Archive for the ‘Energy’ Category

Phase-shifter [image credit: Reinhausen]

Phase-shifter [image credit: Reinhausen]


This has been going on for a while but is probably getting worse. The Poles and Czechs are now setting their phase-shifters to ‘stun’. 😉
H/T GWPF

Germany’s excess power spills over the border into Polish and Czech territory and threatens their electrical grids with collapse, companies and governments there say.

A battle is raging in Central Europe over the balance of power—the electrical kind. Poland and the Czech Republic see Germany as an aggressor, overproducing electricity and dumping it across the border. Germany sees itself as a green-energy pioneer under unfair attacks from less innovative neighbors.

As part of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Energiewende, or energy revolution, Germany will shut its nuclear power plants by 2022 and replace them with its rapidly expanding wind and solar power. But the volatile renewables don’t always perform, and the Germans are also relying on coal- and gas-powered plants to keep the lights on.
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Credit: cleantechnica.com

Credit: cleantechnica.com


One claim by the developer is that ‘its devices could increase the revenue of a wind farm by 25 per cent, through increased output and exploiting higher wholesale prices when the wind isn’t blowing’. It has to be said that battery and storage innovations have a poor record of turning into commercial success, but as ever time will tell.

An Adelaide company has developed a silicon storage device that it claims costs a tenth as much as a lithium ion battery to store the same energy and is eyeing a $10 million public float, reports Sott.net.

1414 Degrees had its origins in patented CSIRO research and has built a prototype molten silicon storage device which it is testing at its Tonsley Innovation Precinct site south of Adelaide.

Chairman Kevin Moriarty says 1414 Degrees’ process can store 500 kilowatt hours of energy in a 70-centimetre cube of molten silicon – about 36 times as much energy as Tesla’s 14KWh Powerwall 2 lithium ion home storage battery in about the same space.
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A Merc in the murk

A Merc in the murk


The ideologically-driven dash for renewable energy in Germany is heading towards a natural obstacle hiding in its winter weather. Will ‘traditional energy’ always be there to provide security of supply when needed?

Germany has a reputation for being a renewable energy leader – but some believe that the nation’s long, still and dim winters threaten such green aspirations, reports DW.COM.

The “dark doldrums” conjures images of the deep Middle Ages, when the only light to be had flickered from a tallow candle. In fact, it is the loose translation for the German word Dunkelflaute, which describes this time of year, when neither sun nor wind are to be found in great abundance.

And this is the very scenario some are suggesting could plunge the nation into, if not quite a re-enactment of its medieval past, then energy uncertainty. An article published recently in the German daily “Die Welt” warned that the Dunkelflaute could be pushing Germany’s power supply to its limits.
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Politicians who sabotage the public’s power supplies do so at their own risk.

STOP THESE THINGS

turnbull-frydenberg Yes, boy wonder, it’s a place called ‘Queensland’.

***

In 2016 no two words struck more fear into the hearts of the city-bound, political elite than ‘Trump’ and ‘Brexit’.

In both instances, ignorance amongst the media and political class meant that – for them – what were predictable, if not inevitable, results came as visceral, gut-wrenching, bewildering shocks.

If there is a single issue that has the potential to destroy political incumbents, it has to be energy.

South Australia has proved, without doubt, that skyrocketing power prices and unreliable supply are part and parcel of attempting to run economies on sunshine and breezes. Dutifully ignoring the effect of rolling blackouts and punishing power bills on the businesses and people who grow, build and create things (other than whipping up fair-trade, skinny-soy lattes and smashed avocado on toast at hipster cafés) is a recipe for political disaster.

Ever since it became…

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Which way next?

Which way next?


Those trying to make a business case for renewable energy may want to look away now. The assumption that vast numbers of solar panels and wind turbines are good for the environment is questionable.

Poverty, unemployment and zero economic growth are the likely outcome for countries which choose renewable energy sources over fossil fuels, according to a study.

Energy from fossil fuels appears to ignite economies into greater and more sustained growth, whereas energy from wind and solar power not only fails to enhance or promote economic growth, it actually causes economies to flat-line, as Phys.org reports.

The results, from an in-depth study of more than 100 countries over 40 years, pose a serious ethical dilemma, according to the lead author, economist Dr Nikolaos Antonakakis, Visiting Fellow at the University of Portsmouth Business School and Associate Professor at Webster Vienna University.

