Archive for the ‘Energy’ Category


We don’t normally do press releases at the Talkshop, but this one might be interesting if we can work out what it really means. The fact that they refer to grid stability implies it’s an issue in Germany at least.

Automobile, home and power supply combined to form an intelligent energy network: In a pilot project the Audi Smart Energy Network for the first time interacts with the power grid.

This marks a major advance for grid stability, claims Audi’s press release.

As part of a research project, Audi is running a pilot project with households in the Ingolstadt area and the Zurich region in conjunction with other partners.

This involves combining various sizes of photovoltaic systems with stationary storage batteries. The control software by the Zurich start-up company Ampard distributes the solar power intelligently based on the current or plannable demand from car, household and heating system.

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biomassExcerpt from National Review.  Whichever way you look at it, burning the world’s carbon sinks to meet the EU’s arbitrary renewable-energy targets is environmentally insane. Not only will the voracious appetite of Europe’s power stations for American timber threaten valued woodland habitats in forests across Louisiana, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, and Virginia, it has damaging economic effects, as it pushes up the price of timber, with knock-on effects to the cost of building new homes. Without question, it is better for the environment to burn coal and plant trees than to cut down trees and burn them in power stations.

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One local complained: ‘Residents used to be able to watch the sun setting over the sea at Blackpool. Now all they can see is a mountain of muck.’ Not to mention the foul smell.

Clayton Hall, a supposedly ‘green’ electricity plant in Lancashire, has been generating misery for months – by shrouding thousands of nearby homes in a stinking fog of poisonous gas, writes David Rose in The Mail on Sunday.

The owners of the plant at the Clayton Hall landfill site in Lancashire, sandwiched between the commuter towns of Leyland and Chorley, a golf course and pretty, rolling hills, have received about £1.7 million in green energy subsidies since it opened in 2010.

These levies are added directly to consumers’ household bills. The firm has made a further £1.7 million from selling power to the grid.

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energy_cleaning_3057805The May government’s greenwashing is classic displacement activity. Productivity numbers released by the Office for National Statistics earlier this month should be front and centre of every government policy. Normally productivity growth falls in a recession but then bounces back to the previous trend, the ONS says. This time it didn’t. If productivity had returned to its pre-downturn trend, output per hour would have been very nearly 19.8 per cent higher. Imagine – workers’ pre-tax incomes one fifth higher; a fast-disappearing budget deficit; a government able to cut taxes and provide more resources for the NHS – taxing plastic cups won’t solve the NHS winter crisis – and more money for schools. A strong economy would sail through Brexit and not have ministers quivering in their boots. Instead the conversation is about disposable cups and plastic waste.

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frack-sectionThe last legal challenge has failed and the initial results impress the boss, so it’s full steam ahead for gas drilling tests in 2018.

Fracking firm Cuadrilla Resources said it has discovered a “very sizeable quantity” of natural gas at its exploration site in Lancashire as it prepares to drill what will be the UK’s first horizontal well in shale rock, reports City AM.

The fresh data, acquired by recovering some 375 feet of core samples from a well at the Preston New Road site, suggests the rock quality is excellent for hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and holds a high natural gas content in several zones within the shale.

Cuadrilla said it is “exceptionally well positioned to drill its first two horizontal wells into the gas rich zones”.

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Who knew? Apart from nearly everyone who ever gave it any thought, that is. But if confirmation and analysis from published research is needed, PEI reports it here. It seems to be worse than they thought.

Grid stability is likely to be increasingly challenged as power distribution moves from a centralized to a more decentralized model, new research has found.

According to a paper published this week in the journal Nature Energy by researchers from Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization and the UK’s Queen Mary University of London, integrating growing numbers of renewable power installations and microgrids onto the grid can result in larger-than-expected fluctuations in grid frequency.

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turbine-backupSigns of a return to sanity down under. The Australian government has opted for reliability over renewables in the power sector.

In the wake of the “System Black” power failure that knocked out South Australia for up to two days in late 2016, the country’s government has dumped the existing clean energy-based policy in favour of a radically different one.

In October 2017 the Energy Security Board (ESB) provided the COAG Energy Council with advice on changes to the National Electricity Market (NEM) and legislative framework. The proposed national energy guarantee (NEG) aims to support the provision of reliable, secure and affordable electricity with a focus on ensuring:

  • the reliability of the system is maintained
  • electricity sector emissions reductions needed to meet Australia’s international commitments are achieved
  • the above objectives are met at the lowest overall costs.

