WSJ: Power Grid Operators Warn Renewable Energy Could Cause Blackouts

Essay by Eric Worrall

h/t Dr. Willie Soon; “… The challenge is that wind and solar farms—which are among the cheapest forms of power generation—don’t produce electricity at all times …”

Electricity Shortage Warnings Grow Across U.S.

Power-grid operators caution that electricity supplies aren’t keeping up with demand amid transition to cleaner forms of energy

By Katherine Blunt May 8, 2022 5:33 am ET

From California to Texas to Indiana, electric-grid operators are warning that power-generating capacity is struggling to keep up with demand, a gap that could lead to rolling blackouts during heat waves or other peak periods as soon as this year.

California’s grid operator said Friday that it anticipates a shortfall in supplies this summer, especially if extreme heat, wildfires or delays in bringing new power sources online exacerbate the constraints. The Midcontinent Independent System Operator, or MISO, which oversees a large regional grid spanning much of the Midwest, said late last month that capacity shortages may force it to take emergency measures to meet summer demand and flagged the risk of outages. In Texas, where a number of power plants lately went offline for maintenance, the grid operator warned of tight conditions during a heat wave expected to last into the next week.

The challenge is that wind and solar farms—which are among the cheapest forms of power generation—don’t produce electricity at all times and need large batteries to store their output for later use. While a large amount of battery storage is under development, regional grid operators have lately warned that the pace may not be fast enough to offset the closures of traditional power plants that can work around the clock.

Faced with the prospect of having to call for blackouts when demand exceeds supply, many grid operators are now grappling with the same question: How to encourage the build-out of batteries and other new technologies while keeping traditional power plants from closing too quickly.

Read more: https://www.wsj.com/amp/articles/electricity-shortage-warnings-grow-across-u-s-11652002380

In my opinion this WSJ article verges on deceptive.

Wall Street Journal author Katherine Blunt did not mention the hideous cost of batteries, instead implying that the slow pace of backup battery installation is because of supply chain problems and inflation.

The Wall Street Journal article also described solar and wind as the “cheapest forms of power generation”, without qualifying this statement by adding the cost of the power storage capacity required to make renewable energy reliable, the cost of massive renewable energy overcapacity required to charge the batteries during good times, and maintain power supply during mediocre times, and the cost of upgrading and maintaining an enlarged power distribution network, to ship renewable energy from the frequently remote renewable generation sources to cities and industrial complexes where the energy is needed.

Once you factor in these renewable specific additional costs, renewable energy is very expensive indeed.

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lee
May 9, 2022 10:06 pm
Bryan A
Reply to  lee
May 9, 2022 10:15 pm

Australia??? Isn’t that little Island South China yet???

Alexy Scherbakoff
Reply to  Bryan A
May 9, 2022 10:39 pm

If the Chinese took over we would have nuclear and coal power stations. Not suggesting that I would like China taking over Australia.

Dennis
Reply to  Alexy Scherbakoff
May 10, 2022 1:57 am

And the dams proposed for many decades past and never constructed, I doubt that China would allow the UN treaties and agreements to get in the way of water supplies security for people, animals and irrigation farming to increase crop yields.

Dennis
Reply to  Bryan A
May 10, 2022 1:58 am

That’s the one, Northern Australia in area larger than Western Europe.

Graeme#4
Reply to  Dennis
May 10, 2022 3:41 pm

And with a state that’s over three times the size of Texas…

Willem post
Reply to  lee
May 10, 2022 3:30 pm

The 4 grid operators in Germany know all about brownouts and blackouts during the past 15 years, as wind and solar increased and fossil and nuclear decreased.

Nobody in Germany, with some sanity, would cut off VERY LOW-COST Russian gas, at $2.85/million Btu, (current spot prices are $30/million Btu), and substitute that with more of much more expensive wind and solar, and off-the-charts-expensive battery systems

willem post
Reply to  Willem post
May 11, 2022 4:34 am

EXCERPT from:

BATTERY SYSTEM CAPITAL COSTS, OPERATING COSTS, ENERGY LOSSES, AND AGING
https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/battery-system-capital-costs-losses-and-aging

Battery System Usage is Extremely Low: Because of the efficiency loss between charging and discharging, batteries are a net consumer of electricity. Of the 150 battery plants (1,022 MW) that reported operating battery storage capacity on Form EIA-860 in 2019, 109 plants (850 MW) also reported electricity generation and consumption data on Form EIA-923 in 2019.
 
These 109 plants reported a total of 458,169 MWh of gross discharge from and 553,705 MWh of gross charge into the battery systems in 2019; an average round-trip efficiency of 85%, which excludes step-down and step-up transformer losses of 1% each.
 
1) About half of the gross discharge, about 230,000 MWh, in the PJM area was for serving its frequency regulation market (Figure 10 in URL). The PJM battery systems have a usage factor of almost 9%
 
2) About 110,000 MWh of the gross discharge in the CAISO area was for serving its excess wind and solar storage market, such as absorbing a part of the midday solar output bulge to avoid grid disturbances. The CAISO battery systems have a usage factor of just over 9%
 
3) The ISO-NE battery systems have a usage factor of about 5%
See page 20 of URL
https://www.eia.gov/analysis/studies/electricity/batterystorage/pdf/battery_storage_2021.pdf

Such low usage factors mean very expensive, short-life battery systems are in near-idling mode most of the year, while serving an electric system 24/7/365

Mr.
May 9, 2022 10:12 pm

The spinning of wind farms never stops.

