California Dreamin’ Renewables

 

Guest essay by Wayne Delbeke

From the 180 on CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) Monday, March 21, 2016.

The maximum California can realistically achieve from renewables is 18% of their total energy supply.

The comment was made by a former member of the California Energy Commission during a CBC review of Alberta’s goal of “UP TO 30%” of it’s power supply from wind and solar. The key word from a political standpoint is “UP TO” since 1% actually achieves the goal POLITICALLY.

The new Alberta government plans to use a carbon tax to fund subsidies for “renewable” energy projects – whatever that means. People think “solar and wind” but that is not necessarily the case.

Still an interesting listen.

http://www.cbc.ca/radio/the180/a-sovereigntist-defends-english-a-case-for-guaranteed-minimum-income-and-more-alberta-road-trip-1.3496597/renewable-energy-may-be-a-challenge-fit-for-albertans-1.3497788

Summary below:

“In California where I used to be a regulator, we went out and did a complete estimate looking at all the land we could get access to and be able to use for renewables and find out what’s the best you could do… and the best we could ever imagine, if you fully committed to renewables was thirty percent. Then we backed off and said what’s it realistically going to be, and the best we could come up with was eighteen percent. – Michal Moore, School of Public Policy, University of Calgary “

 

“Last week, The 180 visited the town of Hanna, Alberta, where residents worry they’re living in a town without a future.

Hanna’s coal-fired power plant has had an uncertain future since the release of the NDP’s climate plan in November.  Dean Girodat works at the mine that feeds the plant, and is worried about life after it closes — both in terms of his own ability to make a living, and the province’s ability to power itself without coal.

But while coal power is on the way out in Alberta, wind is picking up. The Alberta government’s plan sees renewable energy, like wind and solar, to provide up to 30 per cent of Alberta’s electricity once coal is gone. The 180 visited a turbine farm near Pincher Creek, Alberta, where wind from the Rocky Mountains whips across the rolling foothills and ranch-land.

 

Wayne Oliver supervises TransAlta’s wind operations in Pincher Creek, Alberta. (Kathryn Marlow/CBC)

Wayne Oliver is the Operations Supervisor for the company TransAlta’s wind operations in Pincher Creek and Fort Macleod. The company operates 412 turbines around around Pincher Creek.

If you consider that your fuel source is free, once you put up your tower, all you have to do is maintain it. Then, it’s a great supplemental source of energy for the grid… of course, sometimes it’s not windy. I don’t know if wind will replace everything we have, but it’s a great supplemental source of energy. -Wayne Oliver

So there’s one of the challenges in bringing renewable energy up to 30% of Alberta’s energy grid. Right now, wind turbines provide 4% of Alberta’s electricity. Solar power, another renewable energy source, has challenges of its own, such as efficiency in a province where for much of the year, the sun is at a low angle.

Michal Moore is a Professor of Energy Economics at the School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary. He was also a commissioner of the California Energy Commission. He says getting renewable sources to power 30% of Alberta’s grid is a good, but difficult, goal.”

Note: in the last full year of reporting (2014), Coal-fired plants provided 55% of Alberta’s power. There is more Natural Gas generation (44%) than Coal-fired on line but coal-fired (38%) was still providing the majority of electricity in the province. That may change as there are a number of new NG plants. Wind and solar – not so much. It’s snowing as I write this, my solar panels are covered with white stuff and the wind is calm. But I have grid power and a Propane fired 12 kW generator for when the wind and/or snow knock the power out – which happens regularly in my remote neck of woods in the Alberta boreal forest.

The NDP goal of 30% of electricity from Wind and Solar in Alberta is likely nothing more than “California Dreamin’ ” If sunny California can’t achieve 30%, then it is highly unlikely that Alberta will – in terms of ACTUAL production as opposed to “installed capacity”.

http://www.energy.alberta.ca/Electricity/682.asp

http://www.energy.alberta.ca/Electricity/681.asp

258 thoughts on “California Dreamin’ Renewables

  1. It might help if people could grasp that big hydro is a “renewable” source of power AND also potentially storage for other intermittent renewable sources. Its also the cheapest source in terms of typical LCOE.
    Obviously expanding big hydro could have a significant role to play.
    But, part of the alarmist agenda appears to be to resist any realistic affordable practical solutions to the problems that they themselves intend to expensively not solve.
    So apparently we all must pretend as though big hydro does not exist.

    • This article is about Alberta, Canada which consists of prairie, aspen parklands and boreal forest. The mountainous regions are all in national or provincial parks. In 2014 hydro supplied 5% of electricity and there is little prospect for more unless its purchased from other jurisdictions.

    • Ah, indefatigablefrog, but you forget the only Politically Correct definition of “renewable” must involve Green being transferred to some Man (or Woman) at the taxpayers’ expense. Hydro viability depends on geography and such things as “rain” and “snow melt”.
      Unless someone can get big bucks by doing a rain dance, hydro will never be considered “renewable”.

      • Hydro relies on water in lakes; deep lakes. No such lake used for hydro has ever frozen all the way down to the turbine intake. I don’t believe any of them has ever dried up either. They are exquisitely controllable; you let another thimble full of water get gravity fed (the power of the sun) through the turbine intake, and you get an instantaneous increase in available output power. The turbine impeller and alternator rotor don’t have to do a darn thing, but balance the mgh of the thimble of water against the delta I of the output load current (V is held constant, as is the rotor/turbine angular velocity)

        G

      • John, I think your question has been answered by Menicholas and george e. smith. I’d only add that if all the streams freeze that feed the reservoir, no problem. The streams are still flowing under the ice.
        (Now if all the streams turn into glaciers every winter and dry up every summer, then it’s time to fire and sue the consulting firm that told you where to put it.)

      • Gunga Din + lots AND LOTS
        Didn’t spill red wine – but the auto-correct function worked near maximum!!

        Auto

      • Yeah, any impractical thing in which we can be highly influential or ideally, in charge.
        Pol Pot was an expert in agricultural transformation, drainage, irrigation, horticulture etc, you know.
        Well at least he thought that he was until he found himself with total dictatorial control over a nation of several million people.
        Then his expertise was tested in the real world…

      • indefatigable
        Thanks for reminding me of the increasingly bellicose Fat Boy Kim – a Pyeong Yang Yardie.

        Not even up there with Mr Pot [Mr. Pol?] (Apologies if I have erred on terms of address).

        Auto

      • It’s all about voles and rare beetles around where I live.
        All progress is interminably delayed for one thing after another.
        Until finally the project is abandoned as initially intended by the advocates of doing nothing.

      • For years, the only Furbish Lousewort I knew of was the one in the Schrodinger’s Cat trilogy. I guess The Era of Lowered Expectations is apt at that. No dam, no wife, no horse, no moustache.

      • I don’t know all of the details. It happened before I moved here, but there was a plan to build a dam on a stream for water supply (not hydro). The usual suspects opposed it. They weren’t getting local support. So they did an end around. They had the state declare it a State Scenic River.
        Who knew cow pastures were so scenic?

    • In fact, hydro power is responsible for several orders of magnitude more deaths than nuclear power. Take the Banqiao Dam disaster, for example:

      Casualties

      According to the Hydrology Department of Henan Province, in the province, approximately 26,000 people died[14] from flooding and another 145,000 died during subsequent epidemics and famine. In addition, about 5,960,000 buildings collapsed, and 11 million residents were affected. Unofficial estimates of the number of people killed by the disaster have run as high as 230,000 people

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

      Or the Sichuan earthquake, perhaps:

      BEIJING — Nearly nine months after a devastating earthquake in Sichuan Province, China, left 80,000 people dead or missing, a growing number of American and Chinese scientists are suggesting that the calamity was triggered by a four-year-old reservoir built close to the earthquake’s geological fault line.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/06/world/asia/06quake.html?pagewanted=all

      • Even if the quake-reservoir link were validated, the use of the word “triggered” is precise and not intended to mean caused. As explained in the article:
        “Scientists emphasize that the link between the dam and the failure of the fault has not been conclusively proved, and that even if the dam acted as a trigger, it would only have hastened a quake that would have occurred at some point.”
        In other words, even if – then it would have happened anyway.
        And with regard to dam inflicted flooding then in the total tally we must discount the number of deaths from flooding prevented by dams worldwide during the same period.
        This is a massive number. Since flooding of non-dammed rivers is often one of the primary justifications for damming them.
        The river next to my house was dammed for the sole purpose of preventing floods.
        Prior to the building of Three Gorges, hundred’s of thousands to millions were killed in natural flooding of the undammed river.
        “The 1931 China floods or the 1931 Yellow River floods were a series of floods that occurred in the Republic of China. The floods are generally considered among one of the deadliest natural disasters ever recorded, and almost certainly the deadliest of the 20th century (when pandemics and famines are discounted). Estimates of the total death toll range from 145,000 to between 3.7 million and 4 million.”
        “Chinese sources usually indicate the death toll of the Yangtze River overflow at about 145,000, with flood damage affecting around 28.5 million,[1] while most Western sources give a far higher death toll of between 3.7 and 4 million people.”
        Interesting, is it not!!!
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1931_China_floods#cite_note-ZHch-1

      • You forgot all the subsequent people who were never conceived or born due to their might have been parents, having not survived the dam break. The disaster would still have had the same consequences if that dam had just been for water storage. The electric power had nothing to do with the failure of the dam.

        G

      • I think that particular project was less fettered by considerations such as environmental effects or displacing towns than would be the case in most of the world.

        But certainly creating a hydro lake floods a lot of land, and will at least have an impact on the ecosystems in the flooded area. There may be other impacts due to changes in hydrology and geology.

      • It makes a new one.
        Is all ecosystem change bad?
        Should we exterminate all the beavers? They build dams.

    • Water storage for hydro power requires that the geography lends itself to large deep reservoirs, ideally at some altitude. We have already dammed most of the good sites and the envirotards are all about taking down the dams we have when we try to maintain them.

      • Envirotards will hurl vast amounts of their energy and misplaced enthusiasm at resisting the construction of anything anywhere – except for solar parks and wind farms.
        they will happily come up with the most bogus reasons why gaining a lake and some flood control over a river AND loads of cheap energy, is always a bad thing.
        “An interesting ecotourism industry has been developing in the area lately, which would be damaged by the dams.”
        Oh, really? Noooooo…not the eco-tourism… What will we all do now – boohoo!!! I’m going to have to have a massive cry…
        http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/may/12/chile-hydroelectric-patagonian-destruction

      • Don’t think of it so much as losing a forest, as gaining a new and interesting lake.
        Always think about the positive things in life…You’ll be much happier!!

