Column: Looming European energy crisis: A lesson in averages that won’t soon be forgotten

Reposted with permission from the BOE REPORT

September 21, 20216:25 AM Terry Etam

I’m not sure about you, but the last thing I want to talk about is elections. When I think of how much of my precious time has been wasted hearing about politics in the last year, I want to puke. No more from pollsters, talking heads, or statisticians.

Well, maybe I’d like to talk about statisticians, as in the old joke about the one that drowned because he forded a river that was only three feet deep, on average. See, isn’t that better than politics already? However, as funny as a drowned statistician may be, there is a serious side to the problem with relying on averages. You really can die, for starters.

Before getting back to death and/or politics again (redundancy, I know), let’s think about the use of averages. A car may be designed for the average – one doesn’t find the tallest person on earth and design an interior to accommodate them. The exceptions get to either bang their shins or dangle their feet, but that’s the way it has to be.

In other areas, it can’t work that way. Do you insulate your house for average conditions? No, of course not. Do you install an air conditioner for average conditions? Same. And on it goes. When the risk of harm goes up, we design for the extremes, not the averages. Or we should.

A whole world of trouble will come your way if your plans are built on averages but you cannot live with the extremes. Or even with substantial variations. Europe, and other progressive energy parts of the world, are finding this out the hard way. 

In the race to decarbonize the energy system, wind and solar have taken a dominant lead. Nuclear is widely despised. Hydrogen has potential, but is a long way out, as a major player. On the assumption that Hydrocarbons Must Go At Any Cost, wind and solar are the winners. Bring on the trillions. Throw up wind turbines everywhere. Blanket the countryside in solar panels.

The media loves the wattage count as fodder for headlines; big numbers dazzle people. “The United States is on pace to install record amounts of wind and solar this year, underscoring America’s capacity to build renewables at a level once considered impossible…The U.S. Energy Information Administration expects the U.S. will install 37 gigawatts of new wind and solar capacity this year, obliterating the previous record of almost 17 GW in 2016,” bleated the ironically named Scientific American website. Wow, gigawatts. No idea what those are but they sound huge. 

What is the problem with all that capacity? Well, how good is it? Let’s see…at a 33 per cent capacity factor (used by the US government as apparently reasonable), that 37 GW is just over 12 GW of power contributed to the grid, on average. The assumption seems to be then that 12 GW of dirty old hydrocarbons have been rendered obsolete, and, for the energy rube, the number is an even more righteous 37 GW, because, you know, some days it is really windy all over.

But, what happens when that load factor is…zero? Because it happens.

The current poster child for the issue is Great Britain. The UK has 24 GW of wind power installed. The media loves to talk about total renewable GW installed as proof of progress, and the blindingly rapid pace of the energy transition. 

However over the past few weeks wind dropped almost to zero, and output from that 24 GW of installed capacity fell to about 1 or 2 GW. 

Ordinarily, that would be no problem – just fire up the gas fired power plants, or import power from elsewhere.

But what happens when that isn’t available? 

More pertinently, what happens when the likelihood of near-zero output happens to coincide with the times when that power is needed most – in heat waves, or cold spells? That brings us to the current grave situation facing Europe as it heads towards winter. Gas storage is supposed to be filling rapidly at this time of year, but it’s not, for a number of reasons.

Natural gas isn’t supposed to be on anyone’s roadmap, though. The culturally hip website Wired talked (in early September) about the imperative to limit global warming: “To make the switch we need to switch to renewable energy, such as solar, wind and geothermal, right now. We’re making good progress on this; solar and wind energy are now cheaper than fossil fuels, and renewable energy was responsible for around a third of global electricity production in 2020.” The first glimmer into the damage of relying on averages starts to show.

A few weeks later, Wired shows that a few light bulbs may be going on: “There’s a tendency for the government to say the power sector is done, the sector has been decarbonised, the renewables transition is going at pace and all of that good stuff,” the article quotes the head of Energy UK.

The article’s author, after musing that seven UK energy supply firms have gone out of business so far this year (a result of having to pay more to generate/acquire power than their locked in sales values), makes one of those profound British understatements of the my-arms-are-cut-off-and-I-appear-to-be-in-a-spot-of-trouble-old-chap variety: “And we’re reliant on gas more generally than we thought.” No, foul dullard, we are more reliant than you thought. Anyone in the business of providing energy could have told you that, but the simpleton army wouldn’t listen. And now you pay.

They could easily have asked experts, like providers of hydrocarbons. But those people are today’s lepers. No one is interested in their opinion for fear of the appearance of collaboration. (Trudeau set up a “Net Zero Advisory Body” with the mandate to identify net-zero pathways; NZAB has posted the records of meetings to date (24); only once – once – has ‘oil and gas’ been mentioned in the records, and the context is dumbfounding: “Members received a foundational briefing on the oil & gas sector from federal officials.” FROM FEDERAL OFFICIALS. Meanwhile, the NZAB also heard a presentation directly from the David Suzuki Foundation. This should end well.)

Let’s drive this energy conundrum home a little better for all these people who are, as Principal Skinner put it on the Simpsons, “furrowing their brows in a vain attempt to comprehend the situation.”

The world has been sold a faulty bill of goods, based on a pathetically simplistic vision of how renewable energy works. A US government website highlights the problem with this example: “The mean turbine capacity in the U.S. Wind Turbine Database is 1.67 megawatts (MW), At a 33% capacity factor, that average turbine would generate over 402,000 kWh per month – enough for over 460 average U.S. homes.”

Thus armed, bureaucrats and morons head straight to the promised land by multiplying the number of wind turbines by 460 and shocking-and-awing themselves with the results. Holy crap, we don’t need natural gas anymore (as they tell me in exactly those words).

So they all start dismantling the natural gas system – not directly by ripping up pipelines, but indirectly by blocking new ones, by championing ‘fossil-fuel divestment campaigns’, by taking energy policy advice from Swedish teenagers – and then stand there shivering in dim-witted stupor when the wind stops blowing, and the world’s energy producers are not in any position to bring forth more natural gas.

It’s not just Britain that is squirming. A Bloomberg article (which I cannot link to as I will never willingly send Bloomberg a cent) notes the following unsettling news: “China is staring down another winter of power shortages that threaten to upend its economic recovery as a global energy supply crunch sends the price of fuels skyrocketing. The world’s second biggest economy is at risk of not having enough coal and natural gas – used to heat households and power factories – despite efforts over the past year to stockpile fuel as rivals in North Asia and Europe compete for a finite supply.”

It is profoundly important to recognize that these comments come from Bloomberg – a ‘news’ institution that is going far, far out of its way to demonize, deprecate, and decapitate the hydrocarbon industry. That hydrocarbon industry, by the way, is making major inroads in ways these demonizers deem impossible – developing carbon capture/storage, reducing methane emissions, working on hydrogen solutions, and even succeeding at First Nations inclusion such as demonstrated by groups like Project Reconciliation (trying to buy TransMountain) and the recent purchase of an oil sands pipeline by 8 local First Nations and Suncor. That same hydrocarbon industry is working overdrive to solve emissions problems and engage First Nations.

A lot of the global energy-transition-now madness stems from such a basic inability to grasp certain fundamentals, which are not at all hard to understand if one wants to, but are impossible for those who require an energy villain to add righteousness to their campaign. You can install all the wind and solar you want, but if their output can go to zero, and more importantly if their output is more likely to go to zero when most needed (extreme heat (low wind, inefficient solar panels) or extreme cold (low wind, obvious solar shortcomings)), then you don’t have an energy system at all. And don’t put up your hand to say batteries are coming someday soon. The math on that as a NG replacement is even more laughable.29dk2902lhttps://boereport.com/29dk2902l.html

Yeah, yeah, I can hear it already, how terrible, coming down so hard on a bunch of hapless bandwagon-jumping commentators. Yeah, about that. That bandwagon is cutting off the world’s fuel supply at its knees. There will be consequences. Serious ones.

Hundreds of millions of people without adequate heating fuel in the dead of winter is not particularly funny. If a cold winter strikes, all the yappiest energy-transition-now dogs will fade into the woodwork, distancing themselves from the disinformation they’ve propagated and the disaster they’ve engineered. People in position of responsibility will have no choice but to speak out loud the words they’ve dared not utter for a decade: you need hydrocarbons, today, tomorrow, and for a very long time yet. So start acting like it.

Buy it while it’s still legal! Before the book burnin’ starts…pick up “The End of Fossil Fuel Insanity” at Amazon.caIndigo.ca, or Amazon.com.

Read more insightful analysis from Terry Etam here, or email Terry here.

5 42 votes
Article Rating
197 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
ResourceGuy
September 23, 2021 10:06 am

Coal plants will stay open…

UK’s Drax might delay retirement of coal plants to plug energy gap -FT (yahoo.com)

Meat will be in short supply..
Gas Crisis Threatens Europe With Heatless, Meatless Winter—and a Slower Recovery (yahoo.com)

and Europe will produce less NG…
Europe Is Pumping Less Gas as Demand Rebounds, Leaving a Gap Russia Is Filling – WSJ

Dutch production cutbacks have left a hole in European output just as demand returns from lockdown-induced lows. Futures contracts for gas to be delivered in the Netherlands fetched €71.69 a megawatt-hour, equivalent to just under $84 a megawatt-hour, on Wednesday. That was close to their highest level on figures dating back to 2013 and more than six times their price from a year ago. Adding to the upward pressure, American oil-and-gas producers have held back, and droughts in places such as Brazil have curtailed hydropower, prompting a dash to burn gas.
“In hindsight it would probably be better to have more Groningen production,” said Trevor Sikorski, head of natural-gas and carbon research at Energy Aspects. “It’s…gone from being a big source of supply to being nothing in about five years. It’s gone very, very quickly.”

griff
Reply to  ResourceGuy
September 24, 2021 1:52 am

until the hard cut off limit of 2024, instead of 2 closing next year, perhaps.

And they now supply only 2% of UK power.

MarkW
Reply to  griff
September 24, 2021 5:58 am

And that 2% saved your grid this fall.

ResourceGuy
Reply to  griff
September 24, 2021 10:44 am

Just in time for a more obvious downturn in the AMO. Well, obvious to a lot more that is.

ResourceGuy
Reply to  griff
September 24, 2021 1:41 pm
Tom
September 23, 2021 10:16 am

Quite right. I’ve asked this before, but I’ll try again. Why do we not hear more from engineers inside the utility industry who are responsible for designing, building, and operating utility systems which they must know cannot but fail when the wind stops blowing and the sun is not shining.

Peta of Newark
Reply to  Tom
September 23, 2021 11:52 am

Because, UK wise, engineers are the Lowest of the Low

I learned that many ago when I worked for GEC Research, messing about with electronics. its where I learned HP Basic, acoustics, transmission lines, analog processing and switched-mode power supplies

For reasons I can’t recall, ‘management’ decided to offer us minnions opportunity to decide whether we each wished to be referred to as:
a) Scientists
b) Engineers
each their own choice.

You guessed, I wanted to be an engineer.

