The Penetration Problem. Part I: Wind and Solar – The More You Do, The Harder It Gets

From Dr. Judith Curry’s Climate Etc.

by Planning Engineer

There seems to be a belief that increasing the level of wind and solar projects will make subsequent progress with these resources easier. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Increasing penetration levels of wind and solar is like a Sisyphean task, except that it is worse. The challenge may be better understood as akin to pushing a huge rock which is getting heavier and heavier, up a hill of a steeper and steeper slope while the ground below gets slicker and more unstable. The problems associated with increased penetration swamp any potential benefits that might be achieved through economies of scale. 

The bulk power system has traditionally been strong and very robust. There are generally not significant problems associated with adding small system elements (small amounts of wind and solar) which lean on the system, rather than support it. The system has a limited ability to absorb wind and solar power and can use it to displace generation which relies on costly fuels. But at higher penetration levels this ability is greatly reduced and the economics can degrade and even reverse. Listed below are some reasons why increasing the penetration levels of renewables will lead to rapidly increasing costs as well as rapidly decreasing reliability. 

1)Wind and solar do not readily supply essential reliability services. Conventional generation has characteristics that support the stability and operation of the grid. They have inertial mass and spin in synchronism with the wave forms powering the system while readily providing voltage and frequency support.    As wind and solar make up a larger percentage of the generation resource base we see an erosion of these desirable characteristics. Some argue that electronic emulation can serve to compensate for the loss of these characteristics but it is costly and the results are inferior. Previous writings going into detail on this topic include: https://judithcurry.com/2015/05/07/transmission-planning-wind-and-solar/ https://judithcurry.com/2016/01/06/renewables-and-grid-reliability/

2)Wind and solar are intermittent resources and their availability/output often does not match or support system needs. While there is hope for battery technology, current goals are modest. Other resources must compensate for the intermittency of wind and solar. The greater the percentage of wind and solar the greater the challenge and cost for backup. Previous writings on this topic include:

3) The success of wind and solar installations is highly location specific. You can pull up maps showing the suitability and appropriateness of various locations for both wind and solar power. Other land use considerations make locations more or less suitable for wind and solar as well. Current effort to increase wind and solar make use of the most optimal sites. Remaining sites are less optimal. As penetration levels increase above current levels the suitability of potential sites will decrease. The posting below cowritten with Rud Istavan provides some discussion of locational problems.

4) Wind and solar depend on materials which must be mined and their ability may be limited. Greatly increasing solar and wind production will likely increase costs and create supply problems. European wind power is already seeing a fight over scarce materials

5)As wind and solar generation increase penetration it will become more and more challenging for other resources to subsidize their expansion. It’s one thing to subsidize a small component of the generation mix, another thing entirely to subsidize the major components.

6)It takes a lot of energy to build wind and solar facilities. Their operation and support consume a lot of energy. Many see that it is doubtful that such facilities can support themselves, serve load and provide enough energy to build replacement facilities of the same sort. Additionally, if electric vehicles are thrown in, the problem is further magnified. The “green” plan to eliminate gas appliances and added losses from increased battery deployment will not help either. There are a class of concerns focusing on all the energy and resources consumed by wind and solar resources. This is referred to as the energy density or power density problem. Here are a couple links (herehere,  here and here) discussing these type concerns. These concerns have been outside my area of experience. I hope that readers may add more references in the comments.

7)Wind and solar make the study, control and operation of the power system more complicated and uncertain. These resources are intermittent and more unpredictable for operators to contend with. To maintain stability good modeling is imperative. Detailed models are run involving complex differential equations. Planners can force builders of large power plants to provide pretty good data on the plant impacts. Getting good data for dispersed projects with many small elements which might change during a project and after installation is much more challenging. Lastly, system operators and planners have years of experience with large rotating machines, not as much with wind and solar. 

8)Widespread deployment of wind and solar would require that power be transmitted across great distances (or you would need an unrealistic and incredible amount of battery storage.)  Getting wind’s power from the plains to the population centers involves long transmission lines. Green advocates argue that imbalances between load and generation from solar and wind resources can be overcome by drawing on resources from a broader geographical area. This requires even greater needs for long power lines and a robust grid. Wind and solar produce DC power which must be converted, with the help of the grid, to AC power. Edison and Tesla had a battle years ago over AC and DC power. Tesla won because to transmit power a long distance you need to use an alternating current system. As noted in item 1, solar and wind do not provide sufficient elements like inertia and vars for such a system to remain stable. (Side note-A high voltage DC line can transmit power great distances with lower losses. However, to utilize a high voltage DC line it is imperative to have a strong AC system receiving the power. The system must be robust such that the power can be converted from DC to AC. High voltage DC lines will not be the savior of a wind and solar based system.)  While high levels of wind and solar penetration require a robust grid, their greater presence reduces the capability of the grid.

The above is a formidable list of challenges. How might they be overcome?  Not by economies of scale from increased wind and solar production. First off, it’s hard to imagine that any economies of scale would allow these resources to leap the formidable challenges described above. Secondly, it does not appear that significant improvements in economies of scale are to be expected. My perusal of the topic shows that attempts to find economies of scale have all failed. Building more and more smaller units likely will not provide greater economies of scale due to increased material costs. Larger wind and solar facilities incur a class of costs not seen by smaller facilities. Promoters of wind and solar argue instead that smaller local projects provide more benefits than might be obtained from larger facilities.

Could nuclear energy be a piece of a lower carbon emission future? Most certainly. None of the above concerns apply to nuclear power. We could see cheaper costs from standardized nuclear facilities and reasonable regulations. Hydro too works well with the power system. Unfortunately, there are negligible to no potential locations to expand hydro generation. (Note-pumped storage is an option for storing energy, but not producing additional net energy). 

It is way too soon to be envisioning a 100% renewable future with significant contributions from current wind and solar capabilities. It is not a good strategy to support current “green” technologies and retire and prohibit conventional generation hoping that a miracle will occur when we need it. Perhaps with the extensive deployment of nuclear power, carbon capture and other technologies we might be able to approach a zero-carbon grid. At best, current wind and solar technologies will play at most a small part in such a plan.

This is the first post in a series on The Penetration Problem

Part 1 Wind and Solar:  The More You Do, The Harder it Gets

Part 2 Will the Inflation Reduction Act Cause a Blackout?

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October 6, 2022 2:24 am

From the perspective of dispatchable generation, intermittent renewables are nothing more than an unstable increase in load variation.
Now not only does apparent demand fluctuate on a daily and weekly basis within defined limits, it fluctuates randomly by far far more as solar and wind energy cuts in and out.
This is not a problem that can be ‘fixed’ by technology. It is inherent in the energy source itself.
And the more wind and solar, the worse the problem gets

Last edited 1 month ago by Leo Smith
c1ue
Reply to  Leo Smith
October 6, 2022 6:28 am

A couple of notes from GCPA concerning dispatchable vs. intermittent:
Texas experienced 2 of the highest ever grid level grid in July: on 7/11 and 7/13
Demand exceeded 74 GW and (briefly) 80 GW on those days respectively.
This was because Austin (and much of Texas, presumably) experienced a heat wave of basically continuous 100+ degree days since May – breaking records set in the 1880s.
The Texas grid was able to meet this demand – which incidentally is more than NY + CA combined on those days, according to Bill Flores (former Texas congressman, ERCOT director). This was done by bringing all generation capability on deck with the following final results:
For 7/11/22
Dispatchable fossil fuel and nuclear: 66.9 GW (87% cap factor)
Intermittent (wind and solar PV with some small other): 12 GW (24% cap factor)
Of the intermittent:
Wind: 0.9 GW (3% cap factor)
Solar PV: 9.5 GW (81% cap factor)
other: 1.6 GW (49% cap factor)
Total Demand: 73.5 GW
Grid excess capacity: 5.4 GW = 7%
For 7/13/22
Dispatchable fossil fuel and nuclear: 67 GW (87% cap factor)
Intermittent (wind and solar PV with some small other): 11.6 GW (23% cap factor)
Of the intermittent:
Wind: 5 GW (3% cap factor)
Solar PV: 6.7 GW (81% cap factor)
other: 0 GW (0% cap factor)
Total Demand: 77.9 GW
Grid excess capacity: 0.75 GW = 1%

So the good news: Texas was able to meet demand despite successive record amount of demand.
The scary news: note the enormous variability in the intermittent side and the thin-ness of production vs. demand margin.

c1ue
Reply to  c1ue
October 6, 2022 6:37 am

I should note that both CEOs referenced the $370B and $369B funding for alternative energy in IRA. Calpine also referenced that alternative energy now qualified for the Producer Tax Credit (PTC) as opposed to previous ITC. The “buy” subsidies for building new wind and solar PV have largely been ITC – i.e. up front whereas PTC is an extended per kilowatt hour subsidy. Seems like basically a feed-in tariff only presumably at the federal level – said CEO noted that the ITC to PTC switchover would reduce aforementioned solar install $/MWh production costs from start point 1, to roughly 0.75 (ITC) to 0.5 (PTC).

