Study: Extreme Decadal Wind Variability Adds Uncertainty to Climate Predictions

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

My question – how can renewable energy possibly be a viable option, if we are entering a period of violent weather extremes, including wind droughts which could last for a decade?

Missing wind variability means future impacts of climate change may be underestimated in Europe and North America

by  University of Reading

Extratropical winds have a strong influence on climate in extratropical regions, and are known to vary from decade to decade. However, their variability is currently not factored into climate models making predictions for future climates in these regions. Researchers inserted these into predictions for how extratropical climates will change by the middle of the century, and found uncertainty increased significantly, meaning unusually hot, cold, dry or wet decades are likely to be more frequent here than previously thought.

Scientists at the University of Reading have warned that current projections of how a warming world will affect regional temperatures and rainfall do not take into account the fact that extratropical winds—which have a strong influence on climate in the mid-latitudes—vary greatly from decade to decade.

Dr. Christopher O’Reilly, a Royal Society University Research Fellow in the University of Reading’s Department of Meteorology, said: “Variations between decades in the strength of winds in the more temperate regions of the world are a crucial missing ingredient in projections of the future climate of those regions.

“By adding this extra variability into climate models, we showed that these winds may be an additional source of uncertainty on top of climate change. This could mean that within these regions, temperatures are pushed to relatively extreme highs or lows more often. While in some decades they could counteract increases to temperatures and heavy rainfall caused by climate change, in other periods they could make these extremes even more extreme.

Read more: https://phys.org/news/2021-09-variability-future-impacts-climate-underestimated.html

The abstract of the study;

Projections of northern hemisphere extratropical climate underestimate internal variability and associated uncertainty

Christopher H. O’ReillyDaniel J. BefortAntje WeisheimerTim WoollingsAndrew Ballinger & Gabriele Hegerl 

Abstract

Internal climate variability will play a major role in determining change on regional scales under global warming. In the extratropics, large-scale atmospheric circulation is responsible for much of observed regional climate variability, from seasonal to multidecadal timescales. However, the extratropical circulation variability on multidecadal timescales is systematically weaker in coupled climate models. Here we show that projections of future extratropical climate from coupled model simulations significantly underestimate the projected uncertainty range originating from large-scale atmospheric circulation variability. Using observational datasets and large ensembles of coupled climate models, we produce synthetic ensemble projections constrained to have variability consistent with the large-scale atmospheric circulation in observations. Compared to the raw model projections, the synthetic observationally-constrained projections exhibit an increased uncertainty in projected 21st century temperature and precipitation changes across much of the Northern extratropics. This increased uncertainty is also associated with an increase of the projected occurrence of future extreme seasons.

Read more: https://www.nature.com/articles/s43247-021-00268-7

Delving into the study, they seem to be suggesting adding observed wind variability to model projections increases the likelihood of harsh winters, rainfall anomalies and extreme heatwaves, and leads to a significant underestimate of internal variability in existing climate models.

For future twenty-first century periods, the underestimation of the uncertainty due to large-scale atmospheric circulation is comparable with the structural uncertainty in the forced response55,56. An example of where this underestimation could be important is the recent literature considering the differing impacts of 1.5 and 2 °C of global warming57; the underestimation of internal variability in the extratropics implies that regional differences between 1.5 and 2 °C warming are likely to be somewhat overconfident. Furthermore, the increased uncertainty also raises questions about the treatment of internal variability in regional model projections58. The EURO-CORDEX ensemble59, for example, use a relatively small subset of global coupled climate model simulations that, as has shown here, themselves underestimate the contribution of internal variability and this will be compounded in projections made using regional model ensembles. The increased projection uncertainty may also be important to factor into future risk assessment and decision making exercises.

Read more: Same link as above

The thrust of the study seems to be an attempt to amplify alarm about 1.5C warming – if some of the effects projected to occur with 2C of global warming start leaking through to a 1.5C world, you get an enhanced woo woo factor.

But a big issue the study authors avoided, what does all this claimed enhanced weather variability imply for the future of renewable energy?

Europe is currently suffering a severe wind drought, which has cause power price spikes and factory shutdowns across the continent.

Imagine the current European wind drought extending until 2030. Or Northern Hemisphere solar installations rendered unusable by a series of unusually cloudy summers. Or a series of extreme wind and hail storms sweeping Europe, destroying vast swathes of fragile wind and solar infrastructure.

If you believe in climate models and accept the results of this study, the inescapable conclusion must be that any attempt to go 100% renewable would be an economic disaster. I mean we already knew that, but a prediction of even more extreme weather anomalies than models predict surely drives home the message that renewable energy is not a viable solution to the world’s energy needs.

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Neo Conscious
September 20, 2021 6:12 pm

The changing wind patterns are perhaps part of the coming mini ice age predicted to arrive fully by 2030 according to Dr. Landscheidt.

Global cooling will require increased energy production from all sources at a time where alternative sources may be waning.

Bryan A
Reply to  Neo Conscious
September 20, 2021 8:47 pm

The solution is to site the wind turbines where the wind ALWAYS BLOWS…
In front of the mouths of socialist Dim-O-Crats

Leo Smith
Reply to  Bryan A
September 21, 2021 12:22 am

no…behind their backs

griff
Reply to  Neo Conscious
September 21, 2021 12:40 am

Human induced warming has postponed any new ice age for thousands of years, even with a new ‘Maunder minimum’. See any number of research papers on the subject.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  griff
September 21, 2021 3:30 am

Human induced warming has postponed any new ice age for thousands of years

Even if this were remotely true and not just massive hubris, why would delaying a new ice age be a bad thing? You just hate humanity, don’t you?

(yes, I do know that we are actually in an interglacial within an ice age, but griff obviously doesn’t)

Alan the Brit
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
September 21, 2021 4:25 am

I strongly suspect that’s not all he doesn’t know!!!

