BBC overlooks lack of wind: ‘Drought highlights dangers for electricity supplies’

Hornsea wind project

At least they admit solar panels don’t like too much sun: ‘work much less well in high temperatures’. But high pressure systems often mean very low wind speeds.
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The ongoing drought in the UK and Europe is putting electricity generation under pressure, say experts.

Electricity from hydropower – which uses water to generate power – has dropped by 20% overall, says BBC News.

And nuclear facilities, which are cooled using river water, have been restricted.

There are fears that the shortfalls are a taste of what will happen in the coming winter.

In the UK, high temperatures are hitting energy output from fossil, nuclear and solar sources.

That is because the technology in power plants and solar panels work much less well in high temperatures.

The prolonged dry spell is putting further pressure on energy supplies as Europe scrambles for alternative sources after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Hydropower is an important source of energy for Europe, but the lack of water in rivers and reservoirs is now significantly reducing the ability of facilities to produce electricity.

Italy gets around 1/5 of its power from hydro, but that’s fallen by around 40% in the past 12 months.
. . .
Countries, including the UK and France, rely on each other’s electricity markets.

“If both French and UK systems are in stress at the same time, then nobody really knows what will happen”.

Full article here.
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August 13, 2022 at 04:55AM

A history lesson ahead of Biden’s Green New Tax

BY LARRY BEHRENS: “The thing I’m proudest of that we were able to get done in the first term was the Recovery Act. It had $90 billion in clean-energy programs.” -Vice President Joe Biden, May 9, 2013. 

The post A history lesson ahead of Biden’s Green New Tax appeared first on CFACT.

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August 13, 2022 at 04:43AM

Dessler to Debate ‘Climate Flat Earther’ Koonin: Why?

By Robert Bradley Jr. — February 17, 2022

[Andrew] Dessler said anyone arguing that the science is too uncertain isn’t arguing from a legitimate position…. “[Koonin]’s a climate flat earther.” (Quoted in Benjamin Thorp, October 18, 2021).

“Dumb arguments” is too harsh? He’s just a old white dude whose vast experience in the halls of power gives him a unique ability to point out the errors that other people make? Nope. (Andrew Dessler, October 14, 2021)

Andrew Dessler, a climatologist at Texas A&M University, will have nothing to do with any critic of climate alarm. This activist has pure scorn toward his intellectual and scientific doubters. “Angry Andy” is certain that climate science is settled and drop-everything alarming.

deep ecologist (nature is optimal and fragile; human interference cannot be good), Dessler has long concluded that we are headed for (or already in) a climate dystopia. Any fair hearing of the less extreme view of global lukewarming/CO2 benefits, consequently, would be a leak in the dike, one that could expand and take down the Wall of Climate Gloom.

So the cancel culture is in full mode in climate science activism. Michael Mann (Dessler’s colleague in arms) put it this way:

All of the noise right now from the climate change denial machine, the bots & trolls, the calls for fake ‘debates’, etc. Ignore it all. Deniers are desperate for oxygen in a mainstream media environment that thankfully is no longer giving it to them.

Report, block. Don’t engage.

Imagine an open-minded young person considering a career in climatology. He or she wants to really wants to probe the look-the-other-way areas of uncertainty with climate-feedback physics and with climate models. Seek and expand the frontiers of knowledge under the highest standards of the scientific method. Show professionalism and respect for the views of colleagues and others. Experience politeness and social skills, given and received.

That person best not enter into a profession where an Andrew Dessler or a Michael Mann or a John Holdren would sneer and blackball. Remember what Mann said about Judith Curry in Climategate: “I gave up on Judith Curry a while ago. I don’t know what she thinks she’s doing, but it’s not helping the cause, or her professional credibility.” Cancel Culture 101.

Steven Koonin

Enter Steven E. Koonin, University Professor at New York University. This noted theoretical physicist is author of the best-seller: Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn’t, and Why It Matters (2021). Having taught theoretical physics at the California Institute of Technology for most of his career, Koonin went on to work for BP (new technologies) and then as Obama’s Undersecretary for Science in the U.S. Department of Energy. In this position, Koonin oversaw climate research and energy technology work.

Koonin has a BS in Physics from Caltech and a PhD in Theoretical Physics from MIT. A specialist in modelling complexity, Koonin wrote the classic 1985 textbook Computational Physics.

Koonin is author of 200 peer-reviewed papers in the fields of physics and astrophysics, scientific computation, energy technology and policy, and climate science, as well as having been lead author on multiple book-length reports, including two National Academies studies.

In short, Steve Koonin is a leader in his field and well respected. And, it turns out, he is honest and of an age and tenure where he can speak truth to power.

Dessler’s Smears

Here is Dessler on Koonin:

I actually hate to weigh in on Koonin’s book …. Here are a few thoughts. First, Koonin has a track record of making dumb, over the top, exaggerated arguments.

Second, his facts are carefully cherry picked to present a specific narrative. For example, he says heat waves in the U.S. were more severe in the 1930s than today. OK, but the U.S. covers 2% of the planet. Globally, heat waves are more severe today.

Also, his belief in models is quite selective. We can’t trust climate models at all — the climate is too complicated!! — but we can have 100% confidence in absurd economic models of GDP growth.

And:

It is important to realize that virtually all experts in the area ARE convinced by the data that humans are ~100% responsible for modern warming. So you can believe Koonin or you can believe the 99.9% of scientists.

And:

Koonin’s arguments are 1) cherry picking of factoids and 2) value judgements about his interpretation of the data and his interpretation of risk. His judgements of the data disagree with virtually all expert scientific opinion. His risk assessment is based on his values.

And:

I typically don’t believe in conspiracy theories, but the fact that Steve Koonin continues to get high-profiles endorsements of his dumb arguments suggests that some powerful media agents have decided that he’s their best bet for trying to cast doubt on climate science. Thoughts?

Dessler likes to use other words against Koonin’s views such as “idiotic complaint” and “denier shuffle.”

Andrew Dessler pretty much embarrasses himself, his department, and his university with such vitriol. Why?

Part of it is Dessler’s certainty that the science has reached certainty on what is known and not known. No shades of grey on the very pessimistic, alarmist black-and-white conclusion: humankind is on the road to doom.

So hyper-emotionally invested. Anything less than alarm–even by a scientist every bit as credentialed as himself–and Dessler must turn emotional and angry.

Second is old-fashioned envy. Koonin’s Unsettled — with sales exceeding 100,000–has outsold all of Dessler’s books put together. Koonin, moreover, has a reputation that Dessler does not. And Koonin is a go-to for a lot of organizations that are trying to cut through a lot of politicized science.

Little wonder that Andrew Dessler will not dare debate Koonin at Texas A&M. (I have offered to underwrite such a campus-wide event to no avail.) The climate alarmist, arguing a speculative position, cannot get away with a lot with the bright lights on. [1]

Appendix: Wrong Again?

Regarding Koonin’s major points against settled, alarmist climate science, Dessler states:

I don’t see that these are the kinds of arguments that get traction with the broad public anymore…. Most people, they look out their window and they can see climate change is real. Given the fact that what’s happening is exactly what was predicted by scientists decades ago. I think that people understand that climate science is real, as described by the scientific community.

Really? Is this a ‘settled’ fact, Professor Dessler?

Actually, it is panic time for climate alarmism among the political and intellectual elite. Citizens are protesting, and voters are voting against the forced energy transformation, itself the flip side of climate exaggeration.

Better yet, with the problems of wind/solar out in the open (and at an early stage of the transition!), the open-minded are looking anew at the science and false climate prognostications of years and decades past. They are not very impressed. Expect sales of Koonin’s Unsettled to grow and another edition to appear in the next years.

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[1] My email exchange with Professor Dessler (11/09/2021) follows. I stated:

Let’s have a debate between you and Steven Koonin or even David Friedman with a full house at Texas A&M to put you on record–will you consider that?  I’ll make a $5,000 contribution to the university to help make it happen. Put the bright lights on where the statements will be on the record. Televise it. But it has to have a fair moderator and set-up.

He answered that day:

Add a zero ($50,000, donated to the Texas Center for Climate Studies at Texas A&M) and you have a deal.  You can even moderate the event and handle all of the logistics. I’ll find a room on campus.

