by Judith Curry
A few things that caught my eye this past week.
Don’t blame renewable energy for killing the coal industry [link]
Oregon becomes the first state in the nation to officially ban coal power [link] …
The big Ivanpah solar plant in California may be forced to shut down. Not delivering the electricity promised: [link]
Venezuela To Shut Down For A Week To Cope With Electricity Crisis[link]
Global offshore drilling market expected to grow $11 billion by 2020 [link]
The Myth Of Expensive Nuclear Power — [link]
Wow, America gets a lot of electricity from wind these days [link]
Power crisis looms in Uttarakand as mild winter& less snow reduce water needed for hydropower [link]
Is nuclear power our energy future — or a dinosaur in a death spiral? [link]
Great blog from @mattfinch00 @ECIU_UK on #EnergyStorage ‘Storing up trouble for the establishment’ [link]
Concentrated #Solar Power is the greatest energy technology you have probably never heard of [link]
Economist: The world’s climate emissions have stabilized [link]
India’s looming energy crisis [link]
Stop wasting time: create a long term solution for nuclear waste [link]
Energy and the 2016 Presidential primaries [link]
The flaw of zero energy buildings without energy storage [link]
New England’s Emissions Rise as Vermont Yankee Nuclear Shuts [link]
Can’t help but note that one article “Concentrated #Solar Power is the greatest energy technology you have probably never heard of” makes claims that another article (The big Ivanpah solar plant in California may be forced to shut down. Not delivering the electricity promised) suggests there are problems with the technology.
By the way the plant did get dispensation to continue operating for now. But my money is that they will not be able to solve the problem that it takes much less cloud than they expected to cause reductions in output. Add the toll on avian species and the lower costs of photovoltaic panels I doubt this is a technology that we will see much of in the future.
Look we know the arguments about solar inefficiency
and intermittency, but the manufacture of solar panels
also has its dark side. It’s a dirty, energy intensive
process producing pollutants, heavy metal emissions
and that intensive energy consumption also produces
greenhouse gas emissions..
So what ! You have to break a few eggs to make an omelette.
Being green means breaking all the eggs to burn the omelette.
You wrote –
“So what ! You have to break a few eggs to make an omelette.”
I’m not sure what broken eggs and omelettes have to do with the design failures at Ivanpah. Are you saying that the engineers were suffering from omelette deficiency, or are you just throwing in the usual irrelevant and pointless Warmist comment to try to divert discussion away from inconvenient facts?
Just as a matter of interest, you can make an omelette without breaking any eggs at all. Any collector of birds’ eggs can explain the method, but I assume you already knew.
It was in response to Beth’s post about the pollution caused by making things that don’t pollute. Another example of Beth’s thinking might be the manufacture of an electric car to save energy actually uses energy, whereas making a gasoline-powered car doesn’t. Rather than laugh at Beth’s silly notion, I chose to just say you need to break eggs to make an omelette.
BTW, stealing wild bird’s eggs can get you arrested, so if that’s what yo have been doing, you better stop.
Everybody knows that Solar Power is inefficient, it’s
selling point is its supposed environmental friendliness.
Not everybody knows, because they’re not told, that
this ain’t so. The carbon footprint of its manufacture
and installation, the toxic second footprint and problems
of disposal * when its little life is ended, why, speak not
* So much easier to dispatch of all those dead bats
and birds it zapped
I managed to give away my old solar panels and batteries to a less than enthusiastic neighbour.
Don’t know how you get rid of wind turbines. One optimist quoted 15% of installation price to dismantle…if you don’t mind leaving all the concrete and wiring in situ. As anyone who has tramped around Spain knows, that’s an awful lot not to mind.
Without subsidy and the wow factoring of installation, the dismantling of wind and solar will be slow and grudging. Much of Big Green’s junk will just stay on…as junk.
How I miss Conservation.
“Everybody knows that Solar Power is inefficient …”
Make that “everybody you know,” which probably is a bunch of people who know no more than you know.