Reply to  c1ue
October 6, 2022 9:06 am

How can Texas solar PV have a capacity factor of 81% when the global average is about 29%? That does not make sense.

Steve Keppel-Jones
Reply to  Richard Greene
October 6, 2022 9:38 am

It looks like that is measured for just the one day, and when you measure the solar capacity factor for one hot sunny summer day in Texas, you usually get a pretty good number… it’s cloudy days and winter (and more northerly latitudes) that really destroy this score. (Although I have read that heat is not so great for PV panels either, which makes you go “hmm”)

MarkW
Reply to  Richard Greene
October 6, 2022 9:44 am

Even in the summer, the sun is only above the horizon about 60% of time.
Beyond that, you only get 100% for solar when the sun is directly overhead. The amount of power that the system is capable of producing, drops rapidly as the sun gets further away from directly overhead.

Even if you could guarantee cloudless skies, all summer long, solar could never average more than 30 to 40%.
During the winter, the average is going to drop to 10 to 20%, assuming no clouds.

c1ue
Reply to  MarkW
October 6, 2022 9:33 pm

See above: the cap factor being used by Texas is not absolute capacity factor but relative to the expected production as predicted.

c1ue
Reply to  Richard Greene
October 6, 2022 9:31 pm

The calculation is not based on absolute production vs. hours of day/month year.
I believe it is calculated based on historical expected average profile during a specific period. So it isn’t 81% of 1 hour – it is 81% of the average solar production for 7/11 or 7/13 as predicted by ERCOT’s model.

Reply to  c1ue
October 6, 2022 9:13 am

Noting the very low 3% capacity factor for wind, during the heat wave, reminds me of the very low capacity factor just before the February 2021 Texas blackouts. It would seem that extreme weather conditions, both very hot and very cold, are often accompanied by lower than average wind speeds. Meaning that you can’t count om wind when it is most needed.

I have also read that solar panels have an optimum range of ambient temperatures and lose efficiency when very hot. Heat can “severely reduce” the ability of solar panels to produce power, according to CED Greentech, a solar equipment supplier in the United States. Depending on where they’re installed, hot temperatures can reduce the output efficiency of solar panels by 10%-25%, the company says.

When it’s cold, and solar panels are covered with snow, I imagine they have zero efficiency !

Last edited 1 month ago by Richard Greene
MarkW
Reply to  Richard Greene
October 6, 2022 9:45 am

In addition to losing power when hot, solar panels also age faster when they get hot.

AndyHce
Reply to  Richard Greene
October 6, 2022 3:06 pm

you can’t count om wind when it is most needed

Wind cannot be counted on any time. It will always be whatever the random blowing is, completely unconnected from that might be wanted or needed.

Beta Blocker
Reply to  c1ue
October 6, 2022 9:32 am

For 7/13/22

Dispatchable fossil fuel and nuclear: 67 GW (87% cap factor)
Intermittent (wind and solar PV with some small other): 11.6 GW (23% cap factor)
Of the intermittent:
Wind: 5 GW (3% cap factor)
Solar PV: 6.7 GW (81% cap factor)
other: 0 GW (0% cap factor)
Total Demand: 77.9 GW
Grid excess capacity: 0.75 GW = 1%

My question would be, how were these Texas figures calculated? Was it done based on gigawatt-hours produced during that one-day period, or was the calculation done on some other basis?

It doesnot add up
Reply to  Beta Blocker
October 6, 2022 12:45 pm

I presume the figures relate to the hour of peak demand.

Ric Howard
Reply to  c1ue
October 6, 2022 12:23 pm

c1ue,

How is it that Wind produces 0.9 GW on 7/11/22 and 5 GW two days later but both days show wind having a 3% cap factor?

My understanding is:
capacity factor = actual output / maximum possible output
… so the cap factor should vary exactly as the GW produced (actual output), assuming the same set of wind turbines. In other words, if 0.9 GW represents 3% cap factor, then 5 GW should represent 3*5/0.9=16.7% cap factor.

Am I missing something here?

c1ue
Reply to  Ric Howard
October 6, 2022 9:34 pm

As noted above, the cap factor is not what we expect as an annual rating – it is vs. the predicted production for a given day of the year and time of day.

AndyHce
Reply to  c1ue
October 6, 2022 3:01 pm

Wind and solar for those two days do not compute.
07/11
Wind: 0.9 GW & 5 GW, both listed as 3% cap factor
07/13
Solar PV: 9.5 GW & 6.7 GW, both listed as 81% cap factor

For that to be true there would have to have been considerable more of each generator in existence on one day vs another day two days later. Facitilites could not possible be constructed or decommissioned so rapidly.

c1ue
Reply to  AndyHce
October 6, 2022 9:35 pm

Actually, that does happen: highly variable generation availability. However, in this case, it is more likely an outcome of the predicted production model.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Leo Smith
October 6, 2022 6:30 am

‘This is not a problem that can be ‘fixed’ by technology. It is inherent in the energy source itself.’

All true under the current ‘political’ approach where renewable energy sources are coercively added to the grid to serve all load, likely proceeding to the point of system-wide collapse.

Alternatively, the problem of renewable intermittency could be eliminated using existing technology (smart meters) under a ‘market’ approach that voluntarily separates renewable load from convential load. In summary, this works because renewable load is always adjusted at the customer’s meter to meet renewable supply, hence there is no need for grid operators to chase intermittent renewable supply using conventional energy sources.

Here’s a thumbnail sketch of how it could work, along with a correction to the last bullet in the referenced post:

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2022/10/05/a-few-graphs-say-it-all-for-weather-dependent-renewables-2/#comment-3613807

  • In the event renewable supply exceeds renewable demand, renewable suppliers may sell excess energy to conventional suppliers at mutually agreed prices
Last edited 1 month ago by Frank from NoVA
Steve Keppel-Jones
Reply to  Frank from NoVA
October 6, 2022 10:25 am

I like the way you’re thinking, Frank. Some questions still remain, such as how to negotiate purchases of renewable power at the grid distribution level when the power producers cannot really forecast how much they can produce in a given time period. But notwithstanding all that, it would still separate the conventional and renewable sources from having to support or interfere with each other’s supply, with the attendant costs of all of that crosstalk. You would still have the problem that when sharing a grid, the reliable power producers have to provide all the grid stability (frequency and voltage) to the unreliables, so the pricing mechanism would surely have to take this valuable service into account somehow. (When all producers provide similar levels of reliability and stability, that service is evenly priced across the grid.)

My slightly more outside-the-box idea would be to build (at great expense) a separate distribution grid just for the unreliables, and then at the curbside you would choose which grid to physically connect to. The unreliable one will be a lot more expensive, and have no frequency or voltage stability to speak of, but surely it’s worth it to save the planet! Pony up, greens… and good luck…

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Steve Keppel-Jones
October 6, 2022 1:13 pm

Thanks, Steve!

Clearly there are details to be worked out, e.g., renewable energy price discovery, but these all have well understood analogues within conventional energy dispatch and distribution. I don’t see any issue with ‘cross-talk’ from sharing a single grid, as most renewables generate DC, which is then inverted to AC to match the prevailing frequency and phase of conventional generation.

If there’s an Achilles heel to the idea, it goes to the nature of Progressives themselves. I.e., would they be content with going 100% Green using less reliable, but probably cheaper, electric service, or is their well-being only enhanced if everyone has to be forced down the same renewable path, even if it means collapsing the grid. The former is a market decision, the latter, a political one.

KcTaz
Reply to  Steve Keppel-Jones
October 7, 2022 1:30 am

I like that idea. Those who choose to go with the “green” energy should, also, have to pay for their separate distribution grid, as well, it seems to me. If they did, though, “green” would not be cheaper. Of course, they would, also, have to pay for all their spoiled food in their refrigerators and freezers when the sun doesn’t shine or the wind doesn’t blow but it is surely worth it to them to Save the Planet, no?

AndyHce
Reply to  Frank from NoVA
October 6, 2022 3:09 pm

That does not alter grid instability problems nor meet demand requirements in times of extreme weather needs

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  AndyHce
October 6, 2022 4:42 pm

If renewable supply fails to materialize for whatever reason, renewable load is curtailed commensurately. There’s no requirement / need to dispatch additional conventional resources to compensate.

Strativarius
October 6, 2022 2:33 am

Net Zero is unachievable why pretend otherwise?

Lance Flake
Reply to  Strativarius
October 6, 2022 6:44 am

Quite obviously money and power

Spetzer86
Reply to  Strativarius
October 6, 2022 8:02 am

Can you think of a quicker way to reduce global population to <1 million people? Start WWIII, ban all viable power sources, starve everyone (except the Elite, of course) and population goes down.

PCman999
Reply to  Strativarius
October 6, 2022 8:30 am

It’s an article of faith for eco-atheist-new-agers, so it doesn’t matter if the maths don’t work out, or even if eco-nut countries’ grids are on the verge of collapse and no one can afford all that “cheaper green energy” – they just can’t accept it – without reprogramming.

Sommer
Reply to  PCman999
October 7, 2022 8:08 am

It doesn’t help that mainstream media and politicians consistently brainwash people with climate change alarmism. They refuse to touch the subject of this article. Also most of the population lives in urban environments where they never have to deal with large scale renewables surrounding their homes.

