Wind Turbines Out West Part II — Watts Up With That?

Wind energy development has suddenly exploded in southeastern Wyoming. In just two counties we have now in operation, or permitted, some twelve wind projects involving 613,000 acres (958 square miles) and offering nameplate rating of 6,300MW.

Wind Turbines Out West Part II — Watts Up With That?

Study: Solar And Wind Generation Makes Electricity More Expensive


By Paul Homewood

h/t Dennis Ambler

Well we knew it all the time, but now it has been confirmed by a team of economists from the University of Chicago:


Solar panels and wind turbines are making electricity significantly more expensive, a major new study by a team of economists from the University of Chicago finds.

Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) “significantly increase average retail electricity prices, with prices increasing by 11% (1.3 cents per kWh) seven years after the policy’s passage into law and 17% (2 cents per kWh) twelve years afterward,” the economists write.

The study, which has yet to go through peer-review, was done by Michael Greenstone, Richard McDowell, and Ishan Nath. It compared states with and without an RPS. It did so using what the economists say is “the most comprehensive state-level dataset ever compiled” which covered 1990 to 2015.

The cost to consumers has been staggeringly…

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Battery Storage – An Infinitesimally Small Part of Electrical Power

Reblogged from Watts Up With That:

Guest essay by Steve Goreham

Large-scale storage of electricity is the latest proposed solution to boost the deployment of renewables. Renewable energy advocates, businesses, and state governments plan to use batteries to store electricity to solve the problem of intermittent wind and solar output. But large-scale storage is only an insignificant part of the electrical power industry and doomed to remain so for decades to come.

Last month, Senator Susan Collins of Maine introduced a bi-partisan bill named “The Better Energy Storage Technology Act,” proposing to spend $300 million to promote the development of battery solutions for electrical power. Collins stated, “Next-generation energy storage devices will help enhance the efficiency and reliability of our electric grid, reduce energy costs, and promote the adoption of renewable resources.”

Arizona, California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Oregon adopted statutes or goals to develop storage systems for grid power, with New York committing to most ambitious target in the nation. In January, as part of his mandate for “100 percent clean power by 2040,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a target to deploy 3,000 megawatts (MW) of storage by 2030.

Today, 29 states have renewable portfolio standards laws, requiring utilities to purchase increasing amounts of renewable energy. But the electricity output from wind and solar systems is intermittent. On average, wind output is between 25% and 35% of rated output. Solar output is even less, delivering an average of about 15% to 20% percent of rated output.

Mandating the addition of wind and solar to power systems is like forcing a one-car family to buy a second car that runs only 30% of the time. The family can’t replace the original car with the new intermittent car, but must then maintain two cars.

Renewable advocates now propose electricity storage to solve the intermittency problem and to help renewable energy replace traditional coal, natural gas, and nuclear generators. When wind and solar output is high, excess electricity would be stored in batteries and then delivered when renewable output is low, to try to replace traditional power plants that generate electricity around the clock.

Headlines laud the growth of battery installations for grid storage, growing 80% last year and up 400% from 2014. But the amount of US electricity stored by batteries today is less than miniscule.

Pumped storage, not batteries, provides about 97% of grid power storage in the United States today. Pumped storage uses electricity to pump water into an elevated reservoir to be used to drive a turbine when electricity is needed. But less than one in every 100,000 watts of US electricity comes from pumped storage.

In 2018, US power plants generated 4.2 million GW-hours of electrical power. Pumped storage capacity totaled about 23 GW-hrs. Battery storage provided only about 1 GW-hr of capacity. Less than one-millionth of our electricity is stored in grid-scale batteries.

Electricity storage is expensive. Pumped storage is the least costly form of grid storage at about $2,000 per kilowatt, but requires areas where an elevated reservoir can be used. Battery storage costs about $2,500 per kilowatt for discharge duration of two hours or more. Batteries are more expensive than onshore wind energy, which has an installed market price of under $1,000 per kilowatt. But a key factor in the effectiveness of storage is the length of time that the system can deliver stored electricity.

