Prepare for blackouts: San Diego To Run 100 Percent On Renewable Energy By 2035

Sandiego_skyline_at_night[1]

The San Diego skyline at night, courtesy of reliable electricity Image: Wikimedia

(via Slashdot) The city of San Diego has announced a bold new plan to run completely on renewable energy by 2035. While the city already produces the second largest electrical output from solar energy in the U.S., the new plan further details a way to cope with the changing climate. It plans to reduce 50% of the greenhouse gas emission by 2035, as well as create new jobs through the manufacturing and installation of solar panels. “San Diego is a leader in innovation and sustainability,” the Climate Action Plan reads:

“By striking a sensible balance between protecting our environment and growing our economy, San Diego can support clean technology, renewable energy, and economic growth.”

San Diego joins San Francisco, Sydney, and Vancouver in its effort to run entirely on renewable energy.


Good luck with that, what could possibly go wrong? Striking a “sensible balance” should also include a backup generation plan for those times when wind doesn’t blow, sunlight is reduced, or private schemes go belly up because the subsidies that make them profitable get yanked.

Great-SW-power-outage

Great Southwest power outage of 2011 Image: KFMB-TV

And, with the fragility of the power grid responsible for the Great 2011 Southwest blackout, one wonders how well San Diego will fare if their windfarms don’t produce enough power and load shedding occurs to protect the grid from failure, like it did in 2015, leaving thousands in San Diego without power.

Plus, the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station is offline, and will be decommissioned, so San Diego is in an even weaker position that they were before, losing 20% of their local power capacity. Renewables just won’t maintain a reliable base load.

 

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186 thoughts on “Prepare for blackouts: San Diego To Run 100 Percent On Renewable Energy By 2035

    • East County Magazine, Calif.
      Ocotillo, Calif. which is east of San Diego
      Scroll down to:
      March 2, 2016
      ‘Ocotillo Wind Falls Short Of Capacity Forecast For Third Straight Year’
      East County Magazines has carried a series of article on Wind Projects east of San Diego.
      This is not a wealthy area and the residents there have been suffering now for several years with wind turbine effects.
      There is also the issue of increased Valley Fever cases because the soil is disturbed by construction which releases the fungus spores to the air.
      No one seems to care what happens to the local residents that live in this area. In the mean time developers get rich!
      http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/taxonomy/term/14759

      • Note the news article on:
        The San Onofre nuclear power settlement on the above East County Magazine website.

      • Stationary pedal bikes, plus a horde of “immigrants” could generate more electricity in the exact same space, as Ivanpah does. And if you put on three shifts you can run it day and night.
        Elon Musk says he’s working towards the end of fossil fuels. He claims the fossil fuel industry gets more subsidies than does his money losing Tesla Motors, who just lost $280M or thereabouts because of inability to deliver his electric SUV X model.
        Far as I know the US Federal Treasury does not give one red cent to any US based petroleum company.
        Maybe Musk, does not know about the concept of Depreciation, which allows businesses to recover the cost of their capital equipment, so they can buy new stuff when the old wears out.
        Either Musk is ignorant of standard profitable business practices or else he has the same concept of truth as Barry Sotello; which would be my guess.
        G

      • Check this out and get back to me.
        “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S4O5voOCqAQ”
        too many folks have no clue how much energy modern society requires just for nnormal living.

      • Talk about back to the future!
        In Australia early last century families in the outback relied upon pedal powered radios to communicate with the Flying Doctor service and School of the Air. Isn’t this 21st century innovation just wonderful?

      • Let’s install them on the seats of baseball and football stadia for night game continuity!

    • We have addressed this particular breed of nonsense so many times here on WUWT.
      I cannot believe that this “job creation” fallacy will never die. It’s really only a version of the “broken window” fallacy. And just as tedious to keep explaining. So here’s my last attempt to parody such thinking, from a thread last year:
      https://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/09/12/californian-climate-mutiny-democrats-side-with-republicans-to-defeat-jerry-brown/#comment-2026812

        • Don’t worry, I assume that such proposals are sarcastic, when presented here. But I have genuinely encountered individuals who have proposed that we should return to a “human powered” economy.
          Whilst we may joke, there is no idea to stupid to receive “serious” attention from MSM, or popular support, or government funding.

      • I know. I’ve had to pull out the “fake electricity” Scientific American article on people whenever they seriously bring up bicycle-power.

      • Well just plain common sense will tell you that if a new process creates more jobs (more labor cost), than what it replaces, then it must be lower efficiency.
        Now disruptive technologies can create entirely new industries, which have much higher skill, higher paying jobs (for those with the necessary skills), but just replacing one function with the same function but requiring more workers to do it, is NOT increasing efficiency .
        G

    • Brilliant! Keep the bicycle fanatics busy. Lets make the bicycle coalition run them bicycle driven generators, that way it will keep them busy & that will stop the anti-car agenda they try to keep pushing forward.

    • george, liberals consider any tax that is less than 100% to be a subsidy.
      Except when they are the ones not paying.

  1. In the long run, almost all power is renewable. It is simply a matter of how much time it takes before it is renewed. In the case of nuclear power you need to wait for a supernova and all, but that happens. Ironically, the energy that the sun produces from fusion is a once only deal.

    • In the long run nothing is sustainable. Everything requires net energy inputs. There is no such thing as sustainable farming. Fertilizer, water, tending crops, harvesting require energy in amounts that are not generated by nature in a timely fashion. The entire sustainable movement is based on perceptions inconsistent with the real world.

      • The entire sustainable movement is based on perceptions inconsistent with the real world.

        It’s difficult to argue rationally with these people. When I talk (or write) with them on the subject of entropy and and the fundamental laws of thermodynamics, eyes just glaze over (in good encounters) or voices are raised. They just don’t understand there is no “sustainability” known to physics. No perpetual motion machine. It just doesn’t exist.
        But they don’t get it. No matter how simple you try to make the explanation, they don’t get it.

      • ~Bartelby, I think the idea is “more sustainable” , less consummation, not the end of entropy.

      • I’m sorry Greg, but that’s the epitome and a perfect example of exactly what I was describing.
        According to every known law of physics, “sustainability” not only doesn’t exist, it can’t ever exist.

      • The tragic component of the sustainability movement, in my opinion, is the measures they take to encourage what they call “sustainability” or as Greg re-states “less consumption [consummation]” actually increase consumption rather than reduce it.
        By regulating a simple energy conversion and making it more complex, it necessarily becomes less efficient. Emission controls often reduce the efficiency of converting potential energy to work. Often these controls are necessary to maintain a functional environment, however recently we’ve begun to see attempts to control those conversions that don’t provide an environmental benefit, or don’t provide one that makes any economic sense. An example would be the advent of electric cars, which suffer huge losses and provide no measurable environmental benefit over simple, well controlled, internal combustion. Deliberately making an engine less efficient in trade for an unmeasurable “gain” in reduced “carbon footprint”, which itself has no known effect on the environment, is simply foolishness couched in scientific terminology. It actually harms the environment.
        It seems to me what’s happened is a “more is better” ethos; the idea that, if some regulation and control over energy conversion is good, more can only be better, has taken hold. It isn’t the case and it seems few people have the intellect to understand that.

    • Greg says: May 7, 2016 at 2:19 pm
      ~Bartelby, I think the idea is “more sustainable” , less consummation, not the end of entropy.

      You keep using that word …

      • No, no he’s using the right word! Less consummation, means fewer people, and that’s the dream of all sustainable types. We have too many people now, so we need to eliminate a lot and stop procreating so fast (of course, they mean eliminate OTHER, less concerned people).

    • The problem is that Californians keep voting like Californians, even after they move.
      Liberals just never learn.

  2. Oh, it is quite easy to move to a more sensible state inside the US. For both businesses and citizens. Therefore California can go on with its Grand Experiment, right to the bitter end. Which, of course, means joining the Rust Belt.

    • Correct!
      As “Venezuelafornia” self destructs, sane people elsewhere will pick up the slack and benefit greatly.
      Maybe we should build a wall around them?

      • Oh please do build a wall around us and leave us alone. we Californians (and I am third generation so I can speak for Californians) Have always done quite well for ourselves, So if you are wanting to leave don’t let anyone stop you. But forget all this hype on solar and wind they will never by themselves give us enough energy to be sustainable without first killing all our birds and covering all of the land. No we need to concentrate on energy out of magma. The us government did a study in 1975 by tapping into the lava lake in Hawaii and had the conclusion forty years ago this was economically feasible. Just enter us taps magma for energy 1975 and you can see for yourselves. After that look up my Patent by David Alan McBay entitled The Geothermal Energy Collection System. This is A completely new technology that I have invented using any species of Molten Salt to tap the heat out of Magma or any super critical Geothermal heat. The benefits are very apparent. No dangerous pressurized steam, and by using a material that stays a liquid and is twice as heavy as water the ability to hold heat therefore energy goes up tenfold. This is the new future folks check it out. David Alan
        McBay Inventor of advanced geothermal energy recovery systems.

