling more than 200,000 windmills worldwide by the end of 2012. Germany led the world with more than one million rooftop solar installations. Forty percent of the US corn crop was converted to ethanol vehicle fuel.

But at the same time, an unexpected energy revolution was underway. Using good old Yankee ingenuity, the US oil and gas industry discovered how to produce oil and natural gas from shale. With hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, vast quantities of hydrocarbon resources became available from shale fields in Texas, North Dakota, and Pennsylvania.

From 2008 to 2013, US petroleum production soared 50 percent. US natural gas production rose 34 percent from a 2005 low. Russia, China, Ukraine, Turkey, and more than ten nations in Europe began issuing permits for hydraulic fracturing. The dragon of peak oil and gas was slain.

US Oil and Gas 2000-2013 Article

In 2009, the ideology of Climatism, the belief that humans were causing dangerous global warming, came under serious attack. In November, emails were released from top climate scientists at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom, an incident christened Climategate. The communications showed bias, manipulation of data, avoidance of freedom of information requests, and efforts to subvert the peer-review process, all to further the cause of man-made climate change.

One month later, the Copenhagen Climate Conference failed to agree on a successor climate treaty to the Kyoto Protocol. Failures at United Nations conferences at Cancun (2010), Durban (2011), Doha (2012), and Warsaw (2013) followed. Canada, Japan, Russia, and the United States announced that they would not participate in an extension of the Kyoto Protocol.

Major climate legislation faltered across the world. Cap and trade failed in Congress in 2009, with growing opposition from the Republican Party. The price of carbon permits in the European Emissions Trading System crashed in April 2013 when the European Union voted not to support the permit price. Australia elected Prime Minister Tony Abbott in the fall of 2013 on a platform of scrapping the nation’s carbon tax.

Europeans discovered that subsidy support for renewables was unsustainable. Subsidy obligations soared in Germany to over $140 billion and in Spain to over $34 billion by 2013. Renewable subsidies produced the world’s highest electricity rates in Denmark and Germany. Electricity and natural gas prices in Europe rose to double those of the United States.

Worried about bloated budgets, declining industrial competitiveness, and citizen backlash, European nations have been retreating from green energy for the last four years. Spain slashed solar subsidies in 2009 and photovoltaic sales fell 80 percent in a single year. Germany cut subsidies in 2011 and 2012 and the number of jobs in the German solar industry dropped by 50 percent. Renewable subsidy cuts in the Czech Republic, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, and the United Kingdom added to the cascade. The RENIXX Renewable Energy Index fell below 200 in 2012, down 90 percent from the 2008 peak.

Once a climate change leader, Germany turned to coal after the 2012 decision to close nuclear power plants. Coal now provides more than 50 percent of Germany’s electricity and 23 new coal-fired power plants are planned. Global energy from coal has grown by 4.4 percent per year over the last ten years.

Renewable Spending 2004-2013 Article

Spending on renewables is in decline. From a record $318 billion in 2011, world renewable energy spending fell to $280 billion in 2012 and then fell again to $254 billion in 2013, according to Bloomberg. The biggest drop occurred in Europe, where investment plummeted 41 percent last year. The 2013 expiration of the US Production Tax Credit for wind energy will continue the downward momentum.

Today, wind and solar provide less than one percent of global energy. While these sources will continue to grow, it’s likely they will deliver only a tiny amount of the world’s energy for decades to come. Renewable energy output may have peaked, at least as a percentage of global energy production.

Steve Goreham is Executive Director of the Climate Science Coalition of America and author of the book The Mad, Mad, Mad World of Climatism:  Mankind and Climate Change Mania.

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271 thoughts on “Renewable Energy in Decline

  1. Please, “Using good old Yankee ingenuity” enough of the jingoistic drivel. engineers from all over the world have known about the ‘next mile’ extraction of carbon reserves for decades.

    The fact that the USA is just waking up to clean coal, gas, shale and fracking extraction is good to see, but the USA woefully lags the rest of the world in this regard, but I suspect with yankee enthusiasm for the job at hand, not for much longer.

    It is a good thing – welcome Americans to the 21st century and beyond to the real world of affordable, clean, diverse and abundant fuel and join the rest of us laughing at the idiocy of windmills.

  2. Given that the EU is no longer subsidizing wind farms I suspect that there will be piles of rusting steel soon and a very ugly eye sore… But then we knew this was coming.

  3. cnxtim says: “engineers from all over the world have known about the ‘next mile’ extraction of carbon reserves for decades.”\
    JK – Then why didn’t they do it all over the world?
    Not enough “good old Yankee ingenuity”?
    thanks
    JK

  4. Thanks Steve, but . . .

    This is terribly inconvenient news. Someone wants a legacy and foreign policy and health care are beyond salvage. Stopping the Planet from warming and the sea from rising was going to be the good news. Now what?

    A lot of our money has been passed to his friends, that ought to get him something!

  5. FANTASTIC!

    AGW is dead. Hurrah! Hurrah! Oooohhhh, huuuurrrah!!!

    Celebrate the TRIUMPH OF TRUTH with a song

    by an Italian (Rossini) about a Swiss hero (Tell) using Chinese fireworks
    (viewed on a little device that is yours compliments of …
    Yankee Ingenuity (Edison and Bell and Gates, et. al. — (smile))

    .
    .
    .
    D1e, windmills, d1e!

  6. cnxtim says:
    March 1, 2014 at 10:06 pm
    Please, “Using good old Yankee ingenuity” etc. etc. fracking . . .”
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Enough of your “jingoistic drivel” :

    On March 17, 1949, Halliburton performed the first two commercial hydraulic fracturing treatments in Stephens County, Oklahoma, and Archer County, Texas.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydraulic_fracturing#Hydraulic_fracturing_in_oil_and_gas_wells

  7. Oil shale in Australia was referred to for the first time by François Péron, in “Voyage de Découverte aux Terres Australes”, which was published in Paris in 1807, It described what was Torbanite from the Newnes deposit in the Blue Mountains. Around 1850, oil shale was discovered at Joadja Creek in Southern New South Wales. In 1854, oil shale from the River Lett near Hartley, in New South Wales was exhibited at the Paris Exhibition and in 1862, oil shale from Murrurundi, New South Wales was exhibited at the London International Exhibition.

  8. N. Tesdorf (at 10:36pm) — Well, sir, that’s all very nice in its way, but, well, hm.

    Just standing about looking at that oil shale wasn’t going to accomplish much, was it?

    See John Hultquist’s more powerful point at 10:34pm. #(:))

  9. cnxtim: Come off the grass mate! As an experienced Aussie geologist, I have nothing but admiration as to how “Yankee ingenuity” took the techniques of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing and applied them successfully to “tight” shale formations. Just one question, though: was this done on any scale prior to USA application anywhere else in the world? Love to know.

  10. jim, simple fact is they did and they have without any goyi
    Can you imagine a country where all the bus’s, taxis and most of the long-distance truck run on actual gas (not refined petrol or diesel)?
    No need, they exist beyond your boundaries and have for decades, and even better they are now relegating nonsense UNsustainable renewables to the history books along with their rusted on greenuts – where they belong.

  11. But Obama was right.
    Sea level rise is slowing down and the world has stopped warming.
    Coincidence?
    Nr 10 on the list of reasons why the warming has stopped.

    Anyway, we better make good use of this period of plenty and develop something affordable and long lasting, like it or lump it one day oil will only come from difficult places where it will be pumped if the price is $200 or more a barrel.
    Nothing to do with AGW or whatever it is called these days and even if oil and/or gas is abiotic eventually with the ever increasing rate of consumption we will scrape the bottom of the barrel.
    At $200 a barrel solar and wind will seem affordable too.

  12. Mr. or Ms. C. N. Xtim,

    And just who invented the predecessors to those buses, taxis, and trucks?

    Good for you to be proud of what Jews have done — a whole lot! Being proud of what you can do “without any goyi{m}” is fine. Perhaps, though, you might pause and think a moment that it is pardonable in us Yankees {both those who are Jewish and those who are not so fortunate} to be a bit proud, too?

    Thank you, nevertheless, for reminding us Americans that others (such as Australia! — good on you, John Karajas) have also made important, enduring, contributions to science.

    Your Gentile Friend (who loves the Jews),

    Janice

  13. Solar and wind costs are still falling so output from them is still rising despite total investment dropping. The Chinese economy is now driving ….. more and more coal stations are being mothballed as renewable have a momentum without recourse to subsidy.

  14. Funny story. My renewable energy shares have risen frmo $4 to $18 in the last year. If that’s evidence of decline, roll on decline

  15. andygood87 says:
    March 1, 2014 at 11:03 pm

    Solar and wind costs are still falling so output from them is still rising despite total investment dropping. The Chinese economy is now driving ….. more and more coal stations are being mothballed as renewable have a momentum without recourse to subsidy.

    Wrong. “Renewable” are viable NOWHERE in the world without rate subsidies, friendly tax subsidies, fabrication subsidies, and permanent backup from conventional fossil and nuclear power plants. Not everywhere, but such “legal” fraud as the Spanish company that powered their solar plant at night using floodlights from a nuclear power plant ….

    Nowhere in the world are wind and solar plants competitive except isolated off-grid location (islands, remote low-power sites where no other lines can be run.

    The EPA is demanding through bureaucrat dictates that fossil plants be shutdown – not through rational policies nor long-range planning. Just dictatorship-mandated rulings based on a compliant injustice system based on lies and propaganda.

    Every wind turbine requires expensive shutdown and maintenance times that are NOT being routinely subsidies: Wait another five years and let’s just see how many have burned up. Who will pay for their stripping, their roads, their waste?

  16. Several proposed UK offshore wind farms have been camcelled in the last few months. It is the result of subsidies being cuts, costs rising and the realisation by developers that wind turbines do not perform as the salesmen claim and their performance degrades rapidly as they age. By 15 years they are total junk.

  17. fredb says:
    March 1, 2014 at 11:10 pm

    Funny story. My renewable energy shares have risen frmo $4 to $18 in the last year. If that’s evidence of decline, roll on decline…

    Janice Moore says:
    March 1, 2014 at 11:24 pm

    @ Fred B. — SELL. Now.

    Your friendly investment advisor.

    I ran the numbers. It’s a splendid hockey stick. Don’t sell, Fred. Your stock will rise to $80 this year and will sit pretty at $350 in 2015. Don’t sell.

    I’d show you the math if I didn’t think Janice would try to find something wrong with it.

  18. My dear Lord Wellington,

    As if. #(:)) My advice is based solely on intuition based on information I read about markets, current events, etc… and my own knowledge. Your figures would be unassailable by me.

    And after all your graciousness toward me these past few months, I would not even want to try. I hope March in Colorado is going well for you so far.

    (I still think Fred ought to sell, though)

    Your WUWT pal,

    Janice

  19. Please use proper terminology, folks – don’t fall into the Greenist DoubleSpeak. Firstly, use wind turbines, not windmills Windmills use the power of the wind to mill (ground) corn. Second, don’t use windfarms. Sounds green and environmentally friendly. Call them what they are – wind power stations. (Well they ARE supposed to produce power…)

    And, finally, please refer to the European Union as the European Soviet Union – for that is what it is: a replacement for the USSR

  20. I am sorry to contradict your intuition, my dear Lady Janice, but the renewable energy hockey stick math is robust. I did it on a spreadsheet.

  21. Alternatively, technology in renewables may improve over the next 3 or 4 decades, rendering it a worthwhile investment in 2050?? I include in that, modes of renewable energy which have neither been conceived yet nor developed into prototypes, demonstration plants or commercial scale undertakings……

  22. the sorry state in Australia is the scrapping of the carbon tax has hit a brick wall with labour and the dumb greens have stopped PM Tony Abbott so far in scrapping the carbon tax which is destroying Australian industry, the green rat bags are all very happy can you believe that

  23. What is not discussed is the cost of decommissioning renewable energy generation. For example think of all the concrete and turbines that will have to be disposed of safely. This will not be insignificant!

  24. cnxtim says:
    March 1, 2014 at 10:43 pm

    jim, simple fact is they did and they have without any goyi

    What did they do? Did they pioneer fracturing, as Goreham claimed the US had done? Here’s what you offer as proof:

    Can you imagine a country where all the bus’s, taxis and most of the long-distance truck run on actual gas (not refined petrol or diesel)?
    No need, they exist beyond your boundaries and have for decades,

    Those users’ countries pioneered the consumption of natural gas, not its production.

  25. At 10:06 PM on 1 March, cnxtim groused:

    Please, “Using good old Yankee ingenuity” enough of the jingoistic drivel. engineers from all over the world have known about the ‘next mile’ extraction of carbon reserves for decades.

    Sorry, but all indications are that the combination of dirigible multiple-shaft horizontal drilling (to make methane and liquid petroleum economically viable from extremely deep strata like that of the Marcellus Shale), fractional casing perforation, and hydraulic fracturing – which are all subsumed by the expression “fracking” – really was first effected by American petrochemicals extraction engineers here in these United States.

    Live with it.

  26. fredb says:
    March 1, 2014 at 11:10 pm

    Funny story. My renewable energy shares have risen frmo $4 to $18 in the last year. If that’s evidence of decline, roll on decline…

    There has been a bounce in renewable energy shares in the past year, but nothing like what yours have seen. A large part of it has come from the EC’s recent vote to buy carbon trading permits (subsequent to Goreham’s claim of the opposite) and from Obama’s push to close down coal power plants. Another part of it has come from the enthusiasm of greenie investors for the sector. I doubt that this bounce is sustainable.

  27. Bill H says:

    March 1, 2014 at 10:09 pm
    Given that the EU is no longer subsidizing wind farms

    Bill, this is simply not ‘completely’ true. As Obama le Menteur said “there is more than one way to skin a cat”.

    The EU is forcing members to subsidise bird mincers through their co² directives. Note directives not rules or suggestions. They are dictators, they direct.

  28. New Zealand power generation and demand:

    Look! Almost no coal (half of one power station), a little bit of wind, almost no solar PV.
    Otherwise mostly hydro and geothermal.

  29. Spain slashed solar subsidies in 2009 and photovoltaic sales fell 80 percent in a single year. Germany cut subsidies in 2011 and 2012 and the number of jobs in the German solar industry dropped by 50 percent.

    Yeah, so much for the “sustainable” in the energy and development scam.

  30. andygood87 said on March 1, 2014 at 11:03 pm

    Solar and wind costs are still falling so output from them is still rising despite total investment dropping. The Chinese economy is now driving ….. more and more coal stations are being mothballed as renewable have a momentum without recourse to subsidy.

    The only coal fired power stations being closed are the very old low capacity and ineficient ones, mostly in the USA. None of the large high capacity coal stations have closed, not even in the USA where they do more gas fracking than anywhere else in the World. Meanwhile Germany and especially China are building new generation larger and significntly more efficient coal fired power stations. Worldwide overall energy generation by coal is increasing. A terrible waste of a valuable chemical resource.

    Thorium is what we should be moving towards. If only all the money that has been wasted on so called renewables had been put into developing Thorium power. Appalling short sighted policies, that’s what politicians do best.

  31. It seems the good news for carbon free sources of energy ended in 1999.

    Roger Pielke Jr – 9 July 2013
    “Clean Energy Stagnation
    Growth in Renewables Outpaced by Fossil Fuels

    The world was moving faster towards reducing its reliance on carbon intensive energy consumption in the 1970s and 1980s than in the past several decades. In fact, over the past 20 years there has been little if any progress in expanding the share of carbon-free energy in the global mix. Despite the rhetoric around the rise of renewable energy, the data tells a far different story……

    The figure above shows the proportion of global energy consumption that comes from carbon-free sources. These sources include nuclear, hydro, solar, wind, geothermal, and biomass……

    However, since 1999 the proportion of carbon-free energy in the global mix has dropped slightly…….”

    http://thebreakthrough.org/index.php/voices/roger-pielke-jr/clean-energy-stagnation/

  32. rogerknights says:

    March 2, 2014 at 1:19 am
    fredb says:
    March 1, 2014 at 11:10 pm

    Funny story. My renewable energy shares have risen from $4 to $18 in the last year. If that’s evidence of decline, roll on decline

    Roger, FredB is largely correct. Vestas’ shares have shown a rock solid rise over the last 3 years and continue to hold their ground. Green investors are putting large sums of money into the market based on EU and government promises worlwide to continue with the subsidise. In the UK, wave technology is beginning it’s meteoric rise through large scale investments from other countries because the UK CC act is still pumping huge subsidies into the enrgy market.

    The UK is in dire straits, IMHO, because they will be forced, by the EU and their own CCAct, to close several coal fired stations in 2015 with no backup technology in place.

    The dismissal of their legacy polititians is their only hope but the people do not have either the intellect or the courage to do that.

    INTERESTING TIMES ARE COMING !

  33. ConfusedPhoton says:

    March 2, 2014 at 1:06 am

    What is not discussed is the cost of decommissioning renewable energy generation. For example think of all the concrete and turbines that will have to be disposed of safely. This will not be insignificant!

    There is no cost. The green generators will go bust and leave their merde in situ to rot away. What’s not to like about green technology.

  34. John writes: ” Stopping the Planet from warming and the sea from rising was going to be the good news.” He should declare victory. That dang’ed ol’ planet did stop warming. Good job Obama!

  35. “If only all the money that has been wasted on so called renewables had been put into developing Thorium power. Appalling short sighted policies, that’s what politicians do best.”

    But what makes us think the government won’t come up with appallingly short sighted strategies to make Thorium uneconomic. That’s the problem when the government starts to pick winners and losers. It’s really bad at it.

  36. Janice, Fred, Wellington, Insiders Trading, Other disinterested persons:

    I sold my SPWR stock the day after Christmas, 2012, at $5.50. Today, it’s $33.13. Some companies prosper, others don’t. Individual investment transactions tell nothing about industry trends. Remains to be seen how various companies fare as government incentives fall away.
    : > )

  37. @ Stephen Richards. “The dismissal of their legacy polititians is their only hope but the people do not have either the intellect or the courage to do that.”

    The people have been brainwashed, but as information about the real state of the climate gradually leaks out to the wider populace that situation will change. The UK people have shown courage in adversity before and I believe will do so again shoud the need arise. Intellect is not necessarily required, ever colder winters combined with ever climbing energy prices will serve just as well. That process will speed up as the “pause” continues and especially so if the slight cooling that we have seen over the last 6 years steepens as must be inevitable given the prolonged low solar high and the increasing likelyhood of the next solar cycle being still lower. Not to mention a negative PDO and a soon to go negative AMO.

    “Legacy politicians”, fabulous phrase, I love it.

  38. @Bill H
    “Given that the EU is no longer subsidizing wind farms I suspect that there will be piles of rusting steel soon and a very ugly eye sore… But then we knew this was coming.”
    Absolutely right. Wind turbine companies went bust and solar panel manufacturers as well. But then the real problem occurs: it’s been the chinese that bought the remainders almost for nothing and then walked away with very sophisticated technology smiling like fat copy cats . And in consequence, more jobs will be lost all over the world. Competition is good, monopoly isn’t at all. I’m afraid we’re on the road to oligopoly already. I think that reasonable subsidies should be given to keep up with state-of-the-art technology.

  39. The problem with doomers and peak oilers is they assume technological innovations are not taking place in the background. I found out that at least back to the 1960s a few patents were filed techniques to recover shale oil and gas via hydraulic fracturing. In 1976 Othar Kiel introduced high rate pumping for “hesitation” or “dendritic” fractures. Today Kiel’s ideas are used by some in the the shale gas industry.

    http://www.thepttc.org/newsletter/v17n1.pdf

    PATENT – 1957
    Process for recovery of petroleum from sands and shale
    US 2813583 A
    …..These natural vertical fractures do not, in general, permit sustained commercial production from the principal sandstone layers, and it is therefore desirable to apply hydraulic fracturing which enlarges them and appreciably increases the recovery of oil therefrom……

    http://www.google.com/patents/US2813583

    These very same kind of assumptions are made about future sources. Think methane hydrates and work being carried out into nuclear fusion. OK it';s always “just a decade away” but it just needs ONE very important breakthrough and it’s a new ball game.

  40. Al Gore saw the writing on the wall a couple of years back and withdrew his investment company’s holdings in renewables. When Al Gore gets out you know it will soon be over.

    “Al Gore bails from green energy investment” – 2012
    …..“Generation Investment says it is all about climate change, but it is just a typical investment fund with typical stocks,” Gunderson said.

    “It has Amazon, Colgate Palmolive, eBay, Nielsen, Qualcomm, Strayer University and a smattering of stocks from biotech and health care. Not one company that makes solar panels, or windmills or biogas or electric cars. Catheters and commercial real estate, yes. Solar panels, no.”….

    http://www.wnd.com/2012/09/al-gore-bails-from-green-energy-investment/

    SEC records for Generation Investment Management LLP

    http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1375534/000117266112000799/generation2q12.txt

  41. J Martin says: March 2, 2014 at 1:38 am
    Thorium is what we should be moving towards. If only all the money that has been wasted on so called renewables had been put into developing Thorium power. Appalling short sighted policies, that’s what politicians do best.

    The better use for all those subsidies would have been the development of electrical storage to overcome intermittency, the Achilles heel of renewables. Governments should be subsidizing only those (essential) areas that the private sector can’t. Wind turbines are as efficient as they are ever going to get, and thorium and increases in solar electric efficiency will come of their own. They don’t need subsidies.

    If those billions had been spent on storage, however, we might today be in a position where we didn’t need to build a megawatt of reliable conventional to back up every megawatt of intermittent renewable.

  42. andygood87 says:
    March 1, 2014 at 11:03 pm

    Solar and wind costs are still falling so output from them is still rising despite total investment dropping. The Chinese economy is now driving ….. more and more coal stations are being mothballed as renewable have a momentum without recourse to subsidy.

    But their share has not risen in the energy mix for a long time now despite the hullabloo. As for China and coal use it seems they have other plans.

    More than 1,000 new coal plants planned worldwide, figures show
    World Resources Institute identifies 1,200 coal plants in planning across 59 countries, with about three-quarters in China and India

    A coal-burning power station in Beijing, China – the country is planning to build 363 new coal-fired power plants.

    Coal plants are the most polluting of all power stations and the World Resources Institute (WRI) identified 1,200 coal plants in planning across 59 countries, with about three-quarters in China and India……

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2012/nov/20/coal-plants-world-resources-institute

    The USA maybe hell bent on closing its coal fired power stations but COAL MINING and exports continue. Where do you think that coal goes to? Answer: China and other Asian nations.

    In 2013, five coal export terminals were in the planning stages in the Pacific Northwest.

    2012
    The economic expansion in Asia is ramping up that region’s demand for coal. And the energy resource is in abundance in the Powder River Basin that straddles the Montana-Wyoming border.

    But how to get it from the Rocky Mountain heartland of North America to factories and power plants in China, Japan, South Korea?

    That’s where proposed coal export terminals come in.

    http://earthfix.opb.org/energy/article/coal-score-card/

  43. Solar and wind will likely never be commercially viable in any large scale basis. They require massive subsidies, and drive up electric costs significantly where used. They currently pay little or nothing towards the grid despite their causing significant problems and spikes due to their intermittency problems. And presently in many cases renewables are receiving retail rates for power fed to the grid – which is wholly unsustainable – if you sell to the grid you should be paid the same or similar wholesale price, a [price that reflects the operating costs of the grid, and covers any work needed to the grid to handle the variable extra power.

    Wind and solar will still also need virtually 100% stand alone dedicated backup power – as their capacity factor is in the low 20% or less range. Even in a best case area the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow the vast majority of the time. Sometimes for days on end.

    For every watt of wind or solar generation there must be a watt of fossil fueled conventional backup generation … running online 24/7/365 – to handle power demands when solar and wind stop. That backup generation must come from inefficient and dirtier peaking load plants, that can provide power on demand … as compared to much more efficient and clean base load plants that run at near full load all day, every day year round.

    Germany found emissions have increased with the addition of significant solar renewable energy – I believe it was 1.5% increase in emissions, vs a decrease of appx 1.3% annually in the EU … net appx 2.8% increase in emissions by using solar.

    The only possibly viable option is small scale rooftop solar … provided IMO they also have natural gas backup generation onsite as well. And provided they receive wholesale costs for any power sold to the grid, AND pay their fair share of the costs of operating and maintaining the grid.

    The economics of large scale solar are simply ridiculous, in many ways. The huge Ivanpah solar farm recently in the news (for frying large numbers of birds etc) covers some 3,500 acres of land with massive mirror arrays focused on a massive 459 foot tall tower. Cost $2.2 billion with $1.6 billion of that from a federally guaranteed loan.