In the case of New York State, plans call for the installation of 9,000 MW of offshore wind capacity by 2035 and 3,000 MW of battery storage by 2030. The wind system will likely cost in excess of $9 billion, and the battery system will likely cost about $7.5 billion. But this planned battery deployment is wholly inadequate to remove the wind intermittency.

If the wind system has an average output of 33% of its rated output, then the planned 3,000 MW of battery storage would only be able to deliver the average wind output for about two hours. To replace output for a full day when the wind isn’t blowing, 36,000 MW of storage would be needed at a cost of $90 billion, or about ten times as much as the wind system itself. Since several days without wind in most locations is common, even a day of battery backup is inadequate.

In addition, the 10-15 year lifetime of grid-scale batteries is no bargain. Wind and solar systems are rated for 20-25 years of service life. Traditional coal, natural gas, and nuclear systems last for 35 years or more.

Storage of electricity should be regarded as foolish by anyone in the manufacturing industry. For decades, major companies pursued just-in-time manufacturing, “lot size one,” Kanban, lean manufacturing, and other programs designed to eliminate finished goods inventory to reduce costs. Electricity is delivered immediately upon generation, the ultimate zero-finished-goods-inventory product. But many organizations now clamor for electricity storage to try to fix the intermittency weakness of renewables.

Today, battery grid storage capacity is less than one millionth of national electricity output. Practical battery storage adds a cost factor of at least ten to the cost of the partner renewable system. It will be decades before battery storage plays a significant role in large-scale power systems, if ever.

Originally published in Energy Central. Republished here at the request of the author

Steve Goreham is a speaker on the environment, business, and public policy and author of the book Outside the Green Box: Rethinking Sustainable Development.

Australian Daily Electrical Power Generation Data – Friday 17th May 2019

PA Pundits - International

By Anton Lang ~

This Post details the daily power consumption data for the AEMO coverage area in Australia. For the background information, refer to the Introductory Post at this link.

Each image is shown here at a smaller size to fit on the page alongside the data for that day. If you click on each image, it will open on a new page and at a larger size so you can better see the detail.

Note also the scale change for all of the images, and that even though they look similar in size of generation, that scale (the total power shown on the left hand vertical axis) has been changed to show the graph at a larger size to better fit the image for that graph.

Friday 17th May 2019

Total Power Generation All Sources

Here, the total power generation from every power plant source is the…

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Half of 21st Century Warming Due to El Nino

Reblogged from  [HiFast bold]

May 13th, 2019 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

A major uncertainty in figuring out how much of recent warming has been human-caused is knowing how much nature has caused. The IPCC is quite sure that nature is responsible for less than half of the warming since the mid-1900s, but politicians, activists, and various green energy pundits go even further, behaving as if warming is 100% human-caused.

The fact is we really don’t understand the causes of natural climate change on the time scale of an individual lifetime, although theories abound. For example, there is plenty of evidence that the Little Ice Age was real, and so some of the warming over the last 150 years (especially prior to 1940) was natural — but how much?

The answer makes as huge difference to energy policy. If global warming is only 50% as large as is predicted by the IPCC (which would make it only 20% of the problem portrayed by the media and politicians), then the immense cost of renewable energy can be avoided until we have new cost-competitive energy technologies.

The recently published paper Recent Global Warming as Confirmed by AIRS used 15 years of infrared satellite data to obtain a rather strong global surface warming trend of +0.24 C/decade. Objections have been made to that study by me (e.g. here) and others, not the least of which is the fact that the 2003-2017 period addressed had a record warm El Nino near the end (2015-16), which means the computed warming trend over that period is not entirely human-caused warming.