      • David Alan McBay, Geothermal thus far is a complete failure, the cost is the highest of all forms of Geothermal. California has played with Geothermal for years. Molten Salt? At an extreme temperature, I bet they will be all over that idea out in Brawley/Calipatria. I wonder how corrosive that will be to the pipes? Are you going to pump that 10,000 feet deep? Then pump it up? Or will bring up that toxic brine to the surface, with its arsenic? And lets not forget, as soon as you tap into any geothermal source, just like opening the lid on a teapot, the pressure and heat goes down. Hence you will constantly be drilling, same rig as they use to drill for oil, you will constantly be drilling and using new pipes to find new sources of heat. Just like they do now in Calipatria. That is the south end of the Salton Sea.
        Lets not forget the Geysers in northern california, they literally frack up there, inject water into the geysers, because they all but dried up when they cracked that teapot open.
        Geothermal is toxic mess that eats up steel, releases CO2, and is just plain old expensive, not to mention very weak.
        I know a bit about California’s Geothermal, I have worked inspecting the metals, Non Destructive Testing, VT, UT, and ET.

        • There is one thing that will keep a person in everlasting ignorance, and that is contempt before investigation “Hubert Spencer”. you have left quite a long winded Rant about my new Molten Salt Geothermal Energy Collection System based on Zero content of facts. Let me give just a few otherwise I will be here all day for they are many. molten salt technology has been around for over One hundred years. the Aluminum smelting process has used sodium fluoride at one thousand Celsius to achieve the desired results for the smelting process, There are over twenty eight thousand Patents granted based on some species of Molten salt being used on just as varied amounts of different technologies. more to the important facts that involve this discussion is how they apply to the harvesting of heat to produce steam to turn a steam turbine. The solar industry is being revolutionized by the use of Molten salts to harvest during the day and storing until the night time or until peak use hours. Look up crescent dunes one hundred and twenty mega watt concentrating solar tower power plant in Nevada, Then the parabolic trough reflector systems and many variations on this theme. You can at the same time look at the new Molten Salt Thorium Nuclear Power Plant that uses two separate flows of molten salt for this new technology. One is for the Thorium circulation through the fissile chamber and the other is to cool the plant by tapping the heat at five hundred and sixty five Celsius for the energy production phase of the operation. The Us government classifies most Species of Molten salts as environmentally benign. My System does not work in the way you stated as a single shaft in solid rock. I create artificial chambers with heat shafts penetrating the hot rock and preferably magma. Once again if you would have read my full letter you would Know that I did not create drilling into molten rock but the US government the (D.O.E) did this in nineteen seventy five to nineteen eighty in the Hawaiian project. Just look at US taps energy out of magma 1975 With the final conclusion that even with materials of forty years ago that it is economically attractive to get our energy out of magma. I am going to stop their
          except to say that I welcome all opinions, even ones that are obviously meant to be antagonistic and that are ill informed, this gives me a great back drop to paint the real picture. Sincerely David Alan McBay inventor of Advance Geothermal Energy Solutions. PS the magmatic pluton that under lies the southern end of the salon
          sea is twenty miles long by four miles wide and two miles thick holding enough energy in the form of heat to run our country four hundreds of years just by itself so wake up.

  3. “Renewables just won’t maintain a reliable base load.” is an understatement. Renewables (except large hydro) don’t provide any demand load either. You can’t demand the sun shine brighter or the wind blows stronger.

      • Venezuela has the world’s largest oil reserves, but since the Socialist government seized the industry, it’s been crumbling ever since.
        http://www.energyinsights.net/cgi-script/csArticles/uploads/6276/Venezuela-Crisis-Oil-Production-Peaked-1999-EnergyInsights-net.gif
        ‘We have to understand, this is a war,” Luis Motta, Venezuela’s minister of electricity, declared in an interview on state TV Tuesday. Venezuela’s socialist president even gave the entire country a week off to reduce stress on the power grid caused by a government-created electricity crisis earlier this month.”
        “The government has been rationing electricity across the country for months, as the hydroelectric-reliant country goes through a drought. The ruling socialist party blames the lack of water on global warming and “sabotage” by political foes, while the party’s critics cite a lack of maintenance and poor planning.”
        http://dailycaller.com/2016/03/30/venezuela-blames-enemies-for-its-failure-to-keep-the-lights-on-threatens-war/

      • Large hydro in Tasmainia is also a bust at this moment.
        They thought it would be a good wheeze to close the backup gas plant, as that is nasty and dirty and produces lots of plant food. But then they ran out of water. And someone cut the interconnector (not mentioning any names).
        So the Green Tasmania Dream is now diesel powered. Yup, you really could not imagine people being quite as stupid as some of these Greeny types are. If you wrote this as fiction, they would say you are having a laugh, and to be more reasonable. And yet these people still get elected.
        http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-03-31/temporary-diesel-generators-unveilled-meadowbank-power-station/7287076
        Ralph

      • “ralfellis May 8, 2016 at 3:34 am”
        Hydro Tasmania (HT) was on the list of the top 250 “carbon” polluters when the “proice ohn cahbon” was introuduced. In the first year of that tax HT made an extra ~AU$50mil for doing nothing!

      • The Tasmanian Hydro ran their dam levels from about 50% 3 years ago to 23% at the beginning of this Summer in December to profit from the carbon tax with their green energy. Tasmania is in a Winter rainfall zone and only this week have the dam levels stabilised at 13%. They were relying on the cable across Bass Strait to import electricity from coal fired Victoria but it failed in mid Dec. and still is not repaired, perhaps July. Anyhow they are installing 200 MW of diesel generators to bide them over. Statements about lack of rainfall is the cause of the problem are dubious as average rainfall has been received. The question is would one run the dam levels so low selling your green energy over the cable for a profit and rely on off-peak coal fired power to keep the lights on at home? The cost of the exercise for Tasmania is very large: reduced industrial output for months, the cost of the diesel generators, and the loss of their green image.

    • 100% renewable? What happens to you when WY decides the Palisades really belongs to them? (just joking).
      IF is renewable because your hydro power is generated using water from WY. You’re not self-sufficient. The water from your snow isn’t doing the job. It’s far more complicated than you suggest.

      • It doesn’t matter who one has to pull the power from as long as it’s all renewable and one can put that on their letterhead. As commented above, Texas may love CA if they can sell wind energy there. WY has lost it’s mind and wants to do the same to make a billionaire in CO even richer. There is no sanity in this. Just environmental damage and dead eagles.

      • Reality, after many years in WY, I have to question it has a mind. Honestly. GOing from county to county, I found more different cultures 50 miles in any direction than I’ve come across anywhere else on Earth, and I’ve been a few places.
        Driving across Wyoming is like walking across Los Angles, but with a lot more space and not so many people.

    • Yeah, Snake River doesn’t count.
      They are going to power the economy entirely from Snake Oil River.
      Watch out though – it’s full of sharks.

    • The greens want to blow up (dam removal) all those hydro renewables. Only in the diminished intellectual state of a watermelon does that make any sense.

    • This is a completely foreseeable result that will spread. Create an unreliable electrical supply and everyone will buy home generators – far more inefficient than a large central generating plant. Result more expensive energy and higher emissions of all types. Of course the response to that will be government licensing and restrictions on home generators – not the logical response of building large gas powered electrical generator plants.
      Or, given its San Diego, and Mexico has no obligations to reduce CO2 emissions, I can see large south of the border generation plants with transmission lines running north over the border.

      • I’ve bought a good number of used diesel gen-sets over the years.
        Not one of them would pass an emissions test. Not nearly. They are generally stinky and noisy beasts.
        And as you point out they do not benefit from the higher efficiencies of scale or heat-recovery systems of full scale clean modern power stations.
        But the greens wanted a de-centralized grid. And so maybe their wishes will be granted!
        Just not quite in the form that they imagined.

  4. They have an extra-special brand of Kool Ade out there, called “Crazy Ade”.

    • IIRC, the Chargers are threatening to move to LA if San Diego doesn’t kick in $300B or so to help build them a $1B stadium. Out of curiosity, I looked up Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, MA. It’s fifteen years old, cost a bit over $300M total and the Patriots paid for it themselves — probably a good investment as they have sold out every home game since the stadium opened.
      I wasn’t very impressed with San Diego when I lived there, but from what I read, paying $300M in blackmail to keep an NFL franchise is a bit much even for them. So, yeah, the Chargers may well be headed elsewhere — LA or Vegas or Abu Dubai or some other target of opportunity.

