2021: The Year Renewables “Lost Last Place”

Guest “Let’s go Mets!” by David Middleton

There are three things that I am somewhat embarrassed of:

  1. I am not a native Texan… I was born in Connecticut, but I got here as fast as I could.
  2. I am a life-long New York Jets fan… I watch a recording of Super Bowl III every Super Bowl Sunday.
  3. I am a life-long New York Mets fan.

One of my favorite books of all time is The Year the Mets Lost Last Place

Date: 1969

After the Mets secured their World Series win in Game 5 on October 16, 1969, people wanted the story of that miraculous season as soon as possible. Paul Zimmerman and Dick Schaap would be the first among many to publish a comprehensive account, issuing their book on “the most amazing year in the history of baseball” only two days after the Mets won the World Series. How did they manage that? They documented the thrills of the season as they happened. By the time the Mets surprised the world with their upset of the Baltimore Orioles, Zimmerman and Schaap’s play-by-play prose was already in hand, ready for fans who wanted to learn about and relive one of baseball’s most inspiring triumphs.

TAGS:1960S • 1969 SEASON • DICK SCHAAP • PAUL ZIMMERM

Mets Virtual Vault

I was ten years old throughout most of 1969. The Jets won Super Bowl III in January, Neil Armstrong took that “giant leap for mankind” in July and the Amazing Mets went from perennial last, or next-to-last, place finishers to upsetting the Baltimore Orioles four games to one in the World Series. 1969 will always be one of my favorite years… So I guess I shouldn’t rag on renewables for crawling out of last place… But, I will anyway.

APRIL 26, 2022
Renewable generation surpassed nuclear in the U.S. electric power sector in 2021

Electric power sector generation from renewable sources totaled 795 million megawatthours (MWh) in the United States during 2021, surpassing nuclear generation, which totaled 778 million MWh. The U.S. electric power sector does not include electricity generators in the industrial, commercial, or residential sectors, such as small-scale solar or wind or some combined-heat-and-power systems. Renewable generation includes electricity generated from wind, hydropower, solar, biomass, and geothermal sources.

Natural gas remained the most prevalent source of energy used in electricity generation in the United States, accounting for 1,474 million MWh in 2021. Although several U.S. coal-fired power plants retired in 2021, coal-fired electricity generation increased for the first time since 2014 and was the source of more U.S. electricity than either renewables or nuclear power. Total generation in the electric power sector increased slightly in 2021, but it remained less than its record-high year of 2018.

The increase in U.S. electric power sector renewable generation during 2021 came mainly from more wind and solar generation as a result of more wind turbines and utility-scale solar power plants coming online. Wind generation increased by 12% in 2021, and utility-scale solar generation increased by 28%. Hydroelectric generation decreased to its lowest level since 2015, mainly because of dry conditions in the western United States. Biomass and geothermal electricity generation remained relatively unchanged in 2021.

Nuclear-powered generation has remained relatively steady in the United States during the past decade because uprates at existing facilities have offset the retirement of several reactors. Only one reactor was retired in 2021: New York’s Indian Point Unit 3. Despite a slight increase in the capacity factor of the U.S. nuclear fleet in 2021, U.S. nuclear electricity generation fell to its lowest level since 2012.

Principal contributor: Syne Salem

Tags: generation, coal, electricity, natural gas, nuclear, renewables, wind, biomass, hydroelectric, solar

EIA
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Electric Power Monthly

Renewables (wind + hydroelectricity + solar + biomass + geothermal) barely edged out nuclear power (795 to 778 million MWh) in 2021. This seems about as newsworthy as the New York Mets’ starting lineup hitting more homeruns in 1969 than Hank Aaron…

Hank Aaron hit his 44 homeruns in just 547 at bats. The Mets starting lineup required 3,250 at bats to rack up their 68 homeruns… giving us another analogy: MWh of generation per MW of installed capacity. The most recent EIA numbers are for 2020.

  • Nuclear Power: 96,501 MW
  • Renewables (wind + hydroelectricity + solar + biomass + geothermal): 284,895 MW

Nuclear power plants generated 778 million MWh from about 96,500 MW of installed capacity. Renewables required about 286,000 MW to rack up 795 million MWh. Nuclear power plants delivered a 92% capacity factor, renewables took 2/3 of the year off, only delivering a 32% capacity factor. The numbers aren’t exact because I’m using 2021 generation and 2020 installed capacity… But they are “in the ballpark.”

Carrying on with odd segues…

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Tom Halla
April 27, 2022 10:17 am

32% of nameplate capacity is much more than the Europeans were recently obtaining from wind and solar.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Tom Halla
April 27, 2022 10:58 am

There are two reasons. First, the US SW is better for solar than anywhere in Europe. Second, the US midwest, from north Texas up through Iowa is better for wind than even Scotland.

Matt Kiro
Reply to  Rud Istvan
April 27, 2022 11:31 am

Unfortunately, lots of people can’t wrap their head around the fact , that just because solar and wind work quite well in those place, doesn’t mean they work as efficiently everywhere else too

Caligula Jones
Reply to  Matt Kiro
April 27, 2022 11:58 am

Can’t wait for my (twice postponed) cruise to the Norway this year. Hope the fjords aren’t blighted by too many eagle cutters, though.