Natural selection eventually will result in bird that have sense enough to avoid that place in daylight. Apparently you don’t understand bats are nocturnal.
Beth: At least solar power doesn’t change the climate for the next 100,000 years. Fossil fuels do.
You wrote –
Natural selection eventually will result in bird that have sense enough to avoid that place in daylight. Apparently you don’t understand bats are nocturnal.
Your first statement is the usual Warmist assumption. If the population of a particular species, particularly of an endangered species, is reduced enough, there will be no individuals to adapt. The dodo, for example, was unable to adapt, and became extinct.
Your second statement is an example of Warmist generalisation, passed off as authoritative. I refer you to “The function of daylight flying in British bats.”, just one peer reviewed paper which would seem to contradict your blanket statement.
Now is the time for you to employ the Weasely Warmist Wriggle tactic, and either try to claim you really meant to say something else, or you were misunderstood. Alternatively, I suggest Warmist Waffle – irrelevant and pointless analogies involving omelettes, or elephants or some such.
I never saw bats flying around during day when I lived in Nevada. If bats have good eyesight why do you think they have such big ears? If British bats are different, they better not come to Nevada.
Maybe you think your own battiness gives you insight into bat behavior. Well, you are wrong. BTW, do not try to pet a bat at anytime, but be particularly wary of any bat you come across during daytime, because that is unusual behavior and may indicate the bat is rabid.
Well aware that bats are nocturnal, max who claims
he’s okay ), nightly they fly by my window from west
to east. Bats mostly killed by wind mills but get a
mention re a Federal Report cited in Scientific
American, August 2014, rethe problem of solar farms
and wild life destruction:
‘ The report recommends improving bird- and bat-death
monitoring through the use of sniffer dogs, video cameras,
and daily surveys. It also lists recommendations for
directly reducing avian mortality. Those recommendations
include clearing vegetation around solar towers to make
the area less attractive to birds, retrofitting panels and
mirrors with designs that help birds realize the solar arrays
are not water, suspending operations at key migration
times, and preventing birds and bats from roosting and
perching at the facilities. The recommendations are being
considered by regulators.’
You wrote –
“I never saw bats flying around during day when I lived in Nevada. If bats have good eyesight why do you think they have such big ears? If British bats are different, they better not come to Nevada.”
Well, you may not realise this, but Nevada is not the whole world. There are many things you might not see in Nevada, but this does not necessarily mean they don’t exist. As to your question about ears and eyes, I will give you a clue – African elephants have large ears, small eyes, and don’t even fly! A good Warmist answer – irrelevant and evasive.
British bats include the variety known as cricket, weighing between 1.2 and 1.4 kg. I’d leave them alone – being hit by a cricket bat will likely knock you for six!
You also wrote –
“BTW, do not try to pet a bat at anytime, but be particularly wary of any bat you come across during daytime, because that is unusual behavior and may indicate the bat is rabid.”
I saw lots of bats coming out of Carlsbad Cavern late one day, so I didn’t try to pat any of them. I accept your expertise on battiness.
However, you manage to maintain your misleading Warmist generalisms. We have various types of bats in Australia. However, the continent is rabies free. Maybe you have our share, and if so, you are welcome to it. No rabies, but the closely related lyssavirus. Recorded human cases of lyssavirus in Australia have been invariably fatal, from memory.
Your advice about handling bats could go further, however. As you might write – DON’T!
Max already has the position for saying ridiculous things that just aren’t true.
Plus the panels quickly get dirty and lose efficiency unless they are constantly washed down. Hence a combination of dirt and cloud seems to make it hard for optimum output to be maintained during daylight hours let alone no output at all during nights.
Don’t worry Peter. The engineers know how to deal with it.
You wrote –
“Don’t worry Peter. The engineers know how to deal with it.”
Maybe not as well as you might imagine. Neither the contractors performing the work, nor the Ivanpah operators, are certain of eventual costs at this time.
They are hoping to have a better idea by 2018.
Your faith is touching, but the engineers concerned are still worrying. Maybe you could contact them, and tell them to stop worrying. I wouldn’t be surprised if they remain underwhelmed by your assurances.