  5. I seem to remember that San Diego has some of the highest electrical rates on the planet – I remember a quote of 35 cents per kWhr.

    • “I remember a quote of 35 cents per kWhr”. It is 38 cents per kWhr now for the top rate (which is what most of my usage gets billed at).

      • And when you add on all of the usage fee’s for shut down of San Onofre, grid access fees(thanks solar),
        etc….my bills in the end add up to 43ct per kwh. We’re on the coast and have to subsidize those living inland who have run AC 8-9 months a year. My actual electricity usage is low. So spending 12-15K plus a new roof just doesn’t add up to save $100-150 a month. This plan of theirs is truly insanity. They’re going to dedicate millions for bike paths so the wealthy/well off can exercise on our roads on $1000+/- bikes and wearing their tight clown outfits.

  6. Naa–San Diego will just depend on imported power from jurisdictions without their green fantasies. Of course, that says nothing about cost, as i remember the brownouts and blackouts some years ago when the greens were into “conservation”, and blocked any new power generation. Enron made quite a lot of money off that insanity.

    • what needs to happen is as soon as some idiot bureaucrat declares this kind of nonsense plans are established to cut off all forms of energy supply bar renewables on the date they declare “running 100% renewable”.
      no cheating with generators, log burners etc for the citizens of the state or area involved, they voted the clowns in ,they have to live with the consequences. i would imagine the number of idiots declaring this kind of nonsense would reduce significantly in the aftermath.

    • [San Diego will just depend on imported power from jurisdictions without their green fantasies.] They’re actually going to put restrictions on that as well. When the fecal matter hits the oscillating device in the fall with hot weather and Santa Ana winds and a fire breaks out somewhere and knocks out transmission lines or they have a relay station short out it could get ugly fast.

  7. The elites will have their generators, the average bloke can eat cake.
    Will the hospitals be allowed to have generators?

  8. I wonder if part of the plan is to ban diesel gensets and household sized generators? No cheating! Renewables for all.
    On the other hand, what’s not to love? Sandy Eggo does a spectacular Crash and Burn. A real auger straight in at maximum velocity from 10,000 ft. Crash and Burn. A real swan dive into an expensive smoking crater.
    The climate refugees fleeing the disaster area would probably not be to keen on repeating the experiment any time soon. For many, I suspect the episode would provide the first real education any of them ever got.
    Too bad it is not set for 2020, it would be popcorn time.

    • We keep waiting for reality to sink in, yet that rarely occurs. Socialism has destroyed Venezuela, yet the response by Venezuelans is simply to double down with ever more fantastical accusations against the remaining parts of the private sector.
      Things could get REALLY bad for San Diego, but the villains will not change: White Privilege and Big Oil.

    • Unfortunately you are wrong. The climate refugees will run to some state with a functioning economy and demand all the looney things that killed the place they ran from. Remember the indoctrination centers no longer connect actions with results so these little flowers are clueless that the damage was caused by the person looking at them in the mirror every morning.

      • yessir. They immigrate to Austin. Insist on 15% sucharge (last I looked) to support *sustainable* electricty. Demand that drunks drive their own cars, or support the taxi lobby.
        Well planned. We waited too long to build the wall on the “Venezuelafornia” border. (h/t Larry)

  9. “Discovered by the Germans in 1903, they named it San Diago, which means…”

  10. Canberra/ACT (in Australia) has a similar plan..
    They are going to do it by pretending to be using wind farms 1000km away, through the grid.

    • People should realise that Canberra is the seat of the federal government in Australia, like Washington D.C., and is full of left leaning bureaucrats, common sense is in short supply

  11. Useful idiots. Please do hurry up and provide an object lesson in California Dreamin stupidity to the rest of the world. Like UK apparently plans to do next winter.
    San Onofre is gone, and by 2030 4 Corners likely will be also. News flash. The sun sets at night. Another news flash. Because greenies blocked Eagle Ridge pumped storage, you have no prospect of adaquate grid storage. That lovely night skyline will be dark.

    • Contribute to the cause like North Korea will be in play.
      Unfortunately these fools are spending all the taxpayer’s money on ancient technology that will not work rather than investing in or developing new technology via real research that might replace fossil fuels someday.
      they repeat the same failures day after day.

      • ‘ rather than investing in or developing new technology via real research that might replace fossil fuels someday.’
        Research is not underfunded.

      • You didn’t produce for the Navy, so they are stopping funding. So, yeah, polywell fusion is underfunded.

    • And the great experiment at Tonapah solar is an abject failure (it’s not as sunny as they thought!) . They can’t meet their contracted amount of power and are having to add more gas fired turbines to try and reach goals before they’re forced to mothball it.

  12. Interesting the Big Bang Theory gang will all be looking for Science jobs in China

  13. Stand by for a dramatic reduction in the value of San Diego real estate, as residents wake up to this foolishness and flee for more logical locations. Preferably where ignorant Greenies do not control local authority decision making. There must still be a few places like that in the USA, surely?

    • i would make the residents stay put, forcefully if necessary. they voted these clowns in, let them deal with them.

  14. Hmm, Living in a desert climate and depending on 100% renewable energy. Yeah that doesn’t sound like a plan for disaster.

    • Especially in a geographic region known for a very large population of vegetarians and vegans.
      For some reason, I find it difficult to consider wind farms as tolerant to strong or frequent earthquakes.
      Plus the current totalitarian dirty whitehouse scheme is to allow copious eagle wind farm kills.
      A few weeks of little to no power could be enlightening. A law suit seeking protection for flying critters from solar and wind machines, again, would be better.

    • Just to be an annoying pedant, the observatory is on Palomar Mountain. An even closer source of light pollution is Temecula, Murrietta and Rancho California.

  15. ristvan:
    The UK’s descent into brown-outs, and maybe even black-outs is accelerating. Scotland alone has lost 3.6 GW of generation capability with the closure of the Cockenzie and Longannet (coal) power stations. The SNP have just ‘won’ an election for the Scottish Parliament, but will be reliant on the Green Party as they don’t have an overall majority. Long-term plans have been to close the nuke stations as well, and the Greens will be looking for their pay-offs, so you can bet they’ll insist on the closure of Hunterston and Torness, so that’ll be another 2.2. GW lost.
    Scotland’s peak consumption is around 6 GW.
    These will be interesting times.
    I might just move to somewhere warmer and sunnier.

    • I would suggest you hurry. After a few Western nations collapse due to these kind of insane policies, the remainder will close immigration to those who lived there, because they don’t want the same to happen to them.

  16. There’s a feeding frenzy going on in California led by Governor Brown to see which cities can out promise the other for the “carbon free” nirvana. Not content with already being one of the biggest users of gas and lowest user of coal they (led by Governor Moonbeam) want to show the world just how far into energy suicide they can travel. As a “sanctuary state” water, electricity, and energy usage keeps escalating and paid for by other people’s money. They meet the definition of ‘rabid’ in their quest. Witness the state’s use of MTBE to reduce pollution but instead causing more harm by showing up in drinking water….it’s a carcinogen… leading to ban it after the damage was done. Once a leader in controlling pollution California is now the leader in unintended consequences and vying to remain the leader.

  17. For 100% renewable power, you can run the solar cells at night with lights powered by diesel or coal-fired generators and activate the wind-turbines in becalmed periods with diesel or coal-fired fans. It’s about that stupid. There could be a flood of refugees back east over the Rockies once that scheme gets going.

    • “For 100% renewable power, you can run the solar cells at night with lights powered by diesel or coal-fired generators and activate the wind-turbines in becalmed periods with diesel or coal-fired fans. It’s about that stupid.”
      😂……… 😂😂

      • Best to run the solar cells from energy produced from biodiesel (produced with fertilizer made from nat gas, of course).

  18. Anthony, Do you have a link for the reference to Sydney at the beginning? I’m not aware of any such ambition, not that it would make sense, given that the eastern grid, the largest in the world, is 73 per cent powered by coal. Canberra, where I live, has announced just such a plan, but for the same reason that is nonsensical too.

    • Don I suspect it may apply to the “Grand Duchie of Pixie Land” otherwise known as the City of Sydney, i.e. the local government council covering central Sydney. A bit like the grand plan for Canberra I suspect, stick windmills in everyone else’s back-yard so that we can be pure as the driven snow on our “100% renewables”.