    It allegedly provides power for 140,000 homes. Left out of all the press releases is the capacity factor is under 25% … a conventional base load power plant provides power more than 90% of the time – the Ivanpah site capacity factors is claimed at 28.74% – in my opinion based on other info, that is exaggerated.

    Compare Ivanpah with its 377 MW nameplate capacity, appx 28.74% capacity factor at best, and supplying energy for an alleged appx 140,000 homes during peak hours of the day, to a single base load plant like XCEL Energy Sherco Power plant in Minnesota … with its 2,400 MW nameplate capacity and 95+% capacity factor, the XCEL Sherco plant powers more than 2 million homes essentially all the time.

  44. Joe Adam-smith says:
    March 2, 2014 at 12:29 am
    Please use proper terminology, folks – don’t fall into the Greenist DoubleSpeak. Firstly, use wind turbines, not windmills Windmills use the power of the wind to mill (ground) corn. Second, don’t use windfarms. Sounds green and environmentally friendly. Call them what they are – wind power stations. (Well they ARE supposed to produce power…)

    I agree that we should call these collections of wind turbines by their correct name, that is subsidy farms . They only exist while subsidies are available, the subsidies are only paid if wind turbines are erected, as soon as subsidies stop the wind turbines are abandoned. Hence they are subsidy farms , generation of electricity is only a by product of subsidy farming.

  45. If those billions had been spent on storage, however, we might today be in a position where we didn’t need to build a megawatt of reliable conventional to back up every megawatt of intermittent renewable.

    There is no viable large scale utility level storage technology available. Nor is anything realistically on the horizon.

    A test project in Minnesota requires batteries the size of TWO semi trailers to provide backup power for a sing 1.75 MW wind turbine, and even the they could barely provide enough backup to get thru one night. And that was for just 500 homes.

    Same with the silly ‘molten salt’ storage idea for solar – which contrary to claims was NOT included on the new Ivanpah plant. At best they might be able to store enough power this way to again get thru a single night … maybe …. for the 140,000 homes the 3,500 acre 377 MW solar facility is supposed to power.

  46. I’m surprised no one has brought up Iceland … an idiot leftist greenie keeps telling me they “prove” renewables can power the world …. they always quote “Renewable energy provides almost 100 percent of electricity production” in Iceland … ignorantly bypassing the actual facts:

    “…with about 75 percent coming from hydropower and 25 percent from geothermal power”

    Yep, we’ll just whip up massive hydro and geothermal projects everywhere across the globe …

    Idiots.

  47. Janice Moore says:
    March 1, 2014 at 10:31 pm
    – – –
    I thought maybe another Happy Hamster Dance video would be appropriate. But then I remembered the Tribbles I got myself into last time. :-)

  48. the shame of it is they could not make the windmills look like ones of old with the lovely sails, oh and actually produce some power worth talking about, at least the ones of old ground corn that fed the population and actually paid for themselves.

  49. fredb says:
    March 1, 2014 at 11:10 pm

    Funny story. My renewable energy shares have risen frmo $4 to $18 in the last year. If that’s evidence of decline, roll on decline…

    Janice Moore says:
    March 1, 2014 at 11:24 pm

    @ Fred B. — SELL. Now.

    Your friendly investment advisor.
    ======================================================================
    No, do not sell. Simply enter a trailing stop order for $2 below price. This will ensure you stay in your investment while it is rising but will prevent losing your profits if there is a down turn.

  50. Wind turbine recycling might be a good line of business to get into in the next 5 years or so.

  51. Stephen Richards says:
    March 2, 2014 at 1:38 am

    Our renewable energy programs are unsustainable. The depend upon heavy regulation and subsidies to survive. The stock market is peaking and due for a correction; most of the recent gains are from the Fed policies of printing money and a return to easy and almost free credit.

    Believe me, without government policy propping up your renewable energy stocks, they would be penny stocks.

  52. Janice Moore wrote:

    Good for you to be proud of what Jews have done — a whole lot! Being proud of what you can do “without any goyi{m}” is fine. Perhaps, though, you might pause and think a moment that it is pardonable in us Yankees {both those who are Jewish and those who are not so fortunate} to be a bit proud, too?

    Dear Janice Moore, who signed “Gentile friend,”
    I chuckled to read what you wrote at the end
    Yes, “goyi” was written by CNXTim,
    But I think you might have misunderstood him

    The letters were lower-cased, but I realized
    As acronym, they should be capitalized:
    Here’s what he thought he meant, it seems to me:
    “goyi” is “Good Old Yankee Ingenuity”

    Yes, when I first saw it, I puzzled too
    But I don’t think he was involving a Jew

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  53. cnxtim says:
    March 1, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    **********
    OBTW

    Fracking in the USA has been around this part of the world since like the late 1940’s. The father of fracking just passed away a few weeks ago…

    And engineers from the USA are the best. But that is a cultural thingie way beyond the scope of this article.

  54. Regarding the “goyi” I would attribute the recent rise in tight oil & gas production more to good old American Free Market Capitalism than technology. There has been a massive financial investment in opening up these markets, not so much a “new” technology – after all fracking has been in common use for many decades and they frack conventional wells, not just tight shale formations.

    On investing in green energy I like to use First Solar as a barometer for what’s going on in the USA. Three to four years ago the shares were trading at $120-$160. They are now trading in the $40-$60 range. Yes they have risen sharply in 2013, from a five year low in July 2012 of under $20 a share, but that is a climb from the septic tank to the toilet IMO. I’m leaning toward Janice as a financial advisor. Sell Green in 2014.

    http://www.nasdaq.com/symbol/fslr/interactive-chart?timeframe=1y&charttype=line

  55. The unavoidable deficiencies of renewables wind and solar is their uncontrollability and massive land use requirements, a deficiency which would have been lambasted by the environmentalists if it pertained to any of their favored energy sources. My calculations, based on California solar farm densities, is that roughy 80,000 acres of land (hopefully level and sunny) are required to produce the same GROSS output as a modern nuclear 1400 MW power plant.
    Because of the negative effects of locating wind turbines in anything like close proximity to one another, the total land required to support one of those 3200 (or more) “wind power plants” that can produce the same GROSS output as a modern nuclear plant (environmental footprint of 50 acres) is astonomical, and the cost several times greater (unless you believe the wind folk’s exaggerated claims for nuclear power plant construction). I’ve seen ridiculously nonsensical claims from the wind lobbiests that nuclear plants cost over $15 billion. I’ve also monitored nuclear plant fixed price build contracts over the past two years and would expect $15 billion to be close to the price for 3 nuclear plants, not one.
    . Not to mention the fact that those friendly wind turbines are making out Whooping Cranes extinct, apparently, and for certain are wiping out bats by the carload, along with our raptor birds.
    Both renewables have negative effects and are responsible for side effect costs, such as the need to keep and man backup power capacity. And, contrary to yet another wind enthusiast
    claim, cheap power storage will not erase these side effect costs. The same amount of backup will still be required, regardless of how much power storage is available or how little its cost. The ability to store reserve electricity has no effect on those side effect costs.
    As for solar and especially wind, the more that one adds, the lower the capacity, and the higher the costs. How much capacity windmills in Texas or Iowa are capable of means nothing when
    errecting a turbine in an area with far less wind resources. Therefore, one should never assume that the amount of new wind power can be estimated by looking at the statistics for existing turbines. The cost of wind power is virtually totally dependent upon the amount of wind at the turbine’s location. And when it blows. And most of the good wind areas have already been taken. That, if nothing else, limits wind’s future, along with the absence of any possibility of better (or cheaper) turbines. And installation and maintenance costs are only going to increase.
    Until govt purchase requirements for solar and wind are removed and an honest competitive
    pricing market is established, it is impossible to get a truly accurate fix on how renewable energy is actually worth. Renewable energy simply isn’t worth very much to a grid operator. It adds costs and headaches. Period. And if environmentalists attempt to make analyses showing them to be competitive, based on supposed side effect benefits, then they implicitly destroy any reason not to prefer nuclear power above all else. And if they attempt to show nuclear power as dangerous, they will have an impossible task as it is. The new Generation 3+ designs can easily be calculated as thousands of times safer than solar or wind power. And probably a million times safer than solar rooftop mounted systems. As for the future of nuclear fuel, that will exist at least as long as the sun shines or the wind blows. Environmentalist’s arguments at this point are pretty much shattered. There is no valid, or even plausible, argument in favor of solar or wind as producers of emission free power. They are basically primitive, costly and environmentally obnoxious ways of making power of litte intrinsic value. If one of these renewables enthusiasts want to buy (all by himself, with no govt welfare) a solar roof system and install batteries and operate off the grid, more power to him (or her). But I don’t think that’s going to happen. Environmentalists apparently always expect their neighbors to pay for a good portion of their electricity. They are, you know, welfare queens. Only in this case, they think they are doing their neighbors a favor.

  56. Mr. Gorham, you need to get your facts about tight oil and shale gas reserves correct. That horizontal drilling and fracking has opened new technically recoverable reserves is without doubt. The US has the worlds second largest tight oil shale deposits. The current maximum TRR estimate is 29Bbbl. Of that 15Bbbl is in the Monterey, where horizontal drilling isn’t possible because of folding and faulting. So while the TRR estimate is ‘technically correct’ it practically isn’t. In context, the remaining economic reserves in the Ghawar field alone are 71Bbbl, and at current planned Saudi production reductions as watercut rises that field will be fully depleted (zero left) in 34 years.
    The largest oil/gas shale in Russia is the Bazenov. 70 times larger than the Bakken. But the potentially productive part ( in the oil not gas window, >2%TOC) is only 14x. It is the source rock for all the great western Siberia conventional fields like Samotlor, so 25% of it is naturally autofractured and depleted. The Bakken single main pay target averages 85 feet thick. Bazenov has three pay targets, each at most 10 feet thick. At Bakken recovery rates, when you do the math, Bazhenov might hold as much as the Bakken, current estimates 7.4Bbbl (USGS) to 8.0Bbbl (EIA), both estimates as of 2013. But it will be much more expensive since individual wells will be less than 1/3 as productive due to the narrow pay zones, so far is now known Shell is drilling the first 5 test horizontal/frac wells at Samlyn now; we will know more next year.
    I agree renewables are not viable, especially given intermittency driven redundancy costs. But wind and solar don’t provide liquid transportation fuels. There are exactly zero viable cellulosic ethanol plants yet, although two might come on this year viable with subsidies. The KiOR bio syncrude plant in Mississippi operated at half of projected yield and half of projected uptime 3Q13 (so a fourth of projected capacity) so has been shut down for redesign upgrades with an additional $100m of capital investment. Now it’s economics are dubious.

    Climate change is not a concern, as many posts here at WUWT and elsewhere show. The pause, lower sensitivity, emergent self temperature regulation… So renewables were ill advised from the outset. But that does not address future transportation fuel availability. Both the EIA (more specific and realistic) and the IEA (more vague) now say the US will reach peak tight oil production around 2019 to 2021, at a total production (all oil) level 2-3mbpd BELOW its overall peak in 1980-81. With growth in demand since then, even at the peak of tight oil the US will still need to importat least a third of its crude.
    Get your oil facts straight. Most of what you read in the MSM about tight oil is hype better suited to SkS than here. BTW, these comments do not apply to shale gas, where recovery factors are 15% rather than 1.5% and new energy vistas are opened for electricity via 60% net efficient CCGT. That, not the EPA, is causing the decline in King Coal.

  57. for Cnxtim, and any others who don’t realize how revolutionary the fracking breakthrough of the last 10 years has been – yes, fracking has been around aind 1949. But fracking SHALE reserves hasn’t, and that is the big game changer. Exxon, Chevron, Shell, BP – all of the majors said it could not be done, and gave up on the idea. As the Economist wrote in 2012:

    “The rise [in shale gas] has been helped along by a variety of factors…. But the biggest difference was down to the efforts of one man: George Mitchell, …who saw the potential for improving a known technology, fracking, to get at the gas. Big oil and gas companies were interested in shale gas but could not make the breakthrough in fracking to get the gas to flow. Mr Mitchell spent ten years and $6m to crack the problem (surely the best-spent development money in the history of gas). Everyone, he said, told him he was just wasting his time and money. ”
    —The Economist, July 2012″

    Even in Texas, in oil and gas circles, Mitchell was thought of as an eccentric who’d gone off his rocker, wasting his life chasing a pipe dream. And then – turned out that Mitchell was right, and everyone else in the business was wrong. People think Steve Jobs changed the world at Apple – he did, but I argue that Mitchell’s genius was far more profound, and in the end will do much more for the world than Jobs, Gates, or Buffet has done.

    Yankee ingenuity? In truth, give credit to one Petroleum Engineer from Texas A & M, who everyone thought was crazy, and who turned the energy world upside down.

    And that’s how the world is changed – not by governments, but by one man with a vision, and the courage to make his vision real.

  58. It also amuses me to note (and I did extensive field work in oil and gas in the 80’s & 90’s, and this is what I was taught at the time) that it’s safe to say that before George P. Mitchell came along, the “Consensus” of 99% of the Petroleum Engineers, Reservoir Engineers, and all associated geophysical scientists worldwide, was that commercial quantities of oil and gas could *Never* be produced from shale reserves (although everyone knew they were there) because the permeability barrier inside those formations was impossible to overcome.

    George P. Mitchell was just crazy enough to look at the situation and say “you know what? That’s not impossible, in fact I can do it.” And then he did it.

  59. @Janice Moore

    FANTASTIC!

    AGW is dead. Hurrah! Hurrah! Oooohhhh, huuuurrrah!!!

    Celebrate the TRIUMPH OF TRUTH with a song

    by an Italian (Rossini) about a Swiss hero (Tell) using Chinese fireworks
    (viewed on a little device that is yours compliments of …
    Yankee Ingenuity (Edison and Bell and Gates, et. al. — (smile))

    Er, the Brits had more than a hand in inventing the computer, and also the World-Wide Web that the video is traveling over. If you’re using an LED screen, they were first created by a Russian – if CRT or LCD, look to the Germans or the Brits again.

    But I agree that American enterpreneurs have made the personal computer into a ubiquitous standard… oh, and Bell was Scottish…

  60. Much of the drive for “sustainable” energy is based on progressive Utopian thinking that denies economic reality and is by its very nature not economically sustainable. The greater the subsidy, the sooner that governments will get politically exhausted to justify and continue. When subsidies (either direct or indirect), decline, any energy source will be forced to compete economically with its peers and the pressure will mount for use of the best source available.

    I mourn for all the money this false religion has cost us. The median household income is $50,000. For every million dollars wasted, we consume the income of twenty median households, for every billion dollars, the income of 20,000 median households. Worse, much of this money was created out of thin air by creation of debt, and debt that we never intend to repay, even as our children will be born into debt serfdom merely to pay the perpetual interest.

    One of my fears is that as wind power is shown to be horribly expensive, that wind turbines will be abandoned and be to the 21st century ecology movement what abandoned open pit mines were to 19th century capitalism.

  61. Attended a meeting on energy policy. Lots of talk about oil and the surprise of the fracking rise. Lots of talk about more solar and wind subsidies for el electricity generation. Little understanding that we use natural gas not oil to generate electricity.

    If the USA can claim a little pride of place its that we still have just enough political freedom left to embrace the surprises. That is the core of this fight. I know that those posting here from other countries are fighting for the same.

  62. What I don’t understand is why the TAN (Guggenheim Solar ETF) is up 192% from Jan 2013??

  63. wws says:
    March 2, 2014 at 6:40 am
    ————————————–
    Nice post and thank God for Greek immigrants.

  64. J Martin says:
    March 2, 2014 at 1:38 am

    I agree entirely. Unfortunately, we have a suicidal hysteria regarding any form of nuclear energy. Since Fukushima, you can’t even begin to discuss the topic rationally. India will show the way.

  65. Reblogged this on Power To The People and commented:
    The real harm to the environment is not Fossil Fuel it is Wind and Solar which should be stopped immediately. Just look at the land use issues involved in current wind and solar energy initiatives in the US for example. They are so horrific that they might be accurately described as a war on nature. If one does the math the US would have to dedicate 500,000+ square miles or approx. 15% of her entire land mass to solar to provide all of the US energy needs. Wind is no better. Wind energy providers in the US provide between 25 and 50 acre buffer zones for each wind mill and many of these wind farms are gobbling up prime farmland in the process; reducing America’s ability to produce food. Bottom line wind and solar are not ready for primetime; Kill thousands of birds, bats and eagles and Devastate the once idyllic deserts of California and Arizona where birds are literally burned alive in flight http://www.examiner.com/article/green-energy-solar-farm-cooks-birds-mid-flight over the vast array of solar panels that scar the Desert. Anti fossil fuel activists like President Obama, Tom Steyer and Tim Cook need to stop their war on fossil fuel and the devastation to Nature and Humanity caused by Wind and Solar they are advocating in the name of “saving the planet from climate change”.

    Climate Change Is Not The Problem. Fuel Poverty Is. http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/03/15/james-hansens-policies-are-shafting-the-poor/
    Higher Fuel Prices = More Poor People = More Children Dying.

  66. Jimbo says:
    March 2, 2014 at 3:32 am
    The USA maybe hell bent on closing its coal fired power stations but COAL MINING and exports continue. Where do you think that coal goes to? Answer: China and other Asian nations.
    ====================
    The EPA is big on cutting CO2 production in the US by closing coal powered electrical production. This reduces the demand for coal in the US, making export coal cheaper for the Chinese to buy, lowering their cost of electrical production and thus lowering their cost of manufacturing.

    By reducing the cost of Chinese manufacturing, the EPA is exporting jobs to China. The CO2 that was being produced in the US will now be produced in China, where the winds will return it to the US in a week of so. The jobs however will not return so readily.

    So, in the end EPA policies will affect jobs much more than they affect CO2.

  67. Fracking is only part of the story. The real breakthrough is Smart Drilling. Fiber optics sensors are fed down the drill shaft as drilling progresses. Coupled to computers, these provide 3-D seismic images from thousands of feet underground to guide the drill bit to promising formations. This improves yields, which improves the efficiency of exploration.

    It is the rate of change in efficiency that is key to the process. People talk about falling prices for solar panels. Oil and gas extraction costs are falling much faster, thus the boom.

  68. Allow me to add to the list of reasons why wind turbines are not worth our time, effort and money.

    It is my understanding that these contraptions require a rare earth element (REE) known as neodymium. Besides the fact that mining REEs are polluting, neodymium is obviously a finite resource because we extract it from the ground much the same as fossil fuels. So if a raw material needed for the manufacture of wind turbines comes from the ground and is not recyclable, how can tapping into wind power be considered sustainable and renewable?

    The neodymium (I would guess) is depleted of its magnetic properties at the end of the turbine’s life making it toxic waste as well. Do we have the means for disposing of that waste in a environmentally friendly way? And then of course there is the issue of the birds and bats that they kill…..

    All of this leaves one contemplating whether the green left is even capable of thinking in a logical, rational and scientific manner that involves the facts. Way to much daydreaming I guess.

    KILL WIND TURBINES, NOT AVIAN WILDLIFE.

  69. Since there are comments about hydraulic fracturing(I don’t use the term “fracking” which was invented by the Marxists to be a metaphorical term with another word that starts with “F” and ends with “K”) I was impelled to comment.So everyone understands the expansion of hydraulic fracturing, which is not new technology is based upon economics as a hypothetical example for an 8 stage (eight fractures in a horizontal wellbore)i as follows:

    Each fracture should produce a similar amount.

    Cost to drill & fracture 1 vertical well- $2,000,000
    Gas produced from 1 vertical well- $2,000,000
    Net Income=0

    Cost to drill 1 horizontal well with 8 stage (8 hydraulic fractures)- $10,000,000
    Gas produced from 1 horizontal well=$16,000,000
    Net Income=$6,000,000

    Of course these numbers are based upon natural gas prices higher than $8/mmbtu. At current gas prices the process is nominally economic.

  70. cnxtim says:
    March 1, 2014 at 10:06 pm
    Please, “Using good old Yankee ingenuity” enough of the jingoistic drivel. engineers from all over the world have known about the ‘next mile’ extraction of carbon reserves for decades.

    The fact that the USA is just waking up to clean coal, gas, shale and fracking extraction is good to see, but the USA woefully lags the rest of the world in this regard, but I suspect with yankee enthusiasm for the job at hand, not for much longer.

    It is a good thing – welcome Americans to the 21st century and beyond to the real world of affordable, clean, diverse and abundant fuel and join the rest of us laughing at the idiocy of windmills.

    That worldview, along with skirting some tax laws, will qualify you as a Senior White House Adviser for President Obama? By chance have you ever been a card-carrying socialist, Marxist or communist? Are you a 9/11-truther? Don’t misunderstand, those things will help you get the job.

  71. cnxtim says:
    March 1, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    Please, “Using good old Yankee ingenuity” enough of the jingoistic drivel. engineers from all over the world have known about the ‘next mile’ extraction of carbon reserves for decades.

    The fact that the USA is just waking up to clean coal, gas, shale and fracking extraction is good to see, but the USA woefully lags the rest of the world in this regard, but I suspect with yankee enthusiasm for the job at hand, not for much longer.

    It is a good thing – welcome Americans to the 21st century and beyond to the real world of affordable, clean, diverse and abundant fuel ”

    I think you have discovered to your chagrin that this isn’t a light discussion group that lets ignorance just slide. Upside? You get an education and learn to substantiate what you say, especially when you are posturing and putting people down.

    Not only did the US invent fracking, they invented offshore drilling, most production methods of the oil and gas industry, and indeed invented th oil and gas industry itself (although Canada began drilling for oil about the same time). The world owes a great debt to the free-enterprise system of the US. And that’s why there are entire institutions, like the UN, etc. whose ideological purpose is to promote anti-Americanism.

  72. The National Audubon Society and The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds must – excuse me – be crowing at the oncoming demise of the wind turbine threat. :)

    My cat was pretty happy too when I told him. He’s about to regain his status as the bird apex predator.

  73. Col Mosby says:
    March 2, 2014 at 6:28 am
    Environmentalists apparently always expect their neighbors to pay for a good portion of their electricity. They are, you know, welfare queens. Only in this case, they think they are doing their neighbors a favor.
    ============
    When the government pays you $10,000 subsidy to install solar on your roof, who pays the $10,000? Certainly not the government. The $10,000 comes from your neighbors that cannot afford to install solar even with the $10,000 subsidy.

    So, in the end, it is those with money that get the $10,000, while those without money end up paying the $10,000.

    So, if solar is such a good idea, why doesn’t the government simply install solar on everyone’s roof for free? Think of all the green jobs that would be created, manufacturing panels and installing them. In that way the subsidy and benefits would be fairly distributed to all.

    Otherwise, if you can’t make the subsidy fair, why should it benefit the wealthy at the expense of the poor? The subsidy is simply Robbin Hood in Reverse. Stealing from the poor to give to the rich.

  74. Yankee ingenuity is dead. What this was was Texas ingenuity, the first comment in this thread notwithstanding. From Wiki:

    In 1997, taking the slickwater fracturing technique used in East Texas by Union Pacific Resources, now part of Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, Mitchell Energy, now part of Devon Energy, learned how to use the technique in the Barnett Shale of north Texas, which made shale gas extraction widely economical.[35][36][37] George P. Mitchell has been called the “father of fracking” because of his role in applying it in shales.[38]

    The technology was around for a long time. Mitchell took it to the higher level.

  75. CD (@CD153) says:
    March 2, 2014 at 8:09 am
    “The neodymium (I would guess) is depleted of its magnetic properties at the end of the turbine’s life making it toxic waste as well. ”

    Why should that be so? It’s not found in nature in the form of small shiny magnetic balls. If the permanent magnets made from it lose their magnetization they can still be reworked and remagnetized.
    Don’t know if they get recycled, or if the price of Neodymium makes it worthwhile. Lithium from Li Ion batteries is , for instance, currently not recycled. At 6000 USD a ton it’s too cheap / recycling is more expensive than that. Lithium prices are rising since 2000 though, with rising demand.

  76. yirgach says:
    March 2, 2014 at 7:20 am

    What I don’t understand is why the TAN (Guggenheim Solar ETF) is up 192% from Jan 2013??

    China and the EC agreed to put a floor price on solar imports, ending the price war that was ruining solar mfg. profits. Meanwhile, China stopped subsidizing many smaller solar mfgrs. and made them merge with bigger ones–probably the latter were the ones in TAN’s portfolio.

  77. The UK people have shown courage in adversity before

    Only when lead by the nose, otherwise known as politicians.

  78. Bell was born in Scotland but invented the telephone in Ontario, Canada where the patent was first filed. The first transatlantic radio transmission was sent from Canada by an Italian, was it not?

