A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to Renewables “Crushing” Natural Gas

Guest Excelling by David Middleton

Every year since at least 2014 the U.S. Energy Information Administration has published a report called Levelized Cost and Levelized Avoided Cost of New Generation Resources as part of their Annual Energy Outlook. I went through each report since 2014 and built an Excel spreadsheet to look at the year-to-year changes. What I found was fracking hilarious.

I specifically looked at the average Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE) for five (5) generation sources:

  1. Natural Gas Advanced Combined Cycle
  2. Advanced Nuclear
  3. Solar PV
  4. Wind – Onshore
  5. Wind – Offshore

The currency and year of entering service is noted on each line. Each year’s report estimates the average cost of power plants entering service in the near future in current U.S. dollars. I also included the outlook for 2040 that was in this year’s report, even though it is a wild-@$$ed guess.

LCOE by Energy Source

Natural Gas Advanced Combined Cycle

Who else is surprised by the fact that the capital costs for Natural Gas Advanced Combined Cycle have been cut in half since 2014?

Advanced Nuclear

Look ma, no subsidies! If nuclear power was subsidized like solar & wind… we might have already replaced coal with natural gas and nuclear power.

Solar PV

Despite all of the advances in technology, solar PV still doesn’t work 70% of the time.

Wind – Onshore

Not bad… when the wind blows.

Wind – Offshore

Ron White would say…

Total System LCOE Comparisons

Without subsidies, least expensive bolded
With subsidies (primarily the investment tax credit), least expensive bolded

LCOE as % of Natural Gas Advanced Combined Cycle

Without subsidies, least expensive bolded
With subsidies (primarily the investment tax credit), least expensive bolded

With the investment tax credit (ITC) and the production tax credit (PTC), wind barely edged out natural gas on windy days for 3 years.

LCOE Graphs

Without subsidies
With subsidies

Any questions?

Addendum

Form EIA-860 detailed data with previous form data (EIA-860A/860B)

This set of files includes generator-level information on power plants that are 1) operable, 2) proposed, permitted and/or under construction, and 3) recently retired or cancelled. The most recent complete year is 2017. At the end of 2017 this is what was in the proposed tab…

Note that there are virtually no offshore wind turbines (30 MW) currently in the permitting/construction pipeline and battery installations are laughable. While there are MW 53,916 of natural gas combined cycle, 12,891 MW of natural gas combustion, and 1,187 MW of coal-fired capacity in the pipeline. Two of the three coal-fired generators are even listed as under construction. That’s just under 68,000 MW of fossil fuel-fired generation capacity vs just under 42,000 MW of onshore wind (27,531 MW) & solar PV (14,282 MW). Since it takes 2-4 MW of wind or solar to offset 1 MW of natural gas, coal or nuclear, it’s even more lopsided than it appears.

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Tom Halla
July 18, 2019 6:07 pm

Wind and solar is pouring money down a rat hole.

Curious George
Reply to  Tom Halla
July 19, 2019 7:47 am

Do you disrespect alarmist’s pockets?

Mark Broderick
July 18, 2019 6:10 pm

“Any questions?”

….Ummmmm…nope!

Greg
Reply to  Mark Broderick
July 19, 2019 12:07 pm

Yes, it would seem the first thing to do is to define “levelized” cost.

This sounds a lot like an homogenized temperature. These are not innocent adjectives that can safely be ignored. As soon as someone tries to sell me an “levelized cost” I can be sure they are trying to levelize it to support the point they want to make.

We all know that Australia was cooling until they “corrected” the temperature record. So who gets to “levelize” the costs and what dog do they have in the fight?

Chuck Wortman
Reply to  Mark Broderick
July 20, 2019 8:58 am

Ummm, yep. Why not factor in the cost of CO2 emissions? Or do you all conveniently deny that it is a major factor in the increased atmospheric heat?
It doesn’t take a genius to understand that it does, only a conspiracy theorist would not.

Who pays when these 1000 year floods now happen every ten years? Who pays when the raging wildfires burns out of control, destroying harvestable timber, homes, infrastructure?

Who pays when coastal areas lose their economic life blood because rising sea levels wiped out or will wipe out their prime beach attractions which generate millions in revenue?

Who pays when the heatwave destroys the crops? Who pays when the average rainfall has been so far above normal that Farmers cant plant crops?

You can contort and twist all you want but it doesn’t take a wuwt blogger to know that increased CO2 in the atmosphere traps heat. Your average 5th grader knows that.
Stand inside a greenhouse in peak daylight, it’s the same effect.

And to say that oil, nat gas, nuclear, and coal don’t get subsidized?

Complete and bogus BS! Huge subsidies. None of you will read this because it might challenge your cherished beliefs about fossil fuels but here is a counterpoint to the bogus notion that fossil fuels and nuclear don’t get subsidized.

https://cleantechnica.com/2018/01/26/renewable-energy-doesnt-get-subsidies-fossil-nuclear-sources-gotten-continue-get/.

Sources are documented in the article.

Bill Marsh
Editor
Reply to  Chuck Wortman
July 20, 2019 9:26 am

“increased CO2 in the atmosphere traps heat” — then your average 5th grader would be wrong.

Chuck Wortman
Reply to  Bill Marsh
July 20, 2019 11:12 am

No, you would be wrong. Go ask any 5th grade science teacher. Maybe s/he can enlighten you. Go ask a climatoñogist. Don’t bother asking a meteorologist. They study weather, not climate.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Chuck Wortman
July 20, 2019 11:37 am

A climatoñogist [sic] would tell you there have been no negative changes to Earth’s climate in over 100 years. Liars and fools will give you scary stores.

Chuck Wortman
Reply to  Chuck Wortman
July 20, 2019 1:44 pm

No Dave, a meteorologist would tell you that because they don’t do the research. Every advanced government research body around the world will tell you what you don’t want to believe…climate change is real and a very big threat to the planet. But you CHOOSE not to believe it and instead choose to seek unscientific information which will support your belief. You choose to ignore common sense science and your own eyes because you do not want to believe climate change is real. There will always be a handful of scientists whi say it isn’t, who don’t do actual research and who may not have an actual degree in that area, but you will source them anyway, just like you choose to believe the author of this post who doesn’t take into account the pollution costs generated by fossil and nuclear fuel. And that skews the data because it is a cost paid for by others.

Bill Marsh
Editor
Reply to  Chuck Wortman
July 20, 2019 9:40 am

Are you going to read this?

“Stand inside a greenhouse in peak daylight, it’s the same effect.”

It is NOT the same effect. Calling them ‘greenhouse gases’ was an unfortunate choice. The ‘atmosphere’ in Greenhouses gets hot because greenhouses have transparent covers that allow IR in but block convection from allowing the now warmed air to escape. They do NOT get ‘hot’ because CO2 ‘traps’ IR. Before you ask the reason that some greenhouses artificially raise their CO2 levels to 1000ppm is NOT to heat the greenhouse faster, it is to allow the plants to grow faster, CO2 being an Ariel fertilizer.

Chuck Wortman
Reply to  Bill Marsh
July 20, 2019 11:09 am

I didn’t say anywhere about the purpose of a greenhouse. I said a greenhouse traps heat much like CO2 traps heat, leading to warming.

yirgach
Reply to  Chuck Wortman
July 20, 2019 3:25 pm

Gee, all we need to know is how much GHG is caused by humans and how much of that human contribution causes warming. Sounds easy. Do you know the answer Mr. Wortman?

Chuck Wortman
Reply to  Chuck Wortman
July 21, 2019 9:21 am

Gee, Yergich, the numbers are easy. governments track how much coal and oil and natural gas are produced each year. From there it’s a matter of numbers. The hard part is getting people like you to get your head out of the damn sand to realize there are better technologies and that climate change is real. But you won’t. You’re like the buzzard in BUgs Bunny…”NOPE NOPE NOPE”. You refuse to change your beliefs even though deep down you know the math doesnt’ add up. YOu know climate change is real. You know the atmosphere traps heat from combustion of fossil fuels. But you convince yourself NOT to believe these simple concepts and look for some numbers that will allow yourself to continue your old view of things.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Chuck Wortman
July 21, 2019 11:14 am

Chuck, you are going to have to quantify your “climate change.” The UN IPCC’s AR5 says that, other than a minor warming and humidity increase (no matter the cause), there has been no climate change.

One needs to back up statements with data.

Chuck Wortman
Reply to  Chuck Wortman
July 20, 2019 1:45 pm
Tom Halla
Reply to  Chuck Wortman
July 20, 2019 1:52 pm

If you think The Hill is “right leaning”, what do you consider center of the road? CounterPunch?

tsk tsk
Reply to  Chuck Wortman
July 20, 2019 5:39 pm

Yes, what does The Hill say?

For that matter, what does CBO say? You know, the guys with the actual data.

Gosh, sure is an awful lot of money sloshing around in those crony greengreed energy schemes.

tsk tsk
Reply to  Chuck Wortman
July 20, 2019 5:46 pm

And yes, let’s factor in the cost (and benefits) of CO2 emissions. Cold kills approximately 3 times as many people every year as heat. What are those reduced deaths worth?

The planet has greened approximately 10% in the last 30 years primarily due to CO2 fertilization. The reduction in food costs alone is worth trillions.

So given all of that why are you subsidizing solar and wind which will literally result in more deaths than reliable sources of energy? Won’t you think of the children?

Chuck Wortman
Reply to  tsk tsk
July 20, 2019 8:49 pm

You can pull any numbers you want out of your ass all day long and I could as well to support my argument and counter yours, but you really aren’t too bright if you think fossil fuels are the solution to all of our energy needs. You’re either old and therefore dogmatic in your beliefs or you work for the fossil fuel industry in some manner directly or indirectly., one of the two.

Chuck Wortman
Reply to  David Middleton
July 21, 2019 6:50 pm

Exactly what I said. Renewables on the rise, coal on the decline. And in the near future, when we get the idiot out of office and get someone in there with common sense, you will see even greater declines on fossil fuels, especially on tje West Coast and Northeast/Mid-Atlantic.
Remove all subsidies direct and indirect, and renewables plus energy storage will leave fossil fuels in the dust

Steve W
Reply to  Chuck Wortman
July 20, 2019 10:10 pm

Oil depletion allowances are the same as any allowed tax deduction for loss of capital by depletion. Vehicles wear out and are depreciated. Windfarms and solar panels lose value over time and are depreciated. Oil fields are depleted and lose value as well and this is recognized by the tax code. Descrying that would be equivalent to complaining that windfarm operators depreciate their equipment and this is a huge subsidy to them. Same thing and irrelevant to the argument.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Steve W
July 20, 2019 10:15 pm

Chuck refuses to tell us about his educational and work background. What is his expertise such that he can lecture us on things a number of have specific expertise?