    • I flew in to Canberra (I always get itchy when there is a concentration of pigs…errm…I mean politicians about) last week on a project and as we crossed the border to the ACT I could see at least 40 wind turbines. Not sure what plant that is, but they were in operation, probably driven by all the hot air coming out of The Lodge as Turnbull announces a double dissolution election today (he must be contemplating his retirement as he will lose the top job on the 2nd of July. Buh bye Turncoat).

  19. This is project actually great news. It will make a perfect case study revealing the reasons renewables cannot get the job done. I say rock on San Diego; show us the way!

  20. Hey, if it works for San Diego it should work for Seattle. All you Seattle municiple leaders you should be jumping on that renewable’s bandwagon.

    • Charles Dolci – Seattle shouldn’t have a problem with renewable energy. Instead of solar collectors you install mini-generators on the downspouts of the roofs and Voila! – Rain Power.

  21. Don’t worry, they will-unless they come up with an even more unlikely scheme.

  22. It may sound a little harsh, but I think we need a big city or region to go down. Simply to illustrate to the rest of the world how daft these ideas are. And I do feel sorry for the people who will inevitably suffer or in some cases die because of this misguided ideology…but they did however vote for these idiots so what can you say?

    • Didn’t Spain already experience something like that with it’s energy policy?
      Washington has not learned from Spain’s love of renewables with an economic crash?

    • charles nelson commented : “… I think we need a big city or region to go down.”
      UK or Germany or both at your service. La Nina should overtax their already depleted energy supply and provide a taste of unintended consequences to the populace. Couple home energy starvation with industry already shutting down and we should have a hum dinger of an example from two of the leaders in pushing ‘carbon reduction’. I feel for the people but have often said their leadership in this folly only means they will be at the cutting edge of inevitable failure.

  23. Ho hum… seen this play out in another form already. In the 70s I was living in a dorm room heated from the classroom steam circuit at a southern university.
    When the northeastern states gambled and went to short-term energy contracts to save money just before the “oil crisis” guess what happened? They were caught with insufficient quantities of heating oil and natural gas at reasonable prices.
    No problem! The feds just stepped in and terminated the contracts in force in the southern states and handed the energy over to the northeastern and mid-western states. So when the winter winds blew down from the plains I had the privilege of freezing my *ss off from 5pm each Friday until 7am every Monday. Nothing like having the sweat on your feet freeze to linoleum tile. And oh those nice bracing showers!
    Never doubt, when west coast dreams turn ugly it will be the rest of the country which will take the brunt of the inconvenience and expense.

  24. It seems to me that somebody on this comment chain would have linked to the actual Climate Action Plan, and the Appendices, which show the various measures that are contemplated. The Appendices are at https://www.sandiego.gov/sites/default/files/final_december_2015_cap_all_appendices.pdf
    The CAP itself is at https://www.sandiego.gov/sites/default/files/final_december_2015_cap.pdf
    The CAP does not state an intention to go 100 percent solar in San Diego. There are no plans that would increase the likelihood of blackouts. Instead, there is a clearly stated purpose to comply with all Federal and State laws, among which are a safe, reliable, cost-effective, and environmentally responsible electricity supply. This clearly means a connection to the grid, where solar energy is received as it is generated, and the grid supplies power when solar does not.
    What is likely to occur is some efficiency measures for buildings, cars, methane capture from landfills and a wastewater treatment facility, and purchase of “green” energy. Any shortfalls in the greenhouse gas reduction goals are to be made up by purchasing Renewable Energy Credits.
    The idea that renewables cannot supply 100 percent of a city’s electricity is just not true. There are plenty of ways to store excess wind or solar energy for release and use at a later time. San Diego has plenty of hills and low mountains for installing pumped storage hydroelectric systems, plus low-cost grid-scale batteries can be used, and the patented, newly-approved Rail Energy Storage by ARES North America can be used to good advantage.

    • Roger Sowell commented: “…The idea that renewables cannot supply 100 percent of a city’s electricity is just not true. There are plenty of ways to store excess wind or solar energy for release and use at a later time. ”
      “Excess” energy from wind and solar? “Plenty of ways”? Really? With all due respect I don’t think you know what you are talking about. It would require more money, land, and time than is currently available to reach this goal in 20 years for an area the size of San Diego. Look how long the EU has been at it and what percent they are generating. That’s reality. You’ve been drinking Jerry Brown’s Kool Aid. The proof is in the pudding and th world is not technologically ready for 100% wind and solar energy and that’s a fact.

      • Yep, Roger has it nailed. That’s why he wants Diablo Canyon to close down since renewables and storage will get it done. California Dreamin’ is what it is.

      • Ah, the usual WUWT denigrators when it comes to anything about renewable energy. I refer you to my replies on other comments about pumped storage hydroelectric, ARES rail energy storage, and grid-scale batteries. Those are three ways that are proven. As to excess energy from wind, that occurs from time to time already, where a grid operator must detach some wind-turbines from the grid. Typically this occurs at night when the wind blows strongest and the grid demand is lowest. Such situations provide incentive for more grid-scale storage.
        Now, to your assertion that San Diego is too large for solar energy. The facts are that San Diego County has approximately 3.3 million people. That is a bit less than ten percent of all of California at 39 million. If electricity use is proportional to population, then San Diego requires approximately 3,000 MW on average, with peaks somewhat higher, or 4,500 MW. That is the equivalent of 8 solar power-tower plants of the same size as Ivanpah Solar, at 377 MW. The plant required only a bit more than 2 years to construct.
        There is also the 550 MW Topaz solar PV plant in California. San Diego would need only six of those to provide its average power needs. There is plenty of room in California away from the populated coasts, and plenty of time to build such power plants.
        The proof really is in the pudding, we can agree on that. The technology is installed and operating. I note that California has almost zero grid instability issues with the solar and wind energy already installed. The grid routinely obtains 43 percent or a bit more from renewables, for an hour or more during the early afternoon. The lights stay on.

        • Roger Sowell commented : “…Ah, the usual WUWT denigrators when it comes to anything about renewable energy….”
          You would be surprised at how many of us support solar and have panels installed. It’s not “anything about renewable energy” I object to it’s the unsubstantiated claims being made and the ridiculous amount of money being thrown (literally) at the industry to make it work and along the way more environmental damage is occurring than what it’s replacing without any concern. Hypocrisy at the max. It’s not about renewable energy but instead about supporting an ideology and eliminating fossil fuels and nuclear. Admit it. So far the renewable energy produced in the world doesn’t come close to replacing what has been decommissioned on either an energy or reliability basis and no amount of misinformation can change that fact. Used appropriately solar is a good addition to our energy mix but not a viable replacement unless its’ efficiency can be improved by an order of magnitude and stored in a cost conscious manner. Wind has time and time again proved a failure in energy produced, cost to implement and maintain, and protecting the environment. You can support renewable energy but don’t try to put lipstick on the pig.