    The computer and TV were British as was the first really popular microcomputer (does anyone remember that far back?). The smartphone originated here in Waterloo but the secure transmission method for the internet comes from Ottawa and South Africa. The OS for all those nuclear and coal fired power stations and the smart grid, QNX, guaranteeing reliable juice for the whole communications shebang comes from Mississauga, Ontario but is now owned by BlackBerry.

    There is plenty of credit for good ol’ human ingenuity GOHI to do round. Wasn’t alternating current promoted successful by that Croat? Against the wishes of Edison? In the end we needed both.

  79. Fracturing the ground to increase the flow from a ‘tight’ source was practiced on water wells long before oil, at least the principles are identical. When I started in the groundwater industry boreholes were not ‘bored’ at all. They. Were pounded into rock using something called a cable rig and involved not boring at all. A bit was pounded into the rock to promote fracturing of the surrounding region to greatly increase the flow rate available from low permeability ground.

    After the hole reached final depth it was ‘developed’ which involved pounding a water column into the fractures and lifting [out] sand produced during the fracturing. The equipment we used in the 70’s was ancient and British. It was also successful.

    The much faster “down the hole hammer” makes for quicker work but doesn’t fracture much at all. Hence “borehole”. Boreholes need tracking.

  80. Crispin in Waterloo seems to like to think that everything good was born in England I see.

    Unfortunately, it still takes an American to derive the true of economic potential dem gizmos he so waxes idyllically about.

    Like most Europeans he still is stuck in the past…..

    What has England done for the world – lately?

  81. Interesting that so many commenters bash subsidies for renewable power technologies.

    Then, they praise nuclear power plants, which are also subsidized.

    It is quite instructive that men with the money (e.g. Warren Buffet) will not invest in a new nuclear power plant in the USA. Buffet could easily write a check for the entire cost, and eliminate the financing costs. But, he is far too smart for that.

    Commenters above maintain Renewable subsidies, bad. Nuclear subsidies, good. Double standard?

    Oh, and if three nuclear plants can be built for $15 billion in the USA, that is certainly big news. The two reactors under construction at Vogtle are at this time expected to cost a bit more than $17 billion. That will certainly increase as construction delays occur. Final cost will almost certainly be more than $20 billion.

    Nuclear is nuts.

  82. wws
    Thanks for your information.
    Re: George Mitchell

    One of my oldest memories (about age 5 or 6) is walking with an uncle across a hillside from tank to tank to drain the water and prepare the oil for the tank truck that would soon come to haul it to a refinery. This was in north central Pennsylvania near the town of Duke Center. Another uncle had been one of the drillers in that area but never took me to one of his sites. He died before I was old enough to go along. Anyway, for the above reasons (and more), I always pay attention to the stories of folks from such industries. I did not have time earlier to go looking for this:

    When George Mitchell died last year his exploits were widely reported. This one in the Wall Street Journal has a photo and also mentions “The Woodlands” north of Houston.

    http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887323971204578630274272119006

    July 26, 2013 by Tom Fowler

  83. Stephen Richards says: March 2, 2014 at 8:44 am

    The UK people have shown courage in adversity before

    Only when lead by the nose, otherwise known as politicians.

    That’s seriously insulting to those who fought through the last world war and lost loved ones in that war and in other conflict area’s since then.

  84. A. Scott says:
    March 2, 2014 at 3:58 am
    I’m surprised no one has brought up Iceland …

    You should mention to your greenie friends that geologically unique Iceland, which sits atop a “hot spot” on a spreading ocean ridge, is the only place in the world where you can take geothermal energy in significant quantities without depleting the thermal source. Everywhere else, you are simply mining heat, and the mine will be exhausted just as if you were pulling up minerals.

    And, there are a whole 300,000 people in Iceland, with a low population density.

  85. @ Roger Sowell. “Nuclear is nuts”.

    It’s not really double standards, renewables are simply not viable and the energy storage to enable any serious use of renewables has yet to be invented. Nuclear will be providing baseload long after all the wind turbines have rusted away, and the world is finally out of coal, oil and gas.

    How much energy does it take to mine, smelt. manufacture, transport, install, maintain and proveide backup power and dispose of those bird choppers, more than they produce over their lifetime ?

    Wind turbines are nuts.

  86. An American, an Englishman and a Canadian were having a drink in a bar when the American suddenly started to blink his eyes rapidly from behind his eye glasses.

    “What are you doing” asked the Englishman.

    “Sorry, I’m just answering an email” said the American.

    A few minutes later the Englishman started making vigorous tapping noises on his wristwatch.

    “What are you doing” asked the American.

    “Sorry, I just unlocked the door to let my kids into the house after school using my wrist computer” said the Englishman.

    As the Canadian looked on he realized that he didn’t have any special technology and, feeling a bit put out, went to the washroom and stuffed two feet of toilet paper into the crack of his bum, then came out and sat back down in his chair.

    A few minutes later the American started blinking his eyes rapidly and the Englishman started tapping his wristwatch vigorously so the Canadian stood up, pulled down his pants, started pulling the toilet paper out of his bum and yelled “Hey, I’m getting a fax”.

  87. Crispin in Waterloo: Wasn’t alternating current promoted successful by that Croat? Against the wishes of Edison? In the end we needed both.

    I assume you refer to Charles Steinmetz. He was actually born in Germany. Makes no difference to your point though. Good science knows no national boundaries.

  88. That’s seriously insulting to those who fought through the last world war and lost loved ones in that war and in other conflict area’s since then

    You are conflating now with 1939. The population of the UK has changed and changed fundamentally since the ’50s and ’60s. Education standards have fallen massively. When I was 7 I was learning maths they do at 10 now and when I was 10 I was doing maths they do at 14 now. At 14 I was studying calculus they do that at 17 and 18 now. The spoken English in England is appalling.

    Education ‘ or the lack of ) is the key to all the problems we see across europe and the UK.

  89. Storing the energy from windturbines is not a pipe dream. MIT (some smart guys there) have developed a storage system for offshore windturbines.

    “Whenever the wind turbines produce more power than is needed, that power would be diverted to drive a pump attached to the underwater structure, pumping seawater from a 30-meter-diameter (100 feet, approximately) hollow sphere. Later, when power is needed, water would be allowed to flow back into the sphere through a turbine attached to a generator, and the resulting electricity sent back to shore.”

    http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2013/wind-power-even-without-the-wind-0425.html

  90. @ yirgach; re your assertion that nuclear power plants are cheaper than coal. And cheaper than solar thermal.

    No, they are not. The California Energy Commission published a 2010 study that shows a Westinghouse AP1000 nuclear plant, single-reactor, is far more costly than the two items you claim. Nuclear costs about 34 cents per kWh, coal-derived power about 18 cents, and solar thermal is about 30 cents.

  91. @ John F. Hultquist, see my comment at 11:05 a.m. this date. No waiting required.

    Grid-scale energy storage has several technologies. The MIT proposal is probably the most economic. Others are not yet economic.

    However, they will certainly become economic if and when nuclear power plants are built in large numbers.

    You and I have disagreed over nuclear power many times. I don’t make this stuff up, it is all in the factual disclosures on construction costs and operating costs.

  92. Just a note for Crispin – Bell was in Boston working with local electrical engineer Watson when he invented the telephone, backed by his future father-in-law Hubbard. He was in Ontario prior to moving to Boston, but filed patent in US, just hours before Elisha Gray filed his version.
    No implications intended, just wanted the history correct.
    Taylor

  93. “Please, “Using good old Yankee ingenuity” enough of the jingoistic drivel. engineers from all over the world have known about the ‘next mile’ extraction of carbon reserves for decades.”

    Fracking was first used commercially in American oil drilling (late 1940’s). It became common all over the world in the decades to follow to increase oil production (natural gas was mostly just burnt off as a waste product)

    The so-called “Fracking Revolution” was the idea of combining horizontal drilling techniques perfected in the 1990’s with more advanced fracking techniques to liberate oil and gas from “tight formations”. This allowed a single well to have numerous horizontal shafts, each fractured and held open by fracking techniques and fluids. So where a single shaft produced far too little hydrocarbons to be economical, a system of horizontal shafts made it economical as long as prices stay high.

    Like all great “inventions”, it was a natural evolution and someone somewhere was going to put the pieces together sometime to make a profit. It happened in America because it had all the pieces and capitalism encourages the entrepreneur. It could have started in any other capitalistic country that had a strong energy industry, but odds favored it would take hold in America (size, wealth, oil industry).

  94. Roger Sowell;
    “Whenever the wind turbines produce more power than is needed, that power would be diverted to drive a pump attached to the underwater structure, pumping seawater from a 30-meter-diameter (100 feet, approximately) hollow sphere. Later, when power is needed, water would be allowed to flow back into the sphere through a turbine attached to a generator, and the resulting electricity sent back to shore.”

    I truly an tired of your anti-nuclear zealotry which rivals the CAGW crowd on the strength of its religious convictions rather than facts, determined smear campaigns to instill fear, and blatant attempts to present alternatives as being viable when they are not. On this last point, your quote above is a shining example. One completely lame brained uneconomical ridiculous scheme stapled on top of another lame brained uneconomical ridiculous scheme doesn’t result in anything other than a system so stupifyingly idiotic that it could only be presented with a straight face by a lawyer on mission.

  95. The history of renewable energy in the US is predicated on a false notion of natural gas scarcity. Having worked in the oil and gas industry for more than two decades, it is apparent to me how the windturbines and solar power plants were created.

    In the late 1970s, President Jimmy Carter (who has an engineering degree and should have known better) declared that the US was running out of natural gas. Fears of skyrocketing prices for natural gas led to the subsidy of wind and solar power systems. Carter was wrong, of course, as events have shown. We have technologies, as some above have commented on, that have produced ample gas supplies and driven the price downward to around $4 per million Btu (British thermal units). As I write on my blog, the technology geeks are winning.

    Peak Oil promoters, and peak natural gas doomsayers continue to this day to spread unfounded alarmism that fossil fuels will run out someday, and we must therefore promote government subsidies to develop efficient and cost-effective renewable energy plants.

    • At 11:21 AM on 2 March, Roger Sowell had observed:

      Peak Oil promoters, and peak natural gas doomsayers continue to this day to spread unfounded alarmism that fossil fuels will run out someday, and we must therefore promote government subsidies to develop efficient and cost-effective renewable energy plants.

      This brings me to consider yet again a question:

      Are hydrocarbon fuels (including methane “natural gas”) really fossil fuels – i.e., necessarily derived from the residua of the biosphere – or are they actually abiotic?

      It’s fairly well established that the Earth is an aggregation of protoplanetary materials which include the lighter and heavier elements that are today found in microgravity as planetestimals which reach the Earth’s atmosphere as meteors and the Earth’s surface as meteorites, and thus we have some “biopsies” of their composition.

      Much of what we find in these planetesimals gives us to note the presence of carbonaceous chondrites, which are acknowledged to be the primitive source of the carbon compounds from which life had arisen on Earth.

      How is it that these extremely primitive chondritic materials which had been in great part the mass aggregated into our planet during its earliest formation are not the direct “building blocks” from which methane (CH4) and other predominantly abiotic hydrocarbon compounds are now being accessed by way of exploiting the deeper geological strata?

      The “Peak Oil” contention relies on its premise that the elements of these fuel and hydrocarbon chemical feedstocks had to have been accumulated and modified by life in order to be extracted from our planetary environment, and there’s a limitation on the suitable “work product” that life has been able to turn out over billions of years.

      But what if that premise doesn’t reflect what geology in addition to biology had done to cosmological phenomena?

  96. @ davidmhoffer,

    It appears your blood pressure is elevated. Are simple facts a problem for you? It must truly aggravate you to see a mainstream, prestigious university (MIT) publish a solution to the intermittent energy storage problem.

    It will be great fun to watch as these systems are installed and work quite well in the coming years.

  97. The radio…
    1 – Maxwell (English) – predicts radio waves in 1864
    2 – Hertz (German) – first to transmit / receive radio waves in 1885
    3 – Tesla (Serbian-American) – proposes theory of radio wave transmission in 1893
    4 – Marconi (Italian) – starts experimenting with radio transmission in 1894-1895
    First trans-Atlantic radio transmission by Marconi in 1901
    First commercial radio broadcast by PCGG (Dutch) in 1916
    First national broadcaster in the world by the BBC in 1926
    First transistor (pocket) radio invented by Texas Instruments (American) in 1954
    Prior to that it was widely known that pockets were a standard 2′ by 4′

  98. Yet another grid-scale wind-energy storage system, this one patented in the US in March, 2012.

    “ABSTRACT
    A method and apparatus for compressed gas energy storage using underwater tanks for storing and releasing compressed gas in offshore wind farms has been disclosed.”

    Patent Publication number US20120061973 A1

  99. @RACookPE1978 –

    Very well said – and let me add this: the cost of removing and cleaning up after the wind turbines and solar arrays should be borne by those who promoted them. And I would include in that cost full reimbursement to all electric ratepayers who paid double and triple and quadruple rates for electricity because of carbon taxes and renewable mandates.

    Who would pay?
    – All politicians everywhere who supported this criminal waste of resources
    – All shareholders of the companies that “invested” in “renewable” energy
    – All members of green NGOs that supported and advocated “renewable” energy

    Surely there are enough of these people, and they have enough assets, to cover at least a good chunk of these costs.

    Justice.

  100. Re Roger Sowell comment about energy storage, offshore solution is way to specialized to brig much impact, but check out SustainX of Seabrook, NH. They are working on a utility-scale solution that has attracted a lot of VC money.
    Big issue has always been need for fossil backup for wind/solar. If the storage problem can be solved, it might not fix the economics and other issues, but it would certainly improve them.
    Taylor

  101. Roger Sowell;
    It appears your blood pressure is elevated. Are simple facts a problem for you? It must truly aggravate you to see a mainstream, prestigious university (MIT) publish a solution to the intermittent energy storage problem.

    Simple facts would be great. As soon as you start providing something other than half truths, I’ll be happy to engage. As for MIT, this particular piece of nonsense aggravates me no more than any of the CAGW swill that emerges from the same institution. Suggesting that it is credible because it comes from MIT is no more that argument from authority, a favorite tactic of the CAGW crowd that you have appropriated for your own purposes. Care to post the cost of building and maintaining such a system? Then compare that to the amount of energy that can be practically stored?

    This is a great idea that works fine as long as it is funded by taxes. Take it out of the academic world and it will fail without continued subsidies. You can twist and turn all you want, this idea is dead from the get go.

  102. A to you all Horizontal drilling in the bakken with fracking first occurred in the 1980s, the technique was abandoned with the collapse of oil prices in the mid 80. Fracking was first patented in the 1860s in the US it was crude back them, it was just a explosive charge set off in the well. I do not know when hydraulic fracking came in I believe it was some in the mid 20th century. I all can say it was common in the North Dakota oil patch in the1980s. So from what I know the groundwork for this oil boom was laid late in the last oil boom, funny how profit spurs on development.

  103. CD (@CD153) says:
    March 2, 2014 at 8:09 am

    It is my understanding that these contraptions require a rare earth element (REE) known as neodymium. Besides the fact that mining REEs are polluting, neodymium is obviously a finite resource because we extract it from the ground much the same as fossil fuels. So if a raw material needed for the manufacture of wind turbines comes from the ground and is not recyclable, how can tapping into wind power be considered sustainable and renewable?

    The neodymium (I would guess) is depleted of its magnetic properties at the end of the turbine’s life

    Neodymium magnets are used (about one ton per alternator) to reduce the weight of the alternator in the nacelle. They are not especially rare, but they are chemically very similar to neighboring elements and hence difficult to separate chemically.

    China decided to dominate REE production, and since they’re much less concerned about their environment, they got the business for now.

    Neodymium doesn’t get used up any more than iron does in a magnet. The most difficult things to recycle in a wind turbine are waste oil and rotor blades.

  104. @ davidmhoffer, If you will take the trouble to actually read MIT’s press release, link provided in my comment of 11:05, you will find the factual data you seek. Costs, capacities, all those are there.

    As for “argument from authority”, that is rich! The self-appointed fact-police on WUWT howl bitterly when assertions are made (that they don’t like) with no supporting link or authority provided.

    Now you are howling equally bitterly that the link I provided is not-allowed because it is an “argument from authority”. Which is it, are links allowed or not?

    Do you want to try arguing the actual facts, the engineering, the economics? Can you provide sound, good engineering practice and economics as to why and how such a system will fail?

  105. You should mention to your greenie friends that geologically unique Iceland, which sits atop a “hot spot” on a spreading ocean ridge, is the only place in the world where you can take geothermal energy in significant quantities without depleting the thermal source. Everywhere else, you are simply mining heat, and the mine will be exhausted just as if you were pulling up minerals. And, there are a whole 300,000 people in Iceland, with a low population density.

    Yes … that was my point – that Iceland is extremely unique, and only has the population of a small city, and as such its energy situation is not remotely applicable to any other area.

    Shoulda used the /sarc tag ;-)

  106. Roger Sowell says to davidmhoffer:
    March 2, 2014 at 11:28 am

    It appears your blood pressure is elevated. Are simple facts a problem for you? It must truly aggravate you to see a mainstream, prestigious university (MIT) publish a solution to the intermittent energy storage problem.

    One thing I’ve learned from WUWT is that the more prestigious the source, the more critically one should look at their press releases.

    For example, in 2008 http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2008/oxygen-0731.html says in part:

    ‘Major discovery’ from MIT primed to unleash solar revolution
    Scientists mimic essence of plants’ energy storage system

    In a revolutionary leap that could transform solar power from a marginal, boutique alternative into a mainstream energy source, MIT researchers have overcome a major barrier to large-scale solar power: storing energy for use when the sun doesn’t shine.

    Requiring nothing but abundant, non-toxic natural materials, this discovery could unlock the most potent, carbon-free energy source of all: the sun. “This is the nirvana of what we’ve been talking about for years,” said MIT’s Daniel Nocera, the Henry Dreyfus Professor of Energy at MIT and senior author of a paper describing the work in the July 31 issue of Science. “Solar power has always been a limited, far-off solution. Now we can seriously think about solar power as unlimited and soon.”

    The key component in Nocera and Kanan’s new process is a new catalyst that produces oxygen gas from water; another catalyst produces valuable hydrogen gas. The new catalyst consists of cobalt metal, phosphate and an electrode, placed in water. When electricity — whether from a photovoltaic cell, a wind turbine or any other source — runs through the electrode, the cobalt and phosphate form a thin film on the electrode, and oxygen gas is produced.

    Combined with another catalyst, such as platinum, that can produce hydrogen gas from water, the system can duplicate the water splitting reaction that occurs during photosynthesis.

    Note how the story degrades from storing solar energy to electrolysing water.

    In 2010, http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2010/nocera-0514.html says in part:

    Now, in research being reported this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS), Nocera, along with postdoctoral researcher Mircea Dincă and graduate student Yogesh Surendranath, report the discovery of yet another material that can also efficiently and sustainably function as the oxygen-producing electrode. This time the material is nickel borate, made from materials that are even more abundant and inexpensive than the earlier find.

    John Turner, a research fellow at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado, calls this a nice result, but says that commercial electrolyzers already exist that have better performance than these new laboratory versions. “The question then is under what circumstances would this system provide some advantage over the existing commercial systems,” he says.

    The original discovery has already led to the creation of a company, called Sun Catalytix, that aims to commercialize the system in the next two years.

    Now, what’s Sun Catalytix doing? http://www.suncatalytix.com/tech.html says in toto:

    Our technology

    Sun Catalytix was founded to discover and develop new earth abundant materials for energy conversion processes. The company is now developing an affordable, safe and scaleable energy storage technology. Current efforts focus on the design, synthesis, and electrochemical testing of molecular redox shuttles for energy storage. The company’s design principles prioritize earth-abundant materials with low cost that operate under benign conditions. This combination of attributes enables the design of energy storage systems that surpass the performance and cost achieved by all legacy chemistries.

    I think they’re trying to make a new battery.

  107. Roger Sowell;
    Costs, capacities, all those are there.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>

    So post them for discussion. Cost of a single unit, maintenance over 30 years, and the amount of energy it can store. I’ve read enough drivel of this sort to know it is as waste of my time to slog through the paper. If it is all there, simply put the numbers up for discussion.

  108. Roger Sowell – the MIT system of wind storage does nothing to address the real storage issue.

    One such 25-meter sphere in 400-meter-deep water could store up to 6 megawatt-hours of power, the MIT researchers have calculated; that means that 1,000 such spheres could supply as much power as a nuclear plant for several hours

    It would take one thousand 75 foot concrete spheres somehow anchored 1200 feet deep … then connected to and “anchoring” massive wind turbines on the surface … to provide “several hours” of power.

    That is not any solution to the real intermittency issue at all. Like all renewables, its a massively expensive boondoggle that looks great in a press release, but would be a costly failure in the real world.

    This “storage” – the ability to provide “several hours” of backup power – may address “operating” intermittency – the fluctuations in power during the time the wind generators are operating. But it does essentially nothing useful to address the REAL problem – to provide power for the 75+% capacity factor time the turbines are not generating power.

    Wind generation can go days or even weeks without generating ANY power. THAT is the real storage issue, and MIT’s solution does nothing to address that serious deficiency.

  109. @ Ric Werme. You misunderstand, I think. The MIT press release describes a way to use solar energy via photovoltaics to electrolyze water to produce hydrogen. The hydrogen is stored for later use, perhaps in use in fuel cells.

    What to me is much more interesting is the research to cut out the electricity generation step.

    As I wrote on my blog in June 2008,

    there is an incredible new energy technology that is looming. What went virtually un-noticed four years ago was a breakthrough in basic research by scientists at Imperial College London. As reported . . . in the journal Science, these researchers found the precise atomic structure of the protein in plants that splits water into hydrogen and oxygen during photosynthesis. The structure is a cube with an appendage at one corner. This discovery will allow, after a period of more research and development, the production of vast quantities of hydrogen from sunlight and water, at ambient temperature and pressure. The only question, I believe, is how long it will be from laboratory discovery to commercialization.”

    http://sowellslawblog.blogspot.com/2008/06/observations-on-refining-industry.html

  110. John F. Hultquist says:
    March 1, 2014 at 10:34 pm

    On March 17, 1949, Halliburton performed the first two commercial hydraulic fracturing treatments

    Since Erle P Halliburton was born in Tennessee I wouldn’t say that fracking was ‘Yankee’ ingenuity. :)

  111. @ davidmhoffer, do your own homework. By wearing my engineer’s hat, I am satisfied with MIT’s numbers. You, by your own admission, have not even read the article. It is up to you to provide a valid, credible refutation. The fact that you have not done so speaks volumes.

  112. A. Scott;
    It would take one thousand 75 foot concrete spheres somehow anchored 1200 feet deep … then connected to and “anchoring” massive wind turbines on the surface … to provide “several hours” of power.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Not to mention that the work by letting water in and using a turbine to generate electricity. So now you either have a turbine to maintain at 1200 feet, or you’ve got to have the plumbing combing up from 1200 feet to the surface (that works really well with the surface being perturbed by tides and storms, snarc) or you need a mechanism to send it up and down on demand for servicing.

    That anyone thinks this is a remotely practical is beyond me.

  113. @ A. Scott, you have some valid points. However, offshore wind in the US is much more stable and generally of higher speed than the wind across the land. Below is a link showing the average wind speeds in the US, from NREL, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Note the areas offshore along the West Coast, South Texas, and most of the East Coast.

    http://energy.gov/eere/wind/wind-resource-assessment-and-characterization

    The major problem with offshore windturbines is storms. However, even during storms, with the turbines shut down for safety, off-peak power from shore generation can be used to pump out the hollow concrete storage tanks. Peak power can be provided the next day from the concrete storage tanks.

  114. Technically all renewable energy is nuclear.
    All energy comes from the sun, the sun is a nuclear energy source.
    Therefor.
    As with us, western canadians, cleaning up the biggest natural oil spill known to man, the alternate energy zealots, remain deluded.
    Unfit for the purpose, wind and solar are wonderful in their eyes.
    Especially if someone else is paying for it.
    The Catastrophic Climate scam,this “alternate” non energy subsidy mining are all of the same ilk.
    Robbing the many, to enrich the few.

    These attempts to harvest the wind, collect the sun and the half assed storage “solutions” so far have failed to produce the energy wasted in their manufacture and assembly.
    Very different from hydroelectric, coal fired plants and nuclear.
    Electricity is currently the lifeblood of civilization.
    This is the reason the secular anti humanists are deliberately seeking to destroy the electrical infrastructure.
    I call it idiocy and treason.

