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In the Wake of the News

Renewable Transition

The US transition to renewable electric generation is proceeding down a path which assures that electric rates will rise. Wind and solar are “source of opportunity” generators, producing electricity when the wind blows and the sun shines. They are intermittent, unreliable, non-dispatchable sources of electricity, which require backup from conventional generation sources or storage when they are not producing electricity. The renewable generating capacity connected to the grid is redundant capacity, in that it cannot replace conventional generation capacity, though the electricity it generates displaces electricity generation from conventional generators.

This duplication of generating capacity increases electricity infrastructure investment, thus increasing required return on investment and consumer electric rates. The addition of the renewable generation combined with the requirement to retain conventional generation, in the absence of electricity storage capacity, decreases the quantity of electricity generated by the conventional generating plants while increasing the cost of the electricity they do generate, since plant investment must be recovered from decreased generation volumes. The subsidies and incentives provided for renewable generation reduce the cost of the electricity they produce to consumers by transferring that cost to taxpayers, most of whom are also consumers.

The renewable energy industry is very quick to point out that the cost of the electricity it produces is declining and, in some cases, is cheaper that electricity produced by conventional sources. However, this is a faulty argument since renewable electricity is not reliable and dispatchable. The renewable energy industry asserts that providing transmission access and the storage capacity necessary to make renewable electricity dispatchable is the responsibility of others, such as the utility industry. This position allows the renewable energy industry to maintain the fiction that renewable energy is low cost and would result in rate reductions. Transferring this responsibility to the utilities also allows the renewable energy industry and its allies in government and the media to blame rate increases and grid unreliability on the utilities.

Logic suggests that the storage capacity required to render renewable generation reliable and dispatchable should be co-located with the wind or solar generation. The generators produce DC electricity and batteries store DC electricity. Inversion to AC power at transmission voltage would occur when the capacity of the generation / storage facility was dispatched. This approach limits losses to the in and out losses of the storage system and the energy lost in the inversion to AC power at grid voltage.

Remote location of the storage required to achieve reliability would require that the DC electricity generated at the site be inverted to AC electricity at transmission voltage, transmitted to the storage facility, rectified to DC electricity at storage voltage for storage, then inverted to AC electricity at transmission voltage again for dispatch. These multiple DC to AC to DC to AC conversions cascade the losses associated with each of the conversions.

Regardless of the transmission and storage approach pursued, the conventional generation fleet cannot be decommissioned until a fully dispatchable alternative is in place and operating. However, even after the renewable generation and storage infrastructure replaces the conventional generation infrastructure, electricity rates would still likely be higher until the cost of the required storage infrastructure declines significantly.


Tags: Solar Energy, Wind Energy, Renewable Energy, Electric Power Generation

Highlighted Article: So, What Exactly Is Long-Duration Energy Storage?


From: Greentech Media

By: Julian Spector

Date: October 26, 2020


So, What Exactly Is Long-Duration Energy Storage?

"Long-duration storage occupies an enviable position in the cleantech hype cycle. Its allure has proven more durable than energy blockchain, and its commercialization is further along than super-buzzy green hydrogen.

Depending on who you talk to, long-duration storage technology can knock out coal and gas peaker plants, turn renewables into round-the-clock resources and generally pave the way for a carbon-free grid.

But beyond the high-level predictions, it’s hard to find a consistent definition of what this category actually means and exactly what it's supposed to do. That's largely because a market for such things hasn't really existed.

That’s starting to change. On October 15, a coalition of community-choice aggregators in California released the first major request for proposals targeting long-duration projects. To qualify, plants must be:

  • 50 megawatts or greater
  • Able to discharge electrons at that level for eight hours or more
  • In operation by 2026

Companies interested in this process cover a range of technologies, including pumped hydro, gravity-based, compressed air and flow batteries, as well as current market leader lithium-ion batteries.