Chuck Wortman
Reply to  Dave Fair
July 21, 2019 9:14 am

My education is irrelevant. There are so many of you on here who can post numbers and statistics all day adn still talk out your rears. I call it Cliff Clavin syndrome. It’s sad too becasue you’re so fixated on fossil fuels and so fixated on how renewables can’t work that you miss the big picture.
It’sa classic case of the tortoise and the hare. You guys talk about how fast the hare can go and how it’s legs are built for speed and how intelligent thte hare is and how there is no way the tortoise can win, no way! In the meantime, the tortoise plods forward slowly and steadily. ANd despite all odds and all expectations, the tortoises wins.
Open your eyes Dave. Don’t be the hare. Renewables are winning. People like you don’t want them to win and you’ll do everything not to change your beliefs rather than look at the numbers that matters and those numbers show an upward trajectory for renewables and a downward trajectory for coal. Eventually, there will be a downward trajectory for oil. Demand is already weakening, and once electric cars take hold, that demand will decelerate rapidly. Just as the combustion engine rapidly replaced the horse and buggy, faster than was anticipated, and there were many naysayers about the combustion engine back then…too expensive, where will you get the fuel, no good roads to drive it on, and much more. But a funny thing happened along the way. And soon, that same thing will happen with oil. You’ll tell me and others, it won’t happen because of X, Y, and Z, but that’s because you’ve got the mentality of one of those horse and buggy owners from the 18oo’s. Well we’re in the 21st century Dave. time to update the mentality.

Tom Halla
Reply to  Chuck Wortman
July 21, 2019 9:23 am

Chuck, electric vehicles have been around since the 1890’s, and still have the same problem they did then–batteries. Unless you have an energy storage device with the performance of Heinlein’s fictional Shipstones, they will remain the wave of the future indefinitely.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Chuck Wortman
July 21, 2019 11:22 am

Chuck, thanks for the information that you are an uneducated, big-picture type guy. The problem is that the big-picture is fleshed-in by scientists, engineers, financiers, laborers and all the other people that make modern life work. The efforts of all the little guys indicate wind and solar are now prohibitively expensive. In the future, that may change. Nobody, including especially you, knows what that future may be.

Before the race is run, bet on the hare.

Chuck Wortman
Reply to  Dave Fair
July 21, 2019 5:55 pm

Dave, Would you like that amount down to the penny? What you are asking is absolutely ridiculous. But you know what is not ridiculous? The death of coal! It is coming!!!

Dave Fair
Reply to  Chuck Wortman
July 21, 2019 6:09 pm

Chuck, you and I will be dead a long time before coal dies. A huge number of plants are coming on line as we type.

You might want to find something more worthwhile to fixate on.

Chuck Wortman
Reply to  Steve W
July 20, 2019 11:09 pm

Does the LCOE for fossil fuels take into account the atmospheric heat that causes massive downpours in very brief periods of time? Does it account for crop loss from drought or flooding? Does it account for the damage from hurricanes that have intensified greatly as a result of all the atmospheric warmth generated from CO2 emissions? Does it account for shoreline erosion? Does it account for polluted waters? Does it account for poor air quality? Does it account for higher medical bills resulting from ozone and air pollution? Does it account for oil spills? Does it account for the eventual loss of species due to habitat loss? Does it account for the economic loss to the fishing industry from oil spills? Does it account for groundwater contamination?

If it does not then it seriously underestimates the true levelized cost of “fossil fuels”.
You know what you call a solar spill? a Sunny day! You know what you call a wind spill? A windy day.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Chuck Wortman
July 21, 2019 11:05 am

Chuck, would you please quantify the value of the increased damages from your listed harms caused by CO2? Until then, its just words (armwaving).

IAMPCBOB
Reply to  Chuck Wortman
July 21, 2019 3:17 pm

” Does it account for the damage from hurricanes that have intensified greatly as a result of all the atmospheric warmth generated from CO2 emissions?”

According to RELIABLE government sources, there hasn’t been any “intensified’ hurricanes, lately. In fact, the numbers are significantly LOWER voer the past few seasons. So, talk about pulling BS out of your arse…

Steve W
Reply to  Chuck Wortman
July 20, 2019 10:13 pm

Oil depletion allowance is not a subsidy any more than is the tax allowance of solar and windfarm operators deduction for depreciation of the capital investment that depletes over time. Same thing so bogus argument.

July 18, 2019 6:20 pm

Can you also show this with coal, and show these coal power plants with and without Q 45.
https://youtu.be/RQRQ7S92_lo
A coal fired power plant can emit less CO2 than a natural gas power plant.

America in the future is going to need all the energy produced as possible if we are going to continue to live the lifestyles we are accustomed too. The country is leaning heavily towards electricity which means much more will have to be produced, and everything has it’s time for breakdown and maintenance.

R Shearer
Reply to  Sid Abma
July 18, 2019 9:47 pm

That’s not possible. Natural gas emits less CO2 per unit of energy and any back-end technology applicable to coal is readily applicable to natural gas though is probably more efficient in the natural gas case.

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Shijiajuang
Reply to  R Shearer
July 19, 2019 2:32 am

R Shearer

There are some possibilities one can consider that are based on coal combustion. The advanced systems don’t burn the coal as a solid fuel. They first making coal gas. For a long time coal gas involves using the water has shift reaction to produce hydrogen from water using heat from the pyrolysing coal and the coke as a reaction surface. The end result is much more gas than the chemistry of coal would indicate, containing a lot of hydrogen. Water is cheap. There is no net energy gain, but it permits different combustion strategies (and steam condensation) to be employed.

The gas is then burned in a gas turbine with the hot exhaust creating steam, and all heat from the various processes is retained for pre-heating things. I.E. combined cycle power. Further, portions of the combustion can be operated on oxygen and CO2 instead of air with nitrogen. This ramps the operating temperature when the CO2 is already hot, while running NOx way down.

Gas turbines are pretty much stuck at the combined cycle stage as far as I have read (which is not everything, by far). Nat gas has big thermal NOx problems even on a domestic scale. “Simple-cheap gas” isn’t very clean when NOx is considered.

In general solid fuels are easier to use in staged combustion than liquids and gas. NOx reduction strategies (especially for biomass) are based on this.

Your point about the carbon content re the two fuels, coal and gas, is true from a beginning point, but is not “as true” when looking into what clever engineers are doing with combinations. To me, some look outrageous, but since was money a problem when you are saving the planet? :~)

Finally, if there is a local market for CO2 it can be sold. If there is more in the exhaust, there is more to sell. I. Can see concentrated greenhouse production one day getting piped CO2 from local power stations why waste plant food by throwing it into the air?

Walter Sobchak
Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo but really in Shijiajuang
July 19, 2019 12:12 pm

Are there any plants running on the principles you describe? Can you give us any links?

R Shearer
Reply to  Walter Sobchak
July 19, 2019 4:59 pm

This is an example of a basic question that Sid Abma will not answer.

R Shearer
Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo but really in Shijiajuang
July 19, 2019 4:58 pm

I’m not discounting advanced coal technologies, I’m just saying that higher enthalpy of combustion favors natural gas. I’m mainly criticizing Sid Abma who hocks a non-functioning “clean coal” technology by cartoon. He will not answer questions such as around heat balance.

And there are more options for advanced natural gas utilization being developed in addition to NGCC. NG fuel cells may become standard technology. Steam methane reforming is of course the major means for producing nitrogen fertilizers, though coal can do the same thing just not as easily or efficiently.

Walter Sobchak
Reply to  R Shearer
July 19, 2019 7:28 pm

I feel like I stumbled into a quarrel I did not know was ongoing. I will just tiptoe away and wish everyone a goodnight.

Chuck Wortman
Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo but really in Shijiajuang
July 20, 2019 11:18 am

Okay, then what about the coal Ash? Who pays for the PROPER treatment and SAFE disposal of that? It’s high in Mercury and other dangerous metals. For natural gas enthusiasts, who should pay for the contaminated water resulting from fracking? Who pays for the damage from earthquakes resulting from fracking?
Now let’s talk about the pollution byproducts of solar energy….oh wait, we can’t because there aren’t any! Maybe a few dead birds bit that’s it.

yirgach
Reply to  Chuck Wortman
July 20, 2019 3:33 pm

Are you the new Grif or just brain dead?
Unbelievable.

tsk tsk
Reply to  Chuck Wortman
July 20, 2019 5:51 pm

No pollution from solar?

Solar panels often contain lead, cadmium, and other toxic chemicals that cannot be removed without breaking apart the entire panel. “Approximately 90% of most PV modules are made up of glass,” notes San Jose State environmental studies professor Dustin Mulvaney. “However, this glass often cannot be recycled as float glass due to impurities. Common problematic impurities in glass include plastics, lead, cadmium and antimony.”

Researchers with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) undertook a study for U.S. solar-owning utilities to plan for end-of-life and concluded that solar panel “disposal in “regular landfills [is] not recommended in case modules break and toxic materials leach into the soil” and so “disposal is potentially a major issue.”

Whoops!

Chuck Wortman
Reply to  Chuck Wortman
July 20, 2019 9:11 pm

tsk tsk, like I said, there is no pollution from the GENERATION OF ENERGY from fossil fuels. There is some in the making, but panels can last 30-40 years and much of it is recyclable. There’s so much pollution generated not just from the make and design of a coal plant or oil refinery, way more than the making of solar panels and once the panels are operating, THERE IS NO POLLUTION. BUt there is a ton from fossil fuels and you CANNOT deny it. BUt operation of fossil fuel processing plants? Well let’s see…Coal ash, toxic refinery gases, contaminated water, benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, heavy metals, need i continue? You don’t get ANY of that from the energy generation from wind or solar.

KaliforniaKook
Reply to  Chuck Wortman
July 27, 2019 10:37 am

+10 to yirgach, but I don’t think this is Griff. Wortman isn’t as educated on the topic, although clearly he has read up on one carefully blindered side of the issue. I’m not sure why anyone is bothering to respond to him. All the misinformation he spews is readily refuted from many legitimate sources on the internet, and frequently just looking at the history of the Earth. he isn’t interested in historical findings, but merely the output of unverified/unvalidated models that don’t track collected data.

Sara
July 18, 2019 6:37 pm

Reality bites. Thanks for the updates!!!

Pmhinsc
Reply to  Sara
July 18, 2019 10:45 pm

Perception is reality and we are told what perception to believe.