Even back then, early 80’s, I was regarded as ‘crazy’
I still am – and loving it

But basically, engineers get their hands dirty, scientists do not

ha. Doncha love it.
Folks who ‘get their hands dirty’ maintain the Vitamin B12 bacteria in their own stomachs, thereafter they have strong immune systems and do not succumb to a malady identical to Alzheimer’s
……and other contemporaneous maladies quite so much…..

and so the worms turn……
I have epic respect for ## worms and always have had.
is this ‘Etam’ guy a worm by any chance?

## I refer of course to earthworms, or should that be Earth, with the capital E

Rusty
Reply to  Peta of Newark
September 23, 2021 1:09 pm

Don’t we just. I envy the Germans when it comes to their approach. In Germany engineers are as high socially as doctors. Can’t say if the pay is equivalent.

In the UK an engineer is either the technician who comes to install you broadband or an elderly gentleman wearing overalls, a handkerchief tied around his neck, sweating profusely as he wipes coal dust away from his face having shovelled half a hundred weight into a furnace.

I always say I’m a metallurgist which always gets blank looks and the response of WTF is that? If I tell them I’m a materials engineer the dirty hands and face character is what is envisioned. Takes a lot of explaining which most don’t really comprehend.

Having said that, a good engineer is always prepared to get his or her hands dirty.

RickWill
Reply to  Rusty
September 23, 2021 4:16 pm

Germany is the poster child for insanity when it comes to weather dependent power generation!

Nottoobrite
Reply to  RickWill
September 24, 2021 2:38 am

RiickWill
Living in Germany I could not agree with you more, we have been weather lucky so far in this madness but the law of averages is about to get real . See what happens when comrade Put-in has the keys to the “energy” as we have already the world’.s most expensive electric supply ,old age pensioners have no electricity so they can eat,

Gerry, England
Reply to  Nottoobrite
September 24, 2021 5:55 am

The media is as always missing the story that Gazprom having understood the rules in place began Nord Stream 2. The EU then deliberately changed the rules so that the pipeline would have to be shared with an EU supplier or the section in the EU would have to be owned by an EU company. How strange that Gazprom found this snatch of their property underhand and having friends in the Kremlin we have the current situation. So I hope Vladimir squeezes the EU balls good and hard this winter.

Hivemind
Reply to  RickWill
September 26, 2021 5:31 am

Actually, I thought that was South Australia

StephenP
Reply to  Rusty
September 24, 2021 12:00 am

ICI had a proud tradition of engineering expertise, excellance and training that was unfortunately (or criminally) lost to the country by being sold off piecemeal in an attempt to boost the share price and keep the City happy.
The shares weren’t sexy like tech shares, but the milk-cow parts of the business generated cash to invest in research for future products.
At its peak ICI made a profit of £1bn and paid its taxes in the UK, unlike certain firms that have been bought and subsequentally been off-shored to reduce their taxes.
IIRC the rot started when Hanson eyed up acquiring the company with a view to revaluing the pension fund and doing an asset stripping job.
This was at a time that the average period a pension was drawn was about 3 years. It is now more like 18 years, so a revaluation on 1980 actuarial assumptions would have left the pension fund woefully underfunded.
Luckily the ICI main board put the pension fund at arms length from the company, so that threat was averted.
However the company was split up in attempt to maximise “share-holder” value withe loss of expertise and jobs in areas of the country that are badly in need of them.
The Teesside ammonia plant that had to shut down recently because the high gas price made it uneconomic to run was originally built by ICI in the 1960s to run off North Sea gas, based on a design by Kellogg ( not the cornflake Kellogg ), to replace a plant that used 1200 tons a day of coal.
In the interim period before North Sea gas was connected they had to use naphtha as feedstock which caused so many problems that the engineers nicknamed the three units Snap, Crackle and Pop ( After a cereal Rice Krispies produced IIRC by the other Kellogg which made the noise when milk was poured onto them. )
Once North Sea gas was connected the plants ran smoothly.

Peter K
Reply to  Peta of Newark
September 23, 2021 11:59 pm

Have a look at this crazy piece of electrical engineering.

http://a.msn.com/01/en-au/AAOJVhp?ocid=se

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  Peta of Newark
September 24, 2021 4:44 am

Sounds like you’re of an age with me. I worked with all the old UK Electronics companies, Plessey Ferranti, Marconi, GEC.

I too was an Engineer but to the general public an Engineer was a bloke with a spanner and an oily rag. Someone tightening nuts on a production line doing a job now done by a robot.

That perception is one of the problems facing the UK which is run by PPE graduates schooled at Eton. What do you know about it – I’m an Engineer – Oh where’s your spanner.

Where up the creek without a paddle while these guys are in charge.

Let’s face facts Boris Johnson is an ex journalist, not very good at that, who spent most of his “working” life having a good time in Brussels writing articles on how terrible the EU is.

Neo
Reply to  Peta of Newark
September 24, 2021 11:53 am

The biggest difference between scientists and engineers, is that engineers have to take a class in economics.

James Beaver
Reply to  Neo
September 24, 2021 3:46 pm

Engineers have to make stuff work in the messy real world, not the theoretical realm where all but one variable is held constant.

Dennis G Sandberg
Reply to  Tom
September 23, 2021 1:51 pm

Because they don’t want to get fired for not following the agenda. Liberal appointed regulators have the capability to destroy any utility by unfavorable rate treatment, taxes or over-regulation. Utility companies require non-disclosure agreements from their engineers to avoid engineers doing any truth telling that would offend snowflake democrat regulators.

Tom
Reply to  Dennis G Sandberg
September 23, 2021 1:55 pm

They are free to post here in relative anonymity. I’d just like to hear what they have to say.

Leo Smith
Reply to  Tom
September 23, 2021 3:40 pm

Heck, even WUWT doesn’t like what I have to say. Because I am not an antivaxxer. Just an energy guy and a climate skeptic.

It amuses me when articles like this come along, saying what I detailed nearly ten years ago and have been tryng to get WUWT to publish.

Its not what you know, its who you know.

It is simply a case of people ending up doing the right thing after they have exhausted all the other alternatives….being ten years ahead of the curve is simply depressing.

Somewhere in Europe there is likely to be a big blackout this winter. The greens will claim it is because not enough money has been spent on renewables. No one will question climate change, but we might get some moves towards nuclear power.

I will probablty write yet again the proof as to why renewables cant do the job, and will be denounced again as a climate denier in the pay of big oil expressing a mere opinion, whch is no better – despite a lifetime studying the subject – than any Green political activist’s.

Sometimes I think the greens deserve to be ripped off and plunged into the cold and dark.

And if we do save the grid and civilization with nuclear power they will claim that they saved the planet, when the warming goes into reverse for unrelated reasons.

I can really understand why politicians despise the electorate…

Mr.
Reply to  Leo Smith
September 23, 2021 6:12 pm

Rick, I have no expertise in power generation (apart from a noisy 6 kva petrol generator I used at my remote bush property), but I am fairly proficient in understanding numbers such as presented in Profit & Loss Statements, Balance Sheets, Sales Projections, Cashflow Analyses, etc. etc.

So I can readily grasp the numerics of renewables’ capacity to provide grid scale electricity for urban communities.

And if these numbers were presented as a business prospectus, I’d bin it without hesitation.

Mr.
Reply to  Mr.
September 23, 2021 7:41 pm

I meant this as a response to Leo.

Barry Sheridan
Reply to  Leo Smith
September 24, 2021 12:40 am

Your right Leo, it is depressing to see what is going to happen and not be able to do anything about it.

griff
Reply to  Leo Smith
September 24, 2021 1:54 am

I’ve been hearing that for 10 years, not least last winter about Germany. and it hasn’t happened.

BrianB
Reply to  griff
September 24, 2021 7:58 am

You don’t live in CA do you? Currently CA’s hopeless grid is supplemented by its energy surfeited neighbors.
Wait until CA’s neighbors are all dependent on the same useless “renewables”. And since CA is attempting to ban home ICE generators also they’re telling they’re subjects “you’ll do without and you’ll like it and, oh by the way, we’re going to charge you several times more for what we supply you intermittently than what you used to get on demand”.
The prog paradise won’t even meet Oliver Twist standards. The chumps will say “Please sir, may I have some more thin energy gruel” and the answer will be “no”.

Meab
Reply to  griff
September 24, 2021 8:22 am

griffter, Germany was saved last winter by running their coal and lignite (dirty coal) plants near 100% flat out for extended times. Of course you know that but choose to (fecklessly) try to deceive.

ATheoK
Reply to  griff
September 24, 2021 12:32 pm

We’ve been hearing alleged climate dooms for over thirty years. Without any correct predictions.

Waza
Reply to  Tom
September 23, 2021 2:09 pm

I deal with engineers in many government departments.
The key issue is that promotion to leadership positions is based on wokeness and not merit.

Mason
Reply to  Tom
September 23, 2021 2:44 pm

Tom, many of us have given up. I retired several years ago after watching a bunch of woke managers try to build a plant to make ethanol. I objected to the purchase of an old boiler that would have to be totally rebuilt. Finally, I said, “I don’t know why I am objecting, this plant will never start up anyway, so a boiler is not really needed!” $100 million down the toilet because the plant never worked.

Mr.
Reply to  Mason
September 23, 2021 6:14 pm

Not investors led astray I hope?

Loren C. Wilson
Reply to  Mr.
September 23, 2021 7:40 pm

I am sure the taxpayers were unwilling and unwitted investors in this scheme.

ATheoK
Reply to  Mr.
September 24, 2021 12:37 pm

Sure sounds like government manager types.
The Type A dictatorial ones who command the workers then grill any who bring up problems and erroneous assumptions. In short, the ones that love to shoot the messengers while they promote the visionary clueless managers.

Mason
Reply to  Tom
September 23, 2021 2:48 pm

I am watching this whole mess unfold as an observer. I spent over 40 years in the industry. I can not believe the things that are being said as if they are absolute truths. Most of the truths are by non-industry types who believe electricity comes out of the wall socket.

Leo Smith
Reply to  Tom
September 23, 2021 3:21 pm

because they have families and mortgages

RickWill
Reply to  Tom
September 23, 2021 4:14 pm

Why do we not hear more from engineers inside the utility industry 

There is a lot more jobs and money in make-believe generation. The vast majority of Weather Dependent Generators (WDGs) cannot produce more energy than they consume. As long as the farce continues, it will provide and endless source of engineering jobs. Why should engineers not be in it for a good slice of the action.

Coal mines and coal fuelled power stations are not the nicest place to work. No young engineer will choose a career in those dirty places over saving the world. They are being told it is an industry in decay so why start a career on a path to nowhere.

Old engineers generally do as they are ask – its a job and generally pays reasonably well. The companies are usually run by accountants, economists and lawyers. They hold the influential position and the purse strings.

This link gives the current list of members of The Australian Energy Regulator that guides the policy for the power supply industry in Australia:
https://www.aer.gov.au/about-us/the-board
The 5 member board has 3 economists and 2 lawyers. Not an engineer among them.