GTM previously covered the main technologies vying for this emerging grid role and recently published an explainer on green hydrogen, another long-duration contender. In light of the new effort to actually buy some of this stuff, GTM has compiled a guide to why it matters, what products and companies are competing to supply it, and what hurdles this category faces." ...


So, What Exactly Is Long-Duration Energy Storage?


Tags: Highlighted Article

Gas Generation Phaseout

The US currently generates more than 500,000,000 Megawatt-hours, or approximately 25% of electric utility annual electricity production, in coal-fueled generating stations, which the Administration has said will all cease operation by 2030. The US currently generates more than 800,000,000 Megawatt-hours, or approximately 37% of electric utility annual electricity production, in natural gas fueled generating stations, which the Administration has said will all cease operation by 2035. US natural gas fueled electric generation has more than doubled over the past 10 years because of the lower cost of natural gas and the higher generating efficiency of natural gas combined cycle powerplants.

The US currently generates 338,000,000 Megawatt-hours, or approximately 8.4% of all utility-scale electric generation. This electricity is generated by approximately 60,000 wind turbines with a total nameplate capacity of 122,465 MW operating at an average capacity factor of approximately 32%.

Replacing the generating capacity of the US coal-fueled generating fleet would require installation of approximately 625,000 MW of wind turbine rating plate capacity, plus the electricity storage capacity to store the output of the wind turbines for the maximum number of days duration of a potential “wind drought”. Additional generation capacity would be required to recharge storage after such a “wind drought” while meeting the contemporaneous demand on the grid.

Replacing the generating capacity of the US natural gas generating fleet would require installation of approximately 1,000,000 MW of wind turbine rating plate capacity, plus the storage capacity required to make the wind generation reliable and dispatchable, and the additional generating capacity required to recharge storage after periods of low/no wind generation.

US wind turbine installations peaked in 2020 at 14.2 GW (14,200 MW). Installation of 625,000 MW of wind turbine rating plate capacity over the period 2022-2029 would require installation of an average of 78 GW of new wind turbine generating capacity per year, or 5.5 times the capacity added in 2020. Installation of an additional 1,000,000 MW of wind turbine generating capacity over the period from 2030-2034 would require installation of an additional 200 GW of new wind turbine generating capacity per year, or 14 times the capacity added in 2020.

The current installed cost of new wind turbine generating capacity is approximately $1.3 million per MW. Assuming anticipated cost reductions resulting from increased manufacturing volume would be offset by cost increases resulting from increased demand for the rare earth materials required for fabrication of the wind turbines, the total cost of replacing existing fossil fuel electric generation with wind generation would be approximately $2 trillion. This estimate does not include the cost of the land on which the wind turbines are installed, the cost of the storage batteries required to make the wind capacity reliable and dispatchable and the cost additional transmission infrastructure required to connect the wind farms to the existing electric grid.

The replacement of both the coal and natural gas generating capacity would be deferred toward the ends of the required decommissioning periods to assure grid reliability through the transition, as operating experience was gained with the replacement wind and storage infrastructure.


Tags: Electric Power Generation, Net Zero Emissions

Highlighted Article: A Victim of the Climate Wars: A Warning from the U.K.


From: National Review

By: Andrew Stuttaford

Date: December 31, 2021


A Victim of the Climate Wars: A Warning from the U.K.

"Shell’s decision to pull out of the Cambo North Sea oilfield-development project in early December — which could have also provided enough natural gas for 1.5 million homes for a year — may not seem like something that should concern Americans. Check a little more closely, though, and this grim tale begins to look a lot like an example of how our own oil and gas production is going to be — or is already starting to be — constrained, not necessarily by legislation but by a combination of regulatory overreach, activist agitation, and the increasingly malevolent influence of financial institutions. Many of those in the last group on that list are major institutional investors out to advance a socio-political agenda unconnected, whatever they may claim, to the generation of financial return for their clients. This agenda is often sold under the guise of “socially responsible investing” (SRI), and particularly these days, as “ESG,” a peculiarly virulent variant of SRI under which actual or prospective investments are not only assessed for the money they might make but also for how they score against certain environmental, social, and, much more reasonably, governance benchmarks.

In other instances, the pressure will be from banks, unwilling to help fund fossil-fuel projects that may cause them difficulty with activists, ESG-touting institutional investors, and, before too long, regulators, specifically central banks citing “climate risk.” That this risk is illusory doesn’t matter; that the illusion is useful does. It should be stressed that “illusory” refers not to the question of climate change but to the danger it might pose to our lending institutions.

Economist John Cochrane addressed this issue in a recent article for Capital Matters. Here is an extract:" ...


A Victim of the Climate Wars: A Warning from the U.K.


Tags: Highlighted Article

US Coal Phaseout

The US currently generates more than 500,000,000 Megawatt-hours, or approximately 25% of annual electricity production, in coal-fueled generating stations. Coal generation has decreased by more than half over the past 10 years, largely replaced by lower cost natural gas in more efficient combined-cycle power plants or repowering coal plants to burn natural gas to reduce emissions.

The Biden Administration had expressed a goal of reducing US electric generation CO2 emissions by 50% by 2030 and achieving Net Zero electric generation CO2 emissions by 2035. This two-step goal dramatically changes the electric generation landscape. Essentially, all coal fueled powerplants would be required to cease operation by 2030, unless they were repowered to burn natural gas. However, since all natural gas fueled powerplants would be required to cease operation by 2035, it is not likely that many coal fueled powerplants would be repowered to extend their lives by an additional 5 years.

US electric utilities had scheduled closure of the remaining coal fueled powerplants by the end of 2048. However, Kerry’s statement appears to require that the 65 coal generators currently scheduled to be retired after 2029 would be retired early. These generators have a combined generating capacity of approximately 35,000 MW. Many of these generators are relatively new and would have been candidates for future life extension projects. These generators represent an initial investment of approximately $100 billion and would have an estimated residual value of approximately $50 billion, which would become an economic dead loss upon closure of the plants.

Termination of coal fueled generation would also strand approximately $30 trillion of coal resources in the US. The federal government might continue to permit the mining and sale of US coal to other countries, although such a decision would make no sense if the intent is to eliminate CO2 emissions from coal combustion, since the resulting CO2 would enter the same atmosphere regardless of where the coal was burned.

Current US coal generating capacity is approximately 200,000 MW. If that capacity is eliminated prior to 2030 as envisioned by Mr. Kerry, it must be replaced by equivalent dispatchable capacity consisting of renewable generators combined with massive electricity storage systems. It is highly unlikely that much, if any, of the replacement generation would be fossil fueled, since all fossil fueled generation is to be retired by 2035, unless equipped with carbon capture and storage capability.

Wind turbines are currently the leading source of renewable electricity generation in the US. Replacing current US coal generation of 500,000,000 Megawatt-hours with wind turbines would require the installation of approximately 76,000 2.5 MW wind turbines at an estimated investment of approximately $1.3 million per MW, or approximately $250 billion. However, if the coal generators were being operated in load following mode, at a grid capacity factor of approximately 40%, replacing their capacity would require installation of approximately 190,000 2.5 MW wind turbines and an investment of approximately $625 billion. The installed cost of equivalent solar photovoltaic generating capacity would be approximately the same. Neither of these system costs includes the cost of the land the systems would occupy or the storage required to make them dispatchable.

The installed cost of dispatchable wind or solar generating capacity is not possible to estimate because the battery storage technology required to store electricity for more than a few hours is not commercially available. However, a stable and reliable electric grid would require that renewable generating capacity be dispatchable and that sufficient excess generating capacity be available to recharge storage after use while meeting the demand on the grid.

Decommissioning one coal fueled electric generator each month over the next 8 years is a massive task, but it pales in comparison with the task of replacing those generators with dispatchable renewable capacity over the same period. Anticipated electric demand and consumption growth resulting from federal efforts to electrify transportation and other fossil fueled end uses would make the replacement process even more daunting.


Tags: Coal, Electric Power Generation

Highlighted Article: Digital Book Burning and the Degradation of Science

  • 1/6/22 at 07:00 AM


From: A Walk On The Natural Side

By: Jim Steele

Date: December 11, 2021


Digital Book Burning and the Degradation of Science

"Today i want to talk about how a small self-righteous group is trying to control what scientific ideas get shared with the public. I call them the new book burners As Ray Bradbury warned, you dont need to burn books to destroy a culture, ... Just get people to stop reading them.

We teach students that science is driven by the scientific method. You make observations that raise questions. Then a plausible explanation or hypothesis is offered to answer those questions. Then experiments are done to test that hypothesis, and results and conclusions are published so others then can evaluate your methods and conclusions. But that is just one turn of many, in the scientific method.

Science then requires debate. Others may have had similar observations but different explanations, which lead to different conclusions. We trust science as a truth seeking method because many eyes and many voices can weigh in and debate the final conclusions.

Robust science and our democracy require a culture that holds sacred the freedom of speech and skepticism As Carl Sagan said, science requires an almost complete openess to all ideas, balanced by rigorous and uncompromising skepticism. Similarly, America's founding fathers made sure any form of tyranny over the minds of people should be strongly opposed Walter Gilbert, a 1980 nobel prize winner for his contribution to the methods that enabled the sequencing of DNA and RNA, also praised the virtues of scientific skepticism and independent thought. But he also warned.....good scientists often morph into authoritarians who claim “only their way of doing science is the only valid view” ...


Digital Book Burning and the Degradation of Science

Tags: Highlighted Article

Climate Goals 2022

The Biden Administration has announced numerous climate goals over the past year. These goals are not accompanied by a documented, coherent, comprehensive plan for achieving these goals, so they remain merely wishes for desired outcomes. Each of the Administration’s wishes requires supportive participation by individuals and small and large businesses. However, the absence of a plan leaves those participants unsure of when and how they will be required to participate. This suggests that not much is likely to happen until these issues are clarified.

The Administration’s climate wishes include:

•    A 50% reduction in US CO2 emissions by 2030
•    Elimination of US coal consumption by 2030
•    Net Zero electric generation CO2 emissions by 2035
•    Cessation of production of ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles by 2035
•    Net Zero US CO2 emissions by 2050

The Administration has identified expansion of renewables, electrification of current non-generation fossil fuel end uses, electric vehicles, energy efficiency and conservation as the paths to achieving its climate wishes.

The 50% reduction in US CO2 emissions, combined with the elimination of US coal consumption, would require closure of all existing US coal electric generation plants, eliminating approximately 25% of US electric generation capacity over the next 8 years. This reduction would also require massive reductions in the annual operating hours of US natural gas combined-cycle generation facilities.

The 50% reduction in US CO2 emissions would also require significant shifting from ICE vehicles to electric vehicles and shifting from natural gas and propane residential and commercial appliances and industrial end uses to electric end uses. The progressive electrification of the vehicle fleet and residential, commercial and industrial end uses would significantly increase electric demand and consumption while conventional fossil fuel generating capacity was being reduced. This would require not only replacing the existing fossil fuel generation capacity being abandoned or constrained, but also adding additional non-fossil generating capacity to satisfy the increased demand and consumption of the newly electrified end uses.

The premature closure or forced generation reductions in the electric generation sector would raise legal and regulatory issues regarding utility recovery of rate base investments as the generating plants cease to be “used and useful”. The electrification of current gas end uses would raise legal and regulatory issues in the gas industry, as utilities and non-utility fuel suppliers would be required to recover their investments from declining sales volumes, thus requiring rate increases.

The greatest risk in these transitions would be the closure of conventional, dispatchable generating facilities before sufficient dispatchable renewable generation facilities were online. This is the most critical issue which must ultimately be resolved by an Administration transition plan.

Regrettably, the handwriting is already on the wall regarding the likely Administration approach to the inevitable rate increases and the inevitable loss of reliability of the US electric grid. The Administration will deny any responsibility for events as they unfold, as they have already done regarding gasoline price increases, and will blame the affected industries for the problems.

It well might be that the plan for the transition is not available because the existence of such a plan would make the Administration’s denials of responsibility for its effects implausible.


Tags: Climate Change Debate, Fossil Fuel Elimination / Reduction, Electric Power Generation

Highlighted Article: Interview: Climate Change – A Different Perspective with Judith Curry: Part II


From: Climate Etc.

By: Judith Curry

Date: December 4, 2021


Interview: Climate Change – A Different Perspective with Judith Curry: Part II

"My follow up interview on the Strong And Free podcast [link].

My previous interview with Christopher Balkaran was discussed in this post. I also very much enjoyed our 2nd conversation.

At this point, the only interviews I’ve been giving are long-form discussions (order one hour). I have no interest in scoring sound-bite points, and I’m not very good at it anyways. I also like talking with interviewers from other countries.

A transcript of the interview is provided below. I have heavily edited this to make it more coherent and something that people hopefully want to read, while preserving the content of interview. I am really a much better writer than speaker, especially with off-the-cuff responses to questions.

We covered a lot of range, I hope this interview will stimulate some interesting discussion." ...


Interview: Climate Change – A Different Perspective with Judith Curry: Part II


Tags: Highlighted Article

Climate Lessons 2021

Calendar year 2021 has provided numerous important lessons regarding climate change and efforts to control or eliminate it.

The most fundamental and important lesson is that weather is not climate, which is essentially the average of weather over a 30-year period. Weather varies significantly from the average which is climate on an hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, seasonal and annual basis. Energy systems must be designed to function efficiently and effectively over the expected range of weather variability.

Perhaps the starkest example of this distinction was the “wind drought’ which occurred in the UK and parts of Europe this fall, resulting in 10+ days of little or no wind and solar renewable generation, well below the average for the current climate. This event made clear that renewable generation could not replace conventional fossil and nuclear generation when there was low/no wind and solar. Rather, renewable generation is redundant generation, additional capacity which is useful when available but requires full capacity backup when it is not available. The installation of redundant generation increases utility investment and cost, which is then reflected in customer rates.

However, the effects of the “wind drought” were exacerbated by the closing of numerous fossil and nuclear generating facilities and a fire in an underwater power cable between France and the UK, reducing available backup generation to very dangerous levels. There is limited data available on the frequency and duration of “wind droughts” or periods of much lower-than-average solar availability.

Similar lesson was learned in Texas, which experienced a polar vortex driven cold event, resulting in severely reduced wind generation. In this event, the essential backup generators were not prepared to handle the load, largely because of the reluctance of the utilities to pay the generators to be available. The lesson here is that while the wind might “blow all the time”, except when it doesn’t, it cannot be relied upon and dispatched as required. While it has long been utility practice to maintain a 20% capacity reserve margin for periods when some generators are offline for maintenance or repairs, in systems with renewable generation the capacity reserve margin must equal the renewable generation percentage plus the typical capacity reserve margin.

These events have made it painfully obvious that renewable generators must be matched with storage capacity sufficient to render them dispatchable under all expected operating conditions to replace conventional, dispatchable generation in reliable electric grids. The extent of the storage required is a function of weather variability and seasonal variability in wind and solar availability. Accurately assessing the required storage capacity becomes progressively more important as the grid reliance on intermittent generation sources increases.

Another lesson of 2021 is that natural variability has not ceased to influence both weather and climate. Calendar year 2021 is the sixth year of a second “hiatus” in global average temperature anomaly increases, despite continued increases in atmospheric GHG concentrations.

The final lesson of 2021, as demonstrated at COP26, is that developing nations consider their economic development to be of far greater concern than climate change.


Tags: Year in Review, Climate Science

Highlighted Article: Why so torqued up about Suzuki’s comments? Did you sleep through the first two acts?


From: Watts Up With That

By: Terry Etam - BOE Report

Date: November 30, 2021


Why so torqued up about Suzuki’s comments? Did you sleep through the first two acts?

“Logic is the art of non-contradictory identification. A contradiction cannot exist. No concept [wo]man forms is valid unless [s]he integrates it without contradiction into the total sum of [her]his knowledge.” -Ayn Rand

"This quote might seem esoteric (being from philosophy) or confrontational (being from Rand) but it is actually relevant beyond belief. Here is what happens if you don’t think so.

Calgary has a new mayor, Jyoti Gondek. She must be good at some things – intelligent enough to get a PhD and win an election – but clearly exhibits an inability to think rationally. She has irreconcilable visions running through her head that she laid bare within a week: her first order of business was to declare a ‘climate emergency’, then several days later was enthusiastically welcoming the birth of a brand new discount airline. In case it is unclear to anyone, discount airlines make flying easier and more common, and are to emissions what fertilizer is to plants.

One more head-splitter just for fun: On the campaign trail last year, Joe Biden declared that fossil fuel executives should be thrown in jail for not taking responsibility for pollution caused by hydrocarbon production. This year, Biden is castigating those same executives for not producing more hydrocarbons. The impact on jail sentences of fulfilling his request was wisely sidestepped by his camp." ...


Why so torqued up about Suzuki’s comments? Did you sleep through the first two acts?


Tags: Highlighted Article

Coal in His Stocking

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care
In hopes that Saint Nicholas soon would be there.

There is some question regarding the origins of the practice of placing a lump of coal, rather than candy or other treats, in someone’s Christmas stocking. Today the practice is typically regarded as a punishment for bad behavior. Reviewing his year as President Biden’s “Climate Czar”, I believe John Kerry has earned at least one lump of coal in his stocking.

At COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland Kerry announced that “the US won’t have coal by 2030”. He did not mean that the US would run out of coal by 2030, but rather that the US would no longer use coal, at least for the generation of electricity, but possibly also for the manufacture of iron and steel and the production of cement. Kerry did not reveal any plan for this transition, as has been the case with all Biden Administration declarations regarding actions intended to slow and ultimately halt climate change.

Kerry did not address which sources of dispatchable power would replace the power generated by existing coal generators. He also did not address how the Administration would force the closure of existing coal generators, or if and how the owners of these generators would be compensated for the financial losses associated with their closure. State utility commissions typically use a “used and useful” test for inclusion of facilities in a utility’s rate base. Closed plants would no longer meet the “used” test, even if they were not dismantled and remained potentially “useful”.

It is not very likely that the coal generating capacity would be replaced by new natural gas combined-cycle generators, since the Administration has “committed” to net zero emissions by 2050 and any new natural gas generators would be expected to retain substantial useful life beyond 2050. Administration and UN pressure is also being exerted on lenders to deny funding to new fossil fuel generators. Private investors would likely be reluctant to provide funding for new fossil fuel generators in this environment and state utility commissions would likely also be reluctant to approve such investments in a utility’s rate base.

Electric utilities will require additional sources of dispatchable power, both to replace existing coal generating capacity and to meet the anticipated growth of electric demand and consumption. Neither wind nor solar is currently a source of dispatchable power, since the storage capacity required to supply the grid when the wind is not blowing and the sun is not shining are currently not available. The recent 10+ day “wind drought” in the UK and parts of Europe demonstrate clearly that limited storage capacity capable of supplying the grid for one or more hours is insufficient.

Storage must be capable of supplying the grid for periods of hours, day, weeks or even seasons to compensate for variations in renewable generation availability. The use of storage also requires installation of additional generating capacity to charge storage while also meeting grid demand. Electricity storage is currently extremely expensive for short duration systems and not currently available for longer duration systems.

Climate Czar Kerry appears to be guilty of “putting the cart before the horse”.


Tags: COP - Conference of Parties, Coal

Highlighted Article: Media Promotes Badly Flawed Science Spreading It Like Wildfire


From: Watts Up With That

By: Jim Steele

Date: November 24, 2021


Media Promotes Badly Flawed Science Spreading It Like Wildfire



"The video examines the extensive scientific flaws and false conclusions in the published research “Wildfire Response to Changing Daily Temperature Extremes in California’s Sierra Nevada”. Despite the bad science a multitude of media outlets like NY Times and CNN falsely promoted the paper as evidence that climate change cause more wildfires

A transcript of the video is available at and posted below.

Jim Steele is Director emeritus of San Francisco State University’s Sierra Nevada Field Campus, authored Landscapes and Cycles: An Environmentalist’s Journey to Climate Skepticism, and proud member of the CO2 Coalition." ...


Media Promotes Badly Flawed Science Spreading It Like Wildfire


Tags: Highlighted Article

Tipping Points

tipping point: the critical point in a situation, process, or system beyond which a significant and often unstoppable effect or change takes place

There has been much discussion regarding potential future climate “tipping points”, particularly among climate change alarmists, but also among some members of the consensed climate science community. The typical concern is that some combination of higher atmospheric GHG concentrations and positive water vapor feedback might trigger a rapid and uncontrollable rise in global average surface temperatures.

Earth has experienced numerous and largely regular “tipping points” throughout history according to numerous paleoclimatic reconstructions. The graph below is a temperature anomaly history reconstruction over the past approximately 800,000 years. An interactive version of this graph is available here. Note that the temperature anomalies and time periods shown are not as precise as indicated when selecting points on the graph because of the limitations of the various proxy records on which the graph is based.


Global Temperature 800,000 Years


The important message in the graph above is that the earth has experienced a major tipping point approximately every 50,000 years. Temperature anomalies have risen approximately 0.5 – 2.7°C before encountering a tipping point, from which the anomalies dropped by approximately 4 - 6.6°C. Note also that the selection of the zero level from which the anomalies are measured is somewhat arbitrary because of the limitations of the climatological reconstruction.

According to this reconstruction, earth has cycled over a temperature range of approximately 7.7°C over a period of approximately 800,000 years while experiencing approximately 16 major tipping points and many more minor tipping points. The selected zero level suggests that the negative deviations from the zero level have been approximately twice as large as the positive deviations and that the duration of the negative deviations has been approximately 5 times as long as the duration of the positive deviations.

The maximum positive temperature anomaly approximately 120,000 years ago was approximately 2.7°C, or approximately 2.5 times the current global average temperature anomaly and approximately 0.7°C above the original target anomaly established in the Paris Accords.

The change in the temperature anomalies after each of the major positive and negative tipping points has differed significantly over the 16 tipping points. In general, the anomaly increases from the negative tipping points points have been sharper and more rapid than the declines from the positive tipping points. The duration of each of the positive tipping points has been far shorter than the duration of the negative tipping points.

The important points here are that the earth has experienced numerous tipping points in the past, but in the process has varied within a relatively narrow range of temperature anomalies. Each of these tipping points occurred without anthropogenic intervention and was strictly a function of natural variation. The numerous minor tipping points over the period suggest the prior occurrence of modest temperature excursions similar to the Roman Warm Period, the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age.

This 800,000 year history of temperature anomaly fluctuation suggests that the natural variation which has occurred over this period is likely to exist today and to persist in the future.


Tags: Temperature Record, Global Temperature

Highlighted Article: The Next Environmental Crisis


From: Climate Etc.

By: Judith Curry

Date: October 22, 2021


The Next Environmental Crisis


"Are our current solutions only a short term fix?

On Monday November 15, I will be participating in an iaiLIVE debate on The Next Environmental Crisis. From the iai website:

The new clean energy economy, endorsed by governments and campaigners, promises to save usfrom environmental disaster. But worries are growing that we could be heading to a new future crisis.  In decades to come some argue we will be struggling to contain the huge environmental damage caused by billions of highly toxic and unrecyclable solar cells and car batteries, along with newly commissioned nuclear plants, while the internet itself, bitcoin mining included, consumes uncontrollable amounts of energy.

Are the problems of the environment even more challenging than we think? Will the new economy save us, or are the current technical solutions a short term fix? Is relentless consumption and growth itself to blame for our environmental issues?  Or can we rely on humanity’s ability to solve the next crisis that we may be in the process of causing now?

Cosmologist, astrophysicist, and Astronomer Royal Martin Rees, award winning economist and Professor of Environmental Economics Thomas Sterner, and controversial climatologist Judith Curry join us to ask if we’re heading towards a new environmental crisis." ...


The Next Environmental Crisis


Tags: Highlighted Article

Renewable Design

This commentary provides a simplified overview of the process of replacing a single dispatchable powerplant with either wind or solar generation plus storage.

The powerplant to be replaced is a 1,000 MW plant, either coal or nuclear fueled. This powerplant would be capable of generating 24,000 MW Hours (MWH) of power per day as a baseload powerplant. Replacing its nameplate generating capacity with 2.5 MW onshore wind turbines would require installation of 400 turbines. However, even assuming very favorable siting, the wind turbines would be expected to generate at approximately 40% of their nameplate rating throughout the day, so replacing the generation capability of the 1,000 MW dispatchable powerplant would require 1,000 wind turbines. However, the instantaneous output of those wind turbines could vary between 2,500 MW and 0 MW throughout the day. Therefore, dispatchable storage would be required to stabilize the output of the storage supported wind farm at 1,000 MW for baseload service. Storage capacity of 10,000 – 15,000 MWH would be required to stabilize facility output and render it dispatchable, depending on characteristic wind conditions.

Typical electric utility load factors are approximately 40%. Therefore, if the powerplant being replaced were in load following service, 400 wind turbines operating at 40% of nameplate capacity would be sufficient to meet the typical daily load. However, the instantaneous output of those 400 wind turbines could vary between 1,000 MW and 0 MW throughout the day. Therefore, dispatchable storage would be required to stabilize the output of the storage supported wind farm at the output required to meet the current load. Storage capacity of approximately 4,000 – 6,000 MWH would be required to stabilize facility output and render it dispatchable, depending on characteristic wind conditions.

Replacing the conventional powerplant with solar generation would require a solar field with a nameplate rating of approximately 4,000 MW, assuming solar panel output of approximately 25% of nameplate rating throughout the day. The facility would require storage with a capacity of approximately 18,000 MWH to render the facility dispatchable in baseload service. In load following service, assuming 40% load factor, the nameplate rating of the solar field could be reduced to approximately 2,000 MW and the storage capacity reduced to approximately 8,000 MWH.

The above calculations are based on a single representative day with storage adequate to smooth output throughout the day. However, assuming significant variations in wind conditions from day to day would require installation of additional storage capacity. For example, accommodating one still day would require an additional 1,000 wind turbines and additional storage capacity of 24,000 MWH in baseload service, or an additional 400 wind turbines and additional storage capacity of approximately 10,000 MWH. Similarly, accommodating one cloudy day would require an additional 4,000 MW of solar collector nameplate capacity and additional storage capacity of 24,000 MWH in baseload service or approximately 10,000 MWH in load following service. Each additional day of anticipated potential low/no wind or solar conditions would add an addition requirement of 24,000 MWH for baseload operation or 10,000 MWH for load following operation.

In addition, in the event stored energy was consumed to support the grid during a period of low/no wind or solar availability, the renewable facility would require additional capacity to recharge storage in anticipation of future low/no wind and solar availability conditions. The additional capacity required would be a function of the local frequency and duration of low/no wind and solar days and the required storage recharge period.


Tags: Wind Energy, Solar Energy, Energy Storage / Batteries
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