  115. Preliminary estimates indicate that one such sphere could be built and deployed at a cost of about $12 million

    $12 million each x 1,000 = $12 billion dollars, to provide ‘a couple hours’ of power. How ridiculous – that is NO solution. You could build 2 to 6 complete power plants for that cost – that would provide power 24/7/365

  116. Maryland has big plans for off-shore windturbine energy.

    The Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act of 2013 creates a mechanism to incentivize the development of up to 500 megawatts (MW) of offshore wind capacity, at least ten nautical miles off of Maryland’s coast. A target project size of 200 MW would require the installation an estimated 40 turbines off the coast of Ocean City.”

    http://www.governor.maryland.gov/documents/MOWEA2013FactSheetMEA.pdf

  117. Roger Sowell;
    However, even during storms, with the turbines shut down for safety, off-peak power from shore generation can be used to pump out the hollow concrete storage tanks. Peak power can be provided the next day from the concrete storage tanks.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Oh goodie. We can use on shore power to charge the off shore storage when the off shore wind generators are down due to storms. All we have to do it talk to the storms in advance and make certain that they don’t show up on a time table that is inconvenient, or last for more than a few hours, which would be even more inconvenient. All at a stupendous capex and opex cost.

    Hey, I have a brilliant idea. Why not use the lower cost on shore capacity in the first place since you have to build it anyway!

  118. A. Scott;
    $12 million each x 1,000 = $12 billion dollars, to provide ‘a couple hours’ of power.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Not to mention the maintenance cost which would be stupendous. Sowell avoids putting the numbers into the discussion for this precise reason.

  119. @ davidmhoffer, you miss the obvious. Onshore power generators must cycle up and down to meet the demand. Having a demand at off-peak hours and a separate power source for on-peak hours allows the on-shore generating plants to operate in a more stable manner. Plus, the on-peak power from the windturbines’ storage system will be sold at a higher price. The windturbines will be closer to being profitable, perhaps not requiring any subsidy at all.

  120. “Fracking” has such an appealingly evil ring to it though. It would be much harder to start an Anti-Mud-Pulse-Controlled-Mud-Drive-Downhole-Drill-Bit activist movement.

  121. Thanks for the clarification about “goyi,” Mr. DeHavelle (at 6:07am). Who knew? (you!) I thought he or she meant that Israel was doing all that nifty stuff he or she is so proud of with natural gas-powered vehicles, lol. Well, I STILL love the Jews!
    ***********************************************

    “I thought maybe another Happy Hamster Dance video would be appropriate. But … .” (Gary Mount at 4:06am today) — “But” NOTHIN’, Gary! GREAT IDEA!! (actually, I considered and rejected that one, but, thanks to YOU (smile)… here it is to celebrate the
    FANTASTIC!
    fact that
    “GREEN” ENERGY IS DEAD
    AND that
    (despite the empty assertions of conceited ignoramuses
    bellowed with reckless indifference as to their truth)

    NUCLEAR POWER IS EFFICIENT AND VIABLE!

    The Hamster Dance Song (the “Hampster” version)

    Yeeeeeeeeeeeeee haaaawwww!
    (go “yankees” — heh)

    #(:))

    Brought to you by…. Your Friendly (yankee) Investment Advisor

  122. Okay. We ALL know that there are GREAT science achievements from ALL OVER THE ENTIRE WORLD. In the interests of restoring any the lost bon homme (except for a certain frothing-at-the-mouth gas bag above) amongst all of us WUWT friends

    THE SMOOTH RUFFLED FEATHERS PROJECT

    Installment #1 — The British Are SUPER SMART
    “Rule, Britannia!”

    Installment #2 — The Scots Are SUPER SMART
    “Scotland the Brave”

  123. Billy Liar says:
    March 2, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    John F. Hultquist says:
    March 1, 2014 at 10:34 pm

    On March 17, 1949, Halliburton performed the first two commercial hydraulic fracturing treatments …

    Since Erle P Halliburton was born in Tennessee I wouldn’t say that fracking was ‘Yankee’ ingenuity. :)
    _________________________
    Good point, and since he decided to build his business in Oklahoma, it proves he was a man of good sense.

  124. Installment #3 — Canadians are SUPER SMART
    “O Canada”

    Installment #4 — Australians are SUPER SMART
    “Waltzing Mathilda”

  125. It is quite apparent that SOME of the WUWT crowd have joyfully adopted the CAGW-believers’ practices and policies regarding their fervent belief in nuclear power: they stay in lock-step with the nuclear-proponents, never question the dogma, and totally ignore the facts that nuclear power is too expensive and too dangerous.

    • At 2:09 PM on 2 March, Roger Sowell had asserted:

      they stay in lock-step with the nuclear-proponents, never question the dogma, and totally ignore the facts that nuclear power is too expensive and too dangerous.

      Hrm. After reading The Health Hazards of Not Going Nuclear (1976), I began a long snail-mail correspondence with the author, Dr. Petr Beckmann (1924-1993), who was by then an emeritus professor of electrical engineering (University of Colorado) and publishing his Access to Energy newsletter.

      Y’know; one of those samizdat print-on-paper things that guys used to do before we got Web logs. Later, he also ran a direct-dial bulletin board system (BBS) called “Fort Freedom” from his home computer.

      In 1981, Dr. Beckmann was the guy who first drew to my attention the great “man-made global warming” bletcherosity, mailing me copies of some clippings he’d harvested and asking my opinion. I told him that these idiots were overstating the greenhouse gas effect of anthropogenic atmospheric CO2 by at least three orders of magnitude. They had their heads hideously wedged as regards their fantasies about the alleged mechanism of action supposedly associated with the undeniable (see Keeling et al) increase in the fraction of this trace gas which was the result of the purposeful combustion of petrochemical fuels.

      In The Health Hazards of Not Going Nuclear, Dr. Beckmann provided a detailed examination of the known health risks associated with all existing forms of electrical power generation, including wind turbines and earth-surface solar panels, calculating by way of robustly reliable standard-of-practice engineering methods the benefits, viability, and risks (both proximal and remote) associated with “infrastructure” as well as operations in each category, including waste handling and disposition methods in use and under consideration.

      He determined that the uranium fuel cycle, for all it’s well-understood and cold-bloodedly acknowledged liabilities, was still intrinsically safer than any other method of baseload electrical power generation suitable for the function of a technological civilization’s industrial economy. Safer than hydroelectric, and safer than the coal cycle by far.

      Including the release of radiation incidental to the coal cycle.

      Given that Roger Sowell‘s assertion that “nuclear power is too expensive and too dangerous” is offered without any support whatsoever, and Dr. Beckmann’s observations and analyses in The Health Hazards of Not Going Nuclear still stand without refutation even 37 years after their publication (and bearing in mind that Dr. Beckmann was continuing his consideration of new data and his conclusions on the subject of electrical power generation by way of his newsletter, Access to Energy, and in his exchanges with various scientifically literate correspondents until he succumbed to cancer in 1993), there’s no reason whatsoever to cede credibility to Roger Sowell on this “too expensive and too dangerous” claim.

      —————————————————-

      What are the facts? Again and again and again — what are the facts? Shun wishful thinking, ignore divine revelation, forget what “the stars foretell,” avoid opinion, care not what the neighbors think, never mind the unguessable “verdict of history” — what are the facts, and to how many decimal places? You pilot always into an unknown future; facts are your single clue. Get the facts!

      – Robert A. Heinlein

  126. Installment #5 — Nederlanders Are SUPER SMART
    “The Wilhelmus”

    Installment #6 — New Zealanders Are SUPER SMART
    “God Defend New Zealand”

  127. {Okay, last one since this is a SCIENCE SITE #(:))}

    Installment #7 — Italians Are SUPER SMART
    “O Sole Mio”

    (they are also excellent musicians, hence, the bel canto song)

    Installment #8 — Danes Are SUPER SMART
    “Der Er En Yndigt Land”

    And the FRENCH ARE SUPER SMART
    And the GERMANS ARE SUPER SMART
    And the ASIANS OF EVERY LAND ARE SUPER SMART
    AND ON AND ON!! (big smile)

    If you do not see your country’s anthem,
    you can feel very proud
    because…
    you are so smart that you did not need your anthem posted.

    #(;))

  128. Thanks, Rrrrrobert of Ottawa. (glad you could get a word in edgewise)

    And… ALAN! Hi. #(:))

  129. The major problem with offshore wind turbines is storms. However, even during storms, with the turbines shut down for safety, off-peak power from shore generation can be used to pump out the hollow concrete storage tanks. Peak power can be provided the next day from the concrete storage tanks.

    A “couple hours” of power for the equivalent of one typical conventional power plant (a million or less homes) – could be provided – at a cost in the billions. And that does not include the costs of the wind turbines – appx $4 million each for a 2 MW ground based model – which would I’m sure be dramatically more in this open ocean setting.

    UPDATE: The “offshore” wind cost increases from appx $4.4 billion per 2,000 MW of onshore wind, to over $12 billion per 2,000 MW for “offshore” wind generation.

    The MIT PR says:

    The 1,000 wind turbines that the spheres could anchor could, on average, replace a conventional on-shore coal or nuclear plant.

    If they are 2 MW nameplate capacity each, 1000 turbines would total 2,000 MW nameplate capacity – but wind turbines at most are going to see an appx 25% capacity factor – they only provide power appx 25% of the time on average …

    So appx $24 billion dollars ($12 billion for 2,000MW of offshore wind turbines plus appx $12 billion for offshore “sphere” storage) … $24 billion to provide 2,000 MW, but only available appx 25% of the time – when the wind blows … plus appx 2 hours extra. And you STILL need 2,000 MW of fossil fueled backup generation, from dirtier, less efficient peaking load plants, for the appx 75% of the time the wind isn’t generating.

    Why the heck would we ever spend $24 billion (plus the cost of backup generation – add one of below) for 2,000 MW power provided appx 25% of the time (plus an extra 2 hours with the sphere storage) when we can spend appx:

    $9.5 billion for 2,000 MW power from a Dual Unit Advanced PC with CCS plant (Coal)
    $4,2 billion for 2,000 MW power from a Advanced CC with CCS plant (NatGas)
    $5.5 billion for 2,000 MW power from a Dual Unit Nuclear plant

    All of which provide 2,000 MW power essentially full time with no need for backup generation.

    http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/capitalcost/xls/table1.xls

  130. It is quite apparent that SOME of the WUWT crowd have joyfully adopted the CAGW-believers’ practices and policies regarding their fervent belief in nuclear power: they stay in lock-step with the nuclear-proponents, never question the dogma, and totally ignore the facts that nuclear power is too expensive and too dangerous.

    Roger … I think we have other viable solutions besides nuclear. Nuclear is very good until it is not – until there is a problem, and until we have to deal with fuel disposal. We have other options including clean coal and better yet Natural gas generation with its lower emissions and significantly lower costs. And we have plenty of Nat Gas – its in strong supply.

    For those reasons I do not support nuclear, despite its advantages. Like you I think we should use renewables to the extent they are commercially viable and sustainable – but not where they are dramatically more expensive and have worse emissions profiles.

    I support ethanol, as it meets all those – renewable, sustainable, reduced emissions etc. Yet huge numbers of people attack ethanol – with reasons that are easily disproved – yet actual facts make little difference to those with a fervent belief.

    We SHOULD support use of renewables. Even if fossil fuels are not in immediate short supply, they ARE a finite resource … any solution that reduces their use extend the supply. But it is simply stupid to use technology that is not viable or sustainable, that leaves the citizenry and environment worse off, in doing so.

  131. Roger Sowell says:
    March 2, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    The thing about nuclear power, and for that matter, fossil fuel power, is that it doesn’t require any workarounds to provide plentiful reliable power. Nor does it require a huge and unwieldy grid distribution system because there are many, many fewer supply nodes in the network.

    You seem especially frightened of radiation, considering you live surrounded by a myriad sources of the same and you wouldn’t hesitate to fly in an airplane which substantially increases your exposure. Nor, I suspect, would you turn down any of the medical uses of radiation. You probably need to learn more about it:

    http://www.nuceng.ca/canteachmirror/cnsc.html

    Try Week 3 01.

  132. A. Scott;
    $12 million each x 1,000 = $12 billion dollars, to provide ‘a couple hours’ of power.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Not to mention the maintenance cost which would be stupendous. Sowell avoids putting the numbers into the discussion for this precise reason.

    Actually not true … the fixed and variable O&M – at least according to the EIA (see link in post above) are no dramatically different between Coal, NatGas, Nuclear and even offshore wind generators. O&M on the spheres is unknown but I imagine small due to minimal operating parts… that said when maint IS required – at 1200 to 2,200 foot depths – maintenance WILL eb a real issue …

  133. A.Scott: I’m not a nuclear proponent because right now it’s not politically viable. I do believe that within a hundred it will become our primary energy source, especially if we get our arms around controlled fusion, but I probably won’t live to see it.

    That’s Okay though. I’m very happy being a fracking and proppant proponent.

  134. Roger Sowell says:
    March 2, 2014 at 1:47 pm
    @ davidmhoffer, you miss the obvious. Onshore power generators must cycle up and down to meet the demand.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Uh huh. Which is why the system has to be built with peak capacity in the first place. Since the system is built with peak capacity already provisioned, it makes no sense to leave that capacity unused in order to provide expensive wind power along with expensive storage capacity.

    A. Scott and I are discussing the economics based on the facts that you are loath to post in the forum. Says a lot about YOU.

  135. Hey, I have a brilliant idea. Why not use the lower cost on shore capacity in the first place since you have to build it anyway!

    David – exactly! We MUST have 100% dedicated backup generation – from less efficient, dirtier “peaking load” power plants – able to scale to instantaneous demand when sun goes down/under clouds or wind stops blowing – online and running 24/7/365. These plants cost FAR less to build than offshore power, let alone nearly doubling the already massively higher costs by adding the silly and largely useless sphere storage.

    If we have to build or dedicate backup generation and keep it running 24/7/365, then there is little or no point in building the “renewable” layer on top of that – which can only operate at a 20% to 25% capacity factor.

  136. Roger Sowell says:
    March 2, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    @ Ric Werme. You misunderstand, I think. The MIT press release describes a way to use solar energy via photovoltaics to electrolyze water to produce hydrogen. The hydrogen is stored for later use, perhaps in use in fuel cells.

    Nope, I distinctly remembered the 2008 press release and its emphasis that it would usher in an era of solar power. (Well, I thought today it was wind power, but I’ve been focused on that lately.) A coworker forwarded it to me when he tried to describe it and I got all fouled up thinking it was an advance in photodisassociation. I still don’t understand why MIT called out PV, I suppose that “renewable electricity” would have been confusing too.

    At any rate, one advantage H2 production would have is wind or PV farms could make hydrogen whenever they could and stuff it into a pipeline. No AC phasing, energy storage easily done, no electrical towers further spoiling the view, etc. I assume it’s not done now because of efficiency reasons in creating and using the hydrogen.

  137. A. Scott;
    Actually not true … the fixed and variable O&M – at least according to the EIA (see link in post above) are no dramatically different between Coal, NatGas, Nuclear and even offshore wind generators. O&M on the spheres is unknown but I imagine small due to minimal operating parts… that said when maint IS required – at 1200 to 2,200 foot depths – maintenance WILL eb a real issue …
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    The O&M from your chart is for off shore wind, I don’t see anything for the spheres and their attendant infrastructure at all. The spheres have to have a pump each and a turbine and generator each. That’s a lot of gear to be maintained at 1200 feet. Unless you run all the plumbing up to the surface and place the pumps, turbines and generators there. Then you have to deal with a constantly changing distance between the spheres and the gear which will have difficulty with tides, but storm surges would be insane. There’s no way to make something like this economic, and there is no reason to do so. The people that build and maintain the wind farms win, everyone else loses.

  138. @davidmhoffer

    I know absolutely nothing about these spheres, but can tell you the Oil & Gas industry has been dealing with deep water maintence, constantly changing distances, tides, and storm surges for decades and is constantly improving the technology to go still deeper.

    While I personally think wind power on a large scale is a dumb idea, the solutions to deep water maintenance problems have already been developed.

  139. Bonanzapilot says:
    March 2, 2014 at 3:21 pm
    @davidmhoffer
    I know absolutely nothing about these spheres, but can tell you the Oil & Gas industry has been dealing with deep water maintence,
    >>>>>>>>>>>>

    Completely different economics and completely different engineering problem.

  140. Rud Istvan says:
    March 2, 2014 at 6:33 am

    Spot-on Rud. I was thinking of writing something like that up but you nailed it very well.

  141. @ davidmhoffer, you miss the obvious. Onshore power generators must cycle up and down to meet the demand. Having a demand at off-peak hours and a separate power source for on-peak hours allows the on-shore generating plants to operate in a more stable manner. Plus, the on-peak power from the windturbines’ storage system will be sold at a higher price. The windturbines will be closer to being profitable, perhaps not requiring any subsidy at all.

    Roger … wind (and solar) power DE-stabilize existing generating plants by removing power demand from the grid which causes the more efficient base load generating plants to operate less efficiently. It also causes a significant share of the power demand to be shifted to inefficient and dirtier “peak load” plants – which, unlike base load plants, can instantaneously react to changing power demands.

    Germany has found out that their large scale shift to solar has INCREASED overall emissions because of this shift from base load to peaking load generation. Germany’s overall emissions are up something like 1.5% while the EU overall is down appx 1.3% … a total increase for Germany of appx 2.8% …. at the same time Germany’s electric prices have skyrocketed.

    Wind power is NOT a reliable peak load supplier – as it can go days with little or no wind power generated. The sphere storage might conceivably help with peak power demands but if you expend that energy in that way it is no longer available to handle the “operational” intermittency.

    And at $12 billion dollars for the equivalent of a “couple hours” output of a single conventional plant it is of very limited value. You cannot possibly charge enough, even in a peak pricing environment, for that small amount of power to offset the massive costs of building the system.

  142. Maybe, but many technologies have cross-industry applications. Anyway the Society of Petroleum Engineers has some pretty good information outside [its] pay wall if anyone is interested.

    http://www.spe.org/

  143. So, I have a bit of real work to do and return to find a report of a solution to energy needs.
    hydrogen
    Real soon now, and on utility scale.

    Get back to me when this problem is solved — embrittlement
    When tensile stresses are applied to a hydrogen embrittled component it may fail prematurely. Hydrogen embrittlement failures are frequently unexpected and sometimes catastrophic. An externally applied load is not required as the tensile stresses may be due to residual stresses in the material.

    http://metallurgyfordummies.com/hydrogen-embrittlement/

    And an update on BPA wind power.
    There was an uptick from near Zero near 11:59 PM Feb 28th, then down and another uptick on March 1st. Now near Zero again as it has been since last Monday. Useless.

  144. To Roger Sowell,

    If your claim to be an Engineer is to be beleived then your endorsment of a Rube Goldbergian a proposal to sink enormous hollow spheres into the ocean 1200 feet deep and to claim energy on a 24×7 basis as needed is insane.

    if you paid tuition to receive your degree, you were cheated.

    If they taught you anything of science and technology and and you believe any of this tripe, they had best rescind your degree to save face, for producing such juvenile nonsense.

    Perhaps your degree was received from Nocturnal Aviation University and I beg you pardon. You got what you paid for, and they would be proud of their graduate’s perspicacity.

    Coincidentally, I also have a process that reversibly produces net energy in both directions, that you might be interested in investing in.

  145. Another major benefit of windturbines: they make nuclear power plants un-economic. With low off-peak prices, when wind produces the most power, nuclear power plants at baseload just cannot compete. The response is to shut down the nuclear power plants.

    Blame it on the wind. “Renewable energy has flooded the wind-rich region, driven by New York’s renewable portfolio standard,” the Morningstar report notes. “Upstate New York off-peak power prices have fallen to $32 per megawatt hour as of mid-2013 from $55/MWh in 2008. Transmission bottlenecks prevent the (nuclear) plants from tapping the state’s eastern markets, where power prices are 30% higher.” “ — refers to the Ginna and Fitzpatrick nuclear power plants, both located in New York State.

    http://grist.org/news/the-six-u-s-nuclear-power-plants-most-likely-to-shut-down/ Nov, 2013

    Clearly, wind-power plants are an existential threat to nuclear power plants. It is little wonder that pro-nuclear people are so vehemently anti-wind power.

  146. @ stas peterson, my degree is quite sound, thank you for mentioning it. I studied nuclear engineering as part of the chemical engineering curriculum at a top university. I hold a bachelor of science in chemical engineering. Major clients in the US and world-wide paid excellent fees for my engineering expertise for more than 20 years, and were quite satisfied. It that is not good enough for you, then that is just your problem.

    Please read the MIT article carefully, as it does not say what you wrote just above. The energy production is not claimed as 24/7. The hollow spheres provide several hours of power production.

  147. Roger Sowell;
    Clearly, wind-power plants are an existential threat to nuclear power plants. It is little wonder that pro-nuclear people are so vehemently anti-wind power.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Nonsense. A. Scott is anti-nuclear and I’m pro. We’re both anti-wind for the reasons that you have failed to address upthread. You are demonstrably unable to engage on the facts.

  148. The MIT proposal has spheres for storage, a proper choice for underwater. A sphere minimizes the amount of material required for the volume enclosed, and a sphere is strong to withstand the pressures from seawater.

    For those who criticize the lack of power generation, please note that the amount of energy stored can be doubled by increasing the spheres’ diameter from 25 to 32 meters. The properties of spheres allows this while increasing the installed costs only 30 percent, approximately.

    For those who criticize the underwater aspect, and increased maintenance costs for the pumps, turbines and generators, it need not be difficult. The mechanical equipment will likely be installed in a room at atmospheric pressure, vented to the atmosphere through the windturbine tower. The room will be adjacent to or on top of the sphere. Workers will have no more difficulty performing maintenance than do workers in a mine at that depth.

  149. Roger Sowell says:
    March 2, 2014 at 8:15 pm
    @ davidmhoffer, MIT’s facts speak for themselves, if you were to actually read them.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    I did. A. Scott did. Their facts were posted in comments upthread, which you studiously ignored. You’re nothing but a paid shill who trumpets his engineering degree but refuses to explain the facts of his position, and finds one excuse after another to answer the criticism of the very factual material he insists be read. You’re completely hollow, and obviously so.

  150. @ferdberple –
    Your example of the rich getting the solar panels and the poor paying for it is a compelling demonstration of how “renewable” energy is an effective device for transferring wealth upward – from poorer to richer.
    Now if we can just get folks to understand that ALL schemes for redistributing wealth transfer it upward, not downward.

  151. Roger Sowell says:
    March 2, 2014 at 8:12 pm
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>

    You once again avoid the main criticisms upthread. So double the capacity, so what? You STILL have a massive capex that is completely uneconomical, and even with the pumps turbines and generators top side, that is still an additional opex cost that is also uneconomical, just less uneconomical than having them at depth, but still uneconomical. And you STILL have only a few hours of capacity when wind may be out for long periods of time due to storms or calm winds, so you STILL have to build the capacity on shore and then not use it. Which makes no sense at all except in your twisted version of reality.

  152. @ davidmhoffer, the best thing about windturbines, onshore or offshore, is they reduce off-peak power prices at night. That forces nuclear power plants to shut down because they just cannot compete economically. How do you like that economic reality?

    Windturbines make perfect sense. They provide an incentive to build more natural gas-fired power plants to replace the uneconomic nuclear plants.

    MIT’s press release gives part of the story, but left out the most important part. With sufficient storage capability, the offshore windturbines can produce power round-the-clock. This provides the double benefit of low off-peak power price to eliminate nuclear power plants, plus production of highly profitable on-peak power to pay for the windturbines.

    Economics and windturbines, equals the death of nuclear power.

  153. To the argument made above that windturbines have a low capacity factor:

    Local weather conditions are a plus. Offshore winds tend to pick up in intensity during the late afternoon during summer months when electricity demand is highest. Otherwise, winds off the Northeast coast are steady. A University of Rhode Island study showed that over 25 years, winds measured off Buzzard’s Bay blew at a regular 15 mph clip—a pace that beats wind rates inland.”

    http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/alternative_energy/2013/03/east_coast_wind_farms_deepwater_wind_and_cape_wind_are_close_to_construction.html from March 2013

    Also, a Stanford study shows that offshore windturbines will have annual capacity factors of 40 to 50 percent.

    The offshore region from Virginia to Maine was found to have the most exceptional overall resource with annual turbine capacity factors (CF) between 40% and 50%, shallow water and low hurricane risk. The best summer resource during peak time, in water of 50 m depth, is found between Long Island, New York and Cape Cod, Massachusetts, due in part to regional upwelling, which often strengthens the sea breeze.”

    http://www.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/Articles/I/Offshore/12DvorakEastCoastWindEn.pdf

  154. Roger Sowell, you argue like you are either:

    1. Suffering from impaired cognition (cause unknown);
    2. Desperate-to-the-point-of-irrationality to prevent your windmill investment from tanking.