If we look at the warming over the 19-year period 2000-2018, we see the record El Nino event during 2015-16 (all monthly anomalies are relative to the 2001-2017 average seasonal cycle):

Fig. 1. 21st Century global-average temperature trends (top) averaged across all CMIP5 climate models (gray), HadCRUT4 observations (green), and UAH tropospheric temperature (purple). The Multivariate ENSO Index (MEI, bottom) shows the upward trend in El Nino activity over the same period, which causes a natural enhancement of the observed warming trend.

We also see that the average of all of the CMIP5 models’ surface temperature trend projections (in which natural variability in the many models is averaged out) has a warmer trend than the observations, despite the trend-enhancing effect of the 2015-16 El Nino event.

So, how much of an influence did that warm event have on the computed trends? The simplest way to address that is to use only the data before that event. To be somewhat objective about it, we can take the period over which there is no trend in El Nino (and La Nina) activity, which happens to be 2000 through June, 2015 (15.5 years):

Fig. 2. As in Fig. 1, but for the 15.5 year period 2000 to June 2015, which is the period over which there was no trend in El Nino and La Nina activity.

Note that the observed trend in HadCRUT4 surface temperatures is nearly cut in half compared to the CMIP5 model average warming over the same period, and the UAH tropospheric temperature trend is almost zero.

One might wonder why the UAH LT trend is so low for this period, even though in Fig. 1 it is not that far below the surface temperature observations (+0.12 C/decade versus +0.16 C/decade for the full period through 2018). So, I examined the RSS version of LT for 2000 through June 2015, which had a +0.10 C/decade trend. For a more apples-to-apples comparison, the CMIP5 surface-to-500 hPa layer average temperature averaged across all models is +0.20 C/decade, so even RSS LT (which usually has a warmer trend than UAH LT) has only one-half the warming trend as the average CMIP5 model during this period.

So, once again, we see that the observed rate of warming — when we ignore the natural fluctuations in the climate system (which, along with severe weather events dominate “climate change” news) — is only about one-half of that projected by climate models at this point in the 21st Century. This fraction is consistent with the global energy budget study of Lewis & Curry (2018) which analyzed 100 years of global temperatures and ocean heat content changes, and also found that the climate system is only about 1/2 as sensitive to increasing CO2 as climate models assume.

It will be interesting to see if the new climate model assessment (CMIP6) produces warming more in line with the observations. From what I have heard so far, this appears unlikely. If history is any guide, this means the observations will continue to need adjustments to fit the models, rather than the other way around.

Critics blame solar farms for high electricity bills as it emerges owners earn more money from taxpayer-funded handouts than selling energy


By Paul Homewood

Some of us have been reporting this for years!

The Mail has finally caught up:


Britain’s biggest solar farms get more money in taxpayer subsidies than they make from selling the electricity they produce.

The plants were encouraged to get off the ground with generous handouts, funded from ‘green taxes’ on fuel bills.

Now many of them make the majority of their cash from the subsidies.

Some farms have been snapped up by private firms, venture capitalists and pension funds which realise they are guaranteed money-spinners, in part because of the Government-backed handouts.

Britain's biggest solar farms get more money in taxpayer subsidies than they make from selling the electricity they produce

Britain’s biggest solar farms get more money in taxpayer subsidies than they make from selling the electricity they produce

But critics say the system, which often guarantees the handouts for 15 or 20 years, has been way too generous and skewed the energy market – leading to bigger household electricity bills.

Dr John Constable…

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Batteries Cannot Make Renewables Reliable

PA Pundits - International

By David Wojick, Ph.D. ~

Utilities are starting to experiment with adding batteries to wind and solar projects. These storage projects are feeding the mistaken belief that batteries can cure the intermittency that makes wind and solar unworkable as a reliable source of power.

The reality is that these battery projects are trivial in size compared to what would actually be needed to make wind or solar reliable. The cost of battery based reliability would actually be stupendous, far more than we could ever afford.

Here are some simple numbers to make the point. The reality would be far more complex, but the magnitude would not change much.