Reply to  Sara
July 19, 2019 1:04 am

Yes, thanks. Some person was going crazy saying solar is cheaper than natgas using LCOE. I knew that wasn’t the truth, but lacked the perseverance to delve deeply into the report.

When Coyote blog was looking for AC backup, it was $20k for solar and $5k for methane. That pretty much summed it up beautifully.

https://corporatefinanceinstitute.com/resources/knowledge/finance/levelized-cost-of-energy-lcoe/

Dave Fair
July 18, 2019 6:38 pm

What are the costs of supporting intermittent wind and solar? Straight LCOE is incomplete; wind and solar are not dispatchable.

stock
Reply to  David Middleton
July 18, 2019 7:22 pm

No storage is needed up to about 40% market penetration, even on small grids like HECO.

Dave Fair
Reply to  stock
July 18, 2019 7:42 pm

They still require FF, nuclear or large hydro backup. Nothing is free.

MarkW
Reply to  stock
July 19, 2019 6:21 am

That’s only true if you have sufficient alternative supplies. In other words you have to build two generation systems to do the work of one.
You have to add the cost of the back up system to the cost of solar/wind.

Chris Teal
Reply to  MarkW
July 20, 2019 9:19 am

What about the clean up cost for coal and natural gas?…I would rather pay more for clean power than having flammable water coming out of the tap because of a nearby fracking operation.

Bill Marsh
Editor
Reply to  Chris Teal
July 20, 2019 9:23 am

If you are referring to the ‘flaming taps’ in the movie Gasland, that was not due to ‘nearby fracking’. The area has had ‘flaming taps’ for a long time due to natural gas leaks into the water table. If you are referring to solar and wind as ‘clean power’, they are not.

Tom Halla
Reply to  Chris Teal
July 20, 2019 9:37 am

“Gasland” is pure fiction by an activist.

BlueDevil93
Reply to  David Middleton
July 18, 2019 8:11 pm

And you have to be vary of source number(s) published.

Saw once publication of LCOE by the EIA, which, had a LCOE of wind with battery that was only slightly more expensive than wind without battery. Nonsense written by some party or parties with an agenda and/or little more than a sophomoric understanding.

The amount of battery back-up they sited would have done nothing more than voltage regulation.

BlueDevil93
Reply to  David Middleton
July 18, 2019 8:18 pm

And you have to be vary of source number(s) published.

Saw once publication about LCOE by the EIA, which, had wind with battery as only slightly more expensive than wind without battery. Nonsense written by some party or parties with an agenda and/or little more than a sophomoric understanding.

The amount of battery would have done nothing more than voltage regulation.

BlueDevil93
Reply to  David Middleton
July 18, 2019 8:30 pm

And you have to be wary of source number(s) published.

Saw one publication about LCOE from the EIA which was misleading. It had wind with battery as only slightly more expensive than wind without battery.

The increased LCOE of wind with battery per their listing would have only provided voltage regulation not complete battery back up.

Kevin A
Reply to  David Middleton
July 18, 2019 8:40 pm

“It’s very incomplete. Storage and/or backup more or less doubles the LCOE.”
The U.S. Energy Information Administration should be held accountable for the out-right lies. No one can say solar or wind cost without the total cost and that total must have the cost of backup energy source factored in, since they use ‘historic numbers that costs is accessible.

More government employees moving an agenda at the tax payers expense.

AGW is not Science
Reply to  Kevin A
July 19, 2019 5:32 am

And it’s not ONLY the cost of backup, either; it’s expensive to manage a grid with the spikes and drops of intermittent power sources, as compared with the constant and predictable output of conventional power plants.

A C Osborn
Reply to  AGW is not Science
July 19, 2019 7:27 am

Does LCOE include the cost of total replacement at the half life of most Coal/Gas/Nuclear Generators.
There is no way Wind or Solar will last 60 years.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  AGW is not Science
July 19, 2019 3:22 pm

It looks like the LCOE is calculated over the life time of each asset class. The problem is that different asset classes have different life times. You should double or triple the capital costs for wind and solar as they only last one half to one third as long as a gas, nuclear, or coal plant.

Dave Fair
Reply to  D. J. Hawkins
July 19, 2019 4:02 pm

In other words, base LCOE on a standard time period. I’d pick about 40 years. Its arbitrary, but realistic O&M calculations should pick up interim electric facility replacements and any residual value of longer-lived equipment. Without getting into all the ins and outs, assume replacement of 20-year life equipment without screwing with the costs of associated 40-year equipment.

Technological breakthroughs (or even incremental improvements) cannot be calculated. Let future managers take care of any of that.

Graeme#4
Reply to  AGW is not Science
July 19, 2019 10:34 pm

D.J.: Disagree with LCOE lifetimes. If you look at the accompanying LCOE, LACE document, I believe that document says that ALL calculations are for 30 years. If I’m correct, then I believe that all the LCOE and LACE figures need re-calculating for the correct lifetimes.

Ancient Wrench
Reply to  Dave Fair
July 19, 2019 9:26 am

Absolutely right. Adding intermittent non-dispatchable PV and wind to the power grid doesn’t change the conventional side of the system. Capital and maintenance costs for back-up power remain the same. Unless storage is provided, the only cost stream available to support PV and wind is the avoided fuel cost when conventional generation is turned down.

Levelized Cost Of Electricity (LCOE) is incomplete; the metric should be a Levelized Integrated Cost of Electricity (LICOE) that accounts for the attendant system-wide costs of non-dispatchable power.

commieBob
July 18, 2019 6:47 pm

Wind and solar are capital intensive. The only reason they are so cheap is because of low interest rates. If interest rates rise, so will the cost of wind and solar in direct proportion.

commieBob
Reply to  commieBob
July 19, 2019 5:47 am

I am very skeptical of the unsubsidized cost of solar PV given in the graph above (60 $/MWh). That’s six cents per kWh. I don’t know what assumptions they’re making but they must be extra optimistic.

This recent article gives the installed cost of solar PV at around $3/kWh for residential. A large scale solar farm could do it for less but then there are the costs of land and transmission lines to consider. Anyway, the cost of the panels themselves is pretty darn cheap. Most of the installed cost is actually the cost of installation.

This link is reflections on his own PV setup by a guy who teaches the subject. Where he is (12 miles from the ocean in Southern California as far as I can tell) you multiply the peak watts by three to get the daily kWh.

If we build a 1 kW peak PV setup in that location, it will cost around $3000 installed. It will provide 3 x 365 = 1095 kWh over the year. At 5%, it will cost $150 per year just for the interest. If we assume the system will last 20 years, that’s another $150 per year. So our electricity will cost us $300 per year. The cost per kWh would be 300 / 1095 = $0.27/kWh.

So, $0.27 for an actual residential system in California vs. $0.06 in the graph above. I’m sorry but I don’t believe, even at an industrial scale, that they can get the installed cost of solar PV down to $0.60 per kWh, and that’s about what it would take to get electricity at $60/MWh, given a reasonable interest rate and with reasonable depreciation assumptions.

commieBob
Reply to  commieBob
July 19, 2019 11:01 am

$0.60 per kWh
$0.60 per peak kW

commieBob
Reply to  commieBob
July 20, 2019 3:21 am

aargh!
$0.60 per peak kW
$0.60 per peak Watt

ATheoK
Reply to  commieBob
July 19, 2019 11:09 am

commieBob:
The devil in the financial details deep in the renewables costs structure are the estimates for consumer installed solar.

Consumers do not report maintenance or even if their solar arrays are still used.
That is, once government adds consumer installations into their spreadsheets, they are in their forever.
Then deeper in those details are the consumer installations of solar thermal energy hot water systems; which arguably is the most valuable and efficient use of solar for households.

Except, there is zero tracking of actual usage. Which leaves the government estimating usage and energy benefits for their consumer installed solar arrays.

Faced with inconvenient solar expenses or usage, those are problems easily solved by incrementing consumer installed solar.

The only semi-reliable solar energy usage and costs are those at solar farm and perhaps a few large commercial installations.
Installed a solar thermal energy collector back in the 1970s? Government expects that thermal array to still be producing and even improved over time.

California has a surprisingly large number of consumer installations.
Never break down. Efficiency improves over time. Never uninstalled. Work all day long and even at night (keepin mind that many solar thermal systems store large amounts of hot water)…

commieBob
Reply to  ATheoK
July 19, 2019 12:43 pm

The second link I provided above, this one, gives the practical details of owning a PV system. It discusses things like dust and the cleaning thereof. It also gives examples of insanely bad installations.

As you point out, the assumption that PV systems work trouble free for a long time, is risible.

Mr.
July 18, 2019 7:04 pm

David,
Maybe a simple graphic of a gap analysis of how far wind & solar will fall short of satisfying basic base load power needs for say Los Angeles in 2025 would assist in trying to fix stupid.

(But I do agree with Ron White, and also Forrest Gump’s mum – “stupid is as stupid does”)

TonyL
July 18, 2019 7:08 pm

Any questions?

Got one.
Anybody got a good take on how much of the cost of nuclear is due to regulations. This would include everything from mining regulations all the way through the storage of used fuel.
Note:
The fuel cannot be disposed of – Regulations.
The fuel cannot be reprocessed and reused – Regulations.
A part of the regulatory burden is what is known as “compliance cost”. This apparently is not the cost of actually complying with regulations. It is the cost of demonstrating and documenting that the project meets regulations.

In short, my question is how much of the cost of nuclear is imposed externally?

Izaak Walton
Reply to  TonyL
July 18, 2019 8:17 pm

Tony,
That is a question that you can ask for every fuel source. Coal would be dirt cheap and incredibly
polluting and deadly if people were allowed to burn it in their fireplaces with no regulations. Similarly
if coal power plants could continue to dump slag into the North Sea like they use to in Britain up
until the 1970’s (see Get Carter for a classic example) then again costs would come down. Regulations are essential for ensuring that people get to breath clean air and drink clean water. And are thus a good
thing.

Geoff Sherrington
Reply to  Izaak Walton
July 18, 2019 9:47 pm

IW,
Too common a fallacy that regulation is good.
You do not know, after the regulation is imposed, what would have been done in any event. You do not know if, left alone, the operators would have instigated a better solution. Personally, after decades of being quite high in Australian industry, I cannot recall a case where regulation caused any striking improvement.
To the contrary, the regulatory process took a great deal of time, much of it to fight impending regulatory stupidity, so that skilled people were diverted from much more productive tasks. It was and remains, the lead in the saddle of progress. Geoff S

Izaak Walton
Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
July 18, 2019 11:35 pm

Hi Geoff,
Are you really saying that people would be better off if companies were able
to pollute as much as they liked? Or that tobacco companies could sell cigarettes
to kids? How about drugs – should they be regulated or should it be a complete
free for all?