Joao Martins
Reply to  griff
September 21, 2021 4:17 am

Human induced warming has postponed any new ice age for thousands of years

Best joke of the year, griff! Congratulations!

Alan the Brit
Reply to  griff
September 21, 2021 4:28 am

Maunder Minimum? Oh I know, that’s when the Little Ice-Age took place & when through the winters most major & minor rivers froze solid for months, including the Thames on which the locals held ice fairs!!!

SxyxS
Reply to  griff
September 21, 2021 5:43 am

Griff.First time i wish your comment was true.
But it is not

MarkW
Reply to  griff
September 21, 2021 6:11 am

How does a tenth of a degree delay the next ice age for thousands of years?

Name these alleged research papers.

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  griff
September 21, 2021 6:16 am

Wrong as usual, griffendope. Whatever slight (as in, not measurable) warming man has caused will do diddley-squat as far as delaying any cooling, including a likely cooling which may have already begun, and could last decades.

robert of Texas
Reply to  griff
September 21, 2021 9:50 am

You have GOT to be kidding me. No one can say when an new ice age is going to occur because NO ONE understands why they occur. Lots of hypothesis, but no proof of anything – except they HAVE occurred.

Stating uncategorically that “human induced warming” (a hypothesis without proof) has postponed any new ice age (assumes with no proof that one is going to happen) for thousands of years (number picked out of the air) has got to be one of the most unscientific, bone-headed comments I have ever read.

Andrew Wilkins
Reply to  griff
September 21, 2021 9:52 am

“Human induced warming has postponed any new ice age for thousands of years”
And that is a bad thing, why?

Cold kills Griff: where would you rather be stood naked for a day, the Sahara or the South Pole?
(Have I just asked Griff to take his clothes off? *shudder*)

DonM
Reply to  griff
September 21, 2021 10:30 am

griff,

“you ignorant slut”.

An asteroid will strike the earth and all of this will be moot. See any number of research papers on the subject ….

September 20, 2021 6:13 pm

Weather dependent power, wind and solar, definitely fit the epithet of unreliable. As they were known to be unable to sustain Industrial society, they were supported by the nihilistic greens, who advocate “the simple life”.
Freezing in the dark is fairly simple.

walt
Reply to  Tom Halla
September 21, 2021 9:12 am

It is also usually brief,

otsar
September 20, 2021 7:06 pm

The Montecarlo walkback is a long one.

walt
Reply to  Eric Worrall
September 21, 2021 9:12 am

That cycle has been practiced a few decades ago.

Andrew Wilkins
Reply to  Eric Worrall
September 21, 2021 9:54 am

The internet never forgets. They’ll have trouble denying it this time around.

MAL
Reply to  Andrew Wilkins
September 21, 2021 10:16 am

“They” will delete or change everything. The internet is as flexible as temperature records.

John F Hultquist
September 20, 2021 7:44 pm

When visitors to our area ask a local “Does the wind always blow like this?”
They will be given this answer; “No, sometimes it blows harder.”
[Full disclosure: Sometimes it doesn’t blow at all.]

After much time and great expense, now they tell us wind and solar may not be reliable.
Fantastic.

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  John F Hultquist
September 21, 2021 1:34 am

I was a student and had my first job in Edinburgh, a fairly windy place. Subsequently I moved to Stoke on Trent in Central England. People there would comment on what them were Windy days and for me were light breezes.

It’s always windy somewhere usually means Stoke on Trent breezes rather than the 25mph winds needed by windmills.

ThinkingScientist
Reply to  Ben Vorlich
September 21, 2021 9:34 am

Try summer in Cape Town if you want windy…..

Andrew Wilkins
Reply to  Ben Vorlich
September 21, 2021 9:55 am

When the UK Met Office started naming “storms” an American friend of mine said, “why have you lot started naming wind?”

MAL
Reply to  Ben Vorlich
September 21, 2021 10:19 am

Try to fish in western North Dakota, if you can’t fish in the 25 mph wind you don’t go fishing! I had to tie up my garbage can, once sync speed with coke in ditch it was doing 45.

RickWill
September 20, 2021 8:08 pm

This article underscores the sense in climate resilience.

Even if weather dependent generators could alter the weather during this century, all the claimed climate changes are locked in. The current technology will not survives those changes.

Better to spend the limited resources on building resilience.

Earth is currently 400 years into the present cycle of glaciation. That process will continue to accelerate for the next 6000 years and then some retreat after 12,000 years before the next cycle into deeper glaciation. It is likely little existing port infrastructure will be useful within a few millennia.

Moving snow in cities like Montreal could become insurmountable in a few centuries. When will the Great Lakes become permanently iced over? Theses are real changes locked in by real climate change; not the make-believe CO2 nonsense.

On the bottom side of the globe, Australia will experience less sunlight but also less water. The droughts will be more persistent. Reliable water storage infrastructure is not created over night.

Bryan A
Reply to  RickWill
September 20, 2021 8:58 pm

Offshore wind to power coastal desalination facilities, onshore wind to power pumping facilities and sufficient pipe to take the water to the top of watershed areas and reservoirs. Then build far more reservoirs to supply water to parched areas and to allow for fighting bushfires

Ian Johnson
Reply to  Bryan A
September 21, 2021 3:00 am

And if the wind doesn’t blow?

Alan the Brit
Reply to  Bryan A
September 21, 2021 4:31 am

I doubt any new reservoirs will be created within the EU Dystopia, the eco-bunnies won’t allow it to happen!!!

MarkW
Reply to  Bryan A
September 21, 2021 6:14 am

With all those droughts, you won’t have to worry about bushfires.
One and done.

walt
Reply to  Bryan A
September 21, 2021 9:25 am

There is strong opposition to construction of reservoirs. The greenies want to eliminate hydro and restore free flowing rivers. Imagine getting people to approve setting aside land in densely populated areas like the US east and west coasts for any fresh water storage let alone pumped desalinated water.