First comes the cost of utility scale battery facilities. This is much more than just the cost of the batteries. At utility scale these are large, complex facilities. Connecting all of the batteries involved and getting them to work properly together is…

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U.S. energy use rises to highest level ever

Tallbloke's Talkshop

In terms of original power sources (i.e. not electricity), the runaway leaders were petroleum and natural gas which between them took over two-thirds of the total share. Coal and nuclear were a distant third and fourth. Best of the rest was biomass at just over 5% of the total, easily more than wind and solar combined.

Americans used more energy in 2018 than in any other year, according to the most recent energy flow charts released by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL).

Overall total energy consumption rose to 101.2 quadrillion BTU (or “quads”), reports TechXplore. The prior record, set in 2007, was 101.0 quads.

Energy use went up by 3.6 percent from 2017, which also is the largest annual increase since 2010.

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‘Vacant Land Myth’: Hundreds Of US Localities Are Resisting The Spread Of Green Energy

Reblogged from Watts Up With That:

From The Daily Caller

Michael Bastasch | Energy Editor

  • U.S. cities and states have risen up against the spread of solar panels and wind turbines.
  • One expert says at least 225 government entities across the U.S. have put up barriers to renewable energy development.
  • Those supporting renewables rely on the “vacant-land myth” to push their green agenda, the expert said.

From New York to California, localities have taken action to stymie solar and wind energy projects to preserve their way of life, according to Manhattan Institute senior fellow Robert Bryce.

“All-renewable scenarios rely on the vacant-land myth, the faulty notion that there’s endless amounts of unused, uncared-for land out there in flyover country that’s ready and waiting to be covered with forests of renewable-energy stuff,” Bryce told Senate lawmakers in a hearing Thursday.

“The truth is quite different,” Bryce said in prepared testimony for the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

“Rural communities, even entire states, are resisting or rejecting wind, solar, and high-voltage transmission projects and that opposition is already slowing deployment of new renewable capacity in the U.S., Canada, and Europe,” Bryce said.

Bryce chastised the “scant” media coverage of the growing resistance to renewable energy projects, which is especially important given Democrats push for sweeping plans, like the Green New Deal, to significantly ramp up renewable energy use. (RELATED: Ocasio-Cortez Says Climate Change Is ‘Fueling’ The Immigration Crisis)

“By contrast, national media coverage of the growing backlash against deployment of large-scale renewable-energy projects has been scant,” Bryce said. “That lack of media coverage is particularly true when it comes to controversies about wind-energy deployment.”

U.S. Representative Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Markey hold a news conference for their proposed "Green New Deal" at the U.S. Capitol in Washington

U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) hold a news conference for their proposed “Green New Deal” to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in 10 years, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. February 7, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst.

It’s not just wind energy development, Bryce said, but opposition to renewables in general that the media has glossed over in recent years. But that opposition complicates sweeping plans, like the Green New Deal, to power the U.S. on renewables.

“Since 2015, I have been tracking rural opposition to wind energy projects,” Bryce said. “By my count, some 225 government entities from New York to California have moved to restrict or reject wind projects.”

“You won’t read about it in the New York Times, but the towns of Yates and Somerset as well as three upstate New York counties – Erie, Orleans, and Niagara – have spent the past three years fighting the proposed 200-megawatt Lighthouse Wind project, which aims to put dozens of wind turbines near the shores of Lake Ontario,” Bryce added.

That sort of opposition could spell trouble for state and federal planners looking to put wind turbines off the East Coast. New York, for example, has a goal of getting 9 gigawatts of offshore wind power in eleven years. (RELATED: Trump’s Latest Executive Order Could Derail A Favorite Tactic Of Climate Activists)

Across the country, Los Angeles County banned large wind turbines in unincorporated areas in 2015, and one county supervisor called wind farms a “visual blight.” San Bernardino slapped strict limits on large wind turbine developments early this year.

The Oklahoma town of Hinton banned wind turbines to avoid becoming an “industrial wind complex,” the town’s mayor told Bryce.

