Interesting: California Hitting New Heights with Renewables in 2016

Many WUWT might think that renewable energy just can’t cut it, and when it comes to certain demand situations that may be a very valid issue. However, there has been quite a surge in installed renewables for daytime generation in California over the last 6 years, and the numbers from CAISO do tell a story that is surprisingly positive. Engineer and attorney Roger Sowell explains more about this month in this guest post. -Anthony

Guest essay by Roger E. Sowell, Esq.

http://sowellslawblog.blogspot.com/

From CAISO, record-setting renewable production

A lot of good is being done by renewable energy power plants in California, especially with the Aliso Canyon gas storage facility at very limited capacity due to an earlier leak.  Renewable power plants are preventing the grid from experiencing blackouts.

The graphic above, from California Independent System Operator, CAISO, shows renewable power production for what appears to be the record-setting date thus far, June 14, 2016.   Total renewable energy was 211,546 MWh.  Yesterday, June 22 was not far behind with 208,949 MWh.

Today, June 23’s results are shown below, not quite a record but still a bit more than 200,000 MWh from renewables.  see link to CAISO archives on renewable output.

Renewables on June 14 provided an average of 33 percent of the 24-hour total system demand.  On an hourly basis, renewables provided 46 percent of the load at 3 p.m. that day.   The load on the grid peaked at approximately 39,500 MW just before 6 p.m.   Solar production peaked at approximately 7,400 MW.

These results are higher than the peak production in 2015, which was 189,000 MWh in a 24 hour period.   As could be expected, peak production occurs when solar power is at or near the Summer Solstice, June 20th typically, but also when wind production is greatest.   Wind production was at a maximum thus far at 92,000 to 93,000 MWh in the first half of 2016.  On June 14th wind provided 92,250 MWh.  Typically in California, wind production peaks in June or July then decreases for the remaining months (source, EIA).

Renewables for June 23, 2016

showing Solar PV exceeds 7,000 MW

and total Renewables exceeds 200,000 MWh

The renewable energy produced saves the state from burning natural gas in the gas-fired power plants, which is a very good thing as this summer’s loads must be met without the full production of stored gas from Aliso Canyon.   How much gas is not  burned is somewhat difficult to estimate because one must know which gas-fired power plants are not being run and their respective heat rates.  Also, as some gas-fired plants are no doubt operated at a slightly reduced rate, one must know the heat rate for each power plant at the reduced output.   Reduced output from selected plants is advisable to allow rapid power increase to compensate for variations in the renewable production due to clouds, and changes in wind speed.

However, an estimate of the natural gas not burned can be made by taking the total renewable output from wind and solar, 167,950 MWh on June 14 (per the table at the top of the article), and using an average of 45 percent thermal efficiency for the power plants not being run.  On that basis, approximately 1.3 billion cubic feet of natural gas was not burned on that day.   Per California Energy Commission documents, that is nearly the same gas withdrawal rate at Aliso Canyon when it is at full operation (1.9 billion cubic feet maximum withdrawal).  See Table 1 in “Aliso Canyon Action Plan to Preserve Gas and Electric Reliability for the Los Angeles Basin,”  see link

The state’s ability to produce renewable power has changed dramatically since the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) was taken off-line suddenly in 2012 as shown in the graph below:

As shown in the figure and California Energy Commission’s page (see link), solar PV capacity grew from 214 MW at the end of 2011 to 5,498 MW at the end of 2015.  More capacity has been added so that, as above, solar PV now can produce approximately 7,000 MW.   Solar thermal recently has exceeded 700 MW peak.

It is especially ironic that renewables, once derided as destabilizing a grid, are now riding to the rescue and helping to prevent blackouts on the California electric grid during summer heat waves.   One can only imagine the rolling blackouts and uproar with Aliso Canyon gas storage effectively out of commission, SONGS nuclear generating shut down, and if no renewable power plants had been installed over the past 5 years.

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339 thoughts on “Interesting: California Hitting New Heights with Renewables in 2016

  1. What Roger Sowell omits is how much power is being brought in from out of state from those nasty conventional and nuclear plants. Germany has not totally collapsed yet, either, but depends on France, Poland, and Sweden for conventional and nuclear power. Nice try, Roger, but you are still special pleading.

    • Agreed. Much like Massachusetts becoming the greenest state by sending its trash to Maine and building wind farms there forcibly against the wishes of the locals.

    • Beat me to it. And don’t forget the tax subsidies they receive as well. That $0.02/kWh wind PTC sure is sweet.

      • Please be sure to post a similar comment for the new nuclear plants when they start up in Georgia and South Carolina, as they also receive the Federal Tax Credit for the identical amount: 2.3 cents per kWh produced for the first 10 years. Will that also be “sweet?”
        When and if they ever start up, that is. Both projects are far over budget and years behind schedule.

      • Thank you Roger for some perspective.
        There is an awful lot of such rants here which just select some factoid to promote a particular position.
        Your article is interesting too. Despite the much discussed intermittency of solar PV, in a state which has a huge power demand for A/C , solar almost by definition provides the extra power when it is needed. Helping to match supply to demand.

      • Thank you Roger….please post up the costs for all of this renewable energy that seems to be keeping Cali from blackouts and then post up the comparable amount of nuclear, gas and/or coal facilities and the cost on them……fractional, yes?

      • First, my deepest respect and gratitude to our host. Giving Sowell this forum (not merely keeping his comments posted) is the highest order of debate and shows willingness to consider other views and ultimate confidence in your own position. Hope Brandon S. will find his way here to pay his respects, maybe even apologize for his unfounded suspicions posted in the Stealey matter. To Mr. Sowell, who repeatedly has implied an equivalence in subsidies to nuclear and others, as if renewables are in no way favored. My recollection is that whatever gov’t help went to energy before the CAGW madness struck probably has never stopped, due to the fact that electricity is seen a a public good ever since distribution systems were put in place by Edison et al. Even a small gov’t conservative like me can acknowledge that gov’t assistance to electric generation/widespread distribution is necessary and proper, as against gov’t promoting generation in every home/business location. I do not recall any marked increase in such gov’t subsidy since the 70’s, when enviros began their campaign to kill nuclear and coal. What Sowell and benben never see is that a war on nuclear and coal increases the cost of same, and they never attempt to put a number to that. More importantly, as any Dem. politician will boast, our gov’t spends massive amounts of money on renewables, and did so long before the “stimulus” money for renewables made “massive” seem tiny. Have you ever heard a Dem say they’re “investing” just as much in renewables as in coal or nuke (the sources they are determined to kill off)? Do you really believe the gov’t subsidizes nuke/coal in equal measure to renewables? Yet you constantly return to this theme, it’s not credible. Simply put, the critical shortage you describe being filled would not exist if enviros and Dems hadn’t spent the last 40 yrs preventing nuke and coal generation from being built decades ago, supplying electricity without all the waste of solar and bird-slicing wind. But our host has given you this forum, so that we may best sort out the truth. Shows his commitment to truth, my compliments.

      • To Paul Courtney, June 25, 2016 at 5:27 a.m. Your question to me is:
        “Do you really believe the gov’t subsidizes nuke/coal in equal measure to renewables? Yet you constantly return to this theme, it’s not credible.”
        There is no belief required, the stark facts are quite clear. Nuclear plants enjoy at least six forms of government subsidy, while wind and solar each have only one. What is apparent is that so few nuclear advocates know that the nuclear plants are heavily subsidized.
        Coal plants are a bit different, but the fact is (again, no belief required) that existing coal-fired power plants were exempted from the requirements of the Clean Air Act. Clever industry arguments extended the exemption even to coal-fired plants that were expanded and modified. That is a huge subsidy. Now, with the EPA finally having clean air regulations that coal-fired plants must meet, the coal-fired plants are shutting down in record numbers. That is a very clear fact, no belief required.
        You are certainly entitled to your own beliefs, but not to your own facts.
        “Simply put, the critical shortage you describe being filled would not exist if enviros and Dems hadn’t spent the last 40 yrs preventing nuke and coal generation from being built decades ago, supplying electricity without all the waste of solar and bird-slicing wind.”
        Again, the facts are quite clear. Nuclear plants ceased being built a few decades ago after the nuclear industry was found to be over-confident and the Three Mile Island reactor meltdown revealed the extent of their hubris and the real and present danger. Construction costs necessarily increased to prevent future meltdowns. The nuclear industry, by the way, was happy to comply and spend much more money. The last thing they could afford was a meltdown and radiation release that killed or injured millions of people in the US. They knew very well that such a nuclear accident would forever end their industry. It was a matter of self-preservation.
        But, the facts are quite against you on coal-fired power plants. Those have been expanded regularly over the years, increasing coal consumption as industry and government statistics clearly show.
        “But our host has given you this forum, so that we may best sort out the truth. Shows his commitment to truth, my compliments.”
        On that, we agree. Anthony Watts and I disagree on some issues, in particular the relative merits of nuclear power. Also, the relative merits of wind, solar, and energy storage.
        The fact is, again no belief required, that costs to install wind power and solar PV systems at grid-scale are rapidly decreasing. At the same time, the costs to install state-of-the-art nuclear plants are increasing year over year. One need only look to the new nuclear plants under construction in Finland, in Flamanville, France, in Georgia (US) at Vogtle, in South Carolina at Sumner, and the looming expensive fiasco in the UK at the proposed Hinkley Point C location to verify the huge costs to construct the best nuclear plants the industry has to offer. If and when Hinkley Point C is ever finished, the costs will be more than $10,000 per kW.
        If more discourse is the best policy for disputed issues, then let’s have more discourse. I am grateful to Anthony for the space on WUWT to hold up my end of the debate.

      • Will my schott solar panels last as long as those nuclear power stations? Longevity will determine if they were a good investment.

      • In fact, the only thing I can pull from this article, is that if I buy more panels, I’ll generate more electricity.
        SOLD!!!

      • Mr. Sowell: Thanks for your reply, it proves my point. You say wind and solar “only receive one” subsidy. This proves your number does not include all variety of actual money (not a legal exception known as grandfathering-more in a moment) from gov’t to solar and wind manufacturers. Again, Dems boast of these subsidies that you do not count if you acknowledge “only one” Why isn’t half a bil in lost “loan guarantees” to Solyndra (to name but one) not counted? I could leave it there, but feel compelled to make two more points.
        1) Nuclear essentially began as a gov’t monopoly called the Manhattan project, for good reason: gov’t needs to maintain almost total control over civil and military uses. Wind and solar are not similar to nuke in that very essential aspect, that is, nuke involves dangerous material, wind & solar do not. Your comparing apples to oranges there.
        2) Grandfathering coal plants is a well-established legal protection, not a subsidy.
        The war on coal is both shutting them down (on ridiculous notions that too-small-to-measure mercury emissions are harmful, too-small-to-measure particulates are affecting health,and CO2 is bad) and not allowing newer, cleaner builds (I might support shutting down older plants if we could build new, but once again, Dems like Hillary boast of putting coal out of business, don’t they? You support that too?). That you somehow count it as a subsidy also proves my point. To sum up, your “only one” demonstrates you are not counting others. You’re right, not a matter of belief, you know you’re wrong.

      • I’d be happy to Roger. Can you show me what other sources of electricity enjoy a subsidy to the tune of 20-40% of the wholesale cost? And since you seem to be quite content to make up your own facts, let’s examine your claim that nukular receives six subsidies and greed energy only receives one. Would the EIA serve as a reputable source? From the section on renewable subsidies we find:
        Production Tax Credit (26 U.S.C. 45)
        The Energy Investment Tax Credit (26 U.S.C. 48)
        The Credit for Holding Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (26 U.S.C. 54C)
        Now in my world three is greater than one, but I don’t understand your advanced mathematics. And from the same report (page xv) we find total subsidies to be:
        NuclearNukular 1,660 (2013 million$)
        Greed (Electrical only) 13,227 ”
        Solar only 5,328 ”
        Wind only 5,936
        Gosh, Roger, there seems to be a slight difference there, don’t you think?
        Incidentally as you continue to you post your fever dream fantasies about imminent nuclear catastrophe you should actually include some facts. Here’s one for instance:
        http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2012/06/10/energys-deathprint-a-price-always-paid/#4b7f6d8549d2
        In deaths/trillionkWh we have:
        “Solar (rooftop) 440 (< 1% global electricity)
        Wind 150 (~ 1% global electricity)
        Nuclear – global average 90 (17% global electricity w/Chern&Fukush)
        Nuclear – U.S. 0.01 (19% U.S. electricity)”
        So congrats on promoting the deadlier and more expensive form of energy.
        Have a sunny (and ever more expensive) day, Roger.

      • Roger Sowell says; “Please be sure to post a similar comment for the new nuclear plants when they start up in Georgia and South Carolina, as they also receive the Federal Tax Credit for the identical amount: 2.3 cents per kWh produced for the first 10 years. Will that also be “sweet?”
        When and if they ever start up, that is. Both projects are far over budget and years behind schedule.”
        These projects are running about 3 years behind schedule. It’s not “when or if”, the reactors at Vogtle will both come on line by 2018 hen they will produce 24/7, over 1100 MW each for the next 40 years, pollution free, safer than any other form of electricity generation, and more reliable. I know they received loan guarantees but is the electricity subsidized directly?
        I’m fine of course with roof top solar, it’s a good idea, but it’s still relatively expensive. I have a business in California and I pay about $.25/KWh, which is four times the rate they pay in Georgia. With California’s goal of 80 percent renewables, these rate will skyrocket. What’s that sound? It’s business moving out of this state. Any energy intensive company would be out of their minds to build here, and they won’t.
        But have no fear, California will keep on creating no account, non productive, soul killing, people harassing, tax wasting, never ending, mostly pointless government jobs.
        If global warming does become a problem, without nuclear power, we’re done.

      • And let’s not forget the biggest subsidy of all, the % renewables requirements enacted by many (most?) states. When you have to include certain percentages in your power mix, then you are required to enter into power purchase agreements with the renewable generation companies or explain to the public service commission why the goal was not met.

      • ” Nuclear plants ceased being built a few decades ago after the nuclear industry was found to be over-confident and the Three Mile Island reactor meltdown revealed the extent of their hubris and the real and present danger.” – Roger Sowell
        Roger, I’m old enough to remember Three Mile Island. The meltdown was caused largely by the heavy burden of regulation! The hoops the engineers had to jump through to get a nuclear plant approved caused them to design for the inspectors, and not the users. “Impress the inspectors,” was the guide.
        At Three Mile Island, when there was a failure of the primary cooling system, the backup cooling system kicked in, and it was functioning just as it was supposed to. Everything was fine!
        Except… in the designing, the engineers forgot that real people had to operate the plant. When that backup cooling system kicked in, in order to alert the operators that it had kicked in, they used a flashing red light. A FLASHING RED LIGHT!!! OMG! the backup has a problem! Quick, shut down the backup cooling system – and they did.
        So it was a lack of human factors engineering, in favor of “pass the inspection” engineering, that caused the meltdown.

    • So Solar Thermal recently exceeded 700 MW ….. PEAK …..
      What is the average ANNUAL run rate for CA Solar Thermal (365 / 24) LESS the fossil fuel natural gas daily startup energy, that IS NOT solar thermal ??
      We don’t expect solar thermal to run 24 hours per day, though would be nice if thermal storage capacity was correct, along Tonopah molten salt lines, but proper balanced storage capacity for 24 hour capability, in not inclement weather conditions.
      G

      • George,
        The whole notion of “renewables” is a flawed, and arbitrarily defined red herring. Renewable means.. not coal and not oil because the nitwits who want to define the term essentially hate industry, wealth and capitalism. Renewables is part of the wealth redistribution mindset of those who want to tax carbon because of a false assertion the human beings are warming the planet.
        1) self-loathing human haters gives rise to 2) population control and the club of Rome which gave rise to 3) eco-socialism via UN decree, justified by 4) earthism before humanism sold by 5) CAGW fear mongering by way of 6) perversion of science to 7) enlist the gullible to 8) elect governments and subvert religions to tax carbon such to 9) redistribute wealth and 10 ) impoverish the wealthy first world, and 11) ruin human progress.
        So don’t get side-tracked by this sales job BS about WTF renewables.

      • Well Paul, don’t think I am side tracked. I have looked through all of the decks of cards, and there are jokers in every one of them.
        Beginning with when our ancestors lived in the trees on renewables (figs). It wasn’t till they discovered stored chemical energy, and then fossil fuels to go with the ” renewable ” fuels and other renewable energy sources, that this planet was able to even consider having the human population grow to over 7 billions of persons.
        And I have a reasonable grasp of the socialist / communist control takeover of the machinery of environmental concerns for their own ends.
        I also don’t see any convincing evidence that the CO2 and other GHG processes (not counting water) create a warming influence that isn’t fully regulated by the cloud feedback control.
        Earth’s axis tilt causes the annual orbit around the sun to shift energy around on earth geographically, but there doesn’t seem to be any response to the annual TSI cycle as far as total global energy is concerned. So I’m not convinced that the so-called Goldilocks zone is as narrow as is often suggested. Earth’s water cycle cures a host of ills.
        Peter Humbug did a play station simulation, where he removed all of the water from the atmosphere; all the way down to zero molecules. Apparently he got it all back in just three months. I don’t know if he ever published a graph of the total atmospheric water versus time, starting from zero, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see most of it reappear in just a few days. You would have the mother of all forcings, if you had no water in the atmosphere, and it would NOT be from CO2
        ” cooking ” the surface.
        But Roger’s essay presents a scenario of positive contributions to California’s Energy resources from ” renewables “. I didn’t see anything about the fossil fuelled sourcing of the ” subsidies ” for these solar PV and solar thermal sources.
        Government (taxpayers) funding and ” subsidies ” are monies that the governments collect in TAXES, and taxes are ONLY paid by profit making enterprises, both individual and corporate.
        The long term average after tax profit of all US businesses is something like 4%, and every dollar of taxes paid requires about $1.50 in pretax profit, which requires something like $30 of ” sales “, and nearly all of that enterprise is fuelled by fossil fuels, so just the subsidies behind solar renewables are a heavy consumption of FOSSIL FUELS.
        Taxpayer support of ANY enterprise is a huge consumer of fossil fuels. Private enterprise can improve their profitability by reducing their costs, and those costs are largely contained in the sum total of all of the energy used in that enterprise, so PE has to improve energy usage efficiencies to keep subsidizing all these free clean green renewable non polluting energy scams; excuse me, I meant schemes.
        I’m NOT against any sort of practical energy source, but if that energy source cannot totally fund itself from its own energy output, then it is an energy wasting scheme, and NOT a source.
        We got to where we are by pulling ourselves up by our own shoe laces. That started off with the energy of our own muscles, which was totally renewables. But we could never have gotten to where we are, with all of the ” stuff ” that is now above ground, but was once below ground, without the discovery and use of stored chemical energy from both renewable (firewood) and fossil fuels.
        Renewables never got us here, and will never sustain us here.
        G

      • George,
        A key bit left out of the article is that California and the desert southwest have a strong match of peak need to peak sun, both daily and seasonal. It is very hot here in summer and A/C demand is the big driver.
        Now contrast with somewhere like Toronto where winter heat is important…
        So pointing at California as a model for others is misdirection by omission.
        Essentially, solar is a positive cyclicality help in places with lots of sun, negative in places with less. It ought to be possible to draw a line across the continent where solar helps below it, hurts stability above. It would also have an altitude component as it stears arround high cold places like Denver. My guess is that it would simply be those hot dry places on the typical summer weather map.
        A cooling degree day map minus heating degree day map is probably a good fit. Places needing lots of cooling, heat not so much, match solar supply.

      • In France we count the degrees under 18 °C (and above some temperature I can’t remember right now). The electric power sensitivity of French homes is a regular criticism of the greens, they hate electric heating. They think the record electric power of slightly above 100 GW is a bad, bad thing, and costs too much in transport infrastructure. Also, they want to send Spain PV power to Germany.
        It’s everything goes, whatever sticks to the wall, pretty much like Moon haoxers (see the astronauts, they can’t jump high because they are on Earth, see these video artefacts, they are attached to wires to that they can jump).
        I am not making this up.

    • For Tom Halla, The nuclear imports for 2014 was a mere 2.7 percent of California’s total electricity consumption. 8,193 GWh was imported from Palo Verde nuclear plant near Phoenix, Arizona. (California Energy Commission). That is slightly less than one-third of the Palo Verde nuclear plant’s output at 935 MW annual average.
      Total imports of electricity to California in 2014 were from a combination of coal, natural gas, nuclear (as above), and various renewables and amounted to 97,800 GWh or 32 percent of total electricity consumption. (also from California Energy Commission).

      • Wow! That number tells another picture.
        97,800 GWh is more than twice the renewable in-state production (47,646 GWh)
        That an economic entity the size of California import a third of its electricity is remarkable.
        I had the impression that California was in front using green technology, but this picture tells that their main accomplishment is to move the dirty generation to other states.
        /Jan

    • France also depends on its neighbors, notably Switzerland for short term storage, Germany, etc. Different countries have different natural resources and also different traditions, industries, etc.
      France also uses its neighbors as sinks to sell power during night.
      But France never claimed “energy independence” in the retrograde “progressive” meaning, which is “autarcie” (or trade isolationism, or anti-globalism, called by progressives “circuit court” – literally, short path). France claimed (and achieved) no unacceptable dependency to Arab fossils for electric energy.
      The electric grid is an interdependent system, this is fine; what is not fine is the anti-free trade dumping by Germany (and others), a violation of the most fundamental European rule. All done in the name of the environnement when the greatest air polluter is Germany. All done with the hysterical cheering of the “greens”. PM10 kill a lot, but Germany PM10 from coal, well, we’ll see that another day.
      Also, the “circuits courts” (which means the distance from producers to consumers should be a few kilometers) advocates promote the “plaque de cuivre européenne” which is a way of saying France should be an energy hub so that all the power produced in Spain can be sent to Germany and vice versa, so the “circuit court” can be extended to thousands of kilometers if needed by the green PR machine.
      https://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/stern_words_scr.jpg

    • ” Renewable power plants are preventing the grid from experiencing blackouts.”
      heh- lift this corner of the carpet if you wanna see the maggots crawling in the rotten corpse.

