Why Climate Skepticism Has Not Yet Succeeded

By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley

Climate skepticism has four failings: a lack of elementary professionalism; a tendency to be over-skeptical of both sides of the argument; a striking absence of the intuitive ability of the mathematician, who wanders cheerfully and competently from the concrete to the theoretical and back; and unjustifiable discourtesy towards the scientific labors of fellow-skeptics.

Therefore, the skeptical argument – which is, objectively speaking, correct – has gained a lot less traction that it deserves. An interesting instance of all four failings was a 2400-word rebuttal directed at me that was published here recently.

First, unprofessionalism. The author lacked the common sense to contact me for comment before publishing the rebuttal. However, this opportunity to reply, promptly granted when I asked for it, purges that lack of professional courtesy.

Secondly, over-skepticism. I had published a piece at WattsUpWithThat outlining a highly significant and useful result attained after careful research by Douglas Pollock, an expert on the scientific and economic impact of wind and solar power on national electricity grids.

Pollock consulted widely among grid operators, generators and academic experts. He found widespread puzzlement that after a certain point – varying from species to species and grid to grid – adding more renewables either did not increase that species’ share of total grid output or resulted in ever-growing capacity-constraint payments or do-not-generate orders to renewables generators at times of high wind, strong sun or low demand. He investigated, worked through the math and found he could answer the industry’s question. He proposes – justifiably, in my view – to submit his result to a leading journal for peer review.

He discovered a counter-intuitive and unexpected fact hitherto entirely unknown in the industry: namely, that the maximum national renewables fraction (the maximum share of total output on a national grid contributable by a weather-dependent renewable species without either prohibitively costly and logistically unfeasible static battery backup or wasted generation covered by cripplingly expensive capacity-constraint payments or disconnect orders) – is equal to the mean national capacity factor of that species (the average share of that species’ nameplate capacity that is achievable given national average annual weather patterns). Surprisingly, the mean national capacity factor of a renewable species – the greatest penetration achievable without great cost and waste – is its Pollock limit in that national grid.

Now, a true skeptic would have begun by reading through my article with due care and attention. The author of the rebuttal, like some of the commenters on my article here, chose not to do that. Instead, having cited a sentence without its context from my article, he then restated it in terms twice explicitly contradicted elsewhere in my article – a context that he regrettably withheld from his readers throughout, for without it his entire criticism would have been seen to be entirely without foundation:

“Monckton (and Pollock) thus seem to be saying that if (for example) a wind turbine system can only generate about 35% of nameplate capacity ‘realistically achievable under real-world conditions’, then it’s futile to build any more wind turbines once you get to 35% wind penetration into output, because the 35% penetration is a mathematical limit that cannot be exceeded.”

Just two sentences after the sentence he thus rewrote from my original article so that that he could more readily tilt against the straw man than against what I had actually written, I had written:

“What Douglas Pollock’s brilliant and, at first blush, unexpected result means is that the miserably low capacity factor R is in fact also the fundamental limit fmax on the contribution that unreliables can make to the grid without prohibitively expensive and logistically unachievable large-scale static-battery backup.

To make sure there was no doubt as to my meaning, I went on to say: “This means that wind and solar power cannot contribute more than about a quarter of total electricity demand, unless there is battery backup. However, as Professor Michaux’s 1000-page paper of 2021 for the Finnish Geological Survey has established, there are nothing like enough techno-metals to provide battery backup of the entire grid worldwide.”

I did not need to state the corollary that, without battery backup, which Professor Michaux has proven to be impossible on the required scale, one would either need capacity-constraint payments or disconnect orders to subsidy farmers to stop their windmills and solar panels. Both capacity payments and disconnect orders are cripplingly expensive and dangerously wasteful given the growing scarcity and cost of energy.

The author of the rebuttal, when writing to give me this opportunity to reply, wrote that Mr Pollock’s result “does not address the questions of cost and waste of overbuilding”.

However, not only my original article but also this article, like Mr Pollock’s paper, had of course mentioned the “cost and waste of overbuilding”. In addition to the mention of “prohibitively expensive and logistically unachievable large-scale battery backup”, which appeared in both articles, I had made the following further references to cost in the original article:

“As a direct result of this fatuity, Britain now suffers the costliest electricity in the world.”

Next I explained that, as a result of our excessive electricity prices, “The manufacturing industries in which we once led the world have died or gone overseas to Communist-led China, India and Russia.”

Later in the article, I drew further attention to the cost and wastefulness of installing wind and solar capacity in excess of the Pollock limit by explaining that, to take one example, “just for the first generation of static-battery backup for the global grid, the Professor [Michaux] calculates that one would need the equivalent of 67,000 years’ total current production annual production of vanadium, to name but one of the scarce techno-metals that would be required in prodigious quantities.”

Having thus misrepresented my article, the author of the rebuttal said his immediate reaction was that I “couldn’t possibly be right”.

I have seldom seen a more blatant instance of the Aristotelian logical fallacy excoriated by the medieval schoolmen as argumentum ad ignorationem elenchi.

Thirdly, defective mathematical intuition. The author actually admits that it is his custom to avoid theory, which he calls “fancy proofs”, and to “stick to simple arithmetic”. As a result of his approach – all too common among skeptics – he entirely missed the main point of Mr Pollock’s result and, therefore, its importance. Instead, as shown above, he misrepresented it. So let me present the Pollock result, step by inexorable step. Judge for yourself, gentle reader. You will see that the conclusion is justifiable. 

The mean national capacity factor R of a weather-dependent renewable species (typically wind or solar) is the ratio of generation achievable by that species in annual mean weather to its nameplate capacity. Capacity factors vary both from nation to nation (with varying weather) and from species to species. In the UK, to take one example, the mean national onshore-wind capacity factor is about 0.25. Note in passing that for several reasons one cannot, as the author did, naively add the capacity factors of wind and solar.

The minimum demand-satisfying nameplate capacity C of either wind or solar is the minimum installed nameplate capacityof that species that would be required to satisfy the mean demand D met by the national grid. It is simply the ratio of D to R. Thus –

C = D / R.

The national wind (or solar) fraction f is the fraction of national grid generation actually contributed by wind or solar power.

The fractional minimum demand-satisfying nameplate capacity N of wind (or solar) is the minimum installed nameplate capacity needed to generate f. It is the product of f and C:

N = f C = f D/ R.

The maximum national wind or solar fraction fmax occurs when N = D. Then:

N = D = D fmax / R,  so that  fmax = R.

Therefore, the maximum national wind fraction fmax is equal to the mean national capacity factor R for wind power, which is the Pollock limit: in this example, 0.25.

By now, most national grid authorities know what Ris for each renewable species. But hitherto they have not known that R is equal to the minimum installed demand-satisfying nameplate capacity. Install more than that iron limit R and the additional electricity generated will be cripplingly expensive, or wasted, or both. That new knowledge is valuable and readily usable.

Precisely because until now the Pollock limit was not known, several national grid authorities are already generating more electricity from renewables than the Pollock limit. In doing so, they are unwittingly subjecting customers to very heavy and needless additional costs, which could have been, and could henceforth be, avoided by knowing of and respecting the Pollock limit.

Yet, remarkably, the author of the rebuttal cited the existence of over-generation in various countries as evidence that Mr Pollock was wrong in that there is no Pollock limit. For good measure, he also said that I had “assumed that no overbuilding is allowed”. Neither I nor Mr Pollock had assumed, stated or implied any such thing. I had instead twice implied the opposite. The existence of overbuilding is evidence not that there is no Pollock limit but rather that grid authorities do not know of the Pollock limit.

Fourthly, ungenerosity towards the work of other skeptics. Mr Pollock’s result is proven above. He is to be congratulated, not condemned, for his insight. The equations are simple, as were Einstein’s, but originating them was very far from easy.

If the author of the rebuttal had not misrepresented Mr Pollock’s result, and if he had found a genuine error, it would have been fair enough to point that out. He found no error, but was discourteous anyway. He preached that I had “launched into a sad round of name-calling … [i]nstead of simply recognizing that a small modification to [my] conclusion was in order”. No “modification” was needed, since the original article had already covered the point.

Next, the author of the rebuttal says: “I think that Monckton ultimately concedes that his result only applies to a situation where overbuilding is not allowed.” As will be seen from the quotations above, in the original article I had explicitly pointed out, twice, that battery backup would be needed if wind or solar generation exceeded their Pollock limits: i.e., if overbuilding occurred. One would not need battery backup otherwise. I had not “ultimately conceded” anything: I had started out, in the original article, by stating, twice, what ought in any event to have been obvious from the outset.

The author ends with a discourtesy to the effect that I had gone “somewhat over the edge on this one”. And yet, in writing to grant me this opportunity to reply, for which I am grateful, he says: “I would strongly urge you that name-calling does not advance your argument.” Goose, gander. Pot, kettle. We skeptics do need to raise our game.

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Tom Halla
January 16, 2023 6:16 am

Straw manning does get a bit too common. Pollock noting that building weather dependent sources past their actual performance limits gets dreadfully expensive gets portrayed as being a limit even if one accepts the expense.
The UK and Germany built beyond Pollock’s limit, and have dreadfully expensive electricity. Duuh!

Richard Greene
Reply to  Tom Halla
January 16, 2023 6:31 am

Straw Manning sounds like a good name for a football quarterback

I believe a strong case can be made for declaring EVERY bird and bat shredder, and every solar panel, as “overbuilding”.

There may be a few exceptinsn to that rule of thumb for unusually windy and unusually sunny places in the world,, as shown with charts at the links below:

Honest global warming chart Blog: Nations with the most wind power (elonionbloggle.blogspot.com)

Honest global warming chart Blog: Nations with the most solar power (elonionbloggle.blogspot.com)

Bryan A
Reply to  Richard Greene
January 16, 2023 7:10 am

Straw Mann also sounds like a great moniker for a Failed Climate Scientist

Rod Evans
Reply to  Bryan A
January 16, 2023 8:43 am

Maybe we could adopt ‘Stick Mann’ as a more descriptive and pointless climate alarmist argument….?

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  Richard Greene
January 16, 2023 7:54 am

Richard Greene makes an excellent point. Without subsidies, no one would build unreliables.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
January 16, 2023 8:23 am

That, we can agree upon.

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
January 16, 2023 10:20 am

Exactly. And while I’m not familiar with your post on the “Pollack Limit,” my reaction to such a concept would be that, once again, we have to stop “playing their game,” so to speak.

There is NO amount of wind and solar that “should” be built. The foundation of this supposed “need” is false, and even if it were not, wind and solar would do nothing about the imaginary “problem” in any event since they are 100% dependent on fossil fuels for their existence.

Even in Texas where current wind “capacity” is probably in the range of the “Pollack Limit” at about 30% of total generation, wind caused a near collapse of the Texas grid in February 2021 when it face-planted in a calm period following a winter storm.

The only thing accomplished by adding wind and solar to the grid is to make the grid MORE EXPENSIVE and LESS RELIABLE, and that is additional to the detrimental effects on ecosystems through the slaughter of magnificent raptors, other birds, bats, and insects, plus the potential weather impacts of harnessing energy from the wind and the Sun they haven’t even bothered to think about.

The “message” from skeptics should be simple: Stop these things. There is NOTHING beneficial about them.

Duane
Reply to  AGW is Not Science
January 16, 2023 11:55 am

Demanding zero renewables is a dumb argument and is exactly what Mr. Monkton is decrying. It makes you sound like a Luddite crank not a serious analysist. Nobody except other Luddite cranks will agree with that premise.

Renewables can certainly replace a predictable volume of power generated by other “dispatchable” sources, up to about the Pollack limit as described.

Mr.
Reply to  Duane
January 16, 2023 12:10 pm

But again, why do it at all if it doesn’t need to be done?

As as analogy, we now know that wearing masks does nothing to stop transmission or contraction of the COVID bug, so why still wear those annoying blue accessories over our gobs?

Sheesh, we managed to consign ties to the “unnecessary bin”, why are we hanging on the masks farce?

Or the “renewables” farce.

mkelly
Reply to  Duane
January 16, 2023 1:24 pm

The problem Duane is that renewables can’t replace “dispatchable” power. Your comment is based on a false premise.

AndyHce
Reply to  Duane
January 17, 2023 1:00 am

It has been claimed, and while skeptical, I cannot honestly say that I know it isn’t a valid point, that some significant amount of wind and or solar, optimized choice as to location, and presumed to not be exceeding the Pollock Limit, as long as it has 100% reliable backup (thermal, hydro, nuclear), might be the cheapest route because, when there is good wind or sun, the savings on fuel that is not being used can more than pay for the unreliables’ cost.

This of course ignores the well demonstrated and consistently reproducible tissue damage from wind infrasonics, which can lead to large medical costs, that almost everyone, even the most vociferous wind critics, seems to want to pretend doesn’t exist.

Last edited 11 days ago by AndyHce
AndyHce
Reply to  AndyHce
January 17, 2023 11:53 am

No replies indicates no interest in whether or not the claim has any validity?

old cocky
Reply to  AndyHce
January 17, 2023 10:35 pm

Nick Stokes suggested something similar a while back. I think a combination of solar, pumped hydro (Snowy Hydro 2) and CCGT could significantly reduce fuel usage and CO2 emissions in Australia. The limiting factors would be winter daylight hours, the storage capacity for hydro, and the limited fall available for hydro.

It may or may not be cost effective, especially with current restrictions on natural gas.

old cocky
Reply to  old cocky
January 17, 2023 11:52 pm

According to https://www.iea.org/data-and-statistics/data-tools/levelised-cost-of-electricity-calculator, the LCOE of solar PV is around $39 / MWh. Kicking the gas price as high as it can go, CCGT fuel cost is $84 / MWh, and for OCGT is $130 / MWh.

Assuming doubling the solar to handle pumping the water back uphill for the pumped hydro, and the CCGT running 50% of the time, the fuel savings more or less balance out the overbuild of solar.

Snowy Hydro 2 will have sufficient capacity for around 10 hours.

On that basis, the solar / pumped hydro / CCGT mix may well be optimal for the Australian eastern states.

I can’t vouch for the validity of the LCOE figures.

Having the Snowy 2 pumped hydro in the mix should allow covering for wind intermittency without needing OCGT, so an optimal mix could include some amount of wind (at $43 / MWh) , presumably allied to a reduction in the solar overbuild..

Coming up with less rubbery figures for the optimisation should be an interesting exercise for somebody.

Richard Greene
Reply to  Duane
January 17, 2023 1:31 am

Based on science, engineering and experince:

Every windmill and solar panel is overbuilding

More CO2 in the atmosphere is good news

The goal should be at least 800ppm CO2 to benefit C3 plants, or even more than 800ppm

The pattern and timing of global warming since 1975 has been beneficial and we should want more

Antarctica has not melted, and can not melt, from additional greenhouse gases

Predictions of climate doom have been wrong for over 100 years — and “climate change” is nothing more than a (wrong) prediction of climate doom.

Leftists ruin everything they touch.

The leftist goal is to ruin the current socialism (this is not capitalism anymore in the US, not with government spending at 34.5% of GDP in 2022) and replace it with fascism (already happening). With the ultimate goal of Marxism.

Every leftist plan and decision can be explained by this theory. Incompetence is not a good explanation. Leftists want a world ruled by leftist “experts”. That would be Marxism.

