Bloomberg: China is Suffering a Renewable Energy “Curtailment Curse”

Essay by Eric Worrall

According to Bloomberg, China is “curtailing”, discarding an increasing percentage of their renewable energy generation, because their grid cannot cope with the excess production on days with favourable weather.

China’s Renewable Energy Fleet Is Growing Too Fast for Its Grid

Curtailment, the scourge of wind turbines and solar panels, is rearing its head in China again

Bloomberg News
6 June 2022, 13:15 GMT+10

China is wasting more and more clean energy as it adds wind turbines and solar panels faster than its grid is able to digest them.

Nearly 12% of power generated by wind turbines in Inner Mongolia this year has been wasted because the grid couldn’t take it, along with 10% of solar power in Qinghai, Economic Information Daily reported, citing government data. In sunny and windswept but sparsely populated Gansu province, the utilization rate of wind and solar power could drop below 90% this year from nearly 97% in 2021.

While China’s slowing economy and energy use amid Covid-19 lockdowns has something to do with it, the main culprit is the blistering pace of renewable energy installations. China set a record for wind capacity additions in 2020 and for solar in 2021, and is set to  double that mark this year. 

But unlike with mounds of coal, you can’t just save breezes and sunshine for when you need them, so all the extra capacity is generating more power than the grid can use and has to be cut off to avoid overloading it. That’s bad for utilities who aren’t getting paid for that power, and bad for the environment as the wasted clean energy could have reduced emissions from burning coal.

Read more: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-06-06/china-s-renewable-energy-fleet-is-growing-too-fast-for-its-grid-l425v47z#xj4y7vzkg

Curtailment is an inevitable consequence of excess renewable capacity. Since energy storage is nowhere near capable of managing large fluctuations of renewable power, on favourable weather days excess renewable power has to be discarded.

Discarding excess renewable power is as wasteful as it sounds.

Bloomberg goes on to greensplain how energy storage and more grid capacity will fix the curtailment issue, without going into detail – which in my opinion likely means they have no idea in practical terms how to fix the problem.

Curtailment is bad because it adds to costs for end users, as if renewables weren’t already expensive enough, because assets which are curtailed are not producing income. Like a landlord who has no tenants, renewable investors still have to carry the costs when their systems are curtailed, but they don’t receive the income they would have received if their systems were allowed to sell power to the grid.

Having said that, I have no idea what Chinese investors will do next.

In a rational world Chinese investors would recognise profits were lower than expected because of curtailment, and “curtail” the flow of capital to underperforming renewable energy assets. But nothing about the current Chinese market is rational.

China is grappling with a savings and real estate crisis which is threatening to destabilise the country. The CCP’s response has been to dump over $5 trillion of hot stimulus money into the Chinese economy, in my opinion to try to re-inflate their real estate bubble. If they succeed, real estate is not the only bubble all that freshly printed hot money will inflate.

4.8 17 votes
Article Rating
114 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Doug
June 7, 2022 10:05 am

Typical Bloomberg fake news …Friends in China complain about black outs and brown outs nearly every week . This is China’s way to avoid meeting the goals they agreed to .

Derg
Reply to  Doug
June 7, 2022 10:44 am

Never trust China.

Bryan A
Reply to  Derg
June 7, 2022 12:16 pm

Funny, I thought that Wind and Solar were by far the cheapest energy on the market. If this were the case, why isn’t China curtailing (throttling back) their FAR MORE EXPENSIVE Coal Generation since it can be throttled.
I wonder if Griff has anything to say regarding this???
Griff…
Griff…

Crickets

Dave Fair
Reply to  Bryan A
June 7, 2022 1:34 pm

The vast majority of electric capacity in the sparsely settled, windswept and solar-rich area is wind and solar (90 to 97% of energy supply). They certainly aren’t going to develop an industrial base with ruinables.

Bryan A
Reply to  Dave Fair
June 7, 2022 1:47 pm

Now THAT’S a Fair argument if ever there was one

Dave Fair
Reply to  Bryan A
June 7, 2022 2:01 pm

Groan.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Dave Fair
June 7, 2022 6:11 pm

Oh well, I suppose they could always mine Bitcoin. /s

Dave Fair
Reply to  Frank from NoVA
June 7, 2022 6:15 pm

It depends on how large a frequency excursion the “mining” machines could take. I assume they are taking advantage of the reliable and inexpensive coal-fired generation in other regions of China.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Dave Fair
June 8, 2022 10:21 am

Yeah, like 50/60 hz to zero and back, over and over and over. Tough on circuit boards.