      • ‘Also destroying millions of trees’ ..
        Well here in British Columbia, creating the reservoir for the WAC Bennett Dam did just that. They built a ‘Latourneau Tree Crusher’ that was intended to drive over the spindly pine forest ( just not sure why). It worked great going downhill but up.. not so much. Anyway, the point is that for decades afterwards the reservoir ( known as Williston Lake) had warning signs posted and restrictions for use despite its huge boatable surface. This was because old drowned trees would occasionally pop up from the flooded bottom of the valley through the bottom of your boat. So although the trees were drowned, they were still there and so is the soil they lived in. Once humanity gets fusion going well, and if the land is needed again for forests or agriculture, the soil is still there and not permantly ‘destroyed’. Down a few trees ? Big deal.

  2. As if Tasmania and that island in the Canaries so not exist as bad examples of “renewable energy”. The green blob will try to keep warm with handwaving.

    • Good point. Tasmania needs to think long and hard about its economic future. There are only so many people who want to walk it’s cold, damp tracks. There’s no “boom” in store for the current or next generations.
      Tasmania needs to build some modern gas powered generators and start to encourage industry instead of being the basket case of the Australian economy.

      • On a good day, you can see Tasmania from the Pier south of Melbourne. Mind can’t recall the name of that famous pier.

        G

  3. Renewable drivers, not technology. Green drivers, not technology. Environmentally friendly… sort of. kind of. maybe.

    The marketing, educational, lobbying, and political schemes have created a false impression of their quality and potential. They should be exploited circumstantially as suited to purpose.

  4. Few would dare accuse Canada’s NDP of economic competence, this is just another instance.

    Ecoloon theory with these people always trumps common sense.

  5. Michal Moore is a Professor of Energy Economics at the School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary. He was also a commissioner of the California Energy Commission.

    So is this the guy California can thank for their high energy costs.

  6. While it should be clear that even people that support the “eco loon” solution don’t expect renewables to replace capacity of Coal fired much less expand supply where is it that a growing, more energy intense, economy is supposed to get the necessary supply? It should be obvious these guys are organizing an economic collapse

    • Fossilsage, You’ve got it. How are you going to build a new World Order without taking down the US, EU, Canadian, etc economies? They need a real crisis so they can impose their solution. Maurice Strong was always a Rockefeller man, and he shepherded the IPCC through the UN. They tried to control oil & gas directly w war & looting. Now they’ll control it bureaucratically w the new treaty due to be internationally signed beginning next month. Because Congress wouldn’t approve it Obama was afraid the other countries wouldn’t sign on either, so he ordered its provisions thru a ton of EPA regs.

      Lot of companies sued, eventually one reached the Sup Ct. Scalia’s majority decision said the admin can’t ignore the costs & remanded it to the lower ct. BUT
      there was also a STAY on enforcement until judicial remedies were exhausted. This put the international signatures at risk. The Sup Ct’s order w Stay appeared 2/9; Scalia died the night of 2/12. I guess you know he was pronounced dead of natural causes over the phone w/o the official ever seeing the body.

      I doubt they can keep the AGW argument together too much longer, so they’re really planning to grab power w the 2015 International Climate Conference’s Treaty. It’s very bad news.

    • Try to pay attention zeke … the post is talking about solar and wind and your link has those two at 12.3 % …. either you are misleading on purpose or just unable to read & understand your own reference.

      • Most of the solar in california from 1980 to 2000 was from a handfull of solar thermal facilities built before 190. That amounted to 354MW of capacity. Through most of 1980 to 2000, wind, and geothermal dominated the renewable catagory.

        Most of the solar in california today , 10GW capacityhas been installed since 2010. In 2015 solar accounted for 7.6% of californias electricity supply.. Almost double the 2014 figure. The 18% claimed limit is not realistic for solar.

        California does not have a great wind resource. Most of the developed wind is in a handful of mountian passes. The best place for wind in california i about 30 miles west of the state in 6000 feet of water.

    • I took a look. Calif. has a bit of a reputation for doing away with power generation which offends it’s green sensibilities, then importing power generated in that same offensive way. That strategy may seem to some a bit off-color. So I thought it interesting to see what Calif. is generating compared to it’s needs.
      Renewables (all) 44,887 Total consumption 296,843 15.1%
      Wind + Solar 12,997 + 10,557 7.9%

      Calif. is a large resource-rich state. I would think they could do better. I could understand a tiny little state without a lot of options like Rhode Island being a long term importer. Seems Calif. should be able to do better.

      With coal-fired baseload getting shut down all over the country, depending on imports will not be wise. Under the Clean Power Plan, in the event of a shortage, certain regions are scheduled to import power from each other. And nobody has a problem with this.

      • California is the 6th largest economy in the world; excuse me, used to be, that’s 7th; dang this sticky keyboard “We’re Number eight !” whoopee. We’re on our way to number nine and soon will make the top ten.

        G

    • You must use the envirowaco definition of “renewable.” To get the real data you must read all footnotes and often they are on a separate page. Definitions change depending on who is writing and who it is being written for.

      • Hydo is explicitly NOT renewable in CA. I am sure you know that. In fact, they want to rip down the dams, not build more.
        Nuclear in CA? Speechless, just speechless.

      • Hydo is explicitly NOT renewable in CA.

        Good point, it doesn’t rain there, does it?

        Still, it may again in the future.

        Nuclear in CA? Speechless, just speechless.

        Diablo Canyon, apparently.

        Not renewable of course, but not fossil fuel, so nearly clean with respect to causing global warming.

  7. Alberta already has what is likely the most reliable cheapest power in the world. Gas prices are at unsustainable low prices for now, which is the only reason they’re able to use it now. The oil and gas companies that produce oil and gas have been laying off thousands and because every direct jobs in the industry creates four other jobs, thousands more jobs are gone as well. Wells are being shut in small cap companies have gone broke, mid= are either going out of business or selling to whoever will buy them, and the large-caps are loosing billions. The gas plants that were suppose to replace the coal plants are being cancelled because they see what’s coming. The province is slowly depopulating because everyone sees what’s coming, except the government.

    • OK Rob, it’s not quite as dire as you indicate. Why would a gas plant shut down because gas is cheap. That is totally bogus. Gas wells? Sure, I could believe that.

      Depopulating? Get a grip. Are people moving away? Sure, a small portion of the masses who moved to Alberta in the last few years are going home (like they had always planned to do). The fact is that Alberta is still (and will always be) Canada’s promise land. We only have 3 more years of this silly NDP dog and pony show.

  8. According to Alberta Energy, electrical generation by fuel source in 2014 was: coal – 55%; natural gas – 35%; hydro – 2%; biomass – 3%; wind – 4%. The NDP wants to prematurely shutter 6 coal-fired plants by 2030, so there will be no coal plants. Since NG emits half the CO2 that coal does it would be the obvious replacement for coal. The NDP want to replace it with expensive, intermittent and unreliable wind power instead. Albertans can expect higher electricity rates, “energy poverty”, less competitive industries, destabilized power grid and higher provincial debt.

    • NDP will be gone in three years and all her green crap can be put back in the closet where it belongs.

    • Wind Power ???? If you live in Alberta make sure that your Government gets paid for demolition costs before work starts ! ( $250,000 + – per unit )

  9. These people are chasing rainbows. Most of the rest of the world is chasing new nuclear power
    technologies that make wind and solar look highly dangerous, expensive, unreliable, and environmentally obscene. California’s stupid, ill-informed anti-nuclear bigotry is costing them heavilly. Couldn’t
    happene to a more deserving group of buffoons.

    • I take offense at that! On the other hand, I’m one in a thousand here. The rest are on drugs.

    • California is a pretty good place for chasing rainbows. Fall river is good, but then so is the Russian river where it’s famous steelhead rainbows are the origin of the New Zealand monster trout.

      G

  10. California got 20% of its electricity from renewables in 2014….

    Twenty percent of its electricity is nowhere near 18% of their total energy supply.

  11. It is REALLY EASY to get 30% of the electric energy actually used from renewables – simply turn off the power to everyone when the limit is reached and the wind is not blowing or the sun is not shining. After sundown in Alberta on a cold, clear winter night is a B**ch though!

    • It certainly a problem, but it’s a problem with a perspective.

      Wind turbines kill about 573,000 birds per year. (As at a few years ago). Source.

      Which less than 0.1% of the central estimate of the “between 365 and 988 million birds” killed by other buildings per year. Source.

      And *that* roughly 600 million is likely about one quarter of the number of birds killed by domestic plus feral cats. Source

      Certainly the local bird and bat life should be considered when siting a wind farm, but it’s not more important to consider those things when siting any building, nor more important than cat control.

      • It’s a tiny minority of the birds killed by structures. Are bird strikes included in the costs of other power plants. Or normal buildings for that matter?

        A hint: no.

      • Did you just cut-and-paste this from another thread in the past week, or maybe re-using a post that has already been thoroughly dissected here recently?

        As far as “perspective” goes…what alternatives do we have for “other buildings?” Placing them all below ground? Building them out of pillows? We have better alternatives than wind turbines for power generation.

        Cats kill birds…as part of their food supply. Take the “perspective” that it’s nature’s way like Steve Irwin did. Wind turbines killing birds is not nature’s way.

        Somehow I don’t think you’d be interested in the “perspective” of how much CO2 humans emits vs what nature emits. “Perspective” only matters when it’s your perspective.

      • But when a few dozen birds die in an oil sands settling pond all he’ll breaks loose along with million dollar fines.

      • Michael Jankowski wrote Did you just cut-and-paste this from another thread in the past week, or maybe re-using a post that has already been thoroughly dissected here recently?

        No.

        Michael Jankowski wrote As far as “perspective” goes…what alternatives do we have for “other buildings?” Placing them all below ground? Building them out of pillows?

        Bird-friendly building standards have three strategies.

        1) making glass more visible
        2) making it appear as if spaces are too small to fly through
        3) reducing reflections

        Did that not come up during the thorough dissection of this topic here recently?

        Michael Jankowski wrote We have better alternatives than wind turbines for power generation.

        This is not true everywhere. But it’s admirable that you care for the 0.02% of birds killed by cats and buildings that are struck by wind turbine blades.