The NEG is a way to encourage new investment in clean and low emissions technologies while allowing the electricity system to continue to operate reliably.

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They are probably muddling through thanks to interconnectors to countries with more reliable electricity generation like France (nuclear) and Poland (coal), but with existing policies things are bound to get even worse.

STOP THESE THINGS

If you’re looking for examples on how to deliberately destroy an economy, look no further than renewables obsessed Germany and its equally deranged doppelgänger Downunder, South Australia: both are attempting to run on sunshine and breezes; both suffer rocketing power prices; and both now have grids on the brink of collapse.

South Australia has become the butt of international jokes as a result of routine mass load-shedding and repeated Statewide blackouts caused by sudden, total and totally unpredictable collapses in wind power output.

Now, Germany is headed in the same disastrous direction. Whenever the Sun disappears (Sunset will do it every time) and/or the wind stops blowing, Germany’s grid managers have to pull out all stops to prevent Deutschland returning to the Dark Ages.

German Media Report: Power Grids In Distress…Highly Unstable Due To Wind And Solar Power!
No Tricks Zone
Pierre Gosselin
11 November 2017

Recently German SAT1 television…

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Lerwick’s diesel power station [image credit: BBC]


The plan was to link a power cable to the UK mainland and have new diesel generators as back-up. But now they will rely on imported diesel and medium fuel oil as before, and wait to see if wind power appears on the scene.

Diesel plant will remain open until 2025 after EU emissions limits relaxed, reports Utility Week.

Ofgem has rejected plans to install a 60MW power line between the Shetland Islands and mainland Britain.

The regulator said the subsea cable is no longer needed as the loosening of emissions limits means the islands’ ageing diesel power plant can remain open for longer than previously anticipated.

SSE’s 67MW Lerwick Power Station was due to close by 2021 due to tougher emissions limits introduced under the EU’s Industrial Emissions Directive (IED).

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Scottish offshore wind project [image credit : urbanrealm.com]


No mention here of the huge cost of putting yet more hundreds or thousands of wind turbines miles offshore, or of what is supposed to happen when it’s not windy enough to generate any, or much of, the required electricity – other than vague reference to ‘storage and demand response’, and interconnectivity.

EUROPE: A total offshore wind capacity of at least 230GW is needed in northern Europe by 2045 to meet the requirements of the Paris Agreement, according to newly published research, writes Craig Richard at Windpower Offshore.

This increased capacity in the North Sea, Irish Sea, Channel, Baltic Sea, and Atlantic Ocean would require between 50GW and 80GW of new interconnectivity to ensure reliable operation, energy and climate consultancy Ecofys found.

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Electric car charging station [credit: Wikipedia]


Or not – some say it’s too complex and would be too costly to set up. Others claim it could even make car batteries last longer by maintaining optimal charge levels as the ‘borrowed’ power would be returned.

The report below should perhaps start like this: ‘as a small number of people in the world’s richer countries take hefty government subsidies to buy expensive electric cars…’

As the world moves towards low-carbon electric cars, how are we going to power them all? – asks BBC News.

If electric cars really are the future, where is all the electricity to power them going to come from?

There are currently more than a billion vehicles on the road worldwide, 38 million of them registered in the UK. The overwhelming majority run on petrol or diesel.

But the world is changing.
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Gateway to the COP24 climate conference in 2018


Poland doesn’t plan to undermine its economy to please the EU or anyone else with an agenda. The report notes: ‘Ironically, next year’s climate conference will be held in the southern Polish city of Katowice – the centre of the coal-producing Silesia region’. Maybe the local miners would like to pay them a visit 😎

Poland is on a collision course with EU chiefs over its continued heavy use of fossil fuels, as the country prepares to receive its first shipment of US coal, reports the GWPF.

Prime Minister Beata Szydło has warned MEPs she will “throw it back at them” if they criticise her nation’s carbon consumption at next month’s EU summit.

And that could set the scene for more stand-offs next year, when Poland hosts the next round of UN climate talks.

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


Debatable claim in the headline, but the German ‘energy transition’ has certainly hurt electricity consumers as prices have shot up in the last decade, with fortunes being wasted on vain attempts to tweak the climate system.