      • @markl Re:
        “You would be surprised at how many of us support solar and have panels installed.” — Not a bit surprised, since the US just celebrated the 1 millionth solar installation.
        ” It’s not “anything about renewable energy” I object to it’s the unsubstantiated claims being made and the ridiculous amount of money being thrown (literally) at the industry to make it work and along the way more environmental damage is occurring than what it’s replacing without any concern. Hypocrisy at the max.”
        Please point out any unsubstantiated claims I have made. I cannot speak for anyone else, but my statements are based on facts and careful research. As to ridiculous amounts of money being thrown at the industry, I wrote on this just the other day, showing the miniscule impact of subsidies on wind-turbine projects. Solar is also subsidized to a minor extent. The entire point of such subsidies is to provide incentive for private sector to develop, test, and improve the systems until they are economically viable on their own. This is a legitimate purpose of government.
        As to environmental damage, one could argue that coal-mining creates immensely more damage than do all the wind-turbines in the US.
        “It’s not about renewable energy but instead about supporting an ideology and eliminating fossil fuels and nuclear. Admit it. ”
        I certainly agree that eliminating nuclear energy is a very good thing. The nuclear industry had it’s moment in the spotlight, 50 years or more actually, and to show for it they barely achieved 11 percent of world’s electricity production. Nuclear essentially replaced oil-burning power plants. No argument, that is a fact. I don’t agree that eliminating fossil fuels is a good idea, although I am aware there are people who think it is a good idea. I am from the oil and gas industry, second generation. Oil and gas provide irreplaceable benefits in the entire world’s economy.
        Back to wind vs nuclear, it is a fact that nuclear energy in 1986, the year Chernobyl exploded and irradiated all of us, provided the identical amount of electricity world-wide as did all of renewable sources in 2014, just 28 years later. That is a solid fact. Wind is also the major provider of renewable energy. In fact, wind-energy in late 2015 provided the same amount of electricity as did all of hydroelectric dams in the US. Each provided approximately 5 percent of the entire US grid demand.
        “So far the renewable energy produced in the world doesn’t come close to replacing what has been decommissioned on either an energy or reliability basis and no amount of misinformation can change that fact.”
        Not clear what you mean by that, perhaps nuclear energy from the decommissioned wording. As stated just above, renewables in 2014 equaled all of nuclear energy 28 years earlier in 2016. For reference, see my blog post http://sowellslawblog.blogspot.com/2016/04/chernobyl-nuclear-disaster-30-years.html titled “Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster 30 Years After: Subtitle: No More Chernobyls – Build Wind-Turbines and Solar Power.” As to reliability, of course the power flows only when the wind blows. That is why the present, economic solution is to have gas-turbine power plants operate in load-following mode. However, as I stated on other comments, grid-scale batteries and the ARES rail energy storage system now provide viable, economic alternatives without many geographic limitations.
        “Used appropriately solar is a good addition to our energy mix but not a viable replacement unless its’ efficiency can be improved by an order of magnitude and stored in a cost conscious manner.”
        The concept of sole-sourcing energy is simply not valid, unless one speaks of hydroelectricity in a region such as near Niagara Falls or the Bonneville Dam. On a national basis, we will have a mix of energy sources including hydroelectric, natural gas, coal for a few more years, nuclear for a few more years until the aging reactors are retired for good, and several forms of renewable energy. It makes perfect sense for the sunny SouthWest to install solar-energy power plants, at large scale to reduce unit costs. That is precisely what is occurring. It also makes perfect sense to harvest a portion of the immense wind energy that flows through the middle of the US along the Texas-to-North Dakota corridor.
        “Wind has time and time again proved a failure in energy produced, cost to implement and maintain, and protecting the environment. You can support renewable energy but don’t try to put lipstick on the pig.”
        The facts show that wind-turbines have done exactly as was predicted: early versions had flaws that were identified, then corrected in later versions. Today’s wind-turbines are far more effective, more efficient, and much more economic than turbines of 30 years ago. Today’s modern wind-turbines achieve a capacity factor of 43 percent as the national average for the month of April (when wind is relatively strong). The annual average capacity factor in the US is now 34 percent. That figure will increase over time, just like automobile average miles-per-gallon increase over time, as older units are removed from service and newer, more efficient units are built. It is also important to note that all natural gas power plants in the US operate at an annual average capacity factor less than that of wind, at 29 percent.
        Costs to operate and maintain wind-turbines are very low for new projects, and increase over time. The O&M costs are approximately 0.5 cents per kWh in the first year or two, and increase to 2 cents per kWh after 10 years of operation. You could look it up, or see my post at http://sowellslawblog.blogspot.com/2016/04/wind-turbines-operations-and.html
        As for protecting the environment, a wind-turbine does no more harm than a tall tree on a prairie. A bird or two may get killed, and that is regrettable but so far unavoidable. There are improved designs in the works that are much more bird-friendly. I cannot say more on that topic.
        Renewable energy is not a pig in need of lipstick. It is instead a racehorse that is beautiful to behold. The systems work exactly as designed, producing power when the wind blows or when the sun shines as the case may be. There were some poorly-vetted and ill-designed projects such as Solyndra, but Vestas, GE Wind, and Siemens all make very good products. Billionaire Warren Buffet is no fool yet he spends billions of his dollars on one wind project after another.
        No amount of disinformation or denying the facts will change the facts.

      • “I certainly agree that eliminating nuclear energy is a very good thing.”
        Why would you want to suppress the energy source with the least impact on the biosphere?
        Why do you support crazy subsidies to bird choppers and bird friers?
        Why do you want to make people poorer?
        Why do you want to wreck the economy?

    • Yes San Diego has plenty of hills to use for pumped storage. Unfortunately they have already voted it down so you can kiss that one goodbye also. .

    • There are plenty of ways to store excess wind or solar energy for release and use at a later time.
      This statement is misinformed, deluded, or dishonest. Not knowing the source I won’t speculate which.
      There is no convenient and affordable way of storing energy, other than pumped storage and pumped storage has relatively high efficiency losses. The usual approach is to make fossil generators load-follow which makes them less efficient, more emitting, and higher cost. This is a transfer of renewable backup cost to fossil. Accruing the increased fossil cost back to renewables makes them look even worse.
      Some of this just borders on stupid. Some Northeast nuclear plants are being shutdown because renewables are being used for baseband and the nuclear plants are being forced to load follow. Shutting down the nuclear plants increases costs and emissions.
      If you mess up the system enough that the cost of generation gets high enough, say 20+ cents renewables start to make sense. If smarter people prevail and insist that power be produced at least cost renewables don’t see the light of day.
      If renewables made economic sense subsidies would be unnecessary.

      • @ PA, Re:
        “”There are plenty of ways to store excess wind or solar energy for release and use at a later time.”
        This statement is misinformed, deluded, or dishonest. Not knowing the source I won’t speculate which.
        There is no convenient and affordable way of storing energy, other than pumped storage and pumped storage has relatively high efficiency losses. The usual approach is to make fossil generators load-follow which makes them less efficient, more emitting, and higher cost. This is a transfer of renewable backup cost to fossil. Accruing the increased fossil cost back to renewables makes them look even worse.”
        Actually, my statement you disparage is highly informed. I have more than 40 years experience world-wide as an engineer with almost all forms of energy systems. As I wrote earlier, there are several proven ways to store grid-scale quantities of energy. The US already has thousands of MW and MWh of pumped storage hydroelectric with more being installed. A new entry into the field is the ARES Rail Energy Storage, with the first project underway near Las Vegas, Nevada. The ARES system can be built anywhere there is a suitable gradient in the land, no water is necessary. This opens up enormous areas for grid-scale storage.
        The affordability is acceptable, given the benefits from storing off-peak power and releasing it later as on-peak. More recently, grid-stability benefits easily justify the cost of storage. The ARES system is advertised as costing only 60 percent of a similar sized PSH. The efficiency losses are 20 percent in the US on PSH, and 15 percent for the ARES system.
        Next, you assert: “Some of this just borders on stupid. Some Northeast nuclear plants are being shutdown because renewables are being used for baseband and the nuclear plants are being forced to load follow. Shutting down the nuclear plants increases costs and emissions.”
        That is incorrect. US nuclear plants are shutting down because they cannot compete economically with low-cost natural gas-based power, and wind-energy. US nuclear plants don’t follow the load, instead they are infamous for operating at baseload whether the grid needs the power or not. They therefore force the price of power down to zero and at times to negative values. Shutting down nuclear plants decreases the wholesale electricity prices.
        Next, you assert: “If you mess up the system enough that the cost of generation gets high enough, say 20+ cents renewables start to make sense. If smarter people prevail and insist that power be produced at least cost renewables don’t see the light of day.
        If renewables made economic sense subsidies would be unnecessary.”
        Wind and solar already make economic sense, with the average residential electricity price at 12 cents per kWh in the US. What many people fail to understand is that 12 cents per kWh in 2015 is essentially the same after adjusting for inflation, as in 1985. The subsidies for wind-energy are tiny, and amount to far less than one-tenth of one percent of the typical consumer’s electricity bill.

      • “They therefore force the price of power down to zero and at times to negative values.”
        No they don’t. Wind turbines do.
        “Shutting down nuclear plants decreases the wholesale electricity prices.”
        OK, you are a troll.
        Goodbye.

    • “low cost grid scale batteries”? Where exactly do these things exist? What are they made of (certainly not ‘renewables’ nor CO2 friendly materials)?
      “the grid supplies power when solar does not” So, how is the high load, infrequently used (assumed) power that the ‘grid’ supplies generated & stored? Say you are successful in creating a reasonably sufficient supply of solar generated power. If that happens won’t the ‘grid’ tend to reduce its power output (because nobody is buying it they won’t have the money to maintain it) so, eventually,, when you call on it for a peak load (because solar isn’t supplying the power and your ‘low cost’ ‘grid scale’ batteries run down) it won’t be there. Well, I guess you can pass legislation requiring the grid to take power from someone else to meet your needs.
      This is my single greatest issue with these grandiose, wonderful sounding generalities. They tend to depend on technological development (in this case low cost, environmentally friendly, low maintenance, high capacity ‘grid scale’ batteries, a technology that does not currently exist and may never exist. For example, Tesla announced that they were going to develop and sell a reasonably priced 10KWH battery storage system that could be mounted on a garage wall and would store individual home solar power. They recently announced they were dropping that idea to focus on their car battery idea, although I suspect they actually got a taste of the technological and cost hurdles and just dropped it as not feasible.
      That and solar & wind are NOT sustainable. Yes, sunlight is free, the wind blows for free, but solar panels are not and once installed, they do not last forever. Same with wind turbines only it’s worse because they use rare earth metals (that are mostly mined outside the US so we’re trading ‘oil dependence’ for ‘rare earth metal dependence’) that are most decidedly not sustainable (there is a finite amount of these types of metals). What’s the current useful life of a wind turbine?