PCman999
Reply to  Frank from NoVA
June 8, 2022 9:09 am

I see the/sarc tag, yet I can’t help thinking that actually makes more sense than batteries/hydrogen/lifting concrete blocks.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Bryan A
June 7, 2022 7:14 pm

Never trust anyone who keeps calling for trolls.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Derg
June 7, 2022 1:30 pm

Never trust any government.

BobM
Reply to  Derg
June 7, 2022 3:07 pm

Never trust Bloomberg.

Dave Fair
Reply to  BobM
June 8, 2022 1:09 pm

Never trust anybody about anything of importance.

Scissor
Reply to  Doug
June 7, 2022 11:01 am

During the Cultural Revolution, many did not have power and blackouts were a daily occurrence.

MarkW
Reply to  Scissor
June 7, 2022 12:30 pm

I’ve been told that Xi wants to be a second Mao. Looks like he may be succeeding.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  MarkW
June 8, 2022 10:23 am

Are there any reliable statistics on what would be the requisite body count?

jeffery p
Reply to  Doug
June 7, 2022 12:14 pm

I don’t see how they both can’t be true — brownouts and blackouts in China while excess renewable energy is discarded in Inner Mongolia. The energy can’t get to where it’s needed or it wouldn’t be discarded.

If it was fake news from Bloomberg on green energy, wouldn’t the story be All is Well?

H.R.
Reply to  jeffery p
June 7, 2022 12:55 pm

That’s how I read it, jeffery. They put wind and solar in a great location, but out in the middle of nowhere. I gathered that it ties into the national grid at a point that can’t handle what’s produced, so the output is curtailed.

There’s still the intermittency problem of unreliables; some days too much, some days too little, some days just right, and some days not at all.

Confucius say, “That’s nuckin’ futz!” and the Chinese are finding out they should have listened to the old guy.

Rasa
Reply to  H.R.
June 7, 2022 2:26 pm

Have you ever noticed that Baseload electricity generation is built close to its energy source( coal mine, Hydro dam etc.) and high voltage power lines emanate from the plant.
? There is a reason for this. Electricity generation and electricity distribution must go hand in hand.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  H.R.
June 7, 2022 2:49 pm

They built it ‘out there’ from prying eyes. They may be just windmills with no electrical generation as a showcase for their commitment. The net zero drones want to believe.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Gary Pearse
June 8, 2022 1:14 pm

Gary, you may be onto something. It may be cheaper in total operations to have “Potemkin” industrial wind installations rather than having to pay for all the inefficiencies and market distortions of wind power.

Meab
Reply to  Doug
June 7, 2022 12:48 pm

Bloomberg trying to spin the simple truth- unreliables often produce power at times that it isn’t needed and produce little to no power when it is needed. Look up the “duck curve”

Matthew Sykes
Reply to  Doug
June 8, 2022 3:57 am

Yeah, excess energy when the wind blows and sun shines, and the brown outs and blackouts when it doesnt.

Dont you get it? It is instability. The UK has the same problem.

c1ue
Reply to  Doug
June 8, 2022 6:35 am

Several concepts that need to be understood:
1) Electricity demand over the full year vs. electricity generated. Solar PV and wind generation is variable; fossil and nuclear varies only by plant maintenance and/or plant failures. You can easily have situations where wind and solar PV are generating too little during parts of the year but the same installations are generating too much during other parts.
2) Grid congestion: the transmission grid is both not an actual grid – it is more like a sparse tree or shrub; and the grid is not infinite capacity at any given point with infinitely large/instantaneous response capability.
3) China specific problem: they’re getting richer so fast that electricity consumption (and all other energy consumption) is growing super fast. So utilities have to try and predict just how fast this is and build out generation and transmission to accommodate actual future demand.

Dave Fair
Reply to  c1ue
June 8, 2022 1:18 pm

And political apparatchiks tell them what loads to plan for. Shades of Soviet Five-Year Plans. Its the same as English Lit. majors telling engineers how to plan and build electric power systems.

June 7, 2022 10:05 am

I think in California, they pay the producers not to produce. This is the curtailment payments.

MarkW
Reply to  Patrick
June 7, 2022 12:31 pm

Several California cities are experimenting with guaranteed incomes, in which the government pays people to not work.

Sean
June 7, 2022 10:46 am

China has huge amounts of hydroelectric capacity. Seems to me you could throttle that back easily when the wind is favorable. Natural gas plants throttle easily as well. Coal and nuclear can’t throttle quickly enough. With gas and hydroelectric supplying 3-5x as much capacity as solar and wind, they should be able to balance the system

Mohatdebos
Reply to  Sean
June 7, 2022 11:06 am

Simple, right! Shut down reliable fossil fuel (or, hydro) capacity to accommodate unreliable solar or wind. Sounds like a winning solution from Bloomberg New Energy Fantasy.
I don’t know about California, but you might want to research curtailment payments in the UK.