You cannot “fix” something if it is poorly conceived. Putting a wind turbine where there is no wind is one example. The engineers have no chance of making dumb ideas work.
Ivanpah will cost about $19/W of average power delivered.
Nameplate capacity = 370 MW.
Expected average energy generation per year = 1,000,000 MWh.
This means average power output is 114 MW (about 1/10th of a new nuclear plant).
Capacity factor is 31%.
Cost = US $2.2 billion = $19/Watt average power delivered.
This is around 3x the cost of some recent nuclear power plant builds that most environmentalists have accused of being prohibitively expensive.
The heliostats used in the project weigh in at 30,000 tonnes. That’s 262 tons of heliostats per MW electric average. That’s just for the heliostats, not even the foundations, not to mention the tower and power block.
The power plant area that had to be bulldozed over is 20x larger than a nuclear reactor of equivalent average (real) capacity (twin unit AP1000).
Lastly, nuclear is safer than any other electricity generation technology, including wind and solar:
That’s a huge waste of money. All that money we are wasting damages our economy, people’s standard of living and people’s wellbeing.
Here is another energy/climate debate post that, I hope, can help get the ‘denier’ and ‘denialist’ smear words retired. https://www.masterresource.org/climate-exaggeration/taylor-denier-charge/
Don’t say denier, say climate denier.
What is a climate denier? Climate is defined as the average of weather over an arbitrary time period.
Name one person who denies that this is a definition of climate. You can’t, can you? Or do you deny that climate is the average of weather?
Does this make you climate denier, or just a climate definition denier?
Do you understand what you are saying?
You could ask the same question about “climate skeptic,” which is what most “climate deniers” prefer to be called . Is a climate skeptic someone who isn’t convinced there is a climate. “Climate denier ” is just short for “anthropogenic climate change denier” or something like that.
You wrote –
“You could ask the same question about “climate skeptic,” which is what most “climate deniers” prefer to be called .” Name one. You can’t. You are making stuff up – again.
You also wrote –
“Is a climate skeptic someone who isn’t convinced there is a climate.”
You are really scaling the heights of incromprehensibilty here. Maybe your enthusiasm overwhelmed your natural restraint?
“Climate denier ” is just short for “anthropogenic climate change denier” or something like that.”
You don’t know or you can’t say? Colour me unconvinced that you have the faintest idea that you know what you are talking about!
Don’t say climate denier (its a silly meaningless and dishonest term used only by flat earthers like Max OK). Instead say “deniers of the relevant facts”. Mak OK is a classic example of a denier.
VIDEO: “Reducing Carbon Emissions Won’t Halt Economic Growth”
Defeatism is in the air as the awareness of paralysis sets in.
No wonder Oreskes believes China’s communist dictatorship is the best thing since sliced bread.
Interesting graph! The EU side looks like an investment bubble that burst. The China side has not burst, but it is approaching the size at which the EU burst.
All the beautiful promises didn’t come true.
It will be interesting to see what happens in China.
Public investment in renewables was the only thing that made the renewables buildout in the EU happen. It never would have happened with purely private investment.
But renewables are just as inefficient in China as they are in the EU.
But efficiency doesn’t always seem to be a priority for China’s command economy.
And after the EU’s renewable’s party now comes the morning after and the hangover.
Take Spain for instance.
A study conducted by Universidad Rey Juan Carlos found that the renewables bubble “came at great financial cost as well as cost in terms of jobs destroyed elsewhere in the economy.”
The United States is a bit behind on the learning curve, but my guess is that, barring some long-promised revolutionary breakthroughs in renewables technology, the United States will end up re-inventing the wheel.
Here’s what the US has gotten for its investment in renewables.
Here is the report that this graph comes from:
It is a very green site, but the drop off in EU investment is remarkable.