      • Griff, the question on imports is when, not net during a given year. To avoid crashing a grid, one needs power on demand, which wind cannot deliver. Conventional and hydro are the only things keeping the grid from crashing, not the wind power produced when ther is no demand.

      • Griff is a total Bull-Sh1tter.
        3 day ago in the Daily Mail the screwed up German Power Grid is layed bare:
        http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/reuters/article-3654627/German-power-grid-bottlenecks-hamper-imports-Nordics.html
        Exerpt:

        Germany has built ever more wind turbines in recent years, as Berlin targets 40 to 45 percent renewable power share by 2025 to help fight climate change. But the delays to the new power lines mean the north of Germany has excess wind power supply while the south risks suffering shortages for some time to come.
        “It is true that the maximum export capacity from the Nordics into Germany can barely be tapped,”

        In other words… the German grid sucks. And they are shutting down their nukes.

      • The problem with Germany is that they have now low quality power and export that erratic and destabilizing power.
        And France is so morally colonized that it can’t say anything.

    • He forgets also that besides subsidies paid for renewables, the Gas Turbine standby power plants that are needed operate only intermittently and/or at below optimum capacity, to top up the current varying under-performance of the Wind Turbines and Solar Plants during no/low wind and/or sun conditions.
      As such the Gas Turbines are run very inefficiently resulting in higher unit power operating costs and hence higher power prices. In the UK, in addition, the Gas Turbine operators claim subsidies for such inefficient operation as otherwise even Gas Turbine power for such standby duties is not commercially viable.
      The end result is that subsidies are needed by renewable power suppliers because their systems are grossly inefficient and expensive and not otherwise commercially viable and, as a result, within the overall Power Generation system, others have to provide Gas Turbines run inefficiently as standbys which, themselves, then need subsidies because otherwise Gas Turbines – which are usually highly efficient cannot themselves be commercially viable. One lot of subsidies requires a further lot of subsidies! You could not dream up such an overall inefficient and over-expensive power system, even in your worse nightmare?
      Wind Turbines own inbuilt engineering and system inefficiencies – needed 100% GT standbys and extensive and/or enhanced Power Transmission systems, cannot be engineered out or reduced significantly regardless of how much R&D money is thrown at them. When comparing renewable power costs with fossil fuelled or even nuclear plants, you have to compare base load power costs with base load power costs, i.e. for example the costs of Wind Turbines operating as a comparable base load system have to be added to their necessary Gas Turbine standbys operating inefficiently and with their additional and/or enhanced Power Transmission works where WT’s are located away from actual areas of power demand. By comparison GT’s acting as efficiently as stand alone base load units need no parallel standbys other than that normally provided by over capacity to meet normal break down and O&M shutdown operations. Neither do they normally need additional and/or enhanced Power Transmission works.
      Whatever happened to open competitive free markets!

      • Additionally, the installed cost per kW is grossly underestimated for renewables. Nuclear, coal, and gas plants have design lives of 50 years or so and can reach 70 actual. Solar plants are 20 years or so design, actual remains to be determined. Wind turbines are claimed as design 20 years but have an actual of 10 years plus or minus for on shore and 7 years off shore. Multiply solar costs by 2.5 to 3.5 and wind by 7 to find the true life cycle capital cost.

    • Germany has not totally collapsed yet, either, but depends on France, Poland, and Sweden for conventional and nuclear power.
      I don’t remember having laughed so much in the last 6 weeks.
      You seem to be superpretty good informed, as if you would have a look at the world outside the USA merely from the wrong side of a telescope.
      That remembers me a joung Middle West farmer answering years ago to “Do you know where is Europe?” with “Yurop? Wa’s that? C’n I eat it?”
      So let’s get serious again. Last year, Germany exported 83 of the 645 TWh it produced (30% renewable) and imported 33. Here is a chart on electric energy transfer within Europe:
      https://www.energy-charts.de/exchange.htm
      Move the mouse around the different streams connecting Gernamy and the other European countries.
      You see that France is the only “really big” exporter of electricity toward Germany. But what this pretty graphics doesn’t show is that a big part of the import from France is reexported elsewhere (Tchechia, Poland, Switzerland).
      Yeah: nice try!

      • Special pleading, Bindidion. The problem is dispatchable power, not power over a long period. As storage is impractical on a utility scale, the only thing preventing Germany’s sytem from crashing is imports.

      • Special pleading, Bindidion. What matters is not the net flow over a long period of time between Germany and France, but dispatchable power to prevent the network from crashing. Until utility-scale storage is practical, the net flow you mention is irrelevant.

      • Two superfluous, useless answers in which you pretend vague matters instead of verifiable information.

      • The problem is, Germany is exporting their excess power when prices are near 0, because no one wants or needs the power. then they import on dark windless days when power is expensive. So they sell low and buy high. Not a good way to run an electricity grid.

        • Germany isn’t California.
          While for an obvious reason high wind production and low electric prices (in absolute term, of course, non storable energy prices can be negative) are correlated, Germany still has many coal power plants and also burns a lot of methane from Gazprom (so these European Russia economic sanctions are quite ridiculous, just like the US sanctions when NASA cannot send people in low Earth orbit or even make that rocket motor).
          Germany can export power in low temperature, low sun, high demand situation. Unlike California!

    • This has been pointed out to him time and again. But like all lawyers, he is trained to tell the tale that his clients want him to tell.

  2. Nobody who understands grid operations cares about daily production. Show us the minute by minute production by each source. (So exactly what kind of engineer is Roger and how many years of grid operations and planning does he have?)

    • Nobody who understands grid operations cares about daily production. Show us the minute by minute production by each source.

      It’s a pity we couldn’t teach the silliness of ‘daily production’ or average output by allocating breathable air to those folks with the same intermittency wind and solar generation produce.

    • Which is why Elon Musk’s Powerwall is actually pretty damned good. With every installation the problems associated with servicing peaks and troughs in demand, reduce. Get enough of them out there and renewable energy production becomes increasingly useful.

      • The down side is you have now attached a potentially explosive device to thousands, if not millions of buildings.
        What could possibly go wrong ?

      • “Get enough of them out there and renewable energy production becomes increasingly EXPENSIVE”
        ===================================
        there, fixed it for you.

      • I thought I read that Tesla had abandoned it’s ‘power wall’ a few months ago so they could ‘concentrate on automobile batteries’?

      • I just went to the Telsa Home Power Wall and you cannot purchase one even today, all you can do is ‘reserve’ them, so I don’t know that they are actually being produced.

      • “all you can do is ‘reserve’ them, so I don’t know that they are actually being produced.”
        Its very early days for them and for the electric cars too. But as production increases, you can be sure the cost of batteries will drop and they’ll become popular.
        I recall not so long ago seeing the price of PV solar drop towards $1/W and thinking that would be some sort of turning point. Well the cost is now $0.30/W and PV Solar is still expanding. Sooner or later it will be entirely cost competitive. Personally, I think the journey there is a good use of our resources but it does need to go hand in hand with storage technology.

      • Here it is, sorry for the spam. Tesla abandoned the 10KW Power Wall because, well, it was ‘impractical’ and didn’t compete with already existing backup solutions. “Tesla overestimated the backup power market and concluded that given the unpredictable, infrequent nature of power outages (what, they haven’t heard about the hurricanes and blizzards that plunge the East Coast’s into darkness every year?), the realistic use cases and resulting payback for a battery backup Powerwall are not attractive.”
        Apparently they are still ‘focusing’ on the 7KW daily cycle product (although you can’t buy one even now Tesla says ‘production is ‘sold out through mid 2016 I couldn’t find any definitive information that even 1 7kw unit has been delivered), but, it’s really only a 6.4kw and the cost for the battery pack alone is $469/KWh. I think that would make it pretty impractical for homeowners given that the $3000 price was for wholesalers and does not include the needed inverter &installation costs.
        http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/Tesla-Discontinues-10kWh-Powerwall-Home-Battery

      • “Apparently they are still ‘focusing’ on the 7KW daily cycle product”
        Well they need to be profitable. I can only hope Elon sees it through because we’ll all benefit in the long run if distributed renewable power generation (preferably PV solar imo) and storage succeeds. The higher volume of batteries that Elon produces, the more cost effective it becomes to do things like the Powerwalls.

      • The ” cost ” of solar panels could go to zero. That would be great. Now add on the cost of construction of a structure to mount those panels on, that is good for a 100 year storm, and meets all building codes, and then add the cost of the land to put it on, and the property taxes on that land. ……. and so on.
        The sun is still not going to give you more than 100 watt per square foot of real estate, and that is only the peak value during the day, and you might get 20 watt of electricity peak out of that , and those panels are not going to have zero cost.
        Solar energy is free (for some people who have land area to occupy). The capture of any of that free energy is NOT free.
        G

      • “The ” cost ” of solar panels could go to zero. That would be great. Now add on the cost of construction of a structure to mount those panels on, that is good for a 100 year storm, and meets all building codes, and then add the cost of the land to put it on, and the property taxes on that land. ……. and so on.”
        You’ve also described building, say, a fence.
        “Solar energy is free (for some people who have land area to occupy). The capture of any of that free energy is NOT free.”
        No arguments there. Nothing is free.

      • TimTheToolMan dismisses the ancillary costs with “You’ve also described building, say, a fence.”
        Ever built a fence? If it is a good fence and there is a lot of it, it will be costly and is not a project undertaken without need.
        Your comment to george e. smith was non-responsive. If the ancillary costs grow too large, then even if the cells are free, an installation is a bad idea.

      • “Ever built a fence?”
        Yes I have. Have you ever paid a quarterly power bill?
        Its up to the individual to decide whether its worthwhile investing in things including quality fences and PV Solar arrays. Some people including me are happy with an upfront cost if it buys me lower ongoing costs. Not everyone has foresight or vision of course…

    • I was a PM for a cogen plant in a refinery, where the utilities manager often impressed on me that in terms of grid reliability minutes are an eternity and 1 or 2 dropped cycles can mean major plants shutting down. That focuses the mind.

  3. ” do tell a story that is surprisingly positive.”
    Good news. Now cut their subsidies so I don’t have to pay part of your (California) electric bill.

  4. Wind and solar do not return as much energy as it took to build the facilities. The EROI is negative.
    These record production values are a victory for renewables. One wonders how many more such victories CA can afford.
    It has been said that an operation goes bankrupt slowly, slowly, then all at once.
    (unexpectedly!)

    • The article fairly reports the power generation numbers. The analysis of its viability is incomplete. I appreciate the appeals above to look at the whole system which is reasonable.
      Canada has for decades, generations, relied on renewables for electricity production. There is nothing remarkable happening in California. The difference between the two is the elementary error made in California of not counting large scale hydro as ‘renewable’, while including in that definition, large scale solar thermal and large scale wind.
      As TonyL points out, included in the greater perspective is the question of cost. The comparison of the subsidy provided in equal measure to nuclear and wind is helpful. Wind requires backup and nuclear does not so per Dollar, nuclear produces a reliable, that is to say, whole solution. Substituting some wind for nuclear only raises the total cost of nuclear because little of the marginal cost of production is nuclear fuel.
      A windmill is an energy battery, which energy is released by turning it. Without the availability of cheap coal power in the global energy mix the cost of a windmill would be several times higher, approximately four for the first generation, sixteen for the second and so on. In effect, windmills are coal powered. Every Elon Musk power wall sucks energy out of the global grid on a net basis. No renewable solution is powered by renewable energy solutions save large scale hydro which California specifically excludes as ‘renewable’.
      The only possible argument that can address the return on energy invested problem is for California to admit that large scale hydro is renewable energy. Then it can be argued the cost of building wind and solar generators is sustainable, even if it is expensive.
      Faced with that level of denial about what is actually going on with the total energy picture, something California as a legal person has refused to do in its world view, the conversation is stunted. California imports huge amounts of nuclear and large scale hydro energy and coal powered electricity in the form of solar panels and windmills. Packaging it differently doesn’t mean the imports are not happening. The major thrust of the article is sleight of hand.
      No one says it is impossible to produce masses of electric power using solar and wind. The issue has always been cost on two counts: energy invested and capital invested per unit output. CAGW tries to introduce a third dimension of the cost, being emission of carbon dioxide. Simultaneously the CAGW proponents have argued that the other two dimensions, energy invested and cost, must be ignored due to an unproven danger to the entire planet (global warming). Conceptually incomplete and technically fraught, scary AG global warming is para-scientific voodoo with not a single correct prediction to its credit.
      A holistic analysis will always include all dimensions, for example the effect on wildlife and the environment generally. The ‘renewables industry’, absent large scale hydro, is nothing more than special pleading. Using 2.3 billion cubic feet of natural gas energy equivalent per day to make ‘renewable solutions’ in order to save 1.3 billion cubic feet of gas per day is a good example of what happens when one accepts special pleading as a valid analysis of the energy system.

    • Tony,
      Nobody ever wants to talk about the negative (or at best, zero) EROI for solar and wind power schemes. No matter how low the cost gets, or even if you manage to get enough grid scale storage online to make it dispatchable, eventually everything will grind to a halt if you depend on these things.
      It’s like the old joke: “Sure I lose money on each widget I sell, but I plan to make it up on volume.”

      • Perhaps you could post a comprehensive set of figures and calculations that can explain the issue?

  5. California just shut down their last nuke plant. All they have left is “renewables” so….congratulations? for sliding back into the stone ages.

    • For Paul Westhaver, actually, the last two reactors will remain operating for 8 and 9 years, respectively, if the recent accord is approved by authorities. Diablo Canyon is still up and running.
      The state had in 2014, for in-state generation (2/3 of total consumption) large hydro at 7 percent, natural gas at 61 percent, and renewables at 23 percent, and nuclear at 9 percent. (California Energy Commission, values rounded to whole numbers). Renewables were about equal amounts geothermal, wind, and solar.

      • https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/06/21/environmentalists-manage-to-kill-the-last-nuclear-power-station-in-california/
        Roger… California is marching straight into the stone ages with it’s obsession with a nonsense concept …”renewables” while abandoning cheap forever energy in the form of nuclear power. Renewable absolutely makes no sense for utility purposes. (except for trees…burning trees for electricity is awesome)
        Solar power is an expensive unreliable fantasy. Wind power is an expensive unreliable fantasy. Hydro is largely a rare form of power on a planetary scale. Not enough water at high enough elevations.
        So Roger, you can indulge your obsessions and fantastical unicorn populated myth-scape if you want. I live in the real world where nuke power is abundant, reliable and cheap. Coal too.

      • When I look at net electricity generation by source for the 1st quarter 2016, this is what I see in California.
        Natural Gas–50%
        Renewables–25%
        Conv Hydro–12%
        Nuclear——11.5%
        Other———-1.5%

      • …additionally wind and solar made conventional far more expensive, ramping up and down to cater to wind and solar intermittency, and reducing conventional revenue at the same time. (More costs and less revenue)

      • Dang Paul !
        You put it so much better than I could. And colorful too.
        Yes solar PV and Thermal can provide needed energy in places that need some energy better than burning rhinoceros dung.
        I know some people doing some serious useful things on a small scale from solar. Hey just drying food for long term storage, can be a valuable use of solar energy for folks who today don’t have much of anything.
        UC Modesto (actually Atwater) is doing some useful research on niche uses for solar energy, where currently is nothing. And they are NOT some wild eyed phantasy folks intent on saving the world. I don’t have the guts to even ask the Prof there what his opinion of Ivanpah is. He is probably the best known world authority on non-imaging optics, and its utilization for solar collectors (thermal or PV), and a hell of a nice chap too.
        He has optically concentrated solar energy down to more than 50,000 suns concentration; I think it was 56,000 suns he obtained. You can’t beat 13,000 suns in air, but he did it in a solid (YAG).
        I’ve never asked him why the thing didn’t evaporate.
        G

      • Well, Paul Westhaver, we can hope that as more rational countries like China, Russia and India develop next-generation nukes, they may deign to sell us a few…..

    • Not quite. They announced that the permit won’t be renewed when it expires. I believe the plant will operate until 2025 or something like that. There’s plenty of time to learn the sad lessons of intermittent wind power, and renew the license, which will probably be needed if more Californians turn to electric vehicles. The risk comes in allowing plant maintenance to go to hell in the meantime.

    • Resource guy, watched the vid, as far as I can tell (and that goes for most if not all facets of businesses) There are so many loopholes ( and happy lawyers) that make the ball of wool my cat plays with look like a straight line!

    • The man is correct in the video. We are reducing costs and improving efficiencies. But that isn’t the issue.
      The issue is energy density, reliability and storage. Solar is much less energy dense than fossil fuels or nuclear, is only available less than half a day (less during the winter) and at this point in time, we have no way to store it on a massive scale. So we have to build redundant generation to fill in the very large gaps.
      So even if we get to a point where it is equal in costs to NG or coal to build per KW, we still have to build NG or coal plants to supplement the times it just isn’t available.
      Throw in the vast amounts of land it needs, its associated infrastructure and maintainence, and the side costs go up.
      And if we put solar panels on thousands of square miles of land, what are the environmental costs? Are we going to take arable land out of production? Plan on taking out thousands of acres of forest?
      A NG plant can be built on a few hundred acres and also has become very efficient over the years.

    • That guy is full of it. You cannot even purchase panels, the main lever for the balance of costs, at, the prices he was quoting. He is getting subsidized massively in Dubai if that is the case. Add all market externalities to their little song and dance routines. Then get ready for the unexpected. German solar farms, are, beginning to see massive premature degradation due to PID (Potential Induced Degradation — Sodium Ions migrating from the glass to the semi-conductor surface…). O&M is costing much more than anticipated.

  6. “The renewable energy produced saves the state from burning natural gas in the gas-fired power plants” – but what about the production of the renewable energy source? Energy expended in making the “renewable” energy products wasn’t included in the equation. The required amount of energy to bring solar and wind on-line and the time it takes to replenish this energy needs to be included. Its great that renewables are helping avoid blackouts, but net energy saved is key. My bet is it would have been more energy efficient just to pipe in more natural gas or nuclear generated energy. Mining, molding, hauling, assembling, and installing the renewable components are energy intensive processes. The total energy picture needs to be included in an argument like this. You also have to include energy expended in maintenance of the renewable sources during their lifetime. There are a lot of variables missing in this argument.

  7. “Wind production was at a maximum thus far at 92,000 to 93,000 MWh in the first half of 2016.”
    How many birds died while the windmills were spinning during this time?
    How, in good conscience, can this slaughter of birds be ignored?
    Obama allows the windmill industry to kill up to 4,000 American Eagles per year. 4,000! If hunters shot and killed 4,000 American Eagles, there would be a lot of hunters spending time in jail, but if you are using a windmill then there’s no problem.
    Sane people should immediately move to outlaw windmills and solar furnaces from the options for producing power. There are much better alternatives, that don’t kill wildlife in the process.

    • For TA, how many birds die from wind turbines? A lot fewer than all the fish that are killed by once-through cooling at nuclear power plants on oceans, rivers, and lakes. I wonder where is the outcry over that.

      • right … you are really trying to compare endangered birds to fish ? I’d kill the fish every time …. but your religion won’t let you I guess

      • How many agile frogs would be killed by the Sivens dam?
        How does that compare to the aquarium fishes killed by cats?

      • More government statistics on bird mortalities, by cause and per 10,000 deaths.
        Buildings and windows ………5800
        High Tension Lines…………….1400
        Cats…………………………………..1100
        Vehicles……………………………. 850
        Pesticides………………………… 700
        Communication Towers…….. 148
        Wind Turbines……………………….2
        http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2014-04-21/beware-the-blades-of-death-world-s-top-serial-bird-killers-
        Citing US Fish and Wildlife Service, and US Forest Service numbers.

      • Why not make reference to Nuclear Power?
        People here are always banging on about how how wind and solar hurt birds. It’s always been a cheap shot that deliberately ignores the overall balance of harm caused by our energy production and distribution systems.
        If you believe that our carbon emissions need to be reduced, then that must be factored in to the assessment. As must the harm to nature from nuclear power plants, and open cut coal mines, coal power plants (other emissions besides carbon), and a whole bunch of other things.
        Instead, some people moan “They don’t really care about the environment, just their religion, or they’d be up in arms over dead birds”
        So, these people who care so much about the birds, where are their efforts to draw attention to land destroyed by coal mining, or fish killed by reactor cooling systems? That’s not what motivates them. It’s a shameless exercise in straw man building, to give them something to attack greens with, and uses concern for birds as a crutch to allow them to deal with the cognitive dissonance their twisted logic creates.

      • Say what Roger??? Ever heard of fish screens on the inlets? Are you saying these high cost nuclear power plants don’t bother to screen their inlets in spite of environmental/fisheries regulations that require them? Good grief. We were taught fish screen design in third year engineering some 50 years ago.
        Can’t be an outcry over fish that don’t get killed.

      • “As must the harm to nature from nuclear power plants”
        It’s minuscule.
        Is it even measurable?

      • Once through Nuclear coolers have filtres at the sea entrance. Fish can swim away. I used to live near the Sizewell power station and fish from the beach.

      • Roger, government stats on bird deaths? Nonsense, it is the death of raptors and rare birds that is the issue.

      • For those who want to read the facts about once-through cooling at power plants, and the adverse impacts on marine life. The key sentence from the document linked below reads as follows:
        “The (California) State Water Board is required by law to comply with federal Clean Water Act Section 316(b), which states that the location, design, construction and capacity of cooling water intake structures must reflect the best technology available to protect aquatic life.”
        http://www.swrcb.ca.gov/publications_forms/publications/factsheets/docs/oncethroughcooling.pdf
        The adverse impact on marine life is described as follows:
        “The 19 power plants (in California) that are regulated by the Policy are collectively able to withdraw billions of gallons of water every day to cool steam for generating electricity. In the process, millions of fish, larvae, eggs, seals, sea lions, turtles, and other creatures are killed each year because they are either trapped
        against screens or are drawn into the cooling system where they are exposed to pressure and high
        heat. The marine life that is killed is mainly at the base of the food chain and that can adversely affect
        the future of certain species and adversely impact recreational and commercial fishing.”
        The State Water Resources Control Board has one slight mis-statement as the seawater is used to condense steam primarily.
        If anyone disputes the findings that led to the above Policy, feel free to bring your concerns to the California State Water Resources Control Board. Or, one could argue that the US Clean Water Act does not require best technology available. Good luck with that.