As Bonn this week hosts the COP23 climate talks, a new report claims that Germany’s Energiewende programme “has made things worse for the climate”, reports PEI.

It says it has done this “by shutting down nuclear capacity and locking in dependency on coal for decades, despite hundreds of billions in investments and subsidy-schemes”.

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Wind turbines towering over the landscape


When they say ‘flexible power sources’ they mean the ones that are needed when unreliable renewables have largely gone to sleep, for example at night or when it’s not windy. The costs of running such a dual system or the consequences of power shortages, especially in winter, are not mentioned, although they admit that there will be “entire weeks and months” where solar and wind will produce “little energy”. It all sounds unreal.

Renewable energy will account for more than half of the UK’s power supply by 2026, according to a new study, reports Utility Week.

The report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance and commissioned by Eaton and the Renewable Energy Association, claims there will be a “significant acceleration” in the shift to renewable sources over the next 20 years and that this move will create new opportunities for new flexible power sources.

By 2040, almost two thirds (63 per cent) of power will be generated from renewable sources, according to the report and at “certain times” wind and solar energy along could meet total power demand in both the UK and Germany.

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Credit: Entek Corp.


This overlooks the fact that ‘the majority of petroleum is converted to petroleum products, which includes several classes of fuels’. It also includes ‘conventional fertilizers [which] are commonly derived from petroleum. In fact, a single 40-pound bag contains the equivalent of 2.5 gallons of gasoline.’ Electricity is only a manufactured power source, as far as national networks are concerned.

Electricity is “the new oil” and the effect of increasing global electrification is having a “very deep rippling effect for the power sector”.

That was one of the highlights this morning at the launch of the International Energy Agency’s annual World Energy Outlook, reports PEI.

Laura Cozzi, head of the IEA’s Energy Demand Outlook Division, said: “We are seeing growing electrification happening throughout the energy sector – electricity going into sectors that were confined to other fuels before: most notably, cars, but also heating and cooling.”

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Needless to say this will go down like a lead balloon with climate obsessives, but that’s their problem. How many of them live in parts of the world where electricity and other types of power are in short supply?

President Donald Trump’s administration has envoys at the UN-sponsored talks in Bonn, Germany, even though the US has derided the Paris Agreement climate accord and has begun a years-long process to withdraw from it, reports the South China Morning Post.

The meeting, the Conference of Parties 23, is intended to hammer out the details of the Paris Agreement’s efforts to try to fight climate change.

While a small State Department team has been on the ground for technical negotiations since the talks opened last week, the administration is sending another delegation for the second week that will include senior White House advisers.

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French nuclear power sites [credit: neimagazine.com]


There are artificial self-imposed targets, plans and even laws – and then there’s reality, if ‘keeping the lights on’ is a priority. Scrapping nuclear capacity implies either having something convincing to replace it with, or risking the wrath of the voters if/when things start to go wrong.

The French environment minister Nicolas Hulot says the government is postponing its move to reduce the share of nuclear energy in the country’s power generation mix, reports PEI.

According to Reuters, Hulot says the grid operator RTE warned it risked supply shortages after 2020 and could miss a goal to curb carbon emissions, if it went ahead with the cull of nuclear right away, reducing the share from 75 per cent to 50 per cent.

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You couldn’t make it up. Welcome to the crazy world of climate recriminations.

Judith Curry writes: Well I am just speechless.

Climate Etc.

by Judith Curry

Mannian litigation gone wild. — Steve McIntyre

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The short working life of wind turbines compared to power stations, plus their lack of commercial viability, will likely put the brakes on German renewables expansion according to this GWPF report. Where do used wind farms go to die?

Wind power is the most important component of Germany’s green energy transition.

The end of subsidies for older turbines, however, threatens countless wind farms. By 2023, more than a quarter of Germany’s onshore wind farms may be gone.

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Image credit: BBC


UK taxpayers are about to face another futile trip into green fantasy land, as top politicians refuse to believe that CCS is not a realistic or affordable technology.

Climate change minister Claire Perry is convening a taskforce next month to deliver carbon capture and storage plants more cost effectively, reorts Utility Week.

Perry told a House of Commons debate on CCS last week that the Cost Challenge Taskforce, which was unveiled in the clean growth strategy, was being constituted ‘rapidly’.

She said that the taskforce aimed to repeat the success of a similar group, which had helped to identify ways of delivering offshore windfarms more cheaply.

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