(well, it frequently does, but you all know what I mean).

The spin that erks me most is when the renewbies claim that one of the most effective measures they have at their disposal for keeping the lights on is “demand management”.

a.k.a. “just turning off your power supply from the grid without warning because it’s run out”

What a pile of bullshit they expect us buy.

Dennis
Reply to  Mr.
May 10, 2022 2:00 am

Not a problem for EV owners, just plug the EV in and enjoy the power supply.

Obviously the EV lobby is also renewable energy lobby.

/sarc.

jeffery p
Reply to  Dennis
May 10, 2022 5:19 am

While you’re being sarcastic, these people sincerely believe they can use EVs as backup batteries. Hello? Hello? Cars are for transportation. How can people go anywhere when they used the EV battery to keep the refrigerator running?

Mr.
Reply to  jeffery p
May 10, 2022 8:27 am

Yes I had a chuckle reading a story about a university student in Ontario I think who bought a used Nissan Leaf EV.

She was railing about lack of
free public charging stations.

She didn’t have garage privileges at her parents house where she lived so charging up the Leaf required an extension cord from a 110v point from the house to the curb.

She claimed that when the Leaf’s battery had bottomed out, it took 3 DAYS to bring it up to full again.

Ontario winters + Nissan Leafs = Nah!

DrEd
Reply to  Mr.
May 10, 2022 9:17 am

You. Can’t. Fix. Stupid.

Jtom
Reply to  DrEd
May 10, 2022 7:06 pm

Well, you could use napalm. Stupidity burns.

Retired_Engineer_Jim
Reply to  Mr.
May 10, 2022 10:09 am

A university student. And she didn’t consider the charging situation before she bought the car?

Chaswarnertoo
Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
May 10, 2022 10:37 am

You can’t fix stupid.

Mr.
Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
May 10, 2022 10:38 am

No Jim, apparently these youngsters rely on the CBC, their professors and/or Tik Tok to tell them about such things.

Willem post
Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
May 10, 2022 3:33 pm

Most woke universities have low entrance requirements

Last edited 15 days ago by Willem post
MarkW
Reply to  Willem post
May 10, 2022 5:03 pm

And even lower graduation requirements.

paul
Reply to  Mr.
May 10, 2022 3:30 pm

not the type y’ would want to marry

G Mawer
Reply to  jeffery p
May 10, 2022 11:17 am

“How can people go anywhere when they used the EV battery to keep the refrigerator running?”…….for a while!

Willem post
Reply to  G Mawer
May 10, 2022 3:34 pm

A refrigerator runs on DC?

Rhee
Reply to  Willem post
May 12, 2022 3:42 pm

actually you can get ammonia cycle refrigerators that run on DC

MarkW
Reply to  jeffery p
May 10, 2022 5:02 pm

There’s also the fact that there isn’t a single EV out there that is wired to provide power from the battery to the grid. That’s a non-trivial amount of extra circuitry that somebody is going to have to pay for.

Ben Vorlich
May 9, 2022 10:12 pm

For every hundred times you hear a member of the public say that renewables are the cheapest form of electricity generation and fossil fuels are subsidised you’ll hear it questioned once. By repeating this unsubstantiated claim at every opportunity the vast majority are convinced and it’s a conspiracy by fossil energy companies keeping prices high.
The truth will only dawn when renewables supply 90% of electricity and prices are even higher. Unfortunately there will be no easy way back.

Peta of Newark
Reply to  Ben Vorlich
May 10, 2022 2:43 am

Yes Ben, and here is the lie:

https://www.netzerowatch.com/delaying-tactics-by-wind-industry-will-cost-consumers-hundreds-of-million/

Basically the UK Government has created a system where:

  • Renewables get priority access to the grid to sell their power
  • They are subsidised when the wind blows too strongly
  • The operators are not held to the terms of their contracts

So what’s happening now is that, as it’s been historically, the price of oil and or gas dominated the price of ‘energy’
iow: All energy tracked the price of oil

So it is now with the renewable generators (RGs) – the contracts drawn up by UK Government never expected the prices of oil & gas to rise as they have done, while those contracts allow the RGs to sell their product on the spot market at ‘the going rate’
Which as we all see, is astronomical.

It’s turned into an absolute bonanza for the RGs because their ‘input cost’ (the wind & sun) haven’t gone up like oil/gas have done

And the bone-heads inside #10 Downing St. and the Oval Office are incapable of doing anything about it.
And they won’t want to will they because they engineered the price rises in oil and gas in the first place

edit to PS
I have discovered another good reason why The World Has Gone Mad.
And it has, suicidally so.
Will tell sometime soon, the clues are “Alcoa’ and ‘Fluoride’

Last edited 16 days ago by Peta of Newark
Chaswarnertoo
Reply to  Peta of Newark
May 10, 2022 10:39 am

It’s not Fluoride, PETA. It’s cocaine.

RickWill
Reply to  Ben Vorlich
May 10, 2022 3:16 pm

Unfortunately there will be no easy way back.