      • Yeah. I agree with the windows as a bird death problem. Bald eagles are constantly flying into my picture window.
        Equating the deaths of eagles to sparrows really does undercut your credibility. You shouldn’t do it. It makes you sound like a rabid partisan.

      • Roger wrote: ” A lot fewer than all the fish that are killed by once-through cooling at nuclear power plants on oceans, rivers, and lakes. I wonder where is the outcry over that.”
        You know what, Roger, if the killing of the fish were a big problem, we could probably arrange to cool the water a little more so it would cause no harm to fish whatsoever, but we can’t do anything to keep windmills from killing birds, other than decommissioning them.
        Windmills are killing endangered species. Water discharges from nuclear powerplants are not.

      • Roger Sowell posted:

        More government statistics on bird mortalities,

        Roger, reported government statistics on the number of “yearly deaths caused by cigarette smoke” is undoubtedly 200% in error simply because their “death number” is little more than a “sounds good” estimated guesstimate to appease the gullible public.
        Anyway, their estimated guesstimate of “cigarette smoke related deaths” is surely 100% more accurate than your above stated “dead bird statistics”.
        And “HA”, ….. vehicles surely have the HIGHEST “bird kill rate” of all the ones you listed, …….. like 1,000% more than “buildings and windows”.

      • Roger, a few ducks die on an oil sands pond and big outcry and million dollor fines. Wind, oh so sorry.

      • Sowell says: “The 19 power plants (in California) that are regulated by the Policy are collectively able to withdraw billions of gallons of water every day to cool steam for generating electricity. In the process, millions of fish, larvae, eggs, seals, sea lions, turtles, and other creatures are killed each year because they are either trapped against screens or are drawn into the cooling system where they are exposed to pressure and high heat. The marine life that is killed is mainly at the base of the food chain and that can adversely affect the future of certain species and adversely impact recreational and commercial fishing.”
        What that means is that millions of larvae and eggs are killed because they are drawn into the cooling system where they are exposed to pressure and high heat. Thousands of tiny fish are trapped on the screens and die, hundreds of little fish tens of larger fish and one in a great while big fish, sea lions and seals get trapped on a screen. Modern fish screens have tiny mesh and are designed to minimize the input speed to make it difficult to trap organisms but that does not a scary story make.
        The base of the food chain argument is an unfalsifiable hypothesis. Everyone “knows” that if there are fewer larvae and eggs then certain species will be adversely impacted but quantifying that effect is pretty much hand waving. When entrapment and entrainment is reduced with new screens the improvements are not remarkable.

        • “What that means is that millions of larvae and eggs are killed because they are drawn into the cooling system where they are exposed to pressure and high heat”
          How much pressure and heat?

      • Roger, you may be incorrect on the killing of fish from the cooled water output from ng/coal/nuke plants. Before the plant was decommissioned, the Robinson power plant spillway, at plant discharge bridge near the plant as well as the “spillway” into Galveston bay, I fished as well as many because you could count on large catches. Once for fun I took a 25′ sain net right of the shore at the spillway. I brought in 4 lbs of shirimp ranging from 10-15 and 18-25 count. So when you say that the cooling water from the plants kill all the little fishys, you obviously have never been to a spillway.

    • birds? that’s hardly a consequential argument. the poverty of its significance cries out ‘weak, lame, foolish!’
      it was trash idea when it came from the hunch-brained eco freaks and it’s trash now.
      you want something that matters?
      show me the aluminum smelting plant to make the turbines running on wind power.
      ok, how about solar power?
      ok, then.
      how you gonna make freakin windmills without a serious energy source?
      how you gonna make solar panels without a serious energy source?
      ah- you’re gonna let all industrial activity trickle down to china where they make unicorns in coal fired foundries – that’s the ticket-
      and replace all productive employment with entertainment.
      but get a clue- ‘cringe-humor’ is not humor. it’s not funneh.
      cringing is what you do when it hurts.
      eco fantasies are sadistic and self harming. darwin awards are given for that. also, nobel peace prizes.

    • If you even had a feather fallen from a bald eagle, while crashing into the water to grab a fish, you would be in trouble.
      G

    • “Wind production was at a maximum thus far at 92,000 to 93,000 MWh in the first half of 2016.”
      I’m impressed. Of course that is only 48 hours of Diablo Canyon Power Plant. Each unit is a bit over 1000 MW output. So, that comes out to 4 days of DCPP operation for a year of wind production if my arithmetic is not faulty.

      • Oops, I see that was per 92,000 MWH per day. OK, that is two DCPP’s output maximum per day. I’d be interested in a number for annual MWH for wind for comparison.

  8. Renewables includes a lot of categories – 20% of the total is from Hydro, geothermal and other non-solar, non-wind sources, although the amount from those (solar, wind) sources is impressive. One wonders at what cost, and what the “carbon footprint” is of those sources. By comparison, Diablo Canyon in one location (two units) delivers roughly 50KMWh daily (25% of the total renewables output), whether the sun shines or the wind blows, and they’ll spend almost $4B decommissioning it, to please the Greens and the Cal voters. Not sure all this PC energy strategy is long-term sustainable, to use an overworked word…

    • Hydro and geothermal aren’t intermittent and variable like ground-based solar and wind, which makes a big difference in regards to grid stability.
      Importing resources from other states isn’t a new thing for California, they have long imported huge amounts of water from other states. Not always in accordance with the relevant interstate compacts.

      • I think Venezula is finding hydro can be intermittent. Tasmania was also on the brink as well. Just not intermittent on a hourly basis.

      • I believe he meant 50,000 MWh. It looks like he forgot to put a space between the k and MWh.

    • I think the California law regarding mandatory renewables targets, specifically excludes Hydro as being renewable. I guess in CA, renewable seems to be by definition ” intermittent ” and unreliable.
      G

  9. Anthony, thank you for publishing my article. I would like to point out, though, that the links on Aliso Canyon gas storage, and the leak from the storage site, were added by Anthony and are not in my article on my blog. Those links are to Wikipedia, a source I almost never cite. For those who want an authoritative document on the Aliso Canyon leak and remedies, please see the link found later in the article above, copied here for convenience: “Aliso Canyon Action Plan to Preserve Gas and Electric Reliability for the Los Angeles Basin,”
    http://www.energy.ca.gov/2016_energypolicy/documents/2016-04-08_joint_agency_workshop/Aliso_Canyon_Action_Plan_to_Preserve_Gas_and_Electric_Reliability_for_the_Los_Angeles_Basin.pdf

    • See the recent post over at Energy Matters by Rodger Andrews. Gives a detailed and rather less sanguine view of the Aliso Canyon nat gas storage loss in the context of this summers demand peaks.
      We will know who is more correct by September. I do not think it is you.

      • For ristvan, please read (or re-read) the article’s final paragraph. Surely an attorney such as yourself will grasp the point that the non-gas-consuming renewables are playing a big role in averting blackouts due to a shortage of gas.
        Or, are you advocating shutting down all of the renewables so that more blackouts will occur as natural-gas fired plants strive to meet the demand?

      • ” renewables are playing a big role in averting blackouts due to a shortage of gas.”
        gas shortage?
        well, if venezuela can manage an oil shortage, i guess california can swing a gas shortage.
        thank god for renoobles, right?
        whatever are the zombies gonna eat in california when the apocalypse comes?

    • Roger,
      Thanks for the article. Glad to see the growth in renewables. It takes a good mix to get event of all technologies
      Steve

  10. “Renewable power plants are preventing the grid from experiencing blackouts.”
    First, you shut down non-renewables. Then, Renewable power plants are preventing the grid from experiencing blackouts. I love a really clear thinking.

    • Exactly while at the same time making all energy more expensive via legally requiring conventional to cater to wind and solar. Roger S is simply wrong, but his I think he makes a living there. Notice also how he ties wind and solar into geothermal. Each should be looked at separately and solar and wind for the grid are very expensive and of little to no value.

  11. Geothermal and hydro are pretty much at their max possible and biomass and biogas should be phased out as fraudulent “renewables.” This leaves solar and wind and together they are accounting for barely 20% at the peak solar radiation period. Solar thermal can probably be discounted as impractical and a dead end, based on previous experience, leaving less than 20% for viable solar and wind. During the
    non-max solar radiation months, the percentage may recede to less than 15% or worse, depending upon wind. South Carolina has a far greater carbon-free power percentage (roughly 52%), virtually all due to nuclear, and with the two new nuclear power plants will no doubt exceed 75%, or likely more than 4 times
    that of California’s solar and wind.And at a lot cheaper cost. California’s attempt to decarbonize is rather stupid, costly and not very effective. It also, unlke South Carolina’s carbon-free power, does not depend upon fossil fuel backup. And nuclear power’s environmental footprint is but a small fraction of California’s
    carbon free eyesores.

    • Don’t forget used donut cooking oil, and liposuction fat in your renewables inventory.
      g

    • arthur4563 wrote: “California’s attempt to decarbonize is rather stupid, costly and not very effective. It also, unlke South Carolina’s carbon-free power, does not depend upon fossil fuel backup. And nuclear power’s environmental footprint is but a small fraction of California’s carbon free eyesores.”
      And all this insanity was initiated by a few Climate Change Frauds lying to the world, and a whole lot of that world believed them, and are doing some of the craziest, most self-destructive things, as a result.
      The CAGW Climate Change Gurus have a lot of blood on their hands. All done with fake temperature charts. Lots of damage done. To the people of the Earth, and to our scientific and political institutions. Such a huge impact from such a small group of liars.

  12. “Solar Thermal
    Solar
    Wind
    Small Hydro
    Biogas
    Biomass
    Geothermal”
    With columns for peak production time, peak production (MW) and Daily production which appears to be time multiplied by MW.
    Rather odd to include Geothermal and small hydro in as renewables. Was that to buck up the total?
    Given that geothermal and hydro were developed well before the ‘renewables’ fad and just aren’t on many eco-radars.
    Then there is the Solar, solar thermal, biogas and biomass categories?
    Just how are they measured?
    Are these categories really just estimations?
    Or is the renewable power watch attributing any reverse trickles back into the grid as full power transmissions?
    I suspect they’re actually just estimations. Calculated from some State estimate for square meters of installed solar/thermal systems without regard for whether they actually were able to provide sufficient power.
    The biogas and biomass taps on dumps might be measured, but how is the electricity generated component identified? Another estimation?
    Along with all of the backyard biogas/biomass attempts.
    Perhaps by now, you might realize that I have zero faith on the ‘Renewables Watch’ alleged power generation numbers Mr. Sowell.
    I am glad that renewables are generating some energy, but attempting to mold dry sand into a skyscraper has as much possibility as telling the State of California they can solidly depend on renewable electricity day in day out.
    No wonder industry is fleeing the state.

  13. There are all sorts of people posting here. There are engineers that post here. There are lawyers that post here. There are lawyer-engineers that post here. Lawyers don’t think like engineers. And Lawyer-engineers don’t think like engineers.

    • For Golden, This engineer, a chemical engineer, practiced my trade for more than 30 years in the US and worldwide as an employee and a consultant. My attorney credential is from the past 10 years. You, and perhaps others, may be interested in a brief bit I wrote on my SowellsLawBlog in the context of the ExxonMobil oil refinery explosion in Torrance, California.
      “Many years ago, in 1990 the People’s Republic of China’s national oil company, refining division, surveyed and analyzed all of the country’s oil refineries to determine what could be done to modernize, improve, and make the refineries more efficient. First, the effort was internal, using the best Chinese engineers and professors. Following that effort, the Chinese government wanted an outside expert opinion on the matter. They solicited bids for the work from consultants around the world, including (as I recall) from Japan, the UK, the US, and other nations. Within the US, the little consulting company where I worked (20 engineers), received an invitation to bid. To make a long story short, my company won the award and my boss and I were soon on a plane to Beijing for a three-week consulting trip.” The client was extremely pleased with our work. This was but one of dozens and dozens of similar highly successful engineering assignments from 4 continents and more than a dozen countries.
      Regarding the California grid and Aliso Canyon gas storage, I am also a consulting Council Member with GLG (Gerson Lehrman Group), providing expert advice to industry leaders and financial institutions.
      I would agree with you on one thing, though: an attorney-engineer thinks a bit differently than a mere engineer. We have learned to consider technical matters in a broader context of regulations, public policy, legal issues, and the likely outcomes of adversarial proceedings.

      • …and it is paying you well while the middle class subsidizes you, and tesla and wind and solar raise the cost of ALL power production.
        Wind and solar stabilizing the grid? sheesh, layer nonsense.

      • … you argue your points more like a lawyer than a mere engineer.
        There , fixed it for you.

  14. A little blundering around the CAISO site following the links to various sources.
    All totals on the renewable chart are max generation (nameplate) totals against what appears to be max generating times.
    Supposedly only sites providing 1MW and more are included, but the California sourcing tables include sites producing above 0.1MW.
    The total includes not only alleged nameplate California production levels, but also includes alleged renewable imported electricity.
    I hadn’t noticed new power transmission lines from the neighboring states running into California direct from various renewable generating facilities the last time I visited family out there.
    So add in another pea under the shell method of boosting the ‘renewable’ totals, by assuming XX amount of interstate electricity is generated solely by renewables.
    Nor did I spot any conversion tables for how much energy was lost in converting direct current into alternating current.
    A curiosity:
    I followed one biomass link to one included company, Wheelabrator Technologies Inc.
    Wheelabrator burns biomass, mostly chipped woods.
    On the Wheelabrator Shasta website, they list their nameplate generation capacity and totals. The included numbers in the California table for that explicit site, pump those power generation numbers a little higher.
    Amazing for a facility that processes ‘up to 1250 tons’ of waste material a day, manages to not only burn the maximum daily total every day, but California boosts their number a bit…

  15. It is always interesting to see reports on peak renewable energy production that make no mention of the costs of that generation or of the costs of the backup capacity that has to be paid for by consumers to ensure that when the sun does not shine or the wind does not blow that consumer still receive electricity when they need it. Renewables usually means paying twice for one’s electricity generation capacity, and with increasing use of expensive storage, three times!

  16. In the still,
    of the night.
    How will we ever,
    turn on the lights?
    Photo cells useless.
    Windmills won’t turn.
    Dams are all drained dry.
    Nothing to burn.
    Can’t frac’ for oil.
    Can’t frac’ for gas.
    Nuc’s are all shut down.
    NiCads gone flat.
    Now we are eating,
    beans cold from the can.
    While freezing in darkness.
    In the still,
    of the night.

  17. Good heavens, Roger, how can you write about renewables in California without mentioning the huge subsidies enjoyed by renewables here?
    Yes, California has proven that if you screw the poor ratepayer like myself by jacking my electricity rates through the roof, plus providing generous tax and direct subsidy benefits to renewables, you can increase renewable penetration in the market. Big whoop.
    But Roger, you are acting like that actually proves something other than the stupidity of the California voter and the deviousness of Governor Moonbeam. It doesn’t. Well, it does prove one thing—your attempt to slip this one by the less discerning reader does prove your own deviousness … not impressed, my friend. Talking about California electricity and not mentioning subsidies is downright evasive and hugely misleading for the uninformed.
    w.

    • The one other thing Willis and i missed earlier was preference purchase rules for “renewables” over other suppliers, which grossly distorts the pricing of other suppliers. Given the intemittentcy of wind and solar, the power from them should be sold at a discount, not a mandated premium.

      • Nova Scotia socialist government mandated that the utility buy wind power at $0.49 per kw-hr. It sold the aggregated energy to the market at $0.15 per kw-hr. Basically, they buried the the crappy wind power juice inside everyone’s electrical bill. Smoke and mirror tactics.
        Eventually, the Liberal government put and end to that scam. People figured it out and went nuts. The socialists lost every seat but one.

      • Exactly right Tom H, the largest subsidy of all; decrease you competitors revenue and increase their operational costs, and get government backed guaranteed sell of 100 percent of your production weather the grid needs it or not.

    • For those interested in the truly obscene subsidies enjoyed by one solar plant, among the many subsidies that Roger is pointedly not discussing, see my post Make 29% On Your Money Guaranteed!
      And yes, Tom Halla, I didn’t even get to the lunacy of renewable “mandates” such as we have here in California. Here’s a fact. In California hydro is not counted as a renewable, in order to force the installation of wind and solar. Bizarre but true.
      Pathetic …
      w.

      • Willis – Alberta has the same scheme. Wind production MUST be taken when available and other sources have to spin down. Not a lot of solar here except in southern Alberta but the government is pushing it anyway.
        I actually don’t have a problem with wind and solar as long as they compete on a reasonably level playing field. But when they government PLATFORM is to tax CO2 and CO2 equivalent emissions and use that tax to subsidize “renewables” then I do have a problem since it is nothing more than a consumption tax that tilts the table for political idealism.
        I am sick of the “clean air for our chilrdren” advertisements the Alberta Government is using at the moment to indoctrinate the children in supporting their “Climate Action Plan”. In a huge province with only 3.5 million people in it, clean air is not an issue. Well, actually, dust and pollen from farming can be an issue at certain times of the year, especially during harvest but I doubt very much that will change unless they implement a “dust” tax.
        I have several solar panels and solar powered devices (like electric fencers and battery chargers) so I am not against the appropriate use of solar.
        And if this crazy socialist government provides enough subsidies, I might even put some on my roof to get some “free” power in the summer (not in the winter though because the sun doesn’t get over the top of the trees south of my house in December and January and they’d be buried in snow anyway unless I got the self heating kind and upped my fire insurance).
        Of course, considering that the generating cost on my last power bill was 3.5 to 4.5 cents per kWh, it will have to be quite the subsidy (variable rate).
        California isn’t the only place that has gone mad. Who ever said: “Mad dogs and Englishmen”??? (Noel Coward – 1931)
        Seems that saying no longer holds water after yesterday.

      • At Lake Isabella Dam in Kern County California, the Army Corps of Engineers is cutting off the supply of water to the hydroelectric plant there. They are replacing it with wind turbines and solar PV. It doesn’t seem to make sense to shut down a perfectly good plant.

      • That is one up from the Swedish situation I discovered in reading thanks to good old Griff. They not only had a feed in tariff for renewable but a tax on nuclear power that financed the renewable tariff. It looks like they got a shock when the nuclear suppliers refused to extend supply contracts under those conditions and gave notice they would shut it all down after the lost an appeal to the courts over the tax. The politicians obviously had to do some back pedaling and remove the tax and do some back slapping telling them they were all good people for helping renewables.
        They are building up to ten more Nuclear power plants in Sweden it’s an interesting article of how baseload providers do have clout if they have the guts to call the bluff of the green groups. I guess if they don’t back down you join the renewable power scam and leave some other sucker to provide baseload. All the plans to increase wind generation got scrapped as being unable to provide baseload and not economic.
        http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/NP-Sweden-abolishes-nuclear-tax-1006169.html
        http://phys.org/news/2016-06-nuclear-power-doesnt-sweden.html

      • Glad to be of use LdB….
        I think there’s a lot happening out there in the power supply world people should be looking at.

      • Richard G. Obviously you’re right that shutting down a perfectly good hydro plant seems silly. It turns out that the Isabella Dam is in bad shape and needs major maintenance. They are deliberately holding the reservoir below 60% capacity for fear that the dam will rupture if the lake is allowed to completely fill. The Army Corps of Engineers has suggested that the construction costs of providing water to the power plant from a rebuilt dam are so high that it may be more cost effective to simply abandon the Borel power plant than to keep it in service. I couldn’t find out that much about the power plant but it is not at the dam. It is downstream 6 or 8km near Miracle Hot Springs at 35.588, -118.524 and is (I’m guessing) fed via a long tunnel. Could be true that it simply doesn’t make sense to keep it in service.
        http://bakersfieldnow.com/news/local/borel-hydroelectric-plant-could-close-part-of-latest-plans-for-isabella-dam-fix

      • Don K, I know a little about the hydroelectric plant. It was built in 1904 when Henry Huntington formed Pacific Light & Power to provide electricity to his Red Car Line. It was the first to use steel transmission towers, built by the Los Angeles Edison Electric Co. (renamed SCE in 1909) which proved that material would not adversely affect long distance transmission of electricity.
        In 1917 SCE bought out Huntington’s Pacific Light & Power acquiring not only this Borel plant, which Huntington named after one of his partners San Francisco financier Antoine Borel but also Big Creek, which is now their jewel of hydroelectric plants. Construction of the earthen dam, which the plant didn’t need to operate, didn’t start until 1948.
        Since the dam was going to bisect the canal which provided water to Borel, this required the Army Corps of Engineers to enter into a contract for relocation, rearrangement and alteration of the Borel facilities. This not only required the Corps to make available to Borel the full flow of the Kern River and all releases from the reservoir storage, but also operate and maintain the dam and reservoir in a manner that will not interfere with or otherwise reduce the efficiency or capacity of the operation of the Borel facility.
        Now fast forward about 60 years and they have problems with the dam. No problem, they will move the conduit in the auxiliary dam that feeds the canal from the left side to the right side during construction to repair the dam. The DSMR plans are complete in 2012 and construction will begin in 2014 and then the green brigade steps in saying the regulations have now changed to require the integration of renewable energy in all federally funded projects.
        Normally this would not be a problem, but this is California and they don’t count hydroelectric as renewable. So now it’s getting expensive and construction has been set back 3 years until 2017. They want to build bird choppers and put them next to the fire station because well your a small town, so your fireman are not likely to be too busy (just don’t look out your window at that raging wildfire that just blew through here killing your residents and destroying their homes) so they should have free time and they won’t have to walk far to pick up all the dead eagles, hawks and falcons that fall from the sky and they sometimes turn into flaming towers, so you won’t have to go far to extinguishing the flames.
        I looked at the link you provided Don and I saw a common green weasel word as it applied to cost. It said if they don’t build the new conduit, it would “likely” lower the cost of the project. Which means it’s just as likely it won’t or just as likely to increase the cost. What is the cost to build, maintain and operate the Wind turbines for 30, 50 or 100 years. The hydroelectric plant has proved it’s utility for more than 100 years and would likely do so for another 100, providing electricity 24/7/365. I don’t think the wind turbines would do that for even 1 day let alone 40,000 days.
        There is also the additional cost to provide Just Compensation to SCE for breaking the contract. I find it interesting that the plant has operated successfully as engineered for more than a century and could continue to do so in the future. It’s listed in the Library of Congress and the Historic American Engineering Record. It just seems shameful to deny it the water it’s legally entitled to. Ask me a dam question and I’ll probably have the answer…or not.