Schitzree
Reply to  Izaak Walton
July 19, 2019 4:53 am

Damn, Izaak. I haven’t seen a strawman dance like that since The Wizard of Oz.

~¿~

beng135
Reply to  Izaak Walton
July 19, 2019 6:06 am

Izaak, paranoid much about “pollution”?

Remember, it’s everywhere and it’s gonna get ya….

MarkW
Reply to  Izaak Walton
July 19, 2019 6:24 am

Typical unthinking left wing reply.
One person says, there are too many regulations.
Troll responds, so you would rather have no regulations.

Schitzree
Reply to  Izaak Walton
July 19, 2019 7:22 am

Isaak went clear through ‘No Regulation’ and ended up in the land of ‘No Laws’. Pure Anarchy!

The obvious problem with most Regulatory Agencies is that they only have representation from the regulating side, not the industry side. So you end up with regulations that don’t include cost/benefit, or that are based on hokey ‘science’ like the EPA’s mercury hazard findings.

Clearly the 60’s and earlier showed that we need some laws that force industry to clean up their act. Unfortunately we have gotten to the point were the regulators are shutting down the industries in the name of controlling pollution.

~¿~

Izaak Walton
Reply to  Izaak Walton
July 19, 2019 10:25 am

It was a Geoff who went through ‘no regulation’ with his claim that it is a
“too common fallacy that regulation is good”. Nowhere does he state that
he is only concerned with “too many regulations” and it would appear to be
clear from his comment that he thinks all regulations are bad since they
stop companies from exploring other solutions. Most people accept that
some regulations are needed to protect people from harm and also that too
many regulations can stop innovation and drive up costs.

TonyL
Reply to  Izaak Walton
July 19, 2019 12:48 am

Stupid argument. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

That is a question that you can ask for every fuel source.

Actually, a good question.
What is the overall cost of regulations for coal power, and for natural gas power?
What is the overall cost of regulations for windmills and for solar installations?
Contrast and compare?

Coal would be dirt cheap and incredibly polluting and deadly if people were allowed to burn it in their fireplaces with no regulations.

You seem to think there is no dividing line between an absolute lack of control on the one hand, and the deliberate use of regulations to kill off an entire industry for political and ideological reasons on the other. All the while chanting:
“The Children, The Children, Think Of The Children!”

Actually, I was hoping for a better class of argument, possibly even someone with an industry insight, and maybe some hard data. It was worth asking.
But sometimes, all you get are simplistic bombastic points that are old by the time the people making them graduate from college.

Izaak Walton
Reply to  TonyL
July 19, 2019 9:03 pm

Tony,
I agree it is a good question but it shouldn’t be asked only of nuclear. Every fuel source
has positive and negative effects and regulations to reduce the downsides will almost
certainly drive up the cost since polluting for example is always going to be cheaper than
not. Coal is particularly dirty, polluting, harmful both to burn and to mine. It is only cheap
because coal mines and coal fuelled power stations are allowed to pollute. Coal miner’s life
expectancy even in the US is about 10 years shorter than average.

MarkW
Reply to  Izaak Walton
July 19, 2019 6:23 am

If you think that the amount of regulations on coal and gas come within a light year of the amount of regulations on nuclear, you are delusional.

PS: Wind and solar have exemptions for a lot of regulations.

Reply to  TonyL
July 19, 2019 3:13 pm

Tony,
Today’s (2018) capex cost of in-situ leach mining of uranium, the cheapest, is $16.30 /kg of U3O8 while the operating cost is $46.45 / kg U3O8. Costs outside the US are less because there sulfuric acid can be lawfully used as leachate, e.g. Kazakhstan. In the US the leachate must be sodium carbonate. Aside from site costs given, other costs are not easily estimated so not included in this estimate, as exploration, permitting, licensing, environmental, land, NRC oversight, transport of product, sales, taxes, insurance, contingencies, decommissioning and upgrading/refiining to nuclear fuel. This estimate is capable of leach mining of 440 tonnes U3O8 (373 tonnes U) annually for 15 years-20 years, the usual life. The refining is important because only 1/2% to 1% of the U3O8 product shipped from the minesite becomes the enriched U-235 fuel for today’s nuclear reactor.

WR2
July 18, 2019 7:24 pm

Does this $/MWh account for the large chunk of wind/solar energy produced that is wasted, or they have to pay someone to take?

I’m surprised that solar transmission costs are much higher than others, is this only looking at big solar installations, and not rooftop solar? To me rooftop solar in many climates makes sense, as there are no transmission losses and the panels act to cool the roof, but big solar plants are pretty silly in almost all environments.

Dave Fair
Reply to  WR2
July 18, 2019 7:54 pm

Rooftop solar is insanity. I know — I have it. I have it because: 1) The other electric consumers pay for it; and 2) It is a hedge against all the insane industrial solar the State of Nevada is requiring Nevada Energy to buy in the future.

When taxpayers and electric ratepayers realize the shafting they are getting courtesy of their venal politicians, the Yellow Vests will come out. Free peoples vote with their wallets.

JS
Reply to  Dave Fair
July 20, 2019 6:58 am

Firemen can’t spray water on your house to put a fire out if they aren’t sure the rooftop panels are off.

https://www.firerescue1.com/firefighter-training/articles/197008018-Solar-panels-present-firefighters-with-new-challenges/

RickWill
Reply to  WR2
July 18, 2019 9:15 pm

Residential areas with high uptake of solar need to have their distribution networks upgraded. The lunchtime output will exceed the evening peal by a a margin and the reverse power flow requires automatic tap changing transformers at the distribution level to avoid local over voltage. That is a huge cost.

Wind farms operate at about 25% of installed capacity. That means their transmission system needs to be designed to take four times the average output. Most coal plants average around 85% of rated capacity. From the operating perspective, the losses in a transmission system are a squared function of the throughput. So a generator that operators at rated for 25% of the time and zero for 75% of the time will have 4X the transmission losses of a plant having 25% of the capacity operating steadily. Solar and wind generators are closer to the 25% on 75% off than a steady output.

Robber
July 18, 2019 7:45 pm

Electricity levelized costs must include 24×7 reliable delivery. Standalone wind and solar costs are meaningless without 100% backup.
For example, let’s aim to produce 50% of electricity from solar on average. With a 25% capacity factor that means installed solar capacity must equal 200% of demand. So in the middle of the day, what is to happen to surplus generation? And then to meet peak evening demand that is typically 125% of average demand, there must be 125% availability of reliable gas and coal.

Dennis Sandberg
Reply to  Robber
July 18, 2019 10:29 pm

Thanks Robber, for pointing this out. Low information voters (about 90%) reading those spreadsheets would miss this most important point. Tremendous progress has been made with wind and solar these past few decades. It used to be 8 times as expensive and now it’s only 4 times as much….. until it gets to 40% penetration. Then it’s simply off the chart with additional wind and solar having a substitution factor for “fossil fuels” of 5% (1000 watts of solar/wind replaces 50 watts of baseline fuels). Lithium battery storage for utility grid application is so expense it should be illegal. Germany and Australia have proven the insanity of wind and solar let’s give it up here in the USA.

beng135
Reply to  Robber
July 19, 2019 6:33 am

So in the middle of the day, what is to happen to surplus generation?

Eco-loon answering question: “What do we do w/surplus generation? We can run giant air conditioners in the open air to combat global warming!”

Bemused Bill
July 18, 2019 7:56 pm

Without adding coal your sheet is sheet.

Graeme#4
Reply to  David Middleton
July 19, 2019 3:31 am

Couldn’t you remove the three percentage points increase in capital cost to find coal plant cost without CCS?

Relperm
July 18, 2019 8:03 pm

Wind and solar have lower variable op and maintenance costs. With natural gas prices so volatile and difficult to predict over long run, maybe capital intensive solar and wind during times of low interest rates may be good investment…?

Trevor
Reply to  Relperm
July 19, 2019 2:28 am

Sure, scams can be profitable if you know when to quit. But the only things making wind and solar a good investment are the massive subsidies and the fact that the power company is forced by law to buy your power at inflated prices even if the grid doesn’t need it at the moment. In a free market, none of these unreliable things would be built. Once the subsidies run out (and they should, since greens insist they are totally competitive without them, right?), we’ll watch new constructions drop like flies.

MarkW
Reply to  Relperm
July 19, 2019 6:28 am

In other words, it’s better to expensive all the time rather than cheap sometimes and less cheap others?

David
July 18, 2019 8:06 pm

Some of these numbers are… surprising:
(1) Variable O&M (I assume this is mostly fuel costs) zero for wind/solar, ~$40 for gas and ~$10 for nuclear. Is nuclear fuel that costly per MWh? I appreciate there are other costs to refuelling a nuclear plant but this seems high in comparison to gas
(2) Capacity of 25% for solar and 40% for wind is extremely generous. I thought it was closer to 15-20% for solar and 30% for wind.While there may be technological improvements both technologies are bumping up against physical constraints for efficiency and cannot be improved much further.
(3) Transmission costs are around $1 for gas/nuclear, $2.50 for onshore wind and $4 for solar. That seems surprising on the low side for wind/solar.
(4) Are the $/MWh stated in terms of nameplate capacity or after capacity factor is taken into account? For example, if nameplate 100MWh of solar has 25% capacity (meaning it supplies only 25MWh) and it costs $4/MWh for transmission costs, is that $100 or $400 for transmission costs?

Dave Fair
Reply to  David
July 18, 2019 11:50 pm

Transmission lines are generally designed for peak loading. The lower the utilization factor, the greater the per-unit costs. Intermittent generation resources are a bad investment all around.

MarkW
Reply to  David
July 19, 2019 6:29 am

O&M of zero?
I guess that explains why so many turbines aren’t turning, even when the wind is blowing.

AGW is not Science
Reply to  David
July 19, 2019 9:32 am

Variable “O&M” (I assume to be “operation & Maintenance”) is obviously missing something for wind & solar. Who drives out to the desert to clean the dust off those solar panels (in a FOSSIL FUEL POWERED vehicle)? Who shovels the snow off the panels that are in places that have WINTER?! Who’s out there “de-icing” windmill turbine blades from a HELICOPTER (you’ve seen THOSE pics, certainly) when they freeze up and won’t work?! And where’s the cost of replacing bearings and such in wind turbines when they fail?!