Mr.
Reply to  Sean
June 7, 2022 11:12 am

Why would nuclear need to be throttled back?

My understanding is that once a nuclear generator is fired up, it keeps on keeping on until the fissionable material runs out, then you top it up.

Wouldn’t your nuclear power output be your base, and then you tweak all the other generator types (gas, coal, wind, hydro, solar, diesel) to make up what the shortfalls from nuclear might be from time to time?

Kemaris
Reply to  Mr.
June 7, 2022 12:09 pm

The fissionable material does not “run out”, in any normal fuel cycle. Rather, it runs down by a fairly small percentage over a few years, enough that it adversely affects the output of the reactor. Those spent fuel assemblies still obtain enough fissionable material that it is criminal not to reprocess them.

michel
Reply to  Mr.
June 7, 2022 12:16 pm

The point is, you cannot tweak the wind and solar. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and the sun rises and sets.

Mr.
Reply to  michel
June 7, 2022 12:29 pm

Yes you can tweak wind & solar.

It’s that big red button on the control panel that says “OFF”.

Then you just leave it on that setting.

Forever . . .

Bryan A
Reply to  Mr.
June 7, 2022 1:51 pm

An Ax through the main wire fixes it as well

Dave Fair
Reply to  Bryan A
June 8, 2022 1:20 pm

OK, Bryan, as long as its not me holding the axe.

MarkW
Reply to  Dave Fair
June 8, 2022 2:36 pm

Just make sure it has a non-conducting handle.

Dave Fair
Reply to  MarkW
June 8, 2022 3:07 pm

At those voltages one would need a 20′ axe handle.

.KcTaz
Reply to  Mr.
June 7, 2022 2:08 pm

No, the nuclear plant does not have shortfalls, I don’t think. They are forcing nuclear to stop producing electricity so it can take the electricity from wind and solar when it produces it which is not 24/7. The only reason for that is to make politicians and dumb people feel good. There is not only not any need for them, it creates pollution where there was none from just using the nuclear plant.
On top of that, solar and wind will never save as much CO2 which is why we are allegedly using them, to recapture the CO2 emissions it took to mine, make, transport, operate, install and remove them after their rather short life spans.

Mohatdebos
Reply to  Mr.
June 7, 2022 7:38 pm

Most renewable energy mandates require that electricity distributors to purchase unreliables irrespective of price before utilizing other power sources.

TonyL
Reply to  Sean
June 7, 2022 11:16 am

All true enough, but be careful.
Two considerations with dam management.
1) Often cutting water output from the dams will interfere with downstream irrigation. Your crops are important, too.
2) You need seasonal drawdown to provide capacity for the Spring melt and runoff. Flood control is important, too.

jeffery p
Reply to  Sean
June 7, 2022 12:19 pm

Perhaps the problem is as much as where the power is generated as is the excess amount. How many people or large electricity consumers (factories) are in Inner Mongolia? Shouldn’t the power be generated nearer to where it’s needed?

I guess they built the wind farms in Inner Mongolia because that’s where the wind blows, not because that’s where it’s needed. Green logic is universally unsound, it seems.

MarkW
Reply to  Sean
June 7, 2022 12:32 pm

You can only use hydro to balance unreliables if the hydro is physically close to the unreliables.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Sean
June 7, 2022 1:40 pm

With river flow maximums and minimums being limiting factors, hydroelectric can’t always load-follow. Relatively high penetrations of ruinables destroy the economics of gas turbine generation, not to mention coal-fired.

TBeholder
Reply to  Dave Fair
June 8, 2022 10:11 am

At least usually when it rains a lot the sun doesn’t shine, and vice versa. So the supply is in part complementary. But this just partially solves a made-up problem.

Dave Fair
Reply to  TBeholder
June 8, 2022 12:36 pm

Reservoir operations depend heavily on snowpack; day to day rain not so much.

.KcTaz
Reply to  Sean
June 7, 2022 2:02 pm

Gas and nuclear plants may be able to throttle down but it is not done “easily” and without cost. For gas plants, they must run 24/7 to maintain the grid. Starting and stopping puts extra stress on all the components, aging them faster. Plus, since they must run 24/7 anyway, what is the point of solar and wind?
Then, nuclear. That is even worse than gas plants, perhaps. In the real world, taking electricity from solar increases the nuclear plants emissions of, possibly, CO2 and NOx, a real pollutant.
Solar and wind are absurd.
Duke Energy application points finger at solar for increased pollution
http://bit.ly/2qU0grH

…“After committing $2 billion in tax credits, and more than $1 billion in electricity overpayments for solar power, we now learn from Duke that nitrogen oxides have actually increased, and that CO2 may be headed in the wrong direction,”
…“Renewable energy sounds good, but it performs terribly. If you want electricity available when you need it, you don’t want intermittent, unreliable, renewable energy,” Kish said. “It’s like a cancer on an efficient grid, with its ups-and-downs forcing other sources to pick up the slack in the most inefficient ways, which, in some cases, are more polluting.”

whiten
Reply to  Sean
June 7, 2022 2:39 pm

When speaking about hydro and gas, or coal, you are talking about energy production via turbines.
Wind is about mills, not turbines, and solar PV no turbines at all and also no ‘electromagnetic’ generators at all.