So engineers enjoy the growing number of jobs while the people at the top of the pile, creating the jobs, have no idea of power supply systems.

Armin
Reply to  RickWill
September 23, 2021 9:27 pm

Also a lot of things are technically possible, just economically infeasible. Not all engineers can see this, especially as subsidies, taxes and all kinds of regulations hiding true cost (e.g. why solar kWh prices are low, but cost for the consumer high). When you are working on a small part, you may not see that the total construct is infeasible. Last personal bias and politics can cause a person to not see the truth.

Barry Sheridan
Reply to  Armin
September 24, 2021 12:43 am

A good point Armin, however politicians who are supposed to see the big picture are even worse than useless at it.

Reply to  RickWill
September 25, 2021 3:59 am

Rickwill, I think you have never been to a coal mine or a power station. I have been to many power stations and to many coal mines. In most of the underground coal mines I have been in there was no dust. With big long walls there are few people (mainly there for maintenance) and they get paid well. The long walls have lots of automation. With surface mines the operator of a big drag line works in an airconditioned cabin. He has a microwave oven and coffee facilities and he gets huge pay. The latest power stations can be run automatically and remotely. 10’s of years ago I was in a Japanese PS. It rang automatically and was spotlessly clean. There was no emission of fly ash which they caught and sold for blending into cement. They also caught the SO2 through a limestone bed to sell anhydrite gypsum to cement works.
It is annoying when people believe the rubbish put out by Greens who like to put out pictures & information of plants built 100 years ago and operated under no environmental laws.

Jonathan Lesser
Reply to  Tom
September 23, 2021 4:27 pm

In the US, most utilities are now run by attorneys and accountants. The old days when the engineers were in charge are long gone. Management views engineers (and most other technical staff) as “those people” who really aren’t important. I worked at Green Mountain Power in the 1990s. Management didn’t know how power was generated/procured, transmitted, or distributed to customers. Other than that, they were industry experts.

DMacKenzie
Reply to  Tom
September 23, 2021 4:58 pm

“Why do we not hear from more engineers…”
As a many year veteran of the profession from project engineer through to CEO of an engineering firm many years later…I can tell you that very few companies with a “dream” will accept advice from their engineering company that their judgement is in error…and will dismiss their hired engineering company half way through a project…replace them with someone else who tells them they have to spend a lot more money to reach their “dream” and still blame the first company for the failure.
So experienced engineers usually sit back and watch the show, and are happy to collect their pay and say “I told you so in a memo you didn’t read” later. No decent engineer will run for political office either. Too many lies involved.

Last edited 25 days ago by DMacKenzie
Mr.
Reply to  DMacKenzie
September 23, 2021 6:22 pm

Yes D, I also got tired of trying to explain to bean counters on boards why legacy software systems with >15k users could not be swapped out overnight for “sexier looking” systems.

4 Eyes
Reply to  Tom
September 23, 2021 5:29 pm

When it finally sinks in that grid scale wind and solar electricity generation cannot cope and that there is more to gas production that just opening and closing valves at wellheads and gathering stations, and even more to firing up a coal fired power station, engineers will be blamed. In my very first general mechanical engineering lecture (1975), the lecturer said the world had advanced rapidly over the last century only because of the availability of cheap, reliable energy. A few minutes later he dampened our enthusiasm by pointing out that the world was full of scientific successes and engineering failures. 45 years after earning my engineering degree I am able to say he is still correct. And you don’t have to be an engineer to work out no wind, no sun means no power – my 12 year dog could work that out. Engineers who have to explain the most obvious things to the powerful, who really don’t want to hear what they have to say, just switch off and think to themselves OMG, OMFG, why risk my paycheque. 95% of my mechanical engineering colleagues feel the same way.

Gerry, England
Reply to  4 Eyes
September 24, 2021 5:48 am

The real problem is that once the penny drops there is no short term fix. No matter how many lies Johnson and his Blue Labour party peddle, they have no power to resolve our energy crisis. It will take at least a decade or more to fix but you need the political will and there is no sign of that on the horizon.

Streetcred
Reply to  Tom
September 23, 2021 5:40 pm

It is very difficult to get any of them to chastise the ‘industry’ that provides their overly remunerated employment. They simply don’t care, I’ll be alright, Jack!”

Last edited 25 days ago by Streetcred
observa
Reply to  Tom
September 23, 2021 7:35 pm

Because they want to keep their livelihoods politically until the penny drops with the majority of the electorate. Can’t blame them knowing their time will come and they’ll be desperately needed in a hurry.

John
Reply to  Tom
September 23, 2021 10:29 pm

because they are told to keep quiet and play the party line
they are sheeples
it took a 1000 years for farmers to breed dumb sheep
it took one swedish hyena to get companies CEOs and potically correct public relations departments to cow and put muzzles there technical groups

September 23, 2021 10:19 am

Renewables advocates are like the Bourbons, who never learned and never or got. I really pie they do not end up the same way, rather shorter.
One would have thought that South Australia and Texas would give them cause to reconsider, but they merely doubled down on their folly.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Tom Halla
September 23, 2021 1:08 pm

I can’t stand Bourbons. The most revolting biscuits ever invented.

Ed Fox
September 23, 2021 10:26 am

In hard times people would burn their wooden furniture to stay warm. Modern furniture is made from oil. Ironic if renewables forcevyou to burn it.

ResourceGuy
September 23, 2021 10:35 am

Ignoring unintended consequences seems to be part of the new planning standard.

WSJ
In Norway, more than two thirds of new cars sold so far this year have been battery or plug-in electric vehicles, according to research group Rho Motion. That compares with just 4.6% of all cars sold globally last year being electric, according to the International Energy Agency.

But a 40% drop in Norway’s revenue from car-related taxes between 2013 and 2021 prompted lawmakers in March to suspend exemptions from the country’s annual motor-vehicle tax for electric-vehicle owners. The government has also started work on a new, technology-agnostic system of car taxation it wants in place by 2025—the year Oslo aims to end the sale of internal combustion engine vehicles.
“I would definitely advise other countries to look at what’s happening in Norway with quite rapidly falling revenue and to be aware that there might be a consequence of tax incentives,” said Magnus Thue, state secretary in Norway’s finance ministry.

max
Reply to  ResourceGuy
September 23, 2021 11:11 am

Just wait until they try to drive those things in Norwegian winter. Heaters cut into mileage, and if power is in short supply. then charging won’t be much of an option, either freeze, or be able to drive, a little.

ResourceGuy
Reply to  max
September 23, 2021 11:23 am

They may need to go out to the car to warm up….

Citi Isn’t Ruling Out Natural Gas at $100 in a Frigid Winter (yahoo.com)

MarkW
Reply to  max
September 23, 2021 11:57 am

It’s dangerous to operate the batteries when their temperature gets low.
Looks like most of the heating will be spent protecting the batteries, not protecting the passengers.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  max
September 23, 2021 3:38 pm

Norway has huge hydro

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Gary Pearse
September 23, 2021 3:45 pm

When your power is essentially all hydro, you don’t need grid batteries. This is the one situation where EV might make sense. EVs are simply impossible if you use renewables. The electric car could be developed sensibly where cheap fossil fuel power is available, too. Otherwise forget about it.

griff
Reply to  max
September 24, 2021 1:57 am

Well they do – and they don’t have a problem.

EV chargers in Norway are optimised for the Norwegian winter, apparently.

“In 2020, 54 per cent of the new cars that were sold in Norway were EVs. And it is important to note that when we talk about EVs, we mean fully electric cars. Plug-in hybrids aren’t part of that number. If we included those like they do in many other countries, we would get to a whopping 74 per cent!” says Christina Bu, secretary general of the Norwegian Electric Vehicle Association.

pigs_in_space
Reply to  griff
September 24, 2021 7:25 am

Griff has a problem.
He has never been anywhere nr Norway, Sweden or the Baltic states. (I doubt he even knows where they are!)

I don’t think he has experienced anything evenly remotely close to the temperatures for us which are quite normal but demonstrate severe difficulties starting diesel lorries and cars on occasions.
Electric vehicles are bloody useless in cold weather.

Because of the extreme excess weights, they don’t brake, don’t accelerate and don’t stop, and like most cars with wide tyres are utterly useless on snow and ice.

Anyone who says any different has never driven in those conditions…and btw we do have the longest distances in Europe of ice roads.
I have never ever seen an EV on an ice road, and for that matter never seen one ever either at a ski resort or anything which involves actually driving in adverse conditions….

Tom Gelsthorpe
Reply to  ResourceGuy
September 23, 2021 12:59 pm

Norway is a small country — fewer than 6 million people in an area the size of California (which has 40 million). Norway produces the most oil & gas per capita of any country outside the Middle East, and exports almost all of it, profitably, to nearby Europe. Norway is richly endowed with swift rivers, and generates 98% of its electricity with cheap, reliable, base load, hydroelectric dams.

Norway grows much of its own food, exports huge amounts of fish, and can afford to buy the rest of its food from nearby countries.

Therefore, Norway is singularly able to keep recharging its electric cars, keep the lights on, run its refrigeration in summer, and it needs only a small fraction of its oil & gas to keep running its trucks & buses, keep from starving any time of year, or freezing to death in winter.

The operative word in the previous paragraph is SINGULARLY. There is no other place like it, not even close. Norway is an energy-rich anomaly, not an example of anything.

Garboard
Reply to  Tom Gelsthorpe
September 23, 2021 1:29 pm

Norway also has a gov subsidized whaling industry with a quota of 1000 minke whales a year . Not exactly green .

Shanghai Dan
Reply to  Garboard
September 23, 2021 3:51 pm

What do you mean? Whale oil is a great fuel source and 100% renewable too…

ResourceGuy
Reply to  Garboard
September 24, 2021 10:08 am

You beat me to it.

Snutebil
Reply to  Tom Gelsthorpe
September 23, 2021 1:44 pm

And still, Norway at the moment is dependent on a very wet autumn to avoid shortage on electric power this winter….
This as power export goes full steam.
Norway has basically no other means than hydro, of generating electric power (government is by the way working hard in order to mess thus up with wind power). Hydro capacity is plentyfull for domestic use, but Norway has committed itself to exporting, no matter what. Fossils heating of buildings is prohibited and there is one single oil refinery left.
As you list, Norway has every opportunity to be fully energy independent and self supplied, and has successfully been so for decades. But as with other western countries it is governed by blind peoples willfully ruining its infrastructure.

George ,Tetley
Reply to  Snutebil
September 24, 2021 3:04 am

Snutebil
I know a Norway a bit different, people wearing face masks 24 yes 24 hours a day normal ????

Dennis G Sandberg
Reply to  Tom Gelsthorpe
September 23, 2021 2:00 pm

We should be running our transportation vehicles on 3000 psi compressed natural and selling refined gasoline and diesel in international markets; instead of trying to run them on sunshine and breezes.

MarkW
Reply to  Tom Gelsthorpe
September 23, 2021 2:13 pm

How much more hydro potential is there? Is there enough to completely electrify the economy? If there is, will the greens allow it to be developed?