The notion of “zero” O&M costs for wind and solar is a fantasy.

RelPerm
Reply to  AGW is not Science
July 19, 2019 9:40 am

I think the costs you mention are carried under Fixed O&M. Variable is essentially fuel, that’s why sun and wind is 0.

Nick Schroeder
July 18, 2019 8:41 pm

A typical Rankine cycle power plant fueled by NG, coal or oil puts out: 15% up the stack, 35% out the generator, 50 % out the steam condenser’s cooling system.

A typical Brayton cycle power plant fueled by NG or oil puts out: 35% out the generator, 65% up the stack.

A typical combined cycle, Brayton on top of Rankine with heat recovery steam generator fueled by NG or oil puts out: 10% up the stack, 30% out the CT generator, 30% out the ST generator, 30% out the steam condenser’s cooling system.

With long term contracts for inexpensive frac’d natural gas and much of the coal fleet over 50 years old the best financial path seems a no brainer.

RobK
July 18, 2019 8:51 pm

As pointed out above: as penetration of RE increases, so will curtailment due to either lack of storage or transmission capacity which should be a cost of RE over conventional baseload. Conductors have to be based on maximum surges due to weather. All increased control complexity costs costs are due to RE.

RickWill
July 18, 2019 9:05 pm

Anyone comparing LCOE of intermittents with dispatchable generation produces useless numbers. Such exercises are misleading and deceptive.

The guaranteed output of any wind or solar generation at a specific point in time is ZERO. Their output is worthless. They add cost to any grid currently supplied with coal or gas fired generators. They may be economic if their output replaces diesel or conserve perched water in a volume constrained hydro system. Otherwise they just add cost.

AGW is not Science
Reply to  RickWill
July 19, 2019 9:15 am

Well said. And not only worthless, but worse than worthless, when you consider the land use (or more appropriately the land MISuse) and the always poo-pooed effects on wildlife, especially raptors and bats.

AGW is not Science
Reply to  RickWill
July 19, 2019 9:43 am

Oh, and there’s ALSO another factor that is being conveniently ignored. Show me a coal-fired, or oil-fired, or gas-fired, or nuclear power plant that has been flattened/destroyed by a storm. I’ve never seen nor heard of one. Now show me a windmill or solar panel that has been. Different answer, huh?

When a hurricane or sever storm (e.g., hail) blows through and you’re depending on fossil fuel or nuclear plants for power, once you string the transmission and distribution lines back up, you’re back in business. If you’re depending on windmills and solar panels, THE ENTIRE GENERATION INFRASTRUCTURE is probably gone along with the T&D lines. Tends to make the disruption last a hell of a lot longer.

“Renewables” are not ONLY “weather dependent,” they are ALSO “weather VULNERABLE.”

https://www.bing.com/images/search?q=solar+panels+destroyed+in+puerto+rico&qpvt=solar+panels+destroyed+in+puerto+rico&FORM=IQFRML

https://www.bing.com/images/search?q=windmills%20destroyed%20in%20puerto%20rico&qs=n&form=QBIR&sp=-1&pq=windmills%20destroyed%20in%20puerto%20rico&sc=0-34&sk=&cvid=4D06949C126041B78E57CBAEF5F02532

Rob
July 18, 2019 9:26 pm

The problem right now with natural gas is that it’s so cheap that the producers are in real danger of going out of business. Here in Alberta they’re starting to use the word crisis. That is what makes your electricity prices for gas so cheap.

Rod Evans
Reply to  Rob
July 18, 2019 11:14 pm

It’s not a crisis, it’s a market.
The fittest will survive the others won’t.
It is only when authorities try to control the market things go spectacularly wrong for the remote authorities.
Competition creates efficiency and promotes innovation. Authorities who interfere cause false market conditions, ultimately this creates a snap back event.

Billy
July 18, 2019 10:14 pm

Non dispatchable power is worthless.
It does not matter what the cost is, it is always too high.
Of course, cost could be negative with enough subsidy, if someone else pays it.

Graeme#4
July 18, 2019 10:54 pm

Unless I’m wrong, I believe that all these figures were taken over the same lifecycle – 30 years. Surely that’s wrong, because both solar PV and wind will have to be replaced before then, while nuclear will keep going to around 60 years.

russell robles-thome
July 19, 2019 12:10 am

The capital cost of gas has about halved in the last year? Some mistake surely?

Russell Robles-Thome
Reply to  russell robles-thome
July 20, 2019 3:02 am

Thanks David. Reading the piece you link to, it discusses the topic without actually reconciling $14.40/kW dropping to $7.30 from 2018 to 2019. That latter figure is the crux of your article. Some kind of numerical cross-check would be great. Maybe the EIA would be prepared to confirm it…

Don K
July 19, 2019 3:03 am

“Who else is surprised by the fact that the capital costs for Natural Gas Advanced Combined Cycle have been cut in half since 2014?”

I would be. But it looks like almost all the (estimated) capital cost cut is between 2018 ($14.40) and 2019 ($7.30). That looks like either a dramatic breakthrough in generation technology, a typo, or a change in computation methodology. I don’t necessarily disbelieve it, but I do think more explanation is called for.

What am I missing here?

I don’t have any problem with the corresponding number for 2040 ($6.99) other than the obvious fact that any numbers for anything in 2040 are WAGs. The EIA folks do this for a living, and they could well have good reasons to expect NGACC capital costs to drop an average of 3.5% every year from 2018 to 2040. I have no idea if that’s reasonable, but it doesn’t seem outrageous.

Hubert
July 19, 2019 3:08 am

your forecast for 2040 is interesting, probably wrong , but how long can you sustain fossils energy ? 1 or 2 centuries ? sooner or later you’ll have no choice but renewable energy .
better to get 30% of something than 100% of nothing !
I’m curious to see your answer about that point .

AGW is not Science
Reply to  David Middleton
July 19, 2019 9:48 am

Thank you!

I’m so sick of the ridiculous argument of, “well, one day we’ll run out of fossil fuels, so we should stop using them while we have plenty,” when there IS NO alternative.

Furthermore, we are FAR MORE LIKELY to “run out of ” “RARE Earth metals” (ever stop to think of why they call them THAT?!) needed for all the BATTERIES the Eco-Nazis expect us to use as fossil fuel “substitutes” than we are to run out of fossil fuels THEMSELVES.

Irony!

MarkW
Reply to  Hubert
July 19, 2019 6:34 am

Easily 1 or 2 centuries.
Given how far technology has advanced in the last couple of centuries, and given the fact that the rate of technological change is increasing.
Trying to solve the problems of the future using today’s technology is a fool’s errand.

Wasting money on energy systems that don’t work makes us poorer and our children a lot poorer.
You are doing nobody any favors.

michael hart
Reply to  MarkW
July 19, 2019 3:11 pm

Well said, MarkW.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Hubert
July 19, 2019 1:16 pm

Hubert, you seem confused about economic forecasting. 20-year forecasts are common, but their reliability is always suspect to some extent. That’s why one applies different discount rates in different situations; higher discount rates for less certain outcomes.

I directed my engineering and financial people to forecast out 20 years for needed electrical facilities. The forecasts were updated every year with the best current technology and economic information. Estimates of future carbon capture and storage (CCS) and battery technology improvements would have been handled as curiosities, not to be put in firm planning forecasts. It takes some time for new developments to be proven in actual practice; it is a lie or foolish wishing to state they are now proven for future industrial scale installations.

Only fools (e.g. UN IPCC climate modelers) forecast out one or two centuries. Any of assumptions one may make about an almost unlimited number of variables is going to be wrong. The “expert judgement” crowd at the UN IPCC are liars or fools because nobody is expert in the future and it has been shown that “experts” are no better at predicting outcomes than the average person.

The “expert judgment” crowd associated with the UN IPCC’s AR5 adjusted the median temperature “projections” of the CMIP5 models downward arbitrarily because it became obvious that the models’ temperatures were running way too high. It is noteworthy that the UN IPCC bureaucrats/politicians left the longer-term temperatures at their unrealistically high levels, thus leaving the world with the impression that future temperatures would be unacceptable.

ColMosby
July 19, 2019 5:10 am

Recent studies of wind turbines have shown that their lifespans and maintenance costs , especially for larger turbines, is much worse than estimated. The lifespans were essentially half what was predicted, and their power costs almost doubled. One cannot provide levelized costs without knowing very precisely what the lifespan of the generators are, especially for those technologies in which initial build costs are are major cost factor.
As for nuclear, the future advanced nuclear is actually molten salt small modular reactors, which will provide power at estimated levelized costs of $40 per MWhr. Their build costs are about half that of conventional light water nuclear and will produce power at roughly half the cost of conventional nuclear. Their commercialization will occur before the next decade is out and they can be deployed many times more rapidly than conventional nuclear, being built in factories and requiring no bodies of water for cooling nor any major site preparations – they can be located virtually anywhere.

Planning Engineer
July 19, 2019 11:22 am

Wrote this in 2014 here. https://judithcurry.com/2014/10/22/myths-and-realities-of-renewable-energy/

Ignoring C02 emission issues, there is no question that over the next 20 years that with the commonly projected availability and cost of natural gas that gas turbines and combined cycle plants should make up the overwhelming bulk of resource additions. Cheap plentiful natural gas is a path to a low cost secure energy future for America. If gas plants are limited by environmental or other reasons, we face a much more costly and challenging future. The economics, operations and reliability benefits offered by modern gas generators cannot be approached with even the most optimistic foreseeable projections for large scale renewables. We need comparisons of this scenario to the renewable scenarios.

chadb
July 19, 2019 11:22 am

Solar, wind, and Gas are now all below the cost of gas from just a few years ago. Why hasn’t my bill gone down? Even if we are using more wind and solar, and those are more expensive than gas my bill still should have gone down since our solar of today is cheaper than the gas of yesteryear. WTH?

Planning Engineer
Reply to  chadb
July 19, 2019 1:23 pm

You pay the cost of resources when they go into n and amortize them over their presumed life. The mix you have now probably has lower shares of the lower cost resources and higher shares of renewables.

Greg
July 19, 2019 1:14 pm

From the report:

The LCOE values for dispatchable and non-dispatchable technologies
are listed separately in the tables, because comparing them must be done carefully.

The direct comparison of LCOE across technologies is, therefore, often problematic and can be
misleading

So what does the as ever objective David Middleton do ? He gets out his Excel and puts dispatchable and non-dispatchable technologies in the same table. Having just read that it can be problematic and misleading.

Greg
July 19, 2019 1:28 pm

Who else is surprised by the fact that the capital costs for Natural Gas Advanced Combined Cycle have been cut in half since 2014?