    • The article isn’t about cost. It’s about how renewable energy can be effectively used on the grid without the sky falling, and how they can reduce our use of gas or coal. I suppose that every article here dealing with whatever aspect of nuclear power should go into the issue of subsidies there?

      • “whatever aspect of nuclear power should go into the issue of subsidies there”
        Yes please. Nuclear isn’t subsidized, it’s penalized like crazy.

      • Why should every article have to deal with subsidies? Should every article on nuclear power deal with the issue of nuclear waste disposal? Just because something is a pet issue of yours doesn’t mean that it is reasonable to expect that it should be dealt with in every article dealing with whatever aspect of renewable energy.

      • Philip S, increasing costs of all energy is not effective. Legally mandating that conventional steady state base suppliers ramp up and down to cater to wind and solar is not effective. Costs always matter, and the author ignored that California imports twice their renewable production, and included geothermal with wind and solar, completely nonsense.

      • “Why should every article have to deal with subsidies? Should every article on nuclear power deal with the issue of nuclear waste disposal? Just because something is a pet issue of yours doesn’t mean that it is reasonable to expect that it should be dealt with in every article dealing with whatever aspect of renewable energy.”
        If you are promoting a power source and saying that it is viable because X is accomplishing it, the necessities to make it viable are vital details. If you talk about the highway system, saying that it was built in the 50s and has been reliable ever since is invalid without including how much it has cost in ongoing maintenance. To ignore the maintenance is to ignore a significant factor of the viability of the highway system.
        It is the same with all energy sources: Oil does not rain from the sky into oil company tanks like mana from heaven, it has costs and impacts associated with drilling and refinement. Solar and Wind renewables, on the same token, don’t just form on properties by divine intervention. You have to mine, build, manufacture, and install them. This has been generally subsidized for the last 20 years to encourage people/industry to have them installed. Plus, a lot of places subsidized solar grid-contributors by requiring at-or-near retail prices to be paid to them for contributions to the grid from their already-subsidized installations. In addition, governments have mandated required buy packages for energy producers to force market preference towards these solutions. On top of all of this, generous startup and operating loans with exceptional terms from the government were given to many of the companies that received the other methods of subsidy. And this doesn’t even go into ‘normal’ incentives, such as tax breaks that are used to lure construction to cities and states.
        The reason that these are viable is because of heavy aggregate subsidy – they would not exist in their current state as reported without them. On the free market, without these subsidies, they would be accurately priced and would be unable to compete with the other power sources.
        This is why the assessment of solar and wind must always come back to subsidies by the government as they are absorbed by the tax payer and/or rate payers for the electricity. It is the only way you can get a proper discussion of viability compared to other energy sources based on ROI.

        • “Plus, a lot of places subsidized solar grid-contributors by requiring at-or-near retail prices to be paid to them for contributions to the grid from their already-subsidized installations
          Actually, in Europe, the low power, diffuse, at retail delivery point solar PV energy is often paid at a price significantly higher than the retail energy bought at the same delivery point!
          In France, for “IAB”(*) solar PV, the tarif is 250 €/MWh.
          Even if you do that, you still get to buy energy at the “blue” tarif of VAT included 114 €/MWh (you need to add various local taxes, and probably also the CSPE(**) ).
          Even “renewables” advocates are reluctant to defend this scheme, however. And some renewable advocates even condemn IAB with very strong words.
          (*) IAB = intégré au bâti = panel inside the roof, an ESIEFE (excessively stupid idea even for ecoloons)
          (**) CSPE = contribution au service public de l’électricité = tax for helping ecoloonatic projects and for electric islands
          See
          http://www.actu-environnement.com/ae/news/photovoltaique-tarif-achat-baisse-prix-trimestre-2016-26152.php4
          https://particulier.edf.fr/content/dam/2-Actifs/Documents/Offres/Grille_de_prix_TB_20160101.pdf

      • “Just because something is a pet issue of yours doesn’t mean that it is reasonable to expect that it should be dealt with in every article dealing with whatever aspect of renewable energy”
        Just because you label something a pet issue doesn’t mean it’s unimportant.
        The subsidies determine the viability of some energy sources (in almost all contexts, PV is still viable without subsidies in some space missions).
        OTOH, the waste issue of nuclear fission is just a bogeyman. The amount of activated material is limited, the amount of very slightly contaminated material is manageable and low level radiation isn’t even harmful, and used rods contains usable fission energy.

      • Renewables (plural, noun): alternate spelling of subsidies
        Thanks, Mathew W. I learn something new every day here on WUWT.

      • That’s right and subsidies always have dead weight net welfare cost, that, contracts the production possibility curve of the macro-economy.

      • Big hydro is the closet thing to true “renewable” energy, and they managed to exclude it from the “renewable portfolio”.

    • Willis, Subsidies are taxpayer paid moneys. Those moneys come ONLY from profit making enterprises , corporate or personal. thin k how much total enterprise there is to produce one dollar in taxes that can be doled out as subsidies, and virtually ALL of that gross enterprise was done with fossil fuels.
      As you say; Don’t leave out the subsidies in the rose colored glass view. And I’m sure that Roger, as an engineer and Lawyer, is also well aware that depreciation (depletion) is NOT a subsidy, but an essential expense of staying in business.
      G
      G

    • To Willis Eschenbach, re June 24, 2016 at 9:39 p.m.
      “Good heavens, Roger, how can you write about renewables in California without mentioning the huge subsidies enjoyed by renewables here?”
      I write extensively on my blog on power plant subsidies, and of course am happy to provide a short summary here.
      Listed by type of energy input (not all energy input is fuel, of course):
      Nuclear…………. at least 6 forms of subsidy and other government assistance, no nuke would be built absent the huge subsidies
      Coal……………… would not run at all but for exemption from air pollution laws; huge subsidy there
      Hydroelectric… In the US, more than 75 percent of all hydro capacity was built with Federal money (100 percent subsidy there)
      Wind……………. one tiny subsidy of 2.3 cents per kWh generated but only for the first 10 years of operation (btw, this is the only subsidy wind receives and is identical to one of the 6 that nuclear receives)
      Solar……………. one tiny subsidy, but this is a choice for the owner: one-third of the installed cost written off against taxes as an Investment Tax Credit, or the 2.3 cents per kWh produced for first 10 years. Most solar owners elected the 33 percent ITC.
      Natural Gas…… zero subsidies, instead is forced to comply with all environmental regulations.
      “Talking about California electricity and not mentioning subsidies is downright evasive and hugely misleading for the uninformed.”
      This post was not an all-encompassing treatment of electric power options, costs, benefits, and ramifications. This was merely to point out that renewables in California are in the unlikely role of hero this summer, bringing stability to the grid by reducing the demand for natural gas for power plants.
      If Anthony wants to host an article on power plant subsidies, I will be happy to write such.
      For anyone curious about nuclear plant subsidies, I have two articles on SLB to recommend:
      http://sowellslawblog.blogspot.com/2014/04/the-truth-about-nuclear-power-part-13.html “US Nuclear Plants are Heavily Subsidized”
      and http://sowellslawblog.blogspot.com/2014/07/the-truth-about-nuclear-power-part-25.html “Price-Anderson Act Gives Too Much Protection to Nuclear Plants”

      • You keep repeating the same mendacity when you say that wind and solar only enjoy only one subsidy.
        http://www.eia.gov/analysis/requests/subsidy/pdf/subsidy.pdf
        And $0.023/kWh is not a “tiny” subsidy when it amounts to up to 40% the wholesale rate of production!
        You mention the exemption coal has from the Clean Air Act but fail to mention the exception wind has from the Endangered Species Act. It’s almost as if you have an agenda…

      • “The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has recently published a notice establishing certification requirements that small wind turbine owners must meet to qualify for the 30% investment tax credit (ITC). For wind turbine owners to qualify for this tax credit under the new ITC performance and quality guidance, wind turbines rated at 100 kilowatts of capacity or less must meet certain certification standards…”
        100 kilowatts is on the low end. I imagine wind farms use something closer to 1600 kilowatt turbines.

  18. One can only imagine the rolling blackouts and uproar with Aliso Canyon gas storage effectively out of commission, SONGS nuclear generating shut down, and if no renewable power plants had been installed over the past 5 years.
    Roger,
    From where comes the power to supply the grid when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow? We know it exists because the grid does in fact run when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow. Surely you cannot be proposing that the grid power operators would be too stupid to simply turn that backup power generation on all the time had the windmills and solar arrays not been built?

    • Solar Power and Wind Power work great when connected to a grid powered by coal, oil, nat gas and nukes.
      In other words, our predecessors did such a great job building reliable electrical generation and distribution, it can somewhat endure meddling by “renewable” (whatever that means this week) systems conjured in the minds of the leftist green activists… for a while anyway.

    • For davidmhoffer,
      The point is that there is not enough natural gas this summer in Southern California to run the gas-fired power plants. Even if the grid operators wanted to run the gas-fired plants, which they of course do in normal times, there is not enough gas available due to the problems at the Aliso Canyon gas storage facility.
      What are the grid operators to do? One cannot build a nuclear plant in time, nor import more power due to transmission system limits, and what little water is in the lakes is needed for agriculture and domestic use. The sober, objective and knowledgeable state agencies, California Energy Commission, Public Utilities Commission, concluded that the best course of action is to run what we have as much as we can, and ask consumers to conserve on the crisis days.

      • Wrong. The point is that UnaffordableUnreliables aka “renewables” have been forced on the grid, through wrong-headed, Greenie-dreamin’ policies. So yeah, they are there to take up the slack caused by a recent gas shortage. So what? In a sane world, other, less expensive, more reliable forms of energy would be there instead to take up the slack.

      • Griff, in 2013 Germany’s second largest grid operator had to step in and balance the grid 1,009 times, 209 times in 2010. That is only one operator. The process is called intervention. I believe the total for that year was over 3,500 country wide. That doesn’t sound so stable to me.

      • “The sober, objective and knowledgeable state agencies, California Energy Commission, Public Utilities Commission . . .”
        LOL. That’s the funniest thing I have read in a long while. I’ve lived most of my life in California and there are no “sober, objective and knowledgeable” state agencies. That is why the state is teetering on the verge of bankruptcy.
        ” . . what little water is in the lakes is needed for agriculture and domestic use.”
        But is instead hoarded to protect the Sacramento Delta Smelt.

  19. It is only a matter of time before several coincidences meet up to create a disaster. As more energy is met with expensive ‘renewables’, the fragility of the entire system increases. At some point, clouds will persist, wind will be calm, and the heat will be high…transmission lines will be unable to bring in enough energy outside of the system, and the whole thing will fail.
    Sure, it looks really good as long as it is working, but as the blackout in New York City back in the 1960’s should have taught us, its a very fragile system.
    Renewables, besides increasing costs, increase Risk. This will eventually bite the places that over-depend on them. It isn’t just likely, it is going to happen. Just like a big earthquake, you can count on it happening, just not when.

    • Robert,
      Can you tell me what is meant by “renewable” lately? I am having a heck of a time knowing the scope of that word.

  20. Has Anthony sold out?
    These puff pieces for renewable energy are getting all too frequent.
    Whereas pieces that show absolutely dire it really is, don’t get published, eh Anthony?

    • Seriously? it just promotes discussion and people like Roger are at least willing to respond. I’d rather have that than just sit in an echo chamber.

      • Well if you think there is anything left to discuss…
        I suppose I have just spent too many years refuting baseless claims and assumed everyone else had the basic understanding of why renewables dont and cant ever work, in their heads by now.
        Energy density EROEI and intermittency. Plug those into any cost benefit equation and it tells you that short of a few utterly niche applications, intermittent renewables are a waste of time and taxpayers money

    • Anthony is happy for people who have views which are different to most readers to put their POV – that is what makes WUWT different from most other climate sites.

      • I thought it was supposed to be about facts, not points of view.
        You may believe in perpetual motion. I can show you science that says it cant work

      • Also for Leo Smith, re “renewables dont and cant ever work.”
        The facts as shown above refute your statement. Renewables in California routinely exceed 12,000 MW delivered electricity into the grid. That would be much greater if California also counted the power from large hydroelectric dams.
        The fact is, wind, solar, geothermal, biogas, biomass, and small hydroelectric work as designed. They each send electrons into the grid. Another way to look at it is, if your assertion “dont and cant ever work” were true, why do grid operators and planners spend any time at all on issues related to integrating the renewables into the grid? A great deal of time, money, and effort is spent on the renewables integration matter.

      • Renewables in California routinely exceed 12,000 MW delivered electricity into the grid.

        When conditions are favorable for the generators whether the grid demand is there at that time or not.
        Ignoring intermittency is the other lawyerly omission by Roger when piumping renewables. The duck curve is a sign of this in the case of solar PV. Those late afternoon ramp rates are more likely to bring the grid down than anything else due to the huge gas consumption of the OCGT generators to meet the demand as PV output falls off a cliff in the late afternoon of sunny days.
        Aliso canyon allowed the OCGT generators to be fired up at will, Feeding them through long pipelines requires the gas to be pumped ahead of time so that the flow has ramped up as the OCGT generators are needed. They only need to get the demand forecasting wrong (eg clouds move in early so the negative demand from all the household PV falls to diddly ramping up the demand earlier than planned for) and there will be instant shortfalls across the LA basin.

      • Leo Smith: I respectfully disagree with your criticism of Anthony, but agree completely that Mr. Sowell’s view is wrong. You and others here have exposed the fatal flaws of grid-level wind and solar so thoroughly that amateurs like me are able to recognize his omissions and expose them here. Just to mention two, Sowell continues the patently false “one tiny subsidy” shinola through the thread; and he refuses to acknowledge the history of CA, where the greens have stopped all building of reliable electricity production. This allows him to argue “facts”, numbers of wind & solar production that are plainly a result of CA allowing no other sources to be built. Now CA must rely on the patently unreliable, which he thinks is good. And we can see it because of Anthony’s site and good fellows like you. In the human condition, truth sometimes seems to be written on the wind, and articles like this one allow us to be reminded that wind and solar are green fantasies, kept going because smart financiers like W. Buffet smell subsidies like hogs do truffles. But here’s the kicker which I ask you to appreciate-Is anyone on this thread (other than the very few tr@lls) persuaded by Mr. Sowell? He seems credentialed and intelligent, yet mugs like me have exposed the fallacies. I say, bring these articles on, I can sharpen my mind on them.

      • Roger you say “why do grid operators and planners spend any time at all on issues related to integrating the renewables into the grid?”
        Because the electricity generators are required by the state to produce x percentage of electricity from renewables and the distributors are required to purchase x percentage of renewables.. The grid operators and planners would be remiss in their duties if they ignored this output.

    • For Leo Smith, re “puff pieces for renewable energy.”
      I did a quick tally of WUWT articles on wind power and found that essentially every one is anti-wind. I gently chided Anthony about that, yet he invited me to write this article and then posted it here. It is all too easy to wait for a disaster or some other incident and publish that (cleaning wind turbine blades via helicopter comes to mind, but there are others also at WUWT).
      I have not read all the articles on WUWT on solar power but I suspect the tone is similar.

      • Roger,
        California specifically excludes Hydro-electricity from the renewable category.
        (1) Hydro existed and was implemented long before anybody had any concern even unwarranted, about CO2 or fossil fuels. so please don’t include such a proven resource as a part of your bag.
        (2) The same people who don’t want any form of fossil or stored chemical energy, also don’t want ANY Hydro energy let alone any MORE hydro energy.
        Hydro dams (yes they have their serious problems) are also a water storage resource critical to California. There is very limited Hydro resource to tap. And it could have been done with far less environmental damage, particularly to fisheries. But we do know better now.
        Don’t you find it the least bit ironic, that the ONLY fully controllable 24 /365.25 reliable dependable ” renewable ” energy resource is that same hated water storage /hydro-electric power source.
        Thank you for your data numbers summary; but why don’t you ever fairly include any of that boilerplate fine print n your posts ??
        G

      • For george e. smith, re June 25, 2016 at 5:26 am
        “California specifically excludes Hydro-electricity from the renewable category.”
        For the California Renewable Portfolio Standard, the large hydroelectric plants are excluded (but with one exception shown in detail below). From California Energy Commission, the following is the definition of what is eligible to be part of the RPS.
        “To qualify as eligible for California’s RPS, an electrical generation facility must use one or more
        of the following renewable resources or fuels (see the Overall Program Guidebook for full
        definitions):  
        • Biodiesel
        • Biogas (including pipeline biomethane)
        • Biomass
        • Conduit hydroelectric
        • Digester gas
        • Fuel cells using renewable fuels  
        • Geothermal
        • Hydroelectric incremental generation from efficiency improvements
        • Landfill gas
        • Municipal solid waste  
        • Ocean wave, ocean thermal, and tidal current
        • Photovoltaic
        • Small hydroelectric
        • Solar thermal electric
        • Wind
        Electrical generation produced by the following types of hydroelectric facilities is eligible for the
        RPS:
        a) Small hydroelectric facilities 30 MW or less
        b) Conduit hydroelectric facilities 30 MW or less
        c) Existing hydroelectric generation units 40 MW or less and operated as part of a water
        supply or conveyance system
        d) Incremental generation from eligible efficiency improvements to hydroelectric facilities
        regardless of the facility’s overall generating capacity.”
        — reference http://www.energy.ca.gov/2012publications/CEC-300-2012-002/CEC-300-2012-002-CMF.pdf
        “(1) Hydro existed and was implemented long before anybody had any concern even unwarranted, about CO2 or fossil fuels. so please don’t include such a proven resource as a part of your bag.
        (2) The same people who don’t want any form of fossil or stored chemical energy, also don’t want ANY Hydro energy let alone any MORE hydro energy.
        Hydro dams (yes they have their serious problems) are also a water storage resource critical to California. There is very limited Hydro resource to tap. And it could have been done with far less environmental damage, particularly to fisheries. But we do know better now.”
        I’m not sure what your point is there, but I agree with most of that. I am all for hydroelectric generating systems, and I was astonished to find that California has so little of it. The state is blessed with perfect geographic features (a tall and very long mountain range, actually mountain ranges with rivers and valleys) and one of the largest rivers in the West (Colorado) running along one border. It should be quite easy to build some elevated lakes and lower reservoirs, then use them as pumped storage hydro. This is done but only in limited amounts. A huge resource not being tapped there.
        “Don’t you find it the least bit ironic, that the ONLY fully controllable 24 /365.25 reliable dependable ” renewable ” energy resource is that same hated water storage /hydro-electric power source.”
        The problem with large hydro in California, as is well-known by the state agencies, is the production from those dams must be 100 percent backed up by other forms of generation. Drought and the need to save the water for agriculture limit the hydro production. This is clearly evident in the past 5 years or so during the prolonged drought.
        “Thank you for your data numbers summary; but why don’t you ever fairly include any of that boilerplate fine print n your posts ??”
        The topic is quite large, and it is difficult to include every aspect in a post. This particular post is about the shortage of natural gas this summer, and the role the renewables are playing in staving off blackouts. That particular bit of news is not published other than on my SLB blog, and now here at WUWT, as far as I can see.

      • “Anti-Wind”. LOL Typical Progressive name-calling response. Anyone who opposes the party line using logic and facts is immediately branded as a heretic, a “D” word, or some form of “ist”.
        Roger, your bias is abundantly clear. The fact that you summarily dismiss anyone who questions your opinion is telling.
        “I have not read all the articles on WUWT on solar power but I suspect the tone is similar.”
        Stereotyping people you know nothing about, is sure way to win people over. You obviously didn’t read Anthony’s article comparing his carbon footprint to Climate Activists.

  21. Roger Sowell should be invited back in February 2017 with a similar tabulation for January 2017 and this time include costs to the consumers and tax payers for running all the renewables in Calif. compared with conventional. I suppose that picking June with the most light and apparently good wind it typical for those promoting wind and solar.

    • Actually, it is the usual practice to track progress in any field, then announce milestones when they occur.
      It is not difficult to break records for renewable power production when one installs more and more of the systems each year. Solar power production tends to be greatest at the summer solstice, this is not news. Wind power production tends to be greatest in those months when the wind is strongest and most steady. That varies by state. In California, the two (solar max and wind max) historically have occurred almost together, in June or early July.
      The bar chart in the post above shows the installed capacity over time.
      As to the costs to the consumers for running the renewables in California, should I also include the costs avoided by NOT having blackouts? Lives disrupted, industry and commerce halted, fires unable to be effectively battled as water pressure drops, and a host of other problems could easily occur.
      The point, as I have repeated to others, is there is a serious shortage of natural gas this summer due to the problems at the Aliso Canyon gas storage facility. Not running the renewable power facilities, with their 13,000 MW mid-day peak production and approximately 200,000 MWh daily in late June, would most certainly create grid instabilities on the hottest days.

      • So, if you spent the same amount of money on nuclear, gas and coal power plants as has been spent on wind and solar over the last 10 years, how much reserve power capacity would California have, and what would the consumer be paying for their power?
        And I mean deliverable, not boilerplate.

      • I would like to thank Roger Sowell for his article and for hanging in there in the face of this intense group of sceptics. I think he has proved his central theorem about the fortuitous existence of renewables in 2016 summer under the constraint of low gas supply rates.
        I also like the extensive conservation he has set in motion about all the rest of the CA renewable problems/opportunites.

      • For John MacDonald, June 25, 2016 at 11:38 pm,
        Thank you. WUWT is renowned for being seriously anti-renewables, and equally seriously pro-nuclear. It is a mystery to me how the same group can insist on valid data and sound analysis for climate change, but rely on hearsay and rumors for renewable energy and nuclear energy.

  22. June 23, The 3rd day after NH soltice.
    Optimal solar, strong winds.
    When the grid needs stability in late August early September as schools ramp up, and vacations end, what will those numbers look like?
    Grid operations need stability. They need baseload. They need fast response top-off and backup in case a plant goes down. Having gas turbines at the ready has a cost. Someone has to pay it. And it’s not the tooth fairy I promise.

    • In Australia, the state of Tasmania has recently gone through a renewable crisis. Chewed through their hydro resource selling high profit green power to the mainland during a drought period. When inevitable power imports became necessary the cable failed. They had been trying to decommission and sell there main (maybe only, I cant recall) gas turbine. Thankfully , more by good luck and usual government tardiness with doing anything real, it was still there and able to be brought online. After months of power constraints, imported generators burning fossil fuels and the gas turbine running the cable is now repaired and rain has come. There is also another layer, decades ago the Greens stopped a large dam going ahead so they had far less hydro capacity than they might have had. The whole thing is a long drawn out case study of the greenie/renewable delusion. Funny and sad at the same time.

  23. “TimTheToolMan
    June 25, 2016 at 12:16 am
    One could say the same about the tank of petrol in your garage.”
    Only if you evaporate all the petrol into the air in the garage first. You always do this, right?
    Roger Sowell is about as unbiased and makes as much sense as the whackos pushing ch****ails.

    • Only if you evaporate all the petrol into the air in the garage first. You always do this, right?

      Such a powerful argument. I’m at a loss for words.

      • It’s actually true. For gasoline to be explosive, it needs to have a certain gas/air ratio. There’s even several Mythbusters episodes showing how hard it is to get gas to explode without that right fuel to air ratio off-the-cuff. It can catch on fire if it leaks, but it would need an ignition source.
        On the other hand, battery explosions are kinda pie in the sky as well, even though they have more of the proper ingredients for a successful explosion. Because they are explosive as they sit plus have the ignition source built into that same explosive, all they need is a circuitry or manufacturing defect of any kind to become ticking bombs. You have seen this in the past with certain batteries being prone to catching fire and/or exploding after a relatively short life. If there is a widespread adoption of the power wall, having that amount of concentrated reactive energy will inevitably lead to instances of people accidentally damaging the unit and not fixing it (because $$ or because they don’t own it). It’s unlikely, but more likely than a gasoline explosion – as attested by the random smatterings of D cell batteries causing injuries.
        Both sides of this, though, reminds me of the “investigative journalism” from the evening news I saw in Southern California in the early or mid 90s: They skated a Barbie doll that threw sparks through a pool of gasoline and pushed for a recall of the doll because it “was dangerous.” But the danger was in ridiculously obtuse circumstances: How many times did you let your Barbie-doll playing daughter get a can of gas to play with, also?
        In all three cases – Barbie, Gas, and Battery – not being an idiot will almost completely assuage the risk.

  24. Edison built the first electricity generation plant in the US using coal as a fuel at 255-257 Pearl Street Manhattan.
    It’s amazing that he didn’t first think of building one using 170,000 focused mirrors taking up 4000 acres out in the desert somewhere.

  25. “Many WUWT might think that renewable energy just can’t cut it, and when it comes to certain demand situations that may be a very valid issue. ”
    [[It’s very valid issue- but for *all* “demand situations”]]
    “However, there has been quite a surge in installed renewables for daytime generation in California over the last 6 years, and the numbers from CAISO do tell a story that is surprisingly positive. ”
    Story is a keyword here.
    As in propaganda.
    The government screws up in causing large methane leaks due to it’s general corruption and incompetence in dealing accident and we suppose to believe Californians were rescued by more corruption and incompetence of renewable energy programs.
    As for numbers from
    http://energyalmanac.ca.gov/electricity/electric_generation_capacity.html
    First graph shows decline or at best flat trend of state electrical production in state
    since 2001 to present, yet state population is growing at about 300K per year.
    If have growing population and not increasing state power generation- one asking for blackouts.
    Also first chart shows recent significant drop in nuclear power generation and mostly made up
    by increased natural gas energy production. Other drop in nuclear electrical energy the graph shows
    the drop of hydro power due to drought and governmental mismanagement of water supply but since graph ends in 2015, it does reflect the increase supply of water from recent rainfall from the El Nino causing increase in seasonal rainfall- or most dams in California are now full, allowing more electrical power generation.
    The second graph show capacity- which shows little increase in capacity in CA in recent year other than in silly wind mills and solar panels. So show the loss of nuclear capacity and a recent loss of gas generation capacity [graph ends in 2015, so, nothing to do with Aliso Canyon] which show how incompetent California government is.
    That we saved by wind mills and solar panels is not true- we endangered by them, but at moment we can get hydroelectric power and other factor is exporting electrical out of state which varies but about 1/3rd the total electrical power needs of California.
    Due to El Nino which effect more than California in terms of adding water supply for hydro power from regions we importing from- this would a much larger source of electrical power.
    So in June we have largest supply electrical energy due to the filled dams and the little bit of power from
    renewable solar and wind are reducing amount we might draw from dams and be importing, but it’s not rescuing us from black outs, rather the governmental policies of not increasing nuclear and natural gas
    capacity, will ensure in the future we import more electrical power and face the potential of future black outs because the lack of a dependable source of electrical generation.
    I guess the pattern is every time we get near mid summer when the sun is highest in the sky and therefore get most amount of sunlight per day, one put out the story about record electrical power from solar. About the same talking about how warm it is [in summer].

    • I have a friend who rented his house out to a “displaced” family from Porter Ranch (Aliso Canyon) at the rate of $10K a month (more than five times the mortgage).

      • I’m not surprised Reg Nelson as So Cal Gas was being billed for that. I do have trouble sympathizing with the Gas co. as the field was depleted oil wells with a good capstone that was filled with NG. When a safety valve failed on a well they removed it instead of replacing it to save costs as the regulations at that time did not require them to have it in place.
        The cost savings from the past pales in comparison to the costs they are bearing now as a result of it’s removal. The safety valve was located at the capstone and if in place would have only allowed a small amount of NG to leak. With the pressure now released from the casing they could easily capped the well.

  26. “How much gas is not burned is somewhat difficult to estimate because one must know which gas-fired power plants are not being run and their respective heat rates.”
    Rubbish! it will be obvious which plant isn`t running because its output will be zero.
    Secondly, why is a known such as heat rate suddenly an unknown. Any plant worth its salt will regularly carry out a heat rate and trend the data.
    The two unknowns you have listed are 100% known. Sorry, but I don`t think you know what you are talking about on this subject.

    • No, the heat rate problem is hard, as throttled back stations under dispatch will not achieve normal efficiency, and what is more important is plant behaviour during start up and when used as spinning reserve.
      Actual tests done in Ireland on the Eirgrid fleet of combine cycle gas turbines revealed that half of the assumed energy gained by adding renewables (wind) was lost due to reduced efficiency in the gas fleet operating under high slew and dispatch rates.
      http://euanmearns.com/commercial-measures-to-reduce-the-cost-of-wind-integration-in-the-island-of-ireland/

      • “No, the heat rate problem is hard, as throttled back stations under dispatch will not achieve normal efficiency,”
        Any plant worth its salt will regularly carry out a heat rate at various loads and trend the data. There, I have expanded the sentence a little, for you. It`s not rocket science, especially if I was responsible for trending and reporting the data. Sorry, but I question yours and the author`s knowledge.

  27. Lovely black solar panels are great for helping the UHI most beloved of the serial liars.
    However, I installed a solar hot water heating system here in Northern Blighty. It set me back £550 in 2007 and almost of paid for itself in 18 months. Nobody is giving me a penny for my free hot water.
    In the US and Australia there are plenty of homies who are not grid tied and live quite well. My electric car set me back a tiny bit more than a diesel. The last run was 235 miles and consumed 44KWH of energy. Thats 172mpge (UK@ 38.5KWH/gallon). Subtract 10% for the US. The UK’s “renewables” show quite high unless its calm. Little Sunlight goes to the grid because its more worth it for the owners to burn it all for themselves..
    http://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/
    People have their reasons for whooharring in here but reality stinks for them.

    • I hadn’t noticed you also posted the gridwatch link before I added my comment… as I say there you can see a few GW of solar each mid day are on the grid and reducing demand…

    • No one knows how much solar is going to the GB grid, because embedded generation looks like reduced demand to the grid.
      However as you can see from my site (gridwatch) there is a perceptible couple of GW midday dip in the demand graph on sunny days.
      Whether this results in any reduction in fossil fuel burn is almost impossible to say.
      Looking at the carbon intensity of the German grid which is overloaded with renewables of the intermittent kind, the best guess is ‘none whatsoever’

      • “No one knows how much solar is going to the GB grid, because embedded generation looks like reduced demand to the grid.” Oh come on! Are you telling me it is not metered?

      • Residential PV installations are not effectively metered. There is no way for the power company to know if the residence produced power or lowered its usage. The homeowner gets a monthly bill for electricity used from the grid. And that’s another subsidy – grid and distribution infrastructure is supported by the ratepayers. If you make power equal to your usage, you pay nothing for grid maintenance.

    • The solar water heaters work very well. We have one for our pool and my neighbor has one for his water heater.

    • The world is full of data as to how much renewable energy contributes. What is completely absent is any properly worked calculations as to what it costs, in a real world grid calculated holistically, or any real world data as to how much carbon emissions its saves.
      Germany with massive renewable penetration emits more CO2 than the UK does with far less. The chief difference being that the UK uses gas and nuclear, and Germany uses coal.
      The renewable energy appears to be almost completely pointless and very expensive

  28. So the State of California has crippled the dependable power industry, but by means of massive subsidies and environmental damage has propped up the undependable wind and solar industries. Celebration!

  29. Force out conventional sources of electricity, and bring in renewables. When renewables save you from brownouts, claim renewables are great! because they saved you from brownouts.
    Clever.

  30. ATheoK: Supposedly only sites providing 1MW and more are included, but the California sourcing tables include sites producing above 0.1MW.
    So none of the residential rooftop installations are included? Judging from the amount of TV advertising for residential solar we’re seeing, this would seem to be a sizable and growing industry. They certainly reduce demand on the grid, but I don’t know how that could be measured, since a sizeable amount of their output is consumed on site, without ever entering the grid. I get taxed on power borrowed from the grid, even when I promptly give it back the next day. This creates a somewhat perverse incentive to do my heavy electrical loads at mid-day when my panels directly power my washer, dryer, etc. So I ignore utility requests to do the heavy lifting at night. My generation reduces average demand on the utility, but may not reduce it during the peak demand hours.

    • “So none of the residential rooftop installations are included?”
      I would say none of residential rooftop installations which tax payer [via government] are
      not paying for, are included. But since vast majority are paid for, then they would have easy
      access to the records of these payments- and any drooling bureaucrat aided with computer
      can total it.
      ” I get taxed on power borrowed from the grid, even when I promptly give it back the next day. This creates a somewhat perverse incentive to do my heavy electrical loads at mid-day when my panels directly power my washer, dryer, etc. So I ignore utility requests to do the heavy lifting at night. My generation reduces average demand on the utility, but may not reduce it during the peak demand hours.”
      Well, utility company is giving you this information because they are not allowing that you generate solar energy. If you have solar panels, it’s not perverse to use most electrical power when the sun is shining.
      But while on topic, imagine if have solar panels and electric car. If recharging car then one should do it
      at same time as you do “heavy electrical loads “. but probably want to charge car after returning from work, which tend to towards the evening.
      So perhaps one should restrict yourself to which entertainment toy you get, solar panels or electric cars, so that you can delusionally imagine that you saving the world.

  31. Solar PV and thermal are generating about 10 MWh per MW per day on peak output days.
    10 ÷ 24 = 0.42
    A 42% capacity factor would almost work, if that was the annual average. However, the annual average in the sunniest part of the State is more like 25-35% for PV and 10-20% for thermal.
    In Texas, wind works very well because of the physical geography of places like the Llano Estacado. Texas wind farms routinely hit 40-50% capacity factors and occasionally peak at about 90% for brief periods of time, which are often unpredictable and creates grid havoc…
    https://www.technologyreview.com/s/601221/texas-and-california-have-too-much-renewable-energy/
    Then there’s the “duck problem.” Solar PV production peaks before demand peaks and actually drops off as peak demand builds.
    http://www.energyvanguard.com/blog-building-science-hers-bpi/electricity-demand-and-the-duck-curve
    All this talk about record breaking added capacity is funny. You have to add 3-4 MW of solar or wind to match the output of 1 MW of coal, gas or nuclear.
    California better fix it’s gas storage facility.

    • Bingo! Name Plated Rated is like 20% if you are lucky in NC for solar. So you have to build out 5MW to replace a conventional fuel plant. Then, you have to build a gas plant along side it anyhow. If you go batteries forget about it. Costs go to the moon to deliver a kilowatt reliably. Just look at some nuclear blogs about our excess capacity on the Eastern Disconnect. The 25% excess generation capacity will fall to 15% on the Eastern or Midwest disconnects in the next 6 years, if, we don’t turn this around and build conventional capacity. Can you say summer brownouts!

  32. A question for those who constantly complain that California imports electricity. Why the complaining? Is there a requirement I don’t know about that requires each state to be entirely self-sufficient? The rest of the US would be in pretty bad shape if that were the case.
    California exports a lot of food, grown in the good climate here. Should every state be required to stop importing food?
    Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma combine to produce and refine much of the country’s oil, producing gasoline, jet fuel, and diesel fuel. Should every state be banned from importing those fuels? There would be an awful lot of people walking if that were the case.

    • Roger, I lived through the “Enron” brownouts and blackouts. When the greens block construction of power plants, thay take no reposibility for the consequences. After all, think of all those people in India and Africa who never have power, as stop complaing about intermittent power/sarc.

    • Probably for the same reason that you equate replacing cheaper nuclear with more expensive “renewables” all because of your irrational fears. Not to mention the fact that the amount of important electricity still swamps the amount generated locally by greed energy, so why are you crowing about prevented counterfactual blackouts when the reality is that CA could have simply imported even more energy?

    • It’s not so much a complaint as it is a frame of reference.
      When California claims to have generated 33% of its electricity from solar and wind on the sunniest days of summer, omitting the fact that they had to import 25% of their consumption is essentially a lie of omission.
      33% * 75% = 25%

  33. That past 2 winters my wife and I vacationed in Palm Springs California. We rented a house and toured many others with a realtor . I noticed something that I found quite amazing. The hot water heater was located in the garage! In the case of our rental a distance of approx. 50′. I timed it and I had to run the shower for over 2 minutes to get hot water. Assuming 1 shower per day for 4 occupants and a water flow rate of 2 gallons per minute that’s 16 gallons of hot water down the drain. Factoring in the waste at the kitchen sink it’s not hard to imagine a loss of 20 gallons per day! This in California where water and green power are huge concerns!!! How many homes are constructed this way? How utterly stupid!

    • ” Factoring in the waste at the kitchen sink it’s not hard to imagine a loss of 20 gallons per day! This in California where water and green power are huge concerns!!! How many homes are constructed this way? How utterly stupid!”
      Well could solve problem with very good insulation of the hot water pipes- and making pipe have larger diameter would make easier to retain heat of water in the pipes. Though if hot water is not used in days
      it’s unlikely to hold the heat that long.
      So it seems as a governmental solution, government should pay more to subsidize solar water heating than Solar PV, and to get subsidy, one should required to have hot water pipes to be properly insulated to retain the heat in the pipe for more than 1 day.
      That way, you save water and subsidize something that actually makes economic sense.

      • Or, you could take the facts into account and choose for yourself. If it weren’t for the partnership of government and external special interests, they would be generating electricity as cheaply as possible to make as much as possible available. That is not what is happening and that is the primary fact.

  34. The claim in the OP seems to be nonsense. If they had put all the money into building gas fired power stations and all required storage etc, then the problem he claims was solved by windmills would not have occurred in the first place.
    If you think about it, the real cause of the problem was that billions of dollars were squandered on wind farms that don’t work most of the time. It diverted the money from power stations that *do* work.
    .
    Meanwhile, it’s June 25th. In 19 of the 25 days of June the total UK windmill output fell at some stage to less than 1 GW, and on one day was – drum roll please – 71 MW.
    What complete and utter nonsense.
    Chris

    • California already has a surplus of gas-fired power stations, as I recall, approximately 45,000 MW installed. It would be rather pointless to build even more at this time, or to have done in the years past. There is also more than adequate gas storage under normal conditions. The difficulty with the Aliso Canyon storage facility was of course unplanned. There are also other, smaller gas storage facilities available but they are not nearly as large as is Aliso Canyon facility.
      The trade-off is investing to avert perceived risks. Of course, California could have invested billions into redundant gas storage facilities, and that may in fact be the outcome in future years. Perhaps natural gas is not as reliable as sober people thought, and the system needs a much larger cushion of stored supplies. It is no doubt an argument the pro-nuclear group will seize upon. “Nuclear plants do not need to store up fuel for future use, like natural gas plants do.”
      The wind power installations in California work just as expected, just as designed. So do the solar power plants. The power flows when the wind blows. And for solar, the generation is fine when the sun shines.

      • The power flows when the wind blows. And for solar, the generation is fine when the sun shines.
        That’s the problem exactly. Roger, why do you think sail boats are no longer used commercially?

      • “It would be rather pointless to build even more at this time, or to have done in the years past.”
        But building pointless Wind and Solar farms is somehow okay or better.

  35. For an analysis of baseload solar system requirements see our detailed article “An examination of the economics and practicality of grid scale solar power.” Key concepts follow:
    • By 2060 88% of current on-line utility scale generation capacity will be retired due to plant age and life cycle considerations.
    • Solar Photovoltaics require 3 to 4 years of their energy output to fabricate, including the frames and associated electronics systems.
    • 29.3 billion 1 square meter solar panels are required for 100% solar power in the U.S. based on current demand 24 hours a day, 365 days per year.
    • 29.3 billion 1square meter panels would cover 29,333 km2 which equals 7.2 million acres, or almost all of Maryland and Delaware.
    • If 1 square meter PV panels were manufactured, installed, and connected at the rate of 1 per second, it would take 929 years to manufacture and deploy 29.3 billion panels.
    • The cost of a solar only approach exceeds $15.27 trillion.
    • To meet all energy demands for transportation, industrial, and commercial-agriculture would require 176 billion solar panels and 5,574 years to produce.
    • Solar photovoltaic cells and panels have a life time of 30 years; 50 years would be extraordinary; thus every square meter of PV surface area would have to be replaced in less than 50 years.
    Article at: http://fusion4freedom.us/going-solar/

  36. We have lost the concept of lowering our operating costs…
    ….to compete with “developing” countries
    globalization

  37. Coal, an exemption from an air pollution legislation is not a subsidy.
    It is a restriction on using a natural fuel.
    Coal is not subsidised.
    Anyone who legislated to block the use of coal or petrol on terms of air pollution would soon find out the sad effects of being an idiot.
    Failure to ensure adequate amounts of gas storage is a government problem, not a problem of power generation.
    Failure to supply enough power to people to live will also result in sad effects, basically a new government.
    When renewable energy reaches your goal there would be no need to import energy, would there?
    Enough renewables and you could sell it to the other states.
    Thanks for the article and thanks Anthony for putting it up.
    Great to see different viewpoints and renewables getting their place in the sun.
    Hopefully they can be well integrated in the future.

  38. The wind does not always blow everywhere. The sun does not always shine everywhere. Rainfall and snowfall are not constant everywhere.
    Add to those truisms two more. Nuclear energy production does not involve fossil fuel use. Nuclear fuel reserves are far more abundant than fossil fuel reserves given current consumption.
    Now let us add one more truism that is rarely mentioned in the discussions of the relative costs of renewable energy production. One can engineer a renewable energy production system that does not use either fossil fuel or nuclear fuel as a backup energy source.
    If the output of your renewable energy production system is electricity, then it is possible to design a water cracking, hydrogen/oxygen combustion backup loop for the times when the wind does not blow, the sun does not shine, and the rains falter.
    The purpose of this observation is not to advocate for such a system, but rather to create a level field for comparing nuclear electricity production to renewable electricity production. The irreducible fact for nuclear energy production is that it does not use fossil fuel. An apple to apples comparison should compare the cost of a terawatt electricity grid powered by 100% non-fossil fuel nuclear energy plants to one powered by 100% non-fossil fuel renewable energy plants. Roll in all the costs, but compare on a level field.
    Let’s add one last truism. Fossil fuel reserves will be exhausted. No matter how much we improve extraction techniques, we are consuming fossil fuels faster than they are being created.
    So would it not be nice to know that in a future in which fossil fuels must be man-made, and not extracted and refined, what is the real cost of electricity made without fossil fuel or nuclear fuel as backup energy sources?

    • “Now let us add one more truism that is rarely mentioned in the discussions of the relative costs of renewable energy production. One can engineer a renewable energy production system that does not use either fossil fuel or nuclear fuel as a backup energy source.
      If the output of your renewable energy production system is electricity, then it is possible to design a water cracking, hydrogen/oxygen combustion backup loop for the times when the wind does not blow, the sun does not shine, and the rains falter.
      The purpose of this observation is not to advocate for such a system, but rather to create a level field for comparing nuclear electricity production to renewable electricity production.”
      Also not advocating it as government program, but could think of this as back up emergency system
      market, that a government could assist. And so if grid goes down, one can switch to a different grid.
      And not only does it have power, it also has water. So this like premium service for things like earthquakes- and so as part of it, it has to designed to withstand a variety of disasters.
      But also same system can used routinely instead of the normal grid. So this system could include better drinking water, and “better” power because it’s “alternative” energy. So one could pay more for tap water, but have better tap water [so it’s like bottled water]. So people with this service would have higher chance of having power and water in disaster but generally use regular water and power networks, or people could always use this system or use it more than only in a disaster.

  39. From Sowell:
    More government statistics on bird mortalities, by cause and per 10,000 deaths.
    Buildings and windows ………5800
    High Tension Lines…………….1400
    Cats…………………………………..1100
    Vehicles……………………………. 850
    Pesticides………………………… 700
    Communication Towers…….. 148
    Wind Turbines……………………….2
    As Mark Twain said there are 3 kinds of lie – lies, damn lies and statistics. Where’s the statistics of eagles killed by wind turbines in California? Big birds killed per turbine vs. per building, per meter of high tension line, per vehicle, per tower? The fact that there are more buildings, tension lines, vehicles and towers than wind turbines shows that it’s not an apple-to-apple comparison. Also type of birds killed is important. Domestic cats don’t hunt eagles. And can we stop building buildings, tension lines, vehicles and communication towers? But wind turbine is not the only game in town.
    If renewables are cheaper than competition, we don’t need propaganda from vested interest person or groups. The coal guys, nuclear guys, oil guys and gas guys will all be scrambling to build wind farms and solar farms without any subsidy.

  40. Roger Sowell June 25, 2016 at 5:42 am

    The adverse impact on marine life is described as follows:
    “The 19 power plants (in California) that are regulated by the Policy are collectively able to withdraw billions of gallons of water every day to cool steam for generating electricity. In the process, millions of fish, larvae, eggs, seals, sea lions, turtles, and other creatures are killed each year because they are either trapped
    against screens or are drawn into the cooling system where they are exposed to pressure and high
    heat. The marine life that is killed is mainly at the base of the food chain and that can adversely affect
    the future of certain species and adversely impact recreational and commercial fishing.”

    Roger, if you can’t see the political BS inherent in any statement that say “millions of fish, larvae, eggs, seals, sealions, turtles and other creatures are killed each year” then you are not paying attention. There aren’t millions, or even thousands, or even hundreds of sea lions or seals killed each year by pass-through cooling of power plants.
    That is a LIE, Roger, a lie which you are now promoting.
    It’s like saying “billions of mosquitoes and humans die every week”. They are mixing apples and oranges in order to LIE about the dangers.
    w.
    PS—Rather than being worse for the environment as their BS statement claims, removing species at the bottom of the food chain is far preferable to removing species from the top of the food chain … but obviously, neither the authors of that BS nor Roger Sowell know anything about the ocean.

    • PS—a couple more points about this foolish greenie hysteria about ocean-side pass-through power planks killing plankton.
      A power plant kills on the order of 2-4 tonnes of plankton per day. A blue whale eats about 4 tonnes of krill per day, and these krill in turn eat on the order of 40 tonnes of plankton per day.
      So … should we outlaw and destroy all blue whales for being such prodigious plankton killers, indirectly consuming 40 tonnes of plankton per day? I mean, each whale is as destructive to plankton as ten power plants, and power plants don’t reproduce themselves, this is a crisis!
      Or should we look at it another way? I used to commercial fish for anchovies next to a big power plant with pass-through cooling. Presumably it killed about 2-4 tonnes of plankton per day. We used to catch on average 15-20 tonnes of anchovies per day. Those anchovies in turn were eating 150-200 tonnes of plankton per day.
      So by killing the 15-20 tonnes of anchovies per day, we were freeing 150-200 tonnes of plankton per day from death. These plankton would not be eaten by those anchovies and would therefore be free to commit planktonic suicide by power plant.
      So … should I be given an ecological award for freeing those 200 tonnes of plankton per day from the cruel jaws of the anchovies?
      Finally, consider the fate of the plankton which does go through the power plant and is killed … it is RETURNED TO THE OCEAN AS COOKED DINNER FOR A HOST OF CREATURES, and the great cycle of life goes on.
      This whole focus on tragic plankton death is hogwash. The plankton numbers are trivially small, eclipsed by a single whale or a single fishing boat, and the ocean is huge.
      w.

      • For Willis Eschenbach, June 25, 2016 at 9:40 am.
        The once-through cooling issue, and cooling water intake system (CWIS) requirements is a huge topic that I cannot begin to address on this forum. However, a brief overview is that the US Clean Water Act required the EPA to regulate not only power plants but also industrial plants. The EPA tried and was sued in court. The US Supreme Court handed down its ruling in 2009. EPA issued final regulations in 2014, via the Federal Register.
        However, you have questions on how much ocean fauna is impacted. There are some good documents on this, and a link below. Here is a quote from a summary of the California impacts: including Chinook salmon, and fish that inhabit kelp forests.
        “Once-through cooling has a devastating impact on the San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary where all of the
        imperiled salmon species that migrate through the Sacramento and San Joaquin River watersheds
        must pass the intakes for two aging power plants. Records for both of these plants show that they have
        killed threatened and endangered species, including the Delta smelt and the Chinook salmon, which are
        currently the subject of significant water distribution discussions in the state. The impacts on the Bay-Delta
        are so significant that a group of water districts filed a Notice of Intent to Sue against the plants for violating
        the Endangered Species Act by illegally killing fish and causing detrimental impacts on fish populations.
        According to the Department of Fish and Game, the San Onofre nuclear plant destroyed well over two
        hundred acres of kelp forest. This, in turn, caused the displacement or death of thousands of individuals from
        numerous other species. In total, the kelp fish population in the area has declined by 80%, all due to that
        single plant.
        In bays such as Santa Monica, Monterey, and San Diego, and estuaries such as Elkhorn Slough, the impacts
        from once-through cooling can be more pronounced due to the high biological productivity of these areas and
        the concentration of the power plants’ impacts in light of the area affected. The Moss Landing Plant alone
        cycles 1.224 billion gallons per day at maximum permitted capacity. This represents over a quarter of
        Elkhorn Slough and Moss Landing Harbor, cycled through the plant each and every day.” — source: http://cacoastkeeper.org/document/press-release-on-riverkeeper-decision.pdf
        For those who want to wade through approximately 300 pages of biological information, here is a link
        https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-05/documents/cooling-water_phase-4_benefits_2014.pdf
        The methodologies are laid out in that document.
        If one wanted to impact the government policies on once-through cooling systems, it may yet be possible to bring a legal challenge.

      • Thanks for the reply and the links to the documents, Roger. I suspect we agree more than disagree on this one. Let me try to clarify my position. In short, can once-through cooling affect inland waterways? Sure, depending on the size of the river and the size of the plant it can make a difference.
        Does it do much to the ocean? Generally, not a lot regarding plankton death. However, the ecology immediately around the outfall will assuredly be altered … but remember, altered just means different types of creatures live there, it doesn’t mean a dead zone. In Florida there’s an endangered crocodile that only lives in the warmed outflow area of a power plant’s cooling system. Go figure.
        Should cooling water be regulated? Absolutely … but only where it is actually causing significant damage. But ten or twenty sea lion deaths per year out of a population of 200,000? Not impressed.
        Generally, the effects can be mitigated at some cost, through screening and entry/escape structures, so as always it comes down to cost/benefit. And increasingly, new plants are not using once-through cooling.
        Sadly, like all grasping, over-regulating, ever-increasing bureaucracies, the EPA point of view wants to rave about millions of sea lion deaths and keep us from killing a even small amount of plankton …
        My best to you,
        w.

      • Roger, your first link is a press release, without any supporting facts. The second link is to a 334-page document; you may have waded through it, if so, please point to a particular section. You may have noticed that, according to Section 11.6, “survey data is grounded in a random utility model”, and, further, “utility is the sum of systematic [or observed] and random [or unobserved] components”. What does your engineering soul feel when reading that text?

      • For Curious George, engineering says we must pass X amount of water through some device in Y amount of time, and not bring the prohibited small critters along with the water. The old solution was to enlarge the pipe intake diameter so that flowing velocity was very low and swimming critters could easily swim away. Smaller critters, such as larvae, fish eggs and such, were prevented entry by the use of screens. There is a cost component to achieve the desired results. With unlimited money, one could safely remove all of the marine life. We don’t have unlimited money, so we build a structure with the available funds to meet the EPA requirements. In many cases, that means using a cooling tower and not once-through cooling. In others, such as along the California coast, the Rankine-cycle steam plants are replaced with 1-1 CCGT or in some cases 2-1 CCGT, and with air cooling instead of water. The 1-1 CCGT air-cooled plant in El Segundo, California is an example. Zero cooling water is used even though it is literally right on the beach at the Pacific Ocean. The penalty is more natural gas burned for a given power output.

      • “The penalty is more natural gas burned for a given power output.”
        OK, does that sound “right” to you? Or to enviros?
        Wasn’t efficiency THE primary goal according to the enviro movement, before “renewables”?
        And, aren’t we about to reach peak something?
        I am shocked.

      • Or perhaps it’s lipstick on a pit bull, a most interesting metaphor … yes, I think I’ll use that one.
        w.

    • “Nuclear essentially began as a gov’t monopoly called the Manhattan project, for good reason: gov’t needs to maintain almost total control over civil and military uses”
      By nuclear, you mean fission, right?
      Many university have fission reactors.
      Are you afraid of PWR, VVER, GE BWR?

      • Fermi’s fission reactor was under the stands in the University of Chicago athletic area.

      • @mods
        June 25, 2016 at 12:56 pm: Sorry, I intended this one as a child of “June 25, 2016 at 8:16 am”

      • Simple: That was me. Yes, Universities do research, and Corporations operate nuke (unless there’s a fusion plant somewhere, yeah fission) plants, with juuuuuust a bit of gov’t regulation and oversight, right? My point to Mr. Sowell was, anyone who says “only one tiny subsidy” of solar & wind; who is willing to call grandfathering of coal plants a “subsidy”; and who wants us to believe nuke is lathered up with subsidies cannot be trusted, he may consider gov’t oversight of nuclear a “subsidy” if he wants. Yet all varieties of gov’t payments in support of wind & solar are, evidently, not subsidies? As I said, he compares apples and oranges, and is not persuading anyone, just fooling himself.

  41. That is a nice sales pitch for renewables. Missing is any mention of costs involved. These include capital costs, under-written by public loan guarantees. The fact is that renewable electricity costs more to produce than electricity from gas or coal fired plants.
    To make this palatable to the public the renewables require government subsides to be competitive. Without such subsidies they simply would not exist. But all these extras are ignored in this article which makes it nothing more than another propaganda vehicle of the global warming movement. And speaking of global warming, said to be caused by the greenhouse effect, Hansen knew that there was no scientific proof of it. and attempted to prove it himself. He noted that global warming in 1980 was more than 0.4 degrees centigrade (his terminology).
    The chance of this happening by chance was less than one percent, he said, and this allowed him to claim that “…global warming has reached a level such that we can ascribe with a high degree of confidence a cause and effect relationship between the greenhouse effect and the observed warming.” It seems, however, that it was just a chance happening in 1988 because the twenty-first century hiatus proves that there is no such thing as a greenhouse effect. During a hiatus carbon dioxide increases but temperature does not.
    This, however, is impossible according to the Arrhenius greenhouse theory used by the IPCC. Yet it does happen. Obviously. their theory has made a wrong prediction. And a scientific theory that makes a wrong prediction belongs in the waste basket of history . The only greenhouse theory that can correctly handle the hiatus is MGT, the Miskolczi greenhouse theory, which I have discussed before and which should be used in place of the Arrhenius theory that fails to describe the real world.
    [PARAGRAPH BREAKS ADDED FOR READABILITY mod]

  42. Roger, I still don’t understand the why.
    By that I mean, why replace a 24/7 inexpensive tested reliable power source with a 4/7 expensive untested unreliable power source?
    Where’s the benefit? Why on earth would we want to do that? It won’t make a measurable difference to the climate, so WHY?
    Meanwhile, your proposals are shafting the poor. Energy cost increases hit the poor the hardest, you’re screwing them to the floor, and meanwhile you act like you have the moral high ground … sorry, Roger, but your proposals impoverish the poor and make their lives harder and shorter. You don’t get kudos for that.
    You get curses from those whose lives you are damaging with your mad rush to shift to highly subsidized renewables.
    w.

    • OK, Willis, I will try to give an answer to your questions. This is based on the facts as I know them to be, and a bit of analysis. Others may arrive at a different conclusion.
      ” I still don’t understand the why.
      By that I mean, why replace a 24/7 inexpensive tested reliable power source with a 4/7 expensive untested unreliable power source?
      Where’s the benefit? Why on earth would we want to do that? It won’t make a measurable difference to the climate, so WHY?”
      The “24/7 inexpensive tested reliable power source” is unclear, perhaps you refer to coal, natural gas plants, or nuclear plants. The State of California has made decisions (that I do not agree with for the most part) to reduce CO2 emissions state-wide to a very low level. One manifestation of that policy is to have 50 percent of all electricity sold in the state be provided by renewable energy sources by the year 2030. There are interim targets on that goal, such as 33 percent by 2020.
      So, even if I wanted to, I could not change that. AB 32 started this mess, and the recent SB 350 made the 50 percent by 2030 the law. An excerpt from the SB 350 bill, now a law, states:
      “Existing law establishes the California Renewables Portfolio Standards (RPS) Program, which is codified in the Public Utilities Act, with the target to increase the amount of electricity generated per year from eligible renewable energy resources to an amount that equals at least 33% of the total electricity sold to retail customers per year by December 31, 2020. Under existing law, a violation of the Public Utilities Act is a crime.
      This bill (SB 350) … requires that the amount of electricity generated and sold to retail customers per year from eligible renewable energy resources be increased to 50% by December 31, 2030, as provided.”
      The State of California is a firm believer in the greenhouse gas warming idea and all the IPCC warnings of impending doom if such GHGs are not reduced. I am on record several times as stating that GHG warming is false-alarmism. I both write on this and make public speeches on this. Believe me, I do all that I can in my limited time and abilities to show that GHG warming is false-alarmism.
      But, California does not listen to me. Instead, the state has a ban on coal-fired power that will be phased in over the next about 8 years, to help achieve the GHG goals. The state also has, dating back many years, a ban on new nuclear power plants. That one I agree with entirely due to the very high cost of nuclear power and the inherent safety risks. Rates of cancer among those who live near nuclear plants cannot be dismissed as “would have happened anyway.”
      Now, with SB 350 in place, the State has few choices. No coal, no nuclear, so what is left? Natural gas, hydroelectric, and renewables are about the only choices for grid-scale power.
      So, that is the official answer to the Why. The state of California bought the story from IPCC that GHGs are overheating the planet. I have sat in state agency meetings and listened to speakers say that California is the leader and will demonstrate to the world how keeping the economy healthy and cutting GHGs can be done. California officials, and appointed bureaucrats have some idea that what starts in California gets spread to the entire world. I have serious doubts, myself.
      “Meanwhile, your proposals are shafting the poor. Energy cost increases hit the poor the hardest, you’re screwing them to the floor, and meanwhile you act like you have the moral high ground … sorry, Roger, but your proposals impoverish the poor and make their lives harder and shorter. You don’t get kudos for that.
      You get curses from those whose lives you are damaging with your mad rush to shift to highly subsidized renewables.”
      There is another, not-yet-official aspect that needs to be widely debated. That is that within the US and within the next 20 years, the US power grid will undergo the most important transformation in its entire history. The problem is caused by a looming lack of low-cost coal, and the huge fraction of all US power generation from coal burning. Few people know that the economically produceable coal reserves are so short, but official USGS reports show this is true. Yes, there is about 100 years or more of total coal in the US, but it cannot be mined and sold without losing money. Britain has the same issue, and is importing coal while it operates its few low-cost mines that remain open.
      The big issue, then, is what to do in the short time available, 20 years, to provide for future growth in electricity use and replace the coal-fired plants that are being retired. Even if one wanted to use nuclear power (but not in California due to the law), it is impossible to build 350 nuclear power plants in 20 years. One must replace the 99 remaining, aging plants, plus install 250 more to replace the coal-based power. That means starting up almost 18 plants per year. Clearly that is not going to happen.
      Instead, gas-fired CCGT power plants will be installed in great numbers, along with larger and more efficient wind-power projects across the great heartland of America where the wind is strong and free, from north Texas to the Canadian border. California will continue to add solar plants, almost all of which will be PV due to much lower cost.
      Offshore wind power projects will also increase, as the Block Island project offshore Rhode Island is but the first of many. The success of the ARES gravity rail storage system in Nevada will open that technology to every place that has a suitable slope.
      Now regarding the high prices, I agree with you that higher prices hurt the poor the most. I would expand that to include those on fixed incomes, and those just getting by paycheck to paycheck. It is a very bad thing to have to choose between paying for food, or paying for electricity. Been there, done that for too many years. California, though, has different views on this, officially. Their view is to increase electricity prices as more kWh are used, as a way to discourage the excess users. There are also financial hardship plans to keep the monthly cost low for those least able to pay. It’s the middle class that gets hurt.

      • “along with larger and more efficient wind-power projects across the great heartland of America where the wind is strong and free, from north Texas to the Canadian border.”
        What a horrible thing to contemplate!

      • The big issue, then, is what to do in the short time available, 20 years, to provide for future growth in electricity use and replace the coal-fired plants that are being retired.

        I suggest that replacing the California Governor, most of the legislature, and the entire PUC would be a better strategy than building more renewables. Appeasing insanity does not, in my experience, promote reasonableness.

        California, though, has different views on this, officially. Their view is to increase electricity prices as more kWh are used, as a way to discourage the excess users.

        In effect endorsing the notion that electrical power is a net public nuisance, like smoking. Think about that for a moment. It’s from the same mindset as the Greenpeace initiative to ban chlorine. Increasing the cost of things is one activity government is very good at, but I’m unaware of an historical case where increasing the cost of something advanced civilization or made life better for people in general.
        We need to start by accepting that electricity is not just a net public good, but a public necessity for maintaining industrial civilization. From that acceptance it follows that the public policy goals should be to increase the availability, reliability and affordability of electrical power. At that point it is appropriate and productive to argue the respective merits of competing technologies.
        If you let the Luddites frame the discussion, your choices will be limited to dumb and dumber.

    • Roger Sowell June 25, 2016 at 11:13 am

      OK, Willis, I will try to give an answer to your questions. This is based on the facts as I know them to be, and a bit of analysis. Others may arrive at a different conclusion.

      ” I still don’t understand the why.
      By that I mean, why replace a 24/7 inexpensive tested reliable power source with a 4/7 expensive untested unreliable power source?
      Where’s the benefit? Why on earth would we want to do that? It won’t make a measurable difference to the climate, so WHY?”

      The “24/7 inexpensive tested reliable power source” is unclear, perhaps you refer to coal, natural gas plants, or nuclear plants. The State of California has made decisions (that I do not agree with for the most part) to reduce CO2 emissions state-wide to a very low level. One manifestation of that policy is to have 50 percent of all electricity sold in the state be provided by renewable energy sources by the year 2030. There are interim targets on that goal, such as 33 percent by 2020.

      So the reason that you have done a puff piece on the claimed “success” of the California plan in which you osculate the fundament of renewables is … because it’s the California plan?
      And the reason that you have lied by omission about the costs of this “success” is … because it’s the California plan?
      Dear heavens, that is all the more reason to OPPOSE the plan. It is not a reason to cravenly ignore the glaring flaws in the California plan as you have done. It is not a reason to write a hagiography of the California plan as you have done. It is a reason to point out the obscene cost of the plan, not pretend it doesn’t exist as you have done. You have made yourself into a part of the problem, not of the solution.
      Finally, you say:

      “Now regarding the high prices, I agree with you that higher prices hurt the poor the most. I would expand that to include those on fixed incomes, and those just getting by paycheck to paycheck. It is a very bad thing to have to choose between paying for food, or paying for electricity. Been there, done that for too many years. California, though, has different views on this, officially. Their view is to increase electricity prices as more kWh are used, as a way to discourage the excess users. There are also financial hardship plans to keep the monthly cost low for those least able to pay. It’s the middle class that gets hurt.”

      You’re not getting it. Financial hardship plans can only reach a small part of the populace, and in inadequate amounts. You see, the theory itself is screwed up. You’re supporting raising energy prices until it hurts, and then giving some small part of the money back to some few the people who are hurt … if you think this assuages the pain, perhaps you’re not broke enough to follow the story. And if you are able to succeed, and to assuage all of the pain … then what’s the point?
      Since I’m one of the consumers getting screwed by the electricity prices, and I’m not getting a damn dime out of the deal, let me assure you that it’s not working for me … and I’m not someone who is living with six other relatives in a two bedroom flat. How do you plan to get the rebate money to them?
      But more to the point, HOW ABOUT NOT TAKING THE MONEY IN THE FIRST PLACE! You keep coming up with these whiz-bang justifications for you sticking your damn grabby fingers into my wallet and taking out my hard-earned money to finance your guilt-drenched green fantasies.
      I would say to you how I really feel about this act of yours, Roger, but it’s a family blog … so instead, let me repeat what I said above. The poor of the world curse you and your ivory tower ideas and your blind intellectual arrogance, because your plans are already causing them pain, suffering, impoverishment, and death.
      w.

      • Pretty strong words, Willis. Let me point out, again, that it is not my plan. This is California’s plan, based on their stated belief in IPCC climate science. Anyone who reads my writings or has heard me make speeches know quite well that the IPCC conclusions about greenhouse gases and climate are not my views.
        So, if you believe so strongly that California’s plan is bad, very bad for the poor, then I suggest you do something about it. You could go make impassioned speeches before various state agencies, or to elected officials, or file a lawsuit to overturn any of the various laws, if you can find a valid reason for filing the lawsuit.
        What needs to happen, and quickly, though, is what I wrote above about the US running out of coal and needing a replacement for that coal-based electricity. I would love to read your expert opinion on what each state should do to provide reliable, safe, and inexpensive electricity. Please be sure that whatever you devise and recommend does not raise electricity prices, as you point out, that certainly hurts the poor and they will “curse you and your ivory tower ideas.” Your plan must of course not cause the poor any “pain, suffering, impoverishment, and death.”
        I’ll check back periodically for your expert plan. But, I won’t be holding my breath.

      • Roger Sowell June 25, 2016 at 6:14 pm

        Pretty strong words, Willis. Let me point out, again, that it is not my plan. This is California’s plan, based on their stated belief in IPCC climate science.

        Roger, since you are lauding this plan, and proclaiming it as a success, and studiously ignoring the problems with the plan, yes it is indeed your plan. Anyone not familiar with the truth who reads your hagiography of renewables in California without one word about the cost would come away thinking it is a whiz-bang wonderful plan …
        And that’s on you, Roger. You are SELLING the California plan, using all the normal salesman’s tricks—emphasizing the postive, ignoring the negative, failing to reply to valid objections, the usual. And if it’s not your plan … then why are you working so hard to sell it?
        w.

      • @ Roger Sowell June 25, 2016 at 6:14 pm
        “Pretty strong words, Willis. Let me point out, again, that it is not my plan. This is California’s plan, based on their stated belief in IPCC climate science. Anyone who reads my writings or has heard me make speeches know quite well that the IPCC conclusions about greenhouse gases and climate are not my views.”
        Yet you have no qualms about cashing your paycheck for spouting this nonsense, despite the fact that it harms those less fortunate than you.

      • Willis, you are truly a piece of work. You say, “then why are you working so hard to sell it?” That is absolutely false. As examples of my efforts to stop the GHG reduction schemes in California, I point to the AB 32 bill, which I wrote about and on which I delivered several public speeches. When AB 32 came up on the ballot as an initiative, I worked hard to defeat the initiative. WUWT ran a few articles on the same, with my name. Perhaps that is not much, and perhaps that is not enough. It is my record and I stand on it.
        Now to the greater issue, the subject of my post above and your unrelenting opposition to renewable energy. The fact is that Southern California is facing an imminent crisis – but perhaps you don’t care because it does not affect you as you live in Northern California. Our natural gas supply that normally sees us through heat waves is simply not available this year. It is simple to figure out that anything that can be done to reduce natural gas use, should be done. Or, perhaps you just write lofty-sounding ideals about helping the poor, but you would rather shut down the wind and solar power generation systems that are already in place, already proven to work, and are providing a substantial part of electrical demand. Shutting those systems down because you don’t like the way they were built, or where they were built, or how they were financed, would mean the poor people that you claim to represent must suffer the heat without benefit of electricity. Or, based on previous experience in electrical shortages in Southern California, the power companies could increase electricity bills by great amounts – again hurting the poor that you claim to have so much concern for.
        So, Willis, which is it? Which of us has the welfare of the poor in Southern California in mind? You, who would shut down the renewable energy plants and cause immense suffering this summer?
        My post merely points out that the renewable power sector is reducing the amount of natural gas that must be burned in the gas-fired power plants during a period of crisis shortage of natural gas. The state agencies have assessed the situation and written several reports on the gravity of the crisis. You can choose to ignore them, or dispute them, or deride them as you choose.
        So, what is it then, Willis? Where is your plan to bring cheap, reliable, safe electricity to California over the next several months, and years beyond? Will you start with shutting down the renewable power plants that you so despise?
        Please, give us all your answer.

      • Willis, just for the record, I receive essentially zero compensation for any of my efforts on climate change. I once was paid a small fee, under $200 for one speech to an industry group, and received the cost of a modest hotel room for one night for another speech. That totals about $350 (much less after taxes) for more than ten years of campaigning against the IPCC consensus. So, you can now stop repeating that bit about me cashing my paycheck.

      • Willis, apologies where an apology is due. That last bit just above on cashing my paycheck is properly delivered to one “Reg Nelson” of June 25, 2016 at 7:40 pm.

      • Willis writes

        But more to the point, HOW ABOUT NOT TAKING THE MONEY IN THE FIRST PLACE! You keep coming up with these whiz-bang justifications for you sticking your damn grabby fingers into my wallet and taking out my hard-earned money to finance your guilt-drenched green fantasies.

        We could discuss the subsidies around oil and gas vs subsidies for renewable energy and you might make the point that there should be no subsidy for renewables at all – and therefore that much more money available for something to improve life for those less well off.
        The amount of money subsidizing renewable energy pales in comparison to the amount of money spent on war in the middle east. Also, some of the poorest people with the fewest options are sent to fight and die in those wars.
        Perhaps you would argue that the war in the middle east has nothing to do with oil?
        By going down the PV Solar route, ultimately every country can achieve energy independence. What value would you place on that? How do you think poor countries with few energy resources will fair in the future if the future continues to be fossil fuel focused purely reliant on market forces for change?

  43. Roger Sowell, Esq, thank you for the essay.
    I have written about CAISO here, and I have been checking their web page again lately. The renewables standard (AB 32 — I voted for repeal) has been responsible for making electricity more expensive, and the expensive energy is cited as one reason why businesses move out of state or expand out-of-state instead of in-state. That said, I have been similarly surprised, even pleased, by how much of total demand has recently been met by solar PV panels.
    Readers probably recall that the two San Onofre nuclear power plants were shut down because of a failure of routine maintenance: old pipes were replaced by new pipes that had not been made up to standard (a case study for “Murphy’s Law”). Authorities decided in favor of permanent shutdown instead of refurbishment because of the cost of the latter. But the cost of refurbishment would have been approximately the cost of the Ivanpah solar power plant (which has problems of its own), and would have generated much more electricity, probably for much longer.
    PV panels constitute toxic waste once they reach 30-40 years of age. Per megawatt-hour of power produced, PV panels are more toxic waste than is produced by nuclear power. To my knowledge, the cost of handling all that toxic waste is not yet included in the price of the solar power.

    • Slightly off topic: Those new heat exchanger pipes have been designed with a commercial grade but faulty fluid dynamics software package. I wonder what fluid dynamics code do climate models use.

      • Roger, do you have a link to the report that says radioactive material got in to the steam generator side of the process?
        It seems odd that the pressure gradient between the two systems would allow this to happen.

      • For Galvanize, re June 25, 2016 at 1:59 pm
        The pressure gradient is exactly how the radioactive, high-pressure water from the reactor leaked into the lower pressure shell-side of the steam generator.
        The NRC report on the SONGS January 31, 2012 incident is at this link. http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/operating/ops-experience/tube-degrade/event-plant-condition.html
        The pertinent part reads:
        “Prior to the event, Unit 3 was operating at 100 percent rated thermal power with no plant evolutions in progress. On January 31, 2012, Unit 3 control room operators received an alarm that indicated a primary-to-secondary reactor coolant leak from steam generator 3E0-88. The alarm received was from the main condenser air ejector radiation monitors, which continuously samples from a vent line for the purpose of rapidly identifying steam generator tube leaks.
        “During follow-up inspections of the Unit 3 SG tubes, the plant operator, Southern California Edison (SCE), discovered unexpected wear in both SGs, including significant tube-to-tube wear in the free span areas of over 100 tubes. Pre-planned testing of 100 percent of the SONGS Unit 2 (Unit 2) SG tubes was in progress as part of a regularly scheduled refueling outage when the event occurred in Unit 3. Testing results from Unit 2 also revealed unexpected tube wear at the retainer bars. Additional analysis and testing ultimately resulted in identifying two tubes with tube-to-tube wear similar to what was observed in Unit 3.”

    • matthewrmarler June 25, 2016 at 9:58 am

      Roger Sowell, Esq, thank you for the essay.
      I have written about CAISO here, and I have been checking their web page again lately. The renewables standard (AB 32 — I voted for repeal) has been responsible for making electricity more expensive, and the expensive energy is cited as one reason why businesses move out of state or expand out-of-state instead of in-state. That said, I have been similarly surprised, even pleased, by how much of total demand has recently been met by solar PV panels.

      You are surprised that an industry is gaining market share when it receives a subsidy of billions of dollars per year and is supported by a law FORCING people to buy their crappy product??? That surprises you?
      Remind me not to hire you as my accountant, Matt. I am absolutely stunned that you find the so-called “success” of such an industry even slightly surprising.
      Name your industry, give me billions in subsidies, and I’ll guarantee I can gain market share. This is absolutely unsurprising, so I’m shocked by your surprise.
      w.

  44. It is especially ironic that renewables, once derided as destabilizing a grid, are now riding to the rescue and helping to prevent blackouts on the California electric grid during summer heat waves. One can only imagine the rolling blackouts and uproar with Aliso Canyon gas storage effectively out of commission, SONGS nuclear generating shut down, and if no renewable power plants had been installed over the past 5 years.
    With this much power from solar, the electricity crisis of the early 2000s would not have occurred. With the A/C usage and water needs of CA, isn’t PV power worth consideration even if it is more expensive than hydropower?
    Another question: With the reduced usage of natural gas power plants, won’t those power plants last longer?

    • matthewrmarler June 25, 2016 at 10:07 am

      Another question: With the reduced usage of natural gas power plants, won’t those power plants last longer?

      Not as much as you think, because they need to be “spinning reserve” for wind and sun. This is different from the reserve needed for e.g. nuclear and hydro, which don’t change that fast.
      So the turbines are kept spinning, and are ramped up and down to fill in the minute-by-minute gaps in the wind. As you might imagine, this is the worst possible condition for a turbine, to be run up and down all the time.
      And as a result, no, you don’t get the expected savings.
      w.

      • This is different from the reserve needed for e.g. nuclear and hydro, which don’t change that fast.

        Did you just say Hydro doesn’t change fast? Hydro is possibly the fastest changing of all the power generators. It can change pretty much in real time.

  45. Roger Sowell June 25, 2016 at 6:16 am

    There is no belief required, the stark facts are quite clear. Nuclear plants enjoy at least six forms of government subsidy, while wind and solar each have only one.

    This is complete and arrant nonsense. I cited my post above called “Make 29% On Your Money Guaranteed, which you obviously didn’t read. It listed the following kinds of solar subsidies for one single project:
    • Federal grants
    • Low interest Federal loans
    • Federally guaranteed loans
    • Above-market state approved power contracts
    • Tax exemption for solar power equipment
    • Accelerated depreciation
    This does not include the subsidy of a “renewable mandate”, which is nothing more than a government-backed monopoly ripoff … nor does it include the tax benefits for rooftop solar, nor State grants and low-interest loans for both rooftop and grid-scale solar, nor the above market prices paid for rooftop solar electricity, prices which are directly passed on to poor buggers like myself in the form of higher electricity costs.
    In other words, your claim that “wind and solar each have only one [form of subsidy]” is absolute and total rubbish, and it reveals that you are either desperately ignorant of the subject … or much worse.
    w.

    • Willis: I have not seen Mr. Sowell respond to this point, he does not seem capable of recognizing that his subsidy talk is simply false. I am happily surprised that he does realize the falsity of the CAGW. How these facts don’t collide in his head, I don’t know. Maybe he should read more Mark Steyn, and see that the answer to his “what to do the next 20 yrs” is, watch a great state and people utterly collapse under the weight of their extreme folly. Installing more solar panels and windmills won’t change that. I really wish I could see some light in the tunnel for them, but they refuse to provide elec and water for the existing population. They will suffer the consequences, and I hope we in the midwest will have time to learn from the mistakes CA has been making for decades, due to their green madness.

    • Amount of subsidy per MWH produced is a much better way of quantifying it. $ per MWH is far more relevant than $ spent on the industry.

  46. Over the years I have followed some of the claims made by supporters of solutions to electrical generation that employ methods other than using coal/gas/nuclear as a fuel source. Despite plenty of investment and research it remains difficult to forecast a world run using solar, wind, geothermal or even hydro generated electricity. It is true there are uses for such methods if the conditions are right, otherwise it is impractical on the wider scale. Here Mr Roger Sowell identifies the advances made by California, impressive in a way, but what really stands out is that this State imports about a third of all the electricity it needs. As the old traditional plants are closed it is easy to imagine a situation when the people of this State will have to go without power on a regular basis, industry either having to invest in standby power or do what it is doing now, leaving.
    There is no change to my conclusions that the decision to turn away from practical power generation must eventually impose a reduction in living standards because modern life is constructed around a reliable grid. The answer to the problem, conceding that there may be an issue with CO2 release, remains nuclear, the costs of which are artificially high due to onerous regulation and the refusal to develop the technologies that use better designs that are inherently safer. This fits in with the backward looking attitudes common amongst the influential.

  47. The Eloi with their solar and wind generation, may think they rule the day.
    But the Morlocks with base load nuclear and fossil fuels, we rule the night.
    And a continent-wide ice storm of ash fall will turn day to night.
    Proud to be a Morlock.
    That cannibalism thing, just a rumor we spread to keep ’em off our lawns.

  48. The only reason there is a natural gas shortage in California is they will not allow any new pipelines to be built. My former employer had two fully subscribed pipelines planned for southern California 4 years ago. We tried to permit them and get right-of-way for three years, no way, so we gave up even though they were fully funded. You saved 1.3 BCF? Whoopee! That is less than 4 months gas production for one shale gas well. It’s nothing if you have the infrastructure. We can put up hundreds of acres of bird chomping windmills, but we can’t bury a 20 inch pipeline? Any given area along a pipeline construction route will be torn up for a few weeks while the pipeline is laid, but after it is done the landscaping is restored and you can’t even tell it is there, except for the warning signs. A wind or solar farm is in your face for decades! Your gas shortage is a self inflicted wound.

  49. there is much wrong with this article. Renewables have a place in providing power but it is hardly cost effective.
    The proponents (commies and elities and those parasites that live on the collective) of renewables have always fudged and hid the true costs of the operations.
    No one ever adds the losses to conventional energy production which is often squandered or dumped to accommodate the renewable power production. Renewables don’t take the credit for the fact that they can not operate alone since they can not provide continuous power yet they still try to separate out and refuse to include true costs.
    honesty would go a long way, unfortunately the green team lacks it.

  50. You have to account for how much they reduced demand by sending businesses and people out of state.

  51. Perhaps someone could also publish what the renewables production was on the lowest production day of the year – perhaps the winter solstice? – and how California managed to keep the lights on.

  52. A question for those who may have the pertinent data:
    What is the ratio of the average cost of manufacture, installation, and maintenance of the photovoltaic solar panel to the average cost (at nationwide rates) of the electricity produced by the same panel during its service life, compared to the same ratio calculated for a modern nuclear plant?
    That is the only question that matters, behind all the smoke and mirrors painted by Mr. Sowell.

  53. Well Roger never answered the eagle deaths I guess he is okay with that.
    Here is insanity. Up here in BC because of our abundance of hydro electric power you can pretty much say say BC is 100% renewable, only a handful of gas generators and only two off those run 24/7 feeding into Alberta. No coal plants, I repeat no coal plants but the nutters running the province gave us a carbon tax, insanity.

    • NC:
      You hit some hot buttons for me.
      The BC Carbon Tax is like the one just implemented in Alberta – it is a hidden sales/consumption tax used to “redistribute” wealth. In fact the BC government promotes itself on this “social” program. So does Alberta. It really isn’t about CO2, it’s about finding a socially acceptable way to increase taxes to increase government income for vote buying exercises, rewarding friends of the government and those they think will re-elect them.
      Note that BC operates large coal export facilities so that raw coal can be sent west and the processed coal (emissions) can come back west in the air. 😉 Just kidding. Probably shouldn’t even say that as it wouldn’t be good if BC increased the tax on coal exports from BC and the US that goes through the BC ports. (They won’t, they are promoting coal exports.)
      http://www.energybc.ca/profiles/coal/coalminingbc.html
      Note that while BC exports a LOT of electricity to the US and MAY have plants supplying Alberta 24/7 the current inter tie flows would indicate there is not much happening at the moment. There is also flow the other way from Alberta to BC depending on what is being done with power in BC. Exports to the south are more beneficial to BC than to Alberta. However, the inter ties are two way streets.
      http://bcstats.gov.bc.ca/StatisticsBySubject/ExportsImports/Data/ElectricityTrade.aspx
      Note that while BC is usually a net exporter, in 2006 BC IMPORTED 7 million megawatt hours of electricity from the US.
      Here is the current inter tie flow between Alberta and BC for the last week – essentially zero – a bit of flow in each direction.
      https://www.bchydro.com/energy-in-bc/our_system/transmission/transmission-system/actual-flow-data.html?WT.mc_id=rd_txmn_actual-flow-data
      The inter ties are limited in actual capacity compared to stated capacity, sort of like wind name plate capacity versus operating production. Then look at the flow into the US. BC provides quite a bit of electricity flow southward. BC Hydro planning provided for over capacity in their hydro plants in order to have export capability, some of which purportedly was Columbia River Treaty specified and some of which may have been negotiated to offset things like not raising of the Ross dam which could have flooded the Skagit Valley back into BC if my old memories are correct. And still sometimes they have to import power. 40% of the time over the last 18 years, BC was a net importer of power. Hence, the desire for Site C on the Peace.
      Not everything is as it first seems.
      ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
      (Full disclosure: there are power lines that run from the BC Peace Hydro Power projects all the way to the Oil Sands about 16 miles north of Fort McMurray. What other feed ins there are I don’t know but there are lots of substations and connections along the way. Looked this up on Google Earth some years ago for a project I was working on. The resolution in GE is good enough to follow the power pole shadows all the way from Fort McMurray to Vancouver and the cut lines from Prince George to Kitimat.)

  54. How does CA classify the millions of dollars worth of hydro power imported from British Columbia during the “manipulation” crisis some years back? That turned into a bad debt they never covered….. Because they could get away with it. Pay up before we turn on the switch. Fry, freeze, starve, drought, all because CA really don’t seem to care about consequences of their loony energy policies.

  55. The Sierra Club has been part of the crooked governance in Washington, Oregon and California for years. They conspired to remove the renewable designation from HydroPower for the mendacious purpose of creating a false renewable ratio and justification for expanded subsidies for wind and solar.
    State agencies are inundated with agenda driven activist bureaucrats masquerading as public servants.
    The comingling of efforts by government agencies, renewable interests and environmental NGOs showered with government grants is corruption pure and simple.

  56. Don’t forget the bird shredding/cooking subsidy. If a coal fired power plant kills one eagle, the fine is huge.

  57. The drivers are renewable and green. The technology is neither throughout its life cycle from recovery (i.e. shifted environmental disruption), to distribution (i.e. large-scale environmental disruption), to production (i.e. active environmental disruption), to reclamation. The “green” industry and their environmentalist lobbies are, unfortunately, exempted from their extraordinary claims, which causes misalignments in global science, education, economics, politics, and energy production choices.
    Backgrounder on the Three Mile Island Accident (partial meltdown)
    With over 300 civilian reactors operating worldwide, someone has gone to extraordinary lengths to promote an irrational fear of nuclear science.

  58. ‘We can ignore reality, but we cannot ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.”
    The reality is PV, and wind require massive subsidies and that is illogical. If it were practical/sustainable it wouldn’t need any subsidies never mind massive subsidies.

  59. A statistics Sowell conveniently omitted:
    “There are about 2,500 of these golden eagles in California and the biggest wind turbine farm is said to kill about 80 of these eagles each year, on average. Instead of being concerned about this number, the state is looking to triple their wind turbine capacity”
    http://toryaardvark.com/the-united-states-is-littered-with-more-than-14000-abandoned-wind-turbines/
    There are now six big wind farms in California. Assume no more wind farms will be built and the five big wind farms are killing the same number of eagles as the biggest wind farm. The golden eagle will be extinct in California in just 15 years unless they breed faster. But propangadists say never mind this anyway the cats kill more cuckoo birds.

  60. Thanks for the article, but nothing you said even matters in the long run. That’s because the zero (at best) EROI for wind power, and outright negative EROI for solar doom the entire enterprise from the outset. Wind and solar are just not dense enough power sources. We have known this for decades and after billions of dollars of research, this has not changed. The more try to depend on these power sources, the faster we doom our children to a dark and cold future.

    • And there is the crux of this whole discussion. What is the next technology that has sufficient density?
      I say the best answer resides inside Lockheed Martin’s Skunk works in their compact fusion design. http://www.lockheedmartin.com/us/products/compact-fusion.html
      Imagine 100 MW on a 40 foot trailer. Fantastic. (Although I can’t find out where the heat exchangers go and they would seem to require just a bit more real estate. Sarc.)
      Time to buy some long-term stock.

      • Kit, I was referring to fusion, not fission.
        Lockheed’s Web site now says they propose to replace the gas section of power plant turbines with inputs from the fusion reactor. I assume this means steam is generated and run through the power section.
        I could then see how a compact fusion steam generator could be sited next to existing thermal natural gas plants, many of which are around 100 MW, and allow dispensing with the inlet gas line and it’s daily cost of fuel.

  61. As someone who has spent 35 years in nuclear construction and operations, it’s easy for me to conclude that shutting down Diablo Canyon is a big mistake.
    And yet I don’t begrudge PG&E too much for deciding to close the plant. California’s politicians set the agenda for how energy resources will be managed in their state, and if you want to make a profit selling electricity in California, you must play the politician’s game by their rules.
    And there just might be a silver lining to this dark cloud.
    The easiest way to find out just how far and how fast adoption of the renewables might progress here in the United States would be to set aside the entire state of California as an experimental Wind & Solar Energy Resource Exploitation Zone.
    Restructure California’s energy marketplace in a way which guarantees a 12% annual rate of return on any new money invested in wind power technology, in solar power technology, and in grid-scale energy storage technology which is installed inside the state’s borders.
    Grease the regulatory skids for review and approval of new wind and solar facilities so that groups opposed to their siting and construction are prevented from obstructing fast track development.
    Impose strong sanctions and enact powerful economic disincentives against the further use of electricity generated by fossil fuel and nuclear facilities, regardless of where those facilities are located, in state or out.
    If California must be disconnected from parts or all of the Western Interconnection to achieve a full and honest abandonment of fossil-generated and nuclear-generated electricity, then so be it.
    OK, we must ask the question, will it all work out according to plan? (Assuming there actually is a definitive plan, not just a series of pie-in-the sky energy policy documents.)
    If wind and solar are everything their most ardent advocates say they are, then after a decade or so, California should have the cheapest, the most plentiful, and the most reliable supply of electricity in America.
    How about it, all you Californians who are claiming the renewables can do it all. Let’s see you put your money where your mouths are and show us how it’s done.

    • BB
      I do ‘begrudge’ PG&E for failing to influence state legislature for reasonable policies. The CEO came from wall street and was not informed that utilities are public services.
      I also worked at the Rancho Seco that PG&E helped close so their nuke plant could be put in the rate base.

      • Retired Kit P, having spent the early part of my career passing through the nuclear industry’s many trials and tribulations in learning how to build a nuclear plant to the NRC’s standards while staying on schedule and on budget, I am empathetic with your feelings concerning PG&E’s decision to appease California’s eco-politicians.
        And about the time we got it all figured out in the mid to late 1980’s, the market for nuclear plants evaporated.
        We have to remember that in today’s energy marketplace, going with anything other than natural gas for power generation is strictly a public policy decision.
        That said, the green politicians have convinced a majority of California’s voters that wind and solar backed by energy storage technology can handle all of the state’s power needs.
        Sure it’s hogwash. But most of California’s energy customers now think that converting to wind and solar is the best long term solution for their energy needs.
        OK, all you Californians, that’s fine. Just be that way.
        How should private enterprise handle a situation like the one that now exists in California?
        If the highest priority for a corporation is to make a profit for the investors, then it’s best for corporate leadership to believe the customer is always right.
        Just charge the customers what it costs to deliver the product plus a reasonable profit; give them what they say they want; and then go on about the company business of making a buck for the stockholders.
        If California ever restructures its energy marketplace so as to guarantee a 12% annual rate of return on all new money invested in wind and solar, I’d personally have no qualms about joining the mad stampede to cover every open piece of ground in the state with a windmill or a solar panel.

  62. Roger writes “Renewable power plants are preventing the grid from experiencing blackouts.”
    This is not universally true.
    When renewable plants are not producing because of the long-known problems of no sun, no wind, such renewable plants cannot ever prevent the grids from having blackouts. And that down time is more than half the time.
    To the contrary, at such times fossil and nuclear backup power keeps the concept of renewable grids alive in the hearts of some.
    It would be a more frequent claim that fossil and nuclear backups are preventing the grid from experiencing blackouts when wind and sun fail, but that again is not universally true.
    While I have become accustomed to expect double-speak from lawyers, I have encountered it less commonly from engineers.
    Maybe this is because engineers try to get the right answer 100% of the time, especially when lives depend on the quality of their work; but lawyers in adversarial situations know that on average, they have to settle for the right judgement only 50% of the time.
    Roger seems to provide a walking example where combining engineering and law in one person leads to a joint probability of being right about 1% of the time.
    That is not universally true either. It depends on your definition of ‘right’. Probably Roger has his definition, I have mine and mine is strict.

  63. Roger Sowell June 25, 2016 at 8:31 pm

    Willis, you are truly a piece of work. You say, “then why are you working so hard to sell it?” That is absolutely false.

    Roger, you started out by saying:

    Many WUWT might think that renewable energy just can’t cut it, and when it comes to certain demand situations that may be a very valid issue. However, there has been quite a surge in installed renewables for daytime generation in California over the last 6 years, and the numbers from CAISO do tell a story that is surprisingly positive. …

    When you claim that renewable energy can not only cut it in California but is “surprisingly positive” without saying one damn word about the horrendous subsidies that are required to keep the edifice propped up, you are indeed selling the California plan. You have put out claims that are all roses, and you made absolutely no mention of the fact that consumers and the taxpayers and the poor are paying through the nose for your damn renewable power.
    The California story is not “surprisingly positive”, that’s hype. When you give an industry billions of dollars in subsidies, you don’t get to claim that market penetration proves success. That’s lawyerly BS of the highest order.
    So yes, Roger, you are acting just like a used car salesman. You talk all about how great the car is, but you don’t mention a single one of the ongoing problems that drive the car’s operating cost up through the roof. As a lawyer, I’m sure that you are very familiar with the concept of “lying by omission”. You’re telling the truth … but not the whole truth, and that means that you are just another useless salesman.
    w.

    • Willis, the words you are complaining about in the article’s first paragraph were written by Anthony Watts, the host of WUWT.
      I suggest you take this up with him.
      My words begin with “From CAISO, record-setting renewable production.
      A lot of good…”
      I’ll be interested to read your response.
      But, as I have a full schedule today, it won’t be until around 6 pm PDT.

      • Roger, thanks for the clarification, you are correct.
        However, your own words start with:

        A lot of good is being done by renewable energy power plants in California, …

        so despite my error, my point still stands completely unaltered—you are indeed selling the California plan. Those plants are not doing “a lot of good”. They are horribly expensive, wildly intermittent, and they are driving my electricity costs through the roof.
        And that, I can assure you, is not good … well, it’s not good for anybody who is not some ambulance-chasing lawyer desperately trying to sell the California plan. For you, I guess it’s great … except for the unimportant details that you’ve carefully avoided, which are that meanwhile the poor get shafted, we get blackouts and brownouts, and my rates go up in order to subsidize rooftop solar for the rich.
        Sorry, amigo … that’s not “good” on anybody’s planet.
        w.

      • Willis, that’s a very weak reply. You insulted the host and made no apology to him. Where are your manners?
        The point of this post, of course, is the California grid is stable and providing power to those who want and need it, at least that is true thus far this summer. The renewables are adding a significant amount to the grid at 150,000 to 200,000 MWh daily, thus preventing a blackout or brownout. Several state agencies have stated the grid is on the edge of blackouts with the Aliso Canyon storage facility not able to meet the gas delivery requirements as it has done in the past. Those are the facts.
        That is the “lot of good” I refer to, as anyone who can read will understand. Or, perhaps you would prefer the grid to destabilize and have blackouts during the heat of the summer, with thousands of people ill or dying from the heat. Turning off the renewables would do exactly that.
        I also noticed that you have not provided your proposals to make the California grid a low-cost operation as I requested above. Exactly what changes would you make? You can get a start on what to consider at
        http://sowellslawblog.blogspot.com/2016/06/designing-electrical-grid-from-scratch.html

  64. Another statistics Sowell conveniently omitted:
    “Two factors led to a major shift in causes of multiple mortality events (MMEs) in bats at around 2000: the global increase of industrial wind-power facilities and the outbreak of white-nose syndrome in North America. Collisions with wind turbines and white-nose syndrome are now the leading causes of reported MMEs in bats.”
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/mam.12064/abstract
    Wind turbines are now the leading cause of bat deaths worldwide. But propangandists say never mind that too anyway fungus is also killing bats.

  65. I’m with w. Why? Only if you value wind and solar as so inherently preferable to such a degree to warrant removing by force of government more reliable and inherently less costly sources.
    In so far as nuclear, subsidy and the environment is concerned, 95% of total output of wind fields in the fourth largest wind producing state in the nation as of 2013 is equal to the annual production of one of two nukes being forced out of business by the partnership of wind and government. Exelon is begging the state for a level playing field to keep open a 150 acre site with 14,150 acres of conservation and recreation. That or build another 122,000 acres of bird and bat choppers with no conservation or recreation and a statewide skyline dominated by Big (Brother) Wind. Doubling the subsidies in order to enable them to double the rates. And have the local utility send us monthly reminders that we use too much of their product. Oh, I forgot, it’s two nukes so double the bad stuff. Again, Why?

  66. What is Roger going to claim next? San Diego is better at snow removal because they started keeping records on snow days closing schools and achieved a record of zero days putting Chicago to shame.
    As others have pointed out and Roger has glossed over, California imports one third of its power. That is EPIC FAILURE. The rolling blackouts in 2000/2001 is another example of epic failure. California does not learn from history.
    The great utilities always produce more power than their customers need, selling the cheapest power to their own customers. Neighbor utilities would buy the higher cost surplus power because it was often cheaper than their costs. My first nuke plant startup after getting out of the navy was for one of these great companies. Because the PUC said the nuke plant was not needed, the utility could not put it in the rate base. The utility did not fight it in court. At the end of the month, a bill was sent to all customers apologizing for the higher cost power made with oil. The cheaper nuclear generated power was sold to NYC. That did not go over very well and the PUC relented putting the nuke plant in the rate base.
    Good utilities import part of the year and export part of the year with close to a zero net balance.
    Bad utilities fail to meet their customer’s needs.
    Wind and solar are bad engineering ideas ideas. Utilities would only do a token amount for public relations. A 1% renewable mix is not going to adversely affect the rate base. Increasing the mandate for renewable power will initially result ‘record setting’ amounts but that is not sustainable. Just like last time from the Carter era, the bad ideas will go away for a generation. Then some inexperience POTUS and governors will say they a good idea.

    • Perhaps you should run up to Iowa and tell them that their low power prices, stable grid, and 30 percent (and higher) average amount of wind power on their grid is a (what did you call it? oh yes) “bad engineering ideas ideas.”
      I’m sure they will be delighted and impressed to hear your expert views.
      And, let’s explore your views on importing power from other states. Should California refuse to import power from the Hoover Dam, hundreds of miles away in another state? Was the federal government wrong to build Hoover Dam and produce power from it, with the express purpose of sending that power to Southern California?
      How about nuclear power from the Palo Verde plant near Phoenix, again hundreds of miles away in another state? If California is not importing the nuclear power, exactly who will buy that 900-plus MW of electricity from Phoenix? Are you advocating shutting down one-third of that triple-reactor plant?
      And what should California do about the offer to sell power from the states of Washington, and Oregon, who have excess power to sell? Should California say no, we would like to build our own power plants and you can let yours sit idle?
      Just curious how this works in your mind.

      • Lived in Iowa for a while working at a nuke plant. Low power prices and a stable grid. Might have something to do with being close to Powder River coal. Of course this is before wind farms in Iowa because the California experience showed that that generation of wind turbine was a bad engineering idea.
        Roger like many in California do not understand leadership. The resurgence of wind farms in the US started in Texas under governor Bush and a modest requirement. Thanks to the ignorant policies of Clinton, natural gas prices became very volatile. The 2005 Energy Bill provided incentives for many things. Iowa and the rest of the corn belt rapidly supplied ethanol. Places like Iowa and the PNW jumped on collecting PTC money.
        So A) California has not provided leadership; and B) in 2016 and fracking as stabilized natural gas prices. So, yes wind and solar are still terrible engineering ideas. Good engineers can make bad ideas work part of the time.
        “Should California refuse to import power from the Hoover Dam, hundreds of miles away in another state? ”
        Notice how good Roger is at debating but ignorant of good practices. What California should do is what everyone else has done since Hoover Dam was built. Build coal and then nuke plants to meet growing demand.
        Just for the record, Lake Mead is not doing very well. One of the places we winter. Water level is way down.
        “California is not importing the nuclear power, exactly who will buy that 900-plus MW of electricity from Phoenix?”
        Again, Roger is ignoring all the fossil plants in the southwest.
        “And what should California do about the offer to sell power ….”
        For those who do not know, the state of California demanded that the the federal government sell power to California destroying a vibrant aluminum industry.
        Here is how it used to work. Power from the PNW would go south in the summer and the southwest would send power north in the winter. Liberal governors in Washington State and Oregon have been trying to close the coal plants that serve Seattle and Portland for 20 years. Like Roger, they want the nuke plant closed too.
        Here is the problem. One out five years is a drought year. Natural gas pipelines are at capacity. It gets in winter.
        So the grid works well for sending power to California. If things are tight, Roger should be praying for the coal and nuke plants here along with a mild summer. Sometimes there is no excess power to send.

  67. For those who have an expert opinion on how to change the California grid to meet their agendas, here is a partial list of issues to consider when making changes to a grid.
    1. Power grid first of all, must be safe
    2. Power grid second, must be reliable
    3. Power grid third, must sell affordable power
    4. Utilities must obtain a reasonable return on investment
    5. Power grid must meet all demand conditions, all the time
    6. Account for variations in demand daily, weekends, seasonal
    7. Account for planned and unplanned asset outages
    8. Account for adverse weather, earthquakes, fire, flood, wind, tsunami
    9. Account for blackouts and brownouts
    10. Account for fuel supply issues including disruptions (coal, natural gas, etc)
    11. Account for available space (if any) on railroads for coal
    12. Account for growth in demand, if any
    13. Account for environmental impacts – wildlife, air, water, soil, radiation, noise, explosion, etc
    14. Account for transmission and distribution systems
    15. Account for customers’ ability to pay – poor, elderly, etc
    16. Account for power attributes as attracting commerce and industry
    17. Pricing must also pay utility for fuel and other operating costs
    18. Account for critical services – hospitals, life-support systems at residences, etc
    19. Account for cooling water, river, lake, ocean, or air-cooling, mixed-cooling
    20. Account for customers’ installation of solar on property, and wind – will you buy from individuals?
    21. Account for other states with offers to sell power to California, yes, no, what conditions
    22. Account for large industry or commercial sites that self-generate, will you be their backup?
    23. Account for large industry or commercial sites that produce excess – will you buy?
    24. Account for location, siting, of generating assets, and environmental justice issues
    25. Account for location and siting of transmission assets, distribution assets
    26. Will you cooperate in a regional grid, or a very large regional grid?
    27. For experimental technologies that need research and development – will you fund this? How?
    28. How will you determine acceptable pollution emissions to air, water, soil, and via radiation?
    29. What levels of animal, bird, fish, and other marine life’s deaths will you accept and how to justify these?
    30. What level of grid reliability will you deem acceptable, and how to justify this? 99% or higher?
    31. How will you ensure that grid reliability is uniform across all areas, so no group is discriminated against?
    32. How will you price the power sales, by residential, commercial, industrial, transportation, or other method?
    33. Will you have a flat rate, or a tiered pricing system, and why?
    34. Will you encourage efficiency in use, or profligacy, or be neutral, and why?
    35. How will you address energy profligacy by a rich few, and the increased generation assets?
    36. If nuclear is part of your assets, who pays for a nuclear disaster and related deaths? Property damage?
    37. How will you bring electricity to a very small user in remote areas? Not at all?
    38. Will you install above-ground or in-ground distribution, where and why?
    39. Will you allow distributed generation, if so, at what size and where?
    40. How will you address the disparity in use vs location in California, with coastal areas
    . having mild summers and winters thus low usage, but inland areas
    . having hot summers and cold winters thus much higher usage?
    41. For gas-fired peaker plants, if you have those, how will you regulate their use?
    42. For large hydroelectric plants, if you have those, how will you decide where to put them?
    43. How will you decide when to retire an asset, either generation, transmission, or distribution systems?
    44. On a daily and hourly basis, how will you choose which generating assets to run, which to order to stand by, and which to hold in reserve?
    45. How will you ensure complete compliance with all Federal Laws and regulatory agencies, including but not limited to FERC, Nuclear Regulatory Agency, PURPA, Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, various national energy policy acts, and state agency regulations such as California Energy Commission, California Coastal Commission, California Public Utility Commission, and California Independent System Operator, California State Water Resources Control Board, and California Air Resources Board?

    • If you have a silly agenda that is causing the problems, change the agenda. Last time the governor got recalled. You get a better actor. Instead of rolling blackouts you have forced outages from failed equipment and declare it conservation.

  68. “That is the “lot of good” I refer to,…”
    It is nice that Roger is finally acknowledging all the good we do in the nuclear and coal industries. Natural gas too.
    Considering the amount of time I have spent on shift and working weekends, I am personally gratified. It is a little irritating that Roger has worked to make the grid less stable and then thinks wind and solar is the answer.

    • The other problem with Roger Sowell is that he accepts CARB, the California Coastal Commission, etc, rather than recognizing most of California’s problems are due to these state agencies. Sometimes one must cut the damn Gordian Knot, and recognize the system is broken.

  69. Roger Sowell June 27, 2016 at 6:30 pm

    Willis, that’s a very weak reply. You insulted the host and made no apology to him. Where are your manners?

    Anthony is my friend, and he’s aware that I’m not always user-friendly. If he feels insulted I’m sure he will have no problem telling me so, and if that is the case I’m more than happy to apologize.
    However, I’m also sure he has not appointed you as his spokesdude. Sorry, but in such matters I only deal with principals, not self-appointed spokespersons.

    The point of this post, of course, is the California grid is stable and providing power to those who want and need it, at least that is true thus far this summer. The renewables are adding a significant amount to the grid at 150,000 to 200,000 MWh daily, thus preventing a blackout or brownout. Several state agencies have stated the grid is on the edge of blackouts with the Aliso Canyon storage facility not able to meet the gas delivery requirements as it has done in the past. Those are the facts.
    That is the “lot of good” I refer to, as anyone who can read will understand. Or, perhaps you would prefer the grid to destabilize and have blackouts during the heat of the summer, with thousands of people ill or dying from the heat. Turning off the renewables would do exactly that.

    The grid works, not because of renewables, but despite them. Your “lot of good” posits a false dichotomy—either renewable energy or no energy, “turning off the renewables” in your words. But that’s not the choice.
    The relevant comparison is, how much better off would we be if instead of spending billions on wildly expensive renewables, we had spent the same amount on construction of a mix of hydro, fossil, gas, and nuclear power plants?
    The obvious answer is that if we had done that, we would have had a more diverse, resilient, and stable grid; it would have cost less; and most importantly, the poor ratepayers like myself and the single mom with three kids wouldn’t be getting screwed by wildly inflated electricity costs.

    I also noticed that you have not provided your proposals to make the California grid a low-cost operation as I requested above. Exactly what changes would you make? You can get a start on what to consider at
    http://sowellslawblog.blogspot.com/2016/06/designing-electrical-grid-from-scratch.html

    Sorry I missed your prior request, Roger, I’m glad to comply. My proposal to bring down electricity costs not just in California would be:
    1. End all subsidy for renewables, both grid-scale and roof-top.
    2. End all “renewable mandates”, including the verdammt ethanol mandates.
    3. Stop the persecution of coal (very minor contributor in CA but big elsewhere).
    4. Build hydro wherever it makes sense.
    5. Build new-generation nuclear where it makes sense.
    6. Build geothermal where it makes sense.
    7. Build conventional everywhere else, except …
    8. Build renewable wherever it is actually economically advantageous on a levelized basis including all incidental costs (e.g. transmission lines, spinning backup costs, etc.).
    There’s more, but those would solve the problem.
    All the best,
    w.

  70. Bill writes, “O&M is costing much more than anticipated.”
    Not by people in the power industry. It is self proclaimed experts like Roger who claim that wind and solar are free.
    I helped put together a business plan for an anaerobic digestor power plant. During the presentation the several board members questioned the capital costs and O&M costs. My answer was that higher initial costs reduced O&M costs based on their landfill gas power plant.
    The project did not move forward because a federal or state subsidy was needed. This organization has one small hydro, one small solar PV, and one biogas project; that is all that is need to be ‘green’.

  71. Galvanized writes, “Oh come on! Are you telling me it is not metered?”
    Yes, that is often the case and you have to wonder why?
    My 7 kw RV generator has a kwh meter that is used for scheduling maintenance. I also picked up power meter from ebay to use with a smaller 800 w generator.
    Last week we were camping at a location that did not have electricity. I noticed that the camp host had solar panels. I was going to ask him how well they worked. I went for a morning hike and noticed two Honda generators running. Never mind about the solar panels.
    Residential PV and emergency generators are a scam for rich suckers. If you can measure performance, then detecting the scam would be too easy.
    When measured, PV performance never meets expectation. No utility is bragging about the performance of 5 year old utility scale solar and reporting to ratepayers O&M costs.
    Even Google stopped reporting on their web site. Hey stupid computer geeks, don’t put solar panels on your roof someplace that is famous for the fog rolling in.

  72. Beta Blocker writes, “I’d personally have no qualms about joining the mad stampede to cover every open piece of ground in the state with a windmill or a solar panel.”
    I certainly agree. In fact I applied for a position in the PNW with GE wind so I would not have to move back east. GE nuclear called me to come back to NC. I started in new reactors and finished in new reactors.
    However, California is meeting its goals by putting a lot of wind farms in the PNW. If you drive from eastern Washington/Oregon you will never notice the ‘dirty’ coal fired power plant but thousands of wind turbines are hard to miss.

    • Retired Kit P, I see those windmills every time I drive to Portland. And also when I go to my favorite fishing hole along the Tucannon River.
      They are destroying the rural character of the Columbia River gorge and are appearing in ever-greater numbers in central Washington State, destroying the rural character of the eastern slopes of the Washington Cascades.
      But I don’t see any windmills around Puget Sound where most of the voters who made the decision to spread windmills all over central and eastern Washington’s rural landscape live.

      • There is a good reason you do not see wind farms around Puget Sound. The sailing sucks. It is a beautiful place to motor.
        We sail at Wallula Gap. There are wind farms on both sides of the Columbia there.
        These wind farms and others in Washington State were not built based on a mandate of state voters or other subsidies. They were built because of the high price of natural gas. Subsequently, the power was sold to California to meet their mandate. Fun with smoke and mirrors.
        Not to be outdone, Washington State did pass a mandate taking credit for the already built projects.

  73. “Kit, I was referring to fusion, not fission.”
    Yes, John know the difference. Both fusion and fission make niffy bombs.
    Fusion does not work for making power. Only scam artists ‘propose’ it. I do not know what Lockheed’s is but it is a scam. Watch your wallet.

    • Kit, I have much enjoyed your descriptions of working in fission plants…good additions to the discussion. But, to say fusion doesn’t work for power I think is wrong. It doesn’t work quite yet. But LLNL and the Europeans are spending tens of billions on Tokamak designs that are getting closer to self-sustaining reactions. A solution using those designs may still be 50 years from commercial reality, as it has always been, but they’ll get there. Meanwhile, Lockheed and other private concerns are making perhaps better progress using somewhat different technology, and I don’t mean cold fusion. It appears to me that Lockheed indeed could be in the 10 year time frame they talk about.
      For me, the breakthrough to small, distributable fusion plants like Lockheed envisions is the next great thing in science and engineering. And for the world’s economy. Hey, I’m a petroleum guy, but I know oil and gas will be truly scarce in 100 years, and should be saved for transportation fuels and even better for plastics. So it is time for fusion to enter the scene, and ramp up to widespread use by the time other options are in decline.

  74. For those with an interest in the bird and bat deaths at the solar power plant at Ivanpah, California, the following document was released 30 June, 2016. Title is “ISEGS Avian and Bat Monitoring Plan 2014-2015.” ISEGS is Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System. The time frame is 12 months from 21 October 2014 – 20 October 2015.
    The approved Plan allows a systematic and detailed count of approximately 30 percent of the facility, then total fatalities plus injuries are estimated using an approved computer model.
    http://docketpublic.energy.ca.gov/PublicDocuments/07-AFC-05C/TN212042_20160630T145041_ISEGS_Avian_and_Bat_Monitoring_Plan_20142015.pdf
    (note, file is 230 pages, 6.8 MB size)

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