One thing, other than the actual sights, is being able to walk the deck at 10PM in daylight.

Of course, this leads me to posit an idea: make solar and wind portable!

We can ask all those people who will soon have some of Musk’s $44 billion to invest. I mean, think of it: its daylight ALL THE TIME in the Arctic in the summer…we just move them around.

Mr.
Reply to  Caligula Jones
April 27, 2022 1:13 pm

With really really really long electrical cables to connect to the grids?

Rational Db8
Reply to  Caligula Jones
April 28, 2022 12:52 am

The light angle is far from optimal, It’s not direct enough, too incidental. Plus huge problems with snow covering the panels – you wouldn’t generate much as a result. Then you’d have all the line losses trying to get the electricity across long powerlines – and you’re thinking it’d be easy/feasible to actually move the distribution lines regularly?

I think your post must be sarcasm!

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Matt Kiro
April 27, 2022 12:24 pm

I would not call a 32% US renewable capacity factor as ‘working well’, albeit you are correct it is worse elsewhere in the US. It means that 68% of the time other dispatchable power must be available, and since it must exist on standby it is by definition also underutilized so more costly.

Matt Kiro
Reply to  Rud Istvan
April 27, 2022 1:08 pm

I was only commenting on the places you mentioned, not all of the US. Its my understanding that the solar in the SW and wind in the MW are what is keeping capacity up to 32% overall.

Alan Robertson
Reply to  Matt Kiro
April 27, 2022 2:26 pm

“Oh, please; The Midwest? This is the Plains.”
-Julia Roberts’ character in August Osage County.

John Hultquist
Reply to  Alan Robertson
April 27, 2022 8:51 pm

Thanks. I missed that movie but love the comment.

Roberts, in Pretty Woman, also mentions geography.

Shanghai Dan
Reply to  Rud Istvan
April 27, 2022 3:14 pm

THAT (underutilized other supply) is the TRUE cost adder for solar/wind; the cost of the 68% other supply MUST be born by wind/solar, as it is required to be viable.

For nuclear, you need an 8% overhead on cost, typically nat gas peakers. For solar/wind, you need a 68% overhead on cost, typically nat gas and nuclear.

In reality, the cost of nuclear power plants MUST be accounted for in the costs of solar and wind, making those intermittents – by default – more expensive than nuclear.

Retired_Engineer_Jim
Reply to  Shanghai Dan
April 27, 2022 11:20 pm

As I understand it, nuclear power plants have to be baseload – they can’t ramp up and down quickly. Therefore, there will always be a need for some other type of power plant for peaker service.

Mason
Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
April 28, 2022 9:51 am

Jim, that is correct. I did my master’s thesis on ramping down Duke’s coal powered fleet to allow the Nukes to baseload. At the time, it looked like Duke would be 80% nuke.

Carbon Bigfoot
Reply to  Rud Istvan
April 28, 2022 4:31 am

Rud costly—- its going to really soar!!
https://reader.epoch.cloud/ 4/13/22 P1 & 3
With Lithium Prices UP NINEFOLD…..Lithium Carbonate $76,700/metric ton. CRES Report suggests the challenges could be mitigated by technological breakthroughs—Plan B the whole system supply change collapses as i predicted in these pages many years ago.

Carbon Bigfoot
Reply to  Carbon Bigfoot
April 29, 2022 6:26 am

NEWS FLASH FURTHER EVIDENCE: Intel misses projections. CEO say chip shortage will not be corrected until 2024!!!

Rich Davis
Reply to  Matt Kiro
April 27, 2022 2:02 pm

If by “work so well” you mean “not work 68% of the time”

Shanghai Dan
Reply to  Matt Kiro
April 27, 2022 3:12 pm

Or understand that you can’t just “ship” that power from Iowa to California – the losses on the lines eat up a massive amount of power. The US is freaking huge, so most of those overseas have no clue that trying to interconnect Omaha, Nebraska with Miami, Florida or San Diego, California is like trying to interconnect Oslo, Norway with Rome, Italy – and very little power draw in-between.

Rational Db8
Reply to  Matt Kiro
April 28, 2022 12:48 am

Actually they don’t work “quite well” anywhere for commercial scale power. Take a look at solar’s capacity factors, for example. Unfortunately I couldn’t quickly find a comparable table for wind showing both installed capacity vs. actually generated by state.

Utility scale solar photovoltaic capacity factor & nameplate capacity by state 2014-17.jpg
D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  Rational Db8
April 28, 2022 1:53 pm

I had no idea NJ was so pathetic! Well, regarding solar power, I mean.

Carbon Bigfoot
Reply to  Rud Istvan
April 27, 2022 12:54 pm

How many birds and insects did the panels fry? How many raptors and bats did the turbines obliterate?

Carbon Bigfoot
Reply to  Carbon Bigfoot
April 27, 2022 2:11 pm

Thanks for the memories Dave. Here is my best Mets memory:
Shea Stadium was a sauna on June 21, 1964. But Phillies pitcher Jim Bunning only got better as the day got hotter.
On that muggy day in Queens, N.Y., 32,026 fans witnessed the seventh perfect game in Major League Baseball history. Bunning retired all 27 Mets on just 90 pitches to complete the first regular season perfect game since 1922, beating New York 6-0.
HAHAHA

Bob boder
Reply to  David Middleton
April 27, 2022 5:46 pm

Go Phillies
Nothing beats Steve Carlton’s 27 wins for the Phillies in 72 when the whole team only had 59, now that’s a stopper.