Indeed, who else is surprised that the capital costs have been cut in half since last year !! That very surprising claim needs further comment. I have no idea how they came to that conclusion.

When I also see that they say the value of a wind driven system is different depending upon whether it is replacing coal or gas generation I smell a CO2 rat lurking behind the stats. Though they seem to take care not to mention AGW or CO2 “pollution” directly , it does seem to be a covert part of their calculations.

That makes me even more suspicious than had they stated it openly and explained what effects this makes to their figures.

Bartleby the scrivener
July 20, 2019 8:33 am

If Fossil Fuels we’re properly priced based upon carbon emissions and their costs upon society in health damage they would be completely uncompetitive. That is a subsidy.

Ronald
July 20, 2019 2:10 pm

What a joke this article is. Pure BS!!!!!

Chuck Wortman
July 20, 2019 3:21 pm

Since you guys are all about antiquated technology, wanna buy my VHS recorder? How about my 8-track player? I’ll even include a bunch of 8 -track tapes at no additional cost.

Tom Halla
Reply to  Chuck Wortman
July 20, 2019 3:27 pm

The replacements for VHS tapes and 8tracks actually work, quite unlike wind and solar, no matter how much you hand wave.

Chuck Wortman
Reply to  Tom Halla
July 20, 2019 4:35 pm

SOrry tom, but WInd and Solar are ataking over, no matter how much much you want to burn coal and convince yourslef that it’s the way to go. COAL IS DYING! Hate to break it to you. Don’t believe me? Invest in it and report back how much you’ve made in the next five years.

HOw many new coal fired plants are coming online in the U.S.? ZERO! It’s dirty and it’s expensive. Thinking some clever marketing slogan like “clean coal” is going to save it is stupidity. Natural gas will follow eventually Too bad you’re stuck in the past.

It’s people like you who used to shout, ‘bla bla bla what about the duck curve? ” Now that reasonably costing energy storage is here and working, you’re on to something else. When we prove that wrong, you’ll move to a different target. Fossil fuels are so last century. Get withthe program. You won’t becasue you’re probably old and your brain is stuck on the old way of way of doing anything.

Tom Halla
Reply to  Chuck Wortman
July 20, 2019 4:39 pm

What storage? Other than pumped storage, which the green blob would oppose actually building, nothing is larger than less than half an hour for the system. One would need at least two weeks. And that ignores cost.

Chuck Wortman
Reply to  Tom Halla
July 20, 2019 4:58 pm

Waht are you talking about?!!! Are you that much in denial? All kinds of storage projects are being built. Is there a need for longer term energy storage? Sure, and that’s coming. It would already be here if it wasn’t for fosil fuel enthusiasts like yourself blocking renewables every chance you get. Google Liquified air energy storage and educate yourself. It will be the solution to long term energy storage. The technology is new but it will be one of multiple energy storage technologies which will replace gas and coal!

https://www.highviewpower.com/news_announcement/highview-powers-liquid-air-energy-storage-named-technology-of-the-year-by-businessgreen-magazine/

Now for your “Yeah, but” response….

Tom Halla
Reply to  Chuck Wortman
July 20, 2019 5:11 pm

Vaporware, all of them. Name the actual installations hooked up to the grid.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Chuck Wortman
July 20, 2019 6:02 pm

Chuck, as someone who was actually responsible for developing and operating generation, transmission and distribution systems to reliably and cheaply meet the needs of his customers, I think you are completely full of shit. Responsible energy utility managers don’t rely on unproven technologies in planning to meet firm loads. Lots of stuff may come down the pipe, but you don’t bet all your marbles on unproven assertions by salesmen.

What is your background, Chuck? I’ve developed and operated hydroelectric, geothermal, coal and natural gas generation systems. Why don’t you tell me how its done? What are your qualifications? Other than having access to a keyboard in your mother’s basement.

Dave Fair
Reply to  David Middleton
July 21, 2019 11:36 am

So, David, the U.S. EIA predicts that solar will be about 15% and wind will be about 7% of our electric energy generation in the year 2050. What is not said is the amount of FF, nuclear and large hydro capacity commitments that will be needed to back up wind and solar’s measly 22% of energy generation. With capacity factors of 15-30%, solar and wind will need massive amounts of power backup. Future advances in battery technology may help some.

How’s that work for your big-picture, uneducated fancy, Chuck?

Dave Fair
Reply to  David Middleton
July 21, 2019 2:25 pm

Yes, David. While wind and solar are rapidly screwing up and increasing the costs of our electrical systems, they add practically nothing to our total energy needs.

Chuck Wortman
July 20, 2019 3:28 pm

You guys can spout all the BS numbers you want, but the bottom line number is cost per kW/he and solar and wind are crushing it. Go subsidies! Coal is dying and Donnie can’t save him! Wind and solar plus storage is beating all fossil fuels, just ask GE who bet on FFs and is now getting their a** handed to them!

July 20, 2019 4:48 pm

Any questions?

1) Your hilarious previous excuse for presenting LCOE values from Table 1b (not weighted for capacities) rather than Table 1a (capacity-weighted averages) was because Table 1b included “coal”. (By the way, you never answered my previous question about how many gigawatts of coal-fired plants you expect to be installed in the U.S. from 2021-2030, and then from 2031-2040.) What is your excuse this time, since this post does have any numbers for coal?

2) Have you ever heard of the phrase “Garbage in, garbage out?”

3) A “real world” input for an LCOE analysis for 2023 or 2040 would be one for which the average value of the input (such as the capacity factor) has exactly a 50 percent chance of being too high, and a 50 percent chance of being too low. (That would be the *capacity-weighted*, or even more appropriately, *generation-weighted* average, of course.) Do you think these capacity factors represent average capacity-weighted (or more appropriately generation-weighted) capacity factors for 2023 and 2040:

Advanced NGCC, 2023: 87 percent
Advanced NGCC, 2040: 87 percent

On-shore wind, 2023: 41 percent
On-shore wind, 2040: 40 percent

Off-shore wind, 2023: 45 percent
Off-shore wind, 204: 45 percent

???

Chuck Wortman
Reply to  David Middleton
July 22, 2019 7:54 am

THe only reason someone justifies coal as an energy source is because they own stock in coal, are employed by coal, have immediate family employed by coal, or are just plain ignorant. The only thing keeping coal alive is Trump’s interference. Had the new regulations which were supposed to be implemented over the next few years, not been weakened strictly for political purposes, then the acceleration of coal plants closing would continue.
The LCOE isn’t the damn 10 Commandments and it’s jsut one source for some information. Bottom line that is undisputable.. More coal plants are closing than being built and plans for future coal plants are being shelved because they see the writing on the wall. Your own tables showed the decline and that will continue.
Coal is dirty, it produces toxic coal ash which contaminates water, it pollutes the air. So anyone still wanting to keep coal going are the stupid ones. All you fans of fossil fuel only want the product but don’t want to deal with the pollution. You’d rather push that cost off to others. If you like coal that much, let’s create a coal ash pit in your backyard and see how quickly you change your mind,

Chuck Wortman
Reply to  David Middleton
July 23, 2019 9:01 am

Just ask Japan how resilient Fukushima was. GE has finished manufacturing a wind turbine which will power 16,000 homes, just one turbine! It’s called the Haliade-X. I don’t know what you call boutique, but a couple hundred turbines in the Atlantic and Pacific will even strongly impact the nat gas biz. FOrget about coal. As more states commit to 100% renewables by 2050, you can bet your sweet a$$ that even nat gas will be on the decline. The future is coming and fossil fuels are not invited.

The only people who want coal are those who make money off of it. Nobody else wants it, not even the coal museum in Kentucky which is powered by solar!!

https://www.foxnews.com/us/kentucky-coal-mining-museum-switches-to-solar-power.

No matter what the charts say, coal is dying, especially in the U.S. and Europe. Even China, while still building coal plants, are building far fewer as they invest heavily in renewable energy Nobody can predict how long, but with rapid advances in solar and wind and energy storage, it will be too expensive to keep operating coal, and even natural gas plants as prices continue to decline.
You guys are so good at your charts, look at the projections for WIND and solar ten years ago compared to actual. Then look at five years compared to actual output. Same with energy storage. YOu will see that the predictions are all way off. New advances in solar are coming out weekly and some of these will be ready for manufacturing wihtin the next year.
You guys will all be driving your ICE pickup trucks as I fly pass you in my electric truck that I charged at home and has a 400 mile range and 5X the towing capacity as your crappy ICE pickup truck

Chuck Wortman
July 20, 2019 9:18 pm

IN case you chose not to read all the headlines and stories from a few weeks ago, but renewables surpassed coal for the first time. NOw coal may take the lead again, but hate to break it to you, it ain’t looking good for the coal industry. YOu’re in love wit hall your fancy numbers, makes you feel important, doesn’t it? Too bad you’re not familiar with the exponential curve, becasue if you were, you’d realize that coal is dead and it’s jsut a matter of time before oil is too. May be twenty years if we’re lucky, may be thirty, but it will happen, no matter what BS numbers you pull out your rear.

Dave Fair
Reply to  David Middleton
July 22, 2019 1:26 pm

Please note the statistics are for electric energy production only; there is no distinction made between the ability of the various generation sources to support electric grids. Industrial wind and solar installations require grid support rather than provide grid support. At some point, the addition of industrial wind and solar installations will degrade the reliability of electric systems to the level provided by Third World countries.

Dave Fair
Reply to  David Middleton
July 22, 2019 7:31 pm

I hadn’t thought of it that way, David. They are truly greentards by not seeing the obvious; their own touted statistics will doom them!

Chuck Wortman
Reply to  David Middleton
July 23, 2019 8:23 am

Dave, you must be so proud of your colored charts. It must make you think you are really smart. It’s so sad that you are stuck in the 80s.

You see only wahat you wantto see. You deny the devastataing impact that fossil fuels have. You ignore all the evidence out there showing that CO2 levels are casusing the planet to bake. Just because you’re an engineer doesn’t mean you have any common sense.Or is just that you’re a selfish jerk and don’t give a damn about the future of the planet because you just want to get what’s yours, you want it now, and do not care about anyone else. You and your cronies are heavily invested in fossil fuels and you will do anything to defend it. Companies like Koch Industries, Exxon, Duke, PJM, and others will do everything they can to stop the rise of renewables. As new benchmarks are reached by renewables, people like you will come up with new arguments why it isn’t feasible. It’s a good thing you guys weren’t in positions of power when Kennedy made the Moon Mission a top priority. You would have thought of a million ways why it couldn’t be done.
Instead, everyone came together because it was important and made the impossible possible.