        There are design strategies to reduce birds being killed by wind farms too. The most important is siting, but the colour of the turbines, turbine shape and deterring animals with ultrasound are amongst the strategies considered.

        Michael Jankowski wrote Cats kill birds…as part of their food supply.

        Cats are an exception. They will also kill birds and leave them. And keep killing. I think that they’ve been selected by the Egyptians for this behaviour so that they keep protecting the grain stores from rats even when they’re not hungry. In any case, there’s no predator like them.

        In any case, they do a lot of killing.

        Michael Jankowski wrote Somehow I don’t think you’d be interested in the “perspective” of how much CO2 humans emits vs what nature emits.

        If a mole of CO2 is dissolved in the ocean and released from the ocean again 32,000 times, is that 32,000 moles of CO2 emissions by nature?

        If so, you need better definitions of “nature emits”.

        Natural sources and sinks of CO2 are approximately in balance – there’s no net emission. In fact the ocean is a significant CO2 sink. The reason that there is an increase in CO2 since pre-industrial times is the combustion of fossil fuels.

      • Carbon dioxide levels have fallen considerably – precipitously even – since the end of the Jurassic – darn close to kill-off levels. In balance?

      • Do you sit around and try to think of how to sound like you can’t tell the difference between an eagle or other raptor, and a swift-breeding sparrow or other songbird?

        The birds being killed by wind farms include large numbers of endangered raptors that can’t repopulate themselves at the speed of those killed by ”cats.”

        Furthermore the wind generators don’t deliver anything. They cost far, far more than they return, and are dangerous to those around. They literally fall down. All the time. Here in California there are wrecked ones, and ones that don’t work, all over. Every time you look out the window, 3/4ths of them aren’t turning. Even in wind.

        Youtube’s got an entire section with footage of them simply coming apart.

        Addressing your bird number lies:

        Spain: Birds already killed per year are at 18, MILLION
        http://savetheeaglesinternational.org/releases/spanish-wind-farms-kill-6-to-18-million-birds-bats-a-year.html

        University of Colorado: wind farms killing 600,000 to 900,000 bats yearly : http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wind-turbines-kill-thousands-bats-day/story?id=20997657
        Real mortality likely to be at least 20 times higher.

        Bird killer fanatics lying intentionally through every possible mechanism: counting only once a month, refusing to count downed, wounded birds, as dead, refusing to count any birds not within 200 feet of base of any Bird Killer.

        30, MILLION birds likely killed a year. The Spanish counts are by a national bird conservation group which goes out and counts the birds. Their counts are verified.

        This means Bird Killers are actually killing 30 MILLION birds a year.

        Insipid argument about sparrows vs lost raptors is idiocy, from the mind of an idiot, and a pathological liar. He could have found out about all those studies from people telling the truth: and the lawsuits wind farms file so people can’t tell the truth about the millions of animals killed per year.

        http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/wind-energy-firm-sues-block-bird-death-data-release/

        Seth
        March 22, 2016 at 7:10 pm

        It certainly a problem, but it’s a problem with a perspective.

        Wind turbines kill about 573,000 birds per year. (As at a few years ago).

      • Seth: “Which less than 0.1% of the central estimate of the “between 365 and 988 million birds” killed by other buildings per year.”

        Oh dear, not that totally specious BS argument again.

        The number of people murdered by serial killers is a considerably smaller proportion of the number killed in road traffic accidents.

        By your logic that means we should either not bother wasting resources tracking down serial killers or ban all road traffic.

  12. As a power station operator for 35 yrs, 30% from solar or wind, would mean an uncontrollable grid, we have to control voltage, frequency and power factor within narrow margins and this is not possible with solar and wind,
    Hydro is a totally different matter, having commissioned a Hydro station in Malaysia, I know they can start up from standstill to full load in minutes, their governor response to load requirements can be adjusted to whatever you require.

    • Not insurmountable.

      Wind power produced the equivalent of 42.1% of Denmark’s total electricity consumption in 2015.

      The Danes can sell it to their neighbours if they over-produce of course. I presume the same is true for Cali?

      • Seth what you leave out of that is Denmark is a relatively small country 5.7M people and is connected via electricity interconnection to other European countries which it can draw 44% of its needs from if the Wind isn’t blowing. It simply purchases additional power from its neighbours when it needs. You quoted the percentage number but not the underlying reasons they can do it.

        Now lets take mainland USA which is 310-330M people depending who you believe and its neighbour countries it could draw off being Canada and Mexico. Do you see the problem here?

        Now I see in many of your post you talk about accuracy so please include all important details.

        So such a thing might be possible for small states or territories of USA or Canada if they could organize backup supply from somewhere else but it’s not something the whole of mainland USA could do.

        The lesson from Tasmania in Australia was the backup also needs to be via multiple connections as there single backup connection is now down and will be many months before back online. You don’t just buy large transmission cables off the shelf they are generally made to order.

      • So, when Denmark’s wind isn’t blowing and they purchase power from a neighbor, the CO2 generated by their neighbor will not cause global warming, ice-cap melting, and sea-level raising?

        This suggests a novel idea. Let’s sell all of our coal-generated electricity to Canada and Mexico, and buy all of their coal-generated electricity. In that way all of the CO2 will not cause global warming, etc. If Canada and Mexico can’t generate enough electricity for the US, we’ll just build more coal plants for them, gratis. That will be cheaper and more effective than building more crappy wind turbines and solar farms.

      • LdB wrote Now lets take mainland USA which is 310-330M people depending who you believe and its neighbour countries it could draw off being Canada and Mexico. Do you see the problem here?

        The US’s Western Interconnection that California can buy from and sell to is a similar ballpark, if a bit smaller, to Europe.

        I don’t think that the situation for California is as different from Denmark as you suggest.

    • “30% from solar or wind, would mean an uncontrollable grid, we have to control voltage, frequency and power factor within narrow margins and this is not possible with solar and wind”

      It can be done, even up to 100%, as demonstrated by the El Hierro installation – but only at great cost. In the El Hierro case, a large pumped storage facility was built with peltons separate to the pumping station at the same time a 11MW wind farm was installed. It appears that when integrating large proportions of wind power, they use the peltons to stablise the frequency and voltage and to balance phase while pumping water back up to the upper reservoir to maintain the water storage.

      Cost? Around US$95 million for a grid that has a peak demand of only 7.5MW

    • Seth Wrote:
      ” the reason that there is an increase in CO2 since pre-industrial times is the combustion of fossil fuels ”

      Seth, logic tells us that if we had the biomass ( trees etc) of pre- industrial times fossil fuels would not enter the equation, but cut 1 plant 2 is not part of the” Do Goody-Goodies” agenda

    • “As a power station operator for 35 yrs,”

      Maybe you are not a very good one because so far large amounts of wind have not been a problem. It is the grid operator that is responsible for managing voltage, and frequency by predicting changes in demand based on such things as weather. Predicting changes in wind or solar is no different.

      • When wind power reaches the percentage it has in Germany, it has become on the verge of being a problem there.
        Predicting wind and solar is fairly difficult. Large areas can cloud over fairly quickly, or become windy quickly too.

    • Jeff, you hit the nail on the head but a fair number of youngsters have never even heard the word! I’d wager Seth has studiously avoided any reference to that since it’s pretty clear that the economics of energy density is beyond his frame of reference and therefore his posts here all appear beyond sophomoric.

      • I do not think wind farms in Alberta would be a boondoggler. I am hoping fossilage and Jeff are also youngsters based on remarks being equally sophomoric.

      • RetiredKitP…go away if you don’t understand that there are multiple reasons that wind is crazy expensive and that without subsidy and tax consideration no one would see them anywhere as a commercial enterprize then you must among the new wave of Trolls that have recently set up shop here.

  13. Alberta and its eastern neighbor Saskatchewan passed up the opportunity at least two decades ago for an east-west power grid supplied mainly by Manitoba Hydro in a province that generates 98% of its electricity from hydro dams. Instead, Manitoba exports 88% of that energy to states like Minnesota and Wisconsin. So if Alberta were realistic about clean energy, it would try to renew the offer rather than gamble that wind and solar will make up the shortfall left by abandoning fossil fuels.

    • Now the transmission lines will be north-south into the U.S. to supply the U.S with electricity as the coal and nuclear plants are closed. Just waiting for the transmission lines to be installed.

      Atlantic Canada will supply the U.S. northeastern states. In progress.
      Hydro Quebec supply to New England and New York. Already in progress.
      Ontario supply to New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan. New York and Michigan already being supplied.
      Manitoba Hydro to Minnesota. Already in progress
      Alberta from Montana until transmission lines installed to U.S. west coast.
      B.C. to Washington State.Power connection already in place.

      • The problem with the grid lines going south to the US is that when you sell power it would be nice to get paid. When a company called Enron was messing with the power grid and supply to California BC Hydro Canada came to their rescue and sold them power during the “crisis” at the rate that was quoted from the power brokers at the time. BC ran a number of their reservoirs down to produce this power then were left short when they needed it later. California took BC to court (a US Court) and won a settlement where BC Hydro had to pay back $450 million dollars to California for price gouging during this power crisis. Once burned do you think we will support this state if it happens again.

    • Southern Alberta is already polluted by thousands of kilometres of collector power lines, substations and large transmission lines. It is embarrassing to have such a defaced, once beautiful prairie befouled by these hulks. As an engineer I used to marvel at their beauty – as single units. But with thousands littering the prairie with roads and other infrastructure, it has become a symbol of ugly greed and wholly unneeded given the abundance of gas and the nuclear option that could be built near urban centres with no need to cover half of the southern prairie with wind farms to benefit the Urban ecoloons that push for them. I cry for what they have done to the environment to service their urban life style.

      • Hey maybe that’s it! If one looks at syntax and the disjointed responses to the post he’s commenting on is it possible that RetiredKit P is our old friend Doug? Dave Appell displaced from Dr. Spencer’s site?

      • Really! No gasoline. No steel made with coal. No ships, no airplanes. No urban areas covered with concrete.

        Tell me one BC accomplishment that does not have environmental impact. The city of Seattle says it is green too.

  14. People here, I think, miss a key point.

    Michal Moore is a Professor of Energy Economics

    Here is a person, presumably professionally educated in energy economics, who does not care in the least how much things actually cost.

    He was also a commissioner of the California Energy Commission

    Bingo!

  15. Correction:

    “From the 180 on CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) Monday, March 21, 2016.”