A stable-secured and balanced grid needs reserve capacity and a fast quick response of it, at any given moment.

Wind mills and solar do not offer any such in some or any effective way.

Increasing wind and solar capacity in the expense of hydro, gas and coal goes completely against the concept of a stable-secure and balanced grid.

The generators do spin (as must) far to fast for the wind mills to offer any reserve capacity and quick enough response to adjust and maintain a stable-secured frequency, at any time during variable grid conditions, especially when so many of them have also to synchronize with each other, in a wind farm.

Turbines, either hydro or thermal, are far more potential and with far much superior faster spin than mills, therefor with a far far better response and reserve capacity,
at any point of their capacity production, at any moment…
and still a lot of care is required to balance them in a grid, even without the ruinables.

Increased wind and solar into the grid, only contributes more and more towards grid instability-imbalance, and higher risk, and also towards the absence of energy security.

This is an unavoidable and uncorrectable condition, as mills are not and can not be turbines, especially in the case of wind…no matter what… it just can not be.
Calling windmills turbines, does not make it so in reality.

cheers

Last edited 2 months ago by whiten
PCman999
Reply to  Sean
June 8, 2022 9:15 am

Right but then the reliable, throttle-able plant sits idle for a fair bit of time but still needs a staff, available to ramp up power, and still needs maintenance, and the mortgage payments need looking after, all the while it’s not producing power but still generating large bills.

Steve Case
June 7, 2022 10:49 am

greensplain
________________

Requires no explanation or maybe a darn funny one.

TonyL
Reply to  Steve Case
June 7, 2022 11:20 am

greensplain

An attempt to explain what Allan Greenspan thinks he is doing with the money supply over at the Federal Reserve Board.

jeffery p
Reply to  TonyL
June 7, 2022 12:20 pm

Isn’t he dead?

H.R.
Reply to  jeffery p
June 7, 2022 1:04 pm

That’s hard to explain, too.

.KcTaz
Reply to  jeffery p
June 7, 2022 2:12 pm

Yep. He died 4/21 at age 90. Only the good die young?

Kevin
Reply to  .KcTaz
June 8, 2022 7:06 am
Graemethecat
Reply to  .KcTaz
June 8, 2022 7:15 am

How could they tell?

ResourceGuy
Reply to  Steve Case
June 7, 2022 12:24 pm

It is an official form of deflection in contrast to trolls like Griff and others here daily working on message management with union benefits and carbon-intensive time off, I hope.

markl
June 7, 2022 10:54 am

The only time China releases information about themselves is to hype their agenda. This is no different.

n.n
June 7, 2022 10:57 am

The problem is not excess energy, but specifically unsynchronized, fluctuating unreliables. As for curtailing, is that also due to external tariffs compensating for labor and environmental arbitrage?

a_scientist
Reply to  n.n
June 7, 2022 11:23 am

THis is a symptom of intermittiant unreliable power being ramped up beyond its useful fraction of the grid. They are attempting to make up for the intermittent low supply by adding more wind and solar. (the definition of insanity)

Then when conditions are favorable, then there is too much !

You just can’t get around this problem except for batteries, and this drives up the cost beyond any practical considerations.

So, more intermittent wind and solar is a dead end.

I just wish the eco-loons would reaize this and stop asking us rate payers to subsidize their fantasies.

Last edited 2 months ago by a_scientist
michel
Reply to  a_scientist
June 7, 2022 12:17 pm

Exactly. The problem is intermittency, and the warmists are in denial about it and its implications.

Bryan A
Reply to  a_scientist
June 7, 2022 12:27 pm

Yep, 100% unreliables, due to capacity factor, requires 300% generation capacity to meet needs during favorable conditions. But, designing for Worst case requires Peta-tons of batteries or 1000% – 3000% capacity, overpowering prime conditions

michel
Reply to  a_scientist
June 7, 2022 12:40 pm

The other aspect of the problem occurs if you attempt to damp out the intermittency by installing storage. You then have the consequential problem that when you’ve exhausted your storage and resumed supply from generation, you now have to have enough spare capacity to recharge the storage.