      • @dccowboy Re: ““low cost grid scale batteries”? Where exactly do these things exist? What are they made of (certainly not ‘renewables’ nor CO2 friendly materials)?”
        I refer you to my blog article, also posted on WUWT (with additions by Anthony) – http://sowellslawblog.blogspot.com/2016/04/this-battery-is-game-changer.html
        and https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/04/08/this-new-battery-is-a-game-changer/
        The batteries are an improvement over lithium-ion, using halogenated polyacetylene as patented by BioSolar, Inc. The “where” part of your question is in Santa Clarita, California, just north of Los Angeles, California. The batteries have one-fourth the cost, and twice the energy density of present batteries.
        RE: ““the grid supplies power when solar does not” So, how is the high load, infrequently used (assumed) power that the ‘grid’ supplies generated & stored?”
        As all those who design, build, and follow closely the evolution of the US grid know, some forms of renewable energy are very stable: geothermal, biomass, biogas, and small hydroelectric. California has all four of these, with approximately 1,700 MW produced around the clock.
        For supplementing the variable output from renewable sources, solar thermal, solar PV, and wind-turbines, the usual grid supplies are natural gas-power plants. As a recent example (out of thousands of system), a 940 MW Combined Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT) power plant was just awarded to Siemens AG for installation in Lordstown, Ohio for wind-turbine grid-stabilization on the PJM grid. My article on this with reference to the Siemens announcement is http://sowellslawblog.blogspot.com/2016/05/gas-turbine-power-plant-low-cost-and.html This CCGT power plant costs one-tenth of what a similar sized nuclear plant would cost, will be built and operating in 2 years, and has excellent load-following capability.
        CA, and many other states, also has grid-scale storage installed. Those include pumped storage hydroelectric (PSH), a battery system on Santa Catalina Island, and a few others. Another PSH system of 1,300 MW is under construction near Palm Springs. The state has mandated more grid-scale storage.
        The fact is that solar and wind are indeed sustainable, with costs for both technologies falling rapidly year-over-year. Wind-energy in the US has grown rapidly and now equals the output of hydroelectric power. In another year, wind-energy will surpass the hydroelectric output.

      • “This CCGT power plant costs one-tenth of what a similar sized nuclear plant would cost”
        If you were really an engineer (you are certainly not), you would know that the cost of nuclear plants is mostly caused by absurd safety requirements, insane regulatory burden, and absurd uncertainty WRT to licencing.

      • simple-touriste, Re “If you were really an engineer (you are certainly not), you would know that the cost of nuclear plants is mostly caused by absurd safety requirements, insane regulatory burden, and absurd uncertainty WRT to licencing.”
        Chemical engineer, University of Texas at Austin 1977. Courses in nuclear chemistry and engineering.
        What I know about nuclear power plants and their high costs is that 1) they operate at low pressure and essentially zero superheat so the Rankine cycle is not very efficient, 2) the low efficiency requires more steam to circulate to create the same power output, 3) the major equipment is therefore much larger due to the increased flows, 4) the PWR design has much more equipment and therefore higher costs e.g. the reactor pressurizer, steam generators, the pressurized water pumps and motors, 5) the inherent danger of uranium fuel melting requires triple safety boundaries, one being the fuel rods, two being the reactor vessel, and three being the containment dome, 6) the damage from a loss of coolant accident, LOCA requires a redundant reactor cooling system, and 7) a fuel storage area is required for spent fuel rods, along with water circulating pumps and cooling system.
        If you can justify the removal of any or all of those high-cost items, please let me know which ones, and the specific reasons you cite to declare them absurd safety requirements, or unnecessary for operation.

      • “What I know about nuclear power plants and their high costs is that 1) they operate at low pressure”
        I have no idea what you mean. I have noticed that you never give numbers, only vague statements, like non-scientists, esp. journalists, politicians, propagandists… do.
        “the low efficiency requires more steam to circulate to create the same power output”
        compared to what?
        And how is your “efficiency” in any way relevant?
        This is the typical ecoloon argument of inefficient nuclear energy. Who cares if it is “inefficient”? Do you propose “efficient nuclear energy”?
        “the PWR design has much more equipment and therefore higher costs”
        compared to?
        I am bored now…

      • “the damage from a loss of coolant accident, LOCA requires a redundant reactor cooling system”
        Not sure what you meant here, but I am pretty sure it’s incorrect.
        Anyway, you managed to miss:
        – the many additional safety measures used in many Western reactors since decades
        – the fancy new ultimate protection measures like the “core catcher” in new reactor designs like the EPR
        the level of terrorism-resistance which is not expected for any other industrial facility
        – the hysteria about trivial releases of “radiations”
        – the loss of lives caused by the inept evacuations in Fukushima
        the fact that those responsible for these deaths are applauded
        Are you ignorant of all these widely reported facts?
        Are you for real?
        Are you lost in irrelevant thermodynamic technicalities? Do you get your informations from ecoloon propaganda?

    • In California, Hydro-electric is NOT considered as a renewable source. They don’t care how you get the water into the lake.
      G
      There is also one other problem with your pumped storage concept.
      Hills and mountains are somewhat like the pyramids. They generally tend to get smaller in area as you get closer to the top. So you can’t have the water at a high elevation and at a high volume (mass) at the same time.

      • George e smith, I’m not following you on this one. The mountains and hills do get smaller at the top, but the reservoir gets larger and larger as the depth increases. So, the higher the surface elevation, the more volume and mass are in the reservoir.

      • So you are proposing that the hill be replaced by water ?
        The water at the bottom of the hill has no potential energy. “bottom of the hill, being input to the turbine impeller.
        I know that there is a pumped storage operation in the State of Missouri, Taum Sauk, I think it is called.
        Near as I can recall it’s about 1700 feet; and you can’t get any higher on the ground, and still be in Missouri.
        Missouri does have the Missouri and the Mississippi rivers, and others, so there is plenty of water. But it is just a token situation. Not a serious source of renewable energy.
        By it’s very definition, a pumped storage source must be intermittent, and requires some “backup” (actually “frontup”) source of electricity. Using electricity to run a pump should be a felony offence.
        G

      • I believe Roger is thinking that the reservoir would be created by putting dams between the mountain tops, and making the area between the mountains the reservoir.

  25. Something is missing.
    My utility buys at an average of less than $40 per MWhr (including up to $80 for its windmill portion). It sells at about 0.10/kwhr..
    San Diego sells for about 0.35/kwhr … how much are they buying for?
    They must have some serious operational costs & inefficiencies to go along with the elevated green costs.
    Inverse economy of scale.

  26. I live in Georgetown, Texas, about 30 miles from Austin. The Georgetown municipal electric utility recently declared that Georgetown’s electrical load is now (or will soon be) supplied by 100% renewable sources. Wind and solar. These plants are something like 500 miles away on the other side of Dallas, Fort Worth, and Waco. The plants feed into the same electrical grid (Texas is apparently somewhat isolated electrically) that all other Texas communities draw from. Although Texas is the largest producer of wind energy in the U.S., by far most of Texas electrical generation comes from coal, nuclear, and gas. So, while the Georgetown utility has signed contracts with these distant wind and solar generators, and will send them checks commensurate with their output up to Georgetown’s contemporaneous demand, it seems to me that Georgetown consumers will in effect be supplied by roughly the same proportions of electricity from wind, solar, nuclear, coal, and gas as any other average consumer drawing from the Texas grid. It is the Texas system operator that must make sure that the statewide system can absorb the intermittent supply from wind and solar without reducing reliability. I don’t know who pays for that — the generation reserve and transmission capacity needed to deal with this intermittancy. I doubt that that cost is paid by little Georgetown. I believe the only claim that may have some meaning is the percentage of total Texas demand supplied by “renewables,” not the percentage of, in this case, Georgetown’s total generation payments to distant wind and solar generators who simply pour what they can into the grid. These municipal claims about their extent of reliance on wind and solar need to be seen in the larger context appropriate to each region.