    Should read: … CBC (State -Owned Liberal Government Propaganda Office) Monday, March 21, 2016

    I hope I live to see it completely shut down, with all the senior executives in tattered urine-stained clothes begging for spare change. Corrupt scum, through and through.

    • The wonder kid, Canada’s new prime minister, trudeau just gave the CBC, his personal propaganda outlet over 500 million over the next few years.

  16. You can go as high a proportion as you like with renewables if you solve intermittency.

    The most cost effective solution to that to date, where the renewables aren’t primarily hyrdo power backed by a large reservoir, is molten salt thermal storage. Not free, but the economics will eventually be favourable, I think.

    The cost of wind power is dropping as improving technology, and economies of scale kick in:

    With the cost of wind power already below market rate for power in some areas:

    There will increasingly be more financial capacity to build supporting infrastructure, such as storage solutions.

    • Seth,

      How about this for a proposal: your crowd can pay the $19 per kWh from Ivanpah, and we normal folks will get by on the usual 25¢/kWh that we’re used to. That’s fair, no?

      • This is where the promise of regulated utilities for protection of consumers from another era has been redirected for political gain and large scale “demonstration” projects at the expense of the common user.

      • One sided argument, as ever. Try living without electricity and see how many people that kills.

        And what is the cost of wind power when the wind isn’t blowing? No amount of subsidies will make the wind blow.

        Storage solutions? Maybe the greens intend to start building (subsidised) mountains where there aren’t any.

    • Like $50 million for 4 hrs of lithium power storage project in California to backup wind turbines? U.S. taxpayers paid half of the cost of just this one project.

      • What were they doing with the lithium? Thermal storage or Li batteries?

        How much power did they store for four hours for $50M?

      • Again I love Seth’s lack of accuracy, Andasol 1, & 3 produce 150MW enough power for around 0.5M people. Like all these sorts of projects it can only be done at very specific locations which he again neglects to mention and pretends this is an easy go anywhere solution.

        It’s also interesting he neglects the worlds largest facility Ivanpah at 372MW, which is mainland USA and you wonder why that is but just look thru recent articles on the site will give the answer.

        These solutions may all ultimately help with power generation and be part of a mix solution but they are not a singular, “the answer”.

    • “If you solve intermittency” wind and solar work. If my aunt had balls , she’d be my uncle. That sort of storage only exists in fiction–Heinlein’s “Friday” and Shipstones, with the plot twist that the controllers of such a thing would take over.

      • Tom Halla wrote: That sort of storage only exists in fiction

        A time traveller from the 2000s?

        The first molten salt storage power station was Andersol, and that went online seven years ago this month.

      • So how many complete discharge and recharge cycles does this lithium mega battery last for.

        I presume that the only purpose in storing existing electricity is to use it at some time, when you aren’t generating any. That would seem to be a complete discharge every 24 hours, for say a PV system. Deep discharge batteries tend to have a limited number of charge/discharge cycles.

        G

    • Can we see the aggregate subsidy as a proportional component in the graphic?

      Just sayin, statistics can paint a picture many ways….

      • That’s all statistics can do; paint pictures. It’s an alternative to folding 100 mm square pieces of tissue paper.

        Very artistic; not at all predictive.

        G

    • ‘With the cost of wind power already below market rate for power in some areas’

      Because they get a free ride on existing infrastructure. Wind production of electricity is hide bound, as it increases penetration the existing infrastructure goes away, and wind has to start paying for its retention.

      BTW, ‘storage solutions’ require substantially more production capacity. You may have to triple wind production just to provide the backup storage.

      ‘Then we backed off and said what’s it realistically going to be, and the best we could come up with was eighteen percent.’

      This is probably the realistic upper limit of wind/solar power, when considering cost of retaining standby sources. Wind/solar can only ever be supplemental.

      • And no property tax charged on the property improvements.

        Wunnerful; simply wunnerful !

        g

    • Can you explain why, even according to your graph – the cost per kWh in 2013 was almost identical to the cost shown for 2000.
      There was massive investment of tax dollars in development, especially in the form of DOE grants during that period. a.k.a. massive heaps of other people’s money to play with.
      And yet according to your graph the cost per kWh went up and then down to where it was in 2000.
      And yet you have assured us that economies of scale are kicking in.
      Billions in taxdollars has been invested in R&D over the last 16 years – but where is this cost reduction?
      Not in that graph.

      • > Can you explain why, even according to your graph – the cost per kWh in 2013 was almost identical to the cost shown for 2000.

        Probably related to the purchasing power of the USD.

        It lost about 60% of its value against the euro between about 2000 and 2009.

      • Any such analysis should use a single currency unit made “constant” as it were using government-supplied inflation values. Costs in US dollar terms do not vary based on fluctuations with foreign fiat currency units.

      • But you must surely be able to see that costs were falling seemingly inexorably prior to 2000 i.e. prior to the era of massive government investment and energy subsidies.
        And then that steady cost reduction apparently stopped during the period in which the US govt. spent billions in R&D and guaranteed spot pricing for the energy output from these machines.
        Here in the UK, the off-shore wind industry receives a guarantee of 4 times the wholesale electricity price!!!
        If the public were not being forced by law to pay four times too much for the energy produced then the entire industry would collapse to zero overnight.
        I expect that a similar situation exists in the US.
        Look at your own graph it tells a strange story about the effect of the hundreds of billions in subsidies.

      • Well the purchasing power of the US dollar just took another hit, with the mandates for $15 per hour minimum wage.

        The more you pay people for doing not much of anything, the more of not much of anything you will get.

        And that doesn’t count the impact on people who used to make only $7 per hour of not doing much of anything, and now have no job at all, even one of not doing much of anything at all.

        G

        You tend to get a lot of what you provide incentives for; even doing not much of anything.

    • “Not free, but the economics will eventually be favourable, I think.

      Typical renewables lobby logic. Don’t bother trying to back up hopeful statements with any firm calculations of requirements – just wave hands and think happy thoughts.

    • Artificially increasing the cost or price of other means of generation somehow makes an expensive, and intermittent, and unreliable, means “competitive?” Huh.

    • If you talk to any competent electrical power purchaser – working for and employed by a utility trying to pay its own bills, you will find that the reason that wind power is SELLING for $0.05 per KWHr is because that is the most that they will pay for that UNRELIABLE product that the State mandated Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) regulations that requires the increased production of energy from renewable energy sources. Otherwise they would not touch it with a 25 ft insulated pole.

    • The B&V study is already out of date in that multiple utility scale PV projects have been developed and sold in west Texas to City of Austin and the Southern Co. There will be a lot more on the way. The maps are generally correct for solar in the SE and mid south. The issue of intermittency seems to be the hardest for lay observers to understand. Utility scale solar PV has reached the point of getting the attention of utilities for the low bid prices today and constancy of the PPA deal with fuel cost risk taken out of the equation. Also when solar PV rolls out across the south then north, it will alter the EIA assessment of natural gas resource abundance. When large scale combined cycle gas plants are used for night time and backup with quick response capability, you don’t really need to do exotic energy storage what ifs. This is not that hard to figure out.

      • 17% capacity factor on PV plus gas does the job? 17% is attractive to utilities only with captive customers and amenable rate approving commissions or fat, hidden, benefits or both. Why not use the gas for industry and fleet transport in cities instead?

    • Seth, you’re obviously not an engineer. There’s a description for such boondoggles as wind and solar, it’s called “low power density”. Coal has a thousand times their power density, nuclear a million.

      • You have some basic abhorrence for a 30,000 square mile solar PV plant in the waste desert lands of the American South West ??

        What’s wrong with you; that’s only 19.2 million acres, which is exactly the size of the entire Arctic National Wild Life Refuge. The State of Delaware can be put in 12 different non overlapping places in the ANWR. Rhode Island fits in 20 non overlapping places. Delaware incidentally, north to south extremes, stretches all the way from Anchorage Alaska to Wasilla Alaska.

        G

    • Look at Sethsmaps, Look at where the wind is. Now look at the following chart (Same source as Seth’s 5 cents per KWH chart.) http://awea.files.cms-plus.com/PPABubbleGraphic_2012DOEReport.png

      Why are they paying 5 times as much, over a $1.00 per KWH in areas with less wind, More severe RPS standards and States that are Demanding the use of Renewables? WHY

      Answer – All of the selling priices are false, manufactured prices. Any competent electrical power purchaser – working for and employed by a utility trying to pay its own billsm will tell you that the reason that wind power is SELLING for $0.05 per KWHr is because that is the most that they will pay for that UNRELIABLE product that the State mandated Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) regulations that requires the increased production of energy from renewable energy sources. In state where there is a limited source of this unreliable power. It is called supply and demand.
      Now read that bubble chart carefully. Those are contracts. Some require payment even if not delivered. Who pas for that? The rate payers pay for it, another hidden tax.
      Wise up – it is the biggest ponzi like scam perpetuated on the USA. and the liberals buy it and call the conservatives deniers.

  17. Deaths from coal plants are unsubstantiated. These numbers thrown around are just guesses by people who have a vested interest in making the number high.

    • I’m extremely open to reading other estimates. I’m less open to “that number is high, but I can’t tell you how much or why”.

      What have you got?

      • You saw what he said, show us all the dead people and your indications they were killed through one of the cleanest forms of energy production ever devised: coal.

        Coal is so harmless the people who monitor the atmosphere for the tell-tale traces of mercury in the air,

        can measure mercury in the air all over the United States; tell which direction it comes from; know how much there is.

        They can’t even find a TRACER for mercury – the MAIN poison ALLEGED to be spread by coal.

        Their maps show LESS mercury deposited in the NorthEast US where most coal plants are.

        Yeah you need to show how and why your numbers are real because – like the guy said: you can’t show those dead bodies. You’re lying.

        Don’t tell people ”you have to offer information.” You’re here with claims of thousands, dead, fact-billy. YOU have to SHOW us those BODIES. And, the autopsy reports stating ”killed by having home heating.”

        Pfft. .

        Seth
        March 22, 2016 at 7:27 pm

        I’m extremely open to reading other estimates. I’m less open to “that number is high, but I can’t tell you how much or why”.

        What have you got?