    For just ONE example of your weak argumentation:

    At 9:13pm, you fill nearly a page with what amounts to:
    1) land windmills generate less power than those offshore; and
    2) some offshore windmills MIGHT have 40 – 50% cap..

    The only conclusion we can draw from that post (and nearly all of the rest of your posts today) is: So what?

    Ric Werme, Tucci, David M. Hoffer, and A. Scott (and others) have RESOUNDINGLY (and repeatedly) defeated you. Verdict: For Werme, et. al., Sowell to pay costs and fees and treble damages (since there’s a 40 -50% chance that your misleading the public, here, is a Consumer Protection Act violation, heh, heh).

    It soon became clear a loooong time ago that it is pointless to talk to you (you SOUND psychotic — LOL, of COURSE you don’t think so), except to prevent your misleading others (and to just have fun!)…, but,

    NO danger of that, lol.

    Have fun talking to yourself.

  155. Roger Sowell;
    MIT’s press release gives part of the story
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>

    So, after insisting that I read the idiot article, you’re now relying on information you admit wasn’t in it. To sum up, your strategy has been:

    1. To rely on argument from authority, hoping that no one would actually look at the details.
    2.. If they did look at the details, change the subject.
    3. If they refuse to allow you to change the subject, introduce new information that wasn’t part of your original claim.

    Roger, seriously, you’e made a fool of yourself. If wind power was as economical as you claim, private enterprise would be falling all over themselves proposing new plants. There would be no need for subsidies and feed in tarrifs. It would happen by itself. It isn’t happening and it won’t happen unless, and until, it becomes economical. When that happens, I’ll support it. Until then, you’re just blowing smoke. Your hatred of nuclear has blinded you to the simplest of facts. In your blind hate of nuclear, you clutch at any and every straw to defeat your perceived demon.

    What a waste of your talents.

  156. For those who criticize the underwater aspect, and increased maintenance costs for the pumps, turbines and generators, it need not be difficult. The mechanical equipment will likely be installed in a room at atmospheric pressure, vented to the atmosphere through the windturbine tower. The room will be adjacent to or on top of the sphere. Workers will have no more difficulty performing maintenance than do workers in a mine at that depth.

    Roger – these spheres are installed on the sea floor at 400-750 meters (appx 1200 to 2300 feet) below the surface. You are correct, they must somehow be vented to the surface – a huge challenge in itself … however it will require a deep diving submersible and expensive airlock/dock. That is considerably more difficult than descending in a mine shaft at atmospheric pressure.

    MIT’s press release gives part of the story, but left out the most important part. With sufficient storage capability, the offshore windturbines can produce power round-the-clock.

    No Roger, you left out the most important part – MIT tells us the spheres are $12 million each – and they tell us it would take 1,000 of them to provide the equivalent of 2 hours of energy from a typical conventional power plant. That comes out to $12 BILLION dollars in initial capital costs to provide the equivalent of 2 hours of power from a typical SINGLE conventional power plant.

    You claim you can double the capacity of the sphere storage by increasing from 25 to 32 meters across at a cost of 30% more … which would be 1,000 spheres, 100 feet across for a cost of $15.6 billion … and you would then have appx 4 hours of storage from a typical SINGLE conventional power plant.

    The cost to build a SINGLE conventional high tech Natural Gas power plant, which would provide power FULL TIME – not just 4 hours worth – is a FRACTION of the costs of these 1,000 supersized spheres.

    Then there is the massive logistical nightmare – 75 to 100 foot concrete spheres – 1,000 of them, have to be manufactured, somehow transported to the sea, then transported ON the sea and each individually sunk in 1200 to 2300 feet of water. Compared to building ONE SINGLE conventional Nat Gas power plant.

    C’mon Roger, I’m really trying hard to give you the benefit of the doubt, and be respectful of your positions, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see they do not remotely make sense.

  157. I do quire agree that wind turbines and solar panels have serious disadvantages. Solar panels are useless at night, that reduces efficiency by 50%. Wind turbines are useless when wind velocitiy is below the required minimum, but they ‘rock around the clock’, and there are places where the wind very rarely ceases. And these technologies are helpful in areas where there is no conventional power grid available, e.g developing countries, islands etc. There the need of electricity isn’t that high as it is in Europe or Northern America. Yet the problem of how to store the energy harvested remains unsolved. May hydrogenium in connection with fuel cells help? Goyi or gogi has no solution yet and I do not expect the copycats suddenly coming out of the rice field with some groundbreaking technology. So it is us to carry on with research, because within its natural limitations, wind turbines and solar panels will contribute to the wealth of third-world-countries. Growing wealth means diminishing the increase of the population, thus creating more wealth for a decreasing population and earns some profit as well.
    So I think that for this technologysubsidies and research are vital, unless we want to leave that technology to others and see them earning undeserved windfall profits (pun intended).
    It is a shame that Exxon’s CEO Tillerson becomes some sort of killer when his strong opposition to fracking in his vicinity leads to unnecessary delays. He renders a very bad service indeed to his company and fracking itself.
    See

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/02/26/us-usa-fracking-tillerson-idUSBREA1P24O20140226

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/rickungar/2014/02/22/exxon-ceo-profits-huge-as-americas-largest-natural-gas-producer-but-frack-it-in-his-own-backyard-and-he-sues/

  158. It is quite interesting that my denouncers above accept MIT’s cost of $12 million per sphere, but will not accept the other aspects of the system.

    It is also interesting that my denouncers refuse to read carefully, as the MIT article at no time says ” two hours”. The article says “several hours”.

    It is even more interesting that my denouncers missed the entire point about offshore wind having average annual capacity factors, CF, of 40 to 50 percent. The significance of that 40-50 percent is that the power plants on a grid also have about the same CF. Therefore, for my detractors to deride wind power is senseless.

    To A. Scott, I agree that gas-fired CCGT plants are far better than nuclear. I have written about this for many years. Several objective studies confirm, as does industry experience. Wind power, as I wrote above, puts nuclear power out of business. Nuclear plants cannot compete with gas or wind turbines.

    Finally, it is also quite interesting that my detractors howl about renewable subsidies but are silent on subsidies for nuclear power plants. Yet another double standard.

  159. It’s incredible to me that “alternative” energies that are being touted today were marked for extinction by the free market decades and centuries ago. When these events are examined in hindsight, it is proven that the market was exactly right, time and time again.

    I am totally against subsidies for these or any energy, not only because of the absolute waste involved, but also for the fact that constant competition will keep energy technologies on the cutting edge. If the greenies and horse drawn people want “clean” technologies, they should be jumping on the capitalism wagon right now. The future holds the key to their wishes, not backward thinking tyrants or stupid bureaucrats with fists full of cash strong armed from people that can ill-afford another Solindra (sp?…who cares?).

    If we need examples of capitalism’s success ask yourself who saved the whales? John D. Rockerfeller. Who lifted more people out of poverty than Sister Theresa? How about Henry Ford, Bill Gates, or any of the millions of small medium and large business owners. The ills of humanity get solved by millions of people working in their own self interest, and that’s what will give us new and better ways of producing and using energy. The next time somebody tells us that burying 2000 balls in the ocean will help solve our energy “woes”, the correct answer to this person is, “put your money where your mouth is.” We just cannot afford to fund pie-in-the-sky schemes. BTW, they all are, until proven to work.

  160. Roger Sowell says:
    March 3, 2014 at 8:05 am
    It is quite interesting that my denouncers above accept MIT’s cost of $12 million per sphere, but will not accept the other aspects of the system.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    You can have all the other “aspects” of the system you want Roger, the capex dramatically exceeds the value obtained. As for your whining about subsidies to nuclear, no one ever said otherwise. Quit whining and stick the facts and you may gain some respectability back. Frankly you have along way to go.

  161. Succinct. Well done.
    Which governments besides the US are strategically planning on a net decline in GWhrs in electrical power generation from coal?
    The UK. But the threshold of brownouts looks like it is beginning to grab the attention of Westminster. I doubt it will be in time to prevent the train wreck.
    With the election of the Abbott government, coal will be on the rise in AUS.
    Who else? New Zealand?

  162. Roger Sowell says:
    March 3, 2014 at 8:05 am
    It is quite interesting that my denouncers above accept MIT’s cost of $12 million per sphere, but will not accept the other aspects of the system.

    Roger, do you believe the MIT study is either 100% right or 100% wrong?

  163. @Tucci78 at 10:14 pm
    Petr Beckmann and Heinlein in one post. +3 for synergy.
    I still have several years of his pink sheets.
    As I recall, his subscription price at one time was $16/yr… or 4 silver quarters.

  164. Glad you mentioned Tucci, Mr. Rasey, for I forgot to say to him:

    Welcome back (after a few months absence from WUWT), Dr. Tucci!

    And, I JUST HAVE TO SAY THIS (I think this nearly every time I read your name):

    (to the tune of “Figaro”)

    Tuccico, tuccico, tuuuuuuu-ci-co! #(:))

    *********************************
    btw, everyone, we really ought to encourage Mr. Sowell, for he is doing the nuclear power industry a favor: he is doing a SPLENDID job of proving that only a nut could be against it.

  165. Several WUWT readers have commented on the problem of conventional backup power generation, for situations in which the wind doesn’t blow, and where the sun don’t shine. A. Scott hinted at the net efficiency issue. I’d like to follow up on that.

    For the sake of simplicity, I’m only looking at coal-fired power plants and natural gas-fired turbines in the conventional category. Again, for the sake of simplicity, suppose that coal-fired plants provide 100% backup for BASE LOAD when the renewables are FULLY online. Again, for the sake of simplicity, I’m only looking at wind and solar in the renewables category. My analysis also applies when hydro power is a small part of the mix.

    Here are two scenarios when natural gas-fired turbines are called into action:

    1. Base Load, when the renewables are either down, or operating at less than full capacity;
    2. PEAK LOAD.

    When we integrate renewables into a conventional power generation system, the immediate result is less coal use and more natural gas use.

    The good news: Gas-fired turbines are much more dispatchable than coal-fired power plants.

    The bad news: Gas fired turbines — even when they’re not continuosly ramping — are LESS energy efficient than coal fired power plants, continuously operating in their ‘sweet spot’ for energy efficiency.

    This means that at the times when gas turbines come into play in an integrated system, the fossil fuel power generation is LESS energy-efficient than it would be in a rationally-designed conventional set-up.

    In an integrated system, there’s a very real question about the EROEI of that system. Skeptic Larry is speculating that this EROEI is slightly less than 1. In other words, my educated guess is that integrating renewables into a heretofore conventional power generation system DECREASES the energy-efficiency of the entire system.

    If I’m correct about this, then the two most-talked-about renewables have precious little to do with conserving finite supplies of fossil fuels, and everything to do with driving working-class people into ‘energy poverty’, thereby promoting Greenie misanthropic Schadenfreude.

    The EROEI issue is an open question — even when we ignore the total energy invested in constructing the solar and wind facilities, and in mining and transporting the raw materials that go into those facilities. Does anyone have good raw data that we can feed into the limited EROEI calculation that I’m proposing?

  166. It is quite interesting that my denouncers above accept MIT’s cost of $12 million per sphere, but will not accept the other aspects of the system. It is also interesting that my denouncers refuse to read carefully, as the MIT article at no time says ” two hours”. The article says “several hours”.

    Silly, strawman arguments, picking the tiniest of nits … show the weakness of your position. We accept their construction costs because that is what they say it costs … we reject the other aspects, in large part because of what THEY tell us it will cost, but more importantly because the plan – the construction difficulties and the results – are not viable

    It is even more interesting that my denouncers missed the entire point about offshore wind having average annual capacity factors, CF, of 40 to 50 percent. The significance of that 40-50 percent is that the power plants on a grid also have about the same CF. Therefore, for my detractors to deride wind power is senseless.

    False. Some offshore may reach into the 40% range but average offshore wind capacities are far below that – for the UK the average is 33%

    http://www.lorc.dk/offshore-wind-farms-map/statistics/production/capacity-factor

    There are a myriad of other significant issues, not the least of which is that wind turbine installed costs have increased fairly dramatically over time – NOT decreased as supporters claimed would occur.

    The biggest issue in the pie in the sky MIT plan is the deepwater technology largely does not exist. The MIT plan proposes 400 to 750 meter – 1200 to 2200 feet – water depths. This would require floating platforms. Currently just 0.1% of installed offshore wind are on floating platforms … out of all offshore wind currently installed just TWO projects are on floating platforms – one in Norway in 200 meters of water and one in Portugal in 45 meters of water. Nearly 75% of all offshore wind is installed on monopile (pilings) platforms.

    There is NO currently viable platform that would work for the MIT design – no platform that can support massive wind turbines installed in 1200 to 2200 feet water depths.

    And another highly important point – to get the 40% range capacity factors requires wind turbines in the 4 MW size range – huge turbines, twice as large as typical land based ones. Using smaller turbines means lower capacity factors.

    Last it is ridiculous to claim that “power plants on the grid” have similar “40-50%” capacity factors. That shows a complete failure to understand what you are talking about. There is a huge difference between operational capacity factors and due to demand, and capacity factors constricted by availability as with wind and solar.

    Coal, NatGas, Nuclear, oil, and most large scale hydro CAN operate at a functional capacity factor of 90+% … lower capacity factors listed for these plants reflect the cost vs demand, and availability of cheaper (ie: nuclear) power. Capacity factors for wind and solar reflect the max actual operating capacity based on availability of “fuel” – wind or sunshine. A conventional plant can operate nearly full time if demand is there. Wind or Solar generation can only operate when sun or wind is available.

    Finally, it is also quite interesting that my detractors howl about renewable subsidies but are silent on subsidies for nuclear power plants. Yet another double standard.

    Perhaps that’s because it is NOT a double standard for people that actually understand … the US Dept of Energy and Institute for Energy Research shows us the average subsidy per megawatt hour of power generated:

    Per Megawatt hour of Power generated (2011):
    Coal, Oil and Gas – each got just $0.64,
    Hydro – just $0.82
    Nuclear – $3.14
    Wind – a massive $56.29
    Solar – a gigantic $775.64

    Total Subsidies:
    Coal, Oil and Gas – $1.843 billion – 17.5% of subsidies
    Hydro – $215 million – 2.0%
    Nuclear – $2.499 billion – 23.8%
    Wind – $4.986 billion – 47.4%
    Solar – $0.968 billion – 9.2%

    Power capacity:
    Coal, Oil and Gas – 785,983 MW – 77.6% of total
    Hydro – 78,652 MW – 7.8% of total
    Nuclear – 101,419 MW – 10% of total
    Wind – 45,676 MW – 4.5% of total
    Solar – 1,524 MW – 0.1% of total

    WIND provides just 4.5% of our electricity yet received nearly 50% of the total subsidies. SOLAR provides just 0.1% of our power, yet is receiving massive subsidies – $775 per MWh of power generated.

    Do you REALLY want to make a big deal out of subsidies?

    http://www.eia.gov/electricity/capacity/

    http://www.eia.gov/electricity/capacity/xls/existing_gen_units_2011.xls

  167. And lest look at the actual costs of production for various energy types.

    U.S. average levelized costs (2011 $/megawatthour) for plants entering service in 2018

    Conventional Coal $100.10
    Advanced Coal $123.00
    Advanced Coal with CCS $135.50
    Natural Gas-fired
    Conventional Combined Cycle $67.10
    Advanced Combined Cycle $65.60
    Advanced CC with CCS $93.40
    Conventional Combustion Turbine $130.30
    Advanced Combustion Turbine $104.60
    Advanced Nuclear $108.40
    Geothermal $89.60
    Biomass $111.00

    Wind $86.60
    Wind-Offshore $221.50
    Solar PV1 $144.30
    Solar Thermal $261.50
    Hydro $90.30

    Want to tell us again what a great deal offshore wind is Roger?

    http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/aeo/er/electricity_generation.cfm

    ‘Levelized cost is … a summary measure of the overall competiveness of different generating technologies. It represents the per-kilowatthour cost (in real dollars) of building and operating a generating plant over an assumed financial life and duty cycle. Key inputs to calculating levelized costs include overnight capital costs, fuel costs, fixed and variable operations and maintenance (O&M) costs, financing costs, and an assumed utilization rate for each plant type.’

  168. Larry … exactly correct … but there is more to it. Taking away demand from base load operations causes the BASE LOAD plant to become less efficient as well.

    And then there is the emissions side. Everyone says solar and wind are so “green” – that they reduce emissions. And on paper this seems to make sense. However, Germany has seen emissions INCREASE – appx 1.5% annually – since they made their massive change to solar. This at same time the EU on the whole has seen a DECREASE in emissions of a similar amount.

    The shift from efficient and cleaner base load power to dirtier and less efficient peaking load plants, for the 75+% of the time solar is not available, has more than offset an emissions gain.

    And for Germany their electric costs have skyrocketed in same period – to the point they are at risk of losing a competitive position in their manufacturing sectors. Not to mention making electricity unaffordable for over 500,000 lower income citizens.

  169. @ A. Scott, wrong on all counts. So, nuclear subsidies = GOOD, per you, and renewable subsidies = BAD, per you. Nice logic, there.

    Care to try again on levelized costs? California Energy Commission has quite different numbers.

    As for emissions skyrocketing due to renewables, utterly false. NREL has a 2013 study that completely debunks that falsehood. By the way, Iowa had approximately 25 percent of its total power generated by windturbines in 2012 (14,000 GWh out of 56,600 GWh). If emissions went up as you claim, the EPA would be all over them for this. They didn’t and EPA didn’t.

    http://www.nrel.gov/news/press/2013/3299.html

    To all my detractors, fellas, you just cannot win. Wind power will be installed offshore, primarily along the East Coast and eventually along the West Coast. Storage will be provided either as MIT described, or possibly by more economic means. Operating experience will drive down the costs. The benefits to all will be enormous. This is (in contrast to CAGW) truly simple physics. I posted a link earlier to the Maryland offshore wind program. Other coastal states (MA and RI) have similar programs.

    In February 2011, former Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and former Secretary of Energy Steven Chu unveiled a coordinated strategic plan to accelerate the development of offshore wind resources. As part of the ‘Smart from the Start’ program for expediting commercial-scale wind energy on the federal OCS that was announced in November 2010, DOI has identified Wind Energy Areas to spur responsible development of this abundant renewable resource. These efforts are part of a series of Administration actions to speed renewable energy development offshore by improving coordination with state, local and federal partners.

    The Wind Energy Area offshore Rhode Island and Massachusetts covers about 164,750 acres and is located 9.2 nautical miles south of the Rhode Island coastline. BOEM will auction the area as two leases, referred to as the North Lease Area (Lease OCS-A0486) and the South Lease Area (Lease OCS-A0487). The North Lease Area consists of about 97,500 acres and the South Lease Area covers about 67,250 acres.

    According to a report recently released by the Department of Energy National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the North Lease Area has the potential for installed capacity of 1,955 megawatts (MW), and the South Lease Area, 1,440 MW.” from JULY, 2013 press release.

    Bitching about it on WUWT will not stop it.

    Have a good day.

  170. Roger Sowell;
    To all my detractors, fellas, you just cannot win.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    LOL. Yes, the policies promoted by crony capitalists and smooth talking lawyers will absolutely win in the short term. But not because of the facts. Only because of a combination of smooth talking paid activists, a gullible pubic, and useful idiots.

  171. Laughable Roger … you repeatedly show you have little understanding of the topic.

    Your quotes betray you.

    To all my detractors, fellas, you just cannot win. Wind power will be installed offshore, primarily along the East Coast and eventually along the West Coast. Storage will be provided either as MIT described, or possibly by more economic means. Operating experience will drive down the costs. The benefits to all will be enormous. This is (in contrast to CAGW) truly simple physics. I posted a link earlier to the Maryland offshore wind program. Other coastal states (MA and RI) have similar programs.

    Then you post a quote from two proven yahoo’s Ken Salazar and Steven Chu … which shows the silliness of your claims:

    The Wind Energy Area offshore Rhode Island and Massachusetts covers about 164,750 acres and is located 9.2 nautical miles south of the Rhode Island coastline. BOEM will auction the area as two leases, referred to as the North Lease Area (Lease OCS-A0486) and the South Lease Area (Lease OCS-A0487). The North Lease Area consists of about 97,500 acres and the South Lease Area covers about 67,250 acres.

    According to a report recently released by the Department of Energy National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the North Lease Area has the potential for installed capacity of 1,955 megawatts (MW), and the South Lease Area, 1,440 MW.”

    North lease area 97,500 acres … with potential installed capacity of 1,955 MW, and South Lease Area 67,250 acres … with potential installed capacity of 1,440 MW

    A total of 165,000 acres and the total potential … the best case scenario … is 3,400 MW max installed capacity. For comparison the TOTAL installed offshore wind capacity WORLDWIDE is currently appx 5,200MW …

    The closest offshore buoy to Maryland is Buoy 44009, located 12 nautical miles off the 
    coast of Delaware. The capacity factor for Buoy 44009 (assuming a REpower 5M turbine) is 0.3984 … 39.84% … not 50% as you claim.

    Which means at BEST – even if ALL of the potential capacity is built, the net total power available would be appx 1,352 MW – the equivalent of one SINGLE existing power plant.

    Put another way if ALL of the potential capacity is built, it will amount to the equivalent of appx THREE conventional power plants, but would only be avail a maximum 39% of the time … and would require fossil fueled conventional peaking load back up generation 60% of the time.

    But hey, there IS that MIT “storage” technology that could provide “several” hours of storage. For this area – with 3,400 MW total, using the MIT program specs we’d be looking at 850 total 5 MW wind turbines, and 850 storage “spheres” … at a mere cost $10.2 billion for the spheres alone.

    Just one little problem with your master plan for East Coast off shore wind domination Roger. The MIT storage spheres require 400 to 750 meter – 1200 to 2200 feet – water depths to work.

    Just one problem Roger … the entire North and South Lease area is all from 100 to 130 feet deep … just 30 to 39 meters. Your beloved spheres not only won’t work, they will nearly stick OUT of the water in most of the lease area.

    http://www.charts.noaa.gov/OnLineViewer/13218.shtml

  172. Care to try again on levelized costs? California Energy Commission has quite different numbers.

    It would help if you bothered to provide a link if you want people to take you seriously.

    That said I posted numbers directly from the US Energy Information Administration – which showed levelized costs across each energy generation type. I notice you didn’t bother to actually challenge any of the data I posted…

    http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/aeo/er/electricity_generation.cfm

    And those levelized costs were nearly identical to those posted here at WUWT by David Middleton a year ago – interestingly that story was also about East Coast offshore wind …

    Its worth a read to see the silliness of these proposals …

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/03/12/marylands-wind-powered-welfare/

  173. A. Scott;
    Your beloved spheres not only won’t work, they will nearly stick OUT of the water in most of the lease area.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    LOL. You have a treasure load of facts and information at your command. Hat off to you sir.

  174. Roger … just want to say I respect your comments, efforts and contributions on climate change and the like, but when it comes to this off shore wind topic, its hard to do the same … you just don’t make a supportable case

  175. cnxtim says: @ March 1, 2014 at 10:06 pm
    **************
    Box of Rocks replies @ March 2, 2014 at 6:17 am
    OBTW

    Fracking in the USA has been around this part of the world since like the late 1940′s. The father of fracking just passed away a few weeks ago…
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Actually Fracking has been around since just after the Civil War.

    Civil War veteran Col. Edward A.L. Roberts fought bravely with a New Jersey Regiment at the bloody 1862 battle of Fredericksburg, Virginia.
    Amid the chaos of the battle, he saw the results of explosive Confederate artillery rounds plunging into the narrow millrace (canal) that obstructed the battlefield.
    Despite heroic actions during the battle, he will be cashiered from Union army in 1863. But the Virginia battlefield observation gave him an idea that would evolve into what he described as “superincumbent fluid tamping.”
    Just a few years later his revolutionary oil field invention will greatly increase production of America’s early petroleum industry.
    [Shooters-patent-AOGHS]
    Torpedoes filled with gunpowder (later nitroglycerin) were lowered into wells and ignited by a weight dropped along a suspension wire onto a percussion cap.
    Roberts was awarded U.S. Patent (No. 59,936) in November 1866 for what would become known as the Roberts Torpedo. The new technology would revolutionize the young oil and natural gas industry by vastly increasing production from individual wells.
    The Titusville Morning Herald newspaper reported:

    Our attention has been called to a series of experiments that have been made in the wells of various localities by Col. Roberts, with his newly patented torpedo. The results have in many cases been astonishing.
    The torpedo, which is an iron case, containing an amount of powder varying from fifteen to twenty pounds, is lowered into the well, down to the spot, as near as can be ascertained, where it is necessary to explode it.
    It is then exploded by means of a cap on the torpedo, connected with the top of the shell by a wire.
    Filling the borehole with water provided Roberts his “fluid tamping” to concentrate concussion and more efficiently fracture surrounding oil strata. The technique had an immediate impact – production from some wells increased 1,200 percent within a week of being shot – and the Roberts Petroleum Torpedo Company flourished.
    Roberts charged $100 to $200 per torpedo and a royalty of one-fifteenth of the increased flow of oil.
    Attempting to avoid Roberts’ fees, some oilmen hired unlicensed practitioners who operated by “moonlight” with their own devices. The inventor was outraged.
    Roberts hired Pinkerton detectives and lawyers to protect his patent – and is said to have been responsible for more civil litigation in defense of a patent than anyone in U. S. history. He spent more than $250,000 to stop the unlawful “torpedoists” or “moonlighters.”……

    http://archive.is/0fjLb#selection-243.0-309.268

  176. Colorado Wellington says: @March 2, 2014 at 12:38 am
    I am sorry to contradict your intuition, my dear Lady Janice, but the renewable energy hockey stick math is robust. I did it on a spreadsheet.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    And you used a COMPUTER so it has to be the golden truth!