Derg
Reply to  Rud Istvan
April 27, 2022 7:17 pm

Those bird choppers in Iowa are an ugly sight 😔

mal
Reply to  Rud Istvan
April 27, 2022 9:55 pm

It does not even pay here in Arizona. I am an electronic technician and when it comes to solar I know that the back end maintenance will kill you. I penciled it out a long time ago and found solar wanting.

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  Rud Istvan
April 28, 2022 5:35 am

Actually there are three. Hydroelectric was included in the US numbers.

Larry Hamlin
Reply to  Tom Halla
April 27, 2022 1:03 pm

All renewable energy is as available with no capacity value or benefit. Much of the renewable energy produced is during times when it is not needed which forces reliable power that meet load demand when needed to shutdown thus increasing their costs. This increased cost is significant and should be charged to renewable providers and not to electricity users. The entire renewable energy scheme is a fraud on electricity users run for the benefit of the unreliable renewable energy owners.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Tom Halla
April 27, 2022 3:46 pm

I am just glad I accidently chose to live in a state with zero wind energy potential.
Knowing I absolutely know for sure I will not wind up (haha, get it?) living under one of those monstrosities. let’s me sleep easy at night!

http://wholesalepowerbrokers.com/news/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/wind_resource_potential.gif

comment image

Last edited 2 months ago by Nicholas McGinley
Andyhce
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
April 27, 2022 5:54 pm

Since politics and graft are always large factors, you can’t assume yo are safe.

Peter W
Reply to  Andyhce
April 30, 2022 5:53 pm

Since I live in central Florida and have for several years, I, too, feel very safe from the bird-choppers. The reliable summer clouds and showers also limit the amount of solar available, and the length and width of the state limit the practicality of transmitting large amounts of power. The state foolishly offers to support the installation of rooftop solar. I prefer to depend on the presence of large, close trees on the south side to limit summer air conditioning. I also have my thermostat set for maximum 80 and minimum 71 degrees during daytime hours. My total electric bill, with a small 2 person separate early 1900’s old house, is less than $100 per month including HVAC, hot water, and the usual additional electric items including TV and this desktop computer.

Richard Page
April 27, 2022 10:36 am

“Surprised the world?” With Baseball? America perhaps, but not the world – it really isn’t that popular outside of the USA and maybe a handful of countries. On the other hand, I did use to play rounders as a child.

Tom.1
April 27, 2022 10:55 am

Renewables should be hitting the intermittency wall fairly soon.

Brad-DXT
April 27, 2022 11:14 am

The unreliable power generators cannot stand on their own without backup from traditional sources. Battery backup is not up to the challenge of continuous supply.

I don’t care how much power they generate. When I flip a switch, I want the lights to go on. I don’t want to only have my appliances work when the wind is blowing or the sun is shining.

These morons are going to turn the world into North Korea.

Last edited 2 months ago by Brad-DXT
Reply to  Brad-DXT
April 27, 2022 12:02 pm

China and India apparently don’t want to be turned into North Korea. Imagine that!

Paul Johnson
Reply to  Brad-DXT
April 27, 2022 1:33 pm

It’s ironic that traditional power sources are referred to as “back-up” when they are needed 60-70% of the time. PV and Wind are intermittent power sources that skim off demand (and profits) from reliable providers and destabilize the power grid as a whole.

Andy Pattullo
April 27, 2022 11:18 am

Nuclear always takes a hit on the capital costs which are high, in part due to unreasonable regulatory burdens from the linear-no threshold model of toxicity/injury. Any estimates out there on the capital costs for the current nuclear fleet versus the wind and solar facilities (ignoring government subsidies)?

davetherealist
Reply to  Andy Pattullo
April 27, 2022 11:52 am

Our over-regulation and incorrect application of Linear Non-threshold are both political and not scientific. Nuclear should be supplying us 90% of our electricity and had we started earlier we could have saved trillions of tons of coal and who knows if the fracking industry would have every been…. Nuclear is a was cheaper when you take away the ridiculous regulations and limits and provide same subsidy as unreliables.

Reply to  davetherealist
April 27, 2022 12:04 pm

No subsidies, they distort markets.

Fraizer
Reply to  davetherealist
April 27, 2022 1:39 pm

Even worse than the regulations is the law fare. Designed specifically to drive up costs to the point that projects are untenable.

Retired_Engineer_Jim
Reply to  davetherealist
April 27, 2022 11:24 pm

Don’t forget all the lawsuits in addition to the over-regulation.

Matt Kiro
April 27, 2022 11:38 am

Off topic I know, but I do miss Paul Zimmerman. He was a great writer, especially with his break down of football. He has a way getting into the details without overwhelming the reader with stats or technical jargon.
He end of the year review of broadcasters was also a great plus.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  David Middleton
April 28, 2022 2:00 pm

Do I remember correctly that Schapp was on one of the Big Three networks for a while?