However, that amount of extra capacity, when you have got it charged and are supplying demand from generation, will be idled waiting for the next long calm.

So the capacity factor, properly defined as the percentage of faceplate that is generated when usable, falls yet again. You have been required to install excess capacity, which lowers the percentage of faceplate that the system can generate when usable.

You cannot get there from here. Or at least, you could if only you could store all the electricity produced cheaply and safely. But we don’t know how to do that.

Dave Fair
Reply to  michel
June 7, 2022 1:47 pm

Yeah, but the green Marxists have an ever-ready solution: Demand Side Management. That’s were you cut off consumers and industries for the convenience of the socialist government.

H.R.
Reply to  Dave Fair
June 7, 2022 5:49 pm

Shhhhh! That’s the quiet part you are not supposed to say out loud.

Bryan A
Reply to  michel
June 7, 2022 1:55 pm

Hydro Pumped Storage would be the best currently available option

H B
Reply to  Bryan A
June 7, 2022 3:23 pm

But not many suitable sites so very limited

Bryan A
Reply to  michel
June 7, 2022 5:38 pm

Toe best and probably only solution to that would be to have dedicated generation for recharging the batteries. When the batteries are topped off, the generation will either go off line or pump into the grid, destabilizing it as needed

michel
Reply to  Bryan A
June 8, 2022 1:08 am

The question for the greens is whether this recharging will itself be renewable. If its done by intermittent renewables which are themselves powering the grid, then you need more renewables than the normal powering of the grid requires, so that you can at the same time power the grid and recharge the storage.

If you decide to do it by renewables, you will have to install equipment for this purpose additional to what was needed to meet demand in non-calm conditions.

Now calculate capacity use, that is, percent of faceplate that is delivered. Include this additional spare capacity which will be used only for a couple of months a year.

The additional of so much mainly idle plant will cut capacity use of the whole system by a substantial percentage. Probably reduce it from about 30% to about 20%.

You then have to allow for the timing issue. The Chinese numbers suggest 10% or so of the wind generation will be wasted due to happening when it cannot be used and is not needed.

You cannot economically meet constant demand with intermittent supply, and adding storage to the mix doesn’t help do that. It just makes the whole system far more expensive.

RicDre
June 7, 2022 11:01 am

I see a similar phenomenon on the King Island (Tasmania) “Real Time Energy Dashboard”. For example, just a few minutes ago it showed the following: Wind: 1713 KW, Solar: 0 KW, Battery: -6 KW, Diesel: 487 KW, Resistor: -691 KW, Flywheel: -41 KW, Output: 1503 KW. In other words, they are dumping all of the Diesel and part of the wind into the Resistor (i.e. wasting it). If they shut down the Diesel Generator, they will still be dumping 204 KW into the Resistor.

https://www.hydro.com.au/clean-energy/hybrid-energy-solutions/success-stories/king-island

Mr.
Reply to  RicDre
June 7, 2022 11:25 am

Some years since I stayed at King Is (beautiful!), but the owner of our rented cottage advised that the safest way to cook our superb piece of prime rib would be to do it before the sun went down using the outside LPG (propane) barbecue.

Rolling the dice on the lights and electric oven staying on continuously for the whole dinner-time period was a big call, apparently.

And just by the way – calling electricity generation set-ups like King Island’s “hybrid energy solutions” is a bit of a misnomer.

“Cluster-f~<k electricity roulette” would be more descriptive.

curly
Reply to  RicDre
June 7, 2022 1:12 pm

that must be a big resistor and it must get warm

RicDre
Reply to  curly
June 7, 2022 1:30 pm

Here is their description of the resistor:

Dynamic resistor

Dynamic resistors convert excess renewable energy into a fast-response spinning reserve, meaning they can stabilise system frequency and maintain thermal generation at a more efficient constant load. Hydro Tasmania have developed modular dynamic resistors ranging from 250 kW to 3 MW blocks.  

The role of the dynamic resistor is as a regulator of system frequency under high renewable energy conditions. It reduces the demands on the diesel generators, allowing them to generate at an efficient stable load. Its rapid response absorbs excess renewable generation, eliminating frequency excursions under these high renewable penetration conditions.  

The description seems to imply that the resistor can either absorb or supply energy to the grid but the dashboard arrow shows a one-way flow, out of the grid and into the resistor. In any case, they also have a flywheel for short-term frequency stabilisation.

Dave Fair
Reply to  RicDre
June 7, 2022 6:08 pm

Such resistors can only be used to convert excess generation into heat, and a limited amount of excess generation at that. Its just another scheme that adds more inefficiencies to the power system by ruinables. Additionally, beyond the resistors’ ratings they still have to throttle back their diesel generators.

They use “spinning reserve” in a manner that is inconsistent with the conventional definition of spinning reserves. Its more like negative spinning reserves.