Power crisis looms in Uttarakand as mild winter& less snow reduce water needed for hydropower [link]
I was standing at a sluice of the Grand Coulee Dam astride the Columbia River watching the fish ladder for salmon to swim and jump the dam from the base of the dam to the lake behind. I also noted the turbines spinning to generate electricity and read the plaque on the dam’s top wall that said that water was being pumped to irrigate fields along the River banks.
Way back then, when the lake waters were a bit low, I wondered, who made the decisions for where the precious water was to go, from one purpose to another, or, were all purposes reduced equally; less for the fish ladder; less for electricity generation; less for farmers down stream?
Today it seems, that the decisions on who and what purposes gets the water from dams, rivers and streams, is just as contested as way back when. Fresh water from rain fall and snow melt is limited and worth fighting for.
Chairman Mao knew the importance of mountain melt water as he yearly swam the Yangtze River and declared that whomever controlled the head waters of China’s major rivers, controlled China. And so, Tibet, a mountainous retreat for a largely small in number though peaceful people, was invaded to control the headwaters of the Yangtze and Yellow Rivers.
We can now revisit the Uttarakhand mild winter low water flow to generate hydro-electric power issue. What should these people do? My answer, find another source of reliable electric power. Don’t rely exclusively upon the mountain streams; i.e., putting all one’s eggs into one basket. Diversify and adapt. Save the water for a purpose for which there is not substitute, raising crops and feeding livestock.
Back when, when the US was faced with war and aluminum required large amounts of electricity for the war prosecution, Grand Coulee provided the electricity for the Northwest war effort.
Today it seems, that drought and desiccation of land for crops and livestock is a higher priority than generating electricity. Electricity can and should be generated by a more modern nuclear energy system. Had it not been for the public nuclear energy melt down in the past, Washington State would have had the best of both worlds: electricity from nuclear power and water for crops and livestock from the Grand Coulee.
Well, all that is water over the dam. Uttarakhand should start looking elsewhere for electric generation. There is resiliency in adaptive strategies.
No offense really, but, but I am in moderation. In my piece I speak of adaptation, hardly a task for knife wielding editorial behavior.
The big Ivanpah solar plant in California may be forced to shut down. Not delivering the electricity promised: [link]
Warmunists gave them another year. After having given them 4x the annual nat gas allowance already. Lets watch Ivanpah 12 months from now.
If you want to bet, I bet it will have failed on the currwnt specific goals one year goals, but will get yet another pass.
So what! They will just renegotiate. The engineers say 4 years to get to full production.
I don’t know if I have the full scoop,but this just sounds crazy. Renewable generation has high initial cost but that is supposed to be offset by cheap energy costs later. However, once a plant is built its construction cost is irellevant. It’s future depends on its operating costs and continued maintenance and upkeep costs, Ivanpah cost a boatload upfront, It would be a boondoggle straining credulity if it couldn’t be made to pay its way for at least the near term future.
Depends on what you mean by near term.
Actually you have to pay off the loans used to build the plant, so the cost to build the plant is quite relevant.
Terminating the sales contract and shutting the plant down, should be two different things. It’s like if you build a house ( or building) that is way to expensive and the seller defaults. You don’t demolish it and sell it for scrap- somebody buys it for far less and makes a go at it.
Think of it this way, if there were no variable cost- it would be making free energy. No matter how much it cost to build that edifice-no one would shut that off.
I mean buyer defaults.
Yes ape (sorry for the acronym), the debt service costs can be reduced to a manageable level, so the plant can keep running, by going through bankruptcy, several times if necessary. However, this is not a form of success.
I wonder which land use was more appropriate for the Mojave Desert — the Ivanpah solar thermal plants or the irrigated Primm Valley Golf Club next door?
Well, if it goes broke, maybe the Feds can recoup their losses by selling chances to golfers to hit a “mirror in one”.
Look in the mirror, Max!
You wrote –
Are you really Steven Mosher using a nom-de-plume? Using all uppercase doesn’t really make your opinion any more credible, as far as I know.
Do have a single supporting fact, perchance?
I think when my entire message consists of only one small word I am entitled to use big letters.
he is not me.