Bob Hunter
Reply to  ResourceGuy
September 23, 2021 1:09 pm

And yet Norway recently opened up more off shore leases in the Arctic Ocean

Ron Long
September 23, 2021 10:35 am

The inhabitants of La Paloma, one of the Canary Islands, are making a dramatic switch to geothermal energy, I wonder how it will work out? I should be sorry I said this.

Jean Meeus
Reply to  Ron Long
September 23, 2021 10:50 am

La Paloma, or La Palma?

Ron Long
Reply to  Jean Meeus
September 23, 2021 4:10 pm

I stand corrected, it’s palm trees and not pigeons.

commieBob
Reply to  Ron Long
September 23, 2021 11:36 am

As far as I can tell, Iceland has had good luck with geothermal. link

Iceland would be crazy not to take advantage of its unique geography.

Iceland might be able to cut its fossil fuel use to zero (OK, it can’t really, but lets pretend). Nobody can point at Iceland and tell the world to do as it has done though.

Most of the world is not so lucky.

My advice to my friends in the Netherlands is to heavily insulate one room such that it will stay warm just with body heat. Also you need a heat exchange ventilator so you don’t suffocate.

Pat from Kerbob
Reply to  commieBob
September 23, 2021 11:44 am

Correct. Its like taking the pretentious statements from quebec which has massive hydro resources and trying to enact elsewhere where there is no such geography

Mike Lowe
Reply to  commieBob
September 23, 2021 12:45 pm

Iceland is not unique in that regard. Here in New Zealand we also have extensive geothermal power, but whether it will be sufficient to overcome our communistic politicians death wish to eliminate fossil fuels is another matter! At least we are heading into Spring, while Europe faces a freezing winter – maybe our politicians will have the intelligence to learn from that experience, but I doubt it!

George ,Tetley
Reply to  Mike Lowe
September 24, 2021 3:14 am

New Zealand the country where the Police jailed people for transporting KFC dinners into a lockdown area ( bought in Hamilton transported to Auckland 60 miles ) politicians at the communist level no brains ,lots of ignorance.

commieBob
Reply to  commieBob
September 23, 2021 4:13 pm

Okay then … here’s a link. The secret, my dear friends, is to be ready before the power goes out. I don’t think the link talks about a supply of food. That’s an important omission. A few cans of soup can be the difference between comfort and misery. Also, the freeze dried food you get at the camping supplies store can be pretty delicious.

Rich Davis
Reply to  commieBob
September 23, 2021 5:09 pm

The thing is, the total population of Iceland is 368,792. The population of London is more than 25 times the population of Iceland.

Tom Gelsthorpe
Reply to  Rich Davis
September 26, 2021 4:36 am

Iceland is another energy anomaly. A third of a million people living on a large, volcanic island can derive significant geothermal power for domestic needs. However, like Norway, Iceland is NOT a scalable example for other countries. It’s a quirk.

Last edited 22 days ago by Tom Gelsthorpe
MarkW
Reply to  Ron Long
September 23, 2021 11:58 am

If you have it, why not use it.
Don’t know anything about how accesible La Palma’s geothermal is or how much heat it is able to deliver over time.

Mike Lowe
Reply to  MarkW
September 23, 2021 12:47 pm

You have obviously given up watching Catastrophic Television. Doesn’t look too accessible to me!

Joe Wagner
September 23, 2021 10:35 am

>  If a cold winter strikes, all the yappiest energy-transition-now dogs will fade into the woodwork, distancing themselves from the disinformation they’ve propagated and the disaster they’ve engineered.

Thats very optimistic of you. In reality, they’ll just find some weird way to blame it on the Fossil Fuel industry through some mental gymnastics, and the MSM will promote it. The average Sheeple will just bleat and accept it….

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Joe Wagner
September 23, 2021 1:15 pm

They are already doing this. The current ‘energy crisis’ is being firmly blamed on natural gas. Several brain-dead propagandists on this site have also declared this easily falsified ‘fact’.

We have enormous amounts of cheap, reliable and clean fossil fuel power, and it is being deliberately prevented, and then the lack of it is being blamed for soaring prices. People believe this. They get what they deserve.

rbabcock
September 23, 2021 11:06 am

“Ordinarily, that would be no problem – just fire up the gas fired power plants, or import power from elsewhere.
But what happens when that isn’t available? ”

You just turn on the HVDC network and bingo, plenty of power. After all the Chinese have one and so do the Russians. There has to be wind blowing somewhere! And the Sun is shining 8 good hours a day at the equator .. well before and after the afternoon thunderstorms anyway. Where are the HVDC power lines coming from there?

Last edited 25 days ago by rbabcock
JamesD
Reply to  rbabcock
September 23, 2021 1:49 pm

I’ve always wondered what the plant operators, supervisors, and maintenance crew so while the NG power plant sits idle.

MarkW
Reply to  JamesD
September 23, 2021 2:15 pm

They continue to get paid. Which is one of the reasons why renewables are so expensive. You have one system that provides power, with another system on standby for when the first system fails.

Leo Smith
Reply to  rbabcock
September 23, 2021 3:45 pm

Très drôle…

TonyL
September 23, 2021 11:07 am

“People in position of responsibility will have no choice but to speak out loud the words they’ve dared not utter for a decade: you need hydrocarbons, today, tomorrow, and for a very long time yet.”
Mostly they will not speak out, for a very legitimate fear of retaliation. Any who do speak out will not be heard. We have “turned the corner”, “crossed the line”, “past the tipping point”.
Things which were censored, initially: Hate Speech, that is, political speech the Left hates.
Things censored now: Anything which does not fully support the government narrative.
We now live in a world where peer-reviewed science is censored as reported here recently by Willie Soon and Ronan Connolly. Effective treatments for COVID, used around the world are verboten in the US. The examples are endless. These are not political issues. When science and engineering are censored on a political basis, development of any sane public policy becomes impossible. Thus we get windmills and solar farms, while our fossil fuel systems get ripped up.

Note well that the people shrieking misinformation and disinformation are the same ones who perpetrated the Steele Dossier and Russia, Russia, RUSSIA! for three long years. The largest misinformation campaign in American history.

Reply to  TonyL
September 23, 2021 11:36 am

This is being aided and abetted by the the Big Tech social media giants also working in collusion with the Democrats for common agendas. For 3 years, late 2016 to 2019, Democrats talked openly about a stolen US presidential election by using Trump-Russia collusion hoax, even the possbility of Russian hacking of computerized voting machines. All of those posts, Facebook pages, and YouTube videos are still up, searchable, and available. But Big Tech censors anyone trying to discuss aspects of a possible 2020 election fraud on thieir socail media platforms.

They are doing the same censorship thing with discussions of COVID therapeutics, even those done by respected medical clinicians and research scientists. Even where they can’t directly censor, they supress search results for blogs like this one and Tony Heller’s.

And it is going to get far worse, because the Democrat-Marxists have realized that by calling anything they want banned as a “public health crisis,” they can then get Big Tech on board with active censorship, suppression and cancellation of even people’s jobs and careers.

As big as the Trump-Russia collusion hoax was, it is still quite tiny compared to the massive and coordinated climate disinformation and propaganda campaign being run by the main stream media, the big entertainment studio executives, Big Tech, and Democrats. Russia collusion was minscule in comparison to this climate fraud campaign to justfy multi-Trillion dollar Green New Deal Socialism and Democrat power grabs in the US.

Last edited 25 days ago by joelobryan
gringojay
Reply to  TonyL
September 23, 2021 12:39 pm

It’s come to this:

74BD4584-BDE7-4E5C-A358-B96B7F2085D1.jpeg
September 23, 2021 11:19 am

The fraudster renewable energy x-spert at Stanford U, Mark Jacobson, also used bad statistics of a Monte Carlo analyses in his scam renewable research (funded by green billionaire investors) to try to show how the US could go 100% solar and wind power.

Jacobson’s fraud was laid bare in this WUWT post from January 2019:

The authors state:“The Monte Carlo simulation relies on the assumption that meteorological processes, demand forecasts and forced outages can be approximated as Markov chain processes.
The authors then build all of their analysis on this assumption. The question then becomes – can wind speed be approximated a Markov chain process? The reason for asking this question is that if you asked a Math or Statistics prof what the most common error students make, they will tell you it’s not verifying your assumptions. If your assumption is not true, all of your work is wasted.”
https://wattsupwiththat.com/2019/01/26/are-studies-of-high-penetrations-of-wind-power-valid/

The bottom line is a Markov Chain process required of a Monte Carlo analysis depends on random processes being independent for each wind farm in the system. This is at the heart of that bad assumption that Jacobson must surely be aware of, since when the winds stop blowing at one wind farm all the others in the region are likely to go still as well, i.e. the underlying meteorological process is not randomly distributed across the the entire region of many wind farms.
It is this badly flawed assumption of independence of meteorological conditions (regional wind patterns) that is now biting in the butt every country and US state with a too high a penetration of wind and solar build out in their electricity grid.

Jacobson also included a completely unrealistic hydropower dam build out using non-existent river flows to make his deception look doable. So the fake science and fraudulent engineering is everywhere, not just in the UK and Europe.

George Lawson
September 23, 2021 11:20 am

It is quite obvious that we are approaching a very serious shortage of fuel over the coming winter. Without power, heating and cooking becomes impossible. As a result people, especially older people will be dying of hypothermia in their homes. Without power, industry will wind down and electricity reliant services such as petrol pumps will not be able to dispense their fuel to vehicles which in turn will mean vehicles will come to a standstill on the roads and the stranded drivers will not be able to keep warm from their engines, perhaps leading to more deaths through the cold. The accumulated consequences of minimal electricity output don’t bear thinking about.
For god’s sake Mr Johnson stop shouting about the global warming problem that many sensible people agree does not exist, and take action to harness more electricity which is available on the doorstep in this country. Action is what we want not words!

ResourceGuy
Reply to  George Lawson
September 23, 2021 11:25 am

They will come up with every excuse for the cold while ignoring natural cycles….

http://www.climate4you.com/images/NOAA%20SST-NorthAtlantic%20GlobalMonthlyTempSince1979%20With37monthRunningAverage.gif

Pat from Kerbob
Reply to  ResourceGuy
September 23, 2021 11:40 am

Nice Graph. Which according to Mann does not exist as its all due to volcanic forcings.
Has he identified the massive volcanic eruption that occurred causing the SST to drop starting in 2010?

Mike Lowe
Reply to  George Lawson
September 23, 2021 12:53 pm

But Carrie’s got Boris to keep her warm! No need for fossil fuels!

MarkW
Reply to  Mike Lowe
September 23, 2021 2:17 pm

No fossil fuels, just an old fossil.

jtom
Reply to  MarkW
September 23, 2021 5:20 pm

Close. Change that to, “No fossil fuel, just an old fossil fool.”

Leo Smith
Reply to  George Lawson
September 23, 2021 3:48 pm

But Boris’ climate policies are driven by his shagbunny mistress fiancée. new wife.

griff
Reply to  George Lawson
September 24, 2021 1:59 am

A shortage of affordable fuel.