Reply to  Strativarius
October 6, 2022 1:27 pm

Net Zero refers to the populus,

AndyHce
Reply to  Edward Dooner
October 6, 2022 3:14 pm

Analogous to Damon Knight’s story To Serve Man.

Ron Long
October 6, 2022 2:53 am

All of these problems: irregular energy production requiring back-up, electricity storage, mining of rare components in dysfunctional cultural settings, killing of large numbers of our flying friends, and destruction of forests, is to fight against the 3 to 5 % anthropogenic addition of the carbon dioxide molecule into the atmosphere, which appears to be a participant in the (NASA) 10% greening of the Earth. China Syndrome was not a documentary! Nuke ’em.

Adam
Reply to  Ron Long
October 6, 2022 4:15 am

Wasn’t the lesson of China Syndrome that it was greedy business men who cut corners that made the plant unsafe, and they wouldn’t listen to their chief scientist. To me it didn’t disprove nuclear

Ron Long
Reply to  Adam
October 6, 2022 7:13 am

There was no lesson in the China Syndrome, it was made-up scare mongering for the green idiots. The “…greedy business men…” you refer to are the capitalists that move the culture forward, accepted by me as long as they follow the law and reasonable rules of good conduct. Nuke ’em.

MarkW
Reply to  Adam
October 6, 2022 9:48 am

At the end of the movie, the earthquake hit, the plant shut down and there were no problems. Nobody was hurt, except for the guy who got shot by the authorities.

Reply to  Ron Long
October 6, 2022 9:24 am

Fossil fuel burning has added +48% to the 1850 CO2 level estimated at 280ppm. Versus 425ppm today. That means 32.5% of the current CO2 level is from manmade CO2 emissions. Not +3% to 5%.

The global warming since 1850 is probably in the neighborhood of +1 degree C., although data for 1850 are only very rough estimates.

A worst case estimate would be to claim that the entire +1 degree C. warming since 1850 was caused by the +48% increase of CO2. Assuming no other cause of global warming.

If it took a +48% increase of CO2 to cause a +1 degree rise in the global average temperature, then we have nothing to worry about concerning CO2. We could then assume the next +48% rise of CO2 (from the current 415ppm to about 614ppm, which would take 50 to 100 years) would cause less than a +1 degree C, rise of the global average temperature. Nothing to fear even with these worst case assumptions!

Last edited 1 month ago by Richard Greene
Paul Penrose
Reply to  Richard Greene
October 6, 2022 10:05 am

Richard,
So you are assuming that the entire increase from 280ppm to 425ppm was the result of burning fossil fuels? There are no natural sources of CO2? If that’s your argument, I have to call BS on it.

Reply to  Paul Penrose
October 6, 2022 11:02 am

Burning fossil fuels is estimated to have caused a +200ppm increase of CO2 since 1850, but the actual estimated CO2 increase was about +135ppm, from 1850 to 2022.

Nature is a net CO2 absorber, so can not be blamed for any increase in the atmospheric CO2 level since 1850.

You need to learn some basic science.

KcTaz
Reply to  Richard Greene
October 7, 2022 1:37 am

Oh, really?

Termite Farts
Termites produce more CO2 each year than all living things combined

http://bit.ly/2MOUPRm

Termite farts = 12,600,000,000 metric tons of CO₂
Termites also emit 50,000,000,000 metric tons of CO₂
Zimmerman et al 1984
Human emissions are 24,000,000,000 metric tons
Termites are responsible for 260% more global warming than humans!
Best case scenario, termites emit 200% more than humans.
Worst case scenario, it’s almost 900% more

http://bit.ly/2KKV7YY

Termites Emit More Greenhouse Gases than Coal Plants
https://godfatherpolitics.com/termites-emit-greenhouse-gases-coal-plants/

Termites are natural aka Nature.

Rod Evans
Reply to  Richard Greene
October 6, 2022 10:15 am

All sensible stuff Richard. I would point out the average surface atmospheric temp has increased from 288 deg K to 289 deg K in that time frame. So the 48% increase in CO2 only changed the surface temp by 0.34% and that is if all of the change was attributed to CO2! (a big stretch of faith over truth I think).
The other aspect of temperature change since 1850 we should be shouting about is the net positive it has generated across the world.

Reply to  Rod Evans
October 6, 2022 11:05 am

I would prefer using C. degrees — 14 degrees C, to 15 degrees C. might be a good estimate. That’s about +7%

+1 degree C. in 172 years — 1850 to 2022

CLIMATE EMERGENCY !

HEAD FOR THE HILLS !

BETTER YET, MOVE TO ANOTHER PLANET !

WE ARE DOOMED !

Steve Case
October 6, 2022 3:12 am

There is a place for solar, and it is residential stand alone, point of use, and off grid. As such, a residential solar setup requires that all the large energy requirements i.e., hot water, clothes drying, cooking, and home heat need to be natural gas. There’s lots of natural gas. Residential solar electricity is more expensive than what the grid provides (initial cost and maintenance), but it’s not subjected to power outages.

Oh, but you can sell your excess power to the electric company, and by law, they have to buy it which in effect allows you access to their transmission lines and customer base. What a sweet deal that is! Sweet for the guy with his windmill or solar panels but for the utility company – not so much.

RickWill
Reply to  Steve Case
October 6, 2022 4:11 am

Residential solar electricity is more expensive than what the grid provides 

While China continues to source coal competitively, there is a fair chance that solar battery systems made in China and used in developed world households will produce lower cost power than grid operators can manage.

As the post points out it all gets more expensive as the penetration increases.

So price of solar panels and batteries for households are not subject to the same inflationary pressure that the developed countries are experiencing due to efforts to achieve NutZero.

Stand alone off-grid solar/battery systems in many Australian cities is already the economic choice. Spain, Italy and parts of USA may be in similar situation if there are real efforts to achieve NutZero. Southern California may already be there.

Of course this illusion of sustainability is solely dependent on China’s ability to keep manufacturing costs low by burning billions of tonnes of coal every year.

I do not know of any household solar system that has been optimised for off-grid operation. I run part of my household off-grid as an experiments. The lowest solar month is May at 37S. I have not optimised the panels for that month so the average capacity factor is a lousy 3.4%; all driven by the requirement to get through May. The battery has 48hours duration at average load but is still goes low every two to three years in May. I would only need a tiny generator to avoid that condition.

I may end up entirely off-grid if NutZero remains the main game in Australia. I keep an eye on developments and will do the sums in 2024 when my generous FIT runs out.

Spetzer86
Reply to  RickWill
October 6, 2022 8:50 am

That would make an interesting post. Show the original calculations, what changed, and whether the system still makes sense in 2024.

Simonsays
Reply to  RickWill
October 6, 2022 3:11 pm

Stand alone solar solar in Australia is only economical because of the generous government subsidies – – – that’s not economical. Full disclosure, I went subsidy mining and got myself a 30kw system.

Adam
Reply to  Steve Case
October 6, 2022 4:18 am

I don’t think you can sell excess power in all states. Also, if you are grid tied with solar, it goes down when power goes out… need battery and back feed switch.

Gregory Woods
October 6, 2022 3:50 am

Slightly off topic: I have seen articles about Micron and others building chip manufacturing facilities in the US, New York comes to mind. How do their plans take into account Not Zero and unreliable energy sources. Don’t these kinds of plants require 24 hour power?

Dan Hughes
Reply to  Gregory Woods
October 6, 2022 5:18 am

The Micron plant in New York will be located so as to take advantage of the cheap hydro power from the Niagara Falls power plant. The cheap hydro power, and 5.5B$ NY tax relief, sealed the deal.

Experience in Europa, especially Germany, seems to indicate that costs to customers is as important as availability/reliability. 

We’ll be paying significantly increased costs for everything. 

Gregory Woods
Reply to  Dan Hughes
October 6, 2022 7:19 am

thanks

MarkW
Reply to  Dan Hughes
October 6, 2022 9:56 am

If they are dedicating most of the cheap hydro-electric to the Micron plant, this means that non-politically connected consumers are going to be forced to use more expensive power from elsewhere, which will increase their costs.

Lance Flake
Reply to  Gregory Woods
October 6, 2022 6:47 am

Yes semiconductor fabrication requires continuous reliable power. They absolutely cannot tolerate brownouts and blackouts. There is literally weeks of work-in-progress flowing through the facility, so any disruption in the process could cause large amounts of scrap.

Gregory Woods
Reply to  Lance Flake
October 6, 2022 7:19 am

thanks

John Hultquist
Reply to  Gregory Woods
October 6, 2022 9:42 am

Clay, NY is within throwing distance of a major electrical facility.
See at: 43.197558, -76.171085

Bright Red
October 6, 2022 3:55 am

The continual and never ending replacement of wind and solar generation assets that last around 15years or so also needs to be factored in. To be useful the entire wind/solar generation system would need to be rebuilt every 15years forever which is clearly not possible. Today we have only a fraction of the intermittent generation built and are fast approaching the replacement stage. As usual on this topic the believers have the decimal place at least 3 digits to the left of reality.

strativarius
Reply to  Bright Red
October 6, 2022 4:17 am

continual and never ending”

Forth Bridge syndrome.

strativarius
October 6, 2022 4:03 am

One problem with wind – which truly does make it Sisyphean – is the shorter than ‘expected’ life cycle. The figure trumpeted in the airwaves was 20 – 25 years, which in itself isn’t really that long in the scheme of things.