I answered (11/14/2021):

No thanks for the invitation to increase my contribution from $5,000 to $50,000. And for me to moderate, etc. I want a real debate with me in the audience or watching it on TV. It deserves prime time with physical climate science on trial.

No reason to relegate a climate discussion/debate to the ‘back of the bus,’ right? That is an insult to you, your opponent, and science itself.

So work on a serious budget, and let’s give it the attention it deserves. I will increase my donation appropriately….

A fair debate between the alarmists and the optimists is prime-time important. Why have it in some basement? Let’s put the lights on and have a marque event….

Professor Dessler did not respond….

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August 13, 2022 at 04:33AM

Demand Control: Wind & Solar ‘Transition’ Means Routine State-Controlled Power Rationing

Delusional reliance on unreliable wind and solar is a reason that governments are interfering in consumers’ power usage. Pitched under the euphemism “demand management”, state-controlled power rationing is the natural consequence of attempting to run on sunshine and breezes.

When the sun sets and calm weather sets in, wind and solar power can’t be bought at any price. Increase the capacity of the unreliables connected to your grid and get ready for not only rocketing power bills, but routine power rationing.

Once upon a time, electricity was cheap and it flowed like running water. Civil and ordered society demanded it.

These days, smart meters keep an eye on your power usage with the state ready to pull the plug without warning and without notice, notwithstanding that you are ready, willing and able to pay your bill.

The ability to slash your power usage is an altogether insidious exercise of power over the unwitting.

Francis Menton takes a look at where our glorious leaders are taking us next.

What The Future Holds For Our Climate Leaders
Manhattan Contrarian
Francis Menton
28 July 2022

If my posting has been a little light for the last month or so, it’s because I’ve been working on a big Report for the Global Warming Policy Foundation on the subject of energy storage as a means to back up electricity generation from wind and solar facilities. The Report is basically finished, and now going through an editing process. It will probably be published some time in September.

In doing the research for the Report, I have had occasion to look carefully into the plans of many countries and U.S. states that claim to be the “leaders” in climate virtue, specifically on the subject of how they intend to reach the goal of Net Zero carbon emissions from generation of electricity. These climate “leaders” include, in Europe, Germany and the UK, and in the U.S., California and New York. One would think that for any jurisdiction pursuing Net Zero ambitions, and seeking to abolish use of fossil fuels, it would be completely imperative that some energy storage solution absolutely must be found to provide back-up for the electricity system when the wind and sun are not producing. But what my research has shown is that every one of these jurisdictions seeking to be the leader toward Net Zero has given astoundingly insufficient consideration to the energy storage problem.

The single most astounding universal failure of all jurisdictions pursuing Net Zero is the failure to pursue any sort of working prototype or demonstration project of a Net Zero electricity system before committing the entire jurisdiction to the project on the basis of a blank check to be paid by the taxpayers and ratepayers. Who has ever heard of such a thing? in the 1880s, when Thomas Edison wanted to start building central station power plants to supply electricity for his new devices like incandescent lightbulbs, he began by building a prototype facility in London under the Holborn Viaduct, and followed that with a larger demonstration plant on Pearl Street in Lower Manhattan that only supplied electricity to customers within a few square blocks. Only after those had been demonstrated as successful did a larger build-out begin. Similarly, the provision of nuclear power began with small government-funded prototypes in the late 1940s and early 1950s, followed by larger demonstration projects in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Only in the late 1960s, twenty years into the effort and after feasibility and cost had been demonstrated, were the first large-scale commercial nuclear reactors built. No competent person would take any other approach.

But somehow our politicians have now become so filled with hubris that they think they can just order up a functioning wind/solar electricity system and assume that backup energy storage devices will magically get invented and it will all work fine and not be financially ruinous, all by some arbitrarily-ordered date in the 2030s.

Today, all the mentioned jurisdictions and many more have embarked on ambitious Net Zero plans, and yet there does not exist anywhere in the world a functioning prototype or demonstration project that has actually achieved Net Zero in electricity generation, or anything even close. Indeed, it’s worse than that. There is a fairly substantial project that set out to achieve Net Zero (although they weren’t using the term at the time, which was 2014), and has fallen remarkably short. That project is on the island of El Hierro, one of the Canary Islands off the coast of Spain. El Hierro installed a collection of wind turbines and a pumped storage/hydro reservoir as back-up to great fanfare, but it struggles to achieve 50% of the electricity from the wind/storage system over the course of a year. The rest comes from a diesel generator.

The system operator puts out monthly statistics (with substantial lag), typically with excited verbiage about “tons of carbon emissions saved,” without ever admitting that the system has totally failed in its original goal of getting rid of the fossil fuel piece. Instead they now have three redundant systems for providing the electricity — wind turbines, hydro reservoir and turbines, and the diesel generator — all of which must be paid for, and all to provide the same electricity that the diesel generator was fully capable of providing on its own. The cost has been calculated at about 80 euro cents per KWh, roughly 7 to 8 times average U.S. consumer rates; but the cost is largely hidden from El Hierro ratepayers by subsidies from the EU and government of Spain.

My research also covered in depth the question of how much energy storage would be needed for various jurisdictions to fully back up a predominantly wind/solar generation system without any use of fossil fuels. Credible calculations previously discussed here have included the calculation of Roger Andrews, done in 2018, that either California or Germany would require at least about 25,000 GWh of energy storage to back up a fully wind/solar generation system for a year without use of fossil fuels; and a calculation by Ken Gregory done on very similar methodology in late 2021 showing that the full U.S. (lower 48 states) would require about 250,000 GWh of storage for the same purpose. These are truly huge numbers.

Facing such requirements to reach Net Zero and banish fossil fuels from the electricity system, the plans of these jurisdictions for acquisition of storage are quite shocking. The consultancy Wood Mackenzie reported on April 11, 2022 that Germany had announced plans to acquire all of 8.91 GWh of energy storage by 2031 — a ridiculously puny amount if Germany is actually serious about Net Zero. Utility Dive reported on April 12, 2022 that New York had plans to acquire all of 6 GW of storage (likely corresponding to about 24 GWh, since the batteries are to be of the lithium-ion type that generally have capacity for four hours of discharge at full capacity). This figure is only slightly less puny than Germany’s. Another piece from Utility Dive on April 6, 2022 reported that California’s regulators had ordered utilities to acquire what would be the equivalent of about 42 GWh of storage as part of the Net Zero plans of that jurisdiction. All of these storage acquisition plans are in the range of about 0.1% to 0.2% of the storage that would actually be needed to achieve the Net Zero goal.

So what will the future of energy usage actually look like in these places as fossil fuels get phased out and wind and solar take over, with woefully insufficient energy storage to cover the intermittencies? To get an idea, let’s take another look at the Report for California put out by consultancy Energy Innovations on May 9, with the title “Achieving an Equitable and Reliable 85 Percent Clean Electricity System by 2030 in California.” Note that this is not actually Net Zero, but only 85% of same. Here are a few tidbits. First, their graphic on the nature of the transition:

We’re going to have a “paradigm shift” in “RA,” which seems to mean “Resource Adequacy.” Check out that list on the right under “clean reliability resources” — “Energy availability depends on weather.” Are you starting to get the picture now?

Read through the report until you get into pages in the mid-30s, where the subject becomes what they euphemistically call “demand response.” It’s a lot of bafflegab to make it seem oh so pleasant. Excerpt:

Demand-side measures can substitute for supply-side resources and therefore contribute to resource diversity; their increased availability hedges against the risk of deploying new clean supply-side resources too slowly (including generators and storage). For example, the technical report finds that deploying Load Shift could reduce load by 1,500 MW in the early evening hours solar output falls, hedging against battery deployment challenges such as supply chain. . . . Demand-side measures also provide complementary reliability, resiliency, and public safety benefits to supply-side solutions or imports, as they lie closest to the affected load. While centralized generators provide the bulk of our power under most system conditions, they can be rendered less effective or useless under certain disaster conditions.

This is bureaucratese meaning “we’ll turn off your electricity at random times when we feel like it.” Get ready for this, California, Germany, et al. I guess New York is on the same path too, but I have my secret escape plans ready.
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August 13, 2022 at 02:31AM