We will have enough gas, if we can pay for it.

Mike Edwards
Reply to  griff
September 24, 2021 5:31 am

A shortage of affordable fuel.”

In the UK, we should ask the question as to why fuel is in short supply.

On the one hand we have the abandonment of coal fired power stations that used to supply low-cost reliable baseload. There is no shortage of coal.

On the other hand, we have embraced unreliables like wind power and solar power, that cannot be guaranteed to provide power. We expect gas fired power stations to take up the slack.

And then we find that we don’t have enough gas.

We have forgotten that our native gas supply from the North Sea is dwindling, resulting in ever more imports. We also have refused to invest in storage facilities to deal with supply interruptions. And unlike the USA, we have not drilled a single well using fracking technology to get at the gas reserves that are conveniently under our own feet, due to politicians kow-towing to environmentalists.

We also quietly forget that using gas for electricity competes with using gas for heating. Let us be thankful that this shortage has not occurred mid-winter, for that would mean the prospect of millions of us getting seriously cold.

Welcome to the world of Greta Thunberg…

At least I can look thankfully at the full bunker of heating oil that will keep the house warm through the winter. And the log store that will feed the wood burning stove.

MarkW
Reply to  griff
September 24, 2021 6:06 am

If you can’t pay for it, then it isn’t affordable.

Steve Case
September 23, 2021 11:42 am

Here are some juicy quotes to illustrate what is really going on:

“This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the industrial revolution.”
Christiana Figueres, UN Climate Change Executive Secretary

“We’ve got to go straight to the heart of capitalism and overthrow it.
George Monbiot April 12, 2019

“Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring that about?” – Maurice Strong Chairman World Economic Forum

It’s telling that Maurice Strong after letting that cat out of the bag said to freelance writer, Daniel Wood, “I probably shouldn’t be saying things like this” Read where that quote comes from HERE. So most of the pushers of Climate Crap don’t reveal their true colors.

In 1988 they chanted “Hey Hey, Ho Ho, Western Culture’s got to go!”
Today they are in power, and we need to take them at their word.

Pointing out that their policies won’t work (that’s their intention) isn’t going to slay the dragon.

Leo Smith
Reply to  Steve Case
September 23, 2021 3:50 pm

They will be happy as long as they are on top of the resultant mess

Nick Schroeder
September 23, 2021 11:44 am

Dividing the discular ISR of 1,368 W/m^2 by 4 to obtain an AVERAGE gross ToA ISR of 342 is a thoroughly dumb ass thang to do. That does not even slightly resemble how the Earth heats and cools.

The Earth is heated on the lit hemisphere while losing heat in all spherical directions 24/7.

The S-B equilibrium temp for the AVERAGE 342 W/m^2 is 278 K. That’s makes the clothed Earth 10 C warmer with an AVERAGE 288 K. (not 33 C)

The moon would see the same, but the lunar temp swings from 400 K lit to 95 K dark as would the naked Earth.

That’s NOT what AVERAGE RGHE theory says.

Albedo & Heat & Cool 081921 lit face.jpg
Reply to  Nick Schroeder
September 23, 2021 1:15 pm

Nick does not believe in a reliable flat-Earth model.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Curious George
September 23, 2021 5:30 pm

“Dividing the discular ISR of 1,368 W/m^2 by 4 to obtain an AVERAGE gross ToA ISR of 342 is a thoroughly dumb ass thang to do. That does not even slightly resemble how the Earth heats and cools.”

You most certainly are aware that the geometry of a hemisphere dictates this result exactly. The sun “sees” a disc which it illuminates evenly across the disc. Its ray’s are parallel. The amount of incident energy is 1368 w/sq metre Of THE DISK, not the hemisphere. The sq metres on the hemisphere, though, receive diminishing amounts of insolation the farther away from the single sq metre upon which the light strikes at a right angle to the surface. Moving away from this sq m, the suns rays strike at ever decreasing angles.

A clear example is, at the 45th parallel the square metre the sun sees and illuminates is actually two square m on the hemisphere.

Math:

Area of sphere =4πr² , four times the area of disc =πr2

All the insolation falls on one half the sphere at any instant, but the sphere is spinning. Therefore the entire sphere is heated. The average per square m is 1/4 the insolation falling on a square m of the disk.

The many ways the earth moves heat around in the sea and atmosphere and emits it to space is a different matter all together.

Jim Gorman
Reply to  Gary Pearse
September 24, 2021 5:31 am

As you leave the zenith, the point directly overhead, you begin to see more and more scattering and absorption in the atmosphere. IOW, the apparent albedo changes. There is much less direct heating than say at the equator.

MarkW
Reply to  Gary Pearse
September 24, 2021 6:08 am

Models are have so many “simplifying assumptions” built in, you have to wonder what it is they are trying to model. As what they ARE modeling, has no relationship to any planet known to science.

September 23, 2021 11:51 am

Renewables Marketing 101: Big-up special cases, such as the UK with its (often) windy North Sea, and Tasmania, with its (often) very rainy hills, and trust that few will realise that these “solutions” don’t work for most places where electricity is needed.

Kermit was partly right, its hard being truly green, but pretending to be green is like falling off a Jeremy Granthan deforestation log.

n.n
September 23, 2021 11:54 am

Redistributive change and lowered expectations. How green to be Green for greenbacks.

Duane
September 23, 2021 12:00 pm

The initial discussion here of averages doesn’t really apply to the subsequent argument over actual energy generation in MW-hrs per time period, or GW-hrs on a more global basis.

I think pretty much most people who aren’t hopeless idiots understand that wind power and solar power are not 24 hour per day, 365 days per year sources of energy. Continuing to argue over that just makes skeptics sound like angry cranks.

What IS important to understand is that one cannot have an entire energy supply and distribution system built upon intermittent sources, battery storage notwithstanding.

It is a reasonably practical matter to supply something like 20% of the total energy demand in GW-hrs using renewables. But much above that and the system reliability can go to hell in a handbasket.

The reason we can supply a significant chunk of power from intermittent sources is that energy demand itself is intermittent. Per the USEIA, power demand in the US is peaking during the hours of 7 am to 11 pm. That happens to coincide, at least roughly, with the availability of solar energy (for obvious reasons) and with wind energy (this varies of course, but generally winds are higher during the daytime than at nighttime because of daily solar heating).

The magnitude of these daily variations in energy demand is roughly 20%, give or take, depending upon geographic location and seasonal factors.

So intermittent renewable sources should not be dismissed out of hand .. but they are also fairly limited in the contribution to the total energy supply. No matter what, we need effective, online availability from base power plants (coal, natural gas, nuclear, and hydropower) that is pretty close to 100% of our total energy demand. Only 80% would be cutting it too close.

A further note, most climate skeptics believe that hydrocarbon power plants are available virtually 100% of the time. In truth, coal fired plants only have an average uptime availability of around 40% – not much higher than the intermittent renewables. If you really really want high uptime, you have to go nuclear, which is the highest availability of all electrical power sources at greater than 92%.

TonyL
Reply to  Duane
September 23, 2021 12:48 pm

All in all, very good. I would agree with 95% of what you wrote.
But it is that 5% left. Here there be Dragons!
Here I will make a careful distinction between a grid’s reserve capacity and backup capacity.
Back when engineers were in charge, grids were usually built with about 20% reserve capacity. This was considered prudent as this reserve covered a slew of operational situations. Included is planned shutdowns, unplanned shutdowns, maintenance, and breakage such as a severe Ice storm trashes things. Remember, before renewables, when grids had their reserve capacity, grid failures were incredibly rare events. So far so good.
You write:
It is a reasonably practical matter to supply something like 20% of the total energy demand in GW-hrs using renewables.
And:
The magnitude of these daily variations in energy demand is roughly 20%,

That 20% again. Let’s take a hypothetical grid, and give renewables a full 20% penetration. What happens during a calm spell after dark? We crank up the rest of the grid to compensate. But what have we really done?
We have {quietly} reassigned reserve capacity to backup capacity.
Our effective reserve capacity is now 0%, and anything that goes wrong will cause a failure. That is the problem, right there.
OK, let’s back up a bit.
Let us now posit a renewables penetration of only 10%. Feel better? You should not. Now we have {quietly} reassigned half of our reserve capacity as backup, and left only half of what we used to have. This is how and why renewables are purely parasitical. They are *never* accounted to provide their own backup, so as to leave the grid’s reserve capacity intact. Further, renewables *never* pay for that conversion from reserve capacity to backup. This is both operationally and financially parasitical.

So how to set things right so reserve capacity is maintained?
Simple, for every MW of renewable installed on the grid, a MW of dispatchable is installed to twin with it. As soon as you do that, people ask why not just install the dispatchable, and dispense with the expensive renewables altogether.

Last edited 25 days ago by TonyL
MarkW
Reply to  TonyL
September 23, 2021 2:24 pm

To further the point, running 20% renewable does not mean that you have reduced fossil fuel usage by 20%. Given the fact that you need generation capacity that is running in standby, ready to take over, at night when solar cuts out, whenever a cloud passes over your solar farm, or the wind drops at your wind farm.
If you had 20% renewable, you would need something like 10% running in hot standby, ready to take over at a moments notice and another 10% in warm standby ready to take over with 30 to 60 minutes notice.

And a few trillion in batteries to help smooth the transition from renewables to reliable energy.

Leo Smith
Reply to  MarkW
September 23, 2021 3:55 pm

batteries do not represent long term grid storage. They are there to replace the short term storage of spinning mass. For frequency stabilisation.They have no chance of replacing a few acres of coal piled up high

griff
Reply to  Leo Smith
September 24, 2021 2:04 am

Exactly.

though they also can replace peaker plant

MarkW
Reply to  griff
September 24, 2021 6:10 am

That’s the theory, so far none have been built.
The only grid batteries built today only serve for frequency stability. They can hold the grid for a second or two at most.
That’s not even long enough for a peaker plant to fire up, much less replace the peaker plant.

Duane
Reply to  MarkW
September 23, 2021 5:31 pm

Well, about 20% of the total energy supplied in Texas is wind. Anybody who has ever flown over or driven thru West Texas to Central Texas can attest to the thousands of wind turbines and to the steady and strong Texas winds. But not every state or nation has that kind of potential capacity. Texas seems to get along pretty well with their mix of energy despite the disinformation put out by the governor regarding last winter’s freeze, where he blamed it on wind turbines. If fact about 80% of the shutdown was due to dispatchable gas and coal plants, largely due to shutdowns of the fuel supplies – about equal to the total capacity of the dispatchable power in Texas.

In any event, renewable sources are valuable as part of a mix of sources, but they can never replace but a small percentage of total dispatchable capacity, despite all the yammerings of the warmunistas crowd.

Loren C. Wilson
Reply to  Duane
September 23, 2021 8:05 pm

Wind is neither strong nor steady. It is intermittent. Less intermittent here in Texas, but not reliable. You still need to have 100% of the intermittent sources backed up by reliable power generation or people die from the heat or cold. The Valentines Day massacre of 2021 was a nice preview.

griff
Reply to  Duane
September 24, 2021 2:05 am

And the UK being situated in the North Atlantic ocean has a similar high wind capacity available to it… widely distributed too.