  177. J Martin says: @ March 2, 2014 at 1:38 am
    …. Meanwhile Germany and especially China are building new generation larger and significntly more efficient coal fired power stations. Worldwide overall energy generation by coal is increasing. A terrible waste of a valuable chemical resource.
    Thorium is what we should be moving towards. If only all the money that has been wasted on so called renewables had been put into developing Thorium power. Appalling short sighted policies, that’s what politicians do best.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Spoken like a chemist. Thorium is the way to go and that is the direction the Chinese are headed after they stole the information from Oak Ridge (Computer was hacked a few years ago.)

  178. Ric Werme says: @ March 2, 2014 at 2:59 pm
    ….At any rate, one advantage H2 production would have is wind or PV farms could make hydrogen whenever they could and stuff it into a pipeline. No AC phasing, energy storage easily done, no electrical towers further spoiling the view, etc. I assume it’s not done now because of efficiency reasons in creating and using the hydrogen.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    To put it bluntly I rather be sitting next to a nuclear power plant (Which I am) than next to a hydrogen producing and storage facility.

    1. Hydrogen leaks. It is very difficult to get a tight leak proof seal and KEEP IT leak proof. (Think of all those gas leaks in DC.)

    2. Hydrogen is very explosive. Much more so than natural gas.

    3. Hydrogen embrittlement of metals.
    As John F. Hultquist said @ March 2, 2014 at 6:53 pm

  179. andygood87 says: @ March 1, 2014 at 11:03 pm
    Solar and wind costs are still falling so output from them is still rising despite total investment dropping. The Chinese economy is now driving ….. more and more coal stations are being mothballed as renewable have a momentum without recourse to subsidy.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>
    The coal plants are being mothballed because of the new EPA regs on mercury emissions. As a result the USA will lose about 10% of her electric generating capacity. (1/3 of the nuclear power plants may also go down.)

    As Obama said “Cost of electricity will necessarily sky rocket.” Therefore renewable viability has zero to do with the situation.

  180. Tucci78 says: @ March 2, 2014 at 10:14 pm

    ….. After reading The Health Hazards of Not Going Nuclear (1976), I began a long snail-mail correspondence with the author, Dr. Petr Beckmann (1924-1993), who was by then an emeritus professor of electrical engineering (University of Colorado) and publishing his Access to Energy newsletter.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    When I married I was fortunate enough to acquire back copies of Dr. Petr Beckmann’s Access to Energy newsletter along with a husband. It is tough to determine which was more valuable….

  181. A. Scott says:….
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Thanks for all your research. People like you are why I read WUWT.

  182. Billy Liar says:
    March 2, 2014 at 1:08 pm
    Since Erle P Halliburton was born in Tennessee I wouldn’t say that fracking was ‘Yankee’ ingenuity. :)

    Billy, the definition of “Yankee” depends upon the origins of the speaker. To the world at large, a Yankee is someone from the US. In the US, especially the South, the word means someone from the North. Among the continuing supporters of the former Confederacy it’s reserved for those who perpetrated the War of Northern Aggression. To Northerners, it’s someone from New England. In New England it often means someone from Vermont. And it Vermont it is said to apply particularly to someone who eats pie for breakfast.

  183. Larry Fields says March 3, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    Several WUWT readers have commented on the problem of conventional backup power generation, for situations in which the wind doesn’t blow, and where the sun don’t shine. A. Scott hinted at the net efficiency issue. I’d like to follow up on that.

    For ALL the wind capacity we have in Texas (I have seen wind outputs of around 8,000 MW at times I’m thinking) at the moment the actual wind output is a mere fraction of that (less than 10%) as shown below:

    From the Texas ERCOT.com website:

    . . Real-Time System Conditions
    Last Updated Mar 04 2014 10:14:50 CST

    . . . . Frequency
    Current Frequency . . . . . . . 60.002
    Instantaneous Time Error . -27.112

    . . . Real-Time Data
    Total System Capacity . . 51862
    Actual System Demand. . 47935
    Total Wind Output . . . . . . . 726

    http://www.ercot.com/content/cdr/html/real_time_system_conditions.html

    .

  184. Vermont Yankee says: March 4, 2014 at 4:35 am ” … Yankee…” — LOL. Love the wit and insight.

    So, what kind was it today, V.Y.? #(:))

    I’m an anomaly (from Pacific NW, U.S.), I guess, for, mostly, I think of a “Yankee” (both Jewish and Goyim, lol) as just an American. All that verbal abuse by the foreigners who hate us and snarl, “Yankee, go home,” maybe. And I forget all about that north-south stuff unless a Johnny Reb type brings it up. And the New England connotation only comes to mind when I’m reading about American history. I guess the thing I’m most likely to think of when I hear “Yankee” is New York City, (as in baseball) lol.

    I really ought to try that pie-for-breakfast idea. I often eat humble pie. Nearly every day, in fact (too bad its effects are so transitory). I never eat it for breakfast, though (I do pretty good for the first 45 minutes or so of my day, heh). I know a good recipe for Humble Pie In a Hurry — go to WUWT and comment in too big of a hurry.

  185. Powerful facts at 8:21am, blank Jim. Thanks for enlightening everyone here but that poor, benighted, man who I’ve concluded is desperate-to-the-point-of-irrationality to shore up his doomed windmill investment.

  186. This is the Texas ERCOT Wind Forecast vs Actual plot of interest: (average at end of hour)

    http://www.ercot.com/content/cdr/html/CURRENT_DAYCOP_HSL.html?uniquenessFactor=1393994301992

    For March 04, Actual was between 500 and 1000 MW from 00:00 to 16:00.
    Then 2250 MW at 18:00
    3500 Mw at 20:00
    4750 MW at 21:00
    6100 MW at 22:00
    6703 MW at 22:45

    System summary: http://www.ercot.com/
    Total demand peaked at 50,500 MW at 09:00,
    fell to 40,000 MW at 16:00 – 18:00
    rose to 45,000 MW at 20:00 – 21:00
    falling to 43,700 MW at 22:00
    projected to be 40,000 WM at 00:00.

  187. Thank you, Stephen Rasey, for those powerful figures (at 8:52pm) that tell the whole story.

    Rasey: … thus, as you can see, ladies and gentlemen, wind power is grossly inadequate.

    Some Dope: (Hyuck, hyuck) Well, then, THAT tells us CLEARLY that … we need to build a WHOLE LOT MORE WINDMILLS.

    R: Stares in disbelief.

    SD: Well, it DOES. OBVIOUSLY. I read up on it……. Hey, everybody, YOU all understand me, don’t you?

    Silence.

  188. For Rasey to cherry pick one moment in time of Texas wind data is desperation indeed.

    For the gullible to believe such cherry picked numbers is truly pathetic.

    The fact is that wind provided 7.5 percent of all Texas power in 2012.

    In addition, Iowa had 25 percent of its total power in 2012 produced by wind.

    Thanks for playing, this was fun.

  189. Roger – rather than denigrating people, why not respond to them. In particular to my re[ply to you here:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/03/01/renewable-energy-in-decline/#comment-1582037

    For example you claimed “To all my detractors, fellas, you just cannot win. Wind power will be installed offshore, primarily along the East Coast and eventually along the West Coast” and “I posted a link earlier to the Maryland offshore wind program. Other coastal states (MA and RI) have similar programs.”

    I reviewed the stats and information on the Maryland, MA & RI offshore leases you claim “will be installed” and whose benefits “will be enormous.” You said that the MIT storage would be installed there as well.

    I showed how that would be impossible – that the BOEM North and South lease areas were only 30-40 meters (100-130 feet) deep and the MIT technology only worked at much greater depths (the spheres would actually stick out of water in some areas of these leases.).

    A fatal flaw in your claims Roger.

    I also pointed out that because the MIT idea required deep water to operate, that floating platforms would be required for the MIT idea to work. And that just 0.1% of installed worldwide offshore wind is on floating platforms – just two small test projects are on floating platforms – 74% of all offshore wind is in shallow water on mono-pile platforms.

    Another fatal flaw in your plan.

    And one more Roger … that Mass and Rhode Island lease are you noted … the one that covers 165,000 acres with 3,400 MW capacity … the winning bidder was Deepwater Wind, a bit of misnomer, since the water technically isn’t “deep” (although it is at the high depth end of ability to install pilings, adding considerable costs) . Deepwater’s press release re: signing the lease (copies of leases linked below) tells us:

    Deepwater Wind plans to develop the Deepwater Wind Energy Center (DWEC), a utility-scale wind farm of up to 200 turbines with a regional transmission system linking Long Island, New York, to southeastern New England.

    DWEC is the largest offshore wind farm ever planned in the U.S., located in deeper ocean waters and farther from shore than any other project. At a capacity of up to 1,000 megawatts (MW) and with the ability to provide reliable, clean energy to multiple power markets,

    Construction could begin as early as 2017, with commercial operations by 2018. DWEC will produce enough energy to power approximately 350,000 homes

    Sorry Roger – another epic fail for you. Just 1,000 MW from just 200 turbines – not 3,400 MW as claimed. This from the “largest off shore wind farm” ever! This “largest ever” site will provide power for up to 350,000 homes, approximately 39% of the time, with less efficient and dirtier, conventional, fossil fueled peaking load power plants supplying the power to those homes the other 61% of the time

    This 1,000MW of off shore wind will, according to the EIA, cost $6.23 million per MW or $6.23 BILLION total for the entire project. Add $2.1 billion to build even the cheapest nat gas backup power plant to support the wind.

    A similar 1,000 MW advanced coal plant w/CCS would cost appx $4.72 billion to construct, and an advanced nat gas plant with CCS would cost appx $2.1 billion. You could literally build 3 new 1,000 MW natural gas plants w/total 3,000 MW capacity, for LESS than this ONE off shore wind farm.

    And the coal and nat gas plants will provide their rated power essentially full time, compared to just 39% of the time. .

    Please tell us again how offshore (or onshore for that matter) wind is the solution Roger …

    http://dwwind.com/news/deepwater-wind-wins-auction-to-develop-offshore-wind-energy-sites-in-federal-waters

    http://www.boem.gov/Renewable-Energy-Program/State-Activities/RI/Executed-Lease-OCS-A-0486.aspx

    http://www.boem.gov/Renewable-Energy-Program/State-Activities/RI/Executed-Lease-OCS-A-0487.aspx

    http://www.boem.gov/uploadedFiles/BOEM/Renewable_Energy_Program/State_Activities/Map%20of%20the%20Rhode%20Island%20and%20Massachusetts%20Lease%20Areas.pdf

  190. Roger Sowell,

    I don’t dispute the data [or confirm it, either]. But I have a question:

    Would wind power even exist in commercial amounts if not for massive subsidies?

    Promoting wind power smacks of a belief that CO2 is bad. But CO2 is not bad. CO2 is not “pollution”. CO2 is good at current and projected concentrations, and more is better. Based on mountains of real world evidence, I believe that. Do you?

    A warmer planet is also good. The fact is that the climate alarmist crowd has been wrong about everything. Every major prediction they have made has turned out to be flat wrong, from global warming, to ocean ‘acidification’, to disappearing ice caps, to sea level rise, and many, many other failed predictions.

    When someone is wrong about everything, the question must be asked: “When will you admit that your original premise, and your subsequent beliefs, must be radically altered? Or, is being totally wrong now a good thing?”

  191. Reply to dbstealey at 1:50 pm.

    Good evening, dbstealey. I want to thank you for your kindness to me over the years that I have visited WUWT, especially in my earliest days several years ago. You had a different handle then. I appreciate your question above, and will try to give a thorough answer.

    You asked, “Would wind power even exist in commercial amounts if not for massive subsidies?”

    The short answer is, probably not. But that is not a complete answer. The answer must also ask, would nuclear power exist if not for massive subsidies? Of course not. Would General Motors? Would Chrysler? Would various other business entities exist if the government had not provided support in the form of subsidies, tax credits, bail-outs, low-interest loans and grants? How many mortgage lending institutions received federal bail-out funds?

    The question of government subsidies is one of encouraging an activity that the government deems to have, or be, a public good. As just one example, home owners can deduct a portion of their mortgage payment and thereby pay less in taxes. This, in theory, encourages home ownership rather than renting. The simple fact is, the federal government and many states have decided that wind energy is an activity that has a social value, a public good. Therefore, there are subsidies for wind energy projects typically amounting to a small percentage of the total investment, perhaps 30 percent. There are also requirements that the utility purchase the power, among other requirements that I won’t list in detail here.

    Now, to consider the benefits of wind energy, and then the negative effects. First, the benefits. I want to preface this by saying that my considered opinion, based on my education, industrial experience, research, studies, feedback from live audiences in speeches, feedback from comments on my blogs (I have two blogs), and animated discussions with my friends and colleagues, is that commercial nuclear power plants are a net negative and should all be shut down as soon as possible. Anything that advances that goal, without creating more harm, must therefore be supported. Wind energy, especially land-based wind energy, advances the goal of shutting down nuclear power plants. I will explain.

    Because land-based wind blows primarily at night, during off-peak hours, utilities have an excess of power and usually reduce the price of off-peak power. The lower power price is to attract more users. Those who purchase off-peak power have a substantial benefit from the lower prices. A side benefit, as I wrote above in a comment, is that some nuclear power plants cannot compete economically with the low off-peak power prices. Older nuclear plants must invest in expensive replacement equipment such as steam generators. That investment must have a revenue stream to provide a payout. Low prices at night reduce the revenue stream to the nuclear plant and prevent the project from having an acceptable payout period. Such uncompetitive nuclear plants are either already shut down or the operators have announced their imminent shutdown. This alone is a reason to rejoice, and to support more land-based wind power.

    Besides making nuclear power uneconomic, wind energy reduces consumption of fossil fuels – despite the futile arguments of the low-information commenters above. Engineering facts trump religious-style belief, every time. As an engineer who has practiced for more than 20 years world-wide in some truly dangerous process plants including oil refineries, petrochemical plants, natural gas plants, chlorine plants, hydrogen plants, and others, I have seen the results of sloppy reasoning, bad data, and actions based on belief rather than hard facts. The results are usually an explosion and one or more human deaths. I have no patience for those who refuse to critically examine the data, the data collection processes, any adjustments that are made to the data, the calculations made upon the data, and the conclusions drawn from the above analyses. In my field, we get it right or people die. It is just that simple.

    Reference was made earlier by the bleating sheep that Germany’s experience is that wind energy increases CO2 emissions. I expect that was a very badly conducted study, as engineering logic proves otherwise. I gave counter-references that show the opposite, both from NREL and Iowa. It doesn’t really matter that the bleating sheep show their religious-style, bitterly clinging to their beliefs in the face of sound engineering reason.

    The benefits of reduced fossil fuel consumption have nothing to do with reducing CO2 emissions. It has everything to do with reduced costs to run a utility grid – if one does not burn the fuel, one does not have to purchase that fuel. The savings should be passed along to the customers, if the utility regulatory agency is performing its job. Reduced fossil fuel consumption also reduces toxic air pollutants, sulfur oxides (SOx) and nitrogen oxides (NOx). It may also reduce emissions of particulate matter if coal-fired plants are part of the utility generating plant. Reductions in toxic air pollutants is certainly a desirable goal.

    A further benefit of wind energy, especially land-based, is the eventual migration of people away from cities and into the plains states where wind energy is closer to home. I won’t go into detail on the multitude of problems that arise from crowded urban life, and the equal multitude of benefits from small-town life. However, to briefly illustrate, the exploitation of Niagara Falls and the hydroelectric power from that natural setting led to manufacturing locating nearby to take advantage of the abundant and cheap power. As more and more wind energy systems are established across the middle of America, more and more businesses and industries will move to the power.

    A final benefit of wind energy is that conventional power plants require less cooling water as they consume less fuel. Water is a precious commodity, and everything that can be done to reduce water consumption is a benefit. Enough on the benefits.

    The negative effects of wind energy are usually listed as too expensive, too unsightly (meaning somebody thinks they are ugly), deadly to flying creatures, too noisy, they are dangerous due to blades breaking apart, and of course, too unreliable. In order, then, starting with too expensive. The installed costs per MW have been steadily declining for years, and are expected to continue that decline as research is applied and better designs are proven. A reference for those who want to verify the cost trends can be found in the California Energy Commission’s Comparative Costs of Central Station Electricity Generation, January 2010, Figure 3. Onshore wind, as they call it, costs just under $2000 per kW in 2010 and is expected to decline 40 percent over the next 20 years, to about $1200 per kW. In contrast, a Westinghouse AP-1000 nuclear power plant, single-reactor, costs $4000 per kW but is expected to rapidly increase to almost double to $7300 per kW in 20 years. All those are in constant, uninflated 2009 dollars. Of course, the nuclear plant costs are low-balled, as nobody in the US can build a nuclear plant for less than $8,000 per kW installed. One suspects the CEC numbers are overnight costs only for the nuclear plant.

    The crucial point from the CEC study is that onshore wind’s levelized cost ranges between 6.5 and 8 cents per kWh, depending on wind speed and financing mechanism. Nothing else in the CEC’s entire list of generating alternatives comes close to those costs, excepting only geothermal and large hydroelectric plant upgrades. Note that the wind levelized costs account for existing subsidies. One can add about 2 cents per kWh to obtain an un-subsidized levelized cost.

    Next, too unsightly (meaning somebody thinks they are ugly). Beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder. I have seen many wind turbines in my life, and have yet to see an ugly one. I also talk with people who enjoy the benefit of low-cost off-peak power, and they agree that wind turbines are beautiful.

    Next, deadly to flying creatures. Flying creature deaths are a problem, but the problem is reduced by the use of monopole supports. One wonders why the outcry over wind turbines but no similar outrage over electric power lines and equipment and the deaths they cause each year, not only to birds but to squirrels, and snakes. I suppose that squirrels and snakes just don’t count for much in the minds of outraged wind-turbine haters.

    Next, too noisy. Noise is an interesting concept, and a great reason for the wind turbine haters to pounce. I suppose that airport noise is not a problem for them. Nor is the noise from close proximity to railroad tracks as trains pass. Nor the noise from factories, especially when steam escapes. The faux outrage is amusing, actually, especially when one considers that ordinances generally preclude locating the wind turbines anywhere close to people. Certainly commuter trains and airports are far noisier to far more people.

    Next, the danger due to blades breaking apart. No doubt, sometimes a turbine blade breaks. I have not really followed this closely, but it seems doubtful that many people have been injured or killed by the flying blade. Certainly, more people were killed by nuclear power plant disasters at Chernobyl and Fukushima, than by the more than 40 years of wind turbine operation.

    And finally, wind turbines are claimed to be too unreliable. I first entered this thread with an account of proven energy storage that overcomes the unreliability issue. The bleating sheep would have none of it, which is fine as it shows their ignorance. Wind has always been known to be unreliable. In some areas, it is far more constant and blows more strongly than in others. Offshore the US north-east coast, and the US west coast have excellent wind, as I wrote above. I personally have experienced strong and steady wind for many hours, days even, on the shore of Padre Island at Corpus Christi, Texas. The wind is so steady that hang-gliders launch, then hover above the beach in a group, perhaps 50 to 100 feet up, carrying on conversations with those below.

    On balance, then, wind energy is a fabulous means of providing electricity with zero pollution, it reduces fossil fuel use, and can be made reliable with appropriate storage. The chief benefit at this time is it runs nuclear power plants out of business, causing them to be permanently shut down. It also gives pause to those who would build a new nuclear power plant.

    Next, you wrote “Promoting wind power smacks of a belief that CO2 is bad. But CO2 is not bad. CO2 is not “pollution”. CO2 is good at current and projected concentrations, and more is better. Based on mountains of real world evidence, I believe that. Do you?”

    I could not agree more that CO2 is not pollution, that CO2 is good at current and projected atmospheric concentrations, and more is probably better up to a point. There are, for example, concerns over breathing impacts at elevated levels of 10,000 ppm. I am on record in speeches and my blog, as against CO2-control measures such as California’s AB32, federal congressional efforts to curb CO2, and the EPA’s move to regulate CO2 and shut down coal-fired power plants. I have detailed my views on my blog, where one of my posts was translated into German and posted on a German climate skeptic site. If anyone cares to look, see “From Man-Made Global Warmist to Skeptic, My Journey”, (this was translated and posted into German), also “Warmists are Wrong, Cooling is Coming”, and many other posts.

    See http://sowellslawblog.blogspot.com/2012/05/top-ten-posts.html and pick a topic.

    The key to me is that the warmists violated the first rule of science and engineering when they began adjusting the temperature data. An ethical scientist, or engineer, does NOT adjust data except in highly unusual and rare situations. Outliers in a data set must be discarded, not adjusted to fit a pre-conceived value. A far better approach would have been to use only pristine locations for temperature measurements. That the scientists did not do this is obvious, and laughable to all practicing engineers.

    Next, you wrote “A warmer planet is also good. The fact is that the climate alarmist crowd has been wrong about everything. Every major prediction they have made has turned out to be flat wrong, from global warming, to ocean ‘acidification’, to disappearing ice caps, to sea level rise, and many, many other failed predictions.”

    I agree. In my blog post on Warmists are Wrong, I discussed many of those failed predictions, including no unusual sea level rise, no decreased polar ice, no increase in hurricanes, no rise in average global temperature, and no atmospheric hot spot. I was pressed for time in that speech so I didn’t include other failures.

    Last, you wrote “When someone is wrong about everything, the question must be asked: “When will you admit that your original premise, and your subsequent beliefs, must be radically altered? Or, is being totally wrong now a good thing?””

    Again, I agree. That is a good paraphrase of the question I pose to the warmists.

    To conclude, in my long-considered, engineering-based opinion, nuclear power is a danger and a threat to the economic well-being of electricity consumers. I have a special place in my heart for the poor, the elderly, those on fixed incomes, and those who barely scrape by month to month or even week to week. High electricity prices cause those vulnerable groups to choose between food, rent, and paying the electric bill. That is simply wrong, in my view. Nuclear power increases electricity prices by outrageous amounts, as I witnessed only too personally in the 1970s along the US gulf coast. It is simply wrong to run them, or to build them, when there are so many better, cheaper, and less deadly alternatives available. Today, the power plant of choice is a combined cycle natural gas-fired gas turbine plant, with low construction costs, high thermal efficiency of approximately 60 percent, low operating costs with low-cost natural gas at around $4 per million Btu, and very low water consumption for cooling.

    Since land-based wind energy also forces nuclear power plants out of business, that alone justifies the subsidies.

    All the best to you, dbstealey.

    Roger E. Sowell, Esq., BS Chemical Engineering, University of Texas at Austin.

  192. Roger Sowell says March 5, 2014 at 5:59 pm

    Since land-based wind energy also forces nuclear power plants out of business, that alone justifies the subsidies.

    Land-based wind energy also forces nuclear power plants out of business? (Roger, really, you’re just being outrageous without any substance or rational basis in making wild-eyed claims of this nature.) What do you do for BASE LOAD when the wind doesn’t blow? Are you somehow ‘magically’ extracting energy from non-moving (stationary) air-masses in the boundary layer?

    Is your ‘poof’ (as Lanny Davis pronounces the word “proof”) embedded somewhere above in the text within this thread? What about the exorbitant costs for infrastructure, INCLUDING the necessary road, ‘collection’ (the analog to distribution lines) and transmission lines, the needed up-voltage converting SUBSTATIONS (and switch and protective gear within) to feed the ‘harvested’ energy to population centers using the ‘transmission line’ portion of ‘the grid’?