      • Backing up Marshal Tate, WHY are the EPA levels established for the “pollutants” they are trying to minimize BELOW the level that is already in the atmosphere. READ the EPA MATS regulation. The air that the Coal plants are burning already have P2.5 levels greater than the limit. Thus any new coal plant and all existing plants will become a gigantic P2.5 filter. The p2.5 levels in youehouse/office do not meet that requirement.
        I have an Electrostatic Precipitator (filter if you don’t know what that is) on my HVAC. It runs 24/7/365. The levels still exceed that of the EPA MATS standards.
        The regulation was written for one explicit purpouse – KILL COAL. PERIOD

  18. Alberta has been one of the few jurisdictions that made power generation in real time from every source public. As I type this wind produces 84 from 1445 installed capacity and a total demand of 9587 with 283 dispatched. Why look at published results from groups that have a vested interest in a particular outcomes if you can check for yourself?

    http://ets.aeso.ca/ets_web/ip/Market/Reports/CSDReportServlet

    • Most ISOs provide real time data on load and generation. Where is factor, wind is shown. CAISO, BPA balancing authority, Midwest ISO, PJM to name a few US. France and other EU grids too. I used to have them book marked on my work computer. Links are often posted on this site.

  19. Love Seths next biased piece of junk from a dubious source that 13,000 people per year in the US might just might die from coal industry. Seth google “Preventable causes of death in USA” and you aren’t even in the ball park of the top 10.

    The top one is usually botched medical procedures, then the usual suspects of tobacoo, gun and car deaths. Throw in sexual diseases and death by household chemicals and the stupid article and idea gets to be about where it belongs a distant memory.

    WHO lists worldwide 170,000 people drown each year just think how many people we could save if we banned water.

    • LdB wrote:Love Seths next biased piece of junk from a dubious source that 13,000 people per year in the US might just might die from coal industry. Seth google “Preventable causes of death in USA” and you aren’t even in the ball park of the top 10.

      Ah, I see you’re trying to move the goalposts, LdB. I didn’t say it was a top cause of preventable deaths. I said that there were an estimated 13,000 people per year in the US.

      One thing you find with climate science “skeptics”, evolution “skeptics”, medicine “skeptics” and anti-science people in general is that they’ve got a lot to say about how particular studies are wrong, often when they don’t have any science based alternative estimates.

      The 13,000 is one estimate. If you haven’t got another, that’s the best we have.

      • The person who has most to say on this post, is you, Seth. If the best estimate you have is worthless, because it ignores the benefits of cheap coal power, then it remains just that. Worthless.

        The poor nations of the world know what is best for them, and they choose coal.

      • Seth?, an appropriate (sociopathic) biblical pseudonym. Actually Mike, I wasn’t quite sure it was you up till now… your comments in this thread confirmed your identity. I guess you just can’t hold a good model warmist down, you’ve got the Company’s interest at heart after all. You’re a figurative chip off the old mans block… Adam would have been proud, indeed the apple does not fall far from the tree. I’ll be in Calgary for a few weeks next month… maybe we could do lunch. In the meantime I’ll come out of comment retirement and engage you in this WUWT ‘Garden of Eden’. Have to warm up my keyboard… see you soon.

      • The graph from the Rocky Mountain Institute with its’ Carbon War Room shows “premature deaths from fossil fuel burning”. An “estimate” of this sort is nothing more than throwing spaghetti on the wall to see what sticks. You put forward the hypothesis:

        Although the reality is that there are large externalities on the cost of fossil fuel power, especially coal, which kills about 13,000 people per year in the US.

        and you must support it. Your referenced graph was compiled by the Clean Air Institute in 2010. It is not enough to say:

        The 13,000 is one estimate. If you haven’t got another, that’s the best we have.

        The scientific method requires you to prove your hypothesis, you cannot claim your hypothesis true because of a lack of dispositive evidence.

        I am all in for clean air and reduction of fine particle emissions, but better scrubber technology would seem more a practical solution than shutting down every coal plant in the US. Certainly more so than replacing it wind and solar which cannot replace it now or in the foreseeable future. Find a cause that will not have consequences worse than what you are trying to correct.
        .

    • More toddlers are drowned in five gallon buckets of water left out in yards, for them to topple head first into, than are killed each year by gun accidents in the home.

      G

    • Simple, John. Globull warming guilt anxiety. Drives people to drugs, alcohol, sex, gluttony, depression and Prius ownership with suicidal tendancies.

  20. Michal Moore is referring to land area access that is a moving target due to technical change in solar PV efficiency. I’m not sure how far back that was that they did the estimate in California, but it is a fact that project areas are shrinking for utility scale PV. The efficiency of the lowest cost producer is rising by double digit annual percentage rates due to R&D investment. Community scale solar PV in the mid range size class will also benefit from the rate of change in efficiency. The competitive bid price for utility scale PV is now in the range of 3 to 5 cents per kwh in PPA deals and headed lower. There is also the issue of changing land use patterns to alter the assessment of capacity. The California Flats PV project to be jointly owned by PGE and Apple was a large dry land farming operation being converted to renewable energy.

  21. Awesome quote of the day:

    We don’t know enough to say it’s too late.

    David Suzuki approx. 09:52 local CBC radio The Current with Anna Maria Tremonti

    Thank you Dr. Suzuki.

  22. Natural gas peaker plants can be subjected to carbon taxes. If non-carbon sources are used for peakers and storage they will not pay carbon taxes.

    Companies will use tax avoidance if they can.

    It takes a lot of nerve on the part of some Americans to expect that Canadians should furnish them with “green” electricity.

    Flood parts of Canada, cover their land with wind and solar to furnish large urban areas of the U.S with “green”electricity and paid for by Canadians.

    • “It takes a lot of nerve on the part of some Americans ….”

      There is no carbon tax in the US. There is no national mandate. A few states like California have high mandates they can not meet. Alberta may or may not have a mandate they can not meet.

      I suspect that Canada has as many wing nut in government as the US.

      • From the hardware store standpoint, wing nuts are more easily removable. Can we apply this to governments?

  23. At some point we have to admit that the green agenda that has been rammed down our throats for decades is about depopulation, nothing else.

  24. If I were owner of that coal fired power plant in Alberta, I would investigate co-firing biomass with the coal. It is a win-win-win. The local farmers and loggers win since their business gets a boost. The enviros are happy since they have less coal burning. The power plant gets to stay in business and charge for green energy credits. You can burn 10% biomass without making too many problems in the boiler.

    • That is much too straightforward. It needs to import wood pellets from across the Atlantic that they do in the EU plan. Besides it also needs trading schemes and middlemen in green agencies to divert funds and make it a modern, sophisticated system. It also needs a financial trading market for carbon credits with old Soviet plant sites in the mix.

    • There is a lot of waste biomass used for co-firing or boilers designed for it. A proven cost effective concept. Kettle Falls in Washington State is one example.

  25. There so much BS on this site wrt the power industry, that it hard to know where to start. First of Seth is correct about ‘Bird Kills’ and all you bird whiners are wrong.

    Because we can, all power plants built since the 80s have to be safe and have insignificant environmental impact. See the EIS (Environmental Impact Statement)

    “A hint: no.”
    Seth was wrong about that. All buildings.
    The three most important things for siting a power plant are: location, location, location. So you bird whiners who talk about some place in California, it is not applicable to anyplace else.
    My first commercial nuke startup had a problem with migrating birds flying into the cooling towers. This was before the EIS regulations but a biologist kept track of the issue.

  26. “When a company called Enron was messing with the power grid ”

    Boris you assessment is correct with a few exceptions. First it was not the US, it was the State of California. California had a flawed deregulation system. ENRON was a victim as were many other companies who thought a contract was binding if you played by the rules.
    It is interesting that BC socialists (aka commies) are complaining that the commies in Kalifonia did not play fair. Stop your whining or US Navy will stop protecting you.

    The second problem California did not permit new power plants in a timely manner. Third there was a drought in California. Third a nuke plant wiped the bearing on the turbine shaft. Fourth a large coal plant in Utah had a main transformer fire. Finally, a gas pipeline to California blew up in New Mexico.
    Every month the CEO of my company would write a letter to Governor Davis warning of rolling blackouts when it got hot.
    Just for the record, the largest gouger of ratepayers of investor owned utilities was Los Angeles Department of Water and Power LADWP. LADWP GM S. David Freeman became the California Czar and pointed a Texas bandits from the statehouse steps.
    S. David Freeman was GM at SMUD when they closed the nuke plant I worked.
    It should also be noted that under Governor Bush, Texas had deregulation that resulted in investment to build needed power plants and no rolling blackouts. A modest 5% wind mandate that worked.
    Bush became POTUS and Davis got recalled. The only winners in the California energy crisis were lawyers.

  27. Actually there were 97,000 GWh imported. I missed direct coal imports. The 85,000 GWH of Other imports are not categorized per source.

    In-state generation in California was only 199,000 GWh of which 57,000 was Renewable

    So as a percentage of in-state electricity generation Renewables actually were 29%

  28. On the subject of coal killing people, I have studied this in the past.
    Since I worked mostly in nuclear power, I have no reason to promote coal but I do not like junk science. CAGW is a theory. So is PM 2.5 from burning fossil fuels is killing people.

    It is classic how to tell a lie.
    It goes like this. Researchers looked at data for emergency visits in 1980 and correlated an increase with air pollution. First association is not causation. Second the source of the pollution was not identified.
    Next you have to look at what they mean by killing folks. What they are really saying is premature deaths. All the people who died were chronically ill patients over 75 years old. Furthermore, the theory has not been proven.
    Let me put this in the context of the political climate. Bush was a new president and had proposed regulations on old coal plants and sulfur in diesel.

    For the benefit of Seth, there was a time when many of our cities did have serious air pollution problems and cars did not have seat belts. Our parents worried about polio.

    • And the industry was basically told to leave. So it did, to the Pearl River Delta and surrounds. The same people that made this choice for us now purport to ask, “What became of our industry?” They proceed to blame others and to suffer no consequences. No need to tell me that US industrial output is at all time highs in this manipulated easy-credit bubble world as measured by the intervenors and manipulators. The lost chances are unknowable.

      • It was a 6 hour bus ride for where we lived on the coast around the Pearl River Delta to Shenzhen and Hong Kong. Yes, there was air pollution. About the same level as the San Francisco Bay area 20 years ago.

        Never made to places in China with bad air quality.

        No intervenors outside the nuke plant either.

  29. “= 59,000 GWh”by

    @Karl

    Apparently, you are being confused by Kalifornia smoke and mirror. There was an earlier link that showed in state and imported generation. I lived in the PNW and watched the wind farms get built to meet Cali goals.

    People in Cali do not want to see wind farms. Rural PNW likes the jobs and the property taxes.