You wrote –
“I think . . . ”
“I think when my entire message consists of only one small word I am entitled to use big letters.”
of course comment nannies like MF would disagree
Socialism destroy’s our children’s future
Venezuelan socialists are destroying their future by giving away their fossil fuel resource for votes rather than prudent efficient investment in power – and not accounting for natural variations in climate.
The USSR’s communists similarly destroyed the USSR over ideological goals. Efficiently using fossil fuels to build our economies and technology will be the most effective transition – as documented by the Copenhagen Consensus and Bjorn Lomborg.
Socialists forbidding their use based on ideological inaccurate non-validated models will impose far higher costs and destroy our children’s future.
Socialism is about an old-fashioned power; not electrical power. The power to close anti-government media, the power to appoint sympathetic judges, the power to control police and military, the POWER.
Socialists countries have been some of the worst polluters. Climate deniers should give them credit.
David L. Hagen wrote:
“Socialism destroy’s our children’s future.”
Actually, US unbridled capitalism has lead to an increase in the death rate of middle class white men:
while it’s kept decreasing in all the major democratic socialist countries of Europe.
Care to explain?
The nice thing about these kinds of studies is that the so called experts don’t really know why, either. So, any hypothesis is as valid as any other.
The data suggests that this rate is over 3 times as high for the female population of this cohort as it is for the male. Also, interestingly, the same trend did not show up in blacks, Hispanics, younger or older Americans. So it appears the women of 45-54 are driving much of this trend and are an anomaly. What could be the factors? Most of the attention by the authors and others has been focused on causes of death from suicide, drugs, alcohol abuse and liver diseases.
Research has shown a much higher rate of binge drinking among women recently. Just generally, women are starting to show some of the health issues once dominated by men.
The study found a higher rate of death in the poorer states. There is an inverse correlation between income and obesity which in turn has its own association with health issues. There is also an inverse correlation between smoking and income. Again, smoking has its own association with disease and death rates.
There has been a slowdown in the rate of progress toward lowering heart disease.
Relationships to economic factors and the Obama induced non-recovery might exist Between 1976 and 1996 the number of Americans not in the labor force rose from 60 million to 67 million. Since 1996 that number has risen from 67 million to 94 million. In the last 8 years, Full Time Employment has risen only 1.5 million job, the slowest growth since records began in 1968. In the last 20 years the number of people who are receiving SS Disability has nearly doubled from 5.5 million to 11 million.
For men the labor force participation rate has gone down from 87% in 1948 to 67% today. That is a reflection of the loss of traditional male dominated jobs such as manufacturing, etc. At the same time the labor force participation rate for women has nearly doubled. Perhaps for some women trying to do too much after 30 years or so is leading to destructive behavior from the stress of their lives. For the men the occupations they once leaned toward have been diminished.
Or it might just be the growing divergence between expectations they had when growing up and the reality of mid-life hitting them. A lot of baby boomers and younger individuals have been told by society that life is all about them resulting in increased self absorption and self indulgence. Or it might be a sense of isolation for women who have put up with their Bubba chasing skirts for all their adult lives and their male progeny not leaving the house and spending 12 hours a day playing video games. Have they just worn out?
Having read studies like this for 50 years, I know there are no simple answers and the experts in this field also know that. Unlike some other fields.
All in all, it is a bit of a stretch to conclude anything about economic systems when the study focuses on only 10% of the population of a country. There are too many variables that apparently are not affecting other parts of the population.
David – That’s a cherry picked result.
Perhaps you should show a life expectancy chart from 1850-present.
Industrialization, cheap energy, advances in medicine, clean water, and a myriad of other factors has resulted in great increases in life-expectancy for all classes of citizens in this country. This would not have been possible without harnessing the energy of coal, oil and gas.
“Care to explain?”
SUICIDE; for this age group (45-54 years for White non-Hispanic)
Suicide 44.000/ year.
Care to explain?