ResourceGuy
April 27, 2022 11:49 am

Add another factor in the equation. Inflation leading to a permanent step change in capacity additions will not be equal across the generation types. Wind power is facing much higher costs for each incremental addition onshore and offshore. Solar will take more share within renewables. All energy sector additions will carry higher financing costs and risk premiums. Governments, especially DoE, will continue to waste money with “pilot project mentality” while cheering on the nonplayers–Obama and Biden style.

Reply to  ResourceGuy
April 27, 2022 12:06 pm

Add yet another factor in the equation. Solar and wind life expectancy is half (or less) nuclear, gas and coal life expectancy, so depreciation is higher. Storage battery life expectancy is 1/4 (or less), so depreciation is even higher.

ResourceGuy
Reply to  Ed Reid
April 27, 2022 12:28 pm

Okay, but utility scale solar can be turned on before the paperwork for a nuclear plant is completed.

Bob
Reply to  ResourceGuy
April 27, 2022 1:43 pm

By design.

John Hultquist
Reply to  ResourceGuy
April 27, 2022 8:57 pm

Nuclear, once turned on, just keeps going, and going, and going …
https://transmission.bpa.gov/Business/Operations/Wind/baltwg.aspx

Venril
Reply to  Ed Reid
April 27, 2022 2:32 pm

I recall seeing a claim that by 20somthing the disposal of dead solar panels will create double the current total plastic trash load. Plus whatever is being dumped then. Never mind that plastics will be tough without oil. Never saw the numbers behind that but I don’t doubt it.

Steve Case
April 27, 2022 12:12 pm

 1969 will always be one of my favorite years
_______________________________________

Got married to my wonderful wife in 1969.

Mr.
Reply to  Steve Case
April 27, 2022 4:07 pm

That’s the year I got conscripted into the army.

But a highlight of that otherwise uninspiring year for me was listening in live to the moon landing while banished to a mountain top remote signals outpost.

BobM
Reply to  Mr.
April 28, 2022 6:50 am

Highlights of 1969:
1) January – Jets win the Super Bowl, upsetting Baltimore Colts
2) January – Rock concert at the Filmore East in New York City. Main attraction was Iron Butterfly with their hit “Inna-Gadda-Da-Vidda”. One of the “warm up” bands was a new British group on their first US tour – Led Zeppelin. What a concert.
3) March-April – NY Knicks upset Baltimore Bullets in NBA Playoffs (Knicks eliminated by Boston Celtics in Division Championship. Celtics win NBA Championship.)
4) June – Graduated from High School. Wore T-shirts all year with “69” on it. 8^)
5) July – Apollo landing on the moon.
6) August – Woodstock
7) September – off to college
8) October – Mets win the World Series, upsetting Baltimore Orioles
9) November – turn 18 and have first legal drink in College Town in Ithaca, NY.
10) December – Sign up for the draft. (didn’t get drafted)

John Hultquist
Reply to  Steve Case
April 27, 2022 8:58 pm

Us too!

Gordon A. Dressler
April 27, 2022 12:28 pm

“Renewables (wind + hydroelectricity + solar + biomass + geothermal) barely edged out nuclear power (795 to 778 million MWh) in 2021.

Hmmm . . . the most recent EIA-published numbers that I find for 2021 (see https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/electricity/electricity-in-the-us.php , run cursor to far right end of graph labeled “US electricity generation by major energy source, 1950-2021” to reveal numerical breakdown):
Renewables (wind + hydroelectricity + solar + biomass + geothermal): 826 million MWh
Nuclear Power: 778 million MWh

The same reference webpage presents a chart (attached) showing renewables at 20% of the total of 4.12 e^9 MWh (consistent with the EIA-stated 826 million MWh, but not with 795 million MWh) and showing nuclear at 19% of the same total (~consistent with the stated 778 MWh).

There seems to be a problem in the 795 million MWh number.

[note: MWH bolded above because EIA reports energy values in KWh]

EIA_Breakout_2021.jpg
Last edited 2 months ago by Gordon A. Dressler
Venril
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
April 27, 2022 2:41 pm

This is another good one. California Independent System Operators

http://www.caiso.com/TodaysOutlook/Pages/supply.aspx

April 27, 2022 12:31 pm

the Democrats love to deceive on their climate scam by telling half-truths about renewable energy capabilities. that need for Democrats to continually deceive the public will never change. the only thing that must change is to remove Democrats as far away as possible for the political levers of power.

Derg
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
April 27, 2022 7:22 pm

And some Republicans come to mind too like Cocaine Mitch, Liz, Mitt…

Tom.1
April 27, 2022 12:47 pm

I suppose in the best of all possible worlds, we would have a national unified grid which would allow renewables produced anywhere in the US to be delivered to consumers anywhere in the US. That is a best-case scenario for renewables. One would think that someone has already figured out what that looks like, what the maximum potential renewables is, and what it would cost. Has anyone here seen such a study that wasn’t done by people wearing the extra-strength rose-colored glasses? I’m ignoring storage, which is prohibitively expensive for the foreseeable future.

Beta Blocker
Reply to  Tom.1
April 27, 2022 1:56 pm

To my own personal knowledge, no one has done a study using a true feasibility engineering type of analytical approach which goes in to the level of detail needed to give an accurate picture of what such a unified national grid would look like. Nor has this been done for any of the regional grids.