Do your grandchildren a favor…go lock yourself in a room and listen to your 8-track tapes. Renewables are coming. They would already be here if it wasnt for people like you and all the other naysayers on this site who worship fossil fuels because of greed and ideology.
when there are no more beaches to relax on, no more slopes to ski on, no more polar bears in t he wild, it will be because of people like you, TsK Tsk, Dave Fair and others. There’s more to life than pickup trucks, guns, and MAGA hats. It’ll be nice when your generation passes on. Then we can clean up the mess you left behind.

Tom Halla
Reply to  Chuck Wortman
July 23, 2019 8:29 am

One advantage of being an old fart is perspective. I can sorta remember the foofraw over Silent Spring, and definitely remember Ehrlich and “The Population Bomb” and the computer games of the Club of Rome.
Given that sort of history, your current panicmongering reminds me of all the past failures in doomsday predictions. As you don’t seem to care about the details of what you claim to be the coming Apocalypse, you have the credibility of a late night preacher.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Chuck Wortman
July 23, 2019 11:45 am

Chuck, there is a new WUWT posting on China’s increasing use of coal.

Since you produce no unbiased facts and resort to personal attacks, this will be my last response to you, Troll.

Donald L. Klipstein
Reply to  David Middleton
July 23, 2019 11:31 am

Correct Dave, the only things you “see” are real, except for the fact that decades of working in the fossil fuel business has distorted your view, and you haven’t “seen” anything other than fossil fuels. Too bad.

Donald L. Klipstein
Reply to  David Middleton
July 23, 2019 1:01 pm

It’s not an “ad-hominem” to comment on your perspective. All of your articles, and comments here clearly show anyone that reads them what you perceive as “real.” Your entire career has been working in the fossil fuel industry.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Donald L. Klipstein
July 23, 2019 1:19 pm

Donald, what does this have to do with David’s posting of government statistics? My career included hydro, geothermal, gas, wind, and coal. What would that information about me suggest to you?

Dave Fair
Reply to  David Middleton
July 23, 2019 2:01 pm

As far as I know, the facts have always supported my firm conclusions. 😉

I have very few firm conclusions about any given topic; lack of knowledge or interest. I do, however, firmly believe in individual market freedom as opposed to centralized, socialist economic control. Free stuff is never free and social justice isn’t just.

Donald L. Klipstein
Reply to  David Middleton
July 23, 2019 2:01 pm

I’m not attacking you Middleton, I would be attacking you if I said you have a bad odor, or your hands are too small. No, you made the statement, “I only see things that are real” which enables me to comment on how you see things. Having read a lot of your comments and articles, it is plain as day to validly make the claim that your perception of “what is real” is colored by your years of employment in the fossil fuel industries.
So this is not ad-hominem because as you posted all I’m doing is “engaging in an argument or factual refutation of the claim.” Said claim being that you only see things that are real.

Dave Fair
Reply to  David Middleton
July 23, 2019 2:55 pm

David, it is at this point in your exchanges that I give up trying to carry on a rational discussions with the “Kliptsteins.” Let them flail about; nobody is listening.

Dave Fair
Reply to  David Middleton
July 23, 2019 3:38 pm

An RPG made sure I can’t swing a bat (nor a golf club) all that well. But I, too, have fun with the “Klipsteins” until they ultimately become tedious.

Dave Fair
Reply to  David Middleton
July 23, 2019 4:21 pm

Getting shot at are exciting events; invigorating, even. Getting hit ruins the fun. The wounds aren’t all that bad, though. The VA treats me very well.

Dave Fair
Reply to  David Middleton
July 23, 2019 6:49 pm

Don’t ever compete with Marines; they will do anything to win. I just cheat.

Dave Fair
Reply to  David Middleton
July 23, 2019 7:03 pm

David, I was standing in a long line of Selective Service Inductees in a processing facility in Portland, OR in 1968. A Marine Sgt. walked down the line and selected every 5th man for the Marines. Little did I know that I would have probably been safer had he chosen me. Don’t tell the Marines that.

Donald L. Klipstein
Reply to  David Middleton
July 23, 2019 3:32 pm

Middleton says: “here an opponent’s argument is discarded”
.
WRONG Dave, I’m not discarding your argument, I’m engaging it.
.
You opened the door by making the statement, “I only see things that are real.” and now you try to run away when someone engages you, and cry “ad-hominem.”

Donald L. Klipstein
Reply to  David Middleton
July 23, 2019 3:41 pm

Middleton continues to dig the hole he is in deeper…..
.
1) “I only see things that are real.”
2) “Because there is no “devastating impact.”
.
Exon Valdez isn’t real? DeepWater Horizon isn’t real? Coal ash waste ponds aren’t real?
.
Each of these have had devastating impact, yet you must not “see” them because to you they are not “real.”
.
Thank you very much David, for opening the door to what you consider to be real and what you consider not to be real.

Chuck Wortman
Reply to  David Middleton
July 23, 2019 4:12 pm

YOu guys are so in love with your colored charts and graphs that you can’t look up to see the trends. Try reading the news once in a while, other than FOX (though Chris and Shep are true journalists). New York is going to target 2040. Doesn’t that tell you anything? California is shooting for 2045 and so is Hawaii. Several other states have made similar announcements and more will follow, except for your coal states and your backward states.
New York just had a major power outage and now they are going to procure 30Mw of battery. PJM is using obscure rules to prevent more battery storage even though it’s been proven to save money. These are things that aren’t on your colored graphs ans charts, but they are facts. Another fact – BMW is losing market share to Tesla. Another fact, which my wrods were twisted in someone else’s reply, that while CHina is still buiildng coal plants, the yare investing massively in renewables.

It’s taking hard fought battles to open up markets to renewables as the entrenched powers are doing their damndest to prevent it from happening becasue it wll mean loss of profits.

Dave, you said your for decentralization yet you demean solar even though what could be more decentralized than soalr on your home?
And the duck curve? So last decade. Now with batteries, that excess energy is increasingly being stored.

You say coal is not declining rapidly, yet it seems we need to define rapidly. That’s subjective.
Dave, you and many others here are biased towards fossil fuels and you use selected graphs and charts that only other engineers would bother reading. What you don’t like, you conveniently ignore. You and your cohorts conveniently ignore what 98% of scientists have to say about climate change. You ignore their data in favor of data that supports your beliefs.

You can google anything I’ve posted here and confirm it so I’m not going to bother looking it up. If you’re smart enough to find these graphs, you’re smart enough to find these news stories, unless you consider them fake news becasue they dont’ gel with your beliefs.
It doesn’t take an engineer to notice all the electric charging stations being built for electric cars. While unfortunately a lot of this will be generated from natural gas or coal in the near future, things are changing in favor of renewable and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out.
Surely you understand the concept of tipping points, don’t you? Well your charts can show what they show, even if their biased data, but eventually we will reach a tipping point and all your charts and data projecting future increases in fossil fuels will become as irrelevant as your opinion on climate change. Is this the legacy you wanto leave your grandchildren? DO you want to be like the old closed minded Walt in Gran Torino or the new open-minded ‘Wally’?

https://www.google.com/search?q=starving+polar+bear+picture&tbm=isch&source=iu&ictx=1&fir=LeS1UYBQsjer0M%253A%252C9XlbJkmpReejEM%252C_&vet=1&usg=AI4_-kQnFBEQziNROGFOi668nuuKJ7-l3A&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjS0fHblMzjAhWuslkKHfiSArEQ9QEwAnoECAUQDA#imgrc=LeS1UYBQsjer0M:

Dave Fair
Reply to  Chuck Wortman
July 23, 2019 4:26 pm

Chuck, put your dreams of future renewables in one hand and piss in the other. Which fills up first?

[You can see my patience with this twit has run out.]

Donald L. Klipstein
Reply to  David Middleton
July 23, 2019 4:44 pm

Middleton posts “I only see things that are real.”
.
Then he cries “ad-homienem” when someone challenges his assertion.
.
Too funny

Donald L. Klipstein
Reply to  David Middleton
July 23, 2019 5:23 pm

Middleton posts: “the worse the problem gets”
.
Yet from the very link from NREL he posts it says:
.
“So fear not: the duck curve doesn’t spell doom for variable renewables. In the U.S., PV deployment is approaching the highest levels of solar studied in the 2008 report by Denholm et al. And thanks to more than 10 years of forward-looking grid integration analyses from NREL, grid planners and operators have access to a wealth of data, analysis, and tools to help get their proverbial ducks in row to manage it. ”
.
Based on this it looks like you need to start seeing things that are “real.”

Chuck Wortman
Reply to  Donald L. Klipstein
July 23, 2019 5:30 pm

DOnald, I know you’re more up to date than the others on here. And I know you don’t rely on biased sources (intentional or built in) and colorful charts to get all your information. Here’s something I think you will find fascinating!

https://www.teslarati.com/tesla-sa-battery-response-time-billing-system/

The response time of Tesla’s battery in AU is so fast, 200 milliseconds fast, that they can’t even start measuring the output for billing til six seconds later because it’s designed for fossil fuel energy measurement

Dave Fair
Reply to  David Middleton
July 23, 2019 9:06 pm

And that’s the only thing that matters to poor and middle-class people. The “Klipsteins” worry about the world, not the people on it. Without reliable, inexpensive energy we go back to grubbing out a subsistence living.

Everything is possible to one who doesn’t have to do the work. Mental masturbators.

Chuck Wortman
Reply to  Dave Fair
July 24, 2019 5:59 am

Why are you so in love with coal? What is this obsession? Even if renewables were somewhat higher, why should I pay for your pollution? Coal and gas do not pay the true cost. Instead they push the cost of pollution onto others. Why should I pay for your pollution? You won’t admit that this is a cost because you dont’ want to pay for it. Instead you just want cheap energy without paying it’s true cost. There’s no question that there’s a cost to pollution. Let’s put a coal ash pit near your house and see if you don’t start saying otherwise. Water pollution and air pollution are visible, tangible costs to everyone else.
Having said all that, I hate to break it to you Dave, but renewable are cheaper than coal now. You can twist it around to say otherwise, but it’s a fact now. Even Middleton’s charts reflect that. I have a 50/50 energy mix of renewables and FFs, doesn’t cost me a penny more. The only people who still want coal are those who have a vested interest in it. Do you really want your grandchildren to breathe dirty air? You want them to develop asthma and have difficulty breathing? You want them to drink water contaminated with heavy metals from coal ash contaminating the groundwater?

Donald L. Klipstein
Reply to  David Middleton
July 23, 2019 5:27 pm

“ramp need 13,000 MW in three hours.”

Well start up time for a gas turbine peaker is 10-15 minutes, and since the load curve is highly predictable, can you tell us what the “problem” is?

Donald L. Klipstein
Reply to  David Middleton
July 23, 2019 6:42 pm

Mister I only see things that are real posts a table….
.
1) “Estimated” is not real
2) “Entering service in 2023” is not today, so the numbers are not real
3) Hydroelectric is put in “non-dispatchable” catagory: http://energyeducation.ca/encyclopedia/dispatchable_source_of_electricity (See figure 1)

Donald L. Klipstein
Reply to  David Middleton
July 23, 2019 7:13 pm

Poor poor Davie…
.
https://thenarwhal.ca/what-s-future-hydroelectric-power-canada/
.
Heck, even wikipedia claims hydro is dispatchable: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dispatchable_generation
.
LOL @ U

Donald L. Klipstein
Reply to  David Middleton
July 23, 2019 7:56 pm
Donald L. Klipstein
Reply to  David Middleton
July 24, 2019 7:29 am

“but EIA classifies hydroelectric as non-dispatchable,”
.
Wow, and do you know what the EPA classifies CO2 as?
.
Take some time there Dave, and talk to grid operators about “dispatchability” and hydro. Maybe then you will have the opportunity to “see things that are real”

Donald L. Klipstein
Reply to  David Middleton
July 24, 2019 10:18 am

Another funny thing from Mr. Middleton…..
.
Basing his entire argument on EIA models.
.
On top of that the EIA model is flawed (due to real dispatchability of hydro.)
.
So is Middleton no better than regular climate scientists with their GIGO models?
.
All this from a man that claims he only sees things that are “real.”

Dave Fair
Reply to  Donald L. Klipstein
July 24, 2019 11:40 am

Well, Donald, I’ll dip my toe into your steaming mess one more time. As someone who has worked for both the Bonneville Power Administration and Western Area Power Administrations in the areas of hydroelectric planning and dispatch, I tell you the EIA is correct in stating that hydropower is only seasonally dispatchable.

As the new Director of the Division of Planning and Resources at the Sacramento Area Office of the Western Area Power administration beginning in 1979, the real headache was my Division’s job to sort out the mess the ’76-’77 drought caused in contract compliance with the Federal government’s Pacific Gas and Electric power supply contract. The contract specified the minimum firm capacity from the Central Valley Project’s hydroelectric system to be provided to PG&E.

The problem was that the prior modelers of the hydroelectric system didn’t consider the possibility of a drought like that occurring during the ’76-’77 period. When the contract’s minimum capacity levels could not be met and the contract was broken, PG&E began paying only for lesser amounts (which they unilaterally determined). The Federal taxpayers were losing millions annually; out-of-contract sales did not cover interest payments plus O&M.

How does the foregoing comport with your belief that: 1) I am enamored with coal; and 2) You know jack-shit about any aspect of power supply systems. You are trying to lecture to experts; your fantasies about the future are just that.

Please go back to the sandbox in your mother’s basement and quit irritating the adults.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Donald L. Klipstein
July 24, 2019 11:42 am

Also, you are a nasty little twit, Donald.

Reply to  David Middleton
July 23, 2019 11:30 am

The U.S. electricity industry has retired almost 18 gigawatts (GW) of coal-fired generating capacity since the beginning of 2018,…

That can’t be! David Middleton, electrical power generation industry expert, insisted in February 2018 that:

Coal-fired power plants aren’t retiring at a “rapid rate.”

https://wattsupwiththat.wordpress.com/2018/02/08/u-s-eia-annual-energy-outlook-2018-now-available/#comment-2742739

This was in the same post wherein he was extolling what a brilliant piece of work the U.S. EIA 2018 Annual Energy Outlook was:

https://wattsupwiththat.wordpress.com/2018/02/08/u-s-eia-annual-energy-outlook-2018-now-available/

Of course, this was the same David Middleton who asserted in February 2017 that “Coal Keeps Chugging Away”. (The caption was: “While coal-fired generation declines from now to 2022, it begins to climb again after 2025, despite plant closures. This is due to an increase in utilization rate from 60-64%.”)

Coal Keeps Chugging Away

Speaking of which, David Middleton, seer of seers with respect to electrical power generation, I’m still waiting for your predictions of:

The amount of utility coal-fired power generation capacity, in gigawatts, that will be added from 2021-2030, and 2031-2040. I’m very interested in that, because you previously said you used Table 1b LCOE values because they included LCOE estimates for newly-built coal-fired power plants.

Now that I think of it, I’d be really interested in another prediction:

In what year do you think that annual coal-fired power generation will go below the bottom of your “Coal Keeps Chugging Away” graph…i.e. in what year do you think annual coal-fired power generation will drop below 1000 thousand GWh? And if you think it will drop below 1000 thousand GWh annually before 2050, do you think it will later recover to the annual 1200 thousand Gwh plateau level in your graph?

https://markbahner.typepad.com/random_thoughts/2018/02/whos-in-fantasy-land.html

Reply to  David Middleton
July 23, 2019 2:25 pm

Coal-fired power plants aren’t retiring at a “rapid rate.”

Oh really? How many gigawatts of coal-fired power plant capacity retired in 2018? What number would be required to represent a “rapid rate.”

Coal keeps chugging along. The level at which it chugs in the forecast, largely depends on the 1) economy and 2) the efficiency of the oil & gas industry.

In other words, there is no decline in coal-fired electrical generation that falsifies the statement that “coal keeps chugging along” or “coal keeps chugging away”? As long at there’s even 1 MW of coal-fired generation in the U.S., “coal keeps chugging along”?

While we’re at it, how about answering my previous questions:

1) You said you used Table 1b values because they included coal. How many gigawatts of new coal-fired power plants do you expect to come online from 2021-2030? And from 2031-2040?

2) What year do you expect coal-fired power generation in the U.S. to drop below 1000 thousand GWh?

Reply to  David Middleton
July 23, 2019 7:00 pm

Good fracking grief! This was in English…

My question was in English, too. What number of gigawatts per year of retirements of coal-fired power plants would be necessary to constitute a “rapid rate” in your mind?

I use table 1b because:
1) It tabulates the LCOE of coal.

It provides estimates of the LCOE for new coal-fired power plants (with CCS). But you expect essentially no new coal-fired power plants.

2) It is consistent with table 1 in earlier LCOE reports.

The AEOs for 2019, 2018, 2017, and 2016 all had Table 1a. So it was only 2015 and 2014 that had Table 1 (but not either Table 1a or 1b). Don’t you think that the more important years were 2019, 2018, 2017, and 2016…rather than 2015 and 2014?

3) It is the actual average LCOE, not weighted toward geographical regions where wind and solar sort of work.

Don’t you think it would have been appropriate mention in your original post that you were using all Table 1b values, in preference to Table 1a values? And don’t you think it would have been appropriate to explain that much more wind and solar capacity are installed in areas of the country where they are appropriate, but you think that disguising that fact is appropriate?

This was also in English…

My question was in English. It was a simple question. I asked you what year *you* think coal-fired power generation will go below 1000 thousand GWh?

Reply to  David Middleton
July 24, 2019 8:24 am

I answered those questions… you just didn’t like the answers.

No, you didn’t answer the questions.

1) I asked you what number of gigawatts per year of coal retirements would constitute a “rapid rate. You did not provide a number.

2) I asked you what year *you* expected coal-fired power generation to drop below the 1000 thousand GWh bottom of your “Coal Keeps Chugging Away” curve. You did not provide a year.

Just like you never answered whether you think the generation-weighted average actual capacity factors of these types of facilities installed in 2023 have 50 percent chance of being higher and a 50 percent chance of being lower than these values:

Advanced NGCC, 2023: 87 percent
Advanced NGCC, 2040: 87 percent

On-shore wind, 2023: 41 percent
On-shore wind, 2040: 40 percent

Off-shore wind, 2023: 45 percent
Off-shore wind, 204: 45 percent

And just like you never answered my question about what you thought would happen to coal-fired power plants in Texas in the coming decades.

Reply to  David Middleton
July 24, 2019 12:47 pm

I haven’t made any predictions or forecasts about these things. I cited the EIA forecasts and modeled what could transpire if certain conditions are altered.

What a blatant lie! Or do you not even remember David Middleton of only two days ago?:

Wind and solar will remain “boutique” generating sources well-past 2050, working fairly well in a few geographically favorable locations and monuments to virtue signalling elsewhere.

Further, what did you mean by “boutique”? What percentage of overall U.S. electrical energy generation in 2050 do you think will be provided by solar (including utility, commercial, and residential solar electrical energy generation)? And what percentage of U.S. electrical energy generation do you think will be provided by wind (in all forms, including onshore and offshore)?

Dave Fair
Reply to  David Middleton
July 24, 2019 1:12 pm

David, Trolls attack the messenger, not the irrefutable message.

Dave Fair
Reply to  David Middleton
July 24, 2019 4:17 pm

Let me know if my hydro discussion hit the “Klipstein” out of the ballpark.

Reply to  David Middleton
July 27, 2019 7:43 am

David Middleton and Dave Fair,

Both you guys think you’re pretty hot stuff. I think you’re ignorant blowhards. Fortunately, there’s a way to figure out who is right and who is wrong.

Here’s a table I filled out with EIA values for 2017 and EIA Reference Case predictions for 2030 and 2050. I put my own predictions in for 2030 and 2050, and left blanks for y’all to fill in your predictions.

Let’s see who knows what they’re talking about

My guess is that neither of you will even provide any predictions…just like when I challenged MarkW, Kaiser Derden, et al. And why do I think that? Because I think both of you know you’re ignorant blowhards. You’re just not honest enough to admit it.

SteveW
July 20, 2019 10:14 pm

Does the LCOE for solar and wind include the cost of building and maintaining backup generation to bridge the huge amounts of time they don’t operate? If it does not then it seriously underestimates the true levelized cost of “renewables”.

Chuck Wortman
Reply to  David Middleton
July 23, 2019 5:08 pm

regarding the EIA data on remewables…

A recent peer-reviewed study led by the co-author of this column reviewed 630 projections made by the EIA between 2004 and 2014 that could be checked against actual data. The study found that most of EIA’s projections for renewables sharply under-projected generation or capacity, with especially pronounced under-projections of wind and solar in more recent years.

Looking the wrong way: Bias, renewable electricity, and energy modelling in the United States:
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0360544215015133