    • Nope 97,000 GWh in imported electricity is accounted for as coal and other imports — separately from the 199,000 GWh in In-State production — for a total of 296,000 GWh for 2014.

      The blue section of the spreadsheet clearly totals to 199,000 and splits in- state generation between commercial and govt/utility

      the diff between the 57K in the top spreadsheet and 59K in the middle is likely export

    • Solar PV is at Grid Parity almost everywhere below the Mason-dixon line extended to the west coast.

      A consumer can get PV installed — including inverters and grid tie for $2 a watt if they try a little (panels are as low as 50 cents per watt). — direct from the supplier — no subsidy reduction

      This brings the KWh cost below the average of 12-15 cents in most of the country — not counting the 30% Tax Credit nor the interest deduction or depreciation that applies to ALL capital improvements on the home.

      A 10 KW system (costing $20K) that produces on average 50% for 8 hours a day = 40 Kwh /day over 25 years = 365,000 kilowatt-hours for only $20,000

      5.47 cents per kilowatt-hour

      Subsidies just make it a better deal.

      • Who supplies the capital and know-how to power your fridge after dark and on cloudy days? If it’s not you the solar owner, there is not parity.

      • A 10 KW system (costing $20K) that produces on average 50% for 8 hours a day = 40 Kwh /day over 25 years = 365,000 kilowatt-hours for only $20,000

        That’s pretty good, but here’s the problem, MTBF for a 10 panel system with panels that have a 40 year life time, the system starts having failures at 8-10 years, just for the panels, not including all the other systems (inverters, and batteries are probably worse).

      • “Solar PV is at Grid Parity ”

        Power plants are selling power for 2-3 cents per kwh including taxes. Karl is lying again. If you want to go off grid like I do with my motor home, you need backup generators and batteries.

        If you want to sell to the grid part of the day and get power back at night, then you need to pay for using the grid.

        PV is an expensive hobby. Nothing more.

      • @ Kit — where do you live ?? In MD the per KWh cost is 15.5 cents not counting taxes

        Disingenous

      • @ Kit again — what part of grid tie did you fail to see in my post –

        @ jamesbbkk — the definition of grid parity is cost per kilowatt-hour

        Grid Parity is defined as the point when PV-generated electricity becomes competitive with the retail rate of grid power.

      • “Parity” is the condition of being equal. The definition you use does not mean the same thing. It seeks to create the illusion that manipulated costs and prices and coerced purchases are evidence of true progress. It was invented by promoters who also put lots of thumbs on scales.

      • @Karl,
        Heat, vibration, moisture, thermal cycles all accelerate aging in electronics. Panels are in a really bad environment for electronics.
        Wait until there are millions of 10-20 year panels, and if those aren’t failing, or have reduced output due to failure of a section of the panel all over the place, then you might have something.

      • @ micro660

        Failure= catastrophic inoperability

        Obviously after a sufficient number of years casings, connectors etc will fail — but the number of panels operating within spec after 25 years is 99+%

      • So how many micro-inverters have been out in the field for 40 years to establish such a longevity ??

        Nobody’s solar panels are going to be still on their roofs 40 years from now, and if they are they probably will be blocked from the sun by high rise rabbit warren apartment buildings.

        G

  30. Thanks Wayne, fine job.
    By the looks of the commentary you should do this more often.
    The biggest stumbling block for wind and solar on the utility provider scale is the inability of these capture sources to generate enough energy during their lifespans to reproduce themselves. That coupled with generally unpredictable output from these sources makes their practicality completely dependent upon subsidies from government funding or rate increases. No one asks how much it costs to close a coal plant. What is the cost of a futile fight against natural climatic cyclicity?

    • I’ve posted the Stanford university study that shows interconnected wind can provide baseload power at up to 40% of nameplate — several times on this site Google it– your assertions are simply false

      • Which grid does Stanford operated? The study is bogus done by flakes.

        The crap that comes out of Stanford these days must be an embarrassment to those engineers who graduated there from my generation.

      • Google the study and refute the math.

        WInd is ALWAYS blowing somewhere — especially at 100 meters hub height. Wind speed over time and whether wind is blowing or not is a Weibull Distribution — so statistically it is trivial to quantify the baseload power based on a statistical analysis of the Weibull distributions of wind speed and wind blowing or not at geographically distributed sites.

        It’s math and math don’t lie.

      • And if wind speed drops in half, from full load design wind speed, then you only lose 87.5% of your generating capacity.

        Not bad for reliability of supply I would say.

        G

      • The subsidies between nuclear and wind are quite comparable — yet wind (even taking into account capacity factor) is being built at more than 10 times the rate of nuclear — and is exponential

        again — refute the math

        @ george — google the study — read it — and find fault in the math or methodology

        The ONLY sources of energy on the planet that do not come from the SUN are nuclear fission, geothermal, tectonic, and tidal

        all fossil fuels, all wind, all biomass, and all PV come from the SUN

        Nuclear is too dirty to play with — Brussels, Paris, … and Thorium has not become viable in 40 years

        FYI — I am not a warmist

  31. “RetiredKitP…go away if you don’t understand…”

    I only comment on things I understand. Kit is my name. I have added ‘retired’ since I no longer work as an engineer in the power industry. I have posted a long time ago as ‘cowpiemaster’ because I know my shit.

    I know that I will not win a debate with those with better writing skills. To bad they often have unfounded concepts. They do not understand that they do not understand.

    For those who think wind and solar are a conspiracy to close coal, take off your tin hat and stop worrying. Not going to happen.

    It is an engineering problem. Not enough of us. Building a few wind farms, no problem. But to replace a large coal or nuke takes a lot of wind turbines but it can be done. If fact it takes about the same amount of time. However, before you replace the next large steam plant, wind turbines are already beginning to fail. At some point, failures exceed new build.

    The first commercial nuke that I worked startup, is still running. All Carter era wind farms have failed. While this generation of wind turbines are better, there are clearly limitation.

    • BS — WInd farms that replace Nuclear (1100 MWe) production have been done in a Year — when was the last time a Nuclear Reactor was completed in under 5 years?

      Soler PV and Wind has come a LOOONG way since you retired.

      Join us in the 21st Century

    • In The last 5 years 232,000 MW of nameplate wind was installed worldwide — capacity factors average around 19% (anywhere from 15%-45%) so that equates to the installation of 45 Nuclear Reactors in the last 5 years.

      How many New Nuclear Reactors were installed in the last 5 years

      • What nameplate capacity factors does a typical sized nuke (already installed) realize before it needs refueling ??

        What is the average watt per square meter power density of all of that 232,000 MW (nameplate) installed wind power ? Measured at that average 19% capacity factor. So it’s really 44,000 MW of actual average runtime capacity.

        G

        PS if you think that Ivanpah solar thermal power density is ridiculously low, you haven’t ever calculated the actual power density of a typical modern wind power farm. No I don’t mean the power out divided by the swept area of the electric fan blade. You have to include all the area of the intake duct and also the exhaust duct., which combined can be many square miles. just like solar panels, electric fan generators also shadow each other, and even create their own weather and climate.

      • Karl seems tho think there is competition between wind and nuclear. Not true, that the thinking of amateurs.

        Utilities build steam power plants because they are needed. Wind farms are built because of a mandate. Utilities have resource plans that look 20 years into the future. It was just announce that new location for a nuke plant in the southeast US was being sought. Many communities will vie for this opportunity. Construction will not start until 5-10 years before it is needed.

        One of the reasons we are not building more than the current 5 is that the existing fleet is performing so well and lasting longer than expected. It is equivalent of more than 25 new reactors. Capacity factor US nukes is greater than 90% and availability is 99%

        China is building many nuke reactors because they had to start importing coal in 2005. That is why I was in China. Standard designs are coming on line in 5-6 years.

      • @ george — doesn’t matter — wind and PV never need refueling — thermal solar with reflective mirrors and a central tower is a BAAD idea.

        The power density of a 100 meter hub height wind turbine doesn’t matter because crops, animals, and the ocean can exist just fine underneath the turbine — and you don’t need gun toting federal security either

        same can’t be said for ultra-expensive nuclear.

      • OK george — 19/10% 40 1100MWe equivalent versus 45 — sue me

        But being real — offshore capacity factors are 35% on average — so….

  32. Following is excerpted from a recent letter I received from Alberta Energy Minister Margaret McCuaig-Boyd:

    “ Regarding your concerns about renewable energy being too intermittent and too diffuse to be economical, the Alberta Electric System Operator· released an Energy Storage Integration recommendation paper in June 2015, outlining key considerations regarding three top priorities for advancing the integration of storage technologies in Alberta. More information is available at: http://www.aeso.ca/gridoperations/28793.html

    The key report is here:
    http://www.aeso.ca/downloads/Energy_Storage_Integration_Recommendation_Paper.pdf

    QUESTION::
    Seriously, is any of this proposed grid-scale storage technology practical or economic at this time?

    Regards to all, Allan

    • The key report is here:

      Thank you for that! I am wondering if there is ever a real need for storage of energy in Alberta. For at least 10 months of the year, people need heat for their homes, at least at night. So if we had areas with a high density of wind energy for example, could we not have an efficient electric heater in the basement of every house that could automatically take care of any excess wind energy that may not have any other use at the moment?

    • QUESTION::
      Seriously, is any of this proposed grid-scale storage technology practical or economic at this time?

      ANSWER FROM AN ALBERTA ENERGY EXPERT:
      No
      The only one that really works is pumped storage and we do not have the elevation near the water.
      The other stuff is experimental.

  33. Just posted this comment to the following Newsweek article DID CALIFORNIA FIGURE OUT HOW TO FIX GLOBAL WARMING?
    http://www.newsweek.com/california-global-warming-climate-change-439972

    California has indeed led the nation in requiring energy efficiency. Kudos for that. Most of the article is gushing praise for for an imaginary California that ranks 25 of 50 states for renewable energy-
    http://energy.gov/maps/renewable-energy-production-state

    still today, mostly century old hydro.

    and for policies, regulations, and taxes that have created high energy costs- http://www.eia.gov/electricity/state/

    partly responsible for manufacturing leaving California to areas with lower energy costs and for creating high unemployment- http://www.bls.gov/web/laus/laumstrk.htm

    Due mostly to fracking, the U.S. is now energy independent, there’s an oversupply of of other, dirtier fossil fuels, and the costs of fossil fuels is presently so low that wind and solar are not at all competitive.