Australia leads the world with integration of intermittent generation. Up to this year, the wholesale price of electricity trended down over the previous 4 years. The inflation in coal and gas prices this year reversed that trend so fossil fuels still impact on the wholesale price despite the increasing frequency of wind or solar setting the price.

However, be warned, the wholesale price of electricity inevitably goes down as more negative marginal cost generation is added but the RETAIL price continues to go UP.

Managing the network becomes so complex that there are a whole new raft of costs to maintain the stability and these costs are added to the wholesale price. The wholesale price is an ever diminishing component of the retail price.

Sadly the large added cost component is for new transmission lines that are being operated at low capacity factors because the generators have low capacity factors. The distribution networks are being upgraded to take all the rooftop power back up the network; mostly just over lunch time when rooftops crank power out. All the capital spent has a guaranteed return and will impact on the retail price for decades to come.

There is no going back but, on mainland Australia, there is a way out. Make your own electricity. Ultimately wind and solar lack any benefit of scale so as their penetration on the grid increases, there is a point where it is cheaper to make your own as it avoids the transmission and distribution charges.

In 2025, Australia will introduce a capacity payment to ensure there is enough dispatchable supply available when the sun is not shining, the wind is not blowinging, the batteries are flat and the hydro is full throttle or reservoirs empty. The new payment will also add to the retail price.

Terry
May 9, 2022 10:13 pm

Renewable energy prices are quoted by greenies as a net price at the field where it is generated. When a fair share of transmission costs are added it they are not the cheapest by far. Again if they are they the cheapest why so heavily subsidized?

H B
Reply to  Terry
May 10, 2022 1:26 am

Worse than that cost quoted does not include return on investment, maintenance and replacement

Expulsive
Reply to  Terry
May 10, 2022 4:24 am

What is not added to the cost of so called green power is the cost to collect, “clean” and dispatch the energy to the central grid from multiple locations. These are all additional costs when a distributed method of production is used.
Engineers are quite aware of the costs associated with these systems, and the escalatng costs associated with maintaining multiple sites and pieces of equipment.

Sommer
Reply to  Expulsive
May 10, 2022 11:37 am

Has anyone ever calculated the cost of wages for workers, equipment used, fuel for the equipment etc. etc. when doing a cost/benefit analysis on large scale wind turbines? In Ontario, the Auditor General faulted the Liberal government for not having done a cost/benefit analysis, much less an honest one including all of these necessary costs for transmission.

Dean
Reply to  Terry
May 10, 2022 11:55 pm

It invariably is the bid price, not the cost of generation.

Richard Hill
May 9, 2022 10:14 pm

Please don’t be too negative about this. At last we have recognition in a serious media outlet that there are short term risks and costs that have to be balanced against long term risks and costs.

Dave Fair
May 9, 2022 11:16 pm

It is at its most expensive when it is not there.

Eric Vieira
May 9, 2022 11:32 pm

I compare the green economy with communism: in both cases there are examples where both have been thoroughly tested, and have miserably failed: for communism one can look at the USSR or its prior satellite states (before and after); for the green economy one only needs to look at Germany or the UK or for you people in the US, California, where energy prices are going through the roof without any appreciable reduction of emissions (although CO2 isn’t really a problem). The environmental damages which were apparent in East Germany and China is also something to expect in the not so far future if this nonsense gets perpetuated. This won’t end until Governments stop going along with it. The elites, and NGO’s are only making money because the funding is coming directly or indirectly from taxpayers. Their business models would collapse completely if only private money was involved.

Matthew Sykes
May 9, 2022 11:34 pm

One you have built 6 times the number of wind turbines and pumped hydro to store it all, in order to deliver 24/7 power, like gas does, your costs are now much higher. It is a myth that wind is cheap. It isnt.

And when it stopped blowing in the UK in september last year, it destabilised the grid, led to a 700% immediate spike in prices, and year ahead prices up 200%.

That is not cheap!

Vuk
May 9, 2022 11:46 pm

Latest from BBC: “Global overheating!”
What a load ….

Dennis
Reply to  Vuk
May 10, 2022 2:03 am

It has come to my attention that when it’s heating in the Northern Hemisphere it’s cooling in the Southern Hemisphere, global overheating is a heat transfer situation, please provide more funding for research.

Alan the Brit
Reply to  Vuk
May 10, 2022 5:04 am

Small round things found in most men’s trousers/pants!!!! There, finished it off for you!!!

RevJay4
Reply to  Alan the Brit
May 10, 2022 7:32 am

Or in wife’s purse, if married or partnered. lol.

Geoff Sherrington
May 10, 2022 12:12 am

To quote, “The
challenge is that wind and solar farms—which are among the cheapest forms of
power generation—don’t produce electricity at all times”.

That is an incomplete and deceptive statement.

It should read – “The challenge is that wind and solar farms—which are could be among the cheapest forms of power generation—don’t produce electricity at all times and therefore cannot be a cheap form of power generation because of required backup costs.”

Too many people these days write with intentional deceit, using it as a weapon. It is a horrible, irresponsible way to argue.
Geoff S

Doonman
May 10, 2022 12:23 am

How to encourage the build-out of batteries and other new technologies while keeping traditional power plants from closing too quickly.