    • Are the Texas grid operators going to install some kind of ‘electricity monitoring’ device to ensure that Georgetown only gets electricity generated by the Solar & Wind ‘plants’ and not that ‘dirty’ electricity generated by gas, oil, coal, & nuclear sources? How else can Georgetown make a claim like that?

      • Whether or not the wind and solar is generating enough to meet Georgetown demand at any given time, Georgetown will always just draw what it needs from the Texas grid (I think and hope!) I don’t know how the payments get sorted out. As a result of the utility’s claim to 100% renewable generation, many people here think that all our electrical stuff is actually powered by wind and solar, as though Georgetown were an island and reliant only on these generators. The utility and local government seem happy to leave people with this general impression since it sounds so grand.

      • Alberta has/had a similar plan that allowed users to pay “extra” to get wind power. The extra amount went to the wind companies I presume.
        It’s a feel good thing I suppose. The interesting thing is that now that coal is being pressured to shut down, the actual generating rate I now pay has dropped dramatically – my last bill for electricity was 3.6 cents Canadian for the first 700 kWh and 4.5 cents Canadian for the next 500 kWh. That’s about half of what it was a year or so ago. That’s not the total though as you have to add transmission, distribution, administration and taxes that takes the total cost to 11.2 cents Canadian per kWh – or about 8.5 cents US based on the current exchange rate (variable rate plan).
        I can’t imagine why I would want to pay extra to build bird choppers.

    • ..I think it’s hilarious that liberal greenies think it’s possible to tell the difference between GREEN electrons and NASTY electrons !! It’s not just in Texas either…

  27. The Salton Sea area is only about 120 miles away and has one of the largest geothermal energy potentials in the world. I believe the potential is about 80,000 MW capacity. California never used more than ~52,863 MW per day in peak demand (July 10th, 2002) and is usually around 40,000 to 45,000 MW per day peak demand. Driving manufacturing and employment out of state certainly helps to lower peak demand.
    Currently there are 11 geothermal plants in the area, each one generating not more than 49.9 MW. That only requires county approval and not the approval of the CA Energy Commission as plants 50 MW and above do. That does not give you sufficient economy of scale.
    Currently, Controlled Thermal Resources, an Australian company, has a lease with IID – Imperial Irrigation District, a municipal utility that both provides irrigation water to farms and power to the area, for 1,900 acres. They are planning to build a more economically viable 250 MW plant near Calipatria at the southern end of the Salton Sea.
    The up-front costs are huge and loans are hard to come by as utilities are reluctant to buy this energy as it is quite expensive. IID power is quite cheap. If San Diego or CA more or less outlaw thermal energy from fossil sources and demand 100% renewable energy, or unreliable energy as I prefer to call it, then geothermal all of a sudden becomes economically viable and a good source for base-load power. It is technologically viable and can provide power without interruption.
    The area south of the border in Mexicali has a rising demand for power and IID is planning several connectors to Mexico. There are actually a number of companies from abroad looking to develop commercial properties and power plants in the Imperial / El Centro / Salton Sea area.
    Regardless, it is always a bad idea for politicians to meddle in the economic decision making of companies and individuals based on unsubstantiated scientific claims and highly questionable assumptions. This leads to terrible misallocations of capital and makes us all poorer.

  28. Unless San Diego is an island grid within California, this is a meaningless proclamation.
    There has been mention about the ACT down here in Australia claiming to go 100% renewable electricity by 2020 too which is totally bogus since almost all their power comes from interstate generators. On a local forum, I suggested that phase shifting transformers should be installed at the ACT borders with the active current limited to the output of the interstate windfarms they have contracted. This would provide a pseudo 100% renewables experience for them. The entertainment value would be worth the cost of the transformers.

  29. As a matter of interest I have been looking at production from Aust.windfarms for the last two months; there are 39 of them with a total nameplate capacity of 3669 MW. For March and April they have been operating with an average capacity of 23%. However, around 60% of the time production has been 13% or 450 MW.
    the equivalent of a small coal station.
    The politicians are talking about 50% renewables by 2030, approximately 15,000 MW of 24/7 electricity is required. To do this for the 60% of the time mentioned one needs 15,000/ 13% or 115,385 MW of wind turbines. This is 28,846 four MW units and would require about 58,700 sq. km. of suitable land, about 22,500 sq. miles. Just think of the problems involved and even then what happens on a windless day?
    It’s really laughable but that is the calibre of our lot.
    A lot of data are given on the site: energy.anero.id.au/wind energy

  30. I was looking at the historic wind-speed charts for San Diego on Wunder-ground.
    It is apparent that the coast is hugely effected by a regular sea breeze system, and only recieves significant wind after say 9am. So if wind will form a significant proportion of their generation, there will be little energy for overnight car charging, and little energy for the morning rush hour. So a continual backup storage system will be required for overnight generation (no solar either at this time).
    In addition I noted gaps for up to ten days without any significant wind. So this backup system (presumably pumped water storage) will have to cope with 10-day outages. That would be a vast and hugely costly backup system. In addition, the installed turbines would have to be multiplied to provide enough power to cope with normal demand, to provide the same again to cope with the usual overnight wind outage, and to provide even more to recharge the backup system for a 10-day outage. Since most wind systems are only 25% efficient, they would need to build quadruple the namplate capacity of the turbines to charge the backup system for daily use, and then probably double again to cover the long-term outages (they may get two long-term outages, with only two weeks of wind in between).
    Alternatively, the backup system could be coal and gas powered, as that would be reliable and not require so many turbines to be built in the first place. But if they go to the trouble of making a fossil fuelled backup system, I would suggest that they just cut out the renewables and use the backup system – it would be much more reliable, and much much cheaper.
    If they go for a crazy all-renewables system, I foresee the first ‘renewables refugees’. Businesses will relocate to Texas, where they can get energy at 1/3 the cost, and the workers would have to follow. And the high cost of energy and reducing local tax returns would impoverish the remaining population, resulting in widespread poverty and hardship. The scene would be similar to ‘The Grapes of Wrath’, but with the ragged refugees fleeing a renewables fantasy, rather than the failed agriculture of the Dust Bowl mid-West.
    Ralph

  31. Prepare for bankruptcy, instead, perhaps. We’ve seen what Obama’s socialism has done to Detroit, and other hot spots. They made it worse, IMO. Now more cities will fall, until we get a patriot at the helm of the ship of state? Obama is NOT a patriot, IMO – in fact, one might argue that he is the exact opposite of a patriot.

  32. Germany, and other countries, have jumped on the renewables slippery slope and are suffering the consequences. California will not learn from other peoples’ mistakes.
    “A good analogy for reliance on renewables is the age of Sail. Sailing ships moved goods around the world from the 16th century until the beginning of the 20th century.
    […]
    “Germany is really building 2 energy infrastructures. A renewable infrastructure and a backup fossil fuel infrastructure. They recently built 19 new modern coal fired stations in parallel to their investment in wind and solar. The reason is simple.
    “On a cold December evening when there is no wind the renewable power supply is zero, and all their coal stations must be ramped up to maximum output.”
    http://clivebest.com/blog/?p=7120

  33. Well I guess since we never quite managed to generate a Mad Max style post-nuclear apocalyptic world the greens are just going for a different route to that kind of scenario. I don’t think there’s any stopping it now. If you tried to reverse this and implement sensible energy policies there would be mass riots from the millions of brain-dead green zombies. It’s only a race for whether we simply hand over the western nations to Islam or destroy them first via energy insanity and economic collapse.
    Following this there will be centuries of brutal primitive war between the burgeoning hordes of Islam and the rest of humanity and perhaps in a few millennia or so mathematics will be rediscovered and a technological culture may arise once more. Anyone in this putative second renaissance who mentions the words “green” or “liberal” will be sentenced to instant death without trial and it will be necessary to find a new word to describe the colour of chlorophyll.

