The Fundamental Weakness of Renewable Energy Sources

“Wind does not belong in any modern energy supply portfolio. Grids do substantial work to integrate wind volatility … Retrofitting modern technology to meet the needs of ancient wind flutter is monumentally backwards, a sure sign that pundits and politicians, not scientists, are now in charge.”

Except for hydro, renewable energy sources are inimical to any rational idea of maintaining access to energy with highly secure power capacity. Restated, wind and solar cannot produce modern power without being wholly entangled with modern power producers.

This article will focus on wind power, but similar problems affect solar.

Any chemist should know enough to understand the implications of the formula governing the way wind energy must be converted into electricity: w=1/2 rAv3, where w is power; r, air density; A, rotor density; and v is wind speed.

The main driver in the equation is the v3, which dictates that any output must be a function of the cube of the wind speed at each wind speed interval throughout the windplant’s rated capacity, from 0 to ~33 mph. (Most windplants don’t begin generating anything until the wind speed reaches ~8 mph and max out when the wind speed hits 33 mph).

Source: The Fundamental Weakness of Renewable Energy Sources

California secretly struggles with renewables

California has hooked up a grid battery system that is almost ten times bigger than the previous world record holder, but when it comes to making renewables reliable it is so small it might as well not exist.

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Mind you the PG&E engineers are not that stupid. They know perfectly well that this billion dollar battery is not there to provide backup power when wind and solar do not produce. In fact the truth is just the opposite. The battery’s job is to prevent wind and solar power from crashing the grid when they do produce.

It is called grid stabilization. Wind and solar are so erratic that it is very hard to maintain the constant 60 cycle AC frequency that all our wonderful electronic devices require. If the frequency gets more than just a tiny bit off the grid blacks out. Preventing these crashes requires active stabilization.

Grid instability due to erratic wind and solar used to not be a problem, because the huge spinning metal rotors in the coal, gas and nuclear power plant generators simply absorbed the fluctuations. But most of those plants have been shut down, so we need billion dollar batteries to do what those plants did for free. Nor is this monster battery the only one being built in California to try to make wind and solar power work. Many more are in the pipeline and not just in California. Many states are struggling with instability as baseline generators are switched off.

Source: California secretly struggles with renewables

Doing the math on battery storage

Here is the reality when it comes to the scale needed to reliably back up intermittent renewables. For simplicity let us suppose New York City is 100% wind powered. Including solar in the generating mix makes it more complicated but does not change the unhappy outcome very much.

NYC presently peaks at around 32,000 MW needed to keep the lights on. If Mr. Biden makes all the cars and trucks electric it might be closer to 50,000 MW but let’s stick to reality.

So for reliability we need, say, seven days of backup, which is 168 hours. Here’s the math:

32,000 MW x 168 hours = 5,376,000 MWh of stored juice needed to just make it. Mind you for normal reliability we usually add 20% or so. Did I mention electric cars?

It is easy to see that a trivial 400 MWh is not “significant scale.” It is infinitesimal scale. Nothing. Nada. Might as well not exist.

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So what would it cost to reliably back up wind power, at this MWh cost and NYC’s scale? Just over $8,000,000,000,000 or EIGHT TRILLION DOLLARS. I have not seen this stupendous sum mentioned in the media. Perhaps Con Ed has not mentioned it.

New York can’t buy its way out of blackouts

This green fantasy will bankrupt us

It’s 2050. You wake in your cosy, insulated house, turn on the windfarm-powered lights, cook up a breakfast coffee on the hydrogen stove before jumping into your electric car. You whizz silently along roads with air as fresh as a mountain stream past happy e-bikers and carbon-neutral schools to your heat-pump powered office.

So, viewed from Britain in 2020, can you spot the odd one out? Here’s a clue: the e-bikers get no subsidy. Everything else on this list loses money, and needs state support on a massive scale to get even halfway to the nirvana glimpsed by the prime minister this week. Today’s subsidy, of course, is tomorrow’s tax rise.

Home insulation? £2bn is barely enough to get some sort of programme started. The disruption from insulating your home will be enough to discourage us from taking up this offer, almost regardless of the accompanying bribe. As we saw with double glazing and solar panels, the cowboy installers and fraudsters will be the principal beneficiaries.

Windfarms? The easier sites are already filled up, driving development further offshore to have any chance of quadrupling today’s contribution. The bulk of new contracts are going to overseas manufacturers, while evidence of catastrophic damage to seabirds is growing, and nobody knows the long-term cost of maintaining this hi-tech engineering in a hostile environment.

Hydrogen home cooking? Hydrogen is much harder to handle than natural gas, and a compulsory conversion programme – the only practical way to exploit the existing pipework – would meet stiff resistance. Besides, like electricity, hydrogen is not a fuel but an energy transmission mechanism. Making it from actual fuel is like trying to pull yourself up by your own bootstraps.

Heat pumps? The capital cost typically runs into tens of thousands of pounds per dwelling, even where your garden is big enough to take one. They are also likely to be rather more expensive to maintain than your ‘fridge.

Investment lite

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It’s 2050. You wake in your cosy, insulated house, turn on the windfarm-powered lights, cook up a breakfast coffee on the hydrogen stove before jumping into your electric car. You whizz silently along roads with air as fresh as a mountain stream past happy e-bikers and carbon-neutral schools to your heat-pump powered office.

So, viewed from Britain in 2020, can you spot the odd one out? Here’s a clue: the e-bikers get no subsidy. Everything else on this list loses money, and needs state support on a massive scale to get even halfway to the nirvana glimpsed by the prime minister this week. Today’s subsidy, of course, is tomorrow’s tax rise.

Home insulation? £2bn is barely enough to get some sort of programme started. The disruption from insulating your home will be enough to discourage us from taking up this offer, almost regardless of the accompanying bribe. As we saw…

View original post 850 more words

Biden’s plan to create millions of energy jobs might work, but only because renewables are so labor-intensive and only at a very high cost

According to president-elect Joe Biden “If executed strategically, our response to climate change can create more than 10 million well-paying [clean energy] jobs in the United States that will grow a stronger, more inclusive middle class enjoyed by communities across the country, not just in cities along the coasts.” Is that possibly true?

Source: Biden’s plan to create millions of energy jobs might work, but only because renewables are so labor-intensive and only at a very high cost

Your life under the Green New Deal

During the cantankerous September 29 presidential “debate,” candidate Joe Biden proclaimed “I am the Democratic Party.” He is in charge, he insisted, and his views will be Democrat policy. Others aren’t so sure – about that, about what his views actually are, or about how far to the left he would be pushed, prodded and pressured by Kamala Harris, AOC, Bernie Sanders, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Antifa mobs, and coastal and blue city governing, academic and technology elites.

Source: Your life under the Green New Deal

Video of the day: Baseload energy vs. intermittent energy

Another great video (above) from the Clean Energy Alliance on an important form of energy that is absolutely essential to everything in our lives. But most people have never heard of this form of electricity that is critical to our survival — it’s called “ baseload energy .” Here’s a summary of the video: Have you heard about all the blackouts in California?

Source: Video of the day: Baseload energy vs. intermittent energy

Ronald Bailey: The World Is Getting Cleaner, Richer, and Safer

In the time of a global pandemic, soaring unemployment, massive wildfires, and racial strife, it feels like the world is going to hell. It’s not, says Reason Science Correspondent Ronald Bailey, the coauthor (with HumanProgress.org’s Marian Tupy) of Ten Global Trends Every Smart Person Should Know: And Many Others You Will Find Interesting .

Source: Ronald Bailey: The World Is Getting Cleaner, Richer, and Safer

Natural Gas & Coal Prevent L.A. Blackouts (75 percent market share)

“Southern California has been able to withstand the heat wave mainly due to municipal power contracts for imported coal and nuclear power, as well as generation from its local gas-fired power plants. Northern California, meanwhile, suffered the brunt of the blackouts due to green power mandates.” “Soon, many Californians may have to install stationary gas or propane electrical generators or portable gasoline generators to withstand regular outages, but the poor will not be able to afford them.” About 75 percent of Los Angeles electricity demand is being met by imported coal power and local gas-fired power plants during peak hours of the August triple-digit heat wave.

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Los Angeles, not part of the state energy grid, operates its own power plants, transmission lines, and distribution grid. The municipality Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (LADWP) reports its reliance on:

  • Natural gas – 34% (three gas power plants in Los Angeles)
  • Green power – 33% (wind-Tehachapi, CA; solar, Kern County)
  • Coal power – 19% (from Utah and Arizona)
  • Nuclear power – 9% (from Arizona)
  • Hydropower – 5% (Hoover Dam, Castaic Lake)

Pollution from coal power plant emissions in Utah and Arizona do not create smog in Los Angeles, which is important because the LA Basin traps air emissions from an inversion layer. Conversely, Arizona and Utah do not have basin topographies but are plains states where natural winds dilute air pollution instead of trapping it (“the solution to pollution is dilution”).

So, despite Los Angeles’s quixotic goal to shift to 100 percent green power by 2045, the City has imported coal power and exported any air pollution to areas where it is dissipated instead of trapped.

Source: Natural Gas & Coal Prevent L.A. Blackouts (75 percent market share)