MarkW
Reply to  griff
September 24, 2021 6:11 am

Didn’t work so well this past summer, did it.

Tim Gorman
Reply to  Duane
September 25, 2021 4:49 am

Your root cause analysis is somewhat lacking. When the wind turbines died, fossil fuel production saw a huge failure – think nat gas stations fed by electricity from wind power. Those dispatchable gas plants you mention that failed, failed due to a lack of nat gas, which failed because of dead wind production. The coal plants took time to fire up but once they did they provided much needed backup generation.

Root cause? Failed wind production. Period. Exclamation point.

griff
Reply to  MarkW
September 24, 2021 2:04 am

Really, solar does not blink on and off constantly from passing clouds. Take a good look at the sky for an hour or so: there isn’t a blink on or off of sunlight most of the time, is there?

The UK uses its hydro and pumped storage as people come home from work to cover extra demand until demand drops off as we go to bed with our cocoa.

The UK National Grid says it can predict wind output to 95% probability 24 hours in advance. It arranges for gas power to be ramped up and down accordingly on a schedule, it doesn’t keep it running in hot standby.

Batteries now cover frequency response and recovery -faster, too.

MarkW
Reply to  griff
September 24, 2021 6:15 am

I’m suspecting that it’s been so long since he left his mom’s basement, that he no longer has any idea of how the real world works.

How frequently clouds block your solar farm depends on how many clouds there are and how big they are, and that depends on where you live.

Beyond that, once again little griff is depending on averages, when the grid depends on what is happening each instant. Even if griff were right (for once) in that clouds covering solar farms is rare, it wouldn’t matter, because the problem occurs when the output of the farm drops. Electrons produced yesterday, and electrons predicted for tomorrow don’t matter, electrons don’t time travel.

Being able to project tomorrows average wind power is nice, but meaningless. Unless you can predict accurately, minute to minute, then your grid will become unstable.

Henkie
Reply to  griff
September 24, 2021 6:51 am

Dear Griff,
have a look at the attached diagram, showing a typical day in the Netherlands.

piko1.bmp
pigs_in_space
Reply to  griff
September 24, 2021 7:45 am

Griff should try living in say Pembrokeshire or Gwynedd, tho I doubt he has ever been there.

It used to be oh “it’s raining again”, or “it’s about to rain”… “mae’n bwrw glaw” in Welsh.

It’s pretty similar in most parts of bonnie Scotland, but we over in the Baltic have mastered climate and have “the science” sorted, by installing solar farms in the freezing north (subsidised of course!), where it snows loads for 5 months a year.

I have f-all wind farms on the other side of the border in Russia, and no solar at all.
They must be laughing their socks off at our stupidity!

Duane
Reply to  TonyL
September 23, 2021 5:20 pm

Yes agreed. I discussed only supplying energy demand, not reserve capacity. There is always a need for reserve capacity, and yes it is good if most if not all of that reserve capacity is comprised of dispatchable power sources not intermittent sources.

Renewables have a place in our energy supply system, but not as the primary source.

JamesD
Reply to  Duane
September 23, 2021 1:53 pm

40% availability for a coal fired plant? Not believing it. And I’d bet a lot of the time when they are down it is a schedule maintenance period giving you plenty of time to plan bringing in additional power.

TonyL
Reply to  JamesD
September 23, 2021 2:10 pm

That caught my eye too, so I checked. The website I found cites 48% currently. That is down from 68% in 2010. The reasons cited were increased costs, looks like the hangover from Obama’s famous “War on Coal” combined with regulatory interference from EPA. For the rest, they are getting squeezed by renewables mandates and are getting forced away from baseload into backup roles. This forces them to ramp up and down furiously with equipment not designed for that role. They are paying the price for the parasitical nature of the renewables on the grid. Running as baseload and without interference, I would expect a coal plant to maintain 90%.

Leo Smith
Reply to  TonyL
September 23, 2021 3:57 pm

you should be careful to distinguish between avialability – how much that plant COULD produce, and capacity factor, what it DID produce.

ghl
Reply to  TonyL
September 23, 2021 4:59 pm

TonyL
I would believe 40% capacity factor, given the constraints on them. I would expect that to be 80% availability at 50% load.

Duane
Reply to  TonyL
September 23, 2021 5:39 pm

A lot of that downtime is due to the complex and maintenance heavy fuel management systems required for coal plants, as well as the much more complex pollution controls on coal plants that aren’t needed for gas or nuke plants.

Duane
Reply to  JamesD
September 23, 2021 5:36 pm

That’s per official US EIA data.

Coal plants are very maintenance intensive, and they are not designed and built to the very high quality standards of nuke plants. Plus managing the coal supply and dealing with all the pollution control devices on coal plants is also a maintenance hog.

Gas plants have much higher online availability than coal plants, but still only about midway between coal and nuke power.

MarkW
Reply to  Duane
September 23, 2021 2:27 pm

That happens to coincide, at least roughly, with the availability of solar energy 

Not even close to being right. Peak solar is generally from 1pm to about 4pm. Dropping off rapidly at either end, and that’s assuming no clouds.
In many places, as soon as the air starts to heat up, clouds and rain quickly follow. So peak solar can be unpredictably cut off, just when you are relying on it the most.

I don’t know where you got that 40% availability from coal plants from, but I’m calling BS on it. With the exception of the rare accident, about the only time I’ve heard of coal plants being down was during the annual maintenance which usually took a week or two, and was scheduled far in advance so that replacement power would be available.

Last edited 25 days ago by MarkW
Duane
Reply to  MarkW
September 23, 2021 5:43 pm

It IS close to being right. Don’t confuse “peak” with “substantial”. Solar systems generate substantial power during early morning to late afternoon. And you’re ignoring wind which is generating power 24 hours per day in windy regions like the Great Plains and coastal areas, though generally winds are lighter at night than in daytime.

MarkW
Reply to  Duane
September 23, 2021 5:59 pm

So they can produce a lot of power, precisely when it is needed the least.
I’m not impressed.

Henkie
Reply to  Duane
September 24, 2021 7:01 am

Dear Duane,
have look at the diagram. On a cloudless day, the system peaks at noon, with quite steep rise and a bit slower fall. My system is limited at4300W, being the maximum power of the inverter.

piko2.bmp
Tim Gorman
Reply to  Duane
September 25, 2021 4:56 am

Hmmmmm….. Wind at night has been ZERO at night here on the Great Plains for a solid week or more. Dead calm from midnight on last night! Nor is this unusual.

No 24hr wind power here.

Christopher Hanley
Reply to  Duane
September 23, 2021 2:53 pm

I think pretty much most people who aren’t hopeless idiots understand that wind power and solar power are not 24 hour per day, 365 days per year sources of energy …

How else to explain it all — net zero and all that without nuclear — is it a form of madness?

Leo Smith
Reply to  Christopher Hanley
September 23, 2021 3:58 pm

yes.

Christopher Hanley
Reply to  Leo Smith
September 23, 2021 5:07 pm

I’d forgotten the quote attributed to Einstein: ‘Insanity Is Doing the Same Thing Over and Over Again and Expecting Different Results’.

mrsell
Reply to  Duane
September 23, 2021 2:59 pm

In truth, coal fired plants only have an average uptime availability of around 40% – not much higher than the intermittent renewables.

From Wikipedia (don’t laugh to hard…): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Availability_factor

“Most thermal power stations, such as coal, geothermal and nuclear power plants, have availability factors between 70% and 90%.”

Perhaps the coal-fired plants have a much higher availability than renewables?

Leo Smith
Reply to  Duane
September 23, 2021 3:52 pm

its more complicated than that, but I cant be bothered to explain. In fact the answer turns out to be that there is no place at all for intermittent renewables, They simply make the problem of meeting a fluctuating demand worse.

michel
September 23, 2021 12:21 pm

The energy companies who have failed, about 1.5 million customers and rising, were run on a simple business model.

Enter long term contracts to supply, which have a legislative price cap on them, so you will not be able to increase prices.

Fund these long term contracts by buying on short term supplies as available.

This was like borrowing short and selling long in finance. They were betting that the price of gas would not rise much. When it did, they were paying more for the gas than they could sell it for.

It was bound to rise sooner or later, because sooner or later there was going to be a prolonged calm, and the only way to generate electricity then, having closed all other systems, would be to burn gas. So if you like, this is the inevitable result of trying to run a country on intermittent energy technology, and hoping gas will be there to back you up when it fails.

Now all of the 1.5 million customers are worrying that when they get forcibly moved back to the majors, who their bankrupt suppliers undercut by following this brilliant business model, their prices will rise.

They will indeed. But notice what they are not complaining about because they don’t know about it. That is the £450 or so that each household already pays to fund wind and solar.

And of course the complete madness of all of this is that nothing the UK does has the slightest effect either on global CO2 emissions or global temperatures.

All the same, the nutters are out there on the freeways proclaiming that they have to act to tackle climate change for the sake of their children.

Meanwhile in another part of the wood they are proposing to move everyone to electric cars. And starting to realize with horror what this will do to the grid in its present state. And talking about having chargers that limit how much and when you can charge your vehicle.

Ah well, no-one said saving the planet would be easy. The best advice one could give now is, do not start from here. Go back and look at the map and figure out a way that actually gets where you want to go.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  michel
September 23, 2021 1:20 pm

And starting to realize with horror what this will do to the grid in its present state.

I have seen no evidence of anyone actually realising this yet

Last edited 25 days ago by Zig Zag Wanderer
Leo Smith
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
September 23, 2021 4:00 pm

Oh, but they are.
We have a new news channel – you can probably watch it from the USA – and whether or not net zero is achievable let alone at sane cost is being discussed…

Frank from NoVA
September 23, 2021 12:33 pm

“Hundreds of millions of people without adequate heating fuel in the dead of winter is not particularly funny.”

No it isn’t. But if that’s what it takes to bring people back from the brink of renewable energy stupidiity and climate alarmist insanity, so be it!

Beta Blocker
Reply to  Frank from NoVA
September 23, 2021 3:08 pm

My anti-nuclear relatives in the Bay Area of California and in New York State are convinced that building more wind and solar just as quickly as possible is the solution to any looming shortages of electricity.

Nothing I can say to them will convince them otherwise. These people are passengers on a modern day wind and solar version of the Titanic. But they will not believe the ship is sinking until the cold waters of the north Atlantic have completely engulfed them.

M Courtney
September 23, 2021 12:43 pm

This article is already out of date.
We are now up to 9 UK energy supply firms that have gone out of business so far this year.
Two more went down today,

fretslider
September 23, 2021 12:47 pm

Now there’s a petrol crisis too as there aren’t enough HGV drivers to keep supplies moving

Self inflicted apocalypse now

Last edited 25 days ago by fretslider
Rusty
September 23, 2021 1:15 pm

Averages aren’t really important, what is, is peak demand and whether the installed systems can meet that demand. Can’t match peak demand then there has to be ‘load shedding’.