    Let’s take a ‘for instance’ case. Notice how WINDS this evening in Texas are for the most part indicated below 10 MPH. Later this evening we might expect them to be less than 5 MPH … would the proposed (massive – which would not be an understatement) wind turbine farms SUPPLY the 30 to 35,000 MW needed in the state of Texas for instance at this rather _low_ wind speed? Click on the link below for surface wind speeds in Texas at the moment:

    http://weather.rap.ucar.edu/surface/displaySfc.php?region=abi&endDate=20140306&endTime=-1&duration=0

    Since you don’t have the detailed cost-analysis the ‘big boys’ have when they make a decision to go nuclear, we have to assume you are speaking out your hat as the saying* goes.

    I would encourage anyone interested in this argument to do your own due diligence rather than simply taking Roger’s word on things … one start is with a search on the subject: The Case for Nuclear Power (Google search). Remember that all one’s eggs in one basket (like closing coal plants and going exclusively with say, nat gas) is *also* a risky venture; a mix with nuclear provides a long-term hedge against gas prices un-coupling unduly from market demand.

    Roger, in closing, I don’t think you have clearly thought through and looked at the planning and costs necessary to power a *modern* society with PURE wind .. you are not basing anything proposed from a realistic or practical standpoint, and are only attempting to fool yourself (and perhaps gullible investors and maybe state and federal regulators) into accepting, approving, and FUNDING such folly as this, for the benefit of your ‘book’.

    .

    * ‘To talk through one’s hat’ was a widespread idiom by the late 1880s meaning ‘to talk nonsense,’

    .

  193. Roger Sowell says March 5, 2014 at 8:09 am
    For Rasey to cherry pick one moment in time of Texas wind data is desperation indeed.

    For the gullible to believe such cherry picked numbers is truly pathetic.

    The fact is that wind provided 7.5 percent of all Texas power in 2012.

    … and also says nothing of the backup required (asset costs doubled?) for those times when the wind did not blow (AND power is still ‘up’ or high on the demand side of the equation!)

    Take for instance this analysis by Rod Adams in this post titled Where’s the Wind When You Need It? Rod Adams · January 22, 2014

    He says, in his opening:

    The Bonneville Power Authority service area has more than 4,000 MW of wind energy capacity installed. They also provide a web-based information service that is updated every five minutes that reports on the service area load, thermal generation, hydro generation, and wind generation.
    Here is a picture reporting those numbers for the period from Jan 16-Jan 22, just a few minutes ago.

    Bonneville Power Authority Load versus generation sources Jan 16-Jan 22, 2014

    Please note the magnitude of the wind generation and the steady output required from the thermal generation in order to supply the loads that did not disappear just because every wind turbine in the entire area decided that they would call out together for a week’s vacation.

    Bolding mine.

    .

  194. @ Jim at 7:51 pm, re wind forces nuclear plants to shut down. I refer you to my comment above at
    March 2, 2014 at 7:52 pm. Reference given of nuclear plants shut down or soon will be due to wind power. Facts are facts. Nuclear plants are shutting down (rejoice!!) and wind is the reason. Several states in the US already have substantial wind energy in their mix, Iowa, South Dakota, Texas among them. Grids are stable.

    I have “thought through” and applied good engineering practice to the wind-gas-coal-nuclear-geothermal-solar-waves-tidal power generation for decades, sir. Have you?

  195. @ Jim, ah, now you quote Rod Adams? Seriously? He is the epitome of a nuclear nut.

    Ask him sometime, if nuclear power is so great and economic, why there are no islands of roughly 1 million population anywhere in the world with a nuclear power plant. Those poor islanders are forced to pay 25 to 50 cents per kWh for diesel-based power, surely they would LOVE to have nuclear power and pay only 3 cents per kWh.

    Go ahead. Ask him.

    http://sowellslawblog.blogspot.com/2009/07/nuclear-plants-on-islands-nutty-idea.html

  196. re: Roger Sowell says March 5, 2014 at 8:49 pm
    @ Jim, ah, now you quote Rod Adams? Seriously? He is the epitome of a nuclear nut.

    Work the logic over, Roger, not the man.

    Also please note the name is “_Jim”. Thanks.

    .

  197. Roger Sowell at 8:09 am
    For Rasey to cherry pick one moment in time of Texas wind data is desperation indeed.

    Anecdote, please, not cherry pick. That was data contemporaneous to the discussion. The primary purpose was to communicate to others a useful URL to get the past 24 hrs of ERCOT wind power for themselves.

    Were I to cherry pick, I’d choose a day where the wind farms in Texas never exceeded 3,500 MW.
    Today they managed to exceed it for 15 hrs with a peak of 6,500 MW.

  198. Roger Sowell says March 5, 2014 at 8:43 pm

    …Several states in the US already have substantial wind energy in their mix, Iowa, South Dakota, Texas among them. Grids are stable.

    Oh good, a technical point.

    How would you know they are “stable”? Do you have any experience with monitoring ‘grid’ stability or looking at any of the prime indicators (like instantaneous frequency excursion)? Are you ‘presuming’ stability by, perhaps, by the sample lack of an observed ‘collapse’ attributed to any reasons connected to stability? Overall, this looks to be just an assumption on your part. (Would you even KNOW how to begin to measure ‘grid stability’? Observing for simple non-collapse is NOT a stability measurement, counselor.)

    The Ercot system regularly reports the ‘results’ of loss of generation on the order of 500 MW on the Texas grid with frequency declining to the vicinity of 59.8 Hz … and it takes a bit to ‘recover’ in a stable manner back to 60 Hz; max wind generation capability is on the order of 10X that 500MW value and one DOES see the Texas/Ercot grid ‘wander’ (in frequency) in real-time … that is not “stability”, that is a carefully choreographed balancing act with controllable generation ‘reacting’ to changing wind power output!

    An aside: Alerted by primary ‘grid’ monitoring equipment I have on hand, I noticed an abrupt change in Ercot ‘grid’ frequency a few nights ago … I took the opportunity to glance at the LCD display of a consumer-grade (Home Depot purchased) “Kill-A-Watt EZ” and witnessed occasionally flipping of the least significant digit, from 59.9 (it has always read .1 Hz low, even on an even 60.00 Hz grid frequency) to 59.8 Hz. Suffice it to say the “Kill-A-Watt” series of devices are NOT sufficient to observe and make a call as to ‘grid stability’.

    The statement: “the grids are stable” is a non-fact based assumption; one could say, however, they are ‘conditionally’ stable given they have not collapsed in the face of the varying ‘supply’ produced by wind turbines and lacking any further information or actual data.

    .

  199. Errata; Changing 3rd sentence to: “Are you ‘presuming’ stability by, perhaps, the simple lack of an observed ‘collapse’ attributed to any reasons connected to stability?”

  200. Roger Sowell,

    Thanks for a well thought out response.

    I think the problem is just what the article says:

    “…the ideology of Climatism, the belief that humans were causing dangerous global warming…”

    If there was a crisis, or even if the rise in CO2 caused any measurable global warming, then maybe there would be a reason to change over to windmills. But as we know, Planet Earth has been telling us very clearly, and for a long time now, that the “carbon” scare is nonsense.

    That being the case, the original rationale for windmills is not there. It turns out that the power we have been getting from fossil fuels is just fine, with no real downside. [Greenies, relax. I know that a comment like that launches an emotional reaction in you. But if you're going to argue that there is global harm from burning coal, you will have to provide verifiable evidence. Otherwise I will remind you that since CO2 does not cause any measurable harm, it should be considered "harmless".]

    We should be using the most efficient power source — not an extremely inefficient source like windmills.

    Does that make sense?

  201. Roger has stooped to ad hominem attack and a complete refusal to address detailed, sourced comments from me and others … a sure mark that he is unable to substantiate his positions (which are exceeding short on documentation and sources) nor able to defend against the claims I and otherz have made.

    Ridicule and denigration are the marks of someone who is unable to intelligently discuss and support their positions Roger.

    It makes you look juvenile and ignorant in your response:

    “futile arguments”
    “low-information commenters”
    “religious-style belief”
    “bleating sheep”
    “religious-style”

    Then, you make broad, specious statements, mostly devoid of ANY sources or supporting proof – claiming them as fact – that are anything but, as I have repeatedly shown. A single example is your statements about the Mass/RI Offshore wind lease – that YOU brought up:

    To all my detractors, fellas, you just cannot win. Wind power will be installed offshore… Storage will be provided either as MIT described, or possibly by more economic means. Operating experience will drive down the costs. The benefits to all will be enormous. I posted a link earlier to the Maryland offshore wind program. Other coastal states (MA and RI) have similar programs.

    I posted the details of the wind lease you noted …. that the winner of that lease, Deep Wind, will someday install appx 200 turbines with 1,000 MW name plate capacity. In the entire 165,000 acre lease area they will only install 1,000 MW – not the 3,400 MW claimed available. And theirs was the BEST of 8 bidders.

    I also noted your claim about “MIT storage” being installed were ridiculous – 100% completely unsupported by the facts. The MIT storage spheres operate at depths of 400-750 meters, 1200 to 2,300 feet. The waters across the entire lease area are from 90 to 130 FEET, 30 to 40 meters. Not only WON’T the MIT spheres work in this shallow water, they would stick OUT of the water in many areas.

    You lecture about engineering, and looking at facts … yet despite all your self proclaimed expertise, in your rush to denigrate others you show you are literally clueless about your own claims. I understand the engineering very well. And I actually researched the real facts Roger, including reading the MIT paper on the sphere technology. I went and obtained the Nautical charts along with copies of the leases and maps of lease areas.

    Clearly you did NONE of this simple basic research – you read an MIT April 2013 press release which says:

    The concept is detailed in a paper published in IEEE Transactions and co-authored by Alexander Slocum, the Pappalardo Professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT; Brian Hodder, a researcher at the MIT Energy Initiative; and three MIT alumni and a former high school student who worked on the project.

    This was not even their work. They basically stole it from graduate student Gregory Fennel’s Master’s thesis dated May 2011. Slocum was the Thesis Supervisor – who certified Fennel’s highly detailed thesis paper.

    This “sphere storage” is in no way proven – its a mere pipe dream idea at present – nothing more. Yet you have it providing the solution to wind power intermittency problems – despite that even the appear notes it can at best provide “several” hours of back up despite its huge costs. And that is assuming it actually works.

    Just like you ignored the depth issue in the lease area (a lack of necessary depth) … so too did you completely ignore the fact that any wind turbine installed in an area where the MIT sphere storage would work (1200-2300 feet deep) would require a floating platform … and that I showed there a total of TWO deep water floating platforms (in 45-100 meter depths only) in the WORLD … 0.1% of all off shore wind is on a floating platform.

    And finally, wind turbines are claimed to be too unreliable. I first entered this thread with an account of proven energy storage that overcomes the unreliability issue.

    So neither the sphere or any other storage technology exists today at all, And floating deep water turbine platforms are all but non-existent as well. A floating platform for the massive 5 MW turbines Deep Wind plans for the MA/RI lease area is a huge technological challenge.

    So much for your “proven storage technology” and your claims the Mass/RI leases were some massive savior.

  202. Then there is your denigrating juvenile and completely unsourced attack on my comments regarding Germany’s actual emissions experience.

    You posted a link to an NREL “study” that attempted to model different scenarios in Iowa. I posted a link to the Bloomberg story with direct quotes from officials in Germany’s Environmental Ministry – those responsible for energy in Germany, and their shift to solar.

    Germany emitted the equivalent of 931 million metric tons of CO2 equivalents last year, which was up from 917 million tons the year before, the Environment Ministry said in February. “We’re tracking this development with great concern,” Juergen Maass, a spokesman for the Environment Ministry, said July 26 by phone, declining to comment further.
    Merkel in 2011 ordered the country’s eight oldest atomic reactors that provided near CO2-free power to be unplugged. She wants to shut the remaining nine by 2022.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-07-28/merkel-s-green-shift-backfires-as-german-pollution-jumps.html

    And 2012 saw similar increases according to the Environmental Administrator:

    Federal Environment Minister Peter Altmaier (CDU) …said … in 2012 there was an increase in greenhouse gas emissions by about 1.5 percentage the German Press Agency reported, citing experts. [Total] carbon dioxide emissions in 2012 may be increased by up to two percent – final figures are [not available yet] because of the complexity of the acquisition …just under a year ago.

    http://www.focus.de/wissen/klima/erfuellung-der-klimaziele-gefaehrdet-co2-emissionen-in-deutschland-steigen-wieder_aid_923133.html

    Hard quotes and facts … not a “study”.

    Same thing with my levelized construction costs data. I presented data directly from the US Energy Information Agency. I included a direct link to the documents from them. I aslo provided a seprate link to an earlier WUWT article than looked at Maryland offshore wind which confirmed the EIA costs numbers.

    Roger blathers about some alleged California “CEC” numbers yet never posts a link to the data. All too typical.

    I hate people who refuse to engage and support their claims. I hate people like that even more, who denigrate and demean anyone who disagrees with them, and who ignore documented research and facts when they don’t conform to their position or world view.

    I do detailed research on my positions and claims. I support everything with documented sources and references so people can confirm for themselves. I expect those like Roger to at least make a minimal effort to support their claims. And to engage in the discussion when rebutted – and support their claims.

  203. I found the ERCOT Wind Integration Report Archive:

    http://www.ercot.com/gridinfo/generation/windintegration/index.html

    Here is the Wind Integration Report for January 29, 2014.
    Most of the report is just one day. But at the bottom of the PDF, they have a chart of the past week, Total Load and Wind (rescaled) so that what can be seen is how the peak wind and peak load do and do not match.

    I chose this date because it was the second day of state wide freezing weather and high demand. January 24 was a day of freezing rain in Houston making the “flyways” on the freeways skating rinks until noon.
    Houston TranStar Traffic Map at 10:43am. Note all the closures as well as the red slow and stopped traffic.

    The peak loads this week were 55,000 MW about 10 am 1/24 with wind at a relative low about 1,900 MW, and 10am 1/29 with load at 56,100 MW and wind at about 3,000 MW (rising from 1,000 MW at midnight to 8,600 MW at 23:59). ERCOT has about 11,000 MW of installed wind capacity in Feb. 2014.

  204. WSJ: March 10, 2014, A6. Pacific Draws Green-Energy Rush (paywalled)
    On offshore wind, wave energy. Coos Bay.
    Principle Power, 6MW, floating turbines.
    “could have five massive turbines spinning by the summer of 2017″ “needs to raise capital — as much as $200 million, those familiar with the project estimate–and submit a business plan.” [In that order??]

    Ocean Power Technologies Inc. buoy wave generators. $6 million prototype. Initial buoy in 2015, nine more by 2017. No estimate on power.

    M3 Wave LLC, pressure driven device on the ocean floor, “as soon as August” ‘Its basically a giant bladder inside a box, pressure goes through a pipe and spins a turbine.’ [on the ocean floor... maintenance $$] $200K to deploy. No estimate of power.

    Resolute Marine Energy. rows of panels that rock with the waves. [I want to see the EIS on that]. No estimate of cost or power. “would allow prospective customers to view the technology as a ‘sales tool.'”

  205. US Tax Dollars “At Work”
    PROJECT SELECTIONS FOR MARINE AND HYDROKINETIC ENERGY TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (PDF 6 pgs, catalog of grants for about 30 projects)

    http://www.eere.energy.gov/pdfs/project_selections_mhk_release.pdf

    [concept] M3 Wave Energy Systems LLC (Salem, Oregon) will explore the commercial viability of the submerged Delos-Reyes Morrow Pressure Device (DMP), an innovative air pressure device utilizing bi-directional turbines for converting ocean wave energy into electricity. The DMP design would be a fully submerged wave energy converter resting on the ocean floor, converting the oscillatory nature of a wave’s pressure fluctuations into alternating compression and expansion cycles of flexible air-filled chambers that are connected to a bi-directional air turbine and an electrical generator. DOE Funding: $240,000. Total Project Value: $300,000.

    Still have not found any estimate of power for the cost. Water depth 10-40 m. The power output is a function of wave height, orientation, and choosing the distance between bladders at 1/2 the predominant wave length.

    Geospatial Analysis of Technical and Economic Suitability for Renewable Ocean Energy Development on Washington’s Outer Coast
    US DOE PNNL-22554 June 2013

    http://www.msp.wa.gov/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/PNNL_EnergySuitability_Final-Report.pdf

    Quite superficial qualitative scoring of various proposals. No cost information.

  206. @ dbstealey, re March 6 at 3:15 pm,

    “. . .the “carbon” scare is nonsense.”

    I completely agree.

    “That being the case, the original rationale for windmills is not there.”

    Wide use of commercial-scale windturbines and electric power from them came about after the Arab oil embargo of the early 1970s when the price of oil increased many-fold. For a time, the price of natural gas also increased along with oil. Also at that time, a fairly good percentage (around 20 percent) of electric power was generated by burning fuel oil. Those oil-burning plants were uneconomic with the higher price of oil and were shut down. The oil-burning power plants were replaced almost on a one-for-one basis (MW for MW) by nuclear power plants. At the same time, wind energy was advanced as a way to generate electricity and not be at the mercy of foreign countries that could arbitrarily increase the price of oil. The US government funded research and development of several wind turbine systems, and provided subsidies in various forms to nurse the new industry.

    see e.g. http://www.iowaenergycenter.org/wind-energy-manual/history-of-wind-energy/

    It has only been recently, to my knowledge, that wind power advocates have added “carbon-free energy” to the list of reasons to support wind power. I know it was never mentioned in the 1970s. The original impetus was to keep the cost of electricity down as it was feared that natural gas would run out, with its price climbing to exorbitant levels. President Jimmy Carter actually told the nation that we were running out of natural gas. He was wrong, of course.

    ” It turns out that the power we have been getting from fossil fuels is just fine, with no real downside. “

    I agree. In fact, research and development in gas turbine technology and combined cycle systems now allows a combined cycle gas turbine power plant to achieve 60 percent thermal efficiency and very low cooling water consumption at reasonable capital cost.

    “We should be using the most efficient power source — not an extremely inefficient source like windmills.

    Does that make sense?”

    Here, I disagree. Efficiency should be only a small part of the decision process. The proper criteria for choosing a power generation method should be lowest cost to the consumer, safety, and reliability. In fact, those three criteria are mandated by law in most states, definitely so in California. Lowest cost is moderated by the need to allow a reasonable return on investment for the utility. California actually has a fourth criterion, low impact on the environment which means low CO2 emissions in that context.

    It turns out that wind energy now plays a role in keeping natural gas prices down, as the power from windturbines reduces the demand for natural gas in power plants. As more offshore windturbines are brought on-line, the decrease in natural gas demand will coincide with peak power periods since the offshore wind typically blows strongest in the late afternoons. As a long-time sailor, I can attest to that fact.

    []

  207. Re wind energy forcing nuclear power plants to shut down because they cannot compete economically, this from the Chicago Tribune newspaper:

    Shutting down nuclear generators would have been unthinkable less than a decade ago. They were once the most profitable form of generated power. But since then, cheap natural gas and a boom in wind power have driven down electricity prices, eroding nuclear power’s profits. (emphasis added)

    . . . As . . . fossil fuel costs came down substantially from those peaks five years ago, nuclear has lost a lot of its cost advantage when you consider the amount of capital investment it requires.

    The Tribune analyzed hourly power prices that Exelon’s reactors in Illinois received over six years and determined the plants haven’t made enough money to cover operating and ongoing capital costs since 2008.”

    source: http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-exelon-closing-nuclear-plants-0308-biz-20140309,0,7718140.story

  208. Roger Sowell says:
    March 10, 2014 at 5:55 pm

    It turns out that wind energy now plays a role in keeping natural gas prices down, as the power from wind turbines reduces the demand for natural gas in power plants.

    That’s dead wrong: The wind-political-academic industry is destroying gas-fired power plants by their daily/hourly start-restart cycles as the wind turbines create power momentarily, then trip off again only a few minutes later. These rapid, uncontrollable heat-up/cooldown rates across burners, 2 and 3 inch thick compressor cylinders, compressor and turbine blades, and turbine shafts is breaking the units. Fatigue cracks propagate BECAUSE of these wind-required rapid startup and subsequent shutdowns. Rapid gain and loss of wind power KILLS the turbines that otherwise would last for 5-7-9 years. Start them, run them, keep them at power? No fatigue. No failures.

    Run them at off-peak power “just in case”? Your enviro’s penalize the companies BECAUSE they are not running at efficient levels, and so have more pollutants released and much, much lower efficiencies.

    Now, they are getting 18 months to 2 years and inspections show the exhaust and compressor sections are cracking and shedding metal around the turbine bearings and exhaust shields.

  209. Mr. Sowell. Mister Sowell! MISTER SOWELL!!

    (dousing Sowell with a bucket of cold water) —

    Sowell! SNAP OUT OF IT. {no response — keeps right on with his anti-nuclear — pro windmill arguing}
    Is it really possible that you simply CAN-not comprehend what all the fine scientists (no, I’m not including myself there) have been trying to tell you for DAYS above? Can you not “hear” ANYTHING they are saying to you?

    Just FYI (just in case you can “hear” me):
    Do you realize how pitiful you now appear? Ay yai yai, Mr. Sowell. I’m not being sarcastic here. If you literally cannot take in the information you’re being presented with, then, I’m SO SORRY. I don’t think you are another D. C–tt-on, pushing weird stuff mainly to get attention. I think you are terribly in earnest and deeply worried about nuclear power. And that is too bad.

    At this point, scientists such as Stephen Rasey and _Jim and davidmhoffer and A. Scott and Ric Werme and R. A. Cook are, almost certainly, correcting your errors only to prevent you from misleading others.

    I would say, “Get help,” but you likely do not think you need any. Sigh. I WILL (I have already), even though you will scorn it, pray for you. THAT is real.

    With sincere sympathy,

    Janice

  210. @ RACookPE1978 at March 10, 2014 at 6:33 pm

    You cannot be serious with your statements above. (and where are the WUWT-police, demanding supporting “evidence” or links to back up the naked assertions? but, I digress…)

    You wrote: “ That’s dead wrong: The wind-political-academic industry is destroying gas-fired power plants by their daily/hourly start-restart cycles as the wind turbines create power momentarily, then trip off again only a few minutes later. These rapid, uncontrollable heat-up/cooldown rates across burners, 2 and 3 inch thick compressor cylinders, compressor and turbine blades, and turbine shafts is breaking the units. Fatigue cracks propagate BECAUSE of these wind-required rapid startup and subsequent shutdowns. Rapid gain and loss of wind power KILLS the turbines that otherwise would last for 5-7-9 years. Start them, run them, keep them at power? No fatigue. No failures.”

    I suppose you have real-world evidence of this? Or are you making stuff up? The fact is that wind energy is not much different than the ever-changing loads on utility grids. Or, do you suggest that the entire grid is so fragile that, using California as an example, a one percent reduction in grid input due to a few wind turbines ceasing to generate will cause power plants to cycle? That is beyond belief.

    Now, you might have a point if there was just ONE giant wind turbine, on a very small grid where the wind output was a substantial fraction of the total grid energy. Can you produce such evidence?

  211. Dear Janice Moore: thank you SO MUCH for your (fake) heartfelt concern. Perhaps you enjoy seeing the poor and elderly paying outrageous amounts for their electric bills, knowing that there are far more economic ways to produce that electricity? Do you also enjoy seeing businesses and industry close shop and move to other areas because of the high cost of nuclear-based electricity?

    You clearly think I am wrong on all this. Perhaps you also think my clients over more than 40 years were wrong in retaining my services and listening to my advice, too. (actually, my former and current clients get quite a kick out of reading the exchanges on WUWT and some other sites where such as you cast aspersions. Quite entertaining for them, and for me! So, a big thank you from all of us… but I digress again)

    Without honking my own horn too much, I am proud to say that my feeble efforts played a small but crucial role in stopping the proposed nuclear power plant expansion at the South Texas Nuclear Project near Victoria, in South Texas. That was a decision taken by sober men and women, who had their eyes opened to the shenanigans trying to be put past them by the pro-nuclear group.

    Perhaps your heroes (named by you above) should step in and persuade the stakeholders of the error of their ways. You will have to merely accomplish the following: 1) show that the proposed two new reactors can be built on-time and at less than $10 billion, 2) show that the drought being experienced in Texas will not be made worse by the nuclear plant consuming and evaporating the river water. The river that flows past their towns and farms and cannot be touched by the citizens for any use whatsoever, not drinking, not watering livestock, not any use. Mind you, this is South Texas, where natural gas is plentiful and new natural gas power plants provide power for a fraction of the cost of a nuclear power plant. Go ahead, and good luck with that.

    My best to you, please keep the entertainment coming!

