Posts Tagged ‘electricity’


The reality that can’t be faced by many is that the carbon dioxide theory of climate just doesn’t stack up, for many reasons. Expensive subsidies for part-time renewables create both economic and practical problems, as some are already finding out to their cost.

The GWPF – Press release: Rapid decarbonisation is “a delusion”

A prominent Canadian economist has called for the political classes to stop making claims that they cannot fulfil and to return to energy policies grounded in reality.

In a new paper published by the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), Robert Lyman sets out the economic and technological constraints on delivering decarbonization over the next two or three decades.

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Image credit: energy-storage.news


No surprise there, but the points made deserve emphasis. No amount of ideology can defeat the realities of engineering and economics.

Engineer pours cold water on battery and hydrogen technologies – GWPF press release.
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A new briefing paper from the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) dismisses the idea that grid-scale electricity storage can help bring about a UK renewables revolution.

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The renewables malaise is spreading round the world like a cancer. The symptoms can be painful but are easily recognised, as Australians are finding out.

STOP THESE THINGS

Australia’s energy policy reads like a National suicide note: power prices went from the lowest in the world to the highest, in little over a decade.

Plotting the path to destruction is pretty easy: start by throwing $60 billion in subsidies at wind and large-scale solar, demonise cheap and reliable coal-fired power and put lunatics in charge of the whole operation.

Here’s Alan Moran, once again, detailing the source of Australia’s self-inflicted misery.

Reaping the fruits of political sabotage of the electricity industry
Catallaxy Files
Alan Moran
25 January 2019

The third world nature of Australia’s electricity industry was revealed this week with wholesale prices in Victoria and South Australia at the maximum $14,500 for lengthy periods in spite of thousands of customers being cut-off, major users agreeing to shut down demand in return for compensation paid by consumers, and even some oil plants being called in.

The…

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One for the ‘worse than we thought’ file. Anyone running out of power in an EV in winter due to sudden cold weather range reduction has no in-car way to keep warm while waiting for rescue.

Cold temperatures can sap electric car batteries, temporarily reducing their range by more than 40 percent when interior heaters are used, a new study found.

The study of five electric vehicles by AAA also found that high temperatures can cut into battery range, but not nearly as much as the cold, reports TechXplore. The range returns to normal in more comfortable temperatures.

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Credit: mygridgb.co.uk


H/T The Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF)
Relying on interconnectors to get out of trouble when the wind isn’t blowing won’t be a good plan long-term, when most of Europe is pushing its own wind-dependent electricity plans forward. Nuclear and coal are largely fading out of the UK scene, so for industrial-scale reliable power it has to be gas or bust in the end, whether UK-sourced or not.

The chairman of Britain’s biggest private company has accused the government of using “slippery back door manoeuvres” to kill off fracking in the UK, reports City A.M.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe, the billionaire founder of Ineos, said the government is sticking to a plan which is “unworkable, unhelpful and playing politics with the country’s future”.

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Tesla model X [image credit: IB Times]


H/T Climate Change Dispatch
No surprise at all, of course. The Dutch subsidy budget for electric cars is already in the red, so how they expect to go all-electric by 2030 is a mystery. High prices even with a subsidy, and concerns about batteries and range, have so far put off the majority of motorists anyway.

Around half the government fund to stimulate people to drive electric cars has ended up in the hands of ‘rich Tesla and Jaguar drivers’, the Volkskrant said on Wednesday.

Last year, the government said it would fund tax breaks totaling €700m for electric car drivers.

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No fun being the crash test dummies of over-reliance on intermittent ruinables.

STOP THESE THINGS

The dreamers who think they’ll soon be running entirely on sunshine and breezes, have just been smacked with reality, in Victoria, at least.

There’s something poetic about watching infants being forced to grow up. And, so it is, with once loyal RE zealots, being forced to rethink their love affair, after their taste of what it’s like swelter in Melbourne, without the benefit of that first world necessity, electricity.

Over the last couple of posts, STT has focused on the chaos that reigned in South Australia and Victoria on a couple of hot days – coupled with wind power output collapses (see above) that resulted in hundreds of thousands being deprived of power, 200,000 in Victoria, alone – and the price of power going through the roof.

Watching the panic spread was, somewhat, amusing. Nothing like watching those who thought they understood the electricity system left floundering and struggling for…

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


The very fact that these kinds of idea are being put forward is another admission that renewables are chronically intermittent and unreliable as electricity generators. We’re told ‘considerable investment’ would be needed but they ignore the fact that, for less cost and complexity, some reliable new gas power stations would be a far more practical plan.

By pumping compressed air into porous rocks deep under the sea floor, scientists think we could effectively store energy for months at a time, says Discover magazine.

With reports about climate change becoming increasingly dire, it’s increasingly important to find an eco-friendly way to not only generate energy, but also store it.

After all, wind turbines and solar power and the like don’t run steadily. So we can’t just stick that extra energy in a bottle to use when the wind dies down and the sun sets.

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California wildfire [image credit: NASA]

Well, they would say that as firm believers in the man-made climate change scare, which they blame for anything bad that’s related to the weather, and talk up the need to ‘fight’ it. But what happens if or when the money dries up?

California is counting on PG&E to keep investing in clean energy to fight climate change, says the LA Times.

But its bankruptcy could imperil solar and wind contracts.

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Drax power station [credit: drax.com]


Such massive subsidies probably couldn’t suddenly disappear, but might be scaled back or even phased out. Contrary to the report, carbon dioxide contributes nothing to air pollution..

Controversial subsidies for burning wood in power stations could be scrapped in the drive to clean up Britain’s air.

Firms across the UK that burn wood pellets currently receive about £1billion a year because, unlike coal, these are considered renewable sources of energy, says the Daily Mail.

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Monetising the wind isn’t going to solve anyone’s electricity supply problems. Exactly the reverse is far more likely.

STOP THESE THINGS

The meme has it that wind and solar are all about slashing CO2 emissions, whereas that pathetic pair are just a colossal moneymaking scam.

Apart from South Australia, no country other than Germany threw more at chaotically intermittent wind and solar.

The results have been an utter debacle: Germans suffer the second highest power prices in Europe, just behind wind ‘powered’ Denmark, and those prices are rocketing north at double-digit rates. The German grid is on the brink of collapse.

And all in an effort to curb emissions of carbon dioxide gas. Leaving aside arguments about whether CO2 is a toxic pollutant or a naturally occurring beneficial trace gas which plants crave, if the primary object of Germany’s ‘transition’ to an all wind and sun powered future was cutting carbon dioxide gas emissions, the result has been a dismal failure – that’s cost Germans more than a €Trillion, so…

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Why not just drop the fuel taxes and have every private car user pay mileage fees, maybe based on vehicle weight?

Since electric vehicles use no gasoline, their drivers pay no gasoline tax.

And as more people drive EVs, gas-tax revenue for road repairs is dwindling, says Phys.org.

So how can California and the rest of the country avoid road-funding shortfalls and ensure that EV drivers pay their share of needed repairs?

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Risky business [image credit: safetysource.co.nz]


Well, partly battery-powered to be more exact. Government subsidies play a part in the economics of this, as the article shows. Battery purchase and installation costs are not stated, nor is the expected lifetime. Then there’s the insurance bill for a lot of fire-prone lithium in or next to a building.

The Gyle Premier Inn in Edinburgh is trialling a new 100kW lithium-ion battery supplied and installed by E.ON at its 200-room site in a bid to improve energy efficiency, secure power supply and enable onsite energy cost savings.

The battery is 3m3 in size and weighs approximately five tonnes, reports PEI.

It can run the hotel – including powering meals cooked at its restaurant – for up to three hours.

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German Chancellor Merkel surveys an offshore wind site [image credit: evwind.es]


The bad news for Germans is that energy costs as a percentage of income seem set to rise inexorably under current policies aimed at eliminating coal and nuclear power generation. That means spending even more on expensive and unreliable renewables plus vast new transmission lines, as well as importing more power when renewables fall short, with all the inevitable high costs these things incur. Of course Germans are far from the only ones facing these issues.

More and more Germans are worried about not being able to make ends meet when they retire, a new study has shown.

Rising energy costs and low interest rates are also feeding fears of financial insecurity, says DW.com.

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Coal-hungry China [image credit: democraticunderground.com]


Brace for impact: ‘Hotter days will boost Chinese residential electric use’. Are we supposed to weep instead of sleep? The report refers to ‘China’s low-carbon policy’, which must be something other than the one which sees it opening a new coal-fired power station almost every week, and which led to a massive long-term import contract with Russia for natural gas. Who are they kidding?

A new study from Duke University and Fudan University in China is the first to estimate how much Chinese residential electricity consumption would increase due to climate change.

It’s a lot, says Phys.org.

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Another Tesla fire


The car was only three months old, and as the owner said, if it had happened at home the house could have been set on fire.

A Tesla Model S ignited three times in one day, a northern California car owner and firefighters told ABC News.

While driving on a highway on Dec. 18, the driver got a tire pressure warning indicating a flat tire, and had the car towed to the nearby Los Gatos Tire and Auto Repair, Santa Clara County Fire Captain Bill Murphy told ABC News.

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Hoover Dam


Another headache for the ‘carbon-free’ crowd. When there’s less water in the dams, they have to crank up the power stations. Is a study needed to find this out?

When hydropower runs low in a drought, western states tend to ramp up power generation—and emissions—from fossil fuels, says Phys.org.

According to a new study from Stanford University, droughts caused about 10 percent of the average annual carbon dioxide emissions from power generation in California, Idaho, Oregon and Washington between 2001 and 2015.

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Field lines of the bar magnet [image credit: brilliant.org]


A magnetic field line is more a trajectory than an actual entity, despite being discussed as though it really exists. But they are ‘found’ in space just as they are in bar magnets.

New research describes striking similarity of laboratory research findings with observations of the four-satellite Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission that studies magnetic reconnection in space, reports ScienceDaily.

As on Earth, so in space.

A four-satellite mission that is studying magnetic reconnection — the breaking apart and explosive reconnection of the magnetic field lines in plasma that occurs throughout the universe — has found key aspects of the process in space to be strikingly similar to those found in experiments at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL).

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This may or may not have its uses, but any idea that the whole world could get electricity mainly from the sun and the wind is not credible, with today’s technology at least.

MIT engineers have come up with a conceptual design for a system to store renewable energy, such as solar and wind power, and deliver that energy back into an electric grid on demand, says TechExplore.

The system may be designed to power a small city not just when the sun is up or the wind is high, but around the clock.

The new design stores heat generated by excess electricity from solar or wind power in large tanks of white-hot molten silicon, and then converts the light from the glowing metal back into electricity when it’s needed.

The researchers estimate that such a system would be vastly more affordable than lithium-ion batteries, which have been proposed as a viable, though expensive, method to store renewable energy. They also estimate that the system would cost about half as much as pumped hydroelectric storage—the cheapest form of grid-scale energy storage to date.

“Even if we wanted to run the grid on renewables right now we couldn’t, because you’d need fossil-fueled turbines to make up for the fact that the renewable supply cannot be dispatched on demand,” says Asegun Henry, the Robert N. Noyce Career Development Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. “We’re developing a new technology that, if successful, would solve this most important and critical problem in energy and climate change, namely, the storage problem.”

Henry and his colleagues have published their design today in the journal Energy and Environmental Science.

Record temps

The new storage system stems from a project in which the researchers looked for ways to increase the efficiency of a form of renewable energy known as concentrated solar power.

Unlike conventional solar plants that use solar panels to convert light directly into electricity, concentrated solar power requires vast fields of huge mirrors that concentrate sunlight onto a central tower, where the light is converted into heat that is eventually turned into electricity.

“The reason that technology is interesting is, once you do this process of focusing the light to get heat, you can store heat much more cheaply than you can store electricity,” Henry notes.

Concentrated solar plants store solar heat in large tanks filled with molten salt, which is heated to high temperatures of about 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. When electricity is needed, the hot salt is pumped through a heat exchanger, which transfers the salt’s heat into steam. A turbine then turns that steam into electricity.

“This technology has been around for a while, but the thinking has been that its cost will never get low enough to compete with natural gas,” Henry says. “So there was a push to operate at much higher temperatures, so you could use a more efficient heat engine and get the cost down.”

However, if operators were to heat the salt much beyond current temperatures, the salt would corrode the stainless steel tanks in which it’s stored. So Henry’s team looked for a medium other than salt that might store heat at much higher temperatures.

They initially proposed a liquid metal and eventually settled on silicon—the most abundant metal on Earth, which can withstand incredibly high temperatures of over 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

Last year, the team developed a pump that could withstand such blistering heat, and could conceivably pump liquid silicon through a renewable storage system. The pump has the highest heat tolerance on record—a feat that is noted in “The Guiness Book of World Records.”

Since that development, the team has been designing an energy storage system that could incorporate such a high-temperature pump.

Continued here.

Research article: Secular decrease of wind power potential in India associated with warming in the Indian Ocean

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


Another opinion piece pointing out the engineering impossibilities being attempted by countries that try to pursue intermittent renewable power to the limit. Unthinking insistence on such policies is not the way to go.

More and more people are about to realize, that supplying the world with stable energy from sun and wind only, will be impossible, says Kalte Sonne.

Germany took on the challenge to show the world how to build a society based on green energy. They have now hit the wall.

Germany has not reduced CO2 emissions over the last 10 years despite huge investments in green energy production capacity.

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