You can call me a Luddite too, but I can defend every one of these statements.

Richard Greene
Reply to  AGW is Not Science
January 16, 2023 12:12 pm

“Even in Texas where current wind “capacity” is probably in the range of the “Pollack Limit” at about 30% of total generation, wind caused a near collapse of the Texas grid in February 2021 when it face-planted in a calm period following a winter storm.”

WRONG
Wind energy in Texas goes to very low levels for minutes. or hours, in almost every week of the years. But there are no blackouts from that expected variability.

The 2021 Texas blackout was caused by the inability of Texas natural gas power plants to get enough natural gas through pipelines, and the slowdown in natural gas production in unusually cold weather.

The wind turbines contributed to the problem by not having optional blade deicers– that was a minor factor — the windmills would have to be stopped for deicing anyway.

Bryan A
Reply to  Richard Greene
January 16, 2023 1:26 pm

Not so fast grasshopper…
The Texas blackout was caused by Gases inability to ramp up over 170% of capacity due to Wind and Solar TANKING and demand doubling from normal peak levels
Combined with extreme cold causing an increased demand for Gas utilized in home heating

Last edited 11 days ago by Bryan A
Pat Frank
Reply to  Bryan A
January 16, 2023 9:35 pm

I recall reading that the gas failed in Texas because the plants supplying gas were required to heat their pumps with electricity rather than gas heaters.

As soon as the wind turbines failed, the electricity supply failed, the pumps failed, the gas stopped flowing, and gas turbine back-up failed.

I very much suppose — alá the Challenger disaster — that the engineers knew that failure was in the works, but the administrators wouldn’t buck the political optics.

Bryan A
Reply to  Pat Frank
January 16, 2023 10:06 pm

That and record demand. Generally the affected areas of Texas has a demand of 40 – 45,000 megawatts (MW). And gas regularly supplies about 1/3 – 1/2 of the total generation requirements.
However, demand for electricity in Texas hit a record 69,692 MW on February 14 — 3,200 MW higher than the previous record set in January 2018 and 12,329 MW higher than its current capacity.
Demand was over capacity and adjoining grid areas had no spare as they were also at high demand
comment image
comment image
This is the supply (note gas contribution)

Last edited 11 days ago by Bryan A
AndyHce
Reply to  Pat Frank
January 17, 2023 1:04 am

The reported first official act of recognizing the ‘crisis’ was to partition off a sizeable part of the existing gas supply for home heating use, thus forcing some gas generation plants off-line for lack of fuel.

It doesnot add up
Reply to  AndyHce
January 17, 2023 5:25 am

The first act was to cut supply to industrial users, with 4bcf/day released by LNG plants alone. Electricity generation is the second highest priority after homes. However, when the compressors that pumps gas to a power station or residential neighbourhood is knocked out theoretical priorities become redundant.

https://www.rrc.texas.gov/gas-services/curtailment-plan/

Last edited 11 days ago by It doesnot add up
Richard Greene
Reply to  Pat Frank
January 17, 2023 1:39 am

Texas energy infrastructure had problems with extremely cold weather since the 1980s.

3.2 million Texans faced rolling blackouts in February 2011.

A 300+ page report was written on the 2011 blackouts. I read it during the February 2021 Texas blackouts. Nowhere did it say build lots of windmills in the next ten years, but that is what happened. The Texas energy infrastructure (not just power plants) is STILL vulnerable to extremely cold weather. Winterization costs money that Texans are not willing to spend.

https://www.ferc.gov/sites/default/files/2020-05/ReportontheSouthwestColdWeatherEventfromFebruary2011Report.pdf

n.n
Reply to  Richard Greene
January 17, 2023 8:47 am

When did they switch from gas to electric powered compressors?

Richard Greene
Reply to  Bryan A
January 17, 2023 1:33 am

Baloney
Texas natural gas power output fell to about 3/4 of maximum output for many days.

Bryan A
Reply to  Richard Greene
January 17, 2023 5:18 am

Did gas output fall Before or After Wind Energy tanked? If after then a lack of Wind sourced electricity caused the gas issues. But Gas definitely stepped up where wind took a holiday

It doesnot add up
Reply to  Richard Greene
January 16, 2023 2:14 pm

The result of the blackout was that gas supply was affected. It was not the cause.

Last edited 11 days ago by It doesnot add up
Richard Greene
Reply to  It doesnot add up
January 17, 2023 1:41 am

The extremely cold weather was the cause. Did you not read what I wrote? The power source most affected by that extremely cold (relative to normal output) was natural gas power plants. The largest drop in electricity output during the blackout, by far, was from natural gas power plants.

It doesnot add up
Reply to  Richard Greene
January 17, 2023 5:36 am

The cause of the drop in gas output was the failure of compressors to deliver gas and water pumps to deliver cooling water after the big trip. The cascading trip was caused by having no reserve available leading to frequency decline accelerating as high demand from heat pumps switchEd to resistive heating collided with reducing supply from wind and a trip from power plant turned up to 11.

Someday you will learn to read.

PCman999
Reply to  Richard Greene
January 16, 2023 9:35 pm

Green fanaticism caused the blackouts – wanting to virtue signal by lowering their carbon footprint, Texas pipeline companies started powering the gas pumps with grid power to take advantage of wi,d power generation instead of powering the things with the most logical and inexpensive choice that they already had done: power the pumps with the gas in the pipeline!

So when the winds died out and the power grid started rotating blackouts to balance load and supply, they inadvertently cut off their gas supply to the generators, making a bad problem horrendously worse.

Richard Greene
Reply to  PCman999
January 17, 2023 1:43 am

Every decision by ERCOT seemed to be wrong. The cold weather problem was known since the 1980s. Never fixed. Not even fixed now.

AndyHce
Reply to  Richard Greene
January 17, 2023 1:02 am

You do like to ignore the fact and go with AOC type Truth.

Richard Greene
Reply to  AndyHce
January 17, 2023 1:44 am

Not one statement I made was false. If one was false, please repeat it and tell me why. And I don’t appreciate being compared with leftist dingbat like AOC.

Last edited 11 days ago by Richard Greene
It doesnot add up
Reply to  Richard Greene
January 17, 2023 7:41 am

I have corrected your statements multiple times in this thread, as well as on countless other occasions.

AndyHce
Reply to  Richard Greene
January 17, 2023 12:00 pm

I suppose I was out of line. You have recognized that, while hardly the whole problem, W and S are not part of any rational solution
except, just possibly the fuel savings claim I mentioned above, yesterday, might have some validity? I don’t say so, some others do. I am not sure how to analyze the claim.

Dennis Gerald Sandberg
Reply to  Richard Greene
January 17, 2023 7:04 pm

ERCOT didn’t have enough natural gas on hot standby, Understandably, hot standby needs to be minimized because it’s all waste.. Why did Texas need hot standby? Because Texas has too much wind. .Five percent on a grid is harmless, after that it’s all negative, long before the Pollock cap.

Having natural gas on cold standby doesn’t work when conditions are extreme. Take it from an old man who 60 years ago spent a few long cold days in the North Dakota old patch filling alcohol bottles to thaw out meter runs that iced up when the temperature dropped below -25F/

Obama wouldn’t let FERC approve a TX natural gas pipeline unless electric compressors were used instead of natural gas like every other natural gas plant anywhere else in the world. Obama may have a 150 IQ but that was an action by a irresponsible idiot. ERCOT included that pipeline in their rolling blackouts.

Lots of problems that never would have occurred if T.B Pickens hadn’t over bought natural gas and needed to get the TX coal plants shut down so he good avoid bankruptcy. He knew coal (lignite) can’t load follow wind. Good for him but not so good for the people who died that would be alive today if TX hadn’t gone “Big Wind”. or Obama hadn’t insisted on electric compressors, or ERCOT had run a few natural gas generators on hot standby..

.Obama may have a 150 IQ but action was “less than brilliant” (Quora wants us to be polite or I would be more descriptive).

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  AGW is Not Science
January 16, 2023 3:04 pm

It’s funny how people can read a name multiple times in an article (Pollock), then proceed to misspell it repeatedly in their response (Pollack).

It doesnot add up
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
January 16, 2023 7:09 pm

Definitely fishy…

AndyHce
Reply to  It doesnot add up
January 17, 2023 1:07 am

One enters a comment some space after the article. The article, and its spelling, is then essentially unavailable for reference. This this isn’t absolutely true but it is a practical limit.

Last edited 11 days ago by AndyHce
Jeff Alberts
Reply to  AndyHce
January 19, 2023 7:21 am

Umm, you can’t scroll up and look if you’re not sure? Poor defense.

Reply to  AGW is Not Science
January 16, 2023 4:46 pm

AGW is not science
My employment in Australia’s mineral industry involved concepts of using wind/solar for electricity at remote sites where diesel carried by trucks was usual. We wanted cheaper sources, but needed reliability, not intermittency. Therefore the option of total supply from W&S was not viable from as far back as the 1960s.
More recently, the option of using some W&S to supplement the usual supply has been tried here and there. Trucking in diesel is expensive and windmill design has improved. Here is an example.
https://arena.gov.au/blog/agnew-gold-mine-breaks-new-ground-with-renewable-energy/#:~:text=The%20Gold%20Fields%20group's%20Agnew,to%20reduce%20costs%20and%20emissions.&text=A%20Western%20Australian%20mine%20has,and%20a%20backup%20gas%20turbine
Note that there is some ideological elements as the boss tips his hat to sustainability.
As yet, I have not calculated the Pollock Limit and so will not comment on it. Geoff S

Richard Greene
Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
January 17, 2023 1:48 am

AGW is science. although mild and harmless

CAGW is not science –it’s just an imaginary boogeyman

There is a big difference between AGW and CAGW

CAGW is sort of like AGW x3

Scissor
Reply to  Tom Halla
January 16, 2023 7:14 am

The “straw man” is one of the tools of Greta’s army to push for even more unreliable and expensive electricity. In the face of such insanity, one might conclude that Greta’s masters intend to fundamentally transform the West by making it fail.

We should appreciate that Monckton critically details the failings of our arguments for those of us that are against Greta and her masters. Below is the origin of the piece to which Monckton refers.

https://www.manhattancontrarian.com/blog/2023-1-13-killing-off-renewable-energy-will-take-a-little-more-work

Diversion via the “bloody red herring” is another of Greta’s tools. I hope that Monckton and Menton can cooperate and get back on the trail. Our fight is for our children and theirs.

Hoyt Clagwell
Reply to  Scissor
January 16, 2023 9:26 am

Your comment made me think of the movie, “Wicker Man”. It occurs to me that human history has long been filled with the irrational belief that weather and climate problems can be solved with ceremonial human sacrifice. It was as true among the ancient aztecs as it is among the modern progressives.

DMacKenzie
Reply to  Hoyt Clagwell
January 16, 2023 1:04 pm

Hoyt
I think it is generally known that “rain dances” will cure droughts, and “sacrificing virgins” will stop volcanic eruptions. Where are you getting your false information about these cures being irrational ? Reliable sources only, please.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  DMacKenzie
January 16, 2023 3:06 pm

You should probably add a /s for the sarcasm-impaired.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
January 16, 2023 6:52 pm

The sarcasm-impaired be damned!

Elliot W
Reply to  DMacKenzie
January 16, 2023 5:58 pm

Yup. 97% consensus on the rain dances and virgin sacrifice issues.

Hoyt Clagwell
Reply to  DMacKenzie
January 16, 2023 11:16 pm

Well, I do know what happens every time I have my car washed.

AndyHce
Reply to  DMacKenzie
January 17, 2023 1:11 am

Just remember how much the witch killings did for Dark Age Europe’s weather.

Pat Frank
Reply to  Hoyt Clagwell
January 16, 2023 9:41 pm

I’m presently reading Witches and Neighbors. The witch scare in all its sociological particulars was very reminiscent of the modern climate scare, including frantic believers, invisible causes, and Greta-like child-accusers.

Hoyt Clagwell
Reply to  Pat Frank
January 16, 2023 11:21 pm

Add to that the simple fact that a Witchfinder General who is paid to find witches will do just that.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Scissor
January 16, 2023 6:48 pm

Monckton may have been misunderstood, but his sesquipedalian emanations were too tiresome to warrant the necessary attention to render them comprehensible. One should not demand such herculean effort from one’s reader.

As has been observed, every increment of eagle shredder and slaver panel is a waste, raising the cost of electric power by virtue of the need to maintain redundant systems. Beyond the so-called Pollock limit the waste merely progresses from regrettable to egregious under current irrational policy.

There is however no justification for claiming that overbuilding as a strategy is fundamentally different from the lower-penetration case.

Of course it is ruinous while applying the moronic policies implemented by my cousins who still labor under the misapprehension that some ought to be treated with deference by virtue of the accident of their birth. Applying those neo-fascist crony policies is not a necessary outcome. If we are going for communism, then let the glorious state own the 3x overbuilt bird-shredders. When not needed and unable to be given away, power would be wasted by the government. No curtailment payments need be paid. There’s a total cost of building all the ruinables and a cost of maintaining and operating the benighted system. Amortize the capital, add it to the operational cost, and divide by the amount of power consumed. That establishes the cost per kilowatt-hour, not the ridiculous incentives established by the (non-) Conservative government of a once-great country.

Pat Frank
Reply to  Rich Davis
January 16, 2023 9:43 pm

herculean effort from [the] reader

Science is like that, Rich.

AndyHce
Reply to  Rich Davis
January 17, 2023 1:16 am

It would seem Germany in the 30s and 40s had it right: fascism, not communism, rules.

Richard Greene
January 16, 2023 6:24 am

The Pollock Theory is a meaningless rule of thumb and of no value to anyone. There are no data concerning overbuilding and the current claims of needed battery capacity are far below reasonable estimates because batteries are so expensive.

In fact, there is no Nut Zero plan that is feasible, affordable, or capable of completion by 2050. Nut Zero is just a long-winded vision statement and an arbitrary completion year.

With politicians and bureaucrats in charge of Nut Zero, no one knows when the project will fail. We only have a general rule of thumb that leftists ruin everything they touch, so will eventually ruin electric grids too.

Frances Menton is the author you are talking about. at the Manhattan Contrarian website. His article was very long and difficult to follow — anything but concise. But his claim that the Pollock Theory is very unlikely to be correct makes sense.

And you have no idea what “overbuilding” means. EVERY bird and bat shredder and every solar panel attached to an electric grid is overbuilding.
They are redundant sources of electricity, with highly variable output. They supplement a functioning electric grid that does not need supplementation.

The unreliables need 100% natural gas backup to cover the worst possible weather conditions, plus an engineering margin of safety to cover gas turbines down for maintenance or repairs. So there is no need for bird and bat shredders and solar panels if you also need 100% natural gas backup for them.

The bottom line is there is no climate emergency.
There is not even a climate problem — the current climate is wonderful.
The existing electric grids were not broken, so do not need to be “fixed”.

But if the grids needed to be fixed, the last people in charge of the enormous project should be politicians and bureaucrats.
And the Pollock Theory is claptrap.

Okay, Mr. Monckton, now is the time to blow your top and call me a climate communist. I can’t wait.

Last edited 12 days ago by Richard Greene
wilpost
Reply to  Richard Greene
January 16, 2023 7:32 am

Many grid operators, such as ISO-NE, publish minute-by-minute outputs of electricity sources loading onto the grid, including imports and exports from nearby grids.

Such values can be summed on an hourly basis, to determine the load contribution of each source to the grid load.

It would be immediately clear, solar contributes next to nothing from late-afternoon/early-evening, the peak hours, and wind usually is minimal as well.

Where in hell would electricity come from to provide continuous electricity service, 24/7/365, under all circumstances, such as wind/solar lulls, heat waves, snow storms, hurricanes, high winds, etc.

Weather-dependent, random wind and solar offer near-zero resilience, which is well-known by all grid operators.

Wind and solar are total cripples, that could not even exist on the grid, unless the other generators were there to counteract their ups and downs and absences.

Richard Greene
Reply to  wilpost
January 16, 2023 8:13 am

Electricity supply-demand matching is important for each minute of the day, not just hours, or days, or averages. Even the spinning reserve natural gas plants do not ramp up to full capacity instantly.

I guess the good news is grid management will become a lot more exciting as the percentages of renewables increase. No more sleeping on the job !

Three sources for fuel used for electricity:

UK
National Grid: Live (iamkate.com)

Texas
Real-time Operating Grid – U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)

Ontario Canada
Power Data (ieso.ca)

US power outages count
United States Power Outage Map

Good source for flashlights (ha ha)
Rechargeable Tactical LED Flashlights from MF Tactical (monsterflashlight.com)

John Hultquist
Reply to  Richard Greene
January 16, 2023 11:14 am

 Here is a link to the Oregon/Washington/Idaho region’s grid balancing. It shows a week and is updated at 5 minute intervals. Under the chart is a list of all the generators. There is one nuclear: Columbia Generating Station

Large dams provide much of the system’s base (blue line).
“VER” is mostly wind – VER means Variable Energy Resources

BPA Balancing Authority Load and Total VER

Murphda
Reply to  Richard Greene
January 16, 2023 11:56 am

The Texas website is fascinating, showing the amount of generation from each source type (mainly gas, wind, solar, nuclear, coal, hydro). If you click the tool icon, you can set your own dates and look at the amounts.

What you actually see is that Texas does a great job of balancing between the sources. Nuclear sourcing is the same 24/7. Solar achieves peak during daylight hours. Wind has great variability. It can operate for several days at high output or go to 10% or less for a day or more. Gas is obviously turned up and down depending on the time of day and wind’s contribution.

In January so far, wind contributed up to 65% of demand several days in the last week, but there have also been times where it has been down to 10%. I checked several 2 weeks period from last summer and during those periods wind was always consistently well below 50%, with natural gas by far the largest supplier, typically over 50%. Even in the middle of the day solar still only provided about 10% of demand.

If someone really wanted to test the “Pollock limit” assertion, Texas’ data would be a great source because they are basically a stand alone system. At a cursory glance, it would appear that in the winter (when it is by far the windiest), Texas wind power may exceed the “Pollock limit” but it is far below the limit in the summer. So any test of said limit should integrate the data over an entire year to get an average.

It doesnot add up
Reply to  Murphda
January 16, 2023 2:25 pm

You raise an important subsidiary point, which is that production from renewables may be in sympathy with seasonally higher demand, or it may fail to offer a useful contribution when demand is highest. It is usually the case that some mix of different sources offers the best compromise. Thus in the UK solar has little value when demand is high in winter (and nights are long), but it does tend to be windier in winter months – although there can also be lengthy periods of still winds in cold weather, which means that we need backup to meet peak demand in full. Low wind output in summer can be offset to some degree by some solar. These seasonal factors do influence the amount of renewables that can be accommodated on the grid without leading to more extensive curtailment.

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  Murphda
January 16, 2023 4:02 pm

If Murphda would do me the kindness of reading the mathematical section of the head posting, he would see that annual averaging is in the definitions.

Colin
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
January 16, 2023 5:07 pm

Reading might hurt. As with kindness and being thorough

PCman999
Reply to  Colin
January 16, 2023 10:06 pm

Well I got my degree in nuclear engineering physics and yet my eyes glaze over when getting into the nitty-gritty like this.

And also it seems like something is missing, because the capacities of wind and solar aren’t like inefficiencies where overbuilds are an easy fix to contemplate. Renewables are variable and unreliable, even blending the two to smooth out the variation doesn’t work, even as a though experiment.

Nimbler minds and fingers than mine are needed to scavenge production and consumption data of several years length, and weather data, and hindcast what net-zero really looks like.

Richard Greene
Reply to  PCman999
January 17, 2023 1:54 am

Overbuilding starts with the first windmill and first solar panel. Overbuilding will stop when the money runs ou,t or when the blackouts begin.

Nut Zero is being mismanaged by politicians and bureaucrats — real science and engineering is not involved. Or common sense.

PCman999
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
January 16, 2023 9:58 pm

Am I missing something – wouldn’t building a grid to the average result in frequent times of insufficiency, whether for demand itself or demand plus enough recharging capacity to make sure storage is ready for the next peak demand or capacity nadir?

AndyHce
Reply to  PCman999
January 17, 2023 1:31 am

Certainly it would. The whole point with the presentation is that, as expensive as wind and solar actually are, exceeding a certain limit, hopefully well calculated with the analysis given, becomes exceedingly still more expensive.

That seems to be it, not that overbuild won’t sometimes provide more usable electricity but that it also provides very excessively
unusable electricity too much of the time. This leads to even more extreme costs. “Storage” is very very expensive — to the limited extent that it is even possible.

Last edited 11 days ago by AndyHce
PCman999
Reply to  Murphda
January 16, 2023 9:54 pm

Safer for everyone in Texas if they test the limit or net-zero requirements in a computer simulation than by spending trillions on equipment and crossing our fingers!

I hope W.E. is working on crunching such numbers….

Richard Greene
Reply to  PCman999
January 17, 2023 1:56 am

Leftists would program the computers to get the answers they want, just like they program climate computer games to get the scary climate predictions they want.

Rod Evans
Reply to  wilpost
January 16, 2023 8:53 am

I like the phrase electricity generating cripples. Not only are wind and solar themselves cripples amid the energy industry they try to operate within. They are crippling our very (previously) reliable generating systems for zero benefit to anyone.
In fact is is even worse than that. The weather dependent generating options are actually destroying the very wild places and wild creatures that lived there. Yet the climate alarmists claim those areas and those creatures are their focus of concern?!

Last edited 12 days ago by Rod Evans
John Hultquist
Reply to  Rod Evans
January 16, 2023 11:17 am

destroying the very wild places and wild creatures that lived there

Not always the case. A little too general.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  John Hultquist
January 16, 2023 12:21 pm

I cannot recall seeing a single vista that has been improved by a carpet of bird choppers or photovoltaic panels. Have you a counter example?

Colin
Reply to  John Hultquist
January 16, 2023 5:08 pm

Show me where they have IMPROVED THE VERY WILD PLACES AND WILD CREATURES please

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Rod Evans
January 16, 2023 11:43 am

Politically incorrect. I believe the current PC term is “challenged.” Although, it may have changed by the time you read this.

Richard Greene
Reply to  Rod Evans
January 16, 2023 12:20 pm

Solar and wind would be a waste of money if added to a functioning grid … but as they are being added, it seems hydrocarbon power plants are being shut down, so the net result is wind and solar are worse than just a waste of money.. … Unless you sell flashlights, candles and generators.

wilpost
Reply to  Rod Evans
January 16, 2023 2:40 pm

Well, there is a net zero benefit to climate wonks, who get their jollies from having bird shredders and right whale killers everywhere

Reply to  Rod Evans
January 16, 2023 5:01 pm

Rod Evans,
Seems to me that 4 major factors need economic optimising.

  1. Mandated preference for use of W&S over other means
  2. Strange money bidding systems that reward for non-performance
  3. Subsidies for W&S, without which competition would be harder, even near-terminal, for W&S.
  4. Lack of honest economic comparisions of energy types in actual settings that include effects like intermittency

My personal preference is for W&S to be limited to boutique applications where it is viable under ruthless economic analysis. There are some.
However, given the deep penetration of the CO2 reduction story among governments, rather than proposing to banish W&S, we need to accept plausible approaches that are possible economically but require sceptics to lessen blind ideology.
Geoff S

AndyHce
Reply to  Rod Evans
January 17, 2023 1:35 am

You aren’t keeping the teams straight. The watermelons don’t care about nasty little beast that get tin the way. Roadkill deserves it fate.

Richard Greene
Reply to  wilpost
January 16, 2023 12:17 pm

If the US hired Communist China to redesign our electric grids, the plan they’d come up with is Nut Zero, designed mainly to benefit Chinese manufacturing in the long run.

wilpost
Reply to  Richard Greene
January 16, 2023 2:37 pm

If the US hired energy-poor Europe to redesign our electrical system with wind and solar, the plan Europe would come up with is to:

1) Mainly benefit EU wind companies with Biden’s humongous wind subsidies, government loan guarantees, and
2) Forever saddle the energy-rich US with much higher energy costs which would make the US even less competitive with Europe and others, than if the US conducted business as usual, based on domestic resources

Oh, I forgot, forgetful Biden already does Europe’s bidding regarding wind and solar. My bad!

PCman999
Reply to  wilpost
January 16, 2023 9:49 pm

I wish more government planners and scientist activists pushing for ever more renewables would take that minute by minute data, or other relatively fine renewable energy production and consumer energy consumption data for the past few years and do a simulation of what a net-zero grid would look like.

Planners seen to think the 4hrs worth of backup, that seems typical in recent storage announcements, is sufficient. The only simulation I’ve seen, based on UK data, a very windy country, suggested 3 WEEKS worth of storage along with overbuilds of something like 6-8 times the max demand.

Also shows how worthless the LCOE calculations are, since they don’t mention “batteries not included”

wilpost
Reply to  wilpost
January 17, 2023 4:01 pm

Here is an article on HEAT PUMPS, which would become an even bigger draw on the electric grid than EVs, especially on colder days in winter.

Any electrical system must have adequate/resilient generating, fuel storage near power plants, and grid capacities to deal with all eventualities.

Anything else is THIRD WORLD

AIR SOURCE HEAT PUMPS DO NOT ECONOMICALLY DISPLACE FOSSIL FUEL BTUs IN COLD CLIMATES
https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/air-source-heat-pumps-do-not-economiccally-displace-fossil-fuel

Dennis Gerald Sandberg
Reply to  Richard Greene
January 16, 2023 7:46 am

You state,”EVERY bird and bat shredder and every solar panel attached to an electric grid is overbuilding.
They are redundant sources of electricity, with highly variable output. They supplement a functioning electric grid that does not need supplementation.”

Has anyone with a minimal understanding of how a grid functions ever suggested that redundant sources “supplement a functioning electric grid”? That’s the false perception of the majority of the willfully uninformed that support wind and solar. W&S is essentially harmless at 5% grid penetration, but by 10% it’s an expensive nuisance. That’s clearly established fact. There’s no “supplementation” about it.

Yes, you, I, and Monkton (I believe based on my having followed him for15 years), agree the grid would be a better place without a single panel or turbine That’s not complicated. I’m confused why Monkton should “blow his top” because of your remarks. He’s not saying the Pollock rule is the minimum W&S, he’s explained why installing more than the corresponding CF of a specific grid transitions from being a dumb idea to a wildly insane one. Surely, that’s evident.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Dennis Gerald Sandberg
January 16, 2023 8:08 am

DGS,

No thinking person who isn’t on the climate alarmism band wagon and/or a wind or solar energy economic rent seeker disagrees with you. The tension is with MoB’s contention that no one ever glommed on to the problems with wind and solar until Mr. Pollock came up with his ‘proof’.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Frank from NoVA
January 16, 2023 3:13 pm

The tension is with MoB’s contention that no one ever glommed on to the problems with wind and solar until Mr. Pollock came up with his ‘proof’.”

I didn’t get that impression at all.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
January 16, 2023 3:46 pm

Jeff,

Here’s three quotes from the first several paragraphs:

‘Pollock consulted widely among grid operators, generators and academic experts. He found widespread puzzlement that after a certain point …’

‘He investigated, worked through the math and found he could answer the industry’s question.’

‘He discovered a counter-intuitive and unexpected fact hitherto entirely unknown in the industry…’

If you don’t think that these remarks belittle the intelligence and common sense of ‘grid operators, generators and academic experts’ or that of any customers of ‘the industry’, I’d be curious to understand why.

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  Frank from NoVA
January 16, 2023 4:09 pm

Frank from NoVA is now simply trolling. What the head posting makes clear is that, since the Pollock limits had not been discovered before, those in the industry were not aware of them: in short, that his result is indeed novel. Understanding of the Pollock limits will help grid operators to plan in such a way as to avoid the problems of the German, British and Irish grids overbuilding unreliables in the pietistic but ultimately futile belief that adding them to the grid without reference to the Pollock limits will affordably reduce CO2 emissions, when it will be more likely unaffordably to increase them.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
January 16, 2023 10:15 pm

You’ve added to the examples I provided to Jeff. First, that ‘those in the industry were not aware’ that adding more intermittent generation is deleterious to grid performance, and second, that the German, British and Irish grid operators were equally daft. Just to remind you, most of these people are highly trained and experienced in the fields of of generation, transmission and distribution, so they are well aware of the difficulties in matching renewable supply to load, and have been since the first renewables went on line years ago.

Again, the addition of wind, solar and other renewable generation sources to formerly reliable and economic electrical grids is not due to any lack knowledge on the part of engineers, grid operators, energy economists, etc. It’s due to the actions of politicians and their supporters who are either trying to collapse what remains of classical liberalism and/or trying to profit from its demise.

Pat Frank
Reply to  Frank from NoVA
January 16, 2023 9:48 pm

Frank, the salient question is whether anyone quantified the limit before Pollock did it.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Pat Frank
January 17, 2023 9:31 am

Pat,

I’m highly confident that when (not if) a competent US administration decides to review the junk science behind climate alarmism, your excellent and novel work on error propagation in GCMs will be one of the key points leading to a reversal of the EPA’s flawed Endangerment Finding. Subsequently, I would expect the current political impetus behind Net Zero, hence renewable energy, will quickly fold like a cheap suit.

Before that happens, however, I seriously doubt that Mr. Pollock’s ‘limit’ is going to affect the ongoing buildout of wind and solar in the slightest, as it’s already been repeatedly demonstrated on multiple grids that wind and solar are inherently flawed due to intermittency. Moreover, I believe that most grid operators, planners, engineers and many others, including people like us who have not been financially or politically ‘motived’ to favor wind and solar, already knew this.

So, if knowledge of the drawbacks of wind and solar energy intermittency isn’t ‘novel’, the salient question becomes whether or not Mr. Pollock’s derivation that f_max = R constitutes a valid proof of a limit on the economic viability of wind and solar generation. And by ‘proof’, I mean a result that would survive close scrutiny by intervenors before a public utility commission.

My contention is that Mr. Pollock’s result wouldn’t survive such scrutiny because of the reasons stated here:

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2023/01/16/why-climate-skepticism-has-not-yet-succeeded/#comment-3666708

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2023/01/16/why-climate-skepticism-has-not-yet-succeeded/#comment-3667130

And the main problem with failing to convince a public utility commission in one jurisdiction is that said failure then becomes precedent to support wind and solar intervenors in all other jurisdictions.

AndyHce
Reply to  Frank from NoVA
January 17, 2023 2:34 am

It doesn’t seem to say that the problem was not widely, even universally recognized. The question yet unanswered was to understand just where the problem entered, to define its limits. Hence, an analysis produce a precise answer for consideration, and a formal proof that the answer is valid.

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  Frank from NoVA
January 16, 2023 4:06 pm

Frank from NoVA continues wilfully to misrepresent Mr Pollock’s result. Mr Pollock is not suggesting that people were unaware of the problems with wind and solar power. He has demonstrated, formally, that the capacity factor represents the limit on penetration beyond which additional capacity of a weather-related unreliable species is disproportionately wasteful and expensive.

AndyHce
Reply to  Frank from NoVA
January 17, 2023 1:41 am

The basic fact of the problem has long been obvious. What is new is a way, at least a hypothesis, to formalize and explicitly calculate, relationships that dominate the grid.

Richard Greene
Reply to  Dennis Gerald Sandberg
January 16, 2023 8:18 am

Renewables could be used to charge backup batteries here and there. The batteries would supplement the grid in emergencies. Texas could use lots of fully charged batteries for when extremely cold weather hits that state. Their natural gas infrastructure can not deliver enough gas in extremely cold weather and the problem is not being fixed — too expensive. It caused Texas blackouts in 2011 ans 2021. And don’t call me surely.

It doesnot add up
Reply to  Richard Greene
January 16, 2023 9:49 am

The problem was not gas supply. All the available gas generators were producing at maximum output and being supplied with gas, risking bursting a sinew by being stretched beyond nameplate in many cases. There was no reserve, so when one sinew burst it led to falling frequency that caused other plants to trip, in turn causing the frequency to fall further until automated load shedding was triggered. Loads shed included vital gas compressors, starving power plants of fuel. That was not the result of the weather, but of the load shedding.

Had there been more capacity available a) there would have been less need to stress the plants, reducing risk of trips, b) there would have been reserve capacity to handle such trips as might occur, c) power supply to compressors would have been maintained.

Had ERCOT been better at managing the situation, given the capacity constraint, they would have instituted carefully organised rotating blackouts as soon as the reserve margin was becoming critical in order to maintain a reserve headroom, avoiding cutting supply to key gas compressors, and thus not ended up with large chunks of the system being knocked offline.

Richard Greene
Reply to  It doesnot add up
January 16, 2023 12:34 pm

“The problem was not gas supply. All the available gas generators were producing at maximum output and being supplied with gas”

THAT STATEMENT IS COMPLETELY FALSE. You obviously have not studied the event and do not know what you are talking about.

The problem in Texas was not nuclear power plants. And not coal power plants. The problem was not windmills — they produce very low output for minutes, or hours, in almost every week of the year with no blackouts.

Therefore, the problem in February 2021 had to be with natural gas power plants, including the expected slowdown of natural gas production in extremely cold weather and the pipeline supply failure.

Insufficient natural gas supply in extremely cold weather is the ONLY explanation for both the February 2011 and February 2021 Texas blackouts. Remember that the February 2011 blackout happened with low total windmill nameplate capacity. The February 2021 blackout occurred with high total windmill nameplate capacity. The common thread is the extremely cold weather.

The lack of wind power in Texas is a frequent occurrence — it was not the cause of the February 2021 blackout. Because frequent periods with very low wind power NEVER caused any blackouts in Texas over many years before February 2021.

During the February 2021 winter storm, transmission companies inadvertently cut power to parts of the natural gas supply chain when ERCOT ordered the utilities to reduce power demand or risk further damage to the grid. That decision aggravated the problem as natural gas producers were unable to deliver enough fuel to power plants. At the same time, some wells were unable to produce as much natural gas due to the freezing conditions.

Power outages led to a decrease in natural gas production. Because electricity relies on natural gas production and natural gas production relies on electricity, any failure in the loop breaks the entire system. At one point during February’s storm, more than half of the state’s natural gas supply was shut down due to power outages, frozen equipment and weather conditions.

Natural gas power took the biggest hit during the extremely cold weather in February 2021 That can not be the fault of the wind.

How Texas’ Power Generation Failed During the Storm, in Charts – The New York Times (nytimes.com)

Last edited 11 days ago by Richard Greene
It doesnot add up
Reply to  Richard Greene
January 16, 2023 2:12 pm

On the contrary I have studied the event in very considerable detail. You have not. The problem started to loom when it became clear that demand would exceed available dispatchable capacity. That constraint was imposed gradually as wind generation started to fall back and became critical by 1 a.m. after which grid frequency started to erode below 60Hz. That is supply was no longer adequate to meet demand. Yet all the power stations were running. There was no shortage of gas supply to enable that. The only thing that can be said about the wind is tht there was no precipitate drop in output, but it became insignificant, and way below the 6GW assumed by ERCOT as the equivalent firm capacity of the wind fleet. It dropped simply because the wind died.

You have been sidetracked by stories about gas production loss, which although true are irrelevant, since the system in Texas is designed to handle production outages caused by hurricanes which can result in offshore production being almost entirely lost. In those circumstances, storage comes into play and makes good for the production shortfall. That is exactly what was happening. 156bcf of gas was delivered from storage over the week.

The breakage in the system was caused by the load shedding that followed the cascading trip. It was not caused by production problems, or by cold weather. It meant that gas and water supplies were interrupted to a number of plants. So as one plant came back, another got knocked out.

I am not interested in the propaganda of the wind industry, and ERCOT’s effort to cover its posterior. I am interested in the facts.

Colin
Reply to  It doesnot add up
January 16, 2023 5:12 pm

Facts? Who needs facts when there is a narrative to support?

Richard Greene
Reply to  It doesnot add up
January 17, 2023 2:07 am

Natural gas output was well below prior maximum output levels. Natural gas plants did not get enough natural gas to be at full output. That is not the fault of windmills, solar panels, coal power plants or nuclear power plants.

If electricity demand exceeded maximum supply, controlled temporary rolling blackouts could have been used to limit demand, just as they were in February 2011. That did not happen.

Of the 29 million Texans, only 5 million were affected by the uncontrolled blackouts, or 17%, in February 2021.

You claim: “The breakage in the system … was not caused… by cold weather”

THAT IS FALSE.
There were two blackouts in Texas, February 2011 and February 2021. Both were during the coldest weather in the decade. You would have us believe that cold weather was just a coincidence. Don’t make me laugh.

Last edited 11 days ago by Richard Greene
It doesnot add up
Reply to  Richard Greene
January 17, 2023 8:01 am

The main feature caused by the cold weather was demand in excess of the available supply. It was the lack of wind, not the cold, that led to the diminution into irrelevance of wind output. It was the power cuts to gas compressors that cut the supply of gas to power stations. Just prior to the big trip gas was producing at the highest level it attained throughout the cold spell. The cold did not prevent that.

You should instead look for explanations as to why dispatchable capacity was inadequate. Start with the lack of a market for capacity and subsidies for wind that have left conventional generators struggling to justify new investments. Continue with ERCOT’s under estimation of potential peak winter demand made on.y the preceding October. Compound that with their assumption that they could count on 6GW of equivalent firm capacity from wind – a factor of 10 too high. Understand that those estimates informed their granting permission to large amounts of capacity being in maintenance over the winter to be available to meet summer peak demand. End result was inadequate capacity to meet demand, as they admitted in their submission to the EPA seeking permission to run plants beyond pollution limits.

AndyHce
Reply to  Richard Greene
January 17, 2023 1:57 am

they produce very low output for minutes, or hours, in almost every week of the year with no blackouts

Surely you are being facetious. The problem is/was not about minutes or hours but about continuous, long duration operation when what was need was the ability to increase output. Wind and solar ate totally useless at such a time.

MarkW
Reply to  Richard Greene
January 16, 2023 10:22 am

The problem with the natural gas pipelines had to with switching the compressors from being powered by natural gas to being powered by the grid.
Fix that regulatory mistake and you fix the problem.
For those times when there is a need for backup, almost every form of backup is cheaper and more reliable than batteries.

Richard Greene
Reply to  MarkW
January 17, 2023 2:13 am

Natural gas production also significantly declines in very old weather

2021

“During the cold snap that affected much of the central part of the country, U.S. dry natural gas production fell to as low as 69.7 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) on February 17, a decline of 21%, or down nearly 18.9 Bcf/d from the week ending February 13.

Natural gas production in Texas fell almost 45% from 21.3 Bcf/d during the week ending February 13 to a daily low of 11.8 Bcf/d on Wednesday, February 17, according to estimates from IHS Markit. 

Temperatures in Texas averaged nearly 30 degrees Fahrenheit lower than normal during the week of February 14 (2021)”

SOURCE OF QUOTE:
U.S. Energy Information Administration – EIA – Independent Statistics and Analysis

It doesnot add up
Reply to  Richard Greene
January 17, 2023 8:03 am

The 10 bcf/d lost was more than made up for by storage drawdown and cuts in industrial use.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Richard Greene
January 16, 2023 11:45 am

You missed the point about how these ‘supplemental’ schemes drive the price of electricity up.

Richard Greene
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
January 17, 2023 2:15 am

I didn’t mention money but said the first windmill and first solar panel are overbuilding (overbuilding would be a waste of money).

Colin
Reply to  Richard Greene
January 16, 2023 5:11 pm

And the batteries come from where and are located where?

Richard Greene
Reply to  Colin
January 17, 2023 2:14 am

From lithium mines?

Pat Frank
Reply to  Richard Greene
January 16, 2023 9:51 pm

Batteries lose some of their charge in cold weather. Batteries are chemical reactions. They slow down in the cold. In serious cold, their internal materials may even change phase.

Last edited 11 days ago by Pat Frank
Richard Greene
Reply to  Pat Frank
January 17, 2023 2:19 am

Batteries have to be kept in an optimum operating temperature range as are batteries in automobiles. Which is a waste of power.

But for areas like Texas, that have already wasted too much money on windmills, it is possible that batteries with dedicated windmills to keep them charged, used for emergencies, could be useful (or maybe just wasting more money?)

Pat Frank
Reply to  Richard Greene
January 17, 2023 7:26 am

They’re a gigantic waste of money, Richard, not to mention using up loads of exotic metals. Given the fact that the battery charge is static, it would probably take a battery field the size of Houston to power a city the size of El Paso for a few hours.

I’ve not done any calculations, but Thermodynamics alone says that a battery will never deliver back all the power a windmill generates to charge it up. One would suspect, no more than about half.

Battery backup is a completely failing strategy.

AndyHce
Reply to  Richard Greene
January 17, 2023 1:52 am

When the cold weather reduced their uber expensive battery’s output to what very low percentage?

You are missing the entire point. Batteries are EXTREMELY expensive for what they can do — and they themselves require extensive overbuilding of generation. This is about recognizing when that EXTREMELY expensive space is entered.

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  Richard Greene
January 16, 2023 7:57 am

One agrees with Mr Greene that there is no need for unreliables at all. However, the Pollock limit is proving useful already. I shall be briefing politicians in Parliament about it next week, because it is easy for them (though not, of course, for Mr Greene) to understand. I shall be inviting a senior former Cabinet Minister to direct searching enquiries to the relevant public authorities about it.

Since Mr Greene has been unable to articulate a credible (or any) argument against the Pollock limits, that fascinating result stands untainted.

Richard Greene
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
January 16, 2023 8:20 am

I’m right because you can’t prove me wrong is not a logical argument. … I can’t prove the 200 years ECS prediction is wrong either. … I miss the good old days when you blew your top at criticism!

Last edited 12 days ago by Richard Greene
Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  Richard Greene
January 16, 2023 11:37 am

Mr Greene’s argument against Mr Pollock’s splendid result is void for lack of specificity.

Richard Greene
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
January 16, 2023 12:51 pm

Te Pollock result is not splendid — it is a wild guess rule or thumb of no value to anyone.

The limit to the percentage of electricity from wind and solar depends on weather conditions and the availability of money to waste.

Some nations may experience blackouts with a relatively low percentage of wind and solar energy — other nations may not have blackouts until the percentage is well over 25%.

I believe blackouts are the only thing that will limit spending — evidence that the percentage of renewables has reached a “tipping point” making that specific grid unmanageable. It’s possible that unaffordablee lectric prices will limit spending but they can be “fixed” with subsidies.

The “tipping point” is unexpected blackouts. And even blackouts might not stop the spending, and overbuilding, based on two observations of leftists:

Everything bad in the world can somehow be blamed on climate change, and

Every climate change and energy problem in the world can be solved by building more windmills and solar panels.

Throw out the Pollock Theory and adopt The Greene Rule of Dumb for Wind and Solar Power, which I just invented today:

— Leftists will waste as much money as possible to ruin electric grids, just like they have ruined everything else they have touched. The limit to the percentage of solar and wind power used for electricity is whatever percentage causes blackouts and makes a specific electric grid unmanageable. That percentage will differ for each electric utility. There is no one size fits all rule of thumb formula.

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  Richard Greene
January 16, 2023 4:12 pm

Mr Greene is over-active and under-intelligent. He has no understanding of the simple mathematics underlying the Pollock limits, and no appreciation of their utility. He is now acting purely destructively, but without being able to produce anything recognizable as a reasoned argument against what Mr Pollock has discovered.

Richard Greene
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
January 17, 2023 2:28 am

Your one size fits all Rule of Thumb makes no sense because every utility has different weather conditions and different amounts of money to waste on unreliables (with a return on investment guaranteed by regulators).

It’s possible the average percentage for the entire word will resemble the Pollock limit. But that can not be predicted today.

And an average would be meaningless anyway — no electric utility has average weather and average investment funding.

I still think I liked Pollock better when it was a fish. I still await you calling me a climate communist. I’m really not overactive, I’m underactive, concerning exercise. My primary exercise is jumping … to conclusions, and sidestepping … work. As for under-intelligent, that’s a good insult, but climate communist is so much better.

AndyHce
Reply to  Richard Greene
January 17, 2023 2:03 am

There is no one size fits all rule of thumb formula.

You missed the part where the location specific capacity factor is part of the formula.

Pat Frank
Reply to  Richard Greene
January 16, 2023 9:55 pm
Richard Greene
Reply to  Pat Frank
January 17, 2023 2:34 am

That is a very good report and I will place a link to it on my climate science and energy blog.

But the future is not predictable.

And CAGW is not based on science or observations

Runaway global warming has never happened in 4,5 billion years

And extrapolation of the global warming from 1975 to 2015 is very unlikely to be useful as a long term climate prediction

But I still can’t prove that CAGW will not happen in the next 200 to 400 years.

I’d need data to prove a prediction wrong — but there are no data for the future — I’d have to wait a century or two to collect data to refute a 200 to 400 year prediction.

Pat Frank
Reply to  Richard Greene
January 17, 2023 7:33 am

A valid physical theory of the climate is necessary to establish a reliable prediction Richard. That theory does not exist.

Failing a physical theory we can look to past behavior. The ice-age dance of CO2 and dO-18 (qualitative indicator of air temperature) provides no grounds to infer that CO2 has any influence on the climate. Up or down, CO2 always trails dO-18.

.Likewise, the existence of the Minoan, Roman, and Medieval warm periods show that the climate can warm modestly — as it is doing now — without any change in atmospheric CO2.

Nothing that’s happening is outside of natural variability.

So, there is plain no empirical reason to think that our CO2 emissions will do anything to the climate.

Right-Handed Shark
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
January 16, 2023 8:51 am

Slightly OT, but I would appreciate it if you would extend an invitation to your meeting to my MP, Ben Spencer. I have written to him on several occasions about the futility of pursuing the ruinous net zero nonsense, but all I ever get from him is that he “supports the government’s position on the issue”. He is in serious need of de-programming.

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  Right-Handed Shark
January 16, 2023 11:39 am

I’d be most happy to give the Shark and his MP lunch and discuss matters of mutual interest. From the point of view of a Conservative MP, the usefulness of the now-unassailable skeptical case is that, if only the Government would quickly review the science and economics in the light of the points I shall be able to convey to the MP, they would realise a change of policy would be in order and would be able to steal a march on the Socialists by announcing that in the light of evidence brought to their attention they were immediately commissioning some new coal-fired power stations to make electricity sustainable and affordable again.

Right-Handed Shark
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
January 16, 2023 2:50 pm

As much as I appreciate a lunch invitation, I doubt my MP would attend as I have had occasion to be extremely short with him. For example, I have on many occasions pointed him to articles (including some authored by your good self) and papers that present the sceptic side of the issues of climate and energy, and in one of his replies he said I was wasting my time as he doesn’t look at any of the links in my emails. I remarked that it must make the job of being an MP so much easier if they never have to confront any evidence that might prove them wrong. On another occasion, after he had told me that “Climate Change ®” was a serious issue that must be tackled, I replied that the people pushing this agenda were either making considerable sums of money from it or were gullible enough to swallow it without question, and that I doubted that he was bright enough to be in the first group. I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t want to meet me.

AndyHce
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
January 17, 2023 2:07 am

immediately commissioning some new coal-fired power stations to make electricity sustainable and affordable again.

Won’t that go over well with the screaming crowd?

Harry Passfield
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
January 16, 2023 9:13 am

Chris (if I may), would the Pollock limit be different if grids did not have to give priority to wind?

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  Harry Passfield
January 16, 2023 11:41 am

Harry (yes, of course you may), the Pollock limit remains the same whether or not the merit order of generation is stacked in favor of wind. Merit order is one of the numerous dodges by which wind and solar are secretly subsidized by officials, without the knowledge or understanding of the Ministers nominally above them.

It doesnot add up
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
January 16, 2023 1:55 pm

Indeed, we have a perverse merit order. The generation that is least likely to be constrained off comes from tidal turbines and wave power devices earning 5ROCs per MWh on top of market prices, followed by floating wind earning 3.5ROCs per MWh and on down the ROC gravy train to onshore wind and biomass etc. on ROCs which provide an income so long as market prices do not dip negative by more than the value of the ROCs (thus helping to set constraint payment prices).

CFD funded intermittent generation only needs to consider turning off if their are six or more contiguous hours of negative day ahead prices – an event which results in no compensation being paid. Otherwise they are guaranteed their strike price, even if market prices are negative.

This leads to incentives to game the system by letting prices run negative for five hours and bidding them up for the next hour to be barely positive, before letting prices run negative again, ensuring maximum subsidy at times when their output is likely to be close to capacity. Despite having drawn the attention of OFGEM to this feature in 2020 when it became quite common because of the lower demand they have done nothing to tackle it beyond a move in the latest CFD contracts not to pay subsidy if the market price falls below zero. Any fule can work out how that will be gamed, at least if the CFDs are taken up, which seems unlikely while strike prices are so far below market levels.

At least those that do not take up their CFD and rely on the market will have the incentive to curtail as prices go to zero or below. Some relief for British consumers who get to pay out the subsidies via their bills even when there are high levels of exports at zero or negative prices in periods of wind surplus, to the benefit of our neighbours and the detriment of the country.

Then there is the curious case of the Drax and Lynemouth woodburners on CFDs (most of Drax collects ROCs). These are assessed against a benchmark of “Baseload Market Reference Price” which for the period October to March was based on quotations for baseload power trades assembled by the London electricity brokers in LEMBA during the preceding six months, including the period of acute anxiety over Russian gas supply and French nuclear repairs. That is now £405/MWh which is effectively a tax on their operations. They have shut operations, with just a handful of operating hours at Drax during the sky high prices in December when we had cold weather.

Of course in similar vein coal and gas fired generation must cover the green taxes imposed on them, which tends to mean that although on a fuel cost basis coal would be low cost much of the time it often gets priced out of the market. The result is we import more gas that costs more, and consumer bills are increased, as is the need for government subsidy for consumers to pay the taxes. Because CCGT is most often the marginal prices setting generation, the taxes feed through to market prices, and increase the subsidy by the back door to renewables generators not in the CFD regime. The added cost exceeds the tax generated.

Rod Evans
Reply to  It doesnot add up
January 17, 2023 12:42 am

Thank you for the overview IDAU. I am encouraged when those who are aware of the gaming and scams within the pricing systems of grid access are able to highlight them.
I hope more and more people are prepared to come forward. WE need to show why we will never break out of this perverse prioritising of ‘renewable’ priority on the grid, while present rules of access are maintained. Maintained to the detriment of the users and tax payers may I add?

michel
Reply to  Richard Greene
January 16, 2023 7:59 am

I don’t think its claptrap. I think its likely to be correct under a certain pattern of intermittency, in fact, the distribution of intermittency that we see in Northern Europe and probably much of the US too.

The upper limit of any given installation is the capacity factor, that’s obvious. The question then is, how close does a given installation come to delivering that, and that is a function of the way the wind behaves in that location.

I think its quite likely that in the UK and Germany overbuilding will just lead to diminishing returns from each increment, that Germany is at the point now where adding more wind will deliver almost nothing, and that the UK will get there if it tries to double existing wind base.

This will be because in these countries wind generation intermittency is very peaked and with very long tails, which leads both to a lot of wastage and gaps which no amount of overbuilding can bridge, and therefore you get, as you build more, more and more curtailment and more and more need for backup of some sort. At the same time!

Richard Greene
Reply to  michel
January 16, 2023 8:26 am

Greene’s Iron Law of Wind Energy

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

This rule of thumb can apply to areas the size of Texas, or even a whole nation, for those moments, in nearly every week, when wind speed is too slow to produce more than a tiny percentage of nameplate capacity for a whole state or a whole nation. No amount of overbuilding can fix a low wind situation.

It is possible for overbuilding dedicated windmills or solar panels used only to charge batteries, but batteries are very expensive and that idea seems to gather no interest.

michel
Reply to  Richard Greene
January 16, 2023 8:37 am

Yes, this is obviously correct. But the interesting thing is that (if I am right) that the driver of diminishing returns is the distribution of the intermittency in a given geography. The less peaked and the flatter the distribution is, the higher percent of the grid you will be able to provide for from intermittents. Overbuilding will be more productive and affordable up to a certain point, and the flatter the distribution, the higher that point. I don’t know, maybe there are places in North Africa, off the Atlantic, where there are completely regular and pretty uniform sea breezes every day. That would be a great help.

You’d be able to get to a much higher penetration there than you could in Northern Europe, where the weather leads to sharply peaked distribution with long tails. I suspect that in those conditions Monckton and Pollock have it about right and that the UK is about to enter the diminishing returns phase of the curve as they move up from the existing 25GW of wind.

It doesnot add up
Reply to  michel
January 16, 2023 10:36 am

Consider the chart I posted on the previous thread.

comment image

It shows the amount of wind that can be accomodated in a no-storage grid for different demand structures and different amounts of wind capacity relative to baseload demand. Peakier demand, represented by higher values of P mean that penetration increases more slowly. However, even with completely flat demand at P=1 we get diminishing returns. Despite the big differences in scenarios, it is clear that going much beyond 60% penetration results in a sharply lower marginal productivity.

michel
Reply to  It doesnot add up
January 16, 2023 11:50 am

Very interesting, thanks. I had trouble following the math and did not realize that P is a peakiness factor.

It doesnot add up
Reply to  michel
January 16, 2023 2:29 pm

For clarity, demand is assumed as 50% baseload, and 50% at peakload, being the multiple P of baseload quoted.

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  michel
January 16, 2023 11:45 am

Michel is again correct. The Pollock limits also apply to nations with steady wind and sun, but of course in such countries the national Pollock limits for those species are greater than in northern Europe, where both wind and sun are highly variable.

It doesnot add up
Reply to  michel
January 16, 2023 10:23 am

Intermittency of generation is only part of the story. The other key variable is variability of demand. To take the other extreme, consider always on inflexible nuclear generation. Until it produces enough to meet minimum levels of demand it can be fully absorbed onto the grid as baseload, provided that other generation is flexible enough to handle the demand variations above baseload.

Increase capacity beyond that baseload minimum, and during hours of low demand some of the output must be wasted or stored (the original purpose of Dinorwig pumped storage) or offered at a low enough price to attract an intermittent interruptible demand (France has long relied on interconnectors to other countries to help out in that way). The more you increase capacity beyond that point, the more generation must be wasted, stored or sold at a rock bottom (perhaps even negative) price. Meanwhile the economics of the balancing generation become more and more stretched.

Demand will usually vary according to diurnal cycles, though Iceland has an innovative solution by adding large elements of largely fixed demand from aluminium smelters that means that residual fluctuations in residential and other commercial demand are insignificant, allowing easy matching with their geothermal main supply. There tends to be less demand at weekends and major holidays. Demand can vary seasonally, particularly if there are large elements of electrically powered heating or cooling, with weather variation potentially adding big variations. Demand will vary with the health of the economy.

Of course, demand variability hasn’t totally escaped the attention of net zero fanatics. Boosting overnight minimum demand through vehicle recharging helps to increase the permissible penetration of wind generation a little, and likewise using overnight power or solar surplus to provide (water) heating – long a feature in Australia. The possibility of bribing people to accept power cuts is now operational, and flexible time of use tariffs in theory promote use in low demand/generation surplus hours. “Smart” appliances not only cut out during periods of shortage, but also run more than they need to at other times to compensate. Your freezer may cut out during rush hour, but it may run harder during a solar surplus ahead of that, lowering its temperature to survive the power outage better.

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  It doesnot add up
January 16, 2023 11:47 am

It doesnot add up, who has done a commendable amount of thinking about this matter over recent days, is correct that demand variability as well as intermittency are factors influencing the derivation of the relevant Pollock limits. However, most national grids using wind and solar power already have a very good idea of what their national capacity factors for each species are: but, with the availability of the Pollock limits, they will at once realize that appreciably exceeding those limits would be costly and wasteful.

michel
Reply to  It doesnot add up
January 16, 2023 11:51 am

Another very illuminating comment!

AndyHce
Reply to  It doesnot add up
January 17, 2023 2:33 am

lowering its temperature to survive the power outage better

An electronics engineer friend always said that if he could devise a working if gate, he would have the world by the tail.

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  michel
January 16, 2023 11:43 am

Michel’s thoughtful comment is most helpful. The Pollock limits for each nation’s wind and solar generation are a useful indicator of the point at which wind or solar power become so cripplingly expensive as to be objectionable, particularly given that there is no real problem caused by warmer worldwide weather in any event.

Pat from Kerbob
Reply to  Richard Greene
January 16, 2023 8:34 am

It seems to me that all he is saying is what i have been saying for a while, renewables in any quantity are useless until we invent the magic batteries, which i predict will happen after we perfect fusion.

Even then, 4-6x average grid load renewable build out with 100% magic battery backup for 1-2 weeks minimum is still a problem because there is no inertia. Wind and solar feed out power through inverters, will be the same with battery back up.
So even having magic batteries won’t allow a 100% renewable grid as there is no inertia.

Its all a waste of time, money and resources.

Gas an nuclear. We need to just get on it.

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  Pat from Kerbob
January 16, 2023 11:49 am

Pat from Kerbob is correct. Batteries will never become available at scale using existing technologies, because there are insufficient techno-metals. And the backup period, on northern European grids, at any rate, is not 102 weeks: it is three months.

So, gas, nuclear and coal (cheaper than anything else). We need to just get on it.

Richard Greene
Reply to  Pat from Kerbob
January 16, 2023 12:57 pm

Wind and solar are similar to electric cars and trucks — Those vehicles are great except for the batteries — both the battery cost and energy storage are not ready for prime time.

morfu03
Reply to  Richard Greene
January 16, 2023 9:20 am

I did not follow this debate closely, but as far as I understand
>> the Pollock Theory
is not a theory, just an observation.
In real world numbers like that R factor should change over time, if technological breakthroughs change the situation, like high efficiency cheap polymer solar cells or floating wind plants or something like that, personally I have high hopes for sodium based batteries.

Dennis Gerald Sandberg
Reply to  morfu03
January 16, 2023 11:25 am

If batteries were free grid scale storage would still be too expensive for more than four (4) hours. The site prep, labor, enclosures, overcurrent protection, switch gear, fire suppression and more costs $200kW.h without batteries. With batteries the installed and commissioned 2023 packet cost is $500kW.h.The “cheaper every year” dribble is just another liberal/progressive fantasy. Rule of thumb: 100 hours of storage, 10x more expensive than the connected wind and/or solar. Give it up, it’ll never happen. N2N,Natural Gas to Nuclear with small scale modular leading the way (search NuScale)..

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  morfu03
January 16, 2023 11:52 am

No, the Pollock limits are proven: just work through the equations in the head posting. Since most nations already know their national capacity factors for wind and solar, the equations prove that they also know the maximum fraction of total grid capacity that can be installed without the enormous waste and expense entailed by installing three months’ battery backup or making hefty capacity-constraint payments or making ever-more-frequent and costly disconnect orders, or exporting power via interconnectors to other nations (if those other nations have not overbuilt beyond the Pollock limits).

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  morfu03
January 16, 2023 11:52 am

Basically, Moore’s Law is just an observation.

karlomonte
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
January 16, 2023 12:05 pm

Yes, based on the number transistors growing as the area per transistor decreased using photolithography.

Richard Greene
Reply to  morfu03
January 16, 2023 1:00 pm

What observation?
Has any nation so far permanently stopped adding wind and solar capacity? Exactly what is being observed? The overbuilding will continue until the money runs out or there are blackouts. I consider the first solar farm and the first wind farm to be overbuilding.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Richard Greene
January 16, 2023 11:40 am

Rule #2, Mr. Greene

Richard Greene
Reply to  Richard Greene
January 16, 2023 12:15 pm

The limit to the percentage of grid’s electrical power that comes from wind and solar is mainly limited by the weather conditions and the money available to waste on wind and solar. There is no formula. There are already nations getting more than 25% of their electricity from wind and solar. Of course they are exceptions — unusually windy and/or sunny areas of our planet.

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  Richard Greene
January 16, 2023 4:19 pm

Mr Greene continues to troll in wilful disregard of what the Pollock limits actually mean. There is nothing the head posting to suggest that 25% is the Pollock limit for every nation or for every renewable species. The limits will vary from place to place, but each national grid operator knows from experience the capacity factor of each weather-dependent renewable species. What they have not known, until now, is that that capacity factor is also the penetration factor. Yes, of course one can in practice add more than the Pollock limit to a grid, but if one does so the cost of the additional capacity is wasted, and the consumers have to pay even more per unit for their electricity than they do now. The Pollock limits are, therefore, a valuable piece of information for those planning grid infrastructure. The fact that, even after the discovery of these limits, some grid operators and the governments behind them will continue expensively to overbuild does not alter the Pollock limits themselves, and does not alter the fact that the cost of unreliables generation to electricity users will be even more egregiously disproportionate than it already is.

AndyHce
Reply to  Richard Greene
January 17, 2023 1:19 am

I’m not finding the winter weather here so wonderful.

Tom Johnson
Reply to  Richard Greene
January 17, 2023 5:00 am

I disagree that the Pollock limit is “claptrap”. It certainly provides a method of estimating the required amount of overbuilding and battery backup needed to deal with diurnal variability. It’s the weekly, monthly, seasonal, and annual backup that becomes the costliest with wind and solar power. Even unobtanium batteries are too numerous and expensive for that.

It seems possible that a combination of wind, solar, battery, and nuclear could conceivably give a ‘net zero CO2’ solution in the intermediate future. It’s just too bad that it is horrendously expensive and wholly unnecessary. The Pollock Limit helps allow a good estimate of just how expensive that might be.

My estimate is that it would require 100 percent nuclear to cover the annual variability, and 1\P overbuilding and batteries to deal with daily variability. The solar and wind would provide cover to dispatch nuclear plants, one at a time.

Last edited 11 days ago by Tom Johnson
michel
January 16, 2023 6:39 am

Story Tip

A very interesting post at Judith Curry’s which bears on this question. Here is a short quote from it:

“It’s rare to find someone unconcerned by climate change, but who think renewables will work really well with the grid. We don’t hear so much from those who greatly fear climate change but recognize current pursuits around clean energy are inadequate. Personally, I find the potential of climate change with an unworkable grid to be the most frightening potential scenario of all.”

https://judithcurry.com/2023/01/15/academics-and-the-grid-part-3-visionaries-and-problem-solvers/

The whole thing is worth reading carefully.

It is very true and perhaps goes to the heart of the social issue. People don’t think about the practicality of what they are advocating, because they are so focused on their deeply felt beliefs about the problem. So they assume that anyone disputing the merits of wind and solar must be what they stigmatize as a ‘climate denier’. And this makes it at least very difficult to have any rational policy debate about the merits of wind and solar.

The author is also right to say that the worst of all possible worlds would be if there were to be a genuine climate crisis AND the West had in preparation for it engaged on a grand scale on the current idiotic policies of electrification and move to wind and solar generation.

That is the really powerful argument to make to the activists, if only one could get them to listen.

Richard Greene
Reply to  michel
January 16, 2023 7:09 am

THERE IS A GENUINE CLIMATE CRISIS

It’s called Nut Zero.

I don’t read Judith Curry articles anymore. She is a lukewarmer and I don’t waste my time reading lukewarmers. She believes CO2 emissions are a problem that needs to be solved. That belief is not based on science. And she never explains her belief. She skips over that step on her assumption ladder.

In fact. adding CO2 to the atmosphere is good news. Greening the planet and accelerating growth of C3 plants, while reducing their fresh water needs.

If the added CO2 caused some of the global warming since 1975, which seems likely, that’s good news too. The warming since 1975 was mainly in colder nations, mainly in the six coldest months of the year, and mainly at night (TMIN). Think of warmer winter nights in Siberia.

Speaking from Michigan, we LOVE the warmer winters ere with less snow than in the 1970s, and hope for A LOT MORE global warming.

Summer TMAX in the tropics does not get affected much by CO2, and Antarctica does not warm at all from added greenhouse gases.

There is no problem caused by adding CO2 to the atmosphere — only good news.

We should be celebrating the current climate and the greening of our planet.

The only known climate improvement I can think of is getting MORE CO2 into the atmosphere.

C3 plants (about 90% of about 300,000 species) thrive in higher levels of CO2 — at least 800ppm, based on scientific studies in the past 50 years. 1600 ppm would probably be better, but the studies rarely test for more than 800ppm.

I have advocated for MORE CO2 in the atmosphere since 1997 BASED ON SCIENCE of at least 200 plant CO2 enrichment studies I’ve read since 1997, not false beliefs about CO2 being an evil satanic gas!

SMC
Reply to  Richard Greene
January 16, 2023 7:53 am

“… I don’t waste my time reading lukewarmers.”

Why are you here? Mr. Watts considered himself to be a lukewarmer, for years. Has Mr. Watts changed his stance?

The Dark Lord
Reply to  SMC
January 16, 2023 8:04 am

the majority of the articles here are not from Mr. Watts … and I really doubt he considers CO2 a danger … not sure he claims to be a lukewarmer …

MarkW
Reply to  The Dark Lord
January 16, 2023 10:39 am

Nobody claims to be a lukewarmer, that’s a label invented by those who are desperate to believe that CO2 has zero impact on temperatures.

SMC
Reply to  MarkW
January 16, 2023 10:46 am

‘Lukewarmer’ was a label developed by the CAGW faithful for those who might have expressed something of relevance to the CAWG message but then strayed from the approved message is in some fashion. Calling someone a ‘lukewarmer’ was, typically, followed up by labeling the offender a ‘Denier’ in short order.

mkelly
Reply to  MarkW
January 16, 2023 1:38 pm

Yet, that is exactly what Mr. Watts CO2 jar experiment demonstrated. He increased the CO2 but the temperature never went up.

Richard Greene
Reply to  SMC
January 16, 2023 8:28 am

How many articles here are written by Mr. Watts?
Very few.
I am here to give you a hard time.

SMC
Reply to  Richard Greene
January 16, 2023 8:37 am

Well, at least you admit to being a troll.

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  SMC
January 16, 2023 11:53 am

A paid troll.

Richard Greene
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
January 16, 2023 1:04 pm

You forgot to call me a climate communist this time — I’m very disappointed.

SMC
Reply to  Richard Greene
January 16, 2023 2:44 pm

Richard Greene, you’re a climate communist.
There, do you feel better now?

Richard Greene
Reply to  SMC
January 17, 2023 2:39 am

That made my day
I’m adding it to me resume
With you as a reference.

Dennis Gerald Sandberg
Reply to  Richard Greene
January 16, 2023 7:55 am

Agree, in a sane world CO2 providers would get a tax credit for their contribution instead of lavishing credits on RE (Ruinous Energy).

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Richard Greene
January 16, 2023 8:18 am

‘She believes CO2 emissions are a problem that needs to be solved.’

Richard, that makes her a CO2 Quisling, not a ‘luke warmer’. Luke warmers understand that CO2 is a green-house gas, our emission of which has no deleterious impact on ‘climate’.

Richard Greene
Reply to  Frank from NoVA
January 16, 2023 1:06 pm

My definition of lukewarmer, as it applies to Ms. Curry is a person who believes CO2 emissions are a serious problem in the long run, but reducing emissions is a long term goal, not a climate emergency.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Richard Greene
January 16, 2023 3:55 pm

Same as Cliff Mass, and Bjorn Lomborg.

michel
Reply to  Richard Greene
January 16, 2023 8:42 am

The piece is by a power planning engineer, its not by Curry herself. The question is not which site it appears on, its whether its correct.

You are simply mimicking the behavior of fanatical activists who refuse to address inconvenient observations or arguments because of who is making them, and thus avoid ever having to debate or justify their beliefs.

This site has its share of vigorous and sometimes personal exchanges, but people generally avoid attempting ad hominem arguments, they pretty much address the issues and the arguments, and you should too.

Or you will just get to the point where someone says, Oh its Greene, don’t bother reading anything by him…. Which helps no-one.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  michel
January 16, 2023 11:59 am

The question is not which site it appears on, its whether its correct.

I frequently run into trolls outside this venue who respond to my links to WUWT by stating that they refuse to read anything posted here because it is a “denier site.”

I’m reminded of the remark “Don’t confuse me with facts. My mind is made up.”

Richard Greene
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
January 16, 2023 1:09 pm

This is a CAGW denier site
And that’s a good thing

Bryan A
Reply to  Richard Greene
January 16, 2023 1:42 pm

This isn’t a CAGW denier site
This is a CAGW realist site

old cocky
Reply to  michel
January 16, 2023 12:52 pm

The piece is by a power planning engineer, its not by Curry herself. 

The first two articles have already been cross-posted here. They were quite interesting.
The author gives every indication of knowing what he is writing about, and having given considerable thought to the topic.

Richard Greene
Reply to  michel
January 16, 2023 1:08 pm

I was referring to Ms, Curry’s lukewarmer articles, in general. Planning engineer is an excellent author and provides the best articles I’ve read at Climate Etc,

Stephen Philbrick
Reply to  Richard Greene
January 16, 2023 9:30 am

This is an interesting position:

I don’t read Judith Curry articles anymore. She is a lukewarmer and I don’t waste my time reading lukewarmers. She believes CO2 emissions are a problem that needs to be solved.

I am trying to sort out exactly what you are trying to say. I was initially tempted to summarize as a syllogism:

  • Person X believes statement Y
  • Richard does not believe statement Y
  • Therefore, person X is not worth reading

However, examining my own construction I think it’s too strong. To take an extreme, if statement Y is “brownies are better than ice cream” (or vice versa) I don’t think you’d refuse to read anything they said, so there is something intrinsic about her belief in addressing CO2 emissions. It appears it is not simply that you disagree with this belief, but you feel that holding this belief is so egregious that it makes anything else she says not worth listening to. 

It seems like an extreme position. 

I’m trying to imagine whether I’ve reached such a conclusion. I recently had a long discussion with an individual about many issues involving a land trust. Many were very thoughtful suggestions. Close the conversation by explaining that the moon landing was fake. The closing statement was quite troubling, and it would’ve been easy to simply dismiss everyone is suggestions, while his closing statement caused me to reevaluate my views of this individual, it largely meant that I was going to take the suggestions with a significant grain of salt, and make sure to further evaluate them, but not completely dismiss them.

I suspect I can find real examples where a single statement causes me to dismiss everything else said by an individual, but I think a belief that addressing CO2 emissions is worthy of discussion does not come close to meeting that standard for me. YMMV.

Richard Greene
Reply to  Stephen Philbrick
January 16, 2023 1:20 pm

I used to read every article at Climate Etc. for years. Most were not written by Ms. Curry. Recently, she began writing more articles, exposing her position that there is a serious climate problem. She never explains why she has that belief –but it is the foundation of her writing.

I have examined climate science and energy for 25 years and have a completely different view based on facts, data and climate proxy reconstructions.

There is no climate problem — the current climate is the best climate for humans, animals and C3 plants since the Holocene Climate Optimum ended 5,000 years ago. The climate would get even better in the future if we continued adding CO2 to the atmosphere, and even better if the warming pattern from 1975 to 2015 continued.

The bottom line is i believe science and evidence proves the current climate is good news and does not pose any problem, while Judith Curry believes there is a serious climate problem that must be fixed. She does not appear to consider the problem to be an emergency, that requires immediate action, and that’s why I call her a lukewarmer.

If I believe the climate is wonderful, has been getting better for about 325 years since the 1690s, and has been getting better here in Michigan since the 1970s, then why would i waste my time reading articles by lukewarmers?

I already read at least one dozen climate science and energy articles each morning and post a list of titles and links for the best articles I’ve read (by various authors from various websites) every day of the year:

Honest global warming chart Blog (elonionbloggle.blogspot.com)

MarkW
Reply to  Richard Greene
January 16, 2023 10:40 am

I’m wondering if I should make it a point to ignore posts by anyone who declares that they won’t read anything they disagree with?

Richard Greene
Reply to  MarkW
January 16, 2023 1:24 pm

An author has the responsibility to explain his or her beliefs. A belief that CO2 emissions are a problem needs to be explained. Ms. Curry does not bother to explain her belief that CO2 emissions are a climate problem. Therefore, she is an author with undefended conclusions. Conclusions are easy. Defending them is hard.

karlomonte
Reply to  MarkW
January 16, 2023 2:50 pm

About 1/3 of the posts in this thread have RG as the author, I’m to the point where I scroll right past them.

Richard Greene
Reply to  karlomonte
January 17, 2023 2:43 am

No problem.
I always use my real name
And if people don’t like what I write, I expect them to skip to the next comment. That makes sense. I don’t see the benefit of you commenting to mention that.
I am impressed that you counted all the comments and determined that I provided 1/3 of them.

Last edited 11 days ago by Richard Greene
robaustin
Reply to  Richard Greene
January 16, 2023 2:41 pm

Richard,
Depends on your definition of a “luke warmer”. I always considered myself a “luke warmer” as I believe that increasing CO2 does warm the earth’s atmosphere. But I believe the warming is minuscule and benign to beneficent to mankind. Anyone who claims that CO2 emissions should be reduced for climate control is an alarmist, not a “luke warmer”. I live next door to you in Ontario and second you on your love of warmer winters.

Richard Greene
Reply to  robaustin
January 17, 2023 2:46 am

I believe more CO2 does impede Earth’s ability to cool itself by a small harmless amount. I think that’s a Climate Realist. I believe a lukewarmer has to believe CO2 emissions must be reduced.
I favor more CO2 emissions from burning hydrocarbon fuels with modern pollution controls to benefit C3 plants. Maybe “lukewarmer” is too indefinite to define.

Last edited 11 days ago by Richard Greene
Mr.
Reply to  michel
January 16, 2023 7:14 am

Exactly.
Skeptics have been sucked in to debating “believers” about the worthiness of the whole AGW “package”‘, that is – that
man-made climate change is an existential threat, AND that wind & solar are the ONLY viable solutions.

Skeptics need to work out an end-run counter approach that separates the climate and power generation issues,
and just addresses the fallacies of w&s as viable solutions.

Dennis Gerald Sandberg
Reply to  Mr.
January 16, 2023 8:03 am

Nothing wrong with pointing out the alarmist ill-founded opposition to the coming nuclear renaissance via small scale modular nuclear IMHO.

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  Mr.
January 16, 2023 11:35 am

“Mr.” says skeptics need to separate the climate and power-generation issues and address only the fallacies of unreliables as viable solutions.

In my respectful submission, skeptics should be willing to reach agreement among themselves on the following points:

  1. In every region, deaths from cold exceed deaths from heat by an order of magnitude (several Lancet articles).
  2. Globally, weather-related deaths have declined by more than nine-tenths over the past century, and the lowest annual number of deaths from weather was recorded in 2020, the last full year for which figures are available (OFDA/CRED international disaster database).
  3. All extreme-weather indicators, including even heatwaves, show at worst no growth in extreme weather in recent decades, and many show declines in extreme weather.
  4. One reason why climate change is proving so small is that global warming, predicted to occur at 0.3 K/decade in 1990 (IPCC 19909, Scenario A), has occurred at only 0.13 K/decade in the past third of a century (UAH).
  5. Climate models, on which all official predictions of future global warming are based, are incapable of telling us anything about the rate of future warming because the published uncertainty interval in just one of the initial conditions informing the models is so large that all predictions of global warming this century, or from doubled CO2 (the forcings for the two are about the same) are purely speculative – i.e., no better than guesswork.
  6. The interval of absolute feedback strengths implicit in IPCC’s current 3 [2, 5] K interval of predictions of doubled-CO2 warming is 0.244 [0.22, 0.27] W/m^2/K, far too small to allow accurate diagnoses of these feedback strengths and then derive warming predictions from models outputs, or indeed to make any prediction of global warming that is any better than speculative, because the uncertainties in feedback strength are even great than those in the direct forcing by doubled CO2 (M of B et al., submitted).
  7. Even if the whole world moved in a straight line from here to net zero by 2050, the warming prevented by then would be only 0.2 K, about half the 0.4 K observed warming since 1990, and only then if all that warming were anthropogenic.
  8. The cost of global net zero, in capex alone, will be at least $275 trillion (McKinsey, 2022). Therefore, even neglecting opex (typically at least twice capex), each $1 billion spent on attempting to attain net zero emissions would purchase the prevention of less than one-millionth of a degree of future warming by 2050, the target date for net zero.
  9. Some 70% of all new emissions arise in Paris-exempt “developing” nations such as China and India. If the West alone (responsible for much of the remaining 30%) were to continue to bear the sole burden of abating emissions, by 2050 less than one-seventeenth of a degree would be prevented.
  10. China has announced that it is doubling its coal-generating capacity, not least so that it can increase its manufacturing capacity, particularly in energy-intensive industries, so as to replace Western steel, aluminum, automotive and other heavy industries that are already collapsing thanks to the grossly excessive cost of fuel and power in the West. Exporting high-emissions-intensity industries from the West to China, Russia, India and suchlike nations actually increases global CO2 emissions significantly, because manufacturing emissions per unit of production outside the West are greater than they used to be in the West before it destroyed its own industrial base through excessive electricity prices.
  11. Single countries’ contributions to preventing global warming are infinitesimal, even if they attain net zero. The UK, for instance, would have to spend $3.6 trillion just to upgrade its electricity grid: yet, since the UK accounts for just 1% of global emissions, the warming it would prevent by 2050 even if it attained net zero (which it will not) would be 1/500th of a degree. Each $1 billion spent just on grid upgrades would thus buy little more than one two-millionth of a degree of global warming prevented, suggesting that McKinsey’s global estimate of the cost of attaining net zero may be understated by a factor 2.
  12. The chief solution to the imagined (and, on the evidence and on the theory) imaginary threat of large and dangerous rather than small and net-beneficial global warming is the installation of wind and solar power, but the Pollock limits on these unreliable, weather-dependent species demonstrate that generation that approaches and then exceeds the Pollock limit for that species in that nation will be prohibitively expensive. In any event, techno-metals for static-battery backup are insufficient to supply more than an insignificant fraction of the first 15-year generation of such batteries that would be required for global net zero (Michaux, 2021). The price of lithium carbonate for locomotive batteries, such as those in cars and trucks, has already increased tenfold in a year. Therefore, even if we could attain net zero, which we cannot, the cost of doing so would be prohibitive.
Mr.
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
January 16, 2023 1:02 pm

MoB, I totally get what you’re saying, and agree.

However, this “AGW must = W&S” political movement must be dealt with as a political movement.

My contention is that unpacking / parsing the scientific / technical underpinnings of climate behaviours by skeptics for presentation & consumption by newbie, naive voters who are as yet unschooled in worldly ways (and who generally don’t bother to intensely read & comprehend details) will not succeed against ubiquitous glib editorial grabs that are eagerly taken as authoritative reinforcement of climate alarmism.

So, I guess I’m suggesting that parallel campaigns need to be developed, one lane which takes on the debunking of climate alarmism (on the basis of real-world geological observations, demonstrated cycles, etc etc), and another lane that simply explains why w&s can never meet modern civilisation’s power requirements, no matter if every available site on the planet is carpeted with blades & panels.

Conflating these 2 beliefs into one omnibus contention to deal with, as alarmists do, is an approach that we must not get sucked into.
(into which we must not get sucked? 🙂 )

Step 1 might be to focus on calling out at every opportunity “climate scientists” who should stick to their lane and stop pontificating about specialist electricity engineering & production matters about which climate boffins have zero expertise or experience.

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  Mr.
January 16, 2023 4:22 pm

In the end, one must meet the climate Communists head on, not only on economic but also on scientific matters: otherwise, all they have to say is that the Planet must be Saved regardless of cost, and one has no argument against them. Therefore, my team continues to research both the science and economics, and will continue to do so. As Edmund Burke said, “There is no knowledge that is not valuable.”

Mr.
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
January 16, 2023 6:08 pm

Mass Appeal Marketing 101 dictates that broadcast messagimg must incite –

Attention > Interest > Desire > Conviction > Action

So messaging must be short, sharp, surgically relevant.

These days, advertisers on internet media will tell you you have max 15 words to get a click.

Christopher, this mass messaging challenge may be more complicated than your expert, advanced mathematical logic can easily accommodate.

Richard Greene
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
January 16, 2023 1:28 pm

You just wrote a good article disguised as a comment

Here is the Greene 1 -2 -3 version for simpletons”

(1) The current climate is fine — climate does not get much better than this on our planet

(2) Every climate prediction has been wrong for 100+ years

(3) You have lived with climate change every year of your life — please make a list of all the bad things that happened to you as a result. It will be a blank page.

Last edited 11 days ago by Richard Greene
David Dibbell
Reply to  michel
January 16, 2023 10:17 am

Agree. I read that post this morning. It is unsettling to imagine what will happen if better thinking does not somehow prevail.

Daniel Church
January 16, 2023 6:47 am

Among the reasons that I wrote Winter Games was to circumvent the rhetorical ruts many of us have found ourselves in from time to time. Another was the notion that someone who didn’t know that NASA routinely changes climate data would learn this simple fact, as it’s central to the book’s plot. Few here underestimate the funding and PR power of the high priests of the Church of Climatism.

Richard Greene
Reply to  Daniel Church
January 16, 2023 7:25 am

Sounds like an interesting book from the ad at Amazon

It is good to know that NASA and others make arbitrary revisions and arbitrary infilling of climate numbers. That tells us they can not be trusted.

But even if the historical temperature record was 100% accurate, NASA and others STILL can’t be trusted.

Because they support the always wrong wild guess predictions of climate doom (CAGW) that began in the late 1950s and were detailed with an ECS wild guess range in the 1979 Charney Report. That’s at least 43 years of wrong climate predictions.

And the CAGW climate predictions since 1979 are unrelated to any PAST CLIMATE TREND.

THE CAGW PREDICTIONS ARE FOR A MUCH FASTER RATE OF WARMING THAN EVEN IN THE CHERRY PICKED 1975 TO 2015 PERIOD

The predictions have been wrong for 43 years, but the same scary predictions would have been made since 1979 if the historical temperature records had been accurate.

After 43 years of wrong predictions, we’d know the official government bureaucrat scientists can not predict the future climate, whether their historical temperature numbers were accurate or not would make no difference.

Government bureaucrat scientists are paid for climate scaremongering. And they do what governments pay them to do. It’s the fault of the general public for listening to them.

People lived with mild harmless global warming they may not have even noticed, since 1975. They don’t seem to realize the “authorities” have been predicting rapid, dangerous global warming since 1975.

Most people believe the predictions of future CAGW global warming and ignore their own first-hand experience with mild, harmless global warming. I don’t know if that problem can be fixed. It is the result of decades of brainwashing by teachers, professors and the media.

Last edited 12 days ago by Richard Greene
Sean Galbally
January 16, 2023 6:52 am

It is not in dispute that climate changes and always will do. The problem is that the alarmists do not accept that it cannot be changed by man. It is the activity of the sun and nature. In particular Net Zero is a very costly waste of time because man made atmospheric carbon dioxide consists of just 0.04% of green house gases and has an insignificant effect on global warming. Whereas water vapour and clouds consisting of over 90% are ignored, probably because man has no control over them.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Sean Galbally
January 16, 2023 4:38 pm

Saying that climate “cannot be changed by man” is as wrong as saying it’s all caused by man.

michel
January 16, 2023 6:53 am

Christopher, I would be grateful for your thoughts on a subject I raised in the comments to the other threads.

Surely the pattern of intermittency is the driving parameter? If you imagine a place where the wind blows almost all the time at a constant rate but with very low power, this would surely allow quite high penetrations of wind, though with a very low capacity factor. You would be getting (eg) 10% of faceplate, but you would be getting it all the time, and this would be much more usable than what happens in the UK.

In a country like the UK the winds are strong but very variable. So you may get a higher capacity factor on average over a year. But if you try to use this to increase the share of power generated by wind, by installing more turbines, you will then encounter the diminishing returns both the Menton and Monckton papers talk about.

I may be misunderstand this, but it seems to me that the distribution of the intermittency is what really drives the phenomenon of diminishing returns. If its a low peaked fairly flat distribution then surely you can get to higher penetration levels than if its sharply peaked and with long tails?

If this is correct, then the Climate Change Committee’s proposals for the UK, which involve a tripling or more of the installed base of wind, will fail in raising the proportion of generation. The driving factor behind this failure will be the way the wind blows in the North Sea and on land. The proposals, if attempted, will run right into the diminishing returns and/or accelerated expenses the posts warn about.

Smart Rock
Reply to  michel
January 16, 2023 7:18 am

Exactly, Michel. Thanks for making my argument for me.

Smart Rock
Reply to  Smart Rock
January 16, 2023 9:52 am

I correct myself. The intermittency of the energy source is captured in his lordship’s factor f (the fraction of national grid generation actually contributed by wind or solar power)

In a (theoretical) country where the wind blows all the time at the exact same speed with 100% wind-power generation, f=1

Last edited 11 days ago by Smart Rock
The Dark Lord
Reply to  michel
January 16, 2023 8:08 am

there is no place that wind blows with a consistent speed year round … wind comes from a heat imbalance and that imbalance must oscillate …

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  michel
January 16, 2023 11:59 am

Michel raises a most sensible question. I have answered it briefly upthread, and shall be happy to do so here in more detail. The esence of the answer to his question is that the Pollock limits for each weather-dependent unreliable species, notably wind and solar, vary from country to country. The key factors determining the Pollock limits are indeed the pattern of intermittency, the mean absolute strength of wind or sun, and the pattern of demand intermittency.

By now, most national grids that have installed even small amounts of wind or solar power have a good idea of their national capacity factors for each of the weather-dependent renewable species. What they have not known, until now, is that those national capacity factors are also the Pollock limits, beyond which installation of new solar or wind projects will become prohibitively expensive and wasteful.

It doesnot add up
Reply to  michel
January 16, 2023 12:59 pm

You may find it useful to consider this chart by way of exposition of the model I presented previously.

Illustrative chart for g(x)=x^2 (implying an average capacity factor of 1/3rd) with demand at 70% of wind capacity, shown by the yellow and blue shaded generation sources.

comment image

The x-axis can be thought of as the probability that the wind output is less than the corresponding y-axis value, or for a constant demand, the proportion of time that the wind output is less than the y-axis value. The blue area then represents demand met by wind, the yellow area is the balance of demand met from other sources, and the red area represents the surplus generation. At levels of demand >= wind capacity all the wind is used with no curtailment – the yellow area expands and the red area shrinks and disappears as demand is increased. At lower levels of demand the red area increases and the blue area decreases. The ratio of the red area to the area under the parabola (the sum of the red and blue areas, equal to a third of nominal wind capacity) gives the proportion of surplus generation relative to total wind generation potential.

The point where the demand and generation curves intersect is when generation is 70% of capacity, and is at sqrt(70%) on the x-axis. If we call the level of demand D (for demand less than wind capacity) then the red area is then given by

(2D^(3/2)-3D+1)/3

which compares with

(1-2D+D^2)/2

for the case of g(x)=x. At low levels of curtailment (D->C) there is little difference between the two.

karlomonte
January 16, 2023 7:00 am

The mean national capacity factor R of a weather-dependent renewable species (typically wind or solar) is the ratio of generation achievable by that species in annual mean weather to its nameplate capacity.

“Nameplate” power ratings for solar PV is an exceedingly poor metric that has very little relation to output power for any given PV system.

A natural gas turbine max power rating is completely different because it is possible to operate the turbine at its rated power.

Comparing the two is like comparing oranges and igneous rocks.

The real issue is that additional PV generation can only increase power during daylight hours—it can’t cover the rest of the day.

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  karlomonte
January 16, 2023 4:25 pm

Karlomonte has perhaps not noticed that the Pollock limits apply to weather-dependent generating species. No comparison is made between those species and the non-weather-dependent dispatchable species, such as coal, gas or nuclear power.

Ron Long
January 16, 2023 7:06 am

It appears to me that there is another problem with scientific data presented for the issue of CAGW (Anthropogenic is the key work), and that is that the skeptic percent has increased too a natural limit. This natural limit is an effect of what percent of the population believe lies and are not motivated/smart enough/profitting from the CAGW issue to undertake a rigorous review of the issue. So, if we want to maybe influence some additional percent of the true believers CAGW Loonies, we need to start lying. Go for it.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Ron Long
January 16, 2023 12:09 pm

… are not motivated/smart enough/profitting from the CAGW issue to undertake a rigorous review of the issue.

That suggests an alternative approach of motivating them more by showing how it costs them more in taxes and the price of consumer goods. Another approach would be to make it easier for them to review the issue(s).

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  Ron Long
January 16, 2023 4:26 pm

No, I’m not going to lie. Hold fast to the truth, says the Good Book. I’m with God on this one.

Reply to  Ron Long
January 16, 2023 5:29 pm

Ron Long,
No, do not lie, fellow geoscientist.
We worked in a calling that did not need lies.
Geoff S

Frank from NoVA
January 16, 2023 7:08 am

‘Pollock consulted widely among grid operators, generators and academic experts. He found widespread puzzlement that after a certain point – varying from species to species and grid to grid – adding more renewables either did not increase that species’ share of total grid output or resulted in ever-growing capacity-constraint payments or do-not-generate orders to renewables generators at times of high wind, strong sun or low demand. He investigated, worked through the math and found he could answer the industry’s question.’

Widespread puzzlement? What a massive conceit! I’m fairly certain that most, if not all, grid operators, as well as many sentient and technically competent rate payers, are fully aware that weather or sunlight dependent renewable energy sources degrade grid stability and increase costs. In short, the build out of renewable capacity is a political problem, not a knowledge problem.

As for the arithmetic, it’s still misleading. Here is a clearer derivation of the ‘proof’, updated for your change in nomenclature:

D [=] mean system demand,
R [=] mean national capacity factor,
f [=] renewable generation / total generation,
N [=] min renewable nameplate capacity to meet renewable generation, and finally,

f_max [=] f given D=N, which must equal (renewable generation / total generation) given D = N, or substituting from above,

f_max = (N*R) / (N) = R

This so-called ‘proof’ assumes that 1) R, the mean national capacity factor that is a calculated average over all conditions, is applicable to the specific case where D = N and 2) f = f_max when D = N. Neither of these are true and/or supported.

Last edited 12 days ago by Frank from NoVA
karlomonte
Reply to  Frank from NoVA
January 16, 2023 10:05 am

Nor does it specify any time periods over which the CFs are calculated.

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  karlomonte
January 16, 2023 4:29 pm

Karlomonte is wrong again. Follow Monckton’s rule and read the head posting before commenting on it. It is therein plainly stated that the capacity factors are averages of annual mean national weather conditions applicable to the grid in question.

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  Frank from NoVA
January 16, 2023 4:37 pm

Frank from NoVA continues wilfully to misunderstand Mr Pollock’s argument. The capacity factor R for a given weather-dependent species of unreliables is a value already known to within a smallish uncertainty by each national grid operator. It is, therefore, applicable inter alia to the specific case where demand D is equal to the minimum nameplate capacity N of that species sufficient to satisfy demand.

Likewise, the renewables penetration factor f reaches its maximum f_max when the minimum nameplate capacity is sufficient to meet the demand. There is no need to generate above demand, save only for a small overage to cover intermittency in the unreliable species.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
January 16, 2023 11:29 pm

R is a calculated average over some period that aggregates many variable factors. To consider just one example, if fuel prices remain high for the foreseeable future, it is quite likely R could increase on its own given that total energy demand would likely decline at the same time renewable energy production would likely rise.

With respect to Mr. Pollock’s ‘proof’, it may be true that there is some unique R* that corresponds to the state where D=N, but given the multitude of other variables that also dictate the dispatch of units, this is very much uncertain. Even worse, neither Mr. Pollock nor you know what R* is equal to, but it surely isn’t R.

As for the assumption that f = f_max when D=N, Mr. Pollock needs to support that either empirically or logically. For example, on any windless night, the expected total output of wind and solar units is approximately zero. Assuming D=N, does that mean that f = f_max = R = 0?

Again, I’m convinced that CAGW is a crock and that wind and solar generation is unviable since it produces an inferior good, i.e., intermittent energy. But please stop saying no one had any inkling of these prior to your unveiling of Mr. Pollock’s ‘proof”.

wilpost
January 16, 2023 7:17 am

These two articles show the huge, multi-$trillion battery costs required to “backup” wind.

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

This article has nine parts

Solar electricity increases with the rising sun, is maximal around midday, and decreases with the setting sun.
 
The Owners of traditional generating plants, to avoid grid disturbances, are required by ISO-NE, the NE grid operator, to reduce their outputs when solar is present, which decreases their annual production, kWh/y, and increases their costs, c/kWh, plus increases wear and tear of their plants, i.e., those services are not “for free”; they are charged to ratepayers.
 
Electric grids with many solar systems have major midday solar output bulges, that are counteracted by the traditional power plants reducing their outputs. Combined-cycle, gas-turbine plants, CCGTs, perform almost all of the counteracting (aka balancing) of the variable wind and solar outputs.

Those plants have to increase their outputs during the peak hours of late afternoon/early evening, when solar will have gone to sleep until about 8 or 9 AM the next morning.
 
Battery Systems Electricity Delivery Periods at Rated Capacity

At present, most recently installed battery systems have about 4 hours of electricity delivery at rated capacity, because the battery systems are primarily used to absorb midday solar output bulges.

Battery systems, in use during all of 2015, delivered electricity, on average, for 0.5 hours
Battery systems, in use during all of 2018, delivered electricity, on average, for 2.4 hours
Battery systems, in use during all of 2019, delivered electricity, on average, for 3.2 hours  
 
The increase in energy-delivery duration is required, because the main function of battery systems is to store excess wind and store midday solar output bulges. They discharge about 80% of the stored electricity during the peak hours of late afternoon/early evening; the other 20% are round-trip battery system losses. 
https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=43775

GRID-SCALE BATTERY SYSTEMS IN NEW ENGLAND TO COUNTERACT SHORTFALL OF ONE-DAY WIND/SOLAR LULL
https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/grid-scale-battery-systems-in-new-england

The Dark Lord
Reply to  wilpost
January 16, 2023 8:18 am

a battery is not a generator … nat gas turbine, windmill or solar panels are generators … a battery can only store ENERGY created by a generator … a windmill and/or solar panel system can only be compared to a nat gas turbine if the windmill and/or solar system has enough battery capacity to equal the cap factor of a nat gas turbine …
I doubt that there is enough raw materials to build enough battery capacity for a single country much less the entire world … much less build it again 20-30 years later when the battery system has died … it doesn’t matter if the “fuel” for wind and solar generators is “free” … the generators are not free and frankly don’t have a long life with a 20 years maximum …

wilpost
Reply to  The Dark Lord
January 16, 2023 11:25 am

Both articles state, batteries store electricity, i.e., do not “generate” it

Part 2 shows a throughput loss at about 17.7%, from AC grid draw to AC grid feed, not counting 1) thermal management of batteries and enclosures, 2) control and monitoring, 3) site lighting, O&M, surveillance

mleskovarsocalrrcom
January 16, 2023 7:19 am

Can you say “touched a nerve”? I agree with the premises in this post but believe a public airing of interpersonal gripes doesn’t help.

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  mleskovarsocalrrcom
January 16, 2023 4:41 pm

The head posting does not “air an interpersonal gripe”: it demonstrates that Mr Menton had taken a single sentence in my original article on the Pollock limits out of context, and had then restated that sentence in a form that made the concept easier to attack, and had then failed to take any account of a sentence in my original article just two sentences after the sentence he had taken out of context. If he had taken account of that sentence, he would have realized his mistake. Unfortunately, he chose to direct various discourtesies at me on the basis of his mistake. However, he was good enough to give me the opportunity to reply and I have now set the record straight.

Eric Vieira
January 16, 2023 7:56 am

The “why” is quite simple: Follow the money, or to quote a known citation: you can’t convince somebody to accept something, if his salary is dependent on not accepting it. The main problem is the incredible sums of money nowadays that go into political and environmental advocacy. Think of all the societal problems that could be addressed if this money was wisely used … for “real” research and development. We’re talking about trillions of dollars.
Like the money that goes into political campaigns, this should be regulated (which unfortunately must happen when something gets massively abused by irresponsible people), although a lot of illegal political funding bypasses by far even the current legislation on the matter. I’m personally for freedom, but this has gone way too far .. even Governments are “corrupted” by so much money.

Javier Vinós
January 16, 2023 8:05 am

OK, so the problem with climate skepticism is that skeptics don’t agree more with Lord Monckton.

Over-skeptical? There’s no Goldilocks skepticism. There’s skepticism and there’s a lack of skepticism. One cannot be a little skeptical as one cannot be a little pregnant.

Unjustifiable discourtesy? I guess Lord Monckton’s discourtesy is always justified.

Thanks for the entertainment value.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Javier Vinós
January 16, 2023 9:17 am

Very well said. It’s interesting that almost all of the commenters, including MoB, understand that forcing wind and solar energy into the grid is a cropper. The discourtesy arises from his inference that none of us knew that without the benefit of his goofy ‘proof’.

Last edited 12 days ago by Frank from NoVA
Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  Frank from NoVA
January 16, 2023 4:46 pm

Frank from NoVA continues wilfully to troll. Of course, skeptics know that wind and solar power, if only because they must be backed up by 100% dispatchable power at all times, are a net addition to grids that would be able to deliver full demand even if all the windmills and solar panels are not operating (except in Texas, where they failed to maintain 100% backup).

Like it or not, though, Mr Pollock, after diligent inquiry among grid specialists, found they were not able to explain why at a certain penetration wind and solar power suddenly became very much more expensive and wasteful even than before. The Pollock limits answer that question.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
January 16, 2023 10:34 pm

‘Of course, skeptics know that wind and solar power, if only because they must be backed up by 100% dispatchable power at all times, are a net addition to grids that would be able to deliver full demand even if all the windmills and solar panels are not operating…’

So the ‘skeptics’ know that wind and solar require 100% conventional back-up, but the ‘grid specialists’ didn’t have a clue?

‘Mr Pollock, after diligent inquiry among grid specialists, found they were not able to explain why at a certain penetration wind and solar power suddenly became very much more expensive and wasteful even than before.’

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Citations, please.

Mr.
Reply to  Javier Vinós
January 16, 2023 1:11 pm

One cannot be a little skeptical as one cannot be a little pregnant.

I’m skeptical about this claim.

I initially view everything that I haven’t previously encountered with a cautious pinch of skepticism.

Maybe open-mindedness is a better description.

Nevertheless, border-line skepticism is an essential ingredient of open-mindedness.

Richard Greene
Reply to  Javier Vinós
January 16, 2023 1:40 pm

CAGW skepticism is not climate skepticism.

CAGW does not exist
CAGW has never existed
CAGW has been predicted since the 1979 Charney Report
CAGW never showed up
CAGW is an always wrong wild guess prediction of climate doom

CAGW skepticism is not climate skepticism — it is data based Climate Realism, while CAGW is a data free prediction of doom

“Climate change” means CAGW these days

So climate change is also a data free prediction of doom.

The problem with climate skepticism is we are a small team of Climate Realists battling against governments and their hack scientists, supported by the mass media (aka the whole Climate Howler team), making predictions of the climate in 200 to 400 years that can’t be refuted for hundreds of years.

That is a tough propaganda battle.

Reply to  Richard Greene
January 16, 2023 5:42 pm

Richard Greene,
Yes, it is a tough battle. I had the advantage of seldom discovering credible data in CAGW from a start in the 1980s, so I do not have the baggage of a converted green. Yet, little of my effort to criticise CAGW, if any, has created a benefit to society of which I am aware.
I have resolutely refrained from going overboard with an opposite view because I think that one can make onself irrelevant by extreme argument. Logical is better, I think, but I do not know for sure.
In the washout, I now think of it as a money game. My lack of effect is not helped by my lack of large amounts of fun money. It, as some suggest, there is a cabal of billionaires behind some of the problems of which we write, I cannot match their spending.
Maybe, money spent on pushing CAGW also has a type of Pollock Limit. It would comfort me if I knew that people were getting poorer from overspending on it.
Geoff S

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  Javier Vinós
January 16, 2023 4:42 pm

The Pollock Limits have proven to be more than somewhat over Dr Vinos’ head. His comments in these threads have been generally unconstructive. That is a shame.

SMC
January 16, 2023 8:07 am

We can talk about the merits of the Physical Science all day. But one thing the Skeptic Community continually seems to forget is, the ‘Climate Change’ debate is not about the Physical Science, it never has been. The ‘Climate Change’ debate is about Political Science.

It does not matter what the facts are. It does not matter what the observations show, or what the mathematics prove. What matters is the people’s perspective on a topic and how that perception can be manipulated to achieve the desired political outcome.

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  SMC
January 16, 2023 4:50 pm

When I was assisting the Republicans in defeating Mr Obama’s Cap and Tax Bill, an influential congressman told me they were going to fight on the economic question alone, because the public would not understand The Science anyway. I said that if the Republicans argued only from economics, all the climate Communists had to say was, “Regardless of the economic cost, we must Save The Planet,” and the Republicans would be left with no argument.

The Congressman accepted my point at once. The Republicans faced down the climate-Communist faction in the House not only on the economics but also on The Science, and defeated the Bill.

That is why my team refuses to be deterred by the faint-hearts who suggest there is no point in doing the physics.

SMC
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
January 16, 2023 5:41 pm

I didn’t say there was no point in doing the physics, there very obviously is a point. But the physics is a foil to the political argument when it comes to CAGW. It helps, when the physics is on your side but that doesn’t matter much when you are dealing with what people perceive to be true.

Pat from Kerbob
January 16, 2023 8:16 am

Germany would seem to be the perfect example of this Pollock rule.
They have built out renewables to 2x the average grid load, and yet it can still only provide max 40% of the electricity used in a year. They produce way too much when the wind blows and none when it doesn’t. Doubling it again will get nothing as they already have too much when the wind blows and it does not matter if they have 10X when the wind doesn’t blow.

Their answer is they export the extra, and then import from elsewhere when the wind in germany drops off. But what happens when the wind drops off all across europe, which really is a small area?
Collapse

Jit
Reply to  Pat from Kerbob
January 16, 2023 10:33 am

The export excess / import when needed works…. as long as your friends and neighbours have reliable generators, and not a snakes’ wedding of renewables.

Richard Greene
Reply to  Jit
January 16, 2023 1:45 pm

The solution to the shortfalls of wind and solar energy is the ability for every state and nation to be able to borrow up to 50% of their electricity supply, on demand, from somewhere else. That will require long extension cords crisscrossing the world. Problem solved. I hope this brilliant Rube Goldberg idea pf mine gets nominated for a Nobel Prize.

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  Pat from Kerbob
January 16, 2023 4:53 pm

Pat from Kerbob is quite right about Germany. I suspect that Mr Menton, who had thought that Germany was a standing demonstration of the fact that there are no such things as Pollock limits, will revisit that conclusion once he realizes what is actually going on there. Wind and solar indeed contribute between them about 40% of total grid generation, and, because that value is at or above the Pollock limit, they are having to make capacity-constraint payments not only to their own unreliables subsidy-farmers but also to those in Denmark. Their breaching of the Pollock limits is every bit as wasteful and expensive as one might suspect.

Steve Case
January 16, 2023 8:28 am

Climate skepticism has four failings
_____________________________________

Probably more than that.

     Politicians that “Go along to get along.”

     Disagreeing with the other side on everything even when they are right,
     Jesus said, “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto
     God the things that are God’s”

     Buying into the other side’s propaganda. Such as referring to Climate
     Change as a problem when it isn’t a problem.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Steve Case
January 16, 2023 12:15 pm

Politicians that “Go along to get along.”

That is basically the definition of a politician.

Richard M
Reply to  Steve Case
January 16, 2023 1:45 pm

Not just politicians. Corporations, including “big oil”, do this continually.

edim
January 16, 2023 8:50 am

“Once a herd has been established in a subject, it can only be broken by the most crass confrontation with opposing evidence. There is no gentle way that I have ever seen in the history of science where a herd once established has been broken up.”

http://amasci.com/freenrg/newidea1.html#:~:text=New%20ideas%20in%20science%20are,ideas%20as%20to%20the%20new.

morfu03
January 16, 2023 9:15 am

Just out of curiosity.. as this R factor depends on the generation capacity, would it be possible to generate sufficient regenerative energy when generation at sea is included? England is an island after all..
Regardless of that, it seems common knowledge these days (even so some seem to forget this soemtimes) that regenerative energy is best used in an energy mix up 1/3 of the electricity generation or it gets costly, which seems close to Pollock´s number.
There are several European countries and US states who have firsthand experience by now.

ResourceGuy
January 16, 2023 9:30 am

In a world where cycles have been erased by Climate Crusades, it takes time for the obvious to register the nonlinear facts. And even then it’s an uphill climb against relentless indoctrination and advocacy armies.

AMO GlobalAnnualIndexSince1856 With11yearRunningAverage.gif (880×471) (wp.com)

NOAA SST-NorthAtlantic GlobalMonthlyTempSince1979 With37monthRunningAverage.gif (880×481) (wp.com)

Beta Blocker
January 16, 2023 9:44 am

Beta Blocker’s Topic of the Day #1 for 01/16/2023: It’s time for some levity here.

Many moons ago when I was an engineering student in college, I took all the heavy duty mathematics courses needed for my particular discipline, including Advanced Engineering Mathematics.

One day after class, I needed to visit the men’s room and found myself standing between two Phd mathematics professors at the row of urinals.

Both had a well-deserved reputation for being very good at teaching complex mathematics to engineering majors and to physics majors. But psychologically, these two were still mathematicians, they were not engineers or physicists.

It should be said that most engineers are not mathematicians