Shanghai Dan
Reply to  Bryan A
September 21, 2021 1:34 pm

Or just one nuclear power plant. The San Diego desalination plant uses about 38 MW to desalinate 50 million gallons a day; doing 50 times that (covering urban water use in California) would be about 2 GW of electricity.

Which is what California’s last nuclear power plant, Diablo Canyon, produces reliably and continuously.

So build a few more nuclear power plants and we have ALL the power we’d want, whenever we want it. Desalinate water, power lights, keep society running – all on tiny parcels of land (Diablo Canyon’s power plant sits on 12 acres – we could take a small plot of 40 acres and build 3 more).

Gregory Woods
Reply to  RickWill
September 21, 2021 5:18 am

I suspect that a hundred years from now no one will be able to tell the difference between today’s climate (weather?) and what they experience….

Gerard Flood
September 20, 2021 8:47 pm

Australia suffers the world’s most erratic climates, as measured by how erratic and unreliable our agricultural production has always been. If wind and cloud are correlated with our climates, then there is a huge ‘capacity’ and financial viability’ problem arising by recklessly transplanting foreign wind & solar electricity models into Australian grids.

Reply to  Gerard Flood
September 20, 2021 8:55 pm

Australia has no nuclear power and no way to run extension cords to neighbours with diverse sources of energy. We are on the road to ruin.

https://www.riteon.org.au/netzero-casualties/#202

Dennis
Reply to  Rafe Champion
September 21, 2021 12:07 am

And really stupid politicians in the majority who refuse to life the ban on nuclear energy and opening new uranium mines to access one third of the world’s known deposits of uranium.

One exception, the 1950s reactor in a Sydney outer suburb that produces radio isotopes for medical and commercial customers including for export.

griff
Reply to  Rafe Champion
September 21, 2021 12:44 am

You could cover most domestic demand with solar power.

lee
Reply to  griff
September 21, 2021 1:57 am

So people won’t want a hot tea?

Ian Johnson
Reply to  griff
September 21, 2021 3:01 am

At night?

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  griff
September 21, 2021 3:34 am

You could cover most domestic demand with solar power.

Off you go then. Invest away, or do it yourself.

Just don’t ask to use my money, and we’re all good.

Alan the Brit
Reply to  griff
September 21, 2021 4:36 am

Have you ever stopped & looked at a Solar Array, it’s size & the amount of land consumed to build them, ditto for Wind Farms, all built on land owned by wealthy landowners, being payed by the taxpayers for the dubious privilege of getting electricity from them, landowners like Samantha Cameron’s father who earns hundreds of thousands of pounds each year, as said before, it’s Robin Hood in reverse, & it’s perverse!!!

Gregory Woods
Reply to  griff
September 21, 2021 5:21 am

Details, details, Griffster, give us details on how this could be accomplished…

MarkW
Reply to  Gregory Woods
September 21, 2021 6:16 am

griff views itself as the idea man. Making those ideas work, is not it’s problem.

Richard Page
Reply to  MarkW
September 21, 2021 7:50 am

I wouldn’t mind quite so much but those aren’t even his ideas. He’s regurgitating someone else’s.

Reply to  griff
September 21, 2021 6:15 am

Demand stops latest when Early Evening TV News will be shown in TV.

MarkW
Reply to  griff
September 21, 2021 6:15 am

You keep making that claim, yet time and time again, solar fails to live up to your hype.

Andrew Wilkins
Reply to  griff
September 21, 2021 9:57 am

And what about at night?

MAL
Reply to  Andrew Wilkins
September 21, 2021 10:25 am

He think batteries will carry the load it could but some how ten dollar a kilowatt hour seem a little out of reach for most of us. If you wonder were I got the ten dollar a kilo what hour came from I got it from the same place Griff gets his, it is a WAG.

September 20, 2021 10:59 pm

The summary of the study is that they don’t have a clue.

Jordan
Reply to  Phillip Bratby
September 20, 2021 11:43 pm

My initial impression too Phillip. It just seems to say “we cannot model the jet stream”.
However, somebody “got published”, and that means job done.

Alan the Brit
Reply to  Jordan
September 21, 2021 4:45 am

I don’t know about the USA, Australia, New Zealand, but in UK’s establishments, especially the technical ones, one is encouraged to write a paper on some technical subject to facilitate a promotion above a certain level!!!

Jordan
Reply to  Alan the Brit
September 21, 2021 7:26 am

a promotion above a certain level”
They used to refer to it as “promotion to the level of your incompetence”

Smart Rock
Reply to  Alan the Brit
September 21, 2021 7:44 am

Alan – “Publish or Perish” has been the rule in academia since at least the 1960s. It’s one of the reasons that so many published papers are just a rehash of previous studies, or contain results that cannot be reproduced. Or both.

The key metrics for advancement are – number of papers published, and the number of times your papers have been cited as references in other papers. You can see how both of these can be abused on an industrial scale in the race for self-promotion.

Smart Rock
Reply to  Phillip Bratby
September 21, 2021 7:08 am

Not having a clue has never been much of an impediment in publishing climate science studies.

September 20, 2021 11:13 pm

Did anyone else notice that they have now filled in the last gap in their secular Declaration of Faith?

In recent years, they have told us that, if it is hotter – colder – wetter – dryer in your part of the world, it is all due to Man Made Climate Change.

Now, this “paper” tells us that if it is much the same in your part of the world – it is still all due to Man Made Climate Change.

Insane zealots are insane zealots, no matter whether they have a god / pantheon or not. (Although the doctrinalists of Man Made Climate Change do have their prophets and saints.)

Coeur de Lion
September 20, 2021 11:29 pm

Have we gone back to ‘global warming’ instead of ‘climate change’?

Dennis
Reply to  Coeur de Lion
September 21, 2021 12:08 am

It depends on the political climate and the temperature of public debate.

Alan the Brit
Reply to  Coeur de Lion
September 21, 2021 4:48 am

Only when it suits them!!!