Load shedding is a fancy term for rationing (firstly industry) or managed black outs *when it comes to domestic).

Leo Smith
Reply to  Rusty
September 23, 2021 4:05 pm

The average load on an airliner is 1 and a bit g. All renewable energy advocates should be placed on a pilotless aircraft desugned to fail at 1.1g and flown into a thunderstorm

Dennis G Sandberg
September 23, 2021 1:42 pm

https://boereport.com/29dk2902l.html The author recommends that link as a source on battery storage. But it won’t load. Help!

TonyL
Reply to  Dennis G Sandberg
September 23, 2021 2:18 pm

I checked the original copy over at BOE Report. there is no corresponding link.
Here is a link to BOE Report with a search for “battery”, it might help.

https://boereport.com/?s=battery

No idea which one the author intended, if any.

willem post
September 23, 2021 1:57 pm

The Boe report link in the article was garbled.

Here is the correct one

https://boereport.com/2021/09/21/column-looming-european-energy-crisis-a-lesson-in-averages-that-wont-soon-be-forgotten/

Here is my article regarding the high costs of wind, solar and batteries in the US North East.

There are plenty of grid operator sites showing the fed-to-grid electricity production of various sources, and demand in real time.

By plotting the data, one can clearly see what happens during wind/solar lulls that 1) occur at random throughout the year, and 2) last up to 5 to 7 days

One can simulate wind/solar becoming 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 percent of fed-to-grid electricity, evaluate the adequacy of wind/solar counteracting capability.

All RE claims would be instantly blow out of the water.

https://www.iso-ne.com/about/key-stats/resource-mix/
https://nepool.com/uploads/NPC_20200305_Composite4.pdf

HIGH COSTS OF WIND, SOLAR, AND BATTERY SYSTEMS IN NORTH EAST US
https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/high-costs-of-wind-solar-and-battery-systems

EXCERPT

Counteracting Wind and Solar Output Up/down Spikes with 1) CCGT Plants, 1) Canadian Hydro Plants, 3) Battery Systems 

CCGT are up to 60%-efficient, quick-reacting power plants, ideal for counteracting the variations of wind and solar. 

They perform counteracting services on grids in Ireland, California, Germany, Spain, the Nether lands, etc.

The stable operating range of CCGT plants is from about 50% to 100% of rated output. 
As counteracting plants, they typically would operate at 75% to be able to ramp up and down about 25%
 
CCGT plants, with a capacity of 6,400 MW, would be required to ramp down from 75% to 50%, to counteract a 1,600 MW up-spike, and then ramp up from 50% to 75%, to counteract a 1,600 MW down-spike. See table 2
 
Existing CCGT plants could perform the counteracting tasks 24/7/365, for 35 to 40 years. All they need is natural gas or fuel oil.

Christopher Hanley
September 23, 2021 2:30 pm

EU energy commissioner Kadri Simson said the problem is caused by the EU’s dependence on foreign fossil fuels and I don’t think she was advocating more local coal or fracking.
That is a typical response, it happened after the power failure in Texas, whenever the reliance on so-called renewables causes the inevitable supply crisis they claim the problem is not enough of them.

Last edited 25 days ago by Christopher Hanley
Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Christopher Hanley
September 23, 2021 10:08 pm

Well, it’s obvious, innit? Unreliables cause grid problems, so get more unreliables.

It’s like socialism. It doesn’t work because there’s not enough of it!

September 23, 2021 2:41 pm

The average Voltage on a 240 Volt AC circuit is ZERO. Worse, the average voltage on an 800 KV AC High Voltage Transmission line is – ZERO.

MarkW
Reply to  Rich Lentz
September 23, 2021 6:00 pm

Average current is zero as well.

bonbon
Reply to  Rich Lentz
September 24, 2021 2:03 am

Curiously they go to amazing efforts to keep the frequency very close to 50hz on zero voltage and current, on average.

Sparko
September 23, 2021 2:41 pm

It has occurred to me that the UK crisis is being manufactured to spike the green loony brigade.

Leo Smith
Reply to  Sparko
September 23, 2021 4:06 pm

Possibly. If that is plausibly deniable

Rich Davis
Reply to  Sparko
September 23, 2021 5:25 pm

shhhh! griff might be listening 😉

MarkW
Reply to  Rich Davis
September 24, 2021 6:17 am

Net current, for any length of time can destroy the grid.

Mike Maguire
September 23, 2021 2:48 pm

US natural gas storage isn’t exactly in great shape either:

https://www.marketforum.com/forum/topic/75144/#75275

Screenshot 2021-09-23 at 16-46-15 NG thread 9 20 2021 - MarketForum.png
Robber
September 23, 2021 2:59 pm

The National Electricity Market in Australia illustrates this problem. In the middle of the day, solar often provides 40-50% of electricity demand, and wind a further 5-15%. This results in 30 minute spot prices sometimes dropping to zero and even going negative. Not a problem for these “renewables” because they also receive subsidies (paid for by consumers) of $30-60/MWhr. But when the sun goes down and the wind doesn’t blow, reliable dispatchable generators must ramp up to meet the evening peak demand. That evening generator mix is typically coal 65%, hydro 14%, gas 10%, with wind 11% sometimes, batteries 0.2%.
So more intermittent solar and wind will eat the reliable generator’s lunch, weakening their economics. The latest proposal is to pay subsidies to coal and gas generators to keep them viable. Utter madness.

September 23, 2021 3:17 pm

“Nuclear is widely despised”

Those that despise nuclear deserve to die of stupidity

Please form a line to collect your Darwin prize here

Willem Post
Reply to  Hatter Eggburn
September 23, 2021 7:22 pm

Nuclear is not despised in China, Russia and South Korea
Eventually, the rest of the world will come to its senses.
The earlier the deranged UN hucksters and others stop listening to Swedish children, the better for all of us.

griff
Reply to  Willem Post
September 24, 2021 2:07 am

Nuclear is still UK govt policy, with 17GW of new capacity part of the plan.

alas, nobody seems able to build it…

MarkW
Reply to  griff
September 24, 2021 6:18 am

Says a member of the group who has dedicated themselves to making it impossible to build nuclear.

Last edited 24 days ago by MarkW
To bed B
September 23, 2021 3:17 pm

“America’s capacity to build renewables at a level once considered impossible…”

Pretty sure that it was just considered stupid. The sort of mobilisation seen in WWII could have been used to pepper the country side with less efficient but effective enough windmills to provide an average sufficient for the needs of the US. Enough lead acid batteries could have been built at the expense of all other development.

“On February 4, 1923, British biologist J.B.S. Haldane delivered a lecture on the future of science to the Cambridge Heretics Society, whose guest speakers over the years included Bertrand Russell, Virginia Woolf, and Ludwig Wittgenstein. Haldane (1892–1964), a pioneering professor of biochemistry at Cambridge University, would later crack the genetic code of hemophilia and colorblindness and coin the term “clone.” His lecture’s main subject that day was the possible benefits of selective human breeding. In an aside, however, Haldane made an off-the-cuff prediction about Britain’s future energy system. He started by pointing out that the domestic supply of coal and oil must necessarily be exhausted within a few centuries. Hydroelectricity would be insufficient to replace fossil fuels in Britain, Haldane believed, although he conceded its viability in places like British Columbia (where today it does indeed provide 95% of electricity).

The answer, he said, lies in “intermittent but inexhaustible sources of power, the wind and the sunlight” and a “cheap, foolproof, and durable storage battery” that will transform the wind’s intermittent energy “into continuous electric power.” In short, Haldane predicted the inevitability of the renewables transition, named the two key technologies (wind and solar), identified their primary drawback (intermittency), and proposed a solution for it (efficient batteries).”

A website laughably called Debate Energy.

And of course, it’s not happening because we need it or the technology has arrived, but because this crowd marched through our institutions.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  To bed B
September 23, 2021 10:18 pm

The answer, he said, lies in “intermittent but inexhaustible sources of power, the wind and the sunlight” and a “cheap, foolproof, and durable storage battery” that will transform the wind’s intermittent energy “into continuous electric power.”

Well, yes. If such a thing existed, it would be the answer.

Now look at a few additional things:

1. You need to increase capacity to cover the times when unreliables are not providing power. If that is 75% of the time, and fairly evenly spread, that’s 4x the existing reliable capacity you need to install, and 16 hours of that as storage for the times that they are not providing power.

2. For every consecutive day that there MIGHT be no power from unreliables, eg cloudy winter days with little wind, you need to add 24 hours storage capacity, and an additional 4x generating capacity. That’d add up fast.

3. Double it if you want EVs to replace ICE.

4. Add probably another half existing capacity if you want to replace gas heating and cooking.

That’s about 10x existing reliable capacity multiplied by the maximum number of consecutive days that you might get no unreliable power, and make sure you can store it all.

It’s easy to make idiotic declarations, but “math is hard” as Barbie stated.

Last edited 24 days ago by Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
September 24, 2021 7:57 am

Those four points are exactly why no one living today will ever see 100% renewable energy in their lifetime. Achieving 100% Renewable energy is a thousand times harder, and more expensive, than the WWII “Manhattan Project,” The probability is ten times greater they will finally see “Fusion Power” rather than “Unreliable power.” Think of the costs for the entire world to be “100% Renewable.”
As far as “Averaging out the lack of wind/sun” through a massive DC distribution system, that just doubles the cost again!
During the recent Texas Wind Turbine blackout, we in Nebraska suffered through weeks of rolling outages and brownouts in providing them with needed power. That is a transfer of over ~600 miles ~1,000 KM. There is no dedicated transmission, line thus, every utility between Omaha, and Dallas was involved with moving the electricity in the right direction.

Shanghai Dan
September 23, 2021 3:18 pm

The claim that intermittents (solar and wind) are lower cost is a complete lie. They are ONLY lower cost (possibly) when running. But as a system? They are always a cost adder – as we’re finding out.

You MUST have enough coal/gas/nuclear/hydro/thermal to provide 100% of your power needs – or you’re willing to accept that the lights won’t always work. If you want reliability, then those intermittents CANNOT stand on their own. They REQUIRE the other sources to exist.

Thus, intermittents are simply cost ADDERS, that allow for a lower cost of generation some times but also REQUIRE you to completely deploy 100% capacity in non-intermittents. You HAVE to apply the capital costs of the coal/gas/nuclear/etc to the intermittents as well because it is required to make a reliable grid.

Once you do that – they are NEVER lower cost – always more.

Willem Post
Reply to  Shanghai Dan
September 23, 2021 7:26 pm

Two systems to do one job
The traditional one can do the WHOLE job very well without the wind/solar newcomers, but the reverse is not possible, EVER.

September 23, 2021 3:22 pm

U.K. leads the world into fuel and soon food rationing caused by suicidal climate alarmist policies.

https://www.itv.com/news/2021-09-23/hgv-driver-shortage-bp-poised-to-ration-fuel-deliveries-amid-supply-problems

The Catholics call it attrition.
(This was the theme of the movie “Seven”)

Suffering for your stupidity without yet any intent to turn around. It doesn’t end well.