If you look into the numbers in more detail, you’ll see that the biggest “contributors” to this part of the death rate are the under-educated and the unskilled. The causes of the increased deaths bear this out – drugs, alcohol, suicide. This is exactly the cohort hardest hit by the Great Recession, but hurting even before. These people went from a very secure middle class lifestyle in the 50s and 60s to a very insecure one now. They’ve lost hope and are thus afflicted with the “Russian disease.”
Capitalism isn’t the cause. Rather these folks are victims of lots of things, e.g., poor education, globalization, unreal expectations of security, financial and tax policies that hurt savers, competition from developing countries… Capitalism might be the answer if the regulatory state were fixed so that the rate of business creation wasn’t less than the rate of business closings.
More than 100 million were killed by their own governments in socialistic atheistic countries aka communism. See The Black Book of Communism, 1997. That is more than 250% of the 39 million killed in all wars in the 20th century.”
More than 117 million are missing” in the USA alone since 1973 due to more than 53 million babies killed by abortion from Roe vs Wade with more than 64 missing as consequent unborn.
China has experienced more than 13 million abortions/year and 400 million since 1980. Add as many more “missing” due to those abortions.
Now how many were you suggesting were caused by “unbrideled capitalism”?
The trend you show is curious, but what significance has that by comparison? Have you examined sugar and corn syrup as the probable cause?
David Appell – Consider Socialist Bernie Sanders promises of more “bread and games”: Left-Leaning Economists Question Cost of Bernie Sanders’s Plans
An Analysis of Senator Sanders Single Payer Plan – Kenneth Thorpe
Have you ever considered the benefits of capitalism?
See: Arthur Brooks’ Ted Talk Makes the Moral Case for Capitalism
Arthur Brooks’ Ted Talk: Moral Case for Capitalism
Have you considered the The Moral case for Fossil Fuels by Alex Epstein.
I recently wrote a post called “Venezuela Food Lines” on Blogger. I gloss over the economic destruction brought by the application of communism to the more mundane food lines and crime. I felt so much was written about the economic problems, their causes, and possible solutions. But very little is discussed about the crime wave and the sheer amount of despair faced by people who get up in the dark and wander dangerous streets looking for a forming line, to wait for hours to see if they can get something to eat. To many of you this is fairly remote, but I get messages asking for help, or advice. The correspondence is a heart breaker. And meanwhile the monster who helped create this terrible condition will be basking in the media as they tout him as “the pragmatic communist” who watches baseball games with Obama.
To The Economist: That reduction in “emissions” is what happens when business is bad. People stop making stuff, you see. Back when economists did economy (of all things!) this was a well-understood concept.
A second note to The Economist: For some reason this activist’s wet dream has been published in your business and finance section. How did it land there?
And another note to The Economist: At the top of your article about CO2 someone has shown a picture of lots of steam, which is actually H2O. The drab grey background is also an effect of H2O, in the form of cloud. (But don’t mention clouds around any climate experts: they totally hate the things.)
Never mind, Economist. You’ll never be at the very bottom of my reading list as long as there’s a HuffPo.
“To The Economist: That reduction in “emissions” is what happens when business is bad. People stop making stuff, you see.”
Except China’s economic growth was hardly zero. So they still kept making lots of new “stuff.”
Sidebar: Is making more and more “stuff” the be-all and end-all of life?
China and the whole world is facing reduced demand (see coal and iron prices, just for a start).
As to whether making more stuff is the be-all and end-all of life…I’m guessing you must be working your way down the comments again, just making any old noises when nothing comes to mind.
Check Google Images for “belching smokestacks” and you will find an entire art form, dedicated to making steam look black by shooting it at sunrise, etc. My favorite example, so far, was one that used the cooling towers from a nuclear plant.
Maybe we should try this with people, making their breath black.
In contrast to the story that the world’s climate emissions have stabilized is the report from NOAA that global average CO2 levels made their largest jump since the Mauna Loa records began. It will be interesting to see what happens to levels after this El Nino is fully gone.
There is no contradiction. The Economist and IEA are simply on another planet than Mauna Loa.