Matthew Sykes
September 21, 2021 12:09 am

When are we going to fight back against this BS? In the UK £450 a year green taxes on energy bills, soon to double.

Energy shortages, food shortages, mad protestors blocking the road network because houses arent insulated.

When are we going to stand up, call this BS for what it is and put an end to it!!!!!!!

Alan the Brit
Reply to  Matthew Sykes
September 21, 2021 4:50 am

Probably only when the actions of the protesters starts to adversely affect them, when they are paying more for all sources of fuel to heat & light their homes & power their cars, including the electric ones which haven’t yet burst into flames!!!

RobK
September 21, 2021 12:10 am

I’ve often said that RE cannot project accurately how much energy it can harvest in any given time frame. This study explains my reasoning for the longer time frames as far as wind is concerned (cloudiness takes care of solar ineptitude).
It’s not just an inconvenience but has implications as to the designed scale of storage and buffering. It makes basing a business model impossible. It has some parallels with flood mitigation storage, where the operators simply misjudge oncoming weather and longer projections.

To bed B
September 21, 2021 12:26 am

The end game is 6 billion people living in energy poverty – and poverty. It’s very blatant that renewables can’t provide the electricity that we use now, let alone plus transport.

Andrew Wilkins
September 21, 2021 12:33 am

Ignoring all the model-waffle above, but sticking to the subject of wind, isn’t it funny how UK resident Griff and his/her fellow thermageddonists have stopped proclaiming the glories of unreliables now the UK has been shafted energy-wise because of a lack of wind.
Any excuses Griff? Where are those fabled batteries that were going to rescue us?

griff
Reply to  Andrew Wilkins
September 21, 2021 12:43 am

The UK needs more renewables, because the current crisis is entirely down to the cost of a fossil fuel, natural gas.

Fortunately we should see a tripling of solar power by 2025 and an addition of 3 times the current installed offshore wind base by 2030.

Most of the projects are now coming in subsidy free: when the old payments scheme ends in 2025 and with the new subsidy free schemes, the price of renewable electricity will drop.

lee
Reply to  griff
September 21, 2021 2:03 am

“The UK needs more renewables, because the current crisis is entirely down to the cost of a fossil fuel, natural gas.” And not about the wind don’t blow? Do you understand 3 times zero is still zero? LOL

Jordan
Reply to  griff
September 21, 2021 2:38 am

Griff. Markets put a price on scarcity (supply) as a way to ration limited resources.
Right now, the market values gas as the ONLY alternative to a scarcity of energy supply in the UK. The price of gas is what we must pay to out-bid other people (Asian economies).
Energy scarce in the UK right now because circa 15GW wind generating capacity has produced very much less than hoped for. Scarcity appears as the price of gas because we have closed down nearly all the coal fired capacity. Coal fired generation is massively in-merit in the UK power market, but there is no capacity to respond.
That means, with or without the punitive carbon taxes, energy prices in the UK would have been much lower if we had more coal fired capacity.
The UK needs a remedy for the current experience. This is a new fleet of coal fired generating units. It means we can store energy cost-effectively, and will make us far less exposed to the intermittency of wind.

Jim Gorman
Reply to  Jordan
September 21, 2021 5:28 am

Basic description of a centrally planned economy. Wonder how the Soviet Union would have handled a shortage of power generation. I’ll bet UK bureaucrats are thinking along the same lines.

Andrew Wilkins
Reply to  griff
September 21, 2021 3:32 am

Um, no.
We have no gas because the idiot govt and their obsession with unreliables did the following:
1) Let our gas reserves fall too low
2) Refused to use/build coal fired stations
3) Refused to allow UK fracking for gas
4) Allowed the UK to be beholden to gas supplies from foreign (and often nefarious) countries.
Because of these 4 idiotic decisions made by the govt, coupled with the hopelessly intermittent windmills, we have been shafted.
It’s the green lobby (of which you are a member), whose hopeless inability to understand how energy supplies really work, who have messed up. Massively. But us sceptics were warning you all along and you refused to listen.
As for the price of renewables dropping – ROFLMAO!
Are you sure you’re not a parody Griff?

kzb
Reply to  Andrew Wilkins
September 21, 2021 3:58 am

It’s all very well ROFLMAOing, but you have got to address the forecasts of wind and solar prices falling to 1.1 cents/kWh. You have got to stop laughing with your mates in your echo chamber and engage with these forecasts.

lee
Reply to  kzb
September 21, 2021 4:12 am

1.1c/KWh? what about when it’s overcast or no wind? Should they be charged a performance fee?

Scissor
Reply to  kzb
September 21, 2021 4:54 am

Everything is great if one ignores the difference between capacity and actual production.The failure to comprehend this is worse than an echo chamber.

The reality is that solar doesn’t work at night, wind doesn’t work when it’s calm.

kzb
Reply to  Scissor
September 21, 2021 8:11 am

The CfD bid price is for electricity delivered, not nameplate capacity.

Andrew Wilkins
Reply to  kzb
September 21, 2021 10:01 am

How did they work out that bid price? Do they know when the wind is and isn’t going to blow?

Andrew Wilkins
Reply to  kzb
September 21, 2021 5:06 am

What’s the price when the wind’s not blowing or the sun’s not shining? Or do you expect consumers to pay for something they’re not getting?

Andrew Wilkins
Reply to  kzb
September 21, 2021 5:08 am

Go on then, let’s address the forecast:
When exactly do you expect the cost to fall to 1.1c/kWh?
Next week?
Next month?
Next year?
Next decade?
Next century?
Enquiring minds would love to know.

kzb
Reply to  Andrew Wilkins
September 21, 2021 8:08 am

In Spain just recently, a wind power company won a bid at €20/MWh, which equates to about 2.3 US cents per kWh.

The 1.1 cents price comes from IRENA :

With record low auction prices of USD 1.1 to 3 cents per kWh today, solar PV and onshore wind continuously undercut even the cheapest new coal option without any financial support.

https://www.irena.org/newsroom/pressreleases/2021/Jun/Majority-of-New-Renewables-Undercut-Cheapest-Fossil-Fuel-on-Cost

Andrew Wilkins
Reply to  kzb
September 21, 2021 9:44 am

How much do we have to pay when the wind’s not blowing and the sun’s not shining? Is it still 1.1c for bugger all?

Andrew Wilkins
Reply to  kzb
September 21, 2021 9:48 am

From the information, ahem, propaganda you linked to:
““We are far beyond the tipping point of coal,” La Camera continued.”
Tell that to the Chinese.
You’ve been hoodwinked by renewable scammers.

MarkW
Reply to  kzb
September 21, 2021 6:22 am

Science fiction doesn’t have to be addressed.
The wonders of cheap wind and solar have been proclaimed for at least 50 years. The only constant during those 50 years, is that the time of cheap renewables is always well into the future.

kzb
Reply to  MarkW
September 21, 2021 8:09 am

See my reply to Andrew Wilkins above.

Richard Page
Reply to  kzb
September 21, 2021 7:56 am

1.1c/kWh? You’re having a laugh mate. The only way that will happen is when the taxpayer funded government pays a subsidy of 50c/kWh to the energy suppliers. As a consumer, you will still pay many times more in hidden costs and subsidies. Get real.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  griff
September 21, 2021 3:38 am

the current crisis is entirely down to the cost of a fossil fuel, natural gas

The insanity is palpable

Alan the Brit
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
September 21, 2021 4:58 am

How does Griff manage to type to infect this site whilst wearing his straight jacket in his padded room? From what I have read of his “contributions” he clearly lacks any kind of scientific/technical training whatsoever, but then again, most eco-bunnies are the same, at least those not dependent upon grant money, sadly!!!

Mike Edwards
Reply to  griff
September 21, 2021 4:46 am

Griff,

I think that you might do well to read the linked report here on the realities of the costs of Wind power in the UK, before you proclaim “the price of renewable electricity will drop”:

https://www.briefingsforbritain.co.uk/the-costs-offshore-wind-power-blindness-and-insight/

Maybe it is uncomfortable reading, but it is important to get at the truth in these matters.

As for solar power in the UK – it is a spectacularly poor investment, given the climate of the UK. Solar also requires 100% backup since there are long periods when it generates precisely nothing. The costs of such backup never seem to get factored in to the costs of solar power, but they are very real costs.

kzb
Reply to  Mike Edwards
September 21, 2021 8:30 am

It seems to be a good question that, i.e. what is the cost of wind power in the UK? On one side we have CfD bids of £47/MWh of offshore wind. On the other side we have the people who you reference, who say they have been through company accounts to see the real price (which is much more than £47).
So what is the definition of the real price? It’s obviously the price we are charged, which could be as low as £47. If they are actually making a loss at that price, that’s their problem surely. But why would they put in a loss-making bid? They must have costed it and concluded they could show a profit at that price?

ThinkingScientist
Reply to  kzb
September 21, 2021 10:00 am

They may be bidding at those prices, but I’ll look forward to seeing anyone building and operating a wind farm profitably at those prices.

Currently UK wind farms operating do so at about spot price + £80 /MWhr – all of which is paid for by subsidies etc. And of course wind farms come with a huge, hidden cost of grid balancing that they don’t have to pay even though they are the direct cause of grid instability. Which is why the UK grid balancing costs have risen 6-fold since 2000 to around £2 billion a year now.

A reliable, stable grid cannot operate 24/365 on renewables unless gas power is available to provide standby backup. A grid operating two systems in parallel CANNOT be cheaper to run than just using fossil fuels. A grid run on coal with some spot demand met from gas will be inevitably cheaper than anything else. To suggest otherwise is absurd.

Its only by (a) crippling the fossil fuel industry with taxes, regulations and restricted market access, (b) pretending the subsidies don’t exist for renewables and (c) ignoring the cost of renewable intermittency you can convince the gullible (ie greenies and MPs) that renewables are now cheaper and more reliable than fossil fuels.

In the real world its very dangerous nonsense. If the lights go out in the UK the public backlash against these insane and reckless government policies is going to be very spectacular. I doubt any culpable politician will survive it and the party sitting in government will be unelectable for a generation.

Richard Page
Reply to  kzb
September 21, 2021 11:28 am

It’s the cost of the power plus the cost of subsidies received. If the companies received no subsidies whatsoever, then they would make a loss – they can only make a profit once the amount of subsidies is taken into account. If the subsidies ever stopped, the UK would have no renewables at all. Zero.

Reply to  griff
September 21, 2021 6:17 am

100 solar panels at evening / nighttime = 0wh
10000 solar panels at evening / nighttime = 0wh.

kzb
Reply to  Krishna Gans
September 21, 2021 8:32 am

Not true if you also have a storage battery. That battery could be your EV when you are not using it.
There’s also solar thermal energy plants, which store heat for night time generation. These are becoming competitive on price.

Mr.
Reply to  kzb
September 21, 2021 9:54 am

Then when would your EV ever get to leave the garage, if it needs to be recharging for most of the following day, only to be then drained again that night?

Rinse & repeat . . .

Andrew Wilkins
Reply to  kzb
September 21, 2021 10:04 am

What magic batteries are those that last all night?

Mike Edwards
Reply to  kzb
September 21, 2021 11:23 am

Using batteries is one way of providing the backup requirement for solar I mentioned in my last post. Such backup batteries and the equipment to control them don’t come cheap. They have to cover the hours of darkness – 16+ hours in winter in the UK, including the peak times for electricity usage, morning and evening.

If it’s your EV, when is your EV ever going to get charged up for you to use it? For home charging systems with typical max of 7kW, it takes a very long time to charge up an EV. My view is that the idea of using EVs for backup of the grid is a mirage being used to hide the major cost problem of providing adequate backup for solar power.

As for solar thermal, it may just about work in (sub)tropical desert areas. In the UK? Forget about it.

Frankly, I consider that very little proper thinking has been done on these issues. It does not hang together.

MarkW
Reply to  griff
September 21, 2021 6:20 am

Wind and solar fail, increasing the demand for natural gas.
Alarmists such as yourself have been doing everything in your power to restrict any new sources of gas, and to shut down existing ones.
Increased demand, decreased supply, and as a result the cost of gas goes up.

Ergo, all our problems are being caused by expensive natural gas and the obvious solution is more windmills and solar farms.

ThinkingScientist
Reply to  griff
September 21, 2021 9:47 am

Oh Griff, you are such a chump!

“The UK needs more renewables, because the current crisis is entirely down to the cost of a fossil fuel, natural gas.”

Er…no. Its caused by long term distortion of free markets by government interference. For the UK, its a direct consequence of the governments insane climate change act 2008 and subsequent net zero carbon policies.

“Fortunately we should see a tripling of solar power by 2025”

God help us!

“and an addition of 3 times the current installed offshore wind base by 2030.”

God help us twice, so the current problems will be multiplied even more!

“Most of the projects are now coming in subsidy free: when the old payments scheme ends in 2025 and with the new subsidy free schemes, the price of renewable electricity will drop.”

Hahahahahahahahah!

Griff, do you understand that bids for wind have been made at cheap prices but no-one has actually built one. And never will at those low bid prices, because without:

(a) the £80 /MWhr top up subsidies for renewables
(b) the levies placed on fossil fuels to penalise them
(c) the lack of a requirement for renewables to pay the hugely increasing grid balancing costs (now £2 billion a year, a 6-fold increase since 2000)

renewables will be nothing more than unreliable, expensive white elephants funded by the tax payer via household energy bills.

Now if somebody bid for a wind farm at market rates for power generation and taking on the burden of ensuring there own dispatchability then you might have a point.

But they never will because they cannot survive without tax payer subsidy.

Its all going to end in tears, and long before 2030 or even 2025. I will be reminding Conservative MPs of the UK’s spectacular exit from the ERM in 1992. Of course once it happened everything started to improve economically in the UK. Its the same old government idiocy and hubris trying to force its will on free markets. In the end it will inevitably break.

Last edited 29 days ago by ThinkingScientist
Pamela Matlack-Klein
Reply to  Andrew Wilkins
September 21, 2021 1:40 am

he was on solar panels the other day, claiming that they even produce electricity when covered in snow!

Andrew Wilkins
Reply to  Pamela Matlack-Klein
September 21, 2021 3:22 am

Beyond nuts.

griff
September 21, 2021 12:40 am

I see frequent complaints from skeptics about articles with pictures of power stations venting steam giving a false impression, yet here I see another article with a blazing wind turbine, a vanishingly rare event in the world…

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  griff
September 21, 2021 3:39 am

What’s good for the goose…

Scissor
Reply to  griff
September 21, 2021 5:00 am

Lightning rods get hit so infrequently. /s

Andrew Wilkins
Reply to  griff
September 21, 2021 5:05 am

Steam isn’t CO2.
A wind turbine on fire is a, um, wind turbine on fire.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Andrew Wilkins
September 21, 2021 7:46 am

Yeah, it’s not like the burning windmill is misrepresenting reality. It’s actually a burning windmill.

MarkW
Reply to  griff
September 21, 2021 6:25 am

Vanishingly rare? You wish.

Richard Page
Reply to  griff
September 21, 2021 8:03 am

Again, Griffy? I told you where to find that research – you should have looked. It’s roughly 1 in 100(ish) over a 20 year lifespan – nowhere even close to ‘vanishingly rare’. It’s a fairly common occurrence despite your delusional protestations.

Andrew Wilkins
Reply to  Richard Page
September 21, 2021 9:41 am

Imagine if 1 in every hundred gas fired power stations blew up. The green zealots would be going nuts.

Mike Edwards
September 21, 2021 12:55 am

their variability is currently not factored into climate models making predictions for future climates in these regions”

The variability of winds – or indeed the variability of any other weather phenomena – should not need to be “factored in” to any climate model. A good climate model should generate such variability as part of its normal output. If a climate model can’t do this, then it isn’t a good representation of the Earth’s climate system. Trying to factor in variability after the fact is simply laughable.

So this study actually reveals the inadequacy of the current climate models. This basic fact is revealed time and again when the climate model outputs are compared with one or other aspect of the real world. Yet there is continuing faith in these very same climate models to make reliable predictions about future climate?

Iain Reid
September 21, 2021 1:12 am

Irrespective of weather, technically renewables can only be incorporated up to a certain amount in a grid and retain reliability. 100% renewables is a pipe dream and cannot work.

When is the message that renewables are not equivelant to or a substitute for conventional generation going to sink in to politicians?

kzb
Reply to  Iain Reid
September 21, 2021 4:01 am

It can work with sufficient storage capacity and interconnectors from one region to another. Your EV can be used for load levelling, during the 95% of the time you are not using it for transport. People are getting paid for this right now as I write.

lee
Reply to  kzb
September 21, 2021 4:54 am

You mean like in Europe? oh that’s right Ireland low energy shut supply. Germany closed business supply. Too funny.

MarkW
Reply to  lee
September 21, 2021 6:30 am

It really is fascinating how these people actually believe that no matter what the problem, it can always be solved by doing more of what got us into the problem in the first place.

kzb
Reply to  lee
September 21, 2021 8:46 am

Well it’s not in operation on a big enough scale yet is it. I am talking about the future when there are tens of millions of EVs.

Andrew Wilkins
Reply to  kzb
September 21, 2021 10:06 am

Tens of millions of EVs?
You’re nuts.

kzb
Reply to  Andrew Wilkins
September 21, 2021 11:18 am

There are 30-odd million cars in the UK, eventually they’ll all be replaced by electric vehicles. So why am I nuts for thinking that?

Andrew Wilkins
Reply to  kzb
September 21, 2021 11:28 am

And when will that be?
When will all the infrastructure be in place?

Dave Andrews
Reply to  kzb
September 22, 2021 8:20 am

The IEA said there were just over 2m EVs in the WORLD at the start of 2020 and more than half of them were in the US.In their report earlier this year(The Role of Critical Minerals in Clean Energy Transitions) their best scenario envisaged just over 70m EVs WORLDWIDE by 2040.

Highly unlikely that 30m of them are going to be in the UK.

MarkW
Reply to  kzb
September 21, 2021 6:29 am

In other words, that 1.1c claim you made earlier is a total lie, and you know it.
How many thousands of trillions of dollars is going to be needed to build all the batteries and interconnectors that are going to be needed to carry power from where the sun is shinning to where it isn’t?
How many thousands of trillions of dollars is going to be needed to build enough batteries to maintain power for 3 or 4 weeks while the wind isn’t blowing?
How many thousands of trillions of dollars is going to be needed to build enough wind and solar farms everywhere so that there are always enough wind and solar farms to not only power the world from where ever the wind is blowing and the sun shinning, but to also charge up the batteries at the same time?

Richard Page
Reply to  MarkW
September 21, 2021 8:09 am

I wouldn’t bother – it’ll never be enough: we all know that, even the climate enthusiasts know that. It’s the classic delusional cult belief – “it would have worked, if only YOU had enough faith, there was nothing wrong with the plan…” It’s delusional thinking throughout.

kzb
Reply to  MarkW
September 21, 2021 8:52 am

Hang on there, it is certainly not MY lie is it? I gave you an authoritative reference for that price, I didn’t make it up. What’s more there are plenty more references with a similar message.
Anyhow, although you are blaming the messenger (me), at least you are beginning to engage with the relevant issues. It does seem to me that IRENA is quoting only the price of electric from the generators, and energy storage seems to be someone else’s problem.
Still, as I say, these are the important arguments, but I’ve not seen a WUWT article which addresses them.

Andrew Wilkins
Reply to  kzb
September 21, 2021 10:08 am

“authoritative reference”
I think you mean propaganda written by a bunch of renewables grifters.

kzb
Reply to  Andrew Wilkins
September 21, 2021 11:16 am

They reported actual bid prices, that part at least is not propaganda.

Andrew Wilkins
Reply to  kzb
September 21, 2021 11:19 am

Bids are all very well, but how did they cost their bids? Did they factor in when the wind doesn’t blow? How do they know when the wind is going to blow? Oh yeah, my bad, they don’t.
It’s pie in the sky stuff.

kzb
Reply to  Andrew Wilkins
September 21, 2021 4:09 pm

They don’t have to cost in lack of wind. It’s not their problem. The system is obligated to buy whatever power they have available to sell. How they cost their bid is a commercial secret. Nevertheless they will proceed on a minimum guaranteed price of 1.1-3 US cents per unit. They are saying they can make a profit on those prices.

Andrew Wilkins
Reply to  kzb
September 21, 2021 10:35 pm

“They don’t have to cost in lack of wind. It’s not their problem”
Oh, the arrogance of the unreliables industry!
It’s a problem for the poor customer when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun’s not shining and they’re left shivering in the dark.

kzb
Reply to  Andrew Wilkins
September 22, 2021 4:28 am

It’s no different to any other supplier in this market-driven society. None of them are obligated to keep us supplied with power on demand. Their only obligation is to make a profit. The load factor for nuclear in the UK is only 77%. Currently we have several reactors shut down for various reasons. The load factor for North Sea giant turbines will be over 50%, and one claimed 60% last year, so not much worse than nuclear really.

Andrew Wilkins
Reply to  kzb
September 22, 2021 4:56 am

Last time I checked, nuclear reactors still work when the wind doesn’t blow and when it’s dark. They also tend to operate for more than 20 years before they pack up.
Comparing unreliables to nuclear (and saying 50% is close to 77%) is laughable.
We’ll leave it there.

Mike Edwards
Reply to  kzb
September 21, 2021 11:46 am

kzb,

I suggest that you read the article on Wind power costs in the UK that I linked in a previous post:

https://www.briefingsforbritain.co.uk/the-costs-offshore-wind-power-blindness-and-insight/

I’m not blaming you as a messenger, but I suggest that you read a bit more widely to try and understand what is really going on. I’ve read some of the rosy picture stuff in the UK government material and by other pro-renewables groups. It is worthwhile to read a broader set of material which show us all that there is very likely a different reality out there. You will not get a rounded picture from enthusiasts with agendas.

You also claim that there are no WUWT articles addressing issues around renewable energy. There certainly have been – perhaps you missed them. I’ll provide links to two very good recent articles posted by Willis Eschenbach which I think are relevant here:

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2021/06/25/the-real-cost-of-wind-and-solar/

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2021/06/15/storing-energy/

Happy reading!

kzb
Reply to  Mike Edwards
September 21, 2021 4:33 pm

Yes I must’ve missed those articles.
On the first one, the proponents will argue it is looking at older wind technology and the new giant turbines will produce cheaper power. That article does bring it home how sensitive is the price to relatively small changes in the load factor. There is an offshore wind site claiming 60% load factor last year. That will make it much cheaper than in the article.

Mike Edwards
Reply to  kzb
September 22, 2021 12:03 am

kzb,

You really are dedicated to wearing the green-tinted spectacles. The briefings for britain article shows that there is no sign whatever that newer technology is going to magically transform the costs of offshore wind energy. Indeed, they show that the maintenance costs of offshore wind appear to be rising, not falling.

Load factors for wind and solar vary – vary with the weather – they are unreliables. I wonder what the load factors for wind energy look like this year – a year with relatively low winds across the UK? Let’s remember that it’s the lack of wind power that is part of the underlying power crisis in the UK, since we’ve had to turn to gas power stations – and then we find that gas is in short supply.

More fool us for retiring all the coal power stations that used to supply us with reliable baseload. They were a lot cheaper than any of the remaining generation sources, which is why the price of electricity has increased so much already in the UK. Now we get to understand that the electricity price will increase a whole load more in the coming years. And all for what? Nothing – just a pile of self-inflicted harm.

kzb
Reply to  Mike Edwards
September 22, 2021 4:22 am

It depends whether you trust the people behind that Briefings for Britain study (which is actually people from the GWPF). As we see on this forum, often these studies are based on cherry-picked data. They look like professional analyses but they are actually fake news. How do we know if they are being completely honest? It’s not been peer-reviewed as far as I know.
We don’t know electricity prices will increase in the coming years. All the wind companies are saying they can sell us power at pence per unit as wind power technology advances. For examp-le, recently in Spain a company has won a bid at €20/MWh. This means they calculate they are profitable at that price.

Mike Edwards
Reply to  kzb
September 22, 2021 8:39 am

It’s not been peer-reviewed as far as I know.”

Ah, this faith in peer review. Peer review is no guarantee of honesty or correctness. There have been plenty of examples of peer reviewed papers that use cherry picked data and highly dubious methodologies – particularly in climatology.

However, if you think paper is “fake news”, then kindly show us all where the flaws are. I don’t see many flaws myself.

All the wind companies are saying they can sell us power at pence per unit”

And you believe everything you’re told by companies that are trying to sell you something? If these companies get their way and we end up reliant on the technology, we’ll have to pay whatever the real price is.

Mr.
Reply to  MarkW
September 21, 2021 10:04 am

Yes, the fantasies about renewables are redolent of Adolf in 1944 standing over his maps, planning grand attacks by divisions that had been wiped out months earlier.

2hotel9
September 21, 2021 3:45 am

Look, climate predictions are dirt simple, people. The climate will continue to change, exactly as it always has and always will. As for windmills and solar panels? They are failure writ large. Without massive amounts a tax dollars thrown down the toilet of “renewables” the whole house of cards collapses.

Matthew Siekierski
September 21, 2021 3:50 am

So the take-away is…

For reliability, we should be building nuclear power plants, not windmills and solar panel arrays.

IanE
Reply to  Matthew Siekierski
September 21, 2021 5:43 am

Or, and let’s be radical here, how about coal? Oh no, only China, India, developing nations – and Germany – are allowed that!

griff
Reply to  IanE
September 21, 2021 8:02 am

Germany has ceased building new coal (the entire EU has none in the pipeline) and this year starts its coal shut down programme.

Andrew Wilkins
Reply to  griff
September 21, 2021 10:09 am

Yep, they’ve been absolute idiots.

Richard Page
Reply to  griff
September 21, 2021 11:37 am

It’s odd that you mention ‘pipeline’ when talking about Germany. Of course they won’t need any more coal plants will they? But if we’re discussing fossil fuels as a whole, what is the future of gas fuelled power plants in Germany, Griffy? Could it be that new gas fuelled plants are already being built with a ‘significant’ number being in the planning stages? Why would they bother with lignite any more when they have a new source of gas?

lee
Reply to  griff
September 21, 2021 7:18 pm

“German villages being bulldozed to build new coal mine

Friday 2 July 2021 18:31, UK”
https://news.sky.com/video/german-villages-being-bulldozed-to-build-new-coal-mine-12347418

Fancy mining coal for soon to be phased out coal plant. LOL

Last edited 29 days ago by lee
MarkW
September 21, 2021 6:05 am

Does this mean that they are finally acknowledging that natural variability exists?

Olen
September 21, 2021 6:45 am

Likely could mean unlikely as well.

griff
Reply to  Olen
September 21, 2021 8:01 am

In which case we are safe to roll out more wind… e.g the 30GW additional offshore wind the UK is already intending to deploy (actually building, approved, plans submitted) by 2030 to add to existing 10GW of offshore capacity.

Andrew Wilkins
Reply to  griff
September 21, 2021 10:12 am

Christ on a bike! Not more wind! Surely the current energy debacle when wind has failed completely should be a sign that wind is useless?

Tom Abbott
September 21, 2021 6:47 am

From the article: ““By adding this extra variability into climate models, we showed that these winds may be an additional source of uncertainty on top of climate change. This could mean that within these regions, temperatures are pushed to relatively extreme highs or lows more often. While in some decades they could counteract increases to temperatures and heavy rainfall caused by climate change, in other periods they could make these extremes even more extreme.”

This is not science. It is pure, unsubstantiated speculation. This is the state of alarmist climate science.

They say, “A source of uncertainty” and then, from this uncertainty, they go on to suggest what “could” happen.

This is guessing disguised as science.

Richard Page
Reply to  Tom Abbott
September 21, 2021 8:12 am

Yes. The entirety of the AGW bandwagon, from the very start, has been a collection of badly informed guesswork thinly disguised as science. The ideology behind it is the only thing that matters to these charlatans.

Bruce Cobb
September 21, 2021 9:00 am

They need to factor more fudge factors into their models, in order to insure all bases are covered, and no matter what happens, it’s “climate change”.

walt
September 21, 2021 9:09 am

The assumption that present wind patterns would be unchanged for the next 30 years when every other weather phenomena was flipping over always seemed simple minded.

ThinkingScientist
September 21, 2021 9:31 am

is currently not factored into climate models” = Send More Money

robert of Texas
September 21, 2021 9:45 am

Wind and Solar Power, more variability and longer wind droughts…

So…it’s worse than we thought? (ROFL) Sorry, I just couldn’t help going there.

Doonman
September 21, 2021 9:46 am

Whenever I read an article that states “Scientists warn”, I know it is propaganda. Scientists don’t warn, activists do.

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