  212. Oh, just one more thing, Janice Moore. That South Texas Nuclear Plant is very near to some of the best off-shore wind in the entire Gulf of Mexico – from about Houston on south to Brownsville. The nuclear plant, and its proposed expansion (if it is ever built) will have to try to compete with the power produced by off-shore wind. The nuclear proponents down there all are keenly aware of this and wanted no part of the proposed expansion. You see, they actually want a power plant that makes a profit, not one that loses millions of dollars each and every month.

    Perhaps you and your much-adored cadre of competents (see above for your list) can show the stakeholders the error of their ways.

    Good luck with that, too.

    All my best to you.

  213. Actually, I mis-wrote that part above. The city’s planners and officials are keenly aware of the future of off-shore wind energy, and they decided not to invest in the proposed nuclear plant expansion. The nuclear proponents of course wanted the project to proceed.

    Mea culpa.

  214. Dear Mr. Sowell,

    I DID joke around in the beginning. I’m sorry that that made my concern come off as “fake” to you. Please know that my concern is genuine. I have a bad habit of teasing people some of whom I should just leave alone. I believe, now, that you are full of genuine fear about nuclear power and that you sincerely believe wholeheartedly in wind power.

    You are, apparently, quite complacent and at peace with yourself. That is, however much I am convinced that your positions are mistaken, a good thing. Given what I believe to be true of you, I don’t want you to be miserable. From now on I’ll just try to accord you all the dignity and respect you deserve, for I really believe that you cannot help your rudeness and your dismissive disregard toward the scientists above. I will try to feel for you the compassion you very much need. I now realize that I have been, to some degree, transferring my frustration about a person (or persons) in my own life (or that of a good friend) whose conversational style is similar to yours. That was wrong of me.

    No, I can’t admire you as I do those listed above and as I do many others on WUWT. I am glad that that does not trouble you. It really shouldn’t, you know. What Janice thinks of you is pretty unimportant in the scheme of things.

    With prayers and hoping you can find peace,

    Janice

  215. Roger Sowell says:
    March 10, 2014 at 7:47 pm (replying to RACookPE1978)

    You cannot be serious with your statements above. (and where are the WUWT-police, demanding supporting “evidence” or links to back up the naked assertions? but, I digress…)

    You wrote:

    @ RACookPE1978 at March 10, 2014 at 6:33 pm

    “ That’s dead wrong: The wind-political-academic industry is destroying gas-fired power plants by their daily/hourly start-restart cycles as the wind turbines create power momentarily, then trip off again only a few minutes later. These rapid, uncontrollable heat-up/cooldown rates across burners, 2 and 3 inch thick compressor cylinders, compressor and turbine blades, and turbine shafts is breaking the units. Fatigue cracks propagate BECAUSE of these wind-required rapid startup and subsequent shutdowns. Rapid gain and loss of wind power KILLS the turbines that otherwise would last for 5-7-9 years. Start them, run them, keep them at power? No fatigue. No failures.”

    I suppose you have real-world evidence of this? Or are you making stuff up? The fact is that wind energy is not much different than the ever-changing loads on utility grids. Or, do you suggest that the entire grid is so fragile that, using California as an example, a one percent reduction in grid input due to a few wind turbines ceasing to generate will cause power plants to cycle? That is beyond belief.

    Now, you might have a point if there was just ONE giant wind turbine, on a very small grid where the wind output was a substantial fraction of the total grid energy. Can you produce such evidence?

    1. Yes, I have specific and credible (eyewitness evidence, personal evidence that I have witnessed and repaired, and multiple (hundreds of) unit records of such cracks and fatigue failures) as “evidence” of these cracks, failures, and unit degradation. That you are not cleared to view such evidence does not trouble me. I “know” me and my witnesses and their data, and I have more trust in these accounts than in ANY so-called “scientific pal-reviewed” prejudiced papers paid for by the government-paid-laboratories and universities.

    As a doubting Thomas once said, “I have put my fingers in the holes, and I have put my hand through the cracks and touched the metal and the blades, and I have stood inside the turbines and seen daylight through the holes and cracks and fatigue points, and thus I know.” Now, whether “you” believe or not is irrelevant to the truth of the issue. “I” don’t really care whether you chose to believe these events or not. Your belief does not change their veracity, and the propaganda of the self-serving and self-paying tax-assisted wind energy groups addressed to self-serving politicians is irrelevant to the accuracy of my statements.

    I know these events to be true because I have seen them, felt them, and fixed them.

    2. A cold front blowing through north Texas at 45 miles per hour will generate a good bit of power for 6-10 hours. THEN IT IS GONE. 20 hours later, there is NO energy being produced from wind, because the back side of a cold front is a persistent high-pressure system of clear skies and low winds for 4-5 days. Then, after 4-5 days, clouds return, some mild winds return, and the next cold front might come through again in 6-8 days. or maybe not.

    Show me, worldwide by actual producing records, 10 regional wind generation systems that have generated even 80% of real, nameplate power at 80% service factor for any period of 12 months straight the past twenty years.

    Show me 20 wind power systems that generate real-world power without subsidies or tariff or tax-incentives or slave-labor rate setups. if wind power worked, it would work.

    Rather, wind power is an expensive game politicians and their cohorts deliberately play at the expense of real lives.

  216. Stephen Rasey says:
    March 7, 2014 at 1:57 pm (Edit)

    I found the ERCOT Wind Integration Report Archive:

    http://www.ercot.com/gridinfo/generation/windintegration/index.html

    Here is the Wind Integration Report for January 29, 2014.
    Most of the report is just one day. But at the bottom of the PDF, they have a chart of the past week, Total Load and Wind (rescaled) so that what can be seen is how the peak wind and peak load do and do not match.

    I chose this date because it was the second day of state wide freezing weather and high demand. … The peak loads this week were 55,000 MW about 10 am 1/24 with wind at a relative low about 1,900 MW, and 10am 1/29 with load at 56,100 MW and wind at about 3,000 MW (rising from 1,000 MW at midnight to 8,600 MW at 23:59). ERCOT has about 11,000 MW of installed wind capacity in Feb. 2014.

    Hmmmmn.

    So, all this very expensive and very harmful 11,000 MW of mythical wind energy produced only 1,000
    MW of actual energy only hours BEFORE the cold front, then produced an unplanned and uncontrollable 8,000 MW of wind energy just BEFORE the actual cold weather arrived over a rapidly rising and unplanned 18-24 hour period, then produced only 3,000 MW (and decreasing!) of unplanned and unreliable energy in the very cold days right AFTER the cold front had come through – thus forcing the actual power plants to re-re-recycle their turbines and condensers and boilers and reactors BACK to full production to save the lives of Texans forced to pay billions of dollars in extra fees for the power that had to ALREADY as a emergency backup for the mythical wind energy anyway, but couldn’t be used … Right?

  217. “… or what else was sub-par.” (Keith DeHavelle)

    … So read it and see just how hard the wind blew,
    It’s a relevant piece, whether goyim or Jew.

    #(;))

  218. @ RACookePE

    Yes, gas turbines require repairs.

    Yes. Wind energy is intermittent.

    But, if a grid is so fragile, explain to us all how California manages a huge load increase (equivalent to wind ceasing to blow), and that load change is 5 to 6 MW over 90 to 120 minutes? That occurs every morning, some days a greater load change than 6 MW.

    Quit trying to BS another engineer.

    One could simply look at the load curve at http://www.casio.com and select “Supply and Demand”.

    From what you and others write, a grid has never EVER had to deal with load variations, until those diabolical wind turbines started up. You could not be more wrong.

  219. @ Mr. DeHavelle — Uh, that was an attempt by me at a little “inside” joke, based on your kindly (and wittily) correcting my mistake about a week ago about “goyi” (I thought the commenter who used it meant “goyim” and you informed me that it was most likely: “good old yankee ingenuity.”). Perhaps, your silence is due to your never having read my comment at 12:48am… ? Well, just in case, I wrote this explanation to prevent any possible misunderstanding.

    Cute poem.

    Janice

    • Hello, Janice! I got it, and smiled
      And I saw how your ping-back was styled
      As I follow along
      All this wind-dance and song
      I’m amazed rather more than beguiled.

      ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  220. Was there ever a poster like Keith DeHavelle
    Who posted in rhyme (and who did it quite well)?
    I am glad that you smiled and I hope you can see
    that your poems add zest at Watts Up — with esprit.

    @*@*@*@*@*@*@*@*@*@*@*Janice Moore

    [See and esprit?
    Janice's Rhyming is getting desperate. Mod]

  221. @RACookPE1978 at 9:51 pm

    Well I would not have put it quite that way, but….
    11,000 MW of nameplate wind turbine installed,
    might deliver 9,000 MW when you need it,
    or only 1,000 MW when you need all you can get.
    ERCOT Wind Power can go from 9,000 MW to 2,000 MW in 12 hours (as in 1/23-1/24), just as your demands reach a peak.
    The wind power can peak as the front passes Western Texas, but demand peaks as the front reaches Eastern Texas (Dallas, Houston)

    See Jan 1/22/14 – 1/29/14 at the bottom of this pdf.

    http://www.ercot.com/content/gridinfo/generation/windintegration/2014/01/ERCOT%20Wind%20Integration%20Report%2001-29-14.PDF

  222. One other point should be made about the ERCOT plots. They are only end of hour average power. I’m looking for plots that show variations in supply an a shorter time period.

    To Roger Sowell’s point at 3/12 8:42 am, the load itself might drop 16 MW in 5 hrs (1/25) or grow 23 MW in 18 hrs. So there is plenty of load changes that on-demand sources must meet. The point is that wind power supply can make the problem worse at least as often as better.

  223. Re: “The point is that wind power supply can make the problem worse at least as often as better.”
    (Stephen Rasey)

    Net Benefit: < or = to ZERO.
    Cost per unit: taxpayer subsidies + marginal cost over what cost of conventional power source/Mwatt = NET NEGATIVE ROI –no matter what.

    Wind power is for fools.

  224. Correction to: Stephen Rasey at 3:39 pm
    To Roger Sowell’s point at 3/12 8:42 am, the load itself might drop 16,000 MW in 5 hrs (Jan 25) or grow 23,000 MW in 18 hrs. So there is plenty of load changes that on-demand sources must meet. The point is that wind power supply can make the problem worse at least as often as better.

  225. This thread may be dead by now, who knows. But just for posterity, it should be noted that Warren Buffett, CEO and Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, has approved spending around $1 billion for new windturbines. From a December, 2013 announcement:

    “MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co., the power unit of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK/A), agreed to buy wind turbines valued at more than $1 billion from Siemens AG (SIE) for five projects in Iowa, in the supplier’s biggest order to date for land-based wind equipment.

    Siemens will provide 448 of its 2.3-megawatt turbines with total capacity of almost 1,050 megawatts, enough to power about 320,000 households, Munich-based Siemens said today in a statement.

    MidAmerican is expanding in wind as costs fall. Turbine prices have declined about 19 percent from the first half of 2008, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, making wind power more competitive with energy produced from fossil fuels.”

    source: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-12-16/buffett-s-midamerican-gives-siemens-biggest-turbine-order.html

    If wind energy is such a bad deal, someone should inform Warren Buffett of that. I’m sure he will place great credence in your informing him. Note that Buffett does not buy or build new nuclear power plants, but does invest in new wind turbines. (MidAmerican Energy, his utility company, does own a small share of a nearby nuclear power plant. That came with the deal to purchase MidAmerican Energy, though.)

    Meanwhile, we are still waiting for evidence that the Iowa power grid is failing. Give the engineers some credit, you wind energy denouncers. Still waiting for evidence that fossil fuel use increased in Iowa due to wind turbines. Still waiting for evidence that EPA permits for pollutants like NOx and SOx are being violated in Iowa due to wind turbines.

    Finally, someone wanted more frequent information on Texas’ grid and wind energy. Here is a link that provides grid frequency to 3 decimal places, demand, and wind energy produced. It updates every few minutes or one can refresh the screen. Note that Texas does just fine in regulating their grid even with 12,000 + MW of installed turbine capacity. One may want to watch the Texas grid this weekend since a prolonged and strong wind event is forecast. The weekend will have lower demand as always, so the percentage of wind energy in the grid will be higher than usual.

    http://www.ercot.com/content/cdr/html/real_time_system_conditions.html

  226. @Roger Sowell

    All of your arguments are on topics made irrelevant by liquid fluoride thorium reactors (LFTYR).

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/10/02/a-review-of-thorium-energy-cheaper-than-coal-by-robert-hargraves/#more-71841

    Starting with 3 cents per kWh, compared to about 25 cents for wind (wind turbines are junk after 15 years) and solar (junk when installed at 10% of rated capacity) (plus 6 cents per kWh
    for a few hours of storage for both wind and solar, and still needing 100% spinning reserve), then the facts that LFTR is safe, non-proliferating, and consumes rather than produces radioactive waste. No water needed; little space required; safe within urban areas with very short distribution lines needed; no strain on power grids from load following, &etc.

    Safer

    LFTRs have no high pressure to contain (no water coolant), generate no combustible or explosive materials;
    Freeze Plug melts in emergency, fuel drains to passive cooling tanks where fission is impossible;
    Reactor materials won’t melt under normal or emergency conditions, radioactive materials stay contained. (Even if a bomb or projectile breaks the reactor vessel, it makes a spill that cools to solid, doesn’t interact with air or water, with most fission products chemically bonded to the salt);
    LFTRs can passively cool even without electricity (never uses water);
    Salt coolant can’t boil away (boiling point much higher than reactor temperature), so loss of coolant accidents are physically impossible.

    Much More Economical

    Ambient-pressure operation makes LFTRs easier and cost less to build (no pressure containment dome, no high-pressure pipes);
    Operating cost is less since inherent safety means less complex systems;
    Fuel cost is lower since thorium is a cheap, plentiful fuel; or eliminate LWR waste as fuel;
    No expensive enrichment or fuel rod fabrication is required;
    Total to develop LFTR technology and factory less than the $10-12 Billion cost of a Single new LWR; then 100MW LFTR would cost about $200 Million.

    The US developed the technology at Oak Ridge over half a century ago, and now China is pursuing it. Roger, all of your “fixes” for the problems of wind and solar intermittence are new and unproven technologies, very “pie in the sky” solutions, untested and undoubtably very expensive. Nuclear energy is in its infancy, yet already has achieved more proven worth than wind and solar are capable of at their hypothetical best.

    Unlike wind and solar, which need unproven technologies to store power, LFTR can run continuously at full power and excess power can be diverted to desalinization of water.

    Roger, I do appreciate that you use outstanding methods to achieve mediocre returns. It is a shame you have not found better applications for your knowledge and skills than to beat a dead horse on this excellent forum.

  227. @Roger Sowell at 9:09 am
    If wind energy is such a bad deal, someone should inform Warren Buffett of that.

    You know very well that the argument is not:
    A) that wind farms are uneconomical to build and operate with tax payer subsidies.
    The argument is that
    B) wind farms are a poor economic choice from the point of view of the tax payer.

    If Warren Buffet is building wind farms without tax payer subsidies, please let us know. That would be news.

  228. @ Stephen Rasey, at 3:42 pm March 16

    Wind farms are built with taxpayer subsidies, no argument there.

    The best arguments for wind are:
    1) Wind farms also reduce electricity prices, which benefits consumers who are (presumably) also taxpayers.

    2) Wind farms cause nuclear power plants to shut down by making the nukes unprofitable. All of society wins.

    Who can say what the net result is? To me, the net result is favorable. Your conclusion may be different.

  229. @ Michael B. Combs

    “Roger, all of your “fixes” for the problems of wind and solar intermittence are new and unproven technologies, very “pie in the sky” solutions, untested and undoubtably very expensive.”

    Actually, grid-scale energy storage solutions are not unproven, not “pie in the sky”, nor untested. They are, though, prohibitively expensive. But only for now.

    As evidence, there are commercial-scale batteries in operation today on Santa Catalina Island, which is offshore Los Angeles, California. The Sodium-Sulfur battery stores 1 MW of power.

    see http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/sc-electric-company-helps-southern-california-edison-reduce-greenhouse-gas-emissions-124591908.html

    High-speed flywheels also work, but not yet at grid scales. Hundreds of these work quite well at smaller scales.

    Per the MIT article referenced above, these storage spheres were built and tested on a smaller scale. That shows they are proven.

    An article from 5 years ago from my blog discusses ESS, Energy Storage Systems. In that article, I listed these ESS types: ” advanced batteries, ultra-capacitors, superconducting systems, high-speed flywheels, compressed air energy storage, pumped hydroelectric, pressurized hydraulic storage, among others.”

    see http://sowellslawblog.blogspot.com/2009/05/energy-storage-key-to-renewables.html

    As electricity prices increase over time, and renewable energy delivery systems’ prices decrease, ESS will become more and more attractive. It is only a matter of when, not if.

    The arguments about LFTR are one-sided, neglecting all the multitude of drawbacks for the system. There are serious reasons why the US dropped development of LFTR.

    • “The arguments about LFTR are one-sided, neglecting all the multitude of drawbacks for the system. There are serious reasons why the US dropped development of LFTR.”

      And serious reasons why China and India are picking up LFTR.

  230. To elaborate briefly on some of the drawbacks of LFTR,

    1) The Oak Ridge National Laboratory LFTR was an experimental, small-scale partial system only, not a full power plant. It was only 7 MW of thermal output, meaning serious scale-up would be required to achieve a commercial-size unit. Roughly, 450-to-1 scale-up is required to obtain a 1,000 MWe output reactor. That degree of scale-up is not trivial, nor is it even guaranteed to be successful. Chinese researchers are today attempting the scale-up.

    2) Materials used in the reactor developed serious inter-granular cracking in all metal surfaces exposed to the molten salt. This cracking would seriously limit the life of a commercial-scale reactor. It is questionable if such a reactor could last for 30 years.

    see e.g. http://moltensalt.org.s3-website-us-east-1.amazonaws.com/references/static/downloads/pdf/ORNL-TM-6002.pdf

    Public fears over the reactors cracking apart like a dropped egg would be sufficient to cause massive demonstrations to halt such technology. It would be especially difficult to prove to the NRC that a reactor at 20 years of life is sufficiently un-cracked to continue operation. We have enough troubles today with pitting, erosion, and metal loss in nuclear reactor tube walls. Inherent cracks in the LFTR metal surfaces will be a PR nightmare.

    3) Costs to construct and operate are speculative at best. So is the safety of such a system, especially given the inherent cracking mentioned above.

    • The LFTR problems are far less speculative and are capable of solution compared to the pie-in-the-sky (and undoubtedly very expensive) fixes you cite for solar and wind storage. And building those fixes in the harsh ocean environment and depending on them is a monumental stretch in credibility.

  231. Roger Sowell says:
    March 16, 2014 at 5:44 pm
    “Public fears over the reactors cracking apart like a dropped egg would be sufficient to cause massive demonstrations to halt such technology.”

    And people like you would do their very best to make it sound as if a non-pressurized LFTR would be exactly as dangerous as a pressurized Light Water Reactor.

    Wind Power kills four times as many people as nuclear.

    http://notrickszone.com/2011/03/24/nuclear-is-the-safest-form-of-energy-opposition-is-a-glaring-denial-of-reality/

    But granted, it’s less dangerous than solar.

  232. @ majormike1 re 6:59 pm

    And serious reasons why China and India are picking up LFTR.”

    No, there are serious reasons why China and India are desperately TRYING to pick up LFTR.

    India is out of options. India has no oil to speak of, no gas, not nearly enough coal. The country’s wind and solar endowment is insufficient to provide power to the population. They could purchase coal, and oil, and they are doing so. Australia is willing to sell coal to India. But, in the face of all their energy shortages, India is trying to develop nuclear. The population is not thrilled, due to the seismic nature of much of India.

    China is also trying to build uranium-based reactors, and to develop the LFTR. It is far too early to celebrate a LFTR operating at 500 MWe output, that will run safely for decades. China also has earthquakes, and some really big ones.

    I suggest the LFTR proponents take a serious look at the technology, and view it as an engineer does. It has some promise, but the technical hurdles are immense. If a different alloy is available to eliminate the cracking, great, but how much does that metal add to the cost? Is the alloy even available in sufficient quantities?

  233. @ DirkH at 7:15 pm

    And people like you would do their very best to make it sound as if a non-pressurized LFTR would be exactly as dangerous as a pressurized Light Water Reactor.”

    Thanks for the admission that PWRs are dangerous. That is progress, for sure.

    People “like me” do our best to ensure “people like you” do not endanger the population by failing to mention the inherent dangers of a technology.

    The US Navy could have chosen Oak Ridge’s LFTR system for the nuclear navy. The admiral in charge considered reliability as a serious issue. Knowing that the reactors could crack and fail at any time, he chose light water moderated reactors, PWR if you will, for their superior reliability. Also, higher ups in the government wanted to create plutonium for bombs.

    Even if LFTR poses no danger from a cracked and broken reactor, the cost to shut down, repair or replace the broken bits would likely preclude any utility from building on in the first place.

    Does wind energy really kill people? How many wind farms have had to be permanently evacuated because they poisoned the area for miles and miles? Perhaps the people killed at Chernobyl don’t count to you. Perhaps the people who suffered massive radiation exposure at Fukushima and will soon die from that also don’t count.

  234. @ majormike1 re

    The LFTR problems are far less speculative and are capable of solution”

    No, they are not. The Chinese are hopeful, but only hopeful. They have no clear path forward on the monumental challenges facing them in developing a commercial-scale, economical, long-lasting, safe, LFTR. You may reject my views on this, but I know from many decades experience how hard it is to scale up a process by a factor of almost 500-to-1. The problem is not quite so hard when one key component is liquid water, as in a PWR or even a BWR, because water is not viscous and has excellent heat transfer properties. But, to accomplish the scale-up with a molten salt, that is much more viscous than hot water, increases the difficulty by orders of magnitude. You can ask any research chemical engineer.

    “. . .compared to the pie-in-the-sky (and undoubtedly very expensive) fixes you cite for solar and wind storage.”

    No, as I wrote above, the technologies for ESS are not speculative, they are proven to various extents. The only issues are cost and economics.

    And building those fixes in the harsh ocean environment and depending on them is a monumental stretch in credibility.”

    The ocean environment is not nearly as harsh as you make it out to be. Oil and gas exploration has been quite successful for decades offshore. Dropping a hollow concrete sphere onto the ocean floor in a few hundred feet of water is not a challenge. Mounting a wind-turbine on a floating platform, perhaps a tension-leg platform, is also not a challenge.

    Give the offshore engineers some credit. They built Troll platform, after all.

    • Dr. Edward Teller was a proponent of LFTR, and his physics credentials seem quite impressive. The costs and economics of solar and wind are by far the most relevant factors. Wind turbines become junk after 15 years, if not sooner, and must be significantly overbuilt to withstand sporadic super storms. Neither solar nor wind can be sited in close proximity to most major population centers, and increasing their share on power grids soon leads to instability. Further, no storage methodology can obviate the need for spinning backup and load following; wind and solar can not be baseload because even with storage, their output fluctuates, and storage (which for all practical purposes has not been developed, and will be prohibitively expensive when it is) is inadequate for more than a fraction of a day. I lived in view of the Altamont Pass for nine years, and much of the time its wind turbines were idle. A friend owned a significant portion of Altamont, and said without subsidies it was worthless. I lived in Tucson for two years, and as you might expect, the winter low sun angle greatly diminished available solar energy, and long winter nights further complicated the issue. A chart of a daily power curve shows only a brief midday period of stable output, and the rest of the time increasing, decreasing, or no energy production. Solar energy production compared to rated capacity tends towards 10%, less than half of wind’s abysmal 25%. You seems dedicated to putting lipstick on a pig, but that pig will never win a beauty contest.

    • “The ocean environment is not nearly as harsh as you make it out to be. Oil and gas exploration has been quite successful for decades offshore. Dropping a hollow concrete sphere onto the ocean floor in a few hundred feet of water is not a challenge.”

      I’ve lived by the ocean half my life, including the past 16 years on the northern California coast less than half a mile from the Pacific. The ocean environment is very harsh, but not nearly as harsh as the political climate against placing any structures off shore in California, even if beyond the horizon and not visible from shore. Of course, the continental shelf ends before then, so the depths beyond exceed 1,000 feet. Since Obama just placed almost all our northern California coast into a National Monument, such development is now forbidden in perpetuity on what is easily the windiest part of the West Coast.

      That leaves off-shore Monterey, San Luis Obispo. Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, and San Diego with their wimpy wind power as alternative sites for wind farms (here I am dripping sarcasm). Maybe offshore wind enthusiasts should look at Hyannis Port to place more wind turbines for the Kennedy’s to admire, or off the Florida coast to amuse the tourists. When the subsidies run out, they can turn it into a wind turbine theme park dedicated to illustrating the foolishness of humanity.

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