Dr Antonakakis said: “Put simply, the more energy a country consumes, the more it pollutes the environment, the more its economy grows. And the more the economy grows, the more energy consumption it needs, and so on.

“This poses big questions. Should we choose high economic growth, which brings lower unemployment and wealth for many, but which is unsustainable for the environment? Or should we choose low or zero economic growth, which includes high unemployment and a greater degree of poverty, and save our environment?”

Dr Antonakakis and co-authors, Dr Ioannis Chatziantoniou, at the University of Portsmouth, and Dr George Filis, at Bournemouth University, set out to study whether environmentally friendly forms of energy consumption were more likely to enhance economic growth.

In the light of recent policies designed to promote the use of green energy, including tax credits for the production of renewable energy and reimbursements for the installation of renewable energy systems, the authors predicted that environmentally friendly forms of energy consumption would enhance economic growth. Dr Antonakakis said: “It turned out not to be the case.”

They argue that societies now need to rethink their approach toward environmental sustainability, and strongly question the efficacy of the recent trend in many countries to promote renewable energy resources as a reliable alternative for helping achieve and maintain good economic growth.

The report continues here.

Credit: businessinsider.com

Credit: businessinsider.com

One letter changes in the new US climate policy: ‘defund’ replaces ‘defend’. Interesting times ahead.
H/T GWPF

US president Donald Trump will honour his campaign pledge to pull the US out of the Paris climate agreement and defund UN climate programmes, a former adviser to the new administration has said.

Myron Ebell served as head of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) transition team from early September until 19 January, when he helped to draft an advisory action plan on how to implement Trump’s campaign promises.

At a press briefing held by the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) and the Foreign Press Association (FPA) in London today, Ebell declined to divulge any details of the EPA document on the grounds that it is confidential.

But Ebell, a well-known climate change sceptic and head of the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s (CEI) energy and environment centre, outlined Trump’s “very clear” promises on energy and the environment that he is convinced the new president will honour.
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It’s OK ‘says ex-National Grid boss’. Well, let’s hear that from the current boss, and if it turns out he’s wrong he can be the next ex-boss.

NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT

By Paul Homewood

image

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-38791572

Roger Harrabin, who is apparently now an energy analyst as well as an environmental one, writes:

The UK has enough energy capacity to meet demand – even on the coldest days when demand is highest, says Steve Holliday, the man who ran National Grid for a decade.

He said news stories raising fears about blackouts should stop.

His optimism is based on the government’s latest auction of capacity for power generation, which starts later today.

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‘The donkey goes on to the ice until it breaks’ - German proverb [image credit: evwind.es]

‘The donkey goes on to the ice until it breaks’ – German proverb [image credit: evwind.es]


Grasping the nettle of reporting the views of leading German climate sceptic Professor Fritz Vahrenholt, PEI magazine airs several awkward issues arising from Germany’s ambitious – he says reckless – energy policies.

At a mid-January meeting in parliament buildings in London, Professor Fritz Vahrenholt provided a very detailed monologue on the motivations behind Germany’s energy transition, and why he feels it’s misguided and potentially disastrous, writes Diarmid Williams.

Had the lecture been delivered by somebody from the coal power sector, they might have been written off as a ‘climate denier’, but given Vahrenholt’s background and pedigree as a backer of renewable energy, he is not so easily dismissed and his position must cause some unease for those so adamant that climate change is man-made.
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UK Cabinet visits Cheshire

UK Cabinet visits Cheshire


Someone that UK leaders listen to may have pointed out that hanging a ‘green’ millstone round the neck of the economy, as recommended by the EU, is not the best route to success.
H/T GWPF

Household energy bills are set to fall after ministers unveiled plans to slash green subsidies, it emerged yesterday.

Billions of pounds are handed out by the Government to wind farm and solar energy firms every year, with families and manufacturers picking up the cost. These climate change subsidies add around £110 a year to a household’s average bill.

Theresa May’s industrial strategy, published yesterday, suggested that these levies should be dramatically reduced to help steel plants, which pay for emissions, compete overseas.
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Tidal lagoons are uneconomic 

Posted: January 23, 2017 by oldbrew in Energy, government, Tides
Tags: ,

Credit: TLP

Credit: TLP


That’s the view of the GWPF, as explained below. Whether the UK government will be put off by the huge cost of the subsidies remains to be seen.