Dave Fair
Reply to  curly
June 7, 2022 1:53 pm

They are only required in energy systems designed by social scientists.

Dave Fair
Reply to  RicDre
June 7, 2022 1:51 pm

The diesel generator is required for system stability. Cut that off and the whole system goes catastrophically black for extended periods. Third World stuff.

Old Man Winter
Reply to  RicDre
June 7, 2022 5:11 pm

I’m commenting ~ 6hrs after you (morning in Taz) & after watching the dashboard, everything is at
least ±15%. If they lose the control circuitry, especially for wind, it will be one big mess!

Quelgeek
June 7, 2022 11:03 am

How do you “discard” power?

The answer is they don’t. They feather the turbines and disconnect the PVs.

The word “discard” is used to connote waste. They use it to induce a sense of guilt. It is pure psychological manipulation.

“We made clean, green power available and you filthy plebs ignore it.”

Dr. Bob
June 7, 2022 11:09 am

A perfect opportunity for E-Fuels. Make hydrogen from electricity, capture CO2 from the air, use Reverse Water-Gas Shift to make CO, add more H2, then use Fischer-Tropsch to make hydrocarbons. Simple!

jeffery p
Reply to  Dr. Bob
June 7, 2022 12:22 pm

If only it were practical.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Dr. Bob
June 7, 2022 1:54 pm

Just bring OPM.

TonyL
June 7, 2022 11:09 am

???????
This is all a natural outcome of grid development.
1) If you have a stable, reliable grid, you do not need renewables.
If you add renewables anyway, they will not be used at times. Standard.

2) You do not have a full powered grid. Renewables fill in the empty spots.
When the sun stops shining or the wind stops blowing, you have shortages. Standard.

So what is news here???? There is nothing new here at all.
The Chinese built the renewables system for exactly the same internal reasons they built the empty cities. From here this all looks to have been done for domestic political and financial/economic reasons. All overseen by a communist party which is clueless about investments, never mind managing a huge economy.

A short equation to remember:
Communism + An Economy = *BOOM*

Mr.
Reply to  TonyL
June 7, 2022 12:34 pm

My answer to that equation would have been “FIZZZZ”

Dave Fair
Reply to  TonyL
June 7, 2022 1:56 pm

They got away with Mercantilism for awhile.

Paul C
June 7, 2022 11:23 am

While anything that comes out of China should be treated with the utmost suspicion, the claim that unreliables are curtailed is a far more sensible proposition than the situation here in the UK where conventional generation is curtailed to make space for the intermittent addition of unreliable unsynchronised white elephants. The alternative that is sometimes used – to pay the unreliables to not dump their de-stabilising power onto the grid is almost as bad. The cost of storage/backup required to mitigate the de-stabilising effect of intermittent power sources should be loaded onto the intermittent producers. If they can’t deal with their own problems, don’t let them connect to the grid which passes their problem to naive producers and consumers.

Kemaris
June 7, 2022 11:43 am

“Grid storage”, yep. Infinitely expandable and 100% efficient batteries, whose production entails no environmental drawbacks to balance, are an essential aspect of the unicorn farts and fairy dust the Green electric grid is built on.

Joe Gordon
June 7, 2022 11:48 am

It’s inevitable that the government will decide to “balance” this out by equipping the labor camps with a fleet of Pelotons attached to the grid along with apps that indicate how fast they have to pedal based on wind speed and cloud cover.

I suppose, for now, they’re creating so much revenue making Nike shoes and Disney clothing with the slave labor that they’d rather waste the energy.

Reply to  Joe Gordon
June 7, 2022 1:10 pm

Think I should patent a Peloton powered TV

Bryan A
Reply to  Rich Lentz
June 7, 2022 5:46 pm

Didn’t Soylent Green have bicycle powered generation

jeffery p
June 7, 2022 12:10 pm

On the brighter side, it’s good to see the US isn’t the only major country applying junk economic theories.

2hotel9
June 7, 2022 12:13 pm

So, even when they produce electricity, they cause problems and cost more money people don’t really have. Got it.

michel
June 7, 2022 12:27 pm

The way to think about it is percentage of faceplate.

The first limitation of this is because of intermittency. You do not get faceplate 24 x 7 because of the variability of the wind, or in the case of the sun, of daylight.

So this is generally estimated to take wind turbines down to about 30% of faceplate. That is as much as you can generate.

However, the story doesn’t end there. Just because you can generate it does not mean its usable.

The next problem is also due to intermittency, but its a different sort, its timing. The peaks and valleys of the 30% don’t coincide with demand. So the 30% of faceplate that is generated is often not generated at a time when its usable.

Real world, how much usable power do you get from wind as a percentage of faceplate?