Last edited 25 days ago by Hatter Eggburn
griff
Reply to  Hatter Eggburn
September 24, 2021 2:08 am

The driver shortage is due to political policy, not renewables.

The natural gas crisis is down to the price of gas, not renewables.

MarkW
Reply to  griff
September 24, 2021 6:21 am

So the fact that demand for natural gas increased because wind and solar totally failed doesn’t matter in your world?

griff
Reply to  MarkW
September 25, 2021 1:03 am

That’s not why demand increased, is it?

Elle W
September 23, 2021 4:13 pm

Killing off as many people as possible is a feature, not a bug, to these people. The green elites can afford to pay outrageous prices to eat, stay warm, and virtue signal, so like BoJo they shrug and say not to worry about it. The poor greens are dim enough to believe freezing to death in the dark won’t happen to them —until it does. Further, I’m wondering if UK excess winter deaths this year will be classed as “covid deaths” to hide the problem?

jtom
September 23, 2021 5:29 pm

The word ‘average’ is probably the most misused word in climate science (much like the word ‘free’ in advertisements). Whether it’s temperature, rainfall, solar/wind output, or energy usage, it will mislead and deceive.

This is a tremendous lesson in average, and a reminder that at one time, the US military was more interested in results than optics. It is well worth the read.

https://www.thestar.com/news/insight/2016/01/16/when-us-air-force-discovered-the-flaw-of-averages.html

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  jtom
September 23, 2021 10:33 pm

The son of a friend of mine is a pilot, originally in the RAAF, now the Australian army. His helmet was created just for him, as all jet pilots in the RAAF,I believe. It cost about AU$300,000.

J N
September 23, 2021 5:48 pm

Journalists that write about energy are very naive to say the least. See this highly misleading article from CNN (very recent one) and the solutions that are presented. Outstanding ingenuity example!!! https://edition.cnn.com/2021/09/22/business/europe-energy-gas-renewables-climate-cmd-intl/index.html

Deacon
September 23, 2021 6:33 pm

Joel O’Brian hit on it….”This is being aided and abetted by the the Big Tech social media giants also working in collusion with the Democrats for common agendas.”

everyone realise…the media is owned by these mega-billionaires and they want all the power (wealth and contol) which cannot be achieved with a Capitalist Government…so any way to distroy it is the GOAL.

Does anyone remember the 1975 movie Rollerball….described as…”In a futuristic society where corporations have replaced countries, the violent game of Rollerball is used to control the populace by demonstrating the futility of individuality.”

think about it….that is what we are witnessing being developed.

Deacon
September 23, 2021 6:35 pm

my apology for the misspelled name…Joel O’Bryan
very sorry about that

roaddog
September 23, 2021 8:14 pm

On average, no one will freeze to death.

John
September 23, 2021 10:26 pm

Hydrocarbons only work if you spend the time to replace what has been used
Currently no exploration is taking place and Governments are forcing handing back of permits
the US president Biden is shouting at the Saudi for not supplying oil to the US to keep gasoline prices low
the Europeans are accusing Russia of Price manipulation despite them needing to recharge there depleted storage because Norway Netherlands and the UK have not done there share
Fertilizer plants all over Europe are shutting down because of No NG at affordable prices – that means no Food next year
UK food processors can not supply meat because they need CO2 for processing animals
that means no Food next week and no food next year because farmers have to many animals to feed now and will not fill the hopper with new animals

Buy the way a 1GW interconnector has failed from France to the UK current estimates is its is down for the upcoming UK winter but probably much longer

and now Boris like Biden has insulted the French to get a new submarine contract with Australia

You know France will be able to redirect all there spare power to Europe so why shouldnt he the UK is not part of the EU

Hey Boris thanks for been an idiot you sit very nicely along side your US counterpart Biden

What is the expected number of people that will die from cold in the UK

Well they voted for you they get what they deserve

Ian MacCulloch
September 24, 2021 12:00 am

China has abundant 40w light bulbs left over from their home improvements. You can get Europe and the Americas to adopt this wattage to their abodes and solve the energy requirement problem that way.

Iain Reid
September 24, 2021 12:22 am

While the whole article makes sense there does seem to be a misunderstanding of why we have gas or coal generation and how they operate. (not unusual in people who write about a subject they have little real knowledge of.
Quote from the article:- Ordinarily, that would be no problem – just fire up the gas fired power plants, or import power from elsewhere.
Except fo stand by gas open cycle generators which can start and come on line fairly quickly, all other thermal plants have to be running and at opertating temperature before they can be put to work. (Closed cycle gas plants which also have steam turbines run from the waste exhaust heat cannot ‘just be switched on’ they have to be warmed up which is days not hours)
There is also the matter of a stable frequency which uncontrollable wind and solar do nothing for. There has to be a substancial amount of controlled generation to keep the frequency within limits and this is gas, coal Hydro etc all large plants with large inertia, a stabilising force for frequency trying to supply a varying load, sometimes significantly so.
The real point is that you cannot replace conventional generation with renewables they are not an equivelant or alternative source of electricity. All they can do is remove some of the conventional generators load to their detriment in efficiency and operating profit. The last point is important as who will invest in new conventional genertaing plant if it is not economic. It is however essential and it’s time the politicians were told this!

Barry Sheridan
September 24, 2021 12:49 am

The basics of a grid and its need for reliability is not impossible to understand as a concept. That policy is constructed by ignoring these fundamentals is a triumph of ignorance, and most politicians today are just that, ignorant. Not because they lack the ability, but because most prefer fantasy to reality, in a nutshell that is the problem with the western world

September 24, 2021 1:41 am

It is hilariously funny in a dark sort of way to see how big a sacrifice in terms of financial loss and number of economic trash-people freezing or starving to death, Europe is willing to pay, in order to protect their sacred right to regard gas from Russia’s Nordstream 2 as racially impure. Quite a lot I would guess, if past form is anything to go by. How are stockpiles of coffins looking? If it’s so important for America that Europe continue treating Russians as untermenschen, maybe they can help out by shipping over a few million coffins of nice American wood?

Gas crisis leaves Europe searching for solutions – BBC News

griff
September 24, 2021 1:52 am

Solar made a significant contribution to UK power this summer, as did cheap French nuclear power, exported when summer demand was low in France.

The UK is of course installing another 30 GW of offshore wind, most of it in high capacity wind areas well offshore and well distributed around the coastline, thanks in part to floating turbines. This is wind power actually building, approved and for which the plans are in the planning process, i.e. very likely to get built.

It also has another 7 HVDC links to Norway and continental Europe approved or building, plus any number of solar, small hydro, anaerobic digester, pumped storage and tidal schemes.

The UK has a concerted programme of improving internal links to avoid constraining wind and solar, it has a growing number of grid scale batteries for frequency response and peak hours supply.

In short it looks like the UK and Europe will be able to draw on available renewable energy and hydro from across the whole West of the continent, from a growing array of disparate sources sited for maximum supply.

And that gas storage grid in Europe: it will form a place to hold reserves in the form of natural gas/green hydrogen mix…

The UK saw the worst of wind availability this summer and Germany this winter and managed that extreme (for extreme and unusual it was)

MarkW
Reply to  griff
September 24, 2021 6:27 am

griff just keeps pumping out the same old lies. It’s like he never bothers to read the responses to him.

griff
Reply to  MarkW
September 25, 2021 1:02 am

And its like people read the facts I post and just reply with the same old stuff ‘it can’t work because it doesn’t fit our political viewpoint!’

Tell me why the UK and Europe can’t make it work with a large installed base of renewables, widely distributed, massively connected.

Eric Vieira
September 24, 2021 2:55 am

The same thing is happening in other fields. Switzerland has just prolonged their moratorium on gene technology in agriculture. The government at first had spent a 150 millions of taxpayer money for an expert report which concluded that after 30 years of observation, the risk is minimal. The report was then ignored, and the decision was then justified as a “political” and not a “scientific” one. This is the second time this moratorium has been prolongated, even though it was specified that with modern gene editing, one knows exactly what one is doing. Plans to forbid the use of pesticides and herbicides are also ongoing. No energy, no food: that’s called progress…

Sheri
September 24, 2021 3:51 am

If people want to freeze to death and starve, there’s no stopping that. And they most definitely are begging for this fate.

Andy H
September 24, 2021 5:19 am

Many years ago my parents had oil lamps and my grandmother had a paraffin heater. All just in case because the power grid was rubbish. If you think there is a chance the power might go out it might be an idea to get something similar. At least spent a few pounds on some candles and a camping stove. It is no good saying “I told you so” if you don’t plan to mitigate the risks you think will occur.

Richard Hughes
September 24, 2021 10:38 am

Beatifully put.

BUT please join the dots – when someone says solar and wind cost have been reduced to be competitive that does not allow for the costs of the generation required when the sun don’t shine and the wind don’t blow

Ulric Lyons
September 24, 2021 1:25 pm

“A lot of the global energy-transition-now madness stems from such a basic inability to grasp certain fundamentals..”

Refusing to grasp them as they’re in it for the money, and ready to cash in on the problems they create.

Matthew Sykes
September 25, 2021 12:42 am

solar and wind energy are now cheaper than fossil fuels” Why keep on repeating this lie?

Recycling costs have not been factored in, and they are going to be hefty.

But very obviously, if they were cheaper, our energy bills would be, and they arent!

Free market competition would ensure that the end user would get cheaper energy if 30% of our power was now cheaper than before.



dennisambler
September 25, 2021 7:32 am

“developing carbon capture/storage”

Shouldn’t that be CO2 capture and storage? We already have lots of stored carbon, but they don’t want us to use it..

The IEA in 2012 was extolling the virtues of HELE coal fired technology, even though it was insisting “carbon” capture and storage was a necessary adjunct. 

“While increased efficiency has a major role to play in reducing emissions, particularly over the next ten years, carbon capture and storage (CCS) will be essential in the longer term to make the deep cuts in carbon emissions required for a low-carbon future. Combined with CCS, HELE technologies can cut CO2 emissions from coal-fired power generation plants by as much as 90%, to less than 100 grams per kilowatt-hour. HELE technologies will be an influential factor in the deployment of CCS.”

Seven years later:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_capture_and_storage
“As of 2019, 17 CCS projects were operating, capturing 31.5Mt of CO2 per year, of which 3.7Mt is stored geologically.”

In 2019 total global CO2 emissions were 36,810 million tonnes, therefore CCS accounted for 0.086% of total emissions.) 0.01% of total emissions were geologically stored.

The US National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) reported that North America has enough storage capacity for more than 900 years worth of CO2 at current production rates. Presuming they mean current CCS rates, that would be 28,350 million tonnes. In 900 years they could store less than 1 year of total CO2 emissions.

Still a little way to go…

The other aspect is the abandonment of the famous Precautionary Principle when talking of CCS. The amounts will continue to rise year in year out, waiting for the next geological shift. Are they not storing up catastrophe for the future?

%d bloggers like this: