Western Europe Power Mix In January

NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT

By Paul Homewood

h/t Joe Public

There is a useful site for collecting data on the European power sector, called Energodock:

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http://energodock.com/germany/electricity-generation

It gives a variety of data by country. I have used it to analyse generation data across Western Europe for last month. (I have ignored Eastern Europe at this stage).

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Some observations:

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Getting Gas (and Electrons) Across America

Reblogged from Musings from the Chiefio:

This is a small photo essay with comments about gasoline and Diesel prices across America, along with one observation on charging your Telsa in California. We’ll start off in Louisiana. I was startled to find that a couple of off ramps in Louisiana have now put Traffic Circles at the end of them. This dumps a constant stream of unsuspecting motorists into a “circle” that has a highway trying to cross it the other way. At busy times this will inevitably result in a circle full of cars from one way or the other blocking the circle and then either the freeway or the highway will end up backing up until “there are issues”.

Sigh.

Traffic circles may be cheap and easy for low use areas (so you avoid the cost of traffic lights and all) but for an intersection of a significant local highway with a major freeway off ramp, it’s just asking for trouble. They have apparently already had trouble as the “on ramp” portion had added a fairly dense set of vertical plastic “bumper” dividers to keep folks tracked into the right lane to right turn to onramp and out of the circle proper.

I wish folks designing roads in the USA would not look to Europe and their traffic circles for guidance… Ever try to take a 5th wheel or 18 wheeler through a traffic circle? Ever try to get into one with one of those guys already in it? Just OMG PITA.

With that out of the way, somewhere off I-12 bypassing New Orleans, I needed gas. This was fairly typical across most of Texas and L.A. along with much of Mississippi, Alabama, and New Mexico. Prices rose a little in Florida and Arizona.

The South & Louisiana

Tesla Anyone?

Louisiana Gas Prices Jan 2019

A couple of things to note about that sign. First off, it is mostly advertising Regular Gas. A H/T to Larry Ledwick on Octane. In another comment thread about why octane was lower in the West than on the East Coast, he reminded me that cold and altitude reduce octane needs. This caused me to experiment a bit. Turns out that Angus (my black Mercedes 190) has a knock sensor, so will run on “less than premium” but with reduced performance at full throttle as “what the added gas giveth, the spark retarding taketh away”.

I did some tests. On Mid Grade it loses a bit of the very full throttle, on regular it becomes doggy at about 1/2 to 3/4 throttle (you give it more gas and nothing much happens) while on Super it stays fast and with full acceleration. But if you are sitting at 1/2 throttle for 6 hours on the freeway why pay extra to have “zoom on tap”?

So after some tests, I started slowly working down the octane. Turns out that I can easily run Regular once out of the desert hill climb of California to Arizona and especially in the cool of the night. So now I fill up with Super in town (need that ‘off the line’ zip and freeway onramp performance!) but then do a tank of mid-grade for the ‘get out of dodge’ and then swap to regular for the Long Steady Cruise. It has saved me buckets of money with almost no impact on drivability. On the return from Florida I do run some mid-grade for the climb up the Rockies or for the climb to the High Desert as that’s fuller throttle use.

So, in fact, about 3/4 of my “run” is on Regular. (Some of the “mid-grade” is ‘mix your own’ where I’ll add 1/4 tank of Super to a residual 3/4 tank of Regular to get it ready for the climb. Octane enhancement is non-linear, so 1 unit of boost (think Ethyl lead) would give mid-grade but then it took 4 to get Super. This means 1/4 tank of Super in 3/4 of regular would give that same 1 unit of booster as mid-grade. I’m assuming non-lead octane boosters work the same as TELead…)

Lowest price I paid was about $1.69 / gallon. Nice.

So, ok, what else? Notice that yellow price of $1.95 ? That’s for “E 20” or 20% ethanol fuel for Flex Fuel cars. It is one octane point higher (88 vs 87) but costs a lot more, and with less fuel value. I have no idea why folks would pay more for less fuel heat content. However, it might let Angus pass California Smog Testing… except they don’t sell it here 😉

Next up, Diesel at $3 / gallon. WT? About a 70% price premium? Just crazy. In a real competitive market the max you would expect is a 30% premium for the added fuel value. For decades it was in fact sold at a discount to gasoline as it was a residual from gasoline manufacture. Yes, in winter the demand for #2 Heating Oil raises Diesel price some (as they are both #2 Oil just different degrees of clean) but usually that was a dime or 20 ¢ / gallon. Not a $buck. All across the nation I saw Diesel running at about $1/gallon MORE than gasoline. Often more than Super by a $buck, and in some places as much as $1.35 to $1.50 a gallon more. Just crazy. Yet mixed in along the way were a few non-brand places with Diesel at about $2.50 / gallon. Still higher than gasoline, but at least quasi sane. If running a trucking fleet, I’d be seriously looking at Gasoline engines or LNG alternatives, despite Diesel being a better engine and much more efficient.

Next we go to Texas:

Texas Gasoline Jan 2019

Now much of Texas was cheaper than this place. This was at a Truck Stop middle of nowhere and without much competition. Texas had some places down in that $1.6x range (but I couldn’t see how to get to a couple of Exxon stations with that price near Houston… Texas has these “frontage roads” next to the freeway and you get on / off on short suicide ramps that cross frontage road traffic at an angle… and then you may get to drive 5 miles to an underpass to get back another 5 miles to that gas station you passed and saw from the freeway… just not worth it.) So I stopped at the easy on / off Truck Stops instead 😉

Now here we see “only” about a dollar spread of Diesel over gasoline. So I’m driving my 25 mpg Gasoline car instead of my 25 mpg Diesel car… I’m sure that’s some Green Nuts idea of a benefit, but one carries a lot more “goods” for the gallon than the other one. We ought to be encouraging Diesel cars, not discouraging them. They are about 30% more efficient and that is the same as finding 30% more oil reserves.

Next note that they sell Propane for $3 / gallon. Propane ought to sell for less than Regular Gasoline on a BTU basis (or thermal energy basis). At one time it did and car conversions to propane were popular. At these prices not so much. Still, it’s about $1 to $2 / gallon cheaper than in California. So folks with RVs planning a cross country trip ought to plan a fill up in Texas and avoid arriving in California needing cooking fuel.

Texas is 1/3 of the cross country trip. On I-10 it is 880 miles. IIRC entry on I-20 is a bit longer at 938 miles. For a 2800 mile trip from SF area to Orlando 1/3 is 933 miles. Essentially the trip is 1/3 “mostly California” with a smidge of Arizona and New Mexico, then 1/3 Texas, then you get the
Ready for California Sticker Shock? 1/3 that’s 200 miles of Louisiana, a tiny bit of Mississippi and Alabama (about 80 miles) and then that long Florida Panhandle and I-75 down the middle. Florida gas used to be about 30 ¢/gallon more expensive but they seem to have gotten closer to their neighbors recently (more likely by others raising taxes on gas rather than Florida backing off…)

So when making that drive, it is optimal to put as much of your drive in Texas and each side of it as possible and have as little as possible in California. Why? Well let’s look at California prices…

And Then There Is California

Ready for California Sticker Shock?

Returning from Florida, California is mostly the drive from Arizona across the Mojave Desert and the L.A. basin, and then a run up I-5 to San Francisco. I always tank up just before leaving Arizona, and then top up about 1000 Palms or Desert Center (so as to avoid the need to stop in the L.A. Jungle.) Prices tend to rise after the desert and while you can find decent prices in the L.A. Metroplex (especially at ARCO stations) it isn’t easy to spot the good ones. Then, on the run up I-5, it can be highly variable. We’re talking $1/2 / gallon in 14 miles from the “one gas station” exit to the “several with competition”. It can be a $5 answer to know where to stop. I try to use Gas Buddy before I go to make sure I have some clue about where to buy.

https://www.gasbuddy.com

So I’d been stopping at a cluster of gas stations at about highway 46. On the way out I stopped there only to find a Holy Hell Traffic Mess. Most of the right side of the west bound road having cement barriers, loads of folks backed up trying to make turns into solid (stuck) traffic to get out of gas stations and back to the freeway. There’s an ARCO station there with good prices for cash (they stick you for an added fee for cards though) but just not worth the pain with all the construction. A few miles down the road I saw an IHOP sign with a price (not in the usual Diesel Green nor in Gasoline Red but in ?? Yellow) that was quite nice. So decided to stop there on the way back. Turns out it’s a “Bait & Switch” gimmick.

IHOP Shell south of Hwy 46  on I-5 California

Yeah, over $4 / gallon. Welcome to California…

The interesting thing for me is that this Diesel Price is rather nice. I’m assuming it is Diesel as it is in green. Why “no brand” is so relatively cheap is an interesting question. Clearly they expect most folks to think it’s a gasoline price, take the exit, and then say “Oh Well” buy gas anyway and then get food at the IHOP. In reality, most folks will do what I did: Note I’d been snookered and vow to Never Ever stop there again. The IHOP was empty as were most all of the gas stalls. Then again, it was late in the evening.

Now of particular interest to me was that those prices were not the end of the gouge. Turns out there was a smaller sign under this that let you know the real gouge amount:

Detailed Gas Cost at Shell / IHOP Jan 2019

You get a 20 ¢ “uplift” if you use your pay-at-the-pump card for convenience. Even a Debit card. I saw this at other Shell stations too (including one in El Paso Texas – so it isn’t just a California thing).

Still, think just a moment. $1.69 was my low end, and this is $4.69 for premium on the card. A full $3 / gallon MORE.

Now just so you don’t think all of California is completely insane, I drove down the road a ways to another gas station and here’s what I payed at the ARCO there (no uplift for the card, BTW):

ARCO California I-5 Jan 2019

So $2.67 / gallon is a heck of a lot better than $4.29 / gallon and even $3.29 / gallon is better than $4.69 (by $1.40 !) so clearly a bit of shopping around is a big win. Furthermore, as I-5 is dead flat and I drive it in the cool evening, my comparison was really $2.67 vs $4.69 by combining modest gas price shopping with some octane management. That’s a cool $2 / gallon saved on about 12 gallons or $24 in ONE gas stop. It really really pays to shop your gas in California.

But then I’m still left wondering what I’m getting for my $1 / gallon MORE paid for regular gas in California over Texas / Louisiana…

Tesla Anyone?

It was interesting to note that the IHOP Shell station had a Tesla charging station installed. I’m sure the Tesla drivers will feel smug about avoiding all that $4+ gasoline (having no reason to shop around and find out it is much cheaper just down the road…). At least they would if there were any of them:

Tesla Charge Station I-5 California at IHOP / Shell Station

This is an 8 stall charging station. It is just as you pull into the property. Behind me are the gasoline islands, the convenience store and the IHOP restaurant. Note the lone Tesla parked at the furthest way stall? I did not see a charging cable attached to it (but didn’t look much) and why would you park as far away as possible at the entrance?

My guess is that this belongs to the owner. Was it given to them as an inducement to have the station installed? Perhaps with the “free” electricity early Tesla buyers got in the package? I note in passing all the other stalls are empty; and parked at the driveway entrance, it acts as an advertisement that this is where to stop.

Now also note that brown box / enclosure behind the charge points. That’s the Semi-truck sized charger that drives those charge points. That’s a massive amount of electricity for 8 stations.

On my drive into LA (headed out to Florida) I noticed that 2 cars / second were going the other way. My side was about as full. That’s 4 cars / second for all of about 6 hours of freeway. 3600 seconds / hour. 21600 seconds. 86,400 cars. Two charges to get to L.A. and a third on arrival so you can get somewhere interesting gives 259,200 charges. Figure about 10 kW-hr / hr for an average eCar at cruise x 3 hours is 30 kW-hr / charge (likely very conservative estimate) or about 7,776,000 k-W hours of charge.7,776 MegaWatt hours. 7.7 GigaWatts. From where would that power come were all those cars electric? Notice this ignores the trucks… That is just to run about 1/2 of ONE of our major interstate highways. There’s also Highway 99 on the other side of the valley and 101 by the coast. Then all the crossing highways. Then the entire SF Bay area and the killer, the LA Metroplex. I’d guess easily it goes over 100 GigaWatts. Where are the 100 new nuclear power stations to make that electricity 24 x 7 x 365? (You can’t expect the freeway to come to a halt on windless nights… we have them most of the time.)

So 8 empty charging stations (not counting the advertising car) when the goal is closer to 1/4 Million full…

By the year 2020 or 2030.

Ain’t gonna happen.

I’m ever more convinced that the world divides into Engineers who can do math (easily and well) and the Green Fools who can’t and just don’t believe that the numbers matter. There is simply no way you will get 100 GW of new power, 24 x 7, for charging eCars and get all those charge points built and get about 40 Million eCars sold in California alone in anything under a couple of decades (and that only with a massive emergency level of pressure). Even then, the only technically practical way to get that power is nuclear generating stations. The size is just too large for anything else.

Then there is that small matter of nobody bothering to drive their Tesla to LA due to “range anxiety” and not wanting to sit at the IHOP At Nowhere for 3 hours while it charges… certainly not when they can stuff gas in their car in a minute and be rolling again.

Now generalize that problem to the 2000 mile runs coast to coast of Interstates: 8, 10, 20, 40, 70, 80, 90 and all the 1000 mile N / S runs that connect them about every 50 to 100 miles… The required electric generation is a full on boggle. I think I’ll need to find other ways to estimate that quantity. Perhaps taking our “Quads” of fuel burn and figuring an eCar kW-hr conversion. Even without that, it’s pretty clear it just isn’t going to be possible to charge a nation of cars & trucks.

In Conclusion

Imagine you want to build something. You get materials and parts shipped in. Product taken away in trucks. Your workers arrive in their cars and expect to make enough money to feed themselves and those commuting costs, as wages.

Where would you put your company? Where Gas is $4+ / gallon, or where it is $1.80 or less / gallon?

I’ve noticed groceries and fast food have similar price “uplift” in California. As a worker, would you chose to work in a place with a $4 fast food lunch available or where it ran you $6 to $8 for lunch? Where you get 50% more groceries for your earned dollar, or where they tax it at 11 % when you earn it and 10 % when you spend it and THEN the stuff you buy costs more too?

Some of the absurdities of manipulated markets can last for a few years (like pricing your Diesel at $3.50 and then giving a $1/gallon ‘discount’ to corporate trucking lines back to the real $2.50 it ought to be; and blowing off the individual trucker and car drivers) but eventually reality bites.

In California, we have a large influx of Hispanic and Asian new arrivals. There is an exodus of the Middle Class. The State is dividing into a Rich Elite and a poor immigrant class. That is not stable and will fail.

With that context, why on Earth would anyone start a business in California, or keep one here if they can move it?

New Study Shows That Diesel Cars Are Much Cleaner Than Most Electric Vehicles

Reblogged from Wonderful Engineering:


electric vehicles causing more carbon footprint

The electric cars do not release carbon emissions, but the problem lies in the production of their lithium-ion batteries. The energy required to make the cells result in a high carbon footprint. It is so high that the automotive experts have estimated that an electric vehicle in Germany would take more than 10 years to break even with an efficient combustion engine’s emissions. Dr. Jan Burgard, managing partner at Berylls said in a statement, “Electric cars appear to be the panacea and reduce emissions by 35 %. After all, electric vehicles do not emit any carbon dioxide while driving – at least that is a widely held opinion.”

Burgard further added, “However, from well to wheel, they do not improve the situation. After all, electricity generation – including for electric cars – is still strongly dependent on fossil fuels in many EU countries. The climate does not care whether carbon dioxide comes from the exhaust pipe or whether it is released when lignite is burned to generate electricity or in energy-intensive battery production.” The study states that building a 500 kilograms EV car battery or bigger in a fossil fuel-powered factory will result in 74% more carbon emissions than producing a traditional vehicle. Burgard says that it is time to consider the diesel approach if the world wants to reach the environmental targets of 2030 EU CO2.

Burgard said, “I miss a technology-agnostic discussion of available solutions, which also includes the potential of the currently demonized diesel engine. We will need it to achieve the EU’s climate targets.” Several others are not convinced with the research report and have lashed it on Twitter. People stated that the report is biased and is coming from the place from where the funding arrives. However, it is essential to consider the dirty process of making a battery and make appropriate adjustments accordingly. While energy companies are moving towards greener initiatives, producing a cleaner battery might also be possible soon.

Can wind and solar replace fossil fuels?

Reblogged from Watts Up With That:

By Richard D. Patton

Statements implying that wind and solar can provide 50% of the power to the grid are not difficult to find on the internet. For example, Andrew Cuomo announced that

“The Clean Energy Standard will require 50 percent of New York’s electricity to come from renewable energy sources like wind and solar by 2030…”

Considering that the wind is erratic, and the solar cells only put out full power 6 hours per day, it seems a remarkable statement. Can intermittent energy actually supply that much power?

For some answers, we turn to Germany, which has some of the highest electric bills in the world as well as a high proportion of its electric power produced by wind and solar (19%). Let’s take a look at German consumption and generation.

clip_image002

As you can see, the power generation (black line), especially after 2011, has been rising, but the power consumption (blue line) has been falling slightly. The red line denotes dispatchable generation, i.e. all power generated except wind and solar. This includes nuclear, fossil, biomass, hydro and geothermal power.

The table below shows what happened more clearly.  [units = billion kwh]

2001 2011 2016
Consumption 520.2 546.2 536.5
Dispatchable 539.1 506.4 496.3
wind+solar 10.6 68.3 116.3
losses+export 29.5 28.5 76.1

Between 2001 and 2011, wind and solar generation rose 57.7 billion kwh. The difference of dispatchable minus consumption fell by 58.7 billion kwh. In this period, solar and wind were displacing dispatchable power. Germany chose to reduce its nuclear fleet in this period, so fossil fuel use (mostly coal) remained strong and Germany’s carbon footprint was not significantly reduced.

In the period from 2011-2016, Germany’s wind and solar generation increased by another 48 billion kwh, but the difference between dispatchable generation and consumption was essentially flat at around 40 billion kwh. Losses+export increased by 47.6 billion kwh to 76.1 billion kwh in 2016. This increase is due to exports of 49 billion kwh to other countries in 2016.

While nuclear power fell 20% from 2011 to 2016, the dispatchable non-fossil fuel (nuclear, hydro, biomass and geothermal) portion of power generation remained almost constant, as can be seen on this graph.

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This left the German fossil fuel and the intermittent (wind + solar) portion of power generation.

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In this period, wind and solar rose from 68 to 116 billion kwh, yet this rise of 48 billion kwh had no effect on the use of fossil fuels to generate power in Germany. During the period of 2011 to 2016, consumption fell by 10 billion kwh. Fossil fuel generation fell by 5 billion kwh, and non-fossil fuel dispatchable generation (nuclear, hydro, biomass and geothermal) also fell by 5 billion kwh. The increase in wind and solar (48 billion kwh) had no effect on fossil fuel use.

 

Stability Problems, an example

To the problems caused by intermittent power, let us examine German power usage on January 7-9, 2016.

 

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This graph begins at start of January 7, which is a Thursday. The load line (black) shows low power usage. The spot price (orange, right-hand scale) is 25€/Mwh. The blue line is the sum of wind and solar power, and the red line is how much power is being exported.

The day starts and the load increases as people head to work. The spot price rises to 42 €/Mwh because the load is increasing. The wind picks up and the wind+solar line rises. It keeps rising throughout the day. As people go home and the work day ends, the spot price plummets to 12 €/Mwh because there are too many producers of electricity. To cushion the system, more power is exported.

The next day, the price rises in the morning but is still low (25€/Mwh) during the day due to high wind output. Around noon (hour 37) the wind power plummets. This is in the middle of the work day on Friday, so the load is high. Wind+solar was producing almost one-half of the power, but within four hours, approximately 15,000 Mw of power are taken out of the system while the system is near peak load. The spot price rises quickly to 47€/Mwh as the wind+solar power falls. The exports of power are reduced to cushion the system.

Notice that the exports move with the wind+solar power (positive correlation) and the spot price moves opposite to wind+solar power (negative correlation). The correlation coefficient of Germany’s wind and solar energy output and the exchanges with other countries in 2016 was r=0.503. The correlation between the spot price and the wind and solar generation is -.411.

Wind+solar underwent a nearly 6-fold increase in power over 30 hours, and the system must accommodate that power. Wind+solar then fell by 50% (25% of the load) in 4 hours. Exporting some of that power out of the system helps stabilize it. The spot price movements attract or repel other power producers to balance the system and prevent blackouts.

Despite these efforts, Germany is now plagued by blackouts. According to the (German) Federal Grid Agency (the Bundesnetzagentur), there are 172,000 power outages in Germany annually. This was reported by Hessen Public TV (HR). Previously, the German grid was impeccable.

After all of this effort, including patience are the part of the public in accepting these continual blackouts, Germany’s carbon footprint has barely budged. The CO2 emissions from coal and coke have only fallen 2% between 2011 and 2016, due to decreased consumption of electricity. The extra 48 billion kwh produced from wind and solar plants built between 2011 and 2016 was balanced by exports of 49 billion kwh in 2016. In terms of reducing Germany’s carbon footprint, the entire effort is a failure.

Apparently, there is a limit to how much intermittent power a grid can use before it becomes unstable. German wind and solar use maxed out in 2011 at around 68 billion kwh, or 12.5% of consumption. Back in the 90’s, engineering textbooks on wind were saying that people used to believe that wind could only supply about 10% of the power to the grid due to stability problems, but further studies showed that it could actually supply 30%. The real-life example of Germany shows that the engineers who said wind could only supply 10% of the power had a point.

It has not been proven that the NY Clean Energy Mandate (or similar mandates elsewhere) can be met by relying on wind and solar power. Given the example of Germany, doubts are in order. As advertised by its politicians, Germany gets 19% of its energy from wind and solar. What they do not say is that it also exports 1/3 of that energy out of country, leaving its carbon footprint unchanged since 2011. Some small countries, notably Denmark, have advertised that they get 50% or more of their energy from sun and wind. What they really mean is that they have a large country (in the case of Denmark, Germany) next to them absorbing that power and selling them power when the wind stops blowing and the sun goes down. Because it is a small country selling into a big market, its energy sales do not disturb the grid stability of the bigger market. It is a much different case when the larger country (Germany) tries it. Germany’s attempt, the Energiewende (energy transition), is widely judged to have been a failure. If New York goes down that path, it is not likely to do much better.

Sources

Andrew Cuomo 50% announcement

https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-announces-establishment-clean-energy-standard-mandates-50-percent-renewables

 

Data for graphs were sourced from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). Unfortunately, this is a beta site, but there was no other link to international data.

The EIA website has generation and consumption figures for every country for the years 1980-2016.

The link for German electricity generation (including different sources – wind, fossil fuel, etc.) is:

https://www.eia.gov/beta/international/data/browser/#/?pa=00000000000000000000000000000fvu&c=ruvvvvvfvtujvv1urvvvvfvvvvvvfvvvou20evvvvvvvvvnvvuvs&ct=0&tl_id=2-A&vs=INTL.2-12-AFG-BKWH.A&ord=CR&vo=0&v=H&end=2016

The link for German electricity consumption is:

https://www.eia.gov/beta/international/data/browser/#/?pa=0000002&c=ruvvvvvfvtujvv1urvvvvfvvvvvvfvvvou20evvvvvvvvvnvvuvs&ct=0&tl_id=2-A&vs=INTL.2-2-AFG-BKWH.A&vo=0&v=H&end=2016

The correlation coefficients were calculated from hourly European data compiled by P. F. Bach. He did those same calculations and sent them to me in a personal communication; the numbers matched. Here is the download link to his website.

http://www.pfbach.dk/firma_pfb/time_series/ts.php

He got the data from Entso-e, a platform showing power genraton, consumption and transmission in Europe. Its website is here, and registration is free:

https://transparency.entsoe.eu/transmission-domain/physicalFlow/show

The power outages data are from no tricks zone. Pierre Gosslin, who runs it, usually has interesting facts about Germany. Here is the link to that:

http://notrickszone.com/2017/12/01/germanys-national-power-grid-mess-country-seeing-whopping-172000-power-outages-annually/

The links to German TV from that article do not work.

Also, from no tricks zone, a report form ARD TV in Germany.

http://notrickszone.com/2018/01/26/unstable-green-power-grids-german-ard-television-tells-citizens-to-start-getting-used-to-blackouts/#sthash.rvUw5X6k.PzjU81fG.dpbs

The link from that article to ARD TV is available below

https://www.ardmediathek.de/ard/player/Y3JpZDovL2Rhc2Vyc3RlLmRlL3BsdXNtaW51cy81MWU3M2MwYy0wYjljLTQ4MTgtYTk0My1lZmJiZGIzMGU5YmI/

My German is very poor, but the show said 473/day or 172,645/year. Also, the show linked the stability problems to storms and wind power. In other words, wind power was specifically called out for Germany’s stability problems.

Bill Gates Backs Advanced Nuclear Power to Solve the Climate Crisis

Reblogged from Watts Up With That:

 

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Bill Gates has joined the growing list of Greens who think renewables alone cannot replace fossil fuels.

What I learned at work this year

By Bill Gates
December 29, 2018

Global emissions of greenhouse gases went up in 2018. For me, that just reinforces the fact that the only way to prevent the worst climate-change scenarios is to get some breakthroughs in clean energy.

Some people think we have all the tools we need, and that driving down the cost of renewables like solar and wind solves the problem. I am glad to see solar and wind getting cheaper and we should be deploying them wherever it makes sense.

But solar and wind are intermittent sources of energy, and we are unlikely to have super-cheap batteries anytime soon that would allow us to store sufficient energy for when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing. Besides, electricity accounts for only 25% of all emissions. We need to solve the other 75% too.

This year Breakthrough Energy Ventures, the clean-energy investment fund I’m involved with, announced the first companies we’re putting money into. You can see the list at http://www.b-t.energy/ventures/our-investment-portfolio/. We are looking at all the major drivers of climate change. The companies we chose are run by brilliant people and show a lot of promise for taking innovative clean-energy ideas out of the lab and getting them to market.

Next year I will speak out more about how the U.S. needs to regain its leading role in nuclear power research. (This is unrelated to my work with the foundation.)

Nuclear is ideal for dealing with climate change, because it is the only carbon-free, scalable energy source that’s available 24 hours a day. The problems with today’s reactors, such as the risk of accidents, can be solved through innovation.

The United States is uniquely suited to create these advances with its world-class scientists, entrepreneurs, and investment capital.

Unfortunately, America is no longer the global leader on nuclear energy that it was 50 years ago. To regain this position, it will need to commit new funding, update regulations, and show investors that it’s serious.

There are several promising ideas in advanced nuclear that should be explored if we get over these obstacles. TerraPower, the company I started 10 years ago, uses an approach called a traveling wave reactor that is safe, prevents proliferation, and produces very little waste. We had hoped to build a pilot project in China, but recent policy changes here in the U.S. have made that unlikely. We may be able to build it in the United States if the funding and regulatory changes that I mentioned earlier happen.

The world needs to be working on lots of solutions to stop climate change. Advanced nuclear is one, and I hope to persuade U.S. leaders to get into the game.

Read more: https://www.gatesnotes.com/About-Bill-Gates/Year-in-Review-2018

Anthony, myself, many others at WUWT have repeatedly said we have no problem with policies which encourage nuclear power, though we oppose carbon pricing because it imposes unnecessary hardship.

The evidence is unequivocal that the world could rapidly decarbonise the global economy by embracing nuclear power, without reducing consumption or making radical lifestyle changes.

France switched from coal to nuclear power in the 1970s without breaking their economy. They kept costs down by mass producing standardised reactor components, reprocessing waste fuel, and by reducing bureaucratic impediments by designating nuclear power a strategic national priority. France still generates 71% of their electricity from nuclear reactors, though lately President Macron is attempting to undo this achievement.

If nuclear power is such an obviously [sic] solution, why hasn’t it happened?

The main obstacle to going full nuclear in the West is the green movement.

When leading climate scientists beg the world to consider embracing nuclear power to decarbonise the economy, greens respond by calling them names.

Greens tell us we all must have the utmost respect for the global warming concerns of their favourite climate scientists, but that respect goes out the window whenever those same climate scientists say something which contradicts green policy objectives.

Next time a green asks you to make personal lifestyle sacrifices to reduce your carbon footprint, ask them why opposing nuclear power, the only large scale zero carbon energy source likely to receive bipartisan support, is more important to the green movement than reducing CO2. If you get an answer which makes sense let me know – because green excuses that nuclear is too expensive (not in France), or too dangerous (more dangerous than the end of the world?!) simply don’t make sense.

Germany’s Green Transition has Hit a Brick Wall

Sierra Foothill Commentary

Guest Blogger at Watts Up With That

Even worse, its growing problems with wind and solar spell trouble all over the globe.

Editor: As the Progressive Democrats force California to depend on Green Power their mistaken environmental dreams will hit the same wall that is described in this post.

Oddvar Lundseng, Hans Johnsen and Stein Bergsmark

More people are finally beginning to realize that supplying the world with sufficient, stable energy solely from sun and wind power will be impossible.

Germany took on that challenge, to show the world how to build a society based entirely on “green, renewable” energy. It has now hit a brick wall. Despite huge investments in wind, solar and biofuel energy production capacity, Germany has not reduced CO2 emissions over the last ten years. However, during the same period, its electricity prices have risen dramatically, significantly impacting factories, employment and poor families.

Germany has installed…

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The Social Benefit Of Carbon

Skating Under The Ice

Cross-posted from Watts Up With That, where I publish my scientific work.

After my recent post on the futility of the US cutting down on CO2 emissions, I got to thinking about what is called the “social cost of carbon”. (In passing, even the name is a lie. It’s actually the supposed cost of carbon DIOXIDE, not carbon … salesmanship and “framing” applied to what should be science. But I digress …)

According to the Environmental Defense Fund the “social cost of carbon” is:

… the dollar value of the total damages from emitting one ton of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The current central estimate of the social cost of carbon is roughly $40 per ton.

Now, for me, discussing the “social cost of carbon” is a dereliction of scientific duty because it is only half of an analysis.

A real analysis is where you draw a vertical…

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Going To Zero

Reblogged from Watts Up With That:

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach [See update at the end]

I keep reading about all kinds of crazy schemes to reduce US CO2 emissions. Now, I don’t think that CO2 is the secret knob that controls the climate. I think that the earth has a host of emergent thermoregulatory mechanisms that act to keep the temperature within narrow limits (e.g. 0.6°C temperature change over the entire 20th Century). I don’t believe the claims that the modern changes in CO2 will affect the temperature.

But solely for the purposes of this post, let’s assume that the alarmists are correct. And for purposes of discussion only, let’s assume that the Earth’s temperature is free to go up and down any amount. Let’s assume that CO2 is, in fact, the secret control knob that controls the temperature of the earth. And let’s further assume that the pundits are right that the “climate sensitivity” is three degrees of warming for every doubling of CO2.

And finally, let’s assume that in 2018 the US magically stopped emitting any CO2 at all.

With all of those assumptions as prologue, here’s the question of interest.

Other things being equal, if the US stopped emitting CO2 entirely in 2018, and stayed at zero CO2 emissions indefinitely, how much cooler would that make the planet in the year 2050?

Five degrees cooler? Two degrees? One degree?

With the (probably untrue but very widely held) assumptions we’ve made above, we can actually calculate the temperature savings if the US could stop emitting CO2.

To start with, we need to look at the actual history of CO2 emissions. Figure 1 shows the emission records, divided into the US emissions and the emissions from the rest of the world.

Figure 1. Historical CO2 emissions. Data from CDIAC and BP Statistical Review of World Energy.

Now, this is interesting in itself. First, the current US emissions are about the same as they were back around 1978 (dashed black line). So over the last forty years, our emissions haven’t increased at all. Makes no difference to me, but if you think CO2 is important that’s not a bad record, I’d say.

In addition, US emissions peaked in 2007 and have decreased since that time. On the other hand, as Figure 1 shows, since 1959 the emissions of the rest of the world have steadily been … well … heading for the sky.

Next, we need to calculate what would happen to the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere if US emissions went to zero. We can calculate that by noting that it takes 13.3 gigatonnes of CO2 emissions to increase the atmospheric CO2 by one part per million by volume (ppmv).

So to calculate future atmospheric CO2 levels, I assumed that CO2 would continue rising as it has in the past. This is called a “business as usual” (BAU) scenario. And for the purposes of this calculation, I assumed that the US emissions went to zero in the year 2018. Figure 2 shows the amount of difference that would make in the atmospheric CO2.

Figure 2. Historical and projected increases in atmospheric CO2. “Business as Usual” assumes that emissions continue to increase as they have in the past, so it is a smooth extension of historical changes in atmospheric CO2. The lower red line is done in the same way, but assuming that the US emissions went to zero in 2018. The yellow shaded area shows future projections.

Why so little difference?  US emissions are no longer a major player. In 1959, US emissions were about half those of the rest of the world. But by 2017, US emissions had fallen to only 20% of emissions of the rest of the world. And the emissions of the rest of the world are continuing to rise. As a result, US emissions going to zero doesn’t have a very large effect. It only decreases emissions by 11 ppmv by 2050, which is only about a 2% decrease in atmospheric CO2.

Next, we need to convert CO2 levels to temperature. According to the prevailing theory, a doubling of CO2 will increase the temperature by about 3° Celcius. Using that relationship gives us Figure 3, the temperature change theoretically due to the change in CO2.

Figure 3. Theoretical historical and projected temperature increases due to increasing CO2. The yellow shaded area shows future projections. These are temperature anomalies with respect to 1959.

So we’ve arrived at the answer to the question we started out with, and the answer is:

If we magically stopped emitting CO2 at the end of 2017, and stayed at zero CO2 emissions indefinitely, by 2050 the world would be cooler by a measly tenth of one degree …

How small is a tenth of a degree C? To start with, it is far too small for us to detect with our senses. It is also too small to detect with a normal thermometer. It’s the cooling you’d experience from going up three flights of stairs. Or in terms of weather and the ambient temperature, it’s a cooling equivalent to moving five miles (eight km) poleward from wherever you live …

However, the magnified scale of Figure 3 gives an exaggerated idea of the real-world difference that stopping US emissions would make. To get an accurate idea of just how trivial the temperature change would be, Figure 4 shows it on a normal outdoor thermometer scale:

Figure 4. Exactly the same data as in Figure 3, but to the scale of a regular thermometer. The yellow shaded area shows future projections. (As a side note, the blue line shows a warming of 1.6°C from 1959 to 2050 … greater than the dreaded 1.5°C warming target that everyone is hyperventilating about. Scary looking change, huh? But I digress …)

Just as in Figure 3,  in Figure 4 there are actually two lines showing the temperature—a red line for the US going to zero and a blue line for the business as usual scenario. But you can’t see the red line, because it only differs from the business as usual blue line by a tenth of a degree C …

And that means that regarding the question of how much cooling we’d get by 2050 if the US stopped emitting CO2 entirely, the real-world answer is … no perceptible difference at all. None. Far too small for anyone to sense directly. Far too small to register on your outdoor thermometer. The US could go to zero emissions and in 2050 we’d never notice the temperature difference.

So the next time someone tries to get you to sign on to yet another brilliant plan that the US is supposed to sign on to in order to “reduce our carbon footprint”, like the plans for everyone in the US to stop eating meat or to stop flying in airplanes or to buy electric cars or to cover half the US landscape with solar panels or to tax energy until the poor people put on yellow vests and throw rocks … well, the next time one of those charming folks proposes one of those plans, all of which come with a multi-billion dollar price tag, feel free to point them to this analysis and tell them “Even cutting US emissions to zero will make no perceptible difference by 2050! None!”.

[UPDATE] An alert commenter pointed out that Pat Michaels wrote about this issue in Forbes magazine, in which he pointed out an online calculator to show temperature savings from various reductions. Good stuff.

Best regards to all,

w.

Huge Amounts of Oil In Texas and New Mexico

sunshine hours

Wow. There is no shortage of oil in Texas and New Mexico!

USGS Announces Largest Continuous Oil Assessment in Texas and New Mexico

Estimates Include 46.3 Billion Barrels of Oil, 281 Trillion Cubic feet of Natural Gas, and 20 Billion Barrels of Natural Gas Liquids in Texas and New Mexico’s Wolfcamp Shale and Bone Spring Formation.

Image shows a map of the assessment units of the 2018 Delaware Basin oil and gas assessment

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Washing Methane Away: Atmospheric Chemistry

Science Matters

The good news comes from NASA published at Science Daily Greenhouse gas ‘detergent’ recycles itself in atmosphere.  The study explains how the atmosphere functions as a methane sink, and why the process is resilient and handles whatever CH4 is emitted.  Scientists had worried that the atmospheric capacity to wash away methane might decay over time, but that fear turns out to be unfounded. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Summary:
A simple molecule in the atmosphere that acts as a ‘detergent’ to break down methane and other greenhouse gases has been found to recycle itself to maintain a steady global presence in the face of rising emissions, according to new research. Understanding its role in the atmosphere is critical for determining the lifetime of methane, a powerful contributor to climate change.

The hydroxyl (OH) radical, a molecule made up of one hydrogen atom, one oxygen atom with a…

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