Don’t know. Very hard to assess because of the various compulsions that all governments apply to make network operators buy the intermittent generation.

On a guess, I would not be surprised if it takes generation down to below 20% of faceplate in the case of wind.

If you take all the real costs of adding wind to an otherwise conventional network, it will never pay. This is why what Francis Menton correctly calls the fraud of LCOE was invented. Pretend that renewables are not intermittent, and guess what, they seem very cheap… Fraud.

June 7, 2022 1:04 pm

It does not take a genius to determine the average output of a Wind farm/Solar farm and realize that on Average you need five times the Average capacity of the name plate max output just to meet average loads, Problem is that both use and generation are rarely average. Average Daily usage and Average daily generation follow a warped bell curve. But they are not congruent. Even a HS kid can see that it would take ten times the Average load just to get the necessary power for about 50% of the time and that would require a storage system equal to the Average of the monthly Peak load. Biggest problem is that even with that massive storage system and ten time the average load capacity, you will still have an average of 30 days a year with no power. Look at the weather app on your PC/Phone. Note how it takes most of the day to cross the state. That is panic time for electrical dispatchers even though the ones that have no dependance on “Unreliable Energy” the dispatchers that rely on Unreliable energy are literally pulling out their hair.

Has no one noticed that the only countries that claim to have 100% Renewable energy have very near that amount of Hydro energy. Where is the United States going to put 120 quadrillion BTUs of hydro power capacity? This will never happen in my grand children’s lifetime. The NIMBY’s and REAL Environmentalists [the ones that fight for the environment not GND] will be on the same side of preventing the transformation of the entire US into 10 – 100 more lakes per sq mile than Minnesota. And that is the least expensive way to store that “Surplus” electricity that is worth more per kWh than Wind, Solar, Gas, or coal, and then have a premium added to the cost for “Dependability.” And China is having problems even though they have the massive Three Rivers Dam, So large it has sunk the earth around it.

Last edited 2 months ago by usurbrain
Peta of Newark
June 7, 2022 1:39 pm

What a mess, clear as mud.

The Curtialment curse’ is not a one of ‘the grid can’t digest’ or ‘throttling things back’

The curse is exactly as Scotland is cursed –
…it is especially that people, consumers and industry rarely live/exist where there is lots of renewable energy.
2 examples:

  1. Deserts. Sunny sunny sunny wall to wall sunshine but nobody lives there
  2. Scotland or Mongolia: Windy windy windy constant wind drives people nuts. They don’t live there because of that, plus the other climate consequences coming out of that wind
  3. Ain’t that a funny thing, I thought climate was defined only by temperature. oh well

Because nobody lives in deserts, Scotland or Mongolia, there was never any need to build transmission lines to move power into those places = power lines that could have carried renewable power out of those places.

Buck Passing rules – I’ll build a windmill if someone else builds a power line.
Oh wait, here’s a Government subsidy and a huge pile of Virtue Points, I’ll build a windmill in middle of nowhere anyway.

Piss Up in a Brewery comes to mind – Did Boris Johnson organise this by any chance…….

An answer, my answer is sooo simple.
Join the windmills together on one big phat high voltage DC line – a line that can easily be strung on whatever existing lines go in/out of wherever.
Take the DC straight to the coal fired power stations and into a suitably phat immersion heater inside the existing boilers

That way you can throttle the coal usage (use a smaller shovel) without throttling the power station.
i.e. You keep it at ideal working temperature all the time
Win win win because:

  • the power station is happy
  • the existing and nearby consumers are happy
  • DC power is happy as it doesn’t mind how far it travels hanging off existing transmission towers
  • punters along the way are happy with no new transmission lines
  • consumers likewise happy as they don’t have pay for any new lines
  • and you get to use however much, all of the, renewable energy is being produced at whatever time.
  • even help stabilise the grid – feed the DC into various size synchronous capacitors (just = a big motor and alternator combo) at weak spots on the grid
Last edited 2 months ago by Peta of Newark
Peta of Newark
Reply to  Peta of Newark
June 7, 2022 1:53 pm

Fail, but not really
That mechanism will lose a lot of your renewable energy in the conversion to steam.
To get over that, use the incoming DC power to super super duper heat the steam going into the turbines at the power station

Attach your ‘immersion heater’ to the pipe coming off the existing boiler and just before it goes into the steam turbine itself. Take the steam up to 400 or 500 Celsius instead of whatever it is now, guessing about 300C

Carnot Rules OK

Walter Sobchak
June 7, 2022 1:59 pm

“I have no idea what Chinese investors will do next.”

Easy. They will obey the thoughts of Chairman Xi. He says frog, they say: How high, sir.

