Fossil fuels versus renewables as global temperatures plummet

The ‘climate change is your fault’ crowd have gone into damage limitation mode as temperatures sink to unexpected (by them) lows. This ‘op-ed’ does a fair job of summarising the cold weather, but then drifts off into a woolly propaganda-based ‘discussion’.
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This week debates have heated up about the world’s shift away from fossil fuels, as frigid temperatures have wreaked havoc from Turkey to Texas, says PEI.

Let’s start in the USA. It’s the first time in 17 years that such a large portion of the US has been covered with snow and rolling blackouts have meant many have been without power, exposed to freezing temperatures.

Utilities are struggling to keep the power on as wind turbines have frozen and natural gas flow was impeded from frozen pipes.

According to USA Today: “In Texas, more than 1.6 million homes and businesses remained without power late Wednesday night, and some also lost water service”.

As is the case in many emergency situations, folks are looking for someone or something to blame. This time, the focus is on failing renewables – like the frozen turbines – with people questioning the shift from coal and natural gas, viewing it as unwise and risking baseload reliability.

The blame has fueled an energy debate that has quickly turned political with some highlighting the left’s war on fossil fuels and renewable energy mandates that require 20-30% of a state’s power supply to come from wind and solar power, as pushing the grid to the brink.

Adding fuel to the controversial fire is that during this cold period, coal was producing roughly 41,000MW of electricity; natural gas provided 22,000MW; and wind and solar roughly 3,000MW — or about 4% of the power, according to The Hill.

Meanwhile in Europe

According to Sky News, this month has been the coldest February in Germany since 2012. France saw blowtorches applied to the Eiffel Tower to melt the ice, while icicles covered a jetty on the frozen IJsselmeer Sea north of Amsterdam. And in Greece, temperatures reached as low as -19 degrees Celsius (-2.2 F) with parts of Athens left without electricity as fallen trees cut power supplies.

Germany experienced freezing temperatures caused by Storm Darcy this past week, which saw the German Weather Service issue an extreme weather warning, saying emergency crews needed to be on standby due to the “extraordinary onset of winter.”

Millions of solar panels were blanketed with snow and 30,000+ wind turbines stood idle due to a lack of wind in Germany. The intermittency of renewable supply had the locals looking for coal power like there was no tomorrow.

In response to the situation, European wholesale electricity prices have risen sharply due to forecasts of relatively weak German wind power supply, and lower nuclear availability in France due to unplanned maintenance caused by the weather.

Europe’s chilly start to winter has left many asking the same question that is being asked in the US; have we moved too quickly to weather-dependent renewable energy, shutting down grid stabilising coal and nuclear plants?

Full article here.

via Tallbloke’s Talkshop

February 19, 2021 at 06:39AM

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