Mr Hendry’s report implicitly recommending that the UK government support the £1.3 billion Swansea Tidal Lagoon project presumably moves the scheme one step closer to realisation.

However, the headline facts show that there is no justification for compelling UK consumers to de-risk the scheme for its projectors.

The principal and overwhelming disadvantage of most renewable electricity technologies is that they are of low energy productivity in themselves and reduce the productivity of the electricity system of which they are a part.
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The Oval Office

The Oval Office


The Presidential ceremonies are over, now the political action starts with implications for certain government agencies, as Phys.org reports.

US President Donald Trump signaled a sharp break on energy and the environment policy Friday, announcing plans to undo climate policies and promote domestic energy development as part of his “America First” agenda.

A statement on the White House website, posted shortly after Trump took the oath of office, said he was “committed to eliminating harmful and unnecessary policies such as the Climate Action Plan” advocated by his predecessor Barack Obama. Trump also will focus on removing hurdles to domestic energy development that he argues will make the US independent of foreign oil.
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Artist's impression [credit: ScottishPower Renewables]

Artist’s impression [credit: ScottishPower Renewables]


Ouch – embarrassing for the builders and a hefty bill for somebody. No reports of any injuries.

A wind turbine has collapsed in the south-west of Scotland, BBC Scotland understands.

The incident happened at Kilgallioch wind farm, which straddles the border between Dumfries and Galloway and South Ayrshire, early last Friday.

An investigation has been launched by developer Scottish Power Renewables and turbine manufacturer Gamesa.
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fusiongrid
The latest contenders for the elusive fusion crown are reviewed here. Chasing the ‘holy grail’ of energy is an expensive and time-consuming business, as IB Times reports.

In a world struggling to kick its addiction to fossil fuels and feed its growing appetite for energy, there’s one technology in development that almost sounds too good to be true: nuclear fusion, writes Matthew Hall.

If it works, fusion power offers vast amounts of clean energy with a near limitless fuel source and virtually zero carbon emissions. That’s if it works. But there are teams of researchers around the world and billions of dollars being spent on making sure it does.

In February last year a new chapter of fusion energy research commenced with the formal opening of Wendelstein 7-X. This is an experimental €1 billion (A$1.4bn) fusion reactor built in Greifswald, Germany, to test a reactor design called a stellarator.
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Dumper truck symbol = coal production [click on image to enlarge]

Dumper truck symbol = coal production [click on image to enlarge]

Can politicians put sanity ahead of ideology for Australian electricity generation following recent blackout fiascos?

The Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has reinforced his belief in the importance of coal as a pragmatic part of the global energy mix, reports PEI. The Australian online reports Turnbull as saying he had the same opinion while leader of the opposition in 2009.

“We are the biggest coal exporter in the world. If anybody — if any country — has a vested interest in demonstrating that clean coal and cleaner coal with new technologies can make a big contribution to our energy mix — and, at the same time, reduce our emissions in net terms — it’s us.”

“Our approach, and my approach, to energy is absolutely pragmatic and practical. This is not a matter for ideology.” Mr Turnbull said both renewables and fossil fuels would have a role to play in energy production in the future.
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Tim writes,

Enjoy. When I first came across this paper there was a lot of chuckling, can’t be serious, surely?

Well, I can understand someone wanting to quantify the effect, show the laws, make it a warning for any fools who need saving from themselves, ain’t engineers. I’m afraid this paper goes too far off the deep end, hints at meant seriously. Your opinion might differ.

Published PNAS

Harvesting renewable energy from Earth’s mid-infrared emissions
Steven J. Byrnes, Romain Blanchard, and Federico Capasso, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138
Contributed by Federico Capasso, February 3, 2014 (sent for review November 1, 2013)

It is possible to harvest energy from Earth’s thermal infrared emis-
sion into outer space. We calculate the thermodynamic limit for
the amount of power available, and as a case study, we plot how
this limit varies daily and seasonally in a location in Oklahoma.We
discuss two possible ways to make such an emissive energy har-
vester (EEH): A thermal EEH (analogous to solar thermal power
generation) and an optoelectronic EEH (analogous to photovoltaic
power generation). For the latter, we propose using an infrared-
frequency rectifying antenna, and we discuss its operating princi-
ples, efficiency limits, system design considerations, and possible
technological implementations.
http://www.pnas.org/content/111/11/3927.full.pdf

Actual merit? Works at night.

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Credit: evwind.es

Credit: evwind.es


Bloggers and others have been stating the obvious for years: relying on unreliable electricity generation from renewables like wind and solar energy can’t possibly work. For the hard of thinking, the clue is in the word ‘unreliable’. The penny has to drop with political leaders, or at least their voters, sooner or later – surely?
H/T GWPF

The End of the Energiewende? – by German economist Heiner Flassbeck

Stable high-pressure winter weather has resulted in a confrontation. An Energiewende that relies mainly on wind and solar energy will not work in the long run. One cannot forgo nuclear power, eliminate fossil fuels, and tell people that electricity supplies will remain secure all the same.

We have attempted unsuccessfully to find Energiewende advocates willing to explain that inconsistency. Their silence is not easy to fathom. But maybe the events themselves have made the outcome inevitable.

With nuclear power no longer available, a capacity of at least 50 gigawatts is required by other means, despite an enormously expanded network of wind turbines and solar systems.

This winter could go down in history as the event that proved the German energy transition to be unsubstantiated and incapable of becoming a success story.
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Solar towers in California [image credit: ucsusa.org]

Solar towers in California [image credit: ucsusa.org]


It may sound good but California’s Mojave project showed projects like this are not always exactly what they may seem. Scorched birds brought bad publicity for example.

The world’s tallest solar tower is currently being constructed in Israel’s Negev desert, the latest example of the Jewish state’s newfound emphasis on renewable energy, The Tower reports. The tower, which will be 250 meters (820 feet) tall, is encircled by around 50,000 mirrors, called heliostats.

Unlike the more common photovoltaic solar panels, which convert sunlight directly into power, the heliostats reflect the sunlight into the tower to heat a boiler, which will produce the steam to spin a turbine to generate electricity. With a taller tower, more mirrors can be placed in a smaller area to reflect the necessary amount of sunlight to run the turbine. 

There are only about a dozen solar tower fields around the world, including one in California with three towers, each of which is 140 meters (460 feet) tall, surrounded by 170,000 heliostats.

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os_wind
At the end of the day this still looks like trying to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear in terms of efficiency.

The amount of energy generated by renewables fluctuates depending on the natural variability of resources at any given time. The sun isn’t always shining, nor is the wind always blowing, so traditional power plants must be kept running, ready to fill the energy gap at a moment’s notice.

Because the grid has no storage, and unlike coal or nuclear, there is no control over the fluctuating production of renewable energy, the energy they produce has to be consumed straight away, or risk collapsing the electrical grid.

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big-greenVia Jo Nova

The geniuses in the UK government decided to take £10,800 from every UK household to cool the world by a figure which, rounded to the nearest tenth of a degree, is 0.0 degrees C a century from now.

Hot air: Bombshell report shows green levies backed by government will cost the economy £319bn by 2030
The huge sum is three times the annual NHS budget for England
The policy will be adding an average burden of £584 a year to every household by 2020 and £875 by 2030
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The evolution of gas reciprocating engines 

Posted: December 10, 2016 by oldbrew in Energy, innovation
Tags:

recip1
Experts say reciprocating gas engines can respond faster to load changes than any other prime mover, can compete with small gas turbine systems and also help fill in an efficient way the gap left by the lack of energy storage in most grid systems, as Power Engineering reports.

In southern Minnesota, where wind turbines and ethanol plants are commonplace, two communities have turned to reciprocating engine technology to meet their future power generation needs.

The Fairmont Energy Station, a 25-MW project completed in 2014, and the Owatonna Energy Station, a 38-MW project now under construction, feature highly flexible, quick-starting, low-maintenance reciprocating engines suited for today’s market, which places a premium on rapid-cycling capabilities.

Minnesota is home to about 100 wind power projects and ranks No. 7 in net wind power production in the U.S. That means Minnesota power producers must have reliable backup power to fill the sudden gaps created by growing supplies of intermittent wind power. The $30 million Fairmont plant is well suited for the job, capable of reaching full capacity in just eight minutes. That’s significantly faster than power plants using the latest gas turbine technology.

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