Chris Hanley
June 7, 2022 2:15 pm

China’s ‘renewable energy fleet’ (wind & solar) is practically invisible.

Last edited 2 months ago by Chris Hanley
Rasa
June 7, 2022 2:19 pm

Lots and lots and lots of ways to generate electricity. “renewables” is by far the dumbest way. Should you pay money for a car that you won’t know what time or what day it will work?

mikewaite
June 7, 2022 2:30 pm

O/T and I apologise , but the ENSOmeter has just jumped up into neutral . Is this significant , and if so what new disaster (because every change is disastrous so I am told repeatedly by the BBC et al) does this predict.

Gary Pearse
June 7, 2022 2:32 pm

5 trillion stimulus to produce stuff they cant use. Economics is a discipline that remains a deep mystery to those outside Western economies and even there they are losing a grip on it, most likely because they are shifting to the extreme left. I guess that means economics is incompatible with lefty politics.

I made a few trips to China during their boom times – 2010-2014- and high rise construction was crazy. When I inquired I learned there were multi-dozens of them that were empty! Apparently the demand for them came out of a policy for planned progress not actual progress. It seemed the idea was to build all these high rises to be like America and this alone would generate prosperity.

The lesson here is you’d better keep good relations with America if prosperity is your objective. I could have included good relations with Europe maybe 20 years ago, but they tried free enterprise and decided they didnt like it. The world is toast if the Democrats don’t a couple of generations in the penalty box.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Gary Pearse
June 7, 2022 2:43 pm

Oh, BTW Bloomberg is full of BS on the overbuild of wind and solar.It has been no secret that they have been expanding coal fired power at a rate beyond the wildest of dreams. Bloomy’s source is a Chinese publication. I suspect this is a smokescreen for net zero drones to divert attention for their turning to coal. China knows renewables don’t work.

Graemethecat
Reply to  Gary Pearse
June 8, 2022 7:24 am

The Chinese middle class are about to experience a horrible loss of wealth as most of their net wealth is in real estate, which is crashing hard.

Dennis G. Sandberg
June 7, 2022 3:21 pm

you report, “…all the extra capacity is generating more power than the grid can use and has to be cut off to avoid overloading it. That’s bad for utilities who aren’t getting paid for that power…”, Really? Doesn’t work that way in the US, wind generator subsidiaries of major companies mining the tax credits get paid the same during curtailment as when they’re producing.

Joe
June 7, 2022 4:47 pm

It’s obvious society is collapsing from peak oil and all you leftist parasites are dying at last.

Saudi combined e.png
MarkW
Reply to  Joe
June 8, 2022 2:51 pm

Peak oil that only he can see.
Anyone who disagrees with this is a leftist parasite.

He’s baaaaack,

RobK
June 7, 2022 4:53 pm

Baseload generation has had to put up with curtailment ever since RE was introduced. What goes around, comes around. If you produce something no one can use, it’s worthless.

Joe
Reply to  RobK
June 7, 2022 6:41 pm

Like shale oil. It’s all being exported because it’s worthless.

MarkW
Reply to  Joe
June 8, 2022 2:51 pm

Even by your non-existent standards, that makes no sense.

observa
June 7, 2022 6:06 pm

Well with Gummint mandated unreliables you just have to get used to curtailment-
Study: Public Chargers Far Less Reliable Than Previously Reported (msn.com)

RickWill
June 7, 2022 9:15 pm

Nearly 12% of power generated by wind turbines in Inner Mongolia this year has been wasted 

Who writes nonsense like this?

The energy was never converted to electricity to be “wasted”. It remained as unextracted wind or solar energy. It was wind or solar energy that could have been converted to electricity if the grid was able to use it.

With batteries at current prices, the economic overbuild for generators for a 100% wind power system is about seven-fold.

My off-grid solar system runs at an average capacity factor of 7% – overbuild about 15-fold and is the minimum cost system to get 99.9% uptime. The uncurtailed CF is about 20% but to operate at the CF would require massively more battery storage.

The inherently low capacity factors of W&S mean all the capital spent is grossly under-utilised. This is what simpletons do not understand. It is massive “wastage” of capital. Expensive plant sitting idle or working well below its potential most of the time.

ATheoK
June 7, 2022 11:21 pm

Discarding excess renewable power is as wasteful as it sounds.”

Renewable energy is low quality electricity.
Of course China discards the least usable electricity in favor of the high quality extremely consistent reliable energy.

Coach Springer
June 8, 2022 6:42 am

I am in need of reconciliation of the temporal oversupply of renewable sourced energy and China’s plans to increase its use of coal. Is this all about the baseload?

MikeN
June 8, 2022 12:47 pm

Use the excess current to mine for bitcoins.

%d bloggers like this: