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In the Wake of the News

Electric Energy Storage

The operation of the electric grid requires continuous balance between supply and demand. Electric demand fluctuates throughout the day and these fluctuations are significantly different between weekdays and weekend days. Electric powerplant outputs are adjusted as required to match demand. The recent addition of limited grid scale electric storage facilities assists the grid operators in responding to demand fluctuations. However, these storage facilities are primarily intended to assist grid operators in responding to supply fluctuations resulting from the intermittent nature of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar, whose outputs can change very rapidly.

The principal tool of grid supply management is the natural gas combined cycle powerplant, since its output can be adjusted rapidly over a broad range. However, as the percentage of renewable generation feeding the grid increases and the percentage of fossil fueled generation decreases to reduce CO2 emissions, the availability of demand-responsive fossil fuel generation to match the expected rapid changes in renewable supply would decrease.

The intended replacement for demand-responsive generation is grid-scale storage. This storage would be configured to meet short term fluctuations in renewable generator output, intermediate term reductions resulting from multi-hour periods of overcast skies or still air conditions, overnight periods of zero solar generation and even multi-day periods when either solar or wind or both are unavailable or dramatically reduced.

The ability to use grid-scale storage to supplement renewable generation is dependent upon the availability of surplus renewable generation to charge and maintain the storage batteries as well as to compensate for the losses which occur during battery charging and discharging. The capacity of the storage system is a function of the percentage of renewable generation supplying the grid, the number of days during which there might be low or non-existent renewable generation and of the capacity factor of the renewable generation fleet.

The 30 GW offshore wind generation target established by the Biden Administration for 2030 can be used to illustrate this issue. The generators to be deployed to meet this target were assumed in the previous commentary to have a 60% capacity factor. This would be achieved over a range of possible operating scenarios from 100% capacity operation 60% of the time to 60% capacity operation 100% of the time. In the case of 100% capacity operation 60% of the time, approximately 40% of the power generated would have to be stored for use during the 40% of the time the generators were not producing power. In the case of operation at 60% capacity 100% of the time, storage requirements would be reduced, with the reduction determined primarily by the demand curves of the served customers.

Onshore wind generation has a lower capacity factor, which peaks at 40-45% in the best locations and would decrease as additional generators were installed in sub-optimal locations. Solar generators have an even lower capacity factor, which peaks at approximately 30% in optimal locations. As the capacity factor of the renewable generator fleet declines, the storage capacity required to supply grid demand during periods of low or no renewable generation increases, as does the renewable generator capacity required to meet current grid demand while providing sufficient additional generation to recharge the battery storage.


Tags: Electric Power Generation, Energy Storage / Batteries

Highlighted Article: Coronavirus And Climate Change: A Tale Of Two Hysterias


From: Forbes

By: Tilak Doshi

Date: May 14, 2021


Coronavirus And Climate Change: A Tale Of Two Hysterias


"Up to a few months ago, life was normal. Well, sort of. In that pre-coronavirus normalcy, the reigning narrative was that of mankind facing assured destruction if we did not amend our wasteful – read carbon-intensive — ways. Short of a drastic curtailment in our use of fossil fuels, we would all perish in the not too distant future.

How distant depended on who one listened to. At the radical end of the spectrum — US Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, teenage icon Greta Thunberg and the Extinction Rebellion folk among others — gave us a decade or less before we would face the fury of the elements, be they fires, droughts, floods, and other horrors of biblical proportions. The “moderate” position held by the mainstream climate change establishment — ranging from the key multilateral organizations such as the UN’s IPCC to the private sector with oil majors such as Shell and leading environment and social governance (“ESG”) practitioners like Larry Fink, CEO of the world’s largest hedge fund BlackRock – held that we had to reach the “net-zero” rate of carbon emissions by 2050 lest the world climate “tip over” to Armageddon.

But then, something happened along the way. Up popped a particularly contagious virus, first in its birthplace in Wuhan, China, and then spreading across the world. In a mere couple of months, the novel coronavirus began to wreak death and economic mayhem, the latter caused primarily by governments panicked into shutting down entire swathes of the economy to “flatten the curve” of infections to avoid health systems from being overwhelmed." ...


Coronavirus And Climate Change: A Tale Of Two Hysterias


Tags: Highlighted Article

Offshore Wind

We begin by reviewing the measurement unit for electric demand and consumption.

1 Terawatt = 1 trillion watts
                = 1 billion kilowatts
                = 1 million megawatts
                = 1 thousand gigawatts

1 Terawatt-hour = 1 trillion watt-hours
                       = 1 billion kilowatt-hours
                       = 1 million megawatt-hours
                       = 1 thousand gigawatt-hours

At the end of 2020, the United States had 1,117,475 MW—or about 1.12 billion kilowatts (kW)—of total utility-scale electricity generating capacity and about 27,724 MW—or nearly 0.03 billion kW—of small-scale solar photovoltaic electricity generating capacity.

US electricity consumption in 2020 was approximately 4,000 Terawatt-hours.


Historical and projected annual electricity consumption

The Biden Administration has established a 30 GW target for offshore wind generating capacity by 2030. General Electric produces the Haliede-X offshore wind turbine in 12-14 MW capacities, with a reported capacity factor of ~60%. As an illustration, let us assume that the entire 30 GW of capacity consists of GE 14 MW wind turbines.

Reaching the Administration’s offshore wind capacity target would involve installation of approximately 2150 wind turbines capable of producing approximately

30 GW * 60% * 8760 hrs. = 157,680 GWh

of electric power annually, or approximately

157,680 GWh / 4,000,000 GWh = ~4%

of US 2020 electric energy consumption and approximately 3.5% of projected 2030 electric energy consumption.

The proposed new offshore wind capacity is approximately 10% greater than the currently installed utility scale wind capacity of 27.7GW, which is approximately 2.5% of total US utility scale generating capacity.
It is common practice, when discussing wind and solar installations, to refer to the number of homes the system would be able to power. US EIA reports that the average US household consumes 11,000 kWh of electricity per year Therefore, the Administration’s 30 GW offshore wind capacity target would be sufficient to power

157,680 GWh = 157,680,000,000kWh / 11,000 kwh/home–year = 14,334,000

homes, based on the 60% capacity factor.

The wind turbines, when operating at full capacity, would produce more electricity than the served homes would require, providing surplus electricity to be stored for use by the served homes during periods when the turbines were not operating, or were operating below rated capacity, due to wind conditions. The duration of periods when wind conditions would not support full capacity operation and the duration of periods when wind conditions were insufficient to permit the turbines to operate would determine the electricity storage capacity required to assure stable, reliable grid operation.

Storing electric energy in grid-scale batteries for later use involves the loss of ~25% of the energy delivered to the batteries from the generation source. Grid-scale battery storage is currently very expensive, and it is more expensive the longer the period of time over which the battery must store the energy. Situations in which wind conditions might be unsuitable for turbine operation over one or more days require massive and massively expensive battery installations. Battery cost will likely continue to decline, though the pace and extent of the cost reductions is not currently predictable.



Highlighted Article: Climate Change, Extreme Weather, and Electric System Reliability


From: Climate Etc.

By: Judith Curry

Date: June 27, 2021


Climate Change, Extreme Weather, and Electric System Reliability

"I recently participated in a Technical Conference sponsored by the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

This was a very interesting conference. Unfortunately there is no podcast or record of the written statements submitted by the panel

The main part of my written statement is provided below

JC remarks to FERC

The remarks that follow respond to issues raised for Panels #1 and #2, in context of CFAN’s experience in dealing with extreme weather- and climate-related issues for the energy sector.

How extreme can it get?

Extreme weather events are rare, by definition. When planning for future weather extremes, several different approaches are used:

  1. recent climatology: 1-in-10 or 1-in-20 year standard
  2. 50- or 100-year return time
  3. worst cases in the historical record
  4. incremental changes to #1 – #3 associated with manmade global warming." ...


Climate Change, Extreme Weather, and Electric System Reliability


Tags: Highlighted Article

Command Push Markets

Command economy is a system where the government takes the decision regarding goods production, process, quantity, and price in a country. In this system, the government also manages even income and investments. A Communist nation like the former Soviet Union, Cuba, North Korea work according to this system.

The US federal government, the UN and environmentalist organizations are attempting to use anthropogenic climate change, which they portray as a “crisis”, “emergency” or “existential threat” as justification to change the US economy from a demand pull economy to a command push economy. There is no broad consumer demand for a major federal government or international effort to halt or reverse the mild climate change which has occurred over the past 70 years. Climate science does not support the political description of climate change as a “crisis”, etc.  Climate change is not among the top ten concerns among the US population according to ongoing polling. There is no demand pull in the US economy for the various approaches identified to address climate change, only command push.

The US Administration has rejoined the Paris Accords and then adopted a new Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) under the Accords. This INDC commits the US to reduce fossil fuel CO2 emissions by 50% from 2005 levels by 2030, achieve net zero emissions in the electricity sector by 2035 and net zero emissions throughout the economy by 2050.

The various aspects of this new INDC would require retirement and replacement of virtually all coal, oil and natural gas fueled electric power generation facilities with wind and solar generation and electric energy storage facilities by 2035. This compressed time frame would require extremely rapid expansion of both wind and solar generation and the immediate adoption of new, immature and extremely expensive storage battery technology. This would also result in the early retirement of existing, functioning fossil fueled generation assets and strand massive quantities of fossil fuel resources. The new investment requirements would include trillions of dollars of wind and solar generation facilities and tens of trillions of dollars of electricity storage facilities. These investments in the energy sector would result in dramatic increases in energy costs throughout the economy.

There is no demand pull in the US economy for wind and solar generation. Numerous federal and state programs provide financial incentives and generation preferences for wind and solar, since these incentives are required to offset the economic unattractiveness of the investments.

There are also proposals to terminate manufacturing of internal combustion engine light and medium duty vehicles by 2035 and to ban operation of such vehicles by 2050. There is little or no demand pull in the US economy for electric vehicles and massive federal and state incentives are required to support EV sales. Recent surveys have determined that many early EV adopters are trading their EVs for internal combustion engine vehicles for a variety of reasons.

Finally, several US cities have attempted to ban future installation of natural gas service to new residential and commercial buildings. There is no demand pull in the US economy for such a ban.

There is no official government estimate of the cost of achieving the new INDC, but unofficial estimates place the cost at approximately $100 trillion. There is no demand pull in the US economy for these extra investments and increased costs, thus requiring the intended command push approaches.



Highlighted Article: A global context for Man-made Climate Concerns


From: edmhdotme

Date: June 26, 2021


A global context for Man-made Climate Concerns


Earth has existed for some 4,600 million years.  This condensed history sets the current concerns about the level of atmospheric CO2 and the possible recent impact of extra Man-made CO2 affecting global temperature in a rational context.


CO2 in the atmosphere

To understand the context of current concerns about the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere from the Man-made activities, it is useful to review the long-term history of the Earth’s atmosphere.


Composition of Earth's atmosphere


  • as far as the development of life on Earth was concerned the first 4,000 million years were comparatively uneventful.  It took evolution all that time to make any advances beyond single cell/algal organisms.
  • in those earlier times, ~3,300 million years ago CO2 had reached its maximum level of about 35%, 350,000 ppmv:  atmospheric CO2 concentration has progressively diminished ever since.
  • it was only when photosynthesis took hold, that the level of atmospheric Oxygen could rise to its current level of ~22% of the atmosphere.
  • over the same period CO2 concentrations diminished as plant photosynthesis used the sun’s energy to convert atmospheric CO2 to sugars and thus to generate all other types of organic molecules associated with life.
  • CO2 has progressively disappeared from the atmosphere both being absorbed by the Oceans to be sequestered by Ocean life as limestones or later converted into fossil fuels from luxuriant Plant growth.
  • as a result atmospheric CO2 has reduced by some thousand fold from its high point of 35%, 350,000ppmv to arrive at the current levels around 400+ppmv." ...


A global context for Man-made Climate Concerns


Tags: Highlighted Article

Demand Pull Markets

A market economy is an economic system in which economic decisions and the pricing of goods and services are guided by the interactions of a country's individual citizens and businesses. There may be some government intervention or central planning, but usually this term refers to an economy that is more market oriented in general.

Technology makes new goods and services possible. Entrepreneurship brings these new products and services to the market. Marketing and advertising increase awareness of the availability of these new goods and services. Demand for these newly available products and services pulls them into the market and encourages the development and market introduction of competing products and services. Competition in demand pull markets results in progressive technological advancement and product and service cost reduction.

Market demand is typically built upon increased function, enhanced convenience, improved economics or some combination of these factors. Consider the evolution of space heating from fireplaces to manually fed wood and coal stoves to central heating boilers and furnaces with water or air distribution to automated boilers and furnaces with thermostatic control to combination heating and cooling systems. Each of these advances was made available by technological evolution and development and pulled into the market by consumer demand. Similarly, the transition from coal to oil to natural gas and electricity was a response to consumer demand for increased convenience and improved economics. The evolution of other residential and commercial appliances and equipment followed similar paths.

Transportation has evolved from walking, to riding horseback to horse-drawn wagons and carriages to the internal combustion powered automobile and truck. Technological innovation made windows, heaters, air conditioners, automatic transmissions, radios and other entertainment devices, GPS navigation systems and numerous safety features available and consumer demand pulled them into the market. Consumer demand also led to the availability of station wagons, SUVs, travel trailers and motor homes. The development of aviation technology allowed commercial air travel to eclipse passenger buses and trains for travel over longer distances and greatly decreased the time and cost of international travel.

The development of electric technology and the electric utility industry has replaced whale oil for lighting, windmills for water pumping and water wheels and draught animals for mechanical power production. Modern industry relies on electricity throughout virtually every aspect of almost all production processes. The evolution of mechanical and electric technology has led to the introduction of specialized robots to replace humans in many difficult, dangerous and tedious functions while increasing product reliability and reducing manufacturing costs.

Finally, the development of electronics technology and the computer has had broad impacts on almost all aspects of life. Consumer demand for access to information and entertainment has pulled these electronic devices into common use in residential, commercial, institutional and industrial markets. In many cases, the demand for these new technologies and the products and services they provide has far exceeded the expectations of their developers.

In demand pull markets, visionaries identify opportunities, entrepreneurs pursue those opportunities and consumers decide which products and services will be successful.


Tags: Climate Change Economics

Highlighted Article: How to compare today to the past


From: Watts Up With That

By: Andy May

Date: June 22, 2021


How to compare today to the past

"In the last post, I discussed the problems comparing modern instrumental global or hemispheric average temperatures to the past. Ocean temperature coverage was sparse and of poor quality prior to 2005. Prior to 1950, land (29% of the surface) measurements were also sparse and of poor quality. Only proxy temperatures are available before thermometers were invented, but, again, these are sparse and poorly calibrated prior to 1600. So how can we compare modern temperatures to the distant past? We can’t do it globally or hemispherically, the past data are too poor or too sparse or both. Why not pick the best proxies and compute comparable modern temperatures to compare to the proxies at the specific proxy locations? It is easier to lessen resolution than to increase it.

Rosenthal, et al.’s temperature reconstruction, plotted in Figure 1, shows ~500-meter temperatures from the “Indonesian Throughflow” (Rosenthal, Linsley, & Oppo, 2013). Their data are from sediment cores taken in the Makassar Strait east of Borneo Island. This strait is a portion of the main connection between the Indian, Southern and Pacific Oceans. Its temperature is reflective of the temperature of significant portions of these three large water masses at 500 meters." ...


How to compare today to the past


Tags: Highlighted Article

Independence Day 2021

The US declared its independence from Britain 245 years ago and fought a long and bitter Revolutionary War to secure it. The US has since fought for and with other nations to secure or restore their independence. Americans cherish their liberty and freedoms and resist efforts to limit or restrict them. The US is currently emerging from the temporary restrictions imposed in an effort to contain and then end the COVID19 pandemic and the economy has begun recovering from the effects of the pandemic.

However, numerous members of the global environmental movement are resisting the reopening and resurgence of the economy and advocating for the imposition of permanent restrictions to our liberty and freedoms as part of the effort to avoid what they refer to as a “climate crisis”, “climate emergency” or “existential threat”. However, the US population does not regard climate change as a threat comparable to the threat of the COVID19 pandemic, which has resulted in over 600,000 documented deaths in the US and nearly 3 million deaths globally, whereas climate change has resulted in no documented deaths.

The citizens’ response to the lifting of mask and social distancing requirements has been rapid and dramatic. Employees of “non-essential” businesses are returning to work, children have begun returning to their classrooms, restaurants and bars are returning to normal service patterns and vehicle traffic has returned to more normal levels. The imposition of new, drastic limitations to liberty and freedom in an attempt to control climate change would likely not be welcomed and would perhaps be actively resisted.

Numerous nations have attempted to conquer other nations and assert control over them throughout history. Britain and France have long histories as colonialists. Russia and China also have long and far darker histories. Global governments established the League of Nations after World War I and the United Nations after World War II in an attempt to avoid future conflicts and maintain peace. The League of Nations failed and the UN has not been a great success at its stated mission.

The UN has suffered from “mission creep” over the years since its founding. The latest manifestation of this mission creep is its desire to achieve global governance in pursuit of a “solution” to climate change. Such global governance would require surrender of independence on the part of all of the existing national governments. Developed nations would be required to fund the development efforts of developing nations through the UN Green Climate Fund, which envisions itself as ultimately redistributing wealth at the rate of more than 1 trillion dollars per year in the interests of renewable development, climate change mitigation and climate change adaptation.

In addition to the financial drain of wealth redistribution, the citizens of the developed nations would also be required to bear the higher costs of investment in a transition from existing fossil fuel energy systems to renewable based energy systems, with the resulting increases in product and service costs across the economy. These changes would be forced by a significant increase in government control of the economy, resulting in losses of liberty and freedom. As distasteful as these increases in national government control would be, they would be even more distasteful imposed by a global government with no accountability run by an organization with a history of incompetence.

I do not believe US citizens will be anxious to surrender their national or personal independence to a global government bureaucracy, though some of our elected representatives appear willing to do so.


Tags: Climate Change Debate

Highlighted Article: Global Warming is happening, what does it mean?


From: Watts Up With That

By: Andy May

Date: June 22, 2021


Global Warming is happening, what does it mean?


"The concepts and data used to make temperature and climate reconstructions, or estimates, are constantly evolving. Currently, there are over 100,000 global weather stations on land and over 4,500 Argo floats and weather buoys at sea. This is in addition to regular measurements by satellites and ships at sea. The measurement locations are known accurately, the date and time of each measurement is known, and the instruments are mostly accurate to ±0.5°C or better. Thus, we can calculate a reasonable global average surface temperature. However, the farther we go into the past the fewer measurements we have. Prior to 2005, the sea-surface measurements deteriorate quickly and prior to 1950 the land-based weather station network is quite poor, especially in the Southern Hemisphere. Before 1850, the coverage is so poor as to be unusable for estimating a global average temperature. Prior to 1714 the calibrated thermometer had not even been invented; the world had to wait for Gabriel Fahrenheit." ...


Global Warming is happening, what does it mean?


Tags: Highlighted Article

Tracking Climate Progress

The Biden Administration has established targets of reducing US GHG emissions by 50-52% by 2030 and achieving net zero emissions from the electricity sector by 2035. The Administration has not yet publicized a plan to achieve these targets.

Roger Pielke, Jr. recently proposed a simple, intuitive method for tracking climate policy progress which focuses on the required reduction in the number of fossil fueled electric generation plants in the US. The graph below illustrates a linear path to closing fossil fueled generating plants to achieve net zero emissions from the sector by 2035.


The Path to Net-Zero Carbon Dioxide from Electricity in the United States by 2035


While Pielke’s method is indeed simple and intuitive, it is clearly unrealistic to assume that such a linear reduction in US fossil fueled generating plants could begin immediately, or even in the near future, if electric grid reliability is to be maintained.

The Administration’s stated intent is that the solar and wind generation equipment used to repower the US electric grid would be fabricated from US materials in the US, creating union jobs. The US does not currently have the production capacity to manufacture solar collectors and wind turbines in the quantities necessary to achieve the Administration’s stated targets on the announced schedule. Therefore, additional production capacity would have to be designed, permitted, constructed and commissioned if the schedule is to be met. This would require significant time, even if the government acted to hasten regulatory approvals.
Operating this new production capacity would increase electric consumption and fossil fuel consumption in the short term, requiring continued operation of existing generating capacity at higher levels of output, until sufficient incremental solar and wind generation equipment had been fabricated, sited, installed, connected to the electric grid and placed in service to provide the incremental power requirements of this new production capacity.

The intermittent nature of solar and wind generation requires supplemental power to support and stabilize the electric grid when solar or wind generation is unavailable. This supplemental power is currently supplied by the existing fossil fueled, nuclear, hydro and geothermal generating capacity. However, net zero operation would require replacing the fossil fueled portion of this capacity with either additional nuclear, hydro or geothermal generating capacity or grid-scale battery storage.

Grid-scale battery storage technology is not yet as mature as either solar or wind technology and the costs of this storage capacity are not yet commercially viable. Early storage technology forcing could dramatically increase the cost of the transition to renewables. Therefore, grid-scale battery storage capacity would probably lag increased solar and wind capacity by several years, until storage economics improve.

Once sufficient non-fossil generating capacity and battery storage capacity have been permitted, sited, constructed and commissioned existing fossil generating capacity could be retired at the rate of approximately 1 gigawatt of rating plate fossil generating capacity per 4 gigawatts of rating plate solar generating capacity or 3 gigawatts of wind generating capacity. The availability of sufficient conventional generating capacity to support and stabilize the grid during periods of low renewable generation would reduce these rating plate capacity ratios. However, reliance on a greater fraction of battery storage would require increased renewable rating plate capacity to compensate for the inefficiency of the battery storage systems.

These considerations suggest that the number of conventional powerplants would remain relatively stable for the first several years, then decline more sharply than envisioned by Dr. Pielke in the graph above. The remaining coal fired generators would be expected to be shutdown first as their CO2 emissions per gigawatt are higher than for combined-cycle natural gas plants and they are less able to respond the fluctuating supply and demand on the grid.


Tags: CO2 Emissions, Energy Storage / Batteries

Highlighted Article: The Green Energy Agenda vs. Long Run Strategic Planning


From: Master Resource

By: Robert Bradley Jr.

Date: June 8, 2021


The Green Energy Agenda vs. Long Run Strategic Planning


“All of this data leads us back to the question, can we spend trillions of dollars in support of a political-motivated soundbite that may or may not produce a net loss of carbon emissions and/or may not be feasible given the known quantities of minerals needed?”

“… the vast majority of the 195 countries cannot afford any of the Green movement. Do we print a few extra trillion dollars to bankroll them into Green compliance?”


"President Biden has set goals for the U.S. to “Achieve 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2035″, “Net-zero emissions by 2050,” and “Cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030”.  Additionally, the party in power is pushing to have a majority of US-manufactured cars be electric by 2030 and every car on the road to be electric by 2040.

In total that says to we-the-people: shut down the coal/oil/gas-fired electric producing plants and drive electric cars.

Are we to believe those statements/directives in any way represent the results of an all-inclusive long-range strategic plan (LRSP)? No; not only no, but hell no, not even close." ...


The Green Energy Agenda vs. Long Run Strategic Planning


Tags: Highlighted Article

Tech Forcing Risks

Technology forcing is a regulatory strategy that establishes currently unachievable and uneconomic performance standards to be met at some future point in time. ... Basically, technology forcing sets regulatory standards and provides incentives for achieving the standards or disincentives for not achieving them.”

The setting of technology forcing standards typically is based on a specific technology or technologies believed capable of enabling the standards to be achieved within the required timeframe. However, picking winners and losers from among unproven technologies by government bureaucrats with little or no experience in technology development and manufacturing is fraught with risk. Two recent examples of this risk in the solar energy field are Solyndra and Crescent Dunes (Tonopah).

One key risk with such failures is the massive, dedicated project funding, which can deprive other worthy projects of focus and funding. Another is the emotional investment on the part of the project funding organization, which frequently causes the failure to drag out over time and causes the funding organization to look negatively upon potentially competing technologies which might be achieving greater technical and economic success.

Another significant risk is that the selected technology might achieve the technical project goals, but at far higher cost than had been projected. A related risk is that other technologies being pursued in parallel might achieve higher performance or lower cost, or both. This was at least part of the cause of the Solyndra failure.

Yet another risk results from unforeseen operational issues. This risk contributed to the Tonopah failure, as operational interruptions allowed the molten salt used as the storage medium to solidify in the storage system components, leaving a very difficult recovery challenge. The Ivanpah solar power tower, which does not incorporate thermal energy storage, requires the use of natural gas to start the boilers each day, which are then heated by the concentrated solar energy.

Finally, there are environmental risks with solar power towers, sometimes known as “rapid raptor roasters”. Bats and birds, including large raptors, are incinerated when they fly through the concentrated solar energy beams aimed at the central boiler. Some of these birds are federally protected, but no approach to preventing their passage into the solar beam has been developed. This issue also affects wind turbine generators, sometimes known as “rapid raptor choppers”. While many environmentalists are concerned about these bat and bird kills, they are reluctant to be too vocal about the two technologies viewed as the path to elimination of fossil fuels in power generation.

The expansion of wind generation into more populated areas has raised concerns about the low frequency “beating” noise produced by the turbines and the associated vibration. Citizen resistance to industrial wind farms is growing, delaying or preventing their installation. This issue and others are refocusing interest on offshore wind systems, which offer the potential of higher power output per generator. However, the height of the wind turbine mountings and their distance offshore leaves them visible from the shore, raising economic concerns in beach resorts. There are also unanswered questions regarding the survivability of offshore wind turbines along the US Atlantic and Gulf coasts, which are subject to hurricane force winds and high seas. It now seems likely that one or more offshore wind farms will be developed before these questions are answered.

History has clearly demonstrated that the shorter the timeframe allowed for compliance, the higher the cost of compliance, as immature technologies are rushed into service. The current 14 year timeframe for compliance with net zero emissions regulations for power generation is a very short time to achieve the massive realignment of this critical energy sector.


Tags: Electric Power Generation

Highlighted Article: The Sad Truth About Traditional Environmentalism


From: Quillette

By: Zion Lights

Date: May 31, 2021


The Sad Truth About Traditional Environmentalism


"What if you’d dedicated most of your life to trying to save the planet, but then you realised that you may have actually—potentially—made things worse?

Over the last few years this has become one of my main concerns. I’ve been active in various green groups for over a decade, from setting up the first green society at my university and getting them to switch to renewable energy 15 years ago, to being one of the leading spokespeople for Extinction Rebellion as recently as last year.

Through writing, public speaking, and taking direct action (I was arrested multiple times for climate action in the early 2000s), I have done everything in my power to fight to bring down global greenhouse gas emissions. And I have come to the stark realisation that nothing I have done has worked. Worse, emissions have continued to rise despite public concern for the environment (in the UK at least) being as high as it has ever been.

Something has gone wrong.

Many people do care about the" ...


The Sad Truth About Traditional Environmentalism


Tags: Highlighted Article

Tech Forcing Economics

Technology forcing is a regulatory strategy that establishes currently unachievable and uneconomic performance standards to be met at some future point in time. ... Basically, technology forcing sets regulatory standards and provides incentives for achieving the standards or disincentives for not achieving them.”

Existing new technologies are typically expensive as the result of limited manufacturing experience and low production volume. Non-existing new technologies will also be expensive, once developed, for the same reasons. Experience shows that new technology costs decrease as the technology is refined and as production volume increases.

Early applications of new technologies typically require significant subsidies and/or government mandates to offset the higher costs and help overcome market resistance to change. Current examples include solar and wind electric generation systems, biofuel production and hybrid and electric vehicles. These relationships have been extensively studied.

Initial cost is heavily influenced by the ratio of initial production capacity to initial production volume since manufacturing overhead is initially distributed over a production volume significantly below production capacity. The overhead portion of product cost declines as the production rate increases toward production capacity. The existence of incentives and mandates can accelerate the increase in production rate by offsetting market resistance.

The other major component of higher initial cost is technology maturity. This component is far less sensitive to incentives and mandates. Also, the extent to which technology maturity will ultimately reduce cost is indeterminant, as is the rate at which maturity will occur. However, since new technology initially bears higher costs, the rate at which the technology is incentivized / forced into the market contributes to the long-term cost of technology implementation, since a higher percentage of the technology installations will occur at the earlier higher costs.

A critical example of this rate of forcing issue is battery storage systems for electric vehicles and grid-scale battery storage systems to offset the intermittency of renewable generation facilities such as wind and solar. EV battery technology has advanced significantly over the past decade. However, the batteries are still the predominant cause of the cost difference between ICE vehicles and EVs. The EV batteries also require replacement within the expected life of the EV; and battery life is shortened by rapid charging. The EV’s batteries also limit vehicle range, both because of their limited capacity and because of the time required to recharge them.

Grid-scale battery storage systems are in the very early stage of implementation and their current applications are limited to grid stabilization and short-term intermittency compensation. However, as the fossil generators which provide power during periods of wind and solar unavailability are decommissioned in favor of additional intermittent generation, grid-scale storage will be required to power the grid for periods of one or more days. The quantity of energy which must be stored in such scenarios is massive. The current cost of the battery capacity required to support the national grid would approach $100 trillion. These battery costs will certainly decline as the technology advances and production capacity and production rate increase. However, the extent to which the cost will be reduced and the rate at which that will occur are uncertain; and, the shorter the implementation schedule for a net zero electric grid, the higher the system implementation costs will be.

TANSTAAFL (There Ain’t No Such Thing As a Free Lunch)


Tags: Electric Power Generation, Energy Storage / Batteries
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