Batteries are not going to cut it for grid operation. The alternators must always be spinning for stable grid operation. How you get them to spin is the only question.

Last edited 16 days ago by Doonman
observa
Reply to  Doonman
May 10, 2022 1:33 am
lee
Reply to  observa
May 10, 2022 3:44 am

What is the energy requirement of these 200tonne virtual fly wheels?

Last edited 16 days ago by lee
Doonman
Reply to  observa
May 10, 2022 10:57 am

Syncons don’t produce any power. They regulate voltage instability caused by not using modern alternators to produce power. And they must spin massive weights themselves in order to do that. They are old tech and were abandoned decades ago. It wasn’t necessary to use them.

Lance Flake
Reply to  Doonman
May 10, 2022 6:39 am

A DC->AC power converter does a good job of producing the correct frequency. And the frequency can more quickly be adjusted than a mechanical generator. That’s not the issue.

The quality of the generated sine wave is important as well. A high-quality converter for high power levels is quite expensive. Low quality signals can cause inefficiencies (heat, noise, etc.) in the grid loads, especially in motors. The battery-backup system cost estimates never talk about this quality – I’m sure they assume the cheapest converter design.

Another issue is that battery backup is DC. To save costs and the ~30% energy loss in conversion they work best connected DC to solar panels before a shared convertor. But wind is AC generated. To use battery backup the energy first has to be converted to DC (-30%), stored, then re-converted to AC (-30%). This inconvenient fact is always omitted from the cost comparisons.

whiten
Reply to  Lance Flake
May 10, 2022 7:56 am

You ignoring grid synchronization. It is provided by/through the grid base power.
If windmill farms, which consist as production, have a high and very risky instability factor for grid operation, how could a battery storage system, which is not even production, be any better then windmill farms,
instead of what actuality it is in reality, a far much worse proposition for grid energy supply…
for not saying an impossible grid energy supply versus demand system.

Last edited 15 days ago by whiten
Lance Flake
Reply to  whiten
May 10, 2022 10:49 am

Proper synchronization could be done at each generation location. A wind farm or solar array would have to have its own battery backup system capable of covering their local unreliableness. Then the demand loads would determine the supply needs. Any generation not needed in low demand could charge their batteries or be shut off. Each battery system would be designed to match the generation particulars of that location. This level of detail is always omitted in the discussion of battery backup but it seems necessary.

Grid supply versus demand balancing will always be an issue regardless of the energy production technology. The US “grid” isn’t a monolithic system designed for easy balancing. It was cobbled together over more than a century with varying levels of success. To me it is a miracle that it works as well as it does. Adding millions of small, unreliable generation locations was never part of the plan but that’s exactly what we’ve done with solar and wind without proper battery backup systems.

whiten
Reply to  Lance Flake
May 10, 2022 12:10 pm

Thank you Lancer for your reply.

But we actually were in a conversation about stability of the supply, regardless of the other problem, the unreliability.

“A DC->AC power converter does a good job of producing the correct frequency. And the frequency can more quickly be adjusted than a mechanical generator. That’s not the issue.”

But still is far far more unstable in response to grid functioning, than the windmill farm production supply…. if supposedly it actually can deliver at all.
That is what I was pointing out.

cheers

Last edited 15 days ago by whiten
ex-KaliforniaKook
Reply to  Lance Flake
May 10, 2022 12:26 pm

Clearly the answer is a battery that stores AC power! That shouldn’t be that hard.

Maybe I can get a grant to study that.

Jim Gorman
Reply to  Lance Flake
May 10, 2022 12:29 pm

The problem with converters is 10 years down the road when there are a large number of them and they begin to drift in frequency. There is a reason that the grid maintains a very closely regulated frequency. Every little bit of difference in phase means there are to and fro oscillations to control the frequency. IOW, wasted power and possible failure of parts.

Multiple points of failure are never a good engineering solution.

I also wonder where the law of diminishing returns will kick in as we put more and more turbines in the prevailing winds. Efficiency must suffer somewhere along the line.

Graeme#4
Reply to  Jim Gorman
May 10, 2022 3:47 pm

I believe the converters are synced to the grid frequency.

whiten
Reply to  Graeme#4
May 10, 2022 5:14 pm

But still no mater how flexible or fast a response from a converter can be, still in the proposition of sync, it still depends on the juice from the energy supply… to keep it up.
A converter does not produce energy. A battery does not either.
No matter how fancy or mesmerizing the proposition of a tree without roots can be, still it is completely impossible in reality!
No matter what.

A converter, no matter how incredible in performance, it can not compensate for the instability factor of the energy supply.

cheers

Jim Gorman
Reply to  Graeme#4
May 11, 2022 5:55 am

I hope not. As power demand surges, grid frequency drops. As the demand is removed, the grid frequency rises. Basically the spinning mass of generators slow down or speed up. This is the signal to raise or lower power generation.

If the grid frequency is the signal to which everything syncs, you lose the signal that controls power output as everything then moves to match the current frequency. You need a system that monitors frequency but whose control circuitry has a set point frequency, i.e., 60 Hz, and then acts appropriately to maintain that frequency. A good example is the motor speed control governor on a portable generator.

whiten
Reply to  Jim Gorman
May 11, 2022 7:52 am

Synchronization is a lee bit more complex.