A GE 1.6-100 wind turbine is pictured at a wind farm in Tehachapi

A GE 1.6-100 wind turbine (front C) is pictured at a wind farm in Tehachapi, California June 19, 2013. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni.

President Donald Trump recently added to the anti-wind fervor sweeping across some of the country, claiming in a recent speech that wind turbines ruined views, depressed property values and even caused cancer.

“If you have a windmill anywhere near your house, congratulations, your house just went down 75 percent in value. And they say the noise causes cancer. You tell me that one, okay?” Trump said at the National Republican Congressional Committee’s annual dinner in early April.

Wind turbines average 466 feet in height and are getting bigger all the time, which means they’re visible for miles. There are also environmental consequences in terms of land use and turbines killing of millions of birds and bats.

A 2017 study, for example, found the amount of wind turbines needed for the U.S. to get all its electricity from renewables would cover roughly 193,000 square miles, or six percent of the land area of the lower-48 states.

Solar farms also take up large allotments of land, and like any other development, displace animals and plants. Solar thermal plants in the California desert incinerate birds that fly over its vast array of heliostat panels.

With these concerns in mind, Spotsylvania County, VA, residents are worried a massive 3,500-acre solar project could damage the environment. Roughly 60 miles north in Washington, D.C., environmentalists are skeptical of Georgetown University’s plan to cut down 210 acres of forest to build a solar farm.

What about the transmission lines needed to get wind power from the windswept Midwest to population centers? Some state and local governments have opposed those as well.

Heliostats reflect sunlight onto boilers in towers during the grand opening of the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in the Mojave Desert near the California-Nevada border

Heliostats reflect sunlight onto boilers in towers during the grand opening of the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in the Mojave Desert near the California-Nevada border February 13, 2014. REUTERS/Steve Marcus.

“High-voltage transmission projects are also facing opposition,” Bryce said, pointing to a 2017 Iowa law that “prohibits the use of eminent domain for high-voltage transmission lines.”

“The move doomed the Rock Island Clean Line, a 500- mile, $2 billion, high-voltage direct-current transmission line that was going to carry electricity from Iowa to Illinois,” Bryce said.

New York Times Pushes Nuclear Power as the Solution to Climate Change

Reblogged from Watts Up With That:

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

In the face of the utter failure of large investments in renewables to deliver CO2 reductions, greens are increasingly embracing nuclear power as the solution to climate change.

Nuclear Power Can Save the World

Expanding the technology is the fastest way to slash greenhouse gas emissions and decarbonize the economy.

By Joshua S. Goldstein, Staffan A. Qvist and Steven Pinker
Drs. Goldstein and Qvist are the authors of “A Bright Future: How Some Countries Have Solved Climate Change and the Rest Can Follow.” Dr. Pinker is a psychology professor at Harvard.

April 6, 2019

Where will this gargantuan amount of carbon-free energy come from? The popular answer is renewables alone, but this is a fantasy. Wind and solar power are becoming cheaper, but they are not available around the clock, rain or shine, and batteries that could power entire cities for days or weeks show no sign of materializing any time soon. Today, renewables work only with fossil-fuel backup.

Germany, which went all-in for renewables, has seen little reduction in carbon emissions, and, according to our calculations, at Germany’s rate of adding clean energy relative to gross domestic product, it would take the world more than a century to decarbonize, even if the country wasn’t also retiring nuclear plants early.

But we actually have proven models for rapid decarbonization with economic and energy growth: France and Sweden. They decarbonized their grids decades ago and now emit less than a tenth of the world average of carbon dioxide per kilowatt-hour. They remain among the world’s most pleasant places to live and enjoy much cheaper electricity than Germany to boot.

Read more:

The rise of mainstream green advocacy for nuclear power is long overdue.

I have never understood how anyone who thinks CO2 is a looming threat can argue in good faith against the evidence of two countries which have affordably reduced their CO2 emissions to a tenth of what everyone else emits, by embracing nuclear power.