IIRC, Mark Jacobson’s pie-in-the-sky 100% renewables study assumes that America’s consumption of electricity must be cut in half. So in order to perform a true feasibility engineering study, one must first set a figure for what portion of today’s reliable supply of electricity, stated in terms of gigawatt hours no longer being produced, would have to be sacrificed in order to build this unified national grid.

It’s been said that he who controls the project assumptions controls the project decisions. Without some number of realistic assumptions being made up front, it is not possible to estimate what a unified national grid’s capital and operating costs would be, nor is it possible to estimate how long it would take to construct such a grid.

Andyhce
Reply to  Beta Blocker
April 27, 2022 6:03 pm

Anyone in the renewables camp would ignore the very large energy losses involved in moving electricity across long distances, just as they ignore actual generation in favor of nameplate.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  Andyhce
April 28, 2022 2:11 pm

It depends on what you consider “very large”. In the US as a whole, it’s 5% to 6%, but there are very wide variations. For 2013, the loser was Maryland at 9.6% and the champ was Vermont at 1.6%.

Electricity Losses State By State: Interactive | Inside Energy

Jim Gorman
Reply to  Beta Blocker
April 28, 2022 6:03 am

Exposure, i.e. risk is never considered by those proposing this. The longer your transmission line the more exposure to faults. Storms, pole failure, line connection failure, etc. occur and WILL happen when it is needed most. Anyone ever hear of Murphy?

Editor
April 27, 2022 1:08 pm

David, thanks for reminding me about the 1969 World Series. At my high school on Long Island, we watched the World Series during gym class. Some even snuck in from study hall. One section of the basketball-court bleachers was rolled out, and a portable TV on a rolling stand with rabbit-ears antenna sat a few feet in front. The principal was front row center.

Regards,
Bob

Editor
Reply to  David Middleton
April 27, 2022 2:49 pm

Actually, my favorite baseball year was 1982, one of the years I lived in Milwaukee. The Brewers. All season long, watching games on TV at home, the TV audio was silenced and the radio was on so that we could listen to Bob Uecker doing the play-by-play. Even sitting in the outfield bleachers (cheap seats) someone nearby always had a radio tuned to Uecker. I was in the cheap seats, screaming “Reggie Sucks”, when the Brewers beat the Angels for the American League Championship.

Regards,
Bob

Editor
Reply to  David Middleton
April 28, 2022 6:36 am

And on the mound: Rollie Fingers and Don Sutton, to name a few.

DipChip
Reply to  David Middleton
April 27, 2022 7:27 pm

My favorite series was 1957 With Lew Burdette and Warren Spahn. I was active duty Navy on board a Greyhound at the time; that would be a gearing class destroyer.

DipChip
Reply to  David Middleton
April 27, 2022 8:28 pm

The Braves lost to the Indians 4-2

B.j.
April 27, 2022 1:08 pm

It would be interesting to see the name plate of solar and wind against electric produced. I was wondering if the difference was constant? Also I guess solar would look like carbon dioxide with a annual rheum due to the seasons.
Dose anyone know where I can find this?

Mr.
Reply to  B.j.
April 27, 2022 1:24 pm

The difference can’t be constant.
Unpredictable intermittency and all that.

But I’ll take a stab at the answer –
the difference between nameplate and actual is within the range 100% to 0%.

(someone be along soon to tell me it can’t be 0%)

Richard Page
Reply to  Mr.
April 27, 2022 2:49 pm

It can be 0% but it can’t be 100%.

Mr.
Reply to  Richard Page
April 27, 2022 4:20 pm

Wind & solar plants can frequently put out zilch electricity (meaning the difference between nameplate and actual is 100%)
(?)

but they can actually also put out nameplate capacity electricity for intermittent intervals (?), so the difference then would be 0% between nameplate and actual.

That’s my figuring anyway . . .

John Hultquist
Reply to  B.j.
April 27, 2022 9:06 pm

For wind, see Betz’s Law
no turbine can capture more than 16/27 (59.3%) of the kinetic energy in wind”

mkelly
April 27, 2022 1:20 pm

As they are closing nuclear plants and adding wind etc this should be near the start of a trend.

Depending on state hydro may not count as renewable. Some states are trying to remove dams so hydro may start going the way of nuclear.

Snutebil
April 27, 2022 1:29 pm

How much energy did the renewables consume? Any (more or less) qualified guesses? After all, net and useful production is the interesting figure.

As a side note, windfarms in Europe were recenly paid to shut down generation due to unstable power grid. If that is something happening now and then, or often for that matter, those MWh creating instability would better not be produced nor included in total production.

Tom.1
Reply to  Snutebil
April 27, 2022 2:47 pm

It might be interesting, but it doesn’t matter. All that matters is the cost of usable energy going to the consumer of it. All energy is free at its source; it’s been generously provided for us by nature. All we have to do is extract or collect it, convert it, and transport it to the consumer. Some people will claim that because more energy is consumed in the production of net usable energy, it can’t be a viable means of production. All that means is that the efficiency is less than 50%, which is true for many forms is energy that people use every day.

April 27, 2022 1:41 pm

@David – you should feel no shame about being born in Connecticut. As I remind my wife from there, one cannot control who your parents are, or where they choose to birth you.

Now, as to the other two, those are personal choices, on which I shall not offer a comment.