Yo can have two power generation sources both at a perfect 50Hz respectively and completely out of sync.
An attempt to connect such as will consist with a “big boom”.
I think. 🙂

ghl
Reply to  Lance Flake
May 13, 2022 12:06 am

Lance
Wind generators are varying speed, AC seems unlikely.

whiten
Reply to  Doonman
May 10, 2022 7:56 am

More batteries silly… 🙂

cheers

fretslider
May 10, 2022 12:33 am

Justin Rowlatt isn’t innocent!

“BBC climate editor whose sister is an Insulate Britain fanatic made false claims on global warming including worldwide deaths are rising…”

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10799153/BBC-climate-editor-false-claims-global-warming-Panorama-broadcast-inquiry-finds.html

In my opinion they all tell porkies

Chris Morris
May 10, 2022 12:45 am

The crash test dummy that is South Australia almost had rolling blackouts again when the wind suddenly dropped.
https://wattclarity.com.au/articles/2022/05/12may-forecast-lor3-sa/

Joe Born(@jhborn)
May 10, 2022 12:51 am

By my calculations, it would take enough batteries to store nearly three days’ load to back wind up even in Texas–and then only if they’d provided 120% wind-turbine overcapacity.

Fig 7.png
observa
Reply to  Joe Born
May 10, 2022 1:39 am

Who needs batteries? Just concentrate on the peaks and report that-
Wind Energy in Australia | May 2022 | Aneroid

michel
Reply to  Joe Born
May 10, 2022 2:12 am

It will be an underestimate for many places, particularly for the UK. You can easily have a week of almost zero wind generation in the winter, a point at which solar is also very low. So you will need, to be safe, one week’s supply in batteries. But then, when the wind picks up, you have to have enough to charge them in a reasonable period. Because a second blocking high and almost no wind generation can occur any time, like in a week from the end of the first one.

To run a grid to the same parameters as the current mainly conventional one, you’d have to have at least double the estimate required wind capacity to supply demand, with at least ten days supply in storage.

I’m not even sure how you would dimension the wind generation requirement. I guess that you would take average capacity output, say 30% of faceplate, and provide enough wind power do have double that. But that is only the average supply, it actually fluctuates a lot from day to day. The battery backup would be in use all the time to smooth out the day to day fluctuations.

And is there even any battery installation that will supply 30+ GW for a full week? That too will have to be overbuilt to prevent damage from discharging below safe limits. And if there is a fire anywhere taking out a big chunk of it, its all over.

No wonder the UK is proposing smart meters which allow the supplier to turn off power to houses for high consumption devices. That is going to be essential, but it won’t be enough. Batteries on an unprecedented scale will be necessary too.

Its not going to happen.

Joe Born(@jhborn)
Reply to  michel
May 10, 2022 2:23 am

You’re right that the numbers would be worse for the UK than for Texas. Even in Texas, though, you’d need over a month’s worth of storage if the average wind-turbine output (without curtailment) equaled only the average load.

Fig 5.png
michel
Reply to  Joe Born
May 10, 2022 6:51 am

I may have been wrong about it.

If the UK meets its expanded renewable and nuclear targets, the country will have an oversupply of electricity more than half of the time by 2030, creating significant opportunities for flexible demand.

In new research from LCP, the company looked at the generation targets outlined in the British Energy Security Strategy alongside expected levels of demand, and found that 53% of the hours in the year, the UK’s grid could have an oversupply of renewable and nuclear power. By comparison, in 2022 it is expected there will only be an oversupply in 6%.

The security strategy outlined a new target of up to 24GW of nuclear power by 2050, and up to 50GW of offshore wind by 2030. It additionally highlighted that solar could grow five-fold by 2035.

https://www.current-news.co.uk/news/new-targets-could-create-72twh-of-excess-renewable-and-nuclear-energy-by-2030-says-lcp

Maybe don’t need so much excess generation – maybe its unavoidable and comes with the basic system!

Retired_Engineer_Jim
Reply to  michel
May 10, 2022 11:26 am

How many new nuclear plants will be operational by 2030?

Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
May 10, 2022 1:07 pm

How many new nuclear plants will be have broken ground by 2030?

Auto

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
May 11, 2022 5:48 am

The UK has only two reactors currently under construction: Hinkley Point C units 1 and 2. They show projected in-service dates of June 2026 and 2027 respectively. 10 others show as “Planned”, although I can’t say how many of those are actually realistic possibilities.

The Hinkley Point projected dates are probably optimistic by 2-3 years, going by recent experience around the world. Except in China nobody seems to be able to complete a reactor in less than 9 years. 8 of the 10 reactors in Planning are the same 1600 MW EPR designs as Hinkley Point, so the actual record of those reactors when they go online will be a good predictor for the rest.

Bottom line: at best two new reactors at 1600 MW each will be operational by 2030.

Last edited 15 days ago by Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
Retired_Engineer_Jim
Reply to  michel
May 10, 2022 11:25 am

And how long will the batteries last, as they are continuously charging or discharging?

michel
Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
May 11, 2022 2:44 am

Exactly! Read the stuff put out by the Climate Change Committee, and they have no clue either to how much battery storage is needed, or about how it will perform in use. Which would include life span.