“A good quality, modern wind turbine will generally last for 20 years, although this can be extended to 25 years or longer depending……”

https://www.twi-global.com/technical-knowledge/faqs/how-long-do-wind-turbines-last

And yet

“A study commissioned by the Renewable Energy Foundation has found that the economic life of onshore wind turbines could be far less than that predicted by the industry.

The “groundbreaking” research was carried out by academics at Edinburgh University and saw them look at years of windfarm performance data from the UK and Denmark.

The results appear to show that the output from windfarms – allowing for variations in wind speed and site characteristics – declines substantially as they get older.

By 10 years of age, the report found that the contribution of an average UK windfarm towards meeting electricity demand had declined by a third.”

https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2012/12/29/wind-turbines-lifespan-far-shorter-than-believed-study-suggests/

Going by the results of the Renewable Energy Foundation’s study, a turbine can lose output at ~3.3% per year. How much slack can they be cut, and for how long? Which got me to thinking, well, how much does a replacement cost? Figures are are hard to find, but I did notice one quote for a 3.5 MW turbine.

“Commercial wind turbine cost 
Buying and installing a commercial wind turbine could cost anywhere from £345,000 for a 100 kW turbine, to £3.13 million for a 3.5 MW turbine. Usually, the bigger the turbine, the less you pay per kW.”

https://www.checkatrade.com/blog/cost-guides/wind-turbine-cost/

UK onshore is now installing up to 6 MW turbines in Scotland.  So they ain’t cheap and they don’t last long.

Oil companies, mining operations etc all have strict regulation on end of lifecycle where site restoration is the prime concern. Not so much with wind and solar. 

Look out Stonehenge.

HotScot
Reply to  strativarius
October 6, 2022 6:33 am

Add in £500,000 to remove a single existing turbine.

Reply to  HotScot
October 6, 2022 9:39 am

Or remove the blades, leave them on the ground, and let the rest of the windmill sit there. How many windmill blades can you dispose of 15 years from now? No one will want them.

Reminds me of storing spent nuclear fuel rods at nuclear power plant sites. The nation’s spent nuclear fuel is initially stored in steel-lined concrete pools surrounded by water. It’s later removed from the pools and placed into dry storage casks that are made of steel and concrete or other materials used for protective shielding.

Reply to  strativarius
October 6, 2022 9:34 am

The wind turbines may need replacement before the end of their useful life, which might average 15 years. 20 years would seem to be wishful thinking.

The first problem would be salt water for offshore windmills.
15 years surrounded by salt water is a long time.

The second problem could be a loss of efficiency as windmills wear out, so that it makes sense to purchase a new,more efficient, windmill, even though the old windmill could have continued operating for a few more years.

Last edited 1 month ago by Richard Greene
Dennis
Reply to  Richard Greene
October 7, 2022 11:25 pm

And of course astute investors will sell their shares to unsuspecting buyers before the time arrives for replacement of the assets, the cost of removal and replacement would most likely absorb the dividends received by shareholders if they remained shareholders when replacement time was reached.

Megs
Reply to  strativarius
October 6, 2022 4:30 pm

Developers are looking to install 60 wind turbines starting at 8 kilometres from our town and covering 76 square kilometres of prime agricultural land. These turbines will each be 7MW, which I believe will be the largest onshore turbines in the world. They will stand at 280m high and 200m wide and will be backed up by a 420MW BESS. The project will also install 500MW of solar covering an additional 13 square kilometres and will include a 500MW BESS backup. The combined project will require 11 kilometres of transmission lines on the site and likely two substations. This is just one of the projects proposed near our town alone.

The project is expected to run for close to three years and most of the infrastructure will be transported from the port which is 300 kilometres away. All this for a part time source of energy that will be lucky to last 20 years, that is if it doesn’t become stranded assets before then. And of course it’s also likely that the infrastructure will be left to decay where it stands. There are no regulations around decommissioning or land rehabilitation. How much of it will be buried here? The countryside as it stands now is stunning, rolling hills and distant mountains, farms and wineries. Our future is to become an industrial town.

Australia has a total of only 6% arable land and that’s where wind and solar are being installed. Not to mention the impact on native wildlife, birds and bats. Even endangered species aren’t safe, the developers only have to purchase certificates to absolve them of any responsibility for losses.

KcTaz
Reply to  Megs
October 7, 2022 1:53 am

Not to mention the impact of wind turbines on both the insect populations and on dead bugs created drag on the blades.

Interference of Flying Insects and Wind Parks (FliWip) – Study Report,

https://docs.wind-watch.org/Interference-of-Flying-Insects-and-Wind-Parks.pdf

The insect apocalypse Is here
instituteforenergyresearch.org

Yes. These birds and bees we need are disappearing while #ExtinctionRebellion is focused on a non-issue. “Researchers found that wind turbines in Germany resulted in a loss of about 1.2 trillion insects of different species each year…”

Megs
Reply to  KcTaz
October 7, 2022 3:17 am

I appreciate the links KcTaz! Thank you.

Dennis
Reply to  Megs
October 7, 2022 11:27 pm

Those things will be located offshore from Newcastle and Wollongong NSW, Gippsland VIC and in Bass Strait near Tasmania.

Megs
Reply to  Dennis
October 8, 2022 12:19 am

As well as! Yes I know, we’ve connected with groups in Queensland and Victoria against onshore renewables. More of us are speaking out against this infrastructure. Our Zone was supposed to be a 3GW pilot study. Well they’ve obviously worked out that won’t be enough so they’ve upped it to 12GW. That’s just for the Central West of NSW.

Adam
October 6, 2022 4:13 am

Micro-hydro has lots of potential locations. So, we can greatly expand our hrydro power capabilities. Blue states like WA unfortunately are ripping out regular hydro installations.

griff
Reply to  Adam
October 6, 2022 6:34 am

Absolutely!

The UK has identified 1GW of potential micro hydro capacity with no environmental impact.

Unfortunately the people running the grid won’t connect it.

Dave Andrews
Reply to  griff
October 6, 2022 7:28 am

That’s likely because the costs of connecting to the grid outweigh any benefits.

MarkW
Reply to  Dave Andrews
October 6, 2022 10:00 am

Activists don’t care about costs. Especially when someone else can be forced to pick up the tab.

MarkW
Reply to  griff
October 6, 2022 9:59 am

How big is “micro”. It costs a lot of money to run power lines to such sites, as well as the electronics necessary to keep all those micro sites “synched” to the grid.

It doesnot add up
Reply to  griff
October 6, 2022 1:43 pm

If you knew what you were talking about you would know that the British Hydrp Association has identified a total of about 2.8GW of hydro potential, almost all in Scotland, and almost all in large hydro (>5MW). All projects have to go through environmental vetting, which is why most of the larger ones remain untapped. Smaller projects are costly relative to output, and completely killed if it is necessary to install a fish ladder. There is certainly nowhere near 1GW of micro hydro (<100kW). That would imply more than 10,000 sites, and probably over 50,000 sites.

KcTaz
Reply to  griff
October 7, 2022 2:09 am

griff, At 1GW, apparently, you mean pico hydro.

Micro hydro is a type of hydroelectric power that typically produces from 5 kW to 100 kW of electricity using the natural flow of water. Installations below 5 kW are called pico hydro. [1]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micro_hydro

Haven’t you greenies done enough damage to nature? Now, not even the animals in small streams are safe from you?

Dennis
Reply to  griff
October 7, 2022 11:28 pm

Cost-benefit analysis result?

Peter Morris
October 6, 2022 4:17 am

Unfortunately convincing most readers of WUWT is not the problem. The problem is convincing the average person who is not at all versed in all this but does understand (whether they can name it or not) Moore’s Law.

The zealots have managed to create an illusion that all “new” technology proceeds at a pace similar to integrated circuits, which is not even remotely true. But as a result, many people simply assume a “carbon free” future is right around the corner.

This is supported by ridiculous claims of carbon neutrality from large corporations, such as Google’s huge lie that they’ve been carbon neutral since 2007, which has been posted at the bottom of their website for years now.

Even if you explain the lie, people simply shrug and say something like, “Well everyone exaggerates now and then.” It’s a monumental task.

strativarius
Reply to  Peter Morris
October 6, 2022 5:28 am

“The problem is convincing the average person”

But the average person (and the younger the better) has been convinced – by the propaganda and what now passes for an education.

One thing that struck me recently is the tight lockstep of the media. On the election of Giorgia Meloni the entire Western media had the same script “Italy elects its most right wing government since Mussolini.”. Verbatim. Even in South America.

The fact that she was the first woman came a poor second and the fact that she was the first directly elected PM in 14 years – ie not chosen by the EU – was even further down.

You can’t convince anyone of anything until the propaganda has been stopped and education is restored from indoctrination.

Last edited 1 month ago by strativarius
Scissor
Reply to  strativarius
October 6, 2022 6:24 am

It amazes me that anyone would purchase a $115,000 Hummer EV. One is asking for problems, begging to throw money away.

Strativarius
Reply to  Scissor
October 6, 2022 6:37 am

Arnie would….

Dan Koch
Reply to  Scissor
October 6, 2022 8:27 am

In computer cars you have to open the door to turn the car off.

griff
Reply to  strativarius
October 6, 2022 6:33 am

And yet her party was a far right one: she leads a party rooted in a post-war movement that rose out of dictator Benito Mussolini’s fascists.

strativarius
Reply to  griff
October 6, 2022 7:14 am

Did you bother to read what I posted, griff?

The lockstep of the media – including the Graun and the BBC – didn’t register, did it.

A Noo Labour educashun. One where democracy is just a word.

Last edited 1 month ago by strativarius
MarkW
Reply to  griff
October 6, 2022 10:03 am

Ah yes, anyone to the right of the socialists is “far right”.

As the fascist nonsense, you are famous for believing whatever your handlers tell you to believe.

Redge
Reply to  griff
October 6, 2022 10:47 am

And yet her party was a far right one

Was.

The labour party used to represent the interests of the working class, not they are as extreme left as can be

and what is it with you people that everyone who isn’t a leftie has to be extreme right?

Last edited 1 month ago by Redge
MarkW
Reply to  Redge
October 6, 2022 3:41 pm

They claimed to represent the interests of the working class. Instead they pushed programs that only benefited those who run government.

b.nice
Reply to  griff
October 6, 2022 12:44 pm

So she hasn’t become a raving socialist yet, like many other politicians, especially one you would vote for.

Not everyone HAS to be a raving marxist/socialist like you, you know.

TonyS
Reply to  griff
October 6, 2022 1:40 pm

Mussolini was a communist to start with before he started the fascist party. Fascism is a flavour of socialism and Mussolini was a socialist like his German counterpart. Calling Adolf and Mussolini far right is the biggest lie the left have ever managed to make stick and it infuriates me no end. The only dictator they were to the right of was Stalin.

TonyG
Reply to  TonyS
October 7, 2022 6:46 am

TonyS also “the parties flipped”

KcTaz
Reply to  griff
October 7, 2022 2:28 am

So? Democrats in the US belong to a Party founded to defend slavery and which practiced Segregation, Jim Crow, and Discrimination, the KKK until the 1960s and beyond.
The Democrats founded the “science” of Eugenics and still forced sterilized black women who were deemed unfit to have babies until 1972 with Va. being the last state to ban it. The Progressives “science” of Eugenics gave Hitler his ideas on exterminating the ” undesireables” and was used by the Nazis at Nuremberg as a defense because it was an American creation from US Progressive universities and funded by our Progressive elites, like Rockefeller.
Margaret Sanger who founded the forerunner of Planned Parenthood was a White Supremacist as was her mentor, President Woodrow Wilson Democrat and her goal was to rid the US of the black race. It is no accident that even today, Planned Parenthood clinics are mostly found in black and brown areas of cities and they’ve aborted orders of magnitude more black babies by now than Hitler’s death count in the Holocaust.
I could list a whole lot more but if anyone should be ashamed or apologize for belonging to any political Party, it should be each and every Democrat in the USA.

KcTaz
Reply to  griff
October 7, 2022 2:34 am

MYTH BUSTED: Actually, Yes, Hitler Was a Socialist Liberal
http://bit.ly/2kNmYPx

Obama, Hitler, And Exploding The Biggest Lie In History
https://bit.ly/2NjYlUX

7 Quotes That Prove Adolf Hitler Was A Proud Socialist
http://bit.ly/2muGC3j

Paul Johnson
Reply to  griff
October 7, 2022 6:19 pm

Yes, griff. She used to be a brunette and now she’s a blond, so her roots are dark.

Retired_Engineer_Jim
Reply to  strativarius
October 7, 2022 12:12 pm

But what to do with the folks who are already imdoctrinated? Re-education camps?

HotScot
Reply to  Peter Morris
October 6, 2022 6:39 am

I have been banging on about this for years.

90% of the world (at least) doesn’t have a scientific degree.

If every scientist in the world was convinced climate change was not catastrophic they would amount to 10% of voters (assuming democracies).

90% of the population are therefore susceptible to propaganda which everyone understands. Unless sceptical ideas can be communicated to the lowest common denominator then we will never convince enough people to vote against NetZero and all the other nonsense.

Reply to  HotScot
October 6, 2022 9:49 am

“90% of the world (at least) doesn’t have a scientific degree.”

100% of the people in the world — almost 8 billion people — have lived with global warming for up to 47 years, since 1975. No scientific degree is needed to observe that global warming had been so mild and harmless that many people never even noticed it.

Retired_Engineer_Jim
Reply to  HotScot
October 7, 2022 12:17 pm

And 50% of the voters are below average.

Reply to  Peter Morris
October 6, 2022 9:45 am

The root cause of the problem is that a large number of people believe everything governments tell them. About climate change, CO2, renewable energy, Covid, Covid vaccines, weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, Trump Russian collusion, etc. I’m convinced that only a few things can change most minds, such as:

  • A decade of unusually cool weather, or
  • A massive blackout that can’t be blamed on Putin, or whoever the boogeyman of the day is when it occurs
climanrecon
October 6, 2022 4:18 am
  • Add more solar, push peak demand to times of darkness, when more solar does nothing.
  • Add more wind turbines, push peak demand to times of low wind, when more wind turbines do next to nothing, especially when they are mostly clustered in the places with highest average wind (follow the money).
Planning Engineer
Reply to  climanrecon
October 6, 2022 5:22 am

You figured out part 2

It doesnot add up
Reply to  Planning Engineer
October 6, 2022 2:02 pm

Which should also cover the rising losses due to curtailment.

Once capacity exceeds minimum demand less required inertia providing generation curtailment will start to happen. As capacity is increased the size of surpluses rises and they apply to more demand hours. The result is that to begin with, curtailment rises quadratically.

As capacity rises further still we reach a point where incremental capacity almost entirely serves to increase surpluses, while doing nothing for windless days. The result is that most of the marginal output is curtailed. Curtailed output earns no real income. That means the cost of the turbine must be recovered from the few hours where its output might be useful. If only 10% of the output is useful it must charge 10 times as much as LCOE to cover costs. Meanwhile all those hours of surplus will cannibalise revenues throughout the system.

The final nail is that even with “free” energy (that in reality must be paid for to cover the cost of the turbines that provided it), storage js infeasible on the scale required and completely uneconomic.

griff
Reply to  climanrecon
October 6, 2022 6:31 am

Why do those things push peak demand to those points?

Planning Engineer
Reply to  griff
October 6, 2022 7:34 am

Solar pushes peak demand because it’s on the residential side reducing load when solar is available on the bulk side, and when solar ais not available on the bulk side, residential load goes up to make up for the lost solar.

Erik Magnuson
Reply to  griff
October 6, 2022 7:57 am

I would assume that he is referring to peak demand on conventional (non-renewable) generation. If this is the case, he is absolutely correct.

The problem of peak production from solar versus peak demand was first pointed out to me in spring of 1976 in a talk by the chief engineer of PG&E. There were several solar power advocates in the audience and he pointed at a slide of the demand curve and said that there was a lot of energy left in the peak demand after the sun went down.

The Cal ISO was raising warnings about the “solar duck” a decade ago, but neither Moonbeam nor Hair Gel paid much attention.

MarkW
Reply to  griff
October 6, 2022 10:04 am

Electric cars charge at night, when the owners are home.
It’s not difficult griff, all you have to do is activate your brain.

b.nice
Reply to  MarkW
October 6, 2022 12:47 pm

I doubt griff has enough self-thought to activate even one of his two brain cells.

Reply to  climanrecon
October 6, 2022 9:51 am

Greene’s Solar Energy Iron Law

1 solar panel + no sun = no electricity
One bazillion solar panels + no sun = no electricity

Greene’s Wind Energy Iron Law

1 windmill + no wind = no electricity
One bazillion windmills + no wind = no electricity

No wind + no sun = no electricity !

Last edited 1 month ago by Richard Greene
It doesnot add up
Reply to  Richard Greene
October 6, 2022 2:06 pm

or Dunkelflaute. The Germans have been told to prepare for power cuts lasting more than 72 hours. National Gr8d is admitting it will initiate paid-for power cuts of up to 2GW, supplemented by 3 hour rolling blackouts this winter.

MarkW
Reply to  It doesnot add up
October 6, 2022 3:48 pm

The usual suspects will declare that there would have been no problems, had only Biden not blown up those gas pipelines. Which is one of the reasons why Putin blew them up.

Richard Page
Reply to  MarkW
October 6, 2022 4:49 pm

We know a little bit more now than we did – 2 devices were detonated in different locations, 1 in Swedish waters, 1 in Danish. They were each equivalent to about 100kg of TNT and were detonated in the water, not on the pipeline, seabed or inside the pipeline. Analysts have said that they could have been assembled from commercially available explosives or be military depth charges, mines or bombs. Swedish and Danish teams are investigating both crime scenes and will, no doubt, have more detailed information if they are able to find fragments of the devices.
I’d put money on anti-pipeline activists with access to commercial explosives, I think.

KcTaz
Reply to  Richard Page
October 7, 2022 2:50 am

I’d put my money on Biden since he said that is exactly what he’d do if Putin invaded.

BIDEN PROMISES TO BLOW UP NORD STREAM IF RUSSIA INVADES VIDEO

Joe Biden ‘close to not there upstairs’ https://youtu.be/rVnl_cnjBls via @YouTube

It doesnot add up
Reply to  KcTaz
October 7, 2022 8:20 am

He never mentioned blowing it up. He said he had ways to prevent Nordstream 2 going ahead. They worked: it was never commissioned.

KcTaz
Reply to  climanrecon
October 7, 2022 2:45 am

Perhaps this will help the greenies to understand what you are saying.

WINDMILLS-MORE DOESN
george1st:)
October 6, 2022 5:21 am

The net zero climate change propaganda now has a religious following and do not know how to analyse actual facts .
The average voter will continue to vote in below average politicians and they will all feel happy about themselves .

Reply to  george1st:)
October 6, 2022 11:14 am

Climate change (CAGW) and Nut Zero propaganda depend on predictions rather than reality. CGW is coming in the future and has been for the past 50+ years. Nut Zero is going to save the planet in the futrure. These are fantasies of the future — beliefs based on faith.

These beliefs were not created with facts, data and logic, so they can’t be refuted with facts, data and logic.

CAGW can be refuted with a decade of cool weather that people notice

Nut Zero can be refuted by blackouts that affect lots of people.

I doubt if mere words could change CAGW and Nut Zero beliefs.
Changing such faith-based beliefs would be equivalent to changing the belief in God for a religious person. Probably impossible to do.

UK-Weather Lass
October 6, 2022 5:36 am

Until we have nuclear energy on a comprehensive and varied scale and some gas powered generators acting as reserve/back up output we cannot afford the risks that intermittents are currently giving us at a cost that markets should not be asked to manage. It is the political agenda that is out of sink with reality and, in the UK, politicians either have no idea of the problems they are making for themselves or they do know and are absolutely certain no harm will come to themseves even if large numbers of the less well off perish.

Wasn’t that also the case in their dealings with that pesky virus that recently went around the neighbourhoods a few times? Were not all the wrong messages sent out then, too, and who was it who suffered most and why did all the policies (which breached the original WHO advice about no lockdowns, no school closures and no unsafe medical interventions) fail to keep people safe from harm?

Strativarius
Reply to  UK-Weather Lass
October 6, 2022 6:38 am

Until Parliament gives up the delusion we’re kind of stuck

KcTaz
Reply to  UK-Weather Lass
October 7, 2022 3:03 am

I suspect the politicians beliefs on climate change are greatly aided by bribes er, campaign donations and other such gifts and “benefits” from the many interested constituents of CAGW.

Paul Johnson
October 6, 2022 5:59 am

As in medicine, the dose makes the poison.

c1ue
October 6, 2022 6:15 am

I just attended the GCPA: Gulf Coast Power Association fall conference.
Both Calpine and Vistra CEOs highlighted the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act – and predicted that this would lead to 35 to 50 GW of new solar installation into the Texas electrical power generation ecosystem.
To put this in perspective: there are presented around 46 GW of BOTH wind and solar PV installed.
Another story that was making the rounds: the increasing amount of inverter based power generation (i.e. solar PV and wind) – that this caused a minor fault in the grid. This is in addition to the other way around: apparently in September 2021 – a fault in the grid caused 1100 MW of solar PV to go offline https://pv-magazine-usa.com/2021/09/24/odessa-disturbance-highlights-troubling-gaps-in-solar-reliability/
Overall, really interesting event with main themes being the post-Yuri legislation pushing weatherization requirements, and the rising cost of natural gas and its effects on dispatchable generation seeming to be the 2 main themes.
There was also a lot of talk about cryptomining. In particular, several presenters including a Texas state politician noted that a single cryptomining facility would consume as much electricity and 1/2 of the entire city of Austin – and that these miners were making more money by selling electricity during peak demand times than they were by mining cryptocurrency. The question then is just how sustainable the cryptomining is since supporting this volume of consumption would require increase of electricity generation – and that isn’t going to be good if the cryptomining goes away in 5 years.

Beta Blocker
Reply to  c1ue
October 6, 2022 9:56 am

Here in the US Northwest, we are certain to be running short of electricity as the decade of the 2020’s progresses. Cryptomining is consuming a portion of the hydroelectric output from our northwest dams. Not all that much comparatively at this point, but every little bit of our legacy hydroelectric power generation capacity will become more important as the legacy gas-fired and coal-fired capacity which serves our region is retired on an accelerated schedule, but without adequate replacement. Cryptomining in the US Northwest must be curtailed before the decade of the 2020’s is out.

Megs
Reply to  c1ue
October 6, 2022 5:30 pm

You have described an intention to install a massive amount of wind and solar. A developer is looking to install 920MW of wind and solar near our town in NSW Australia. So, close to a GW of renewables. This will require 90 square kilometres of land. There’s going to be a lot of very unhappy people in Texas.

It still won’t be enough to provide reliable energy to the people, charge the cars that few people can afford anyway and provide energy for such things as cryptocurrency, manufacturing and basically keeping the cogs and wheels of life turning.

Add up the installed and proposed GW promised by wind and solar then devide it by three to indicate a more realistic power output over a year. Then come to terms with the fact that it won’t even amount to that much energy and we’re all headed the way of Germany. Except that for Australia there is no nuclear power and we don’t have neighbours to call on during shortfalls of energy.

c1ue
Reply to  Megs
October 6, 2022 9:36 pm

Texas has A LOT of empty land that really isn’t good for anything.
Land use isn’t an issue for that state.

Megs
Reply to  c1ue
October 6, 2022 11:18 pm

Australia has too, yet they have chosen to install this infrastructure on prime agricultural land, much of if very scenic. And what is worse is that Australia has only a total of 6% arable land. It’s not like we’re a small country at 7.688 million square kilometres.

mkelly
October 6, 2022 6:16 am

As we were told in the service that “penetration however slight constitutes the act”. We the consumer are getting exactly what that definition is talking about.

Stop all wind and solar now.

Drill, baby, drill!

observa
October 6, 2022 6:17 am

Nup the climate economy is about to explode-
The Climate Economy Is About to Explode (msn.com)

it’s going to require as many attentive and enthusiastic brains as possible, and the path to decarbonizing always required an infusion of new workers, investment, and good will. If you don’t yet work in the industry, but have always cared about climate change as an issue, well, this is your moment to get involved. These companies are going to need engineers, yes, but also programmers, accountants, marketers, HR staff, general counsels—there is space for everyone now.

Who needs that old fuddy duddy dispatchable hub and spoke voltage and frequency when there’s boundless opportunities for whimsical weather spaghetti and meatballs eh? With the new imagineering along with sundry programmers, accountants, marketers, HR staff, general counsels It will all average itself out like the climate.

griff
October 6, 2022 6:30 am

Well there are multiple European nations with 40% plus renewable electricity, with no problems.

and there is considerable grid stability investment, particularly in the UK.

Strativarius
Reply to  griff
October 6, 2022 6:41 am

Griff

Your solutions are killing, as you put it, the planet

Give the child slaves a break, eh?

observa
Reply to  griff
October 6, 2022 7:21 am

What’s your idea of no problems with 40% penetration of renewables? 60% can’t afford the outcome so welcome to net zero for them. As for the climate economy exploding I suppose it’s already transitioning with excitement-
Exclusive-GE lays off workers at onshore wind unit as part of turnaround strategy – sources (msn.com)

Dave Andrews
Reply to  observa
October 6, 2022 8:30 am

Wind Europe in a letter To Ursula von der Leyen, President of European Commission (22nd Feb 2022) noted

“Net result is the industry is cutting jobs. It still accounts for 300,000 jobs in Europe, but Germany alone has lost over 50,000 jobs in the last 6 years

RoodLichtVoorGroen
Reply to  griff
October 6, 2022 7:24 am

Most people falling from skyscrapers don’t have any problems 40% plus of the way down either.

John Garrett
Reply to  griff
October 6, 2022 7:29 am

“…there are multiple European nations with 40% plus renewable electricity, with no problems…”

You made my day. I can’t stop laughing.

MarkW
Reply to  John Garrett
October 6, 2022 10:08 am

griff can’t tell the difference between peak and average.

Al Miller
Reply to  griff
October 6, 2022 7:34 am

No problems? Really!!
Well I’ll be sitting with a bag of popcorn watching “no problems” happen in Europe and Kalifirnia.

observa
Reply to  griff
October 6, 2022 7:45 am

More transitioning to the ‘demand flexibility service’ eh griff?
Homes face winter power cuts in worst-case scenario, says National Grid – BBC News
No doubt Charlie the green poster boy will be beaming with the photo op sign off.

Dave Andrews
Reply to  griff
October 6, 2022 8:20 am

No problems?

Wind Europe recently (21st Sept 22) sent a letter to all EU Governments -‘Message to National Governments on electricity markets’ which included –

“The message is simple
-stick to the single EU wide cap the Commission has proposed
-apply the same cap to all forms of “infra marginal” electricity
-only apply the cap to actual revenues earned. Most wind farms in Europe earn fixed incomes far lower than today’s wholesale electricity prices”

It ends with this incredible statement

“Ignore this and you turn away investment in renewables. You cement Europe’s dependency on fossil fuel imports. You worsen the energy crisis” (Bold in the original)

Sounds like they are panicking!

(Wonder how the last statement went down in the Countries receiving it)

MarkW
Reply to  griff
October 6, 2022 10:06 am

And here comes griff with his patented lies.

There is no country, European or otherwise that gets more than about 5% of its power from renewables.

It doesnot add up
Reply to  MarkW
October 6, 2022 2:12 pm

There is if you count hydro: Norway. And Iceland’s power is dominated by geothermal.

Redge
Reply to  griff
October 6, 2022 10:52 am

Name them with links to real data

ResourceGuy
Reply to  griff
October 6, 2022 1:37 pm

It’s amazing what you can buy when you lean on others for defense.

ResourceGuy
Reply to  griff
October 6, 2022 1:56 pm
Megs
Reply to  griff
October 6, 2022 5:35 pm

Griff please name these nations with 40% plus renewable electricity with no problems.

Paul Johnson
Reply to  griff
October 6, 2022 9:33 pm

Let me re-phrase griff’s comment:
There are multiple European nations with 40% plus renewable electricity that have had to make considerable grid stability investment to avoid problems.
That’s the point of this article. Thanks, griff, for making the author’s case.

KcTaz
Reply to  griff
October 7, 2022 3:11 am

griff, grid stability investments are not needdrd in grids fueled by fossil fuels, so those are costs, not investments. What, exactly, is “grid stability investment anyway?”

Last edited 1 month ago by KcTaz
Dave Yaussy
October 6, 2022 6:44 am

This is the first post in a series on The Penetration Problem

Someone’s getting penetrated, count on it. With ease. It’s us, the power consumers.

observa
Reply to  Dave Yaussy
October 6, 2022 7:26 am

You will be carbon and oxygen atoms electron free and be happy.

dodgy geezer
October 6, 2022 7:05 am

8)Widespread deployment of wind and solar would require that power be transmitted across great distances (or you would need an unrealistic and incredible amount of battery storage.) Getting wind’s power from the plains to the population centers involves long transmission lines. Green advocates argue that imbalances between load and generation from solar and wind resources can be overcome by drawing on resources from a broader geographical area. This requires even greater needs for long power lines and a robust grid.

This alone is enough to sink renewable power.

Transmitting power for great distances involves putting your country hostage to anyone who can damage a power line. That would be anyone over the age of about 16 who can obtain a firework rocket and some wire. Worse, it usually involves passing the energy through countries who will not always be friendly. There was a plan to generate Photo-power in the Sahara and feed Europe – that would mean ISIS controlling a critical resource.

Last edited 1 month ago by Dodgy Geezer
Megs
Reply to  dodgy geezer
October 6, 2022 5:50 pm

Australia will need to install 11,000 kilometres of new transmission lines to support wind and solar. China will be involved in building it. Nothing new there though, they have varying degrees of ownership in ports, water, mines, wind and solar and more. Even Energy Australia is fully owned by them. In fact our state government just awarded them $11 million dollars to look into the feasibility of turning an an existing lake, and popular tourist destination, into pumped hydro.

Of course if you raise questions about any of this you are labelled a racist.

ty hallsted
October 6, 2022 7:30 am

Item #4 is entirely too optimistic – it should instead be the nail in the coffin of current Net-Zero plans. 

Simon P. Michaux has performed a detailed inventory and analysis of the minerals needed to power the planet without fossil fuels. He considers geothermal, hydro, hydrogen, nuclear, wind and solar, apportioning to each the type of power they are best suited for (or are being proposed for and deployed), the amount of power each would need to generate and the number of units of each required.  

His 1,000 page report can be downloaded at https://tupa.gtk.fi/raportti/arkisto/42_2021.pdf and his 45+ minute summary of it can be viewed at

or https://rumble.com/v1kmfmf-assoc-prof-simon-michaux-the-quantity-of-metals-required-to-manufacture-jus.html

Conclusion – over 500k new power plants will be needed (there are less than 50k now) and there are not enough known reserves of required minerals to manufacture a single generation of them. And even if enough reserves are found, it would take between 189 and 7000 years to mine them based on 2019 mining rates.

Douglas Pollock
October 6, 2022 7:31 am

Great article on renewables. Just a couple of comments:
1) There are no potential benefits that might be achieved through economies of scale. The cost of electricity (LCOE) INEVITABLY rises as the renewable penetration in a grid increases, despite any reduction in its investment cost (USD/MW), the great green trick to justify them. The investment cost IS NOT an LCOE, the capital cost is (US$/MWh) and this is inversely proportional to the capacity factor which, in renewables, can be four or five times greater than that of a combined cycle power plant. Thus, it is possible to have a renewable power plant with the same investment cost as that of a combined cycle facility with the same installed capacity, however, the capital cost will still be even three times higher in the former. 
2) It is physically impossible to have a 100% renewable grid if available, stable and continuous electricity is demanded. There is a maximum limit for renewables above which the electricity generated in excess will be inevitably lost without further reduction in the “evil” thermal generation. That limit is precisely the average renewable plant factor. The only thing that continues to rise above that limit is the LCOE. Thus, “net-zero” is a utopia that lives only in the crooked minds of politicians.

Last edited 1 month ago by Douglas Pollock
PCman999
October 6, 2022 8:25 am

I’ve noticed that eco-evangelists try to mask the problem of the unreliable wind/solar, in cost comparisons to gas or nuke, they quote dubious LCOE quotes for wind/solar and an add-on for storage – usually 4hrs worth.

Recent studies posted here on WUWT, based on historical info from the UK, say that 21 DAYS of storage are needed to avoid black-outs.

504hrs vs 4hrs!!!

And even just the 4hr storage was basically equivalent to the cost of wind, so true LCOE would be 127 times higher than currently shown.

MarkW
Reply to  PCman999
October 6, 2022 10:12 am

They also give unrealistic life span number for both fossil fuel and renewable generators. They claim 30 years for both.
Actual real world experience gives 15 to 20 years for wind and solar, and 50 to 60 years for fossil fuel.

Reply to  MarkW
October 6, 2022 11:19 am

Probably no more than 15 years for wind and sun renewables
30 to 40 years for natural gas power plants
40 to 60 years for nuclear power plants, or more

On June 27, 1954, the world’s first nuclear power station to generate electricity for a power grid, the Obninsk Nuclear Power Plant, commenced operations in Obninsk, in the Soviet Union. The world’s first full scale power station, Calder Hall in the United Kingdom, opened on October 17, 1956.

US: The oldest operating reactor is Nine Mile Point 1 in New York, which entered commercial service in December 1969.Mar 7, 2022

Last edited 1 month ago by Richard Greene
Dave Andrews
Reply to  MarkW
October 7, 2022 6:50 am

Worldwide there are 700GW of coal fired power stations less than 10 years old, 650GW 10-19 years old, over 200GW 20-29 years old, 200GW 30-39 years old, 180gw 40-49 years old and 120GW 50+ years old.

It looks like coal power has a long life ahead of it. Claiming a 30 year lifespan for coal power stations is plainly ridiculous.

Dennis
Reply to  Dave Andrews
October 7, 2022 11:33 pm

Rarely mentioned about the real cost of wind and solar is removal, replacement and dumping costs repeated at least three to four times during the working life of a coal fired power station.

It doesnot add up
Reply to  PCman999
October 6, 2022 2:15 pm

Based on the longer term studies I have done I think you need more storage than that to cover bad years, and a sequence of below average years for renewables output.

ResourceGuy
October 6, 2022 8:48 am

9) The widespread policy choice to require local content in renewable energy equipment reflects a not so serious policy interpretation relative to the standard alarmist statements and continued official ignorance of costs.
10) Rewarding the least efficient (rooftop solar) lobbyists with large portions of the stimulus funds and trade policy actions demonstrates a lack of regard for competitive solutions or efficient uses of taxpayer funds, not to mention the use for slave labor in western China for components and coal-based production there.

markl
October 6, 2022 9:15 am

Add damage from nature, normal lifespan, and renewable replacement to the list. Offshore wind turbines are in an extremely inhospitable environment and wind and hail have already damaged PV panel farms. Wind turbines are proving to have a short operating life (compared to power plants) and we will have trouble keeping up with their replacements much less adding more.