Paul Hurley (aka PaulH)
April 27, 2022 2:03 pm

The Catch: 🙂

http://youtu.be/qGpqNnHkjNk

Edim
April 27, 2022 2:09 pm

Hydro should not count – it’s reliable, low cost, flexible and just great. Probably the best source of electric energy. Countries with high capacity/potential are lucky.

Edim
Reply to  Edim
April 27, 2022 2:17 pm

I just checked highest hydro % of electricity generation by country and OMG Norway is 95%! I knew they were high, but but this much. And they have oil/gas too. Brazil is 65%, Canada 59%, US 7% (2020).
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydroelectricity

LdB
Reply to  Edim
April 27, 2022 3:26 pm

In the early days of Paris there was contention if Hydro counts as renewable you can see the history of the argument
https://www.bard.edu/cep/blog/?p=7025
https://waterkeeper.org/news/hydropower-is-not-clean-energy/

To some greentards it still isn’t renewable but when they are tying to argue for the success of renewables they will always include it because it makes up such a large percentage.

Bob
April 27, 2022 2:09 pm

This is the take home:

Hank Aaron hit his 44 homeruns in just 547 at bats. The Mets starting lineup required 3,250 at bats to rack up their 68 homeruns… giving us another analogy: MWh of generation per MW of installed capacity. The most recent EIA numbers are for 2020.

  • Nuclear Power: 96,501 MW
  • Renewables (wind + hydroelectricity + solar + biomass + geothermal): 284,895 MW

Nuclear power plants generated 778 million MWh from about 96,500 MW of installed capacity. Renewables required about 286,000 MW to rack up 795 million MWh. Nuclear power plants delivered a 92% capacity factor, renewables took 2/3 of the year off, only delivering a 32% capacity factor. The numbers aren’t exact because I’m using 2021 generation and 2020 installed capacity… But they are “in the ballpark

It is so stupid to state that renewables have overtaken nuclear. Using that logic one could say lawn mowers can overtake my pickup. My pickup has 300 horsepower and my lawnmower has 6 horsepower so lawnmowers can overtake pickups, you just need more of them. Yes, I suppose you could figure out a way for 50 lawnmowers to do the work of 1 pickup but why would you? This is so stupid!

DipChip
April 27, 2022 2:35 pm

I wrote this 3 days ago for the benefit of the greenies on my E- mail list and family.
Point out any errors.

A new perspective on the Green Revolution.
 
This was absolutely unbelievable, when I initially started checking these numbers comparing Gasoline energy content with wind turbine energy generation. Turns out America’s daily consumption of Gasoline contains 12,000 times more energy than all the wind turbine and solar power generating capacity in America Today. When we consider the efficiency of internal combustion engines at 20%, gasoline still provides 2,400 times more energy!
 
How likely will the Green energy advocates achieve their Zero carbon goal by the year 2050.
The probability appears to be less than Zero. Less than Zero means more rather than less fossil fuel use
A good analogy would be walking the world to find its end.
 
America’s average daily use of Gasoline this past week was 8.7 million barrels per day. 8.7e+6 or mega barrels
8.7e+6 * 42 = 465 million gallons 465e+6 per day.
There are 124 thousand Btu’s per gallon of gas.
124e+3 * 465e+6 = 5.766e+13 Btu’s
1 Btu equals .293 watt hours
.293 * 5.766e+13 = 1.689e+13 watt hours for 24 hours
1.689e +13 / 24 = 704e +12 watt hours per hour or 704 Tera watt hours per hour. Tera watts are in trillions.
So our daily use of Gasoline is equal to the energy that could be generated continuously daily at 704 trillion watts.
America needs to generate 704 Tera watts of power continuously each hour to produce 704 Tera watt hours per hour.
https://www.eia.gov/petroleum/weekly/gasoline.php See last chart for Daily demand at the bottom of the link.
 
Now let us compare the energy produced hourly by Gasoline versus that produced by wind and solar using data
from the Governments Energy Information Agency. https://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly/epm_table_grapher.php?t=table_1_01_a  
Sum of 1st 2nd 3rd columns for the rolling 12 months ending in January 2022 at the bottom of the link.
 
America generated 504 Tera watts hours of renewable energy using wind and solar per the EIA. 504,465e +9 Giga
watt hours during the previous 12 months ending on January 31 2022. A Giga watt hour is 1 billion watt hours
Consider 504 Tera watt hours were generated over a period of 1 year, not one day.
365 * 24 hours = 8760 hours; 504,465e +9 / 8,760 = 57,587 Mega watt hours or 57.6 Giga watt hours
704e +12 / 57.6e +9 =12,222 So the average gas America uses each hour contains 12,200 times more energy than
the average wind and solar energy generated each hour in America.
 
The energy in 1 hour of America’s gasoline use is 12,200 times greater than the average wind and solar energy produced in 1 hour in America. Of course a gasoline automobile engine is only about 20 % efficient the other 80 %
is wasted as heat. Some waste heat is used in the winter for heating. So considering the efficiency of the auto we can reduce the 12,200 to 2400. All gasoline is not used in autos but 99.x % is used in internal combustion engines.
 