  34. By 2035 the planet will be in the grips of a neo Maunder Minimum according to the Russian climate scientists!

  35. A few facts on grid-scale solar energy in California, and other states. This is from The US Energy Information Agency, March 2015. Naysayers can scoff as much as they like. You are entitled to your own opinions, but not to your own facts.
    http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.cfm?id=20492
    Title: “California first state to generate more than 5% of electricity from utility-scale solar”
    Excerpt: “California has become the first state with more than 5% of its annual utility-scale electricity generation from utility-scale solar power, according to EIA’s Electric Power Monthly. California’s utility-scale (1 megawatt (MW) or larger) solar plants generated a record 9.9 million megawatthours (MWh) of electricity in 2014, an increase of 6.1 million MWh from 2013. California’s utility-scale solar production in 2014 was more than three times the output of the next-highest state, Arizona, and more than all other states combined.
    “Several large plants were phased into operation in California during 2014, including two 550 MW solar photovoltaic plants, Topaz and Desert Sunlight (Phases 1 and 2), as well as the 377 MW Ivanpah (Phases 1, 2, and 3) and the 250 MW Genesis solar thermal plants. In total, nearly 1,900 MW of new utility-scale solar capacity was added, bringing the state’s utility-scale capacity for all solar technologies to 5,400 MW by the end of 2014.”
    And to those who argue that California also has the highest electricity prices in the US, wrong again. California residential electricity price is approximately 17 cents per kWh, with 8 other states having higher price. California’s high prices are due to the large population (39 million people) and low electricity consumption per capita. The utilities must bill more per kWh to pay for the infrastructure.

    • Roger, I wonder if you are for real, or paid, or…
      Your “solar” plants made with money stolen from the people. They are abominable bird destroyers and need gas to start.
      And they fail to deliver as projected.

      • Catcracking, the concept is that low volume requires a higher cost per unit. In California, the electricity consumption per capita, and per residence, is very low compared to the US average. The same amount of infrastructure for transmission and distribution is in place but few electrons are flowing. The cost to build and maintain that infrastructure must be allocated over fewer kWh, therefore higher prices.
        The rate I quoted is the average residential electricity rate for CA in early 2016 per EIA. I am aware of the various rate prices based on the tier system in California. Those are not useful when comparing California prices to other US states or the national average.

      • @Roger
        “Catcracking, the concept is that low volume requires a higher cost per unit.”
        That’s idiotic.
        You. Are. Not. Making. Sense.
        Are you for real?
        Please, leave.

    • Not sure who’s paying $0.17 kWh in California, I’m not and my business electricity runs about .026 Kwh.
      Nuclear still quite competitive. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cost_of_electricity_by_source#/media/File:Projected_LCOE_in_the_U.S._by_2020_(as_of_2015).png
      Ivanpah produces about 1/4 of it’s nameplate capacity and in 2014 average wholesale cost was 167 Mwh. There’s no denying we can produce a fair amount of energy from renewables but it will cost us.

  36. It all happens because the polticians do not know the difference between kWh and kW.

  37. “While the city already produces the second largest electrical output from solar energy in the U.S., the new plan further details a way to cope with the changing climate.”
    How exactly does this plan “cope” with a changing climate?
    – Increase the number of air conditioners as the temperature rises?
    – Less water supply as rainfall decreases?
    – Rising sea level?

  38. According to the IPCC, the human contribution to the influx of CO2 into the atmosphere is 3% of the total, the rest being due to natural sources.
    This IS madness. There is no other word for it.

  39. Roger Sowell commented:
    “The idea that renewables cannot supply 100 percent of a city’s electricity is just not true. There are plenty of ways to store excess wind or solar energy for release and use at a later time. San Diego has plenty of hills and low mountains for installing pumped storage hydroelectric systems, plus low-cost grid-scale batteries can be used, and the patented, newly-approved Rail Energy Storage by ARES North America can be used to good advantage.”
    We would have to create “excess solar energy” first. Yes the technology exists and with enough money and space you could do it but it’s not practical. The cost would be prohibitive to provide 100% renewable energy plus renewable provided backup. San Diego has hills but it lacks water source so it would have to be saved, evaporation replenished, and recycled increasing the area required. There is no such thing as “low cost grid scale batteries” that could provide storage for a county the size of San Diego. Where is it scaled to that extent besides on paper?
    “As to excess energy from wind, that occurs from time to time already, where a grid operator must detach some wind-turbines from the grid. Typically this occurs at night when the wind blows strongest and the grid demand is lowest. Such situations provide incentive for more grid-scale storage.”
    Great, let’s use an unreliable source of energy as a backup. All you have to do is look at the stats for name plate vs. actual output of wind turbines to understand we miscalculated the most simple part of that equation in the vast majority of locations.
    ” That is the equivalent of 8 solar power-tower plants of the same size as Ivanpah Solar”.
    Bad example since Ivanpah missed it’s engineering target. A failed solar solution experiment sold to and paid by the public with it’s own unique unintended consequences for the environment it’s supposed to protect.
    “Please point out any unsubstantiated claims I have made. I cannot speak for anyone else, but my statements are based on facts and careful research.”
    Your large solutions are on paper…..no? Name one large city with energy 100% provided by wind and solar. Just one. Yes I agree theoretically it can be done but at a cost that is prohibitive.
    “As to ridiculous amounts of money being thrown at the industry, I wrote on this just the other day, showing the miniscule impact of subsidies on wind-turbine projects. Solar is also subsidized to a minor extent. The entire point of such subsidies is to provide incentive for private sector to develop, test, and improve the systems until they are economically viable on their own. This is a legitimate purpose of government.”
    Minuscule compared to what? Should we count the bankruptcies? How about the equivalent energy costs using conventional methods? “Legitimate purpose of government”? That’s a hoot. We’re not talking subsidizing research but subsidizing companies to make a profit off of existing technology at the expense of the people some of whom cannot take advantage of it but all will pay for it. Socialism for the elite
    “As to environmental damage, one could argue that coal-mining creates immensely more damage than do all the wind-turbines in the US.”
    So exchange one form of damage for another is OK? Besides, the environment can co-exist with coal mining and usage if done properly and it is more cost efficient providing energy to more people.
    “The concept of sole-sourcing energy is simply not valid…”
    Didn’t you say “The idea that renewables cannot supply 100 percent of a city’s electricity is just not true…”? I believe that’s the crux of this thread.
    “The facts show that wind-turbines have done exactly as was predicted…. ”
    That’s just obfuscation and I know you are fully aware that is not how it was sold to the public.
    “It is also important to note that all natural gas power plants in the US operate at an annual average capacity factor less than that of wind, at 29 percent.”
    And they produce more energy, more reliably , at a better price to the consumers. What’s your point?
    ” Billionaire Warren Buffet is no fool yet he spends billions of his dollars on one wind project after another.”
    Because he’s guaranteed a return through subsidies that I help provide and tax breaks that I make up the difference and not because it’s a successful business. The government is shoving it down our throats whether we agree or not and making us pay for it.
    “No amount of disinformation or denying the facts will change the facts.”
    Obviously you are a proponent of wind and solar and I would be as well if it didn’t require me to support it at my expense and it was more environmental friendly. Renewables today are a destructive solution to a non problem. Renewables today are driven by ideology and not science, economy, living standard, or availability to more people who need energy. Are those facts wrong?

  40. @Roger Sowell
    “This clearly means a connection to the grid, where solar energy is received as it is generated, and the grid supplies power when solar does not.”
    So 100% renewable energy is just press release. The grid is not 100% renewable. The grid is a zero-sum game. Even if San Diego purchases from a renewable energy generation company, another buyer will be forced to buy from fossil fuel generation companies because the renewable energy purchased by San Diego is no longer available in the grid.
    “San Diego requires approximately 3,000 MW on average, with peaks somewhat higher, or 4,500 MW. That is the equivalent of 8 solar power-tower plants of the same size as Ivanpah Solar, at 377 MW. The plant required only a bit more than 2 years to construct.”
    From MIT Technology Review – One of the most ambitious solar energy projects on the planet is in trouble. The $2.2 billion Ivanpah concentrated solar power facility in California has fallen well short of its expected power output and now has a year to get itself back on track, or it risks being forced to shut down.
    That said, onshore wind, rooftop solar PV, geothermal and pumped hydro storage are economically viable.

  41. This is wonderful. Let these nut cases try 100 %, renewables with no [fossil] fueled back ups to fall back on, and to then to live there.
    Ideally we should send all the Green types to a deserted island, and let them create their ideal world.
    Michael Elliott.

  42. Reminds me of the German’s bragging on how much of their electric base is provided by “renewables” without ever mentioning that they rely on the rest of Europe whenever their “renewables” fail to generate enough power.

  43. To be pure, I assume San Diego will cut off all interties that might supply backup power produced by non-renewables — including nuclear and hydro. (Hydro, since California doesn’t consider it a renewable.)
    There was a time, long, long ago, when I wanted to live in San Diego. Silly me.

  44. Driving everything else out of business using the government for subsidies to them, increased costs to everyone else. and capping it all off with regulatory favoritism. It leaves everyone paying higher prices and subsidizing those who charge them. And it won’t work.
    How very popular, Lefist, misanthropic, anti-environmental and brainless can you get? Moving On to health, education, welfare, the family and the Bill of Rights.

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