    • Doug

      The only thing Cali leads in is BS. Like I said Cali imports 1/3 of their power.

      They do not lead in conservation just the number op pages of regulations. Title 24 is a joke. It is not based on sound engineering principles that could be found in the ASRAE handbook.

      I moved from Michigan to Cali and built an energy efficient house. My pants got rejected. Title 24 demands a ‘Michigan house’ where inside and outside temps are colder by 90 degrees F and no A/C is required in summer. In a mild winter climate with hot summer days and cool evenings, a ‘Monterrey house works’ and was how things were done for thousands of years before A/C. When we lived in Spain we did not have A/C.

      After my house plans were rejected, I sent them back to the architect and had the south facing windows labeled ‘passive’ solar collectors. This an 37 pages of alternate calculations got me a building permit.

      • Retired Kit P March 24, 2016 at 9:40 am

        I moved from Michigan to Cali and built an energy efficient house. My pants got rejected.

        What did California have against your pants? Too much lead in the zipper? 8-)

        (There are typos and there are bloopers.
        Typos are mistakes. Bloopers are mistakes that mean something else.
        I love bloopers. They are sort of unintended puns.
        Thanks for the “unintended” chuckle.)

    • Well about as fast as new fracking available petroleum comes on line for auto fuel, the breeding factor of red traffic lights just about wipes out that increase.

      My commute auto, which can get better than 50 mpg driving from home to work (if I actually could do that drive) has a long term average moving speed of 11 mph, and an actual moving mpg average under 20 mpg. I almost never exceed 60 mph but can if I want to (don’t want to).

      My car actually won’t go 11 mph. When properly warmed up and on a flat road my car goes 15 mph with my foot off the gas pedal. I have to put my foot on the brake pedal to drive at 11 mph (and that is the average speed). So I also have to wear both my brakes and my tires, in order to average 11 mph.

      Meanwhile the one or two high occupancy vehicle lanes are mostly empty.

      Note these are “high occupancy vehicles” meaning mum and kinderkid who doesn’t drive anyway.

      They do not mean “high vehicle occupancy lanes”.

      Motor cycles can use the high occupancy vehicles lanes, because evidently they always have as many passengers as they can possibly carry, which is just the driver. Well occasionally they also carry the designated heart donor on the back rumble seat.

      Buses carrying passengers are high occupancy vehicles and can use those lanes. School children don’t count as passengers so school children carrying school buses may NOT use the HOV lanes when carrying school children, and when they are not carrying school children, but just a driver, they are not HOV, so can’t use the HOV lanes then either.

      HOV occupancy by more than the driver, should ONLY include passengers who are legally licensed drivers, carrying a valid drivers license, and thereby not putting THEIR automobile on the hiway.

      Solution is to allow ALL vehicles to use ALL lanes at ALL times, so entry/exit lane is not always full of 15 (or 11) mph vehicles trying to et over to the only other open non HOV lane.

      g

      • I forgot to add that school buses carrying school kids are required to drive in the same lane as vehicles carrying explosives’ it’s the law.

        G

  34. @ Roger
    “When wind power reaches the percentage it has in Germany,…”

    The US grid is much more stable than the EU because of the size. I have done the calculation for a US steam plant considering the thermal transients. Also US grid operators have very good weather predicting departments. I used to have access. For example, when it gets very cold, people suddenly start turning on portable heaters to supplement heating systems that are not designed for extreme cold days (90% design criteria). Also tornadoes, wind storms, and ice storms can take down transmission lines in an instant. To prevent cascading failure, grid operators have to be prepared.

    In other words, changes in wind or solar generation are no big deal.

    • I dispute you Kit when you say:
      “In other words, changes in wind or solar generation are no big deal.”

      The E.ON Netz Wind Report 2005 is an informative document:
      http://www.wind-watch.org/documents/wp-content/uploads/eonwindreport2005.pdf
      (apparently no longer available from E.ON Netz website).

      Figure 6 says Wind Power is too intermittent (and needs almost 100% spinning backup);
      and
      Figure 7 says it just gets worse and worse the more Wind Power you add to the grid (see Substitution Capacity dropping from 8% to 4%).

      • Allen I am not sure what you are disputing. Maybe you missed or did not understand this link.
        http://transmission.bpa.gov/Business/Operations/Wind/baltwg.aspx
        See no big deal!
        Of course you have to have rolling reserve. All steam plants are designed to load follow including nukes. Open and close steam inlet to the turbine to meet power demand. In the case of BPA, they have hydro.
        I have been sailing the wind resource that BPA balances for more than 20 years. Long before any wind turbines. The rolling reserve was already there. Think of it this way. The weather conditions that result in the reserve margin be challenged are likely to coincide with no wind.

      • KIt – Pretty sure I am right because you are citing an unusual example. I assume BPA is the Bonneville Power Administration, a USA federal nonprofit agency based in the Pacific Northwest.
        See the actual BPA numbers at
        http://transmission.bpa.gov/Business/Operations/Wind/baltwg.txt

        BPA is about 69% hydro, which is unusually high, and realistically about 4% wind (at a Capacity Factor of about 25%). Hydro is one of the few systems that can react quickly to rapid changes in wind power, but most power grids have little hydro – not nearly enough to compensate for wind power.

        For reference:
        Global Primary Energy Consumption by Fuel is
        86% Fossil Fuel (Oil, Coal and Natural Gas),
        4% Nuclear,
        7% Hydro,
        and 2% Renewables.

        Suggest you read my reference above – E.On Netz 2005 Wind Report, and especially Figure 6:
        “The feed-in capacity can change frequently
        within a few hours. This is shown in FIGURE 6,
        which reproduces the course of wind power feedin
        during the Christmas week from 20 to 26
        December 2004.
        Whilst wind power feed-in at 9.15am on
        Christmas Eve reached its maximum for the year
        at 6,024MW, it fell to below 2,000MW within only
        10 hours, a difference of over 4,000MW. This corresponds
        to the capacity of 8 x 500MW coal fired
        power station blocks. On Boxing Day, wind power
        feed-in in the E.ON grid fell to below 40MW.
        Handling such significant differences in feed-in
        levels poses a major challenge to grid operators.”

        They came close to crashing the German grid on Christmas 2004, and needed to bring onstream the equivalent of eight 500MW power plants in just 10 hours.

      • Diesel generation with instantaneous response is the most common wind backup, no? Double capacity installation is – what are the words? – not sustainable. It’s about time to tell the customers that the prevailing voters care not about reliable power availability so there won’t be any. Some of the customers will blame the generators and distribution companies because they will refuse to hold themselves accountable for their voting habits.

  35. “@ Roger
    “manufacturing leaving California ….”
    Not just manufacturing jobs. Jobs of all sorts. In an effort to keep employed after the nuke plant was closed, I started taking classes in environmental compliance classes at UC Davis (aka free republic of socialist Davis).

    When I finally gave up and moved to the PNW, Cali lost 5% of jobs to other places but the governor did brag about conservation.

  36. “From the hardware store standpoint, wing nuts are more easily removable. Can we apply this to governments?”

    Not in my experience. The problem is that the parasites in society out number the producers. Productive people who live in rural areas like farmers, miners, and electricity get a great deal of satisfaction out of a job well done. Understanding science is important to sucess. Teachers provide an essential service but I have met very few who understand science. In rural areas, teachers have the opportunity to rub elbows with the producer class. Teachers in a big city, teach kids about about ‘dirty’ coal plants but have never seen one.

    A personal example of a wingnut is a nice friend who is very good at teaching kids to read. See gives me lectures about vampire circuits because I leave my cell phone charger plugged in. At their house, they have a large freezer and three refrigerators. One in the garage is a dedicated beer fridge. Her husband and I can often be found drinking beer in the garage discussing the merits of a big garage (garagemajal). She is very happy with her vote for Obama. The rural county votes republican. We have low crime, clean air, good schools, low cost housing, and low property taxes. Our congressmen is very good on energy issues. On the state level, the governor and senators are democrats. To get elected they promise to tear out the dams, shutdown the coal and nuke plant. There never do and those voters never seem to notice.

    There is another rule about renewable energy. Do not try to build it where the people who demand it can see it. The thing about ‘greens’ they are against every thing.

  37. Karl writes
    “@ Kit — where do you live ?? In MD the per KWh cost is 15.5 cents not counting taxes
    Disingenous”
    “Grid Parity is defined ….”
    I would say a self serving definition is disingenuous. A better word is scam. Lying also comes to mind.
    http://www.pjm.com/
    This link shows that power being sold to the Maryland market is ranging from $12-24/MWh which includes the taxes you do not see in your bill.
    The point I want to make is that electricity is very cheap commodity to make. If you want to claim that PV will become widespread based on a false premise, it is not going to happen.

    For the record, my wife live full time in a motorhome. We spend winters in the south and summers in the PNW. We do not have an electric bill. I make electricity with a gasoline generator. Also spent a lot of time making electricity with steam heated by fission.
    Before that China. Electricity was free. Before that Virginia. Before that Washington State. Before that California. Before that Michigan. Should I go on.

  38. “Google the study and refute the math.
    WInd is ALWAYS blowing somewhere — …..It’s math and math don’t lie.”

    Seth what do you do for a living?

    I have read the study. Studies do not make electricity. The people who do these studies do not make electricity. They are just as clueless as Seth.
    The thing to remember is that you have to convince the people who make electricity. One of the largest power companies that I used to work, is a leader in nuclear power, coal, natural gas, and wind when you look at key performance indicators.
    I am not against wind in the right location.

    • I have read the study. Studies do not make electricity. The people who do these studies do not make electricity.

      When I read Seth’s original post I was thinking much the same. It isn’t that you can’t keep installing windmills at enough locations until you are creating all the power you want at any time you want.
      But at what cost? You can’t even plumb that much electricity around the country and not lose 10%? 20%?
      And then there’s all the mills they have to make and buy! The maintenance, and so one.

      • “It isn’t that you can’t keep installing windmills at enough locations until you are creating all the power you want at any time you want.”

        But you can’t. And why would you. The advocates of such polices have never built or operated anything. France demonstrated that you can be enough nukes to supply 75% of their needs.

        If those concerned with CAGW were serious, we would be building nuke as fast as we can. When Obama uses Air Frorce 1 to dedicate wind or solar it is to show his base that he is doing something. These folks are being duped.

  39. @Seth you quoted “LdB. I didn’t say it was a top cause of preventable deaths. I said that there were an estimated 13,000 people per year in the US.”

    The issue is you give some biased witchdoctor estimates of 13,000 deaths … I GAVE YOU ACTUAL DEATHS. Your garbage is not accepted by anyone except you, and even if I accepted your number you pulled out the air it rates as low, when looking at preventable deaths.

    So why would I spend money on your rubbish or care when I can spend money on other much higher and CONFIRMED preventable deaths. It’s a stupid argument that only plays to one audience.

  40. “KIt – Pretty sure I am right because you are citing an unusual example.”

    Allen you are wrong. You reference is old but I read it at the time. It is about concerns about the future. It is now 2016 and the concerns appear to be unfounded considering the lack of a problems.

    When Columbia Generating Station senses a problem the turbine trips and 1200+ MWe is gone in an instant. The grid did fine. Conversely, the grid from Seattle to San Diego went down and Columbia Generating Station rode out the transient providing power locally. The grid went down because of smoke from wildfires caused a cascading failure. Not a lot of wind back then and BPA learned from the experience. Just like BPA has learned to manage wind.

    Nor is BPA an unusual example. 1200+ MWe going away in seconds happens all the time. We run test during startup to make sure everything works right. It was my job. What fun!

    Allen, stop inventing reasons to be against wind. Stop commenting on things you do not understand. If you have a question, ask it. It is my honor to serve.

    • Sorry Kit but I cannot accept your comments – you dismissed the E.On Netz Wind Report 2005 – the largest wind power generator in the world – when I cited an actual German event from Christmas 2004. You also dismissed their actual Substitution Capacity of 8% at that time, which two independent studies said would drop to 4% by 2020.

      Many power generation alternatives can work when you have ~70% hydro in the generation mix, but that is an unusual situation. It does not apply in Germany, or in Great Britain, or in my home province of Alberta.

      Here our government is hoping that grid-scale storage will solve the intermittency problem of wind and solar – but unfortunately we have no practical means of grid-scale storage in this province. All their proposed solutions are experimental, except for pumped storage, where we do not have adequate topography or river flows.

      • “Sorry Kit but I cannot accept your comments”

        That is ok Allen. Just trying to reassure you. From what I have observed, Candian power producers like TransAlta are just as good as good utilities in the US.

        One thing good utilities (this leaves out California) do is quietly educate those in government of what is needed to keep the juice flowing.

      • In Alberta, the electric power consumer is often misled by our governments – of both conservative and socialist stripes -and cheated by our utilities.

        The Alberta conservative government just installed a multi-billion dollar DC line that is supposed to reduce line losses – but the AC-to-DC-to-AC conversion is about 5%, greater than the total line losses in our province, which average less than 3% – so a simple analysis concludes the DC line is uneconomic.

        Alberta also re-routed power from existing power lines to fill up the DC line – otherwise it would only run at less than 10% capacity. Now this DC line is part of our rate base, and consumers will pay for many decades for this scam.

        The next scam, this time from our new socialist politicians, is to retire our coal-fired plants that produce electric power for about 2 cents per KWh, and replace them with unreliable, un-dispatchable intermittent wind power – there is NO chance that this plan will work. Our current politicians claim the coal plants are dirty, but there is NO evidence to support that allegation – the air quality downwind is excellent. Our coal is low-sulphur and particulate emissions are cleaned up at the plant source.

        We have frequent forest fires upwind of our populated areas, with smoke from Alberta, British Columbia and the NW states of the USA. One typical forest fire does much greater harm to our air quality in Alberta than the total air pollution from one YEAR of our coal-fired power plant emissions – but why let the facts get in the way of another good electric power scam.

        The alleged “CO2 pollution” from our coal plants is demonized by the leftists, but beloved of carbon-based life all over our blue-water planet. Numerous studies conclude that 97% of all plants that live downwind of our coal-fired power plants are extremely happy, and support the continued operation of these plants into the indefinite future. :-)

        Regards to all, Allan

  41. “Diesel generation with instantaneous response is the most common wind backup, no?”

    No! Where did you get that idea? You know that the grid has been around for a long time before wind. I am old school and like a 25% reserve margin. Smart utilities make a bundle selling excess power to those who do not plan as well.
    If 4% of generation comes from, then that is 4% less fossil fuel being burned. It does not mean that we have to build new plants to backup wind.
    Just for the record diesel is not instantaneous. There are a few isolated small grid that use diesel. This is a very expensive way to make power. Wind can be used to save on fuel.
    Diesel and single cycle gas turbines can be brought on line much faster than a steam plant. When the steam plant is warmed up, it takes over and the less efficient plants are shut down.

    • And those gas turbines and steam turbines being started and stopped repeatedly every day are cracking and breaking up from the excess thermal stresses. Completely cracking through the exhaust manifolds, the pressure cylinders, the blades, the vanes, the struts, the bearing supports.

      • RAcook just set off my BS meter. Not a clue about how power plants work.

        Gas turbines run infrequently because they are inefficient and therefore more expensive.

        Steam plants are not stop and started on a daily basis. They change power by adjusting steam flow with the turbine control valves.

        If there are ‘excess thermal stresses’ than it is an indication of a poor design not the existence of wind farms.

        What is next, windfarms are causing your mama to wear combat boots.

      • Retired Kit P

        RAcook just set off my BS meter. Not a clue about how power plants work.

        Gas turbines run infrequently because they are inefficient and therefore more expensive.

        Steam plants are not stop and started on a daily basis. They change power by adjusting steam flow with the turbine control valves.

        If there are ‘excess thermal stresses’ than it is an indication of a poor design not the existence of wind farms.

        What is next, windfarms are causing your mama to wear combat boots.

        What is “your” source for any of those claims? Each is dead wrong.

        Single cycle gas turbines are more efficient than nuclear plants, slightly below supercritical (superheated steam) conventional coal-fired steam plants. (There are no longer any oil-fired superheated fossil plants.) The more common dual cycle gas turbines (using waste heat recovery steam generator drive a second electrical generator are the most efficient power plants of all!
        Natural gas is NOW (January and February 2016) generating MORE power than coal in the US.

        Coal (and now even the big nuclear plants) ARE being stopped and started daily (or more often!) as solar, wind cycle up and down hourly. Wind, for a specific example, averages 17% to 21% capacity factor (effectiveness or average percent of delivered power compared to nameplate rating.) But as each cold front and storm center moves across the country, the actual delivered power begins at 25% nameplate capacity, may go to as high 85% to even 90% in each region, then drops back to less than 10%. In the space of 36 hours. But, today’s EPA does NOT LET the plants “idle” at low power: Their air permits REQUIRE all of them (coal, single cycle gas turbine, AND dual cycle gas turbine) to shut down, cool down, then restart. The EPA reg’s require penalties for exceeding low NOX and emissions ratios, and the plants CANNOT meet those spec’s below 85% max power. So, the whole plant has to shut down as load drops and as Oboma’s more expensive solar, wind and “greed” power MUST be bought first. At higher rates than the coal and gas turbines.

      • Reserve margins have existed long before windfarms. If there was a 25% reserve margin using older coal plants there would be a need for a diesel farm.

        James I do not get my information about making electricity from tabloids or TV news. Let me suggest that you like the drama of being outraged rather than well informed.

      • Aww, c’mon. No duh reserve margins existed. It’s the 25% that’s a relic for planning and does not exist unless the government and central bankers just crashed your economy or you are an important to Congress weapons producing and mil-base state and have lots of unreliable windmill installations such as California with a NERC 21% target. Not a target in the world where capacity must be paid for by regular people. Even your 25% with 4% wind is 21% dependable, minimum. When you have 17% reserve and 17% wind, where’s your backup? You’re just gonna throw up a CCGT plant? Thermal? No. You’ll use portable and expensive engines while scrambling for baseload. But you’ll still have to build more dependable or get your customers used to load shedding as brownouts or rolling blackouts, which somehow they never do unless you’re paying them. That’s still embarrassing though. Wind requires duplicate baseload capacity as the so-called engineering solution. It is not free power. It is therefore unsound even for saving the world. I am not outraged or dramatic thank you and you did not refute either. You should not be so smug. You engineers have broken lots of stuff getting to your solutions. For example, next time you construct a plant that can tolerate a major quake, try to put the backup generators someplace where they won’t be swamped by the consequent tsunami.

  42. RAcook writes
    “What is “your” source for any of those claims? Each is dead wrong.”

    Note that RA does not provide a source. I am a mechanical engineer with 45 years experience. That makes me a source. What is clear to me is that is just repeating something he heard and does not understand.

    Here is a link to the status of nuke plants compiled from NRC daily reports which is public record: http://nuclearstreet.com/nuclear-power-plants/

    Here is another source of info on the power industry: http://www.nei.org/Master-Document-Folder/Publications-and-Brochures/Energy-Markets-Report/Energy-Markets-Report

    “Coal (and now even the big nuclear plants) ARE being stopped and started daily (or more often!)”

    So clearly, that is not true.

    “But, today’s EPA does NOT LET the plants “idle” at low power: Their air permits REQUIRE all of them (coal, single cycle gas turbine, AND dual cyc…”

    That would be a matter of public record. RACook should be able to find at least one example to link.

    • So clearly, that is not true.

      “But, today’s EPA does NOT LET the plants “idle” at low power: Their air permits REQUIRE all of them (coal, single cycle gas turbine, AND dual cyc…”

      That would be a matter of public record. RACook should be able to find at least one example to link.

      That is based on direct interviews with the power plant owners, control room operators, and power plant managers.

  43. “Aww, c’mon.”

    Nice rant James. In the real world, real problems are evident. In the US, grid operators are not having a problem managing wind generation.

    “It is not free power. It is therefore unsound even for saving the world.”

    I agree. The criteria for making electricity is people need it. Not saving the world.

    “You should not be so smug. You engineers have broken lots of stuff getting to your solutions. For example, next time you construct a plant that can tolerate a major quake, try to put the backup generators someplace where they won’t be swamped by the consequent tsunami.”

    I try so hard not to be smug. Maybe James should try harder too. James ignores the huge loss of life from a natural disaster to incorrectly point out what he thinks is an engineering mistake that resulted in property damage.

    Engineers, like me, design nuke plants to as set of rules called design criteria. The design criteria for natural disaster is the worst disaster in in 200 years. Those are called Design Basis Events. We also consider things we do not expect or Beyond Design Basis events. Property damage is acceptable. No one was hurt because of fuel damage.

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