As of the end of January 2022 America had installed 70,800 wind turbines; and as of the end of February 2022 America’s wind turbines had generated 398,601 Giga watt hours of energy. So 398,601e +9 / 8690 hours = 45.5 Giga watts hours of energy per hour. That would be 45.5e +9 / 70,800 wind turbines = 643e +3. So the average wind turbine generated 643 Kilo watt hours per wind turbine per hour. I couldn’t find the average face plate value for America’s wind turbines; with the efficiency of wind turbines I suspect it is between 1.5 and 2 mega watts.
 
We have not even considered the energy provided by road diesel, heating oil, and propane, and Natural Gas
One barrel of crude contains 1,700 kilo watt hours of energy. We use more than 19 million barrels per day.
19e +6 * 1,700e +3 = 1.05e +15 or 1 Peta watt hour. 1 quadrillion watt hours.
Can you imagine 1e +15 / 643e +3 = 1.555 billion 643 kilo watt wind turbines with face plate values of about 2.5 mega watts.; it could take the entire population of the world to build and maintain them.

LdB
Reply to  DipChip
April 27, 2022 3:32 pm

Griff would tell you that you just need a big battery to get 100% uptime. I haven’t checked your calculation but that would take you down to only 518K wind turbines and a really impressive battery array 🙂

Griffs next idea was HVDC interconnectors so I am sure you could go to China and Russia with Interconnectors .. what could possibly go wrong.

Last edited 2 months ago by LdB
Michael ElliottMichael Elliott
Reply to  LdB
April 27, 2022 4:06 pm

If the Greens were honest, which of course they are not, they would exclude Hydro from their total of so called renewables.

It’s not that many years ago that the Greens were against every proposed Hydro electric scheme.

The Gordon below Franklin scheme in Tasmania. Back then the cry was ” Save the wild rivers for future generations to enjoy.”.

Dams were a big No, No to the Greens.

Study pat history, to obtain power one must first destroy the existing economy, then one can be offered a better way.

That way is Communism Mark 2.

The likes of President Biden & his followers are just “Useful idiots” as Joe Stalin said back in the 1930 tees.

While Capitalism is not perfect, it’s a lot better than Communism.

Michael VK5ELL

Old Man Winter
Reply to  Michael ElliottMichael Elliott
April 27, 2022 6:05 pm

The hypocrisy’s worse than you thought! They also include hydro in their total
storage capacity. There isn’t a lie that’s too big for Greens!

https://www.british-hydro.org/pumped-storage/

Old Man Winter
Reply to  DipChip
April 27, 2022 7:37 pm

MAGA-nificent! 👍👍

I’ve done a similar analysis for the UK but didn’t convert the NRG into 24/7solar like you did. The
average power demand there is ~30GW, with solar averaging ~1.2GW & wind 5.6GW. They’re both
rated @~ 14GW. With all of the UK north of 50N, solar was a waste, as is any other place in Europe
N of the Alps. Ireland & the UK are ~ top spots in Europe for wind.

Since the UK’s so small, it’s easy for the whole country to get caught in a weather system where
one or the other or even both can produce next to nothing for a week straight. Now they have the
~5GW nuke & 24/7 to bail them out as their storage is next to nothing vs what they’ll need. What
that situation is in the US, I don’t know.

In the UK, the rating for the batteries is 1.7GW & hope to reach 18GW by 2040. The average hrs
per GW is ~1.2-1.5 meaning the current stored NRG is ~2GWh – ~2.6GWh. From 2024-26, they will
have 60% of the new batteries be 2hr or better. UN-#%!@#@%!-BELIEVABLY INSANE!!! They use
720GWh/day. For their sake, I’m HOPING I made a math error. I hadn’t found any data for other
storage sources other than stored hydro (Greens’ worst NME)- dams @ 2.8GW. That would be
~65GWh/day. Still a drop in the bucket vs ~5TWh in a week! 🙁

They did have good grid data & I found a historical weather site with global data.

https://gridwatch.co.uk/SOLAR
https://gridwatch.co.uk/WIND
https://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/
https://www.timeanddate.com/

Have you found anything similar for the US? I had to work pretty hard to get the scoop on
storage as they’re hoping for a miracle for that! It’s the “Weakest Link”! Thanks.

willem post
April 27, 2022 3:48 pm

DOING THIS AND THAT, BY SUCH AND SUCH DATE, OR THE WORLD WILL BE DOOMED?

Let us get real

New England is TOO small to affect anything regarding the climate, etc.

The BEST thing for New Englanders is ENERGY EFFICIENCY and MUCH SMALLER STATE GOVERNMENTS

Here is an example:

Germany, population about 84 million, reduced its fossil fuel primary energy from 84% to 76% of total primary energy, after spending at least $500 billion on its ENERGIEWENDE for over 20 years. That is the official number. The real number is at least $700 billion.

The $700 billion likely was borrowed, so the interest on it would be about $30 billion per year, which is accounted for somewhere else, per government bookkeeping rules

That is an 8% of FF reduction for $700 billion. Or that is $700 billion/84 million people = $8,333/per person per 20 years, or $400/person/y, or $1,600 per family of 4, per year.

Remember, a lot of this includes low-hanging fruits, such as changing light bulbs. It gets more difficult to make each ADDITIONAL percent reduction!!! Something they do not tell you about in Sunday School.

