Month: April 2017

It is not fair!

It is not fair!

via Trust, yet verify

Yet another puzzling Facebook post from the owner of the Tesla powerwall (translated from Dutch, my bold emphasis):

Thanks to the backwards running meter, we did NOT receive an electricity invoice in the first 7 years (there are no fixed cost at Ecopower). However, this is not fair, since we have still put 70% (see #selfconsumption below) of our solar power on the grid to get it back later from the grid (at night and in the winter).

Says the guy who only one hour ago in his Facebook timeline said he produced as much as he consumes.

That is a rather puzzling claim. He acknowledged that he puts energy on the grid when it is sunny, to get it back later. Since his meter was running backwards and his electricity provider only charges for his consumption (that is correct, Ecopower is the only Belgian provider that does so), this means a zero invoice for his electricity use.

Initially, I was puzzled why he considers this “unfair”. To get this clear we will have to read further (translated from Dutch):

This means that in the summer the freezer of Lidl (a grocery store chain) is running on our (surplus) solar power during the day and that in the winter our house when there is shortage of Sun fed by the nuclear plant Tihange. Even though I have a 100% green electricity contract with Ecopower and I am responsible for my own annual production.

Basically, he has a surplus of solar energy in summer which he puts on the grid (“powering that Lidl freezer”) and in winter he takes this back from the grid. If that is all there is to it, then yes, this would not be unfair. Then he would be a producer that is not paid for the energy that is put on the grid. But this doesn’t apply here because he takes the same amount of energy back later.

He also gives conventional and solar energy an equal quality: surplus energy in summer is exchanged with energy from conventional sources in winter. There is something missing in his story. He doesn’t explain where that freezer of Lidl gets its power from when the sun goes down and in winter when his panels don’t produce enough to satisfy his own consumption…

Sure, he is responsible for his own production, on average, not in practice. If he want to be responsible for his own production and not dependent on conventional power plants, then he will need at least one extra powerwall.

Although it sheds some more light on how he perceives the issue, it doesn’t explain why it is unfair that someone gets a zero electricity invoice by putting surplus production on the grid and taking it back in winter. At first I thought that, maybe, just maybe, he realized that the quality of the two is not the same after all, but apparently this was not the case:

For this the grid compensation (or prosumer tarif) is created. You pay a fee as a prosumer (producer & consumer) for the use of the grid. Only it does not take into account whether you have a high or low own consumption. Basically, exemplary network users will be penalized! But there is definitely an alternative: the bidirectional meter.

Aha! Now the pieces fall together and I began to understand what exactly he had an issue with. This prosumer tax is a fixed cost (in his case 386 euro per year in 2016), and now he uses the grid less often because of his powerwall, so he would like to pay less. For that, he proposes the bidirectional meter.

He emphases the message even more in his reaction on a comment on that same Facebook post:

Because we use the high-voltage grid less, I also believe that we will eliminate this cost from our invoice.

It is up to the large industry, which still need of power lines, to pay for the choice of flexible power production if they are not themselves investing in local production.

But they must contribute as much to the energy transition, just as the families now have to pay via for example the turtel tax! (a tax for consumers of electricity to compensate for for example the subsidies given to solar panel owners)

Flexible power production? That is a unique name for “intermittent” power production.

It is again a fundamental misunderstanding how the power grid works. It seems to assume that the local (intermittent) production somehow will be sufficient for individual power users and that it is big industry that is in need of a high voltage power grid. Although he realizes that solar energy is intermittent, he fails to realize that this comes with consequences, like the need for backup. Individual users will still need a power grid, also those users that have solar panels and a powerwall.

Sure, he uses the grid less often, but at the wrong time. He uses it at times when there is already a lot of strain on the grid like in winter:

There are indeed not many days last winter when his system injected surplus power into the grid.

The only advantage that I could think of is that if there is enough power in the powerwall to bridge the peak hours on working days, then it has the potential to relieve the grid. Only a bit. This wil need a lot of powerwalls to be installed and a good timing to make it happen in practice.

I have the impression that he sees himself as a producer of energy, because he “puts 70% of his production on the grid”. However, if his consumption is about the same as the capacity of his solar panels, then as far as I know, he is in fact a consumer who lends out part of his production to get it back later.

More, he only lends out his surplus when it suits him (when his panels are producing, whether or not the power is needed on the grid) and takes it back at a later time when he needs it.

That means that he not only produces/consumes when it suits him, he also takes back more at times when consumption is high (winter) and produces more when consumption is low (summer). Counting on the reliability and robustness of the grid to compensate him for the time that no solar energy is available. In the end, he even want Big Industry to pay for it.

I agree that this is indeed not fair.

Although not for the reason he thinks it is. 😉

via Trust, yet verify

April 30, 2017 at 04:39PM

Blizzard warnings into NW Texas!

Blizzard warnings into NW Texas!

via Ice Age Now

Six to 12 inches (15 to 30 cm) of snow. Power outages may occur.

National Weather Service Amarillo TX
1214 PM CDT Sun Apr 30 2017

Cimarron-Dallam-Hartley – Including the cities of Boise City, Keyes, Dalhart, Hartley, and Channing


* Accumulations…Storm total snow accumulations of 6 to 12 inches expected, with the highest amounts along the extreme northwest Texas and Oklahoma Panhandle.

* Winds/Visibility…Winds gusting as high as 70 mph will cause whiteout conditions due to blowing snow.

* Impacts…The potential exists for very difficult to impossible driving conditions due to reduction in visibility along with slick roadways. North winds 30 to 40 mph with higher gusts will cause drifting of snow and reduced visibilities.

Power outages may occur.

Thanks to Kenneth Lund for this link


The post Blizzard warnings into NW Texas! appeared first on Ice Age Now.

via Ice Age Now

April 30, 2017 at 02:38PM

Climate Researchers Mess Up Their Fish Tank, Infer Global Food Web Collapse

Climate Researchers Mess Up Their Fish Tank, Infer Global Food Web Collapse

via Watts Up With That?

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Researchers testing the effects of global warming on a 2000 litre fish tank have warned that the world faces a major collapse of coastal fisheries, because some of their fish died.

Climate change could drive coastal food webs to collapse


Ivan Nagelkerken
Professor, Marine Biology, University of Adelaide

Sean Connell
Professor, Ecology, University of Adelaide

Silvan Goldenberg
University of Adelaide

May 1, 2017 6.01am AEST

Coastal marine food webs could be in danger of collapse as a result of rising carbon dioxide levels, according to our new research. The study shows that although species such as algae will receive a boost, the positive effects are likely to be cancelled out by the increased stress to species further up the food chain such as predatory fish.

Test tank

We used a self-contained ecosystem in a 2,000-litre tank to study the effects of warming and ocean acidification on a coastal food web. This approach can give us a good idea of what might happen to genuine coastal food webs, because the tank (called a “mesocosm”) contains natural habitats and a range of species that interact with one another, just as they do in the wild.

Our food web had three levels: primary producers (algae), herbivores (invertebrates), and predators (fish).

The results show that carbon dioxide enrichment can actually boost food webs from the bottom up through increased algal growth. This benefited herbivores because of the higher abundance of food, and in turn boosted the very top of the food web, where fish grew faster.

But while this effect of ocean acidification may be seen as positive for marine ecosystems, it mainly benefits “weedy” species – a definition that can be applied to some species of algae, invertebrates, and even fish.

In contrast, habitat-forming species such as kelp forests and coral reefs are more likely to disappear with rising CO₂ emissions, and with them many associated species that are deprived of their habitats and food.

Detrimental effect

Our results therefore showed that warming had a detrimental overall effect on the coastal food web we studied. Although higher temperatures boosted algal growth, herbivorous populations did not expand. Because herbivore abundances remained similar and elevated temperatures result in a higher metabolic demand, predatory fish consumed more herbivorous prey, resulting in a collapse of these prey populations.

Read more:

The abstract of the study;

Boosted food web productivity through ocean acidification collapses under warming

Silvan U. Goldenberg,
Ivan Nagelkerken,
Camilo M. Ferreira,
Hadayet Ullah,
Sean D. Connell
First published: 27 April 2017

Future climate is forecast to drive bottom-up (resource driven) and top-down (consumer driven) change to food web dynamics and community structure. Yet, our predictive understanding of these changes is hampered by an over-reliance on simplified laboratory systems centred on single trophic levels. Using a large mesocosm experiment, we reveal how future ocean acidification and warming modify trophic linkages across a three-level food web: that is, primary (algae), secondary (herbivorous invertebrates) and tertiary (predatory fish) producers. Both elevated CO2 and elevated temperature boosted primary production. Under elevated CO2, the enhanced bottom-up forcing propagated through all trophic levels. Elevated temperature, however, negated the benefits of elevated CO2 by stalling secondary production. This imbalance caused secondary producer populations to decline as elevated temperature drove predators to consume their prey more rapidly in the face of higher metabolic demand. Our findings demonstrate how anthropogenic CO2 can function as a resource that boosts productivity throughout food webs, and how warming can reverse this effect by acting as a stressor to trophic interactions. Understanding the shifting balance between the propagation of resource enrichment and its consumption across trophic levels provides a predictive understanding of future dynamics of stability and collapse in food webs and fisheries production.

Read more (paywalled):

Note: the link to the study does not work on some web browsers, I had to view it using Google Chrome

Unfortunately the full study is paywalled, but attempting to infer global consequences of increased CO2 from a toy eco-system in a 2000 litre fish tank is absurd.

On the positive side, the researchers performed an actual experiment, rather than just running a computer model.

But anyone who has ever kept fish knows how difficult it can be to keep a fish tank eco-system stable. Fish in a tank are subject to numerous stresses, even a small mistake with feeding, water contamination or filtering waste can lead to disease and death.

If the researchers had instead studied regions of the ocean with elevated CO2 levels, they would have discovered plenty of places in the ocean where CO2 levels are naturally elevated well beyond anything anthropogenic CO2 will achieve, due to natural outgassing from volcanic sources.

Many of these reefs are ridiculously healthy, despite corals and fish growing in water which is continuously totally saturated with CO2.

The existence of healthy natural reefs with populations of fish growing in regions of the ocean which are full of CO2, strongly suggests whatever killed the fish in that 2000 litre research tank had nothing to do with CO2.

via Watts Up With That?

April 30, 2017 at 01:23PM

Afternoon Pix

Afternoon Pix

via The Deplorable Climate Science Blog

via The Deplorable Climate Science Blog

April 30, 2017 at 12:14PM