Neo
October 6, 2022 9:15 am

GE is laying off 20% of its workforce devoted to onshore wind power, costing hundreds of jobs
https://www.cnbc.com/2022/10/06/ge-layoff-20percent-of-onshore-wind-workforce-hundreds-of-jobs.html

John Hultquist
October 6, 2022 9:32 am

Meanwhile:
Bloomberg will invest $85M to fight petrochemical companies expanding into Texas, Louisiana

MarkW
October 6, 2022 9:39 am

can use it to displace generation which relies on costly fuels.

The problem with this boiler plate concession to the renewable energy mafia, is that it simply isn’t true.

The only way it could be true, is if the power companies are able to ramp down fossil fuel power plants to compensate for the increase in renewable power.
This is not possible because even small changes in power levels for fossil fuel plants takes minutes, while wind and solar can and do change power levels in a matter of seconds.

n.n
October 6, 2022 11:32 am

Flora, fauna, people, or Green tech. The Green blight factor is self-limiting.

Gary Pearse
October 6, 2022 12:00 pm

“But at higher penetration levels this ability is greatly reduced and the economics can degrade and even reverse.”

There is a number 8) reason which I’ve mentioned before without getting much response. Let’s take a fully exploited windy place, say a mountain pass known to be reliably windy. Consider, that wind going through the pass does so because a low pressure system on the other side demands the air flow. The wind farm acts as a partial dam or baffle resisting the flow. Since the low pressure area down wind demands the full airflow, it therefore draws wind from another direction(s) to make up the deficit. The air in the pass, is also pushed up and over the blades of the turbines. Offshore farms are even easier to make an end-run around.

Better deployment of the the turbines is possible. In the case of the farm in the pass, successive tiers of turbines going downwind should be taller to exploit the compressed (enriched) air flow above the preceding tiers. Offshore, turbines tiers should be deployed in arcs concave to the wind to capture more power from the otherwise the end-run breezes.

Peta of Newark
October 6, 2022 12:42 pm

When moving huge amounts of DC power around, far and away the best way to do it, the problem with ‘inertia’ and ‘vars’ (reactive components) and horrible things like motors and fluorescent tubes is easily solved:
Because, what I might refer to as ‘Solid State Inverters cannot handle the vars and sudden short circuits caused by motors starting up, transformers being switched on etc etc. For safety reasons, they have to have a stable grid frequency and voltage to ‘latch on to’ in order to work – they need the synchronisation both with the grid and with their peers elsewhere on the grid.
And when large motors are switched on, they punch holes in the voltage.

So simple to get round it and build a solid grid that is both volatge and frequency stable:
Use ‘synchronous inverters’ = basically a large DC motor driving an alternator.
That way you get the voltage conversion from whatever DC you’re using and the frequency stability of the large rotating machine.
= a machine that can ride through short circuits and provide the reactive power (when current and voltage are no longer in phase with each other) as created by (typically) inductive loads like motors, tubes and transformers.

The technology is all there and the large alternators are being scrapped.
Find them in (now) redundant coal fired power stations.
Simply replace the steam turbine with a DC motor and feed it your DC power.
And the job’s a gud’un

edit to PS
Find the motors in now redundant steel works, where they typically powered the rollers that flattened and moulded the steel into whatever shape or profile was needed

Last edited 1 month ago by Peta of Newark
another ian
October 6, 2022 3:19 pm

Toss this in –

“Bad news for the US Electric Vehicle industry”

“The Department of Labor plans to add lithium-ion batteries to a list of products whose components are known to be made using child or forced labour. This means that there is not a single EV assembled in the U.S. today that would fully qualify for the $7,500 per unit subsidy contained in the IRA. That’s a huge financial hit to Ford, GM, Toyota and other U.S. auto-assemblers if it is not changed – OR – if the U.S. doesn’t somehow develop its own mining and processing industries for these critical minerals, an effort that would take decades and hundreds of billions more dollars than are contained in the Inflation Reduction Act.”

https://blackmon.substack.com/p/thursdays-energy-absurdity-politico?r=5c3gj&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=email

Now you’ve passed it things you get to read!

Richard Page
Reply to  another ian
October 6, 2022 4:54 pm

There ya go – no cars for the plebs. No doubt the elites will find a workaround.

Dennis
Reply to  Richard Page
October 7, 2022 11:34 pm

Special arrangement for internal combustion engine vehicles permits for woke followers and believers?

October 6, 2022 3:21 pm

Here is a tidbit from today’s news cycle “A top Florida state official warned Thursday that firefighters have battled a number of fires caused by EVs waterlogged from Hurricane Ian.”. from Fox News.

Richard Page
Reply to  goldminor
October 6, 2022 4:55 pm

Oops. Doubt the insurance will pay out either. This could get very expensive.

Bob
October 6, 2022 4:07 pm

Very nice report, short, to the point and few technical terms, this needs wide distribution.

Dennis G. Sandberg
October 6, 2022 9:48 pm

Solar produces DC, Wind AC
On large wind turbines (above 100-150 kW) the voltage (tension) generated by the turbine is usually 690 V three-phase alternating current (AC).

KcTaz
October 7, 2022 1:15 am

Thank you, Judith. Excellent article. Here are my contributions.

Not many people understand how the electric grid works and why renewables are a problem for it. This explains it.

The “New Energy Economy”: An Exercise in Magical Thinking
Executive Summary
https://bit.ly/3hwTGgb

https://www.manhattan-institute.org/green-energy-revolution-near-impossible

This concerns the mind numbing costs of renewables and the negligible effects on CO2.

Shocking statements by Dominion Energy to the VA State Corporation Commission
https://bit.ly/2CNJwbu
May 26th, 2020

This demonstrates how adding unreliable, intermittent renewable to a reliable power grid even makes clean nuclear dirty.

Duke Energy application points finger at solar for increased pollution
https://nsjonline.com/article/2019/08/duke-energy-application-points-finger-at-solar-for-increased-pollution/

…“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.”

Larry Sprague
October 7, 2022 7:57 am

I would appreciate comments on the accuracy of my argument:
  
No matter how cheap the cost of the generation of electricity by the renewables wind and solar, the use of wind and solar power will result in an increase in our electrical costs. The reason is because wind and solar power generation are unreliable and must be backed up 100 percent by an on-demand system. The cost of the on-demand power generation and transmission lines must be paid for regardless of the amount of renewable power used. If a power company needs $100 million to pay for the fixed costs of the generation facilities and transmission lines, it needs $100 million in revenue regardless of the percentage of power generated by renewables. If renewables generate 30 percent of the power, rates for the electricity provided by the on-demand power generation must go up, because the fixed costs of $100 million must be paid for. Renewables can only add to the capital costs (and expense) of generating electricity because the renewables add nothing to the on-demand supply of power and thus their capital costs are an added burden on the cost structure. While wind a solar may be “free”, the capital costs (and maintenance costs) are not and the fixed costs of the on-demand system must also be fully covered.  
  
The only way that the renewables make economic sense is if they produce both enough electricity and produce it so cheaply that they can pay for their own capital costs plus the capital cost of the on-demand plants. Thus if renewables generate 30% of the power, their revenue must cover 30% of the fixed costs of the on-demand generation as well as their own capital costs.
  
This is not just theoretical. We have a real world example in Germany which has gone in a big way in the use of wind and solar to power their grid. Prices have not declined with the increased use of renewables and in fact are approximately three times what they are in the United States (13 cents/KWh (cheapest US) vs. 44 cents per KWh (Germany)). This resultant higher price level is based on the inherent economics of wind and solar power. Germany’s higher costs are not due to them not “doing it right” and in fact are due to the inherent unreliability of solar and wind.
 
 In very broad terms, the three components of delivering electricity to a customer – power plant, fuel and transmission – each costs approximately a third of the total cost. This means that, broadly speaking, two-thirds of the costs of providing power are fixed and must be paid for whether or not the power plant is used. If a homeowner has solar panels on his roof and is able to generate all of the power he needs during the day, the full capital costs of the on demand generating plant and transmission lines must still be paid for. One might argue that the electricity generated by the solar panel allowed the power company to avoid the fuel costs, but that is not helpful because unless the power company generates and sells electricity it is unable to generate the revenue to pay for the $100 million in fixed costs. Unless the homeowner is completely “off the grid” and is never part of the power company’s demand load, solar power only adds to the total cost structure, and hence adds to the total cost of the electrical power system. The homeowner may pay less, but the system’s costs are higher. 

Beta Blocker
Reply to  Larry Sprague
October 7, 2022 11:12 am

One way or another, everyone will pay, even those who are off grid. Payment will be made in the form of general inflation caused by higher prices for energy, the costs of direct and indirect renewable energy subsidies, and the economic opportunity costs of a reduced supply of electricity over what we enjoy now.

planning Engineer
Reply to  Larry Sprague
October 8, 2022 6:41 am

This posting comments on how backup service could be charged in the US. There are different perspectives on what might be fair but renewable activists mostly push for schemes outside that boundary where renewable impose additional,costs they don’t pay for. Not a big deal at small penetration levels, but unsustainable at large levels.

https://judithcurry.com/2015/04/21/what-should-renewables-pay-for-grid-service/

StevenF
October 8, 2022 8:07 pm

Take out the wind and solar and this may be the greatest title of all time.

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