Or maybe they do have estimates, but are not revealing them because they will show the whole project to be fantasy.

dk_
May 10, 2022 3:31 am

A 6 MWh turbine requires roughly 1 Megaton of oil, gas, and coal in just materials and expendables to build and operate. This doesn’t account for other suuport and infrastructure carbon costs. Similar capacity to materials ratios apply to PV. Offshore installations cost even more invisible carbon. Each installation is running about 20 years useful lifespan.

Yeah, WSJ is ‘misleading,’ but who might benefit from the lie?

Derg
Reply to  dk_
May 10, 2022 4:03 am

The producers of unreliable energy.

Uncle Mort
May 10, 2022 3:34 am

Renewable energy could cause blackouts? Next they’ll be telling us the Pope is quite keen on Catholicism. 

Derg
Reply to  Uncle Mort
May 10, 2022 4:04 am

Or that the moon is made of cheese.

observa
Reply to  Uncle Mort
May 10, 2022 4:08 am

No next they’ll be telling us we don’t need gas to transition-
Avoid using gas as ‘transition’ fuel in move to clean energy, study urges (msn.com)
You just have block out impure thoughts and concentrate on those solar and wind peak outputs.

Michael ElliottMichael Elliott
Reply to  Uncle Mort
May 10, 2022 4:23 am

Let’s see the total cost of wind energy.

The cost of land, then preparation

.
The cost & erection of these massive windmills.

All of this cost/debt has to be serviced, ie the shareholders want a return on their money.

So now we see the blades start spinning.

Is this electricity acceptable to the Grid operators.

No way, it requires Government intervention for such loss making schemes to work.

When asked to justify such a scheme, all we will hear is its needed to “Save the Planet””

But what about the likes of just India & China. They are still putting lots of CO2 into the atmosphere.

Perhaps someone needs to tell the Government about what India & China are doing.

One other point.
Just how long will these big batteries run at 100 % storage capacity?

Michael VK5ELL

Sommer
Reply to  Michael ElliottMichael Elliott
May 10, 2022 11:51 am

There used to be a photo of Al Gore holding (Premier) Kathleen Wynne’s raised hand, in the gesture of having pulled off a major coup, as more industrial wind turbine contracts were being signed in Ontario. They were ‘saving the planet’.
The photo seems to have disappeared.

Tom in Florida
May 10, 2022 4:11 am

From the article:
“..and the expected growth of electric vehicles, may increase power demand in coming years,”

“may”?….. “may”? How about WILL.
The author “may” be misinformed.

Tom Abbott
May 10, 2022 4:12 am

From the article: “In my opinion this WSJ article verges on deceptive.”

Very much so. Building battery backup is downplayed, and windmills and solar are promoted as a solution.

Windmills and solar will never power the grid. We are just about at peak windmill now. Adding more will just add to the problems.

Anyone who promotes wind and solar as a solution to our energy problems is leading us down the Road to Ruin. That includes you, Wall Street Journal.

Articles like this just make it harder for Republicans to challenge this “renewable” insanity. Their paper of record says it will work. Their paper of record is wrong.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Tom Abbott
May 10, 2022 9:00 am

Agreed.

While the WSJ may be somewhat business friendly, they’re no bastion of free market thought. In fact, they are not averse to heavy handed government intervention, including overseas, as long as it favors the banking and business interests that provide the bulk of their advertising revenues.

More to the point, if either the author and editor(s) had any real knowledge of economics, they would have know better than to favorably compare the cost of ‘renewable’ generation to ‘traditional’ generation, as energy that cannot be produced on demand is a priori not the same economic good as energy that can be produced on demand.

Last edited 15 days ago by Frank from NoVA
AARGH63
May 10, 2022 5:25 am

The challenge is that wind and solar farms—which are among the cheapest forms of power generation—

That’s a lie.

observa
Reply to  AARGH63
May 10, 2022 6:42 am

They’re not lying. They’re just children and think like children (they’re best pals with Greta remember). So to understand where they’re coming from you have to get down to their level and keep it simple as in-
A tent is among the cheapest forms of housing
A pushbike is among the cheapest forms of transport

Get the picture?

Mr.
Reply to  observa
May 10, 2022 8:35 am

Sssshhhh!
Don’t give them any more loopy ideas.

John Aqua
May 10, 2022 6:42 am

I have prompted myself to replace the word renewable with unreliable in any climate change news article. It’s kinda like making fists with your bare toes in the carpet.
Try it out in the above headline. It feels good.

Last edited 16 days ago by John Aqua
RevJay4
May 10, 2022 7:27 am

oops! Now that all the players have their gazillion bucks making the wind/solar crap, and sticking the hideous things everywhere, they admit to the unreliability of the energy generated by said unicorn fart machines. Might as well be unicorn fart machines for all the true good they do. Now they tell us! As if the logical and common sensical folks didn’t already know that. The sun doesn’t always shine, the wind doesn’t always blow, but climate alarmists(control freaks) always lie.

Retired_Engineer_Jim
Reply to  RevJay4
May 10, 2022 11:29 am

But now there is money to be made in batteries.

Gordon A. Dressler
May 10, 2022 9:39 am

Why the word “could” in the above article’s title?

South Australia has demonstrated (sh)it happens with “renewable wind” as demonstrated by its massive blackout there in 2016:

“A formal review of the blackout found overly sensitive protection mechanisms in some South Australian wind farms were to blame.”
—source: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-09-28/sa-statewide-blackout-anniversary-energy-impacts/100496564

Retired_Engineer_Jim
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
May 10, 2022 11:30 am

So, it wasn’t wind per se, it was those darn “overly sensitive protection mechanisms”.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
May 10, 2022 3:19 pm

It isn’t wind per se that provides electricity.

Beta Blocker
May 10, 2022 9:41 am

In a comment above, observa links to this msn article: 

Avoid using gas as ‘transition’ fuel in move to clean energy, study urges (msn.com)

Here in the US, the issue is often raised by critics of the renewables that China’s and India’s reliance on coal-fired power generation is likely to continue well into the future. Even some of wind and solar’s advocates recognize that China’s and India’s reliance on coal is a major stumbling block working against a relatively quick transition into their vision for a wind and solar powered world economy.

Transition Zero, the author of the study cited in the msn article, makes the claim that China is the world leader in the adoption of renewable energy technology and has both the industrial capacity and the economic incentive, because of rapidly rising prices for coal and natural gas, to quickly transition first to a low carbon economy, and then to a zero carbon economy, doing so well ahead of Xi Jinping’s announced 2060 target.

Transition Zero is a well funded organization. Its list of sponsors have very deep pockets indeed. Perhaps as a service to humanity on their own initiative, this organization and its cash rich sponsors could directly participate in the transition to a net zero world economy by funding a detailed engineering-level feasibility study for how exactly this might be done.

The engineering study would focus on China, India, and the United States. It would move well beyond simplistic modeling exercises into the realm of detailed technical planning, detailed land use analysis, detailed resource availability analysis, detailed cost estimating, and a detailed project scheduling exercise for the transition effort. For each of these three countries, China, India, and the United States, the following information (at the very least) would be produced:

— The numbers of wind turbines required, their nameplate capacities, their proposed locations, and their estimated capacity factors in the locations where these wind turbines are to be sited.
— The numbers of grid-scale solar farms required, their nameplate capacities, their proposed locations, and their estimated capacity factors in the locations where these solar farms are to be sited.
— The numbers of roof-top solar systems required, their nameplate capacities, their technical configurations, and their proposed distribution among business, industrial, and residential structures.
— The numbers of grid-scale backup energy facilities required, their nominal capacities, their proposed locations, their technical configurations, and their estimated capacity factors.
— The numbers of smaller backup systems likely to be required for individual cities and towns, and for large energy consuming industries.
— An inventory of the specific lands and coastal waters targeted for wind and solar development, including those lands needed for a greatly expanded energy transmission infrastructure.
— A listing of the specific gas-fired and coal-fired power plants targeted for closure, including their proposed closure schedules. 
— An analysis of the specific capital, human, and material resources needed to achieve the transition on the proposed timetable for each targeted nation, and the schedule on which those specific resources are to be mobilized or acquired.
— A comprehensive individual project plan tailored for each targeted nation (i.e. the nations of China, India, and the United States) including the proposed funding resources and funding mechanisms for the net zero transition in each of these countries.

How much would an 80% confidence level feasibility study cost? A billion US dollars? Two billion?

If the price is two billion dollars or less for an 80% confidence level study, then it would seem that Transition Zero’s cash-rich sponsors could easily find the money needed to produce such a study.

Last edited 15 days ago by Beta Blocker
Retired_Engineer_Jim
Reply to  Beta Blocker
May 10, 2022 11:33 am

Also include the decommissioning / replacement schedule and cost for each element of these three “systems”. And the maintenance costs over time.

Pat from Kerbob
Reply to  Beta Blocker
May 10, 2022 12:03 pm

Ah, but such a study will expose the holes and fallacies in what we are being sold so they won’t do it.

Just a steady drip of subsidized spending on their projects and one day we wake up without enough power to run society.

Thomas Gasloli
May 10, 2022 9:54 am

Part of the MISO problem in Michigan is the scheduled closure of a nuclear plant combined with Consumers Energy’s decision to shut down Campbell (3 large coal boilers). No additional power generation has been constructed; CE’s long range plan is to replace with solar.

Mikeyj
Reply to  Thomas Gasloli
May 10, 2022 10:35 am

Solar in Michigan. damn that’s dumb. I have 75 years of history in Michigan. We don’t get enough sunlight to make a decent shadow.

Last edited 15 days ago by Mikeyj
Kit P
Reply to  Thomas Gasloli
May 10, 2022 11:07 am

Recently read CE annual report before voting my stock.

Yes old coal and nuke plants are often scheduled to close when the cost of maintenance gets high.

It has nothing to do with solar. Nobody at any utility is planning on replacing anything with solar because they know it is not feasible.

I read many annual reports for power companies because is a conservative investment strategy.

There is stand BS boilerplate with pretty pictures. Wind, solar, net zero by 20xx blah, blah, blah!

There there is the serious business of making and distributing electricity. The first plan discussed was making the 11 nuke plants they own run for 80 years in the Duke Power annual report.

Here you see the economy of scale.

Then there are the tables with facts and figures. It is always good PR to have a picture of solar panels in the foreground of nuke plant. The solar panels do not even need to work.

A misleading picture is worth a thousand words.

Retired_Engineer_Jim
Reply to  Thomas Gasloli
May 10, 2022 11:35 am

Long range plan – replace with solar (!). Short range plan – shut down the generating capacity. Sounds about right.

Kit P
May 10, 2022 10:07 am

The WSJ article is BS.

In 50 years, I have only found 2 journalists that are good at reporting about energy. That was because they lived near places like Hanford or Oak Ridge. When they write BS, they get taken to the wood shed by their neighbors.

Every spring and fall there are warnings. This is because every winter and summer there are extreme weather event that are impossible to design for.
There are warning because people will die if as a society we are not prepared to deal with the loss of power.

I was working in the control room of nuclear power plants for two such events. It had nothing to do with renewable energy.

In my 50 years of making electricity, there is one constant. Idiots who think they can do it better than the power company and have a ‘plan’ for 30 years into the future.
Making electricity is a public service. If enough idiots want renewable energy, power companies will provide it.

The good news is power companies have a resource management plan for providing reliable electricity.

Pat from Kerbob
Reply to  Kit P
May 10, 2022 11:58 am

“Had” a resource management plan.
Utilities used to plan to prevent failure but now politics are taking over

Tom.1
May 10, 2022 10:16 am

Is any utility adding batteries for anything other than grid stabilization?

Graeme#4
Reply to  Tom.1
May 10, 2022 4:09 pm

Yes. In Western Australia, small community-based battery setups are being installed to power a small number of homes. But never see any data on how effective they are, or whether they are profitable over their short lifetimes. I should add that WA has plenty of sun so lots of homes have solar arrays – around 25% of dwellings.

Last edited 15 days ago by Graeme#4
observa
Reply to  Graeme#4
May 10, 2022 4:56 pm

Apparently makes sense for small remote communities where the cost of grid transmission lines to them brooks large as well as bushfire threat to them. Local solar and wind sometimes plus battery becomes the mainstay with a diesel generator of last resort similar to remote cattle stations. Even then 100% reliance on renewables isn’t affordable which is the micro clue to the macro grid problem.

TallDave
May 10, 2022 12:51 pm

but don’t worry, the solar and wind operators don’t pay any pesky penalties for unreliable, overpriced power

in fact, in most cases, thanks to sweetheart contracts they actually make more money when they under-deliver

and then their lobbyists explain you just need more green power

perfect self-licking ice cream cone

Last edited 15 days ago by TallDave
Robber
May 10, 2022 3:12 pm

“wind and solar farms—which are among the cheapest forms of power generation”
And the cheapest source of water is rain – who needs storage and pipes and heat and taps etc?

observa
Reply to  Robber
May 10, 2022 6:19 pm

That’s it! You got it how the Gretahood thinks. ie there is no shortage of batteries for the grid-
Electric car battery shortage looms in 2025, warns Stellantis boss (msn.com)
You just have to contextualize/compartmentalize these things. That’s a separate issue for EVs but should you bring it up in relation to EVs they’ll say it’s nonsense and Elon has it all covered.

Now you know how they like to computer model the global climate with tree rings and stuff? Well they now have faith in computers fixing their unreliables problem and shutting up any nasty critics-
Machine Learning is Supercharging Wind and Solar Power – Undecided with Matt Ferrell (undecidedmf.com)
All the problems can simply be simulated away if you would only think like them and eschew impure thoughts.

May 10, 2022 6:28 pm

Katherine Blunt has covered power, renewable energy and utilities for The Wall Street Journal since 2018 and is based in San Francisco. Much of her work has focused on wildfires, drought and other challenges facing utilities in the West.”

yarpos
May 11, 2022 3:03 am

“…. among the cheapest forms of power generation….”

if you wilfully ignore costs of :

intermittency and back up
instability and support systems like batteries and synch condensers and management systems
more complex and remote transmission line requirements
short life cycle infrastructure
environmental damage and both ends of the life cycle
inability to support a first world economy as demonstrated globally

Shanghai Dan
May 11, 2022 6:52 am

I love providing this link:

https://ourworldindata.org/safest-sources-of-energy

Nuclear is not only the LOWEST CO2 output source, it’s also the most reliable. So when the intermittent power shills start squawking about global warming, I link this and say “why would you want a source that provides HIGHER CO2 output and is much less reliable? Do you hate the environment? Do you hate modern life enabled by stable, reliable power?”

It quickly shifts to a dozen other arguments, proving it’s NOT about “green/clean energy” but ultimate control of how countries “should” run and evolve.

H Fan
May 11, 2022 6:54 pm

Renewables are the “cheapest form of energy”?! What a load of BS. Here in California we have the highest penetration of “renewables” in the country yet our offpeak electric rates are at 22 cents / kwh and peak rates are 50 cents or more. My family in AZ pays about 2 cents and 11 cents respectively. Of course their grid draws heavily from nuclear.

jacques serge Lemiere
May 11, 2022 10:38 pm

rain is the cheapest solution to get water…

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