By this time the EARLY solar and wind systems are being REPLACED with new ones, and on and on it goes. Where do you landfill all THAT junk?

This dismal example was accomplished by a rich, technologically advanced country, which most European countries, and New England, and the rest of the world, could not imitate

Germany ruined its countryside with 500 to 600 ft tall wind turbines and solar systems all over Germany (to socially and “equitably” spread the blight), and deforested millions of acres for generating electricity from burning trees.

Germany increased its household electricity rates by more than 250% over these 20 years

Germany and Denmark, another wind maven, have the highest household electricity rates in Europe, over 30 EUROCENT/kWh

In Germany, and the rest of Europe, a major increase in household and commercial/industrial electricity rates is in process, due to:

1) Increased inflation rates, increased interest rates, and increased energy and materials prices 

2) The US using NATO to help Ukraine fight and weaken Russia for the next few years; a mini-version of WW-III

For Germany, and the rest of Europe, fighting climate change will be at the bottom of the list, despite Brussels declarations to do this and that, by such and such date.

ECONOMIC ADJUSTMENTS TO NEW REALITIES, SUCH AS THE END OF PETRODOLLARS, AND TYING THE VALUE OF CURRENCIES, NOT TO CENTRAL BANK MONEY PRESSES, BUT TO NATURAL RESOURCES, WILL BE A GUT-WRENCHING PROCESS FOR THE US AND EU FOR YEARS.

David Wolcott
April 27, 2022 4:11 pm

I do think that hydroelectricity, which has been around for decades, should be distinguished from the new, unreliable renewables like solar and wind. Water stored in a dammed lake is a very predictable, reliable source of power.

John I Reistroffer
April 27, 2022 5:02 pm

The Cubbies should have been the team, if Durocher hadn’t used Phil Regan as a reliever down the stretch!

Retiree Dave
April 27, 2022 8:41 pm

An argument can be made that nuclear has not been surpassed, yet. Conventional power stations subtract station service power from gross generation to calculate net generation delivered to the grid. Wind projects, on the other hand, report gross generation as delivered. Station service power; the reliable 24/7 power needed to support critical systems, lighting, lube oil circulation and heating, de-icing, etc., is provided from the local electricity provider and not subtracted from the gross output. This maximizes the production tax credit. Another dirty little secret of the wind industry; just one of many.

Retired_Engineer_Jim
April 27, 2022 11:17 pm

Wait – I thought that hydroelectric power couldn’t be counted as renewable energy, or sustainable energy, or whatever. Who changed the rules?

PCman999
April 28, 2022 2:53 am

If nuclear had the support that the green fanatics in government have given to wind and solar, we would have a Star Trek level of civilization, instead of the dark ages – hope and pray it’s windy and sunny tomorrow or else I won’t eat again – level that we’re reverting to.

Coach Springer
April 28, 2022 5:30 am

I still don’t understand why biomass gets lumped in with Zero CO2 sources in the renewable category. Biomass is about as carbon-less as coal. In fact, Coal and petroleum really are biomass.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  Coach Springer
April 28, 2022 2:27 pm

The claim is that biomass that gets burned comes back as new biomass from new growth of trees etc. so it gets a pass.

Coach Springer
April 28, 2022 5:44 am

Sadly, even 3rd grade teachers will see in that graph that it is possible for renewables to take over all electricity production. And that is all they will be allowed or willing to see.

I’m looking at the slope for renewables over the last ten years of extensive wind/solar efforts and trying to imagine how long it will take to rise to the total of all sources on that graph. (Zero carbon / zero nuke) Wind/solar needs to increase by about of factor of 5? 50 years? While attacking all the current sources right now? And about that transportation issue where we’re also being forced to go carbonless and will require about an additional 3 times current wind production? Also, grid battteries?

And we won’t even end up with a world thermostat controlling the temp.

Last edited 2 months ago by Coach Springer
Earl Rodd
April 28, 2022 9:43 am

Having hydro power in the “renewables” basket I think distorts the reality. I wonder what the capacity factor is for hydro and whether it is significantly boosting the low 32% number of renewables!

Editor
April 28, 2022 11:32 am

Dave,
Good post. These are all U.S. numbers. It made me wonder about the global numbers. From Exxon Outlook (2021), from 2010 through 2020, fossil fuel use went up by 13 quadrillion BTUs (QBTU) globally, an increase of 3.2%.

Over the same period, all renewables (geothermal, wind, solar, biofuels) went up 11 QBTU, an increase of 157%. They more than doubled, but still did not keep up with the global growth of energy use.

Exxon shows that they might exceed the yearly growth in energy consumption by 2050, but I’m not holding my breath. They project increasing use of oil and natural gas through 2050, but a decline in coal use. If you believe that, I have a bridge in Connecticut I’ll sell you!

Of course, we remember the brilliant John Kerry recently said that oil and gas would be gone in ten years. What a mess.

Editor
Reply to  David Middleton
April 29, 2022 3:24 am

Yuck! What bozos.

HOJO
April 29, 2022 12:22 pm

Since you mentioned the Mets, I was 13 and living in the Bronx and a diehard Met fan since 1962 (long story), BUT my favorite year has to be 1986 when my Mets and my Giants both won , sorry Jets. The climate was mostly the same as it has been since my birth in 1956, so there’s that..

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