All the arguments here have been expressed elsewhere – usually by climate sceptics – many times, but now the national press is more willing to let the cat out of the bag. The basic problem for renewables is energy storage, or lack of it and as the Telegraph article says, ‘The necessary miracle doesn’t exist’.
– – –
Many governments in the Western world have committed to “net zero” emissions of carbon in the near future, says The Telegraph.
The US and UK both say they will deliver by 2050. It’s widely believed that wind and solar power can achieve this.
This belief has led the US and British governments, among others, to promote and heavily subsidise wind and solar.
These plans have a single, fatal flaw: they are reliant on the pipe-dream that there is some affordable way to store surplus electricity at scale.
In the real world a wind farm’s output often drops below 10 per cent of its rated “capacity” for days at a time. Solar power disappears completely every night and drops by 50 per cent or more during cloudy days.
“Capacity” being a largely meaningless figure for a wind or solar plant, about 3000 megawatts (MW) of wind and solar capacity is needed to replace a 1000 MW conventional power station in terms of energy over time: and in fact, as we shall see, the conventional power station or something very like it will still be needed frequently once the wind and solar are online.
The governments of countries with a considerable amount of wind and solar generation have developed an expectation that they can simply continue to build more until net zero is achieved. The reality is that many of them have kept the lights on only by using existing fossil fired stations as backup for periods of low wind and sun.
This brings with it a new operating regime where stations that were designed to operate continuously have to follow unpredictable fluctuations in wind and solar power. As a result operating and maintenance costs have increased and many stations have had to be shut down.
In fact it’s already common to see efficient combined-cycle gas turbines replaced by open-cycle ones because they can be throttled up and down easily to back up the rapidly changing output of wind and solar farms. But open-cycle gas turbines burn about twice as much gas as combined cycle gas turbines.
Switching to high-emissions machinery as part of an effort to reduce emissions is, frankly, madness!
. . .
Wind and solar need to be backed up, close to 100 per cent, by some other means of power generation. If that backup is provided by open-cycle gas or worse, coal, net zero will never be achieved: nor anything very close to it.
There is one technology that can provide a cheap and reliable supply of low-emissions electricity: nuclear power. Interest in nuclear power is increasing as more and more people realise that it is safe and reliable.
If regulators and the public could be persuaded that modern stations are inherently safe and that low levels of nuclear radiation are not dangerous, nuclear power could provide all the low cost, low emissions electricity the world needs for hundreds or thousands of years.
But if we had 100 per cent nuclear backup for solar and wind, we wouldn’t need the wind and solar plants at all.
Wind and solar are, in fact, completely pointless.
Full article here.
via Tallbloke’s Talkshop
May 10, 2023 at 08:09AM
One thought on “The wind and solar power myth has finally been exposed”