The Ivanpah episode might be a brilliant example of how to extract 1.6 billion dollars from the taxpayers without anybody involved being charged with anything, let alone going to jail or even being fined.
This is a possible scenario. Ivanpah would borrow money to pay PG & E to make up for Ivanpah’s inability to supply electricity as promised. PG & E could apply the funds received as it wished – executive bonuses, dividends, lavish parties, political donations or whatever. This would continue to the limit of US Government loan guarantees.
When Ivanpah runs out of money, and cannot borrow any more, no problem. The loans are paid out by the US Government, Ivanpah says “So sorry” and declares bankruptcy.
Ivanpah’s shiny mirrors are sold for scrap, and the remaining unfried birds chirp with delight.
Even the taxpayers, now out of pocket to the tune of 1.6 billion dollars, don’t realise that they have been taken to the cleaners again. So everybody is happy, particularly the recipients of the 1.6 billion which has miraculously disappeared.
Of course, the above scenario is pure fiction. I have been assured that the US Government only picks winners. Thank goodness for that! If people thought the present government was fallible, they might vote them out!
I don’t think that’s allowed under the US system, looking at how the presidential election is proceeding. Interesting definition of democracy, it would seem.
Mike-if the project goes bankrupt wouldn’t the assets be put to the best possible use to help offset that as much as possible? Do you know why that wouldn’t be to continue to function as a powerplant? If you write off the construction costs (as I noted in a comment above) a much smaller portion of costs should remain. Do you ( or anyone else) know what I am missing here?
I’m assuming that ongoing maintenance and operating costs will be higher than anticipated.
This was a quick cut and paste from a presumably relevant document –
“If the mirror washing equipment and process are not effective, actual operating costs may be substantially higher than forecasted or total electrical production may fall short of estimates.”
It seems there are problems actually washing the mirrors, ranging from regulations restricting how much dirt one man may shovel in one minute, to problems parking mirrors flat when winds exceed 25 mph, flash flooding, shrub removal prohibited due to environmental considerations, and so on.
I believe that initial estimates of gas consumption by the system were a bit low, and annual gas consumption for 2015 was more than 550 million cubic feet. Even with this increase, output is nowhere near original estimates.
So ongoing costs, including maintenance of transmission lines supplying power to the grid, may make unit costs uneconomic. Time will tell, I guess. I’m about as good at looking into the future as your average climatologist, which is to say, not very.
One thing that I found intriguing was that if 9 (yes, 9) particular tortoises are killed, or die, or something, then the whole plant will be shut down. Do they have to pay teams of hunters to scour the site looking for tortoise corpses? What about accidental deaths? Will reproduction rates increase due to cooler conditions under all the heliostats? Would this make a difference?
I know I’m not helping you much. I was rather hoping you, or someone in your field might be able to contribute a more informed opinion. Maybe my slightly facetious comment about flogging the mirrors for scrap might not be too far from the mark!
Thanks-if it can’t even cover variable costs through some new arrangements from energy sales ( and don’t peopl always say once solar is built the sun is free?) then it is an epic screw up beyond reason.
Plants that can just cover variable costs stay in operation, but that can still be major screw ups due to their sunk costs.
Time will tell, I guess. Maybe I’m a bit jaundiced, but I suspect you might agree with my platform planks for new projects –
The devil’s in the detail, and
The maintenance will get you.
On the other hand, luck’s a fortune (Oz saying, I think), so nothing ventured, nothing gained. I’m assuming you’ve experienced the odd instance where all didn’t go quite according to plan. Most engineers have learning experiences along the way, as I’ve gathered from discussions over a refreshing beverage or two.
Most of my stuff has worked out OK, and I’ve been lucky. Maybe Ivanpah will get lucky. Who knows?
Biologists found and relocated (at a cost of at least $56 million) 173 tortoises on the Ivanpah site. Many of those certainly died as a result. The US Fish and Wildlife Service concluded that construction could result in the death of an additional 2,325 juveniles.
It was initially claimed that only about 32 tortoises would be affected.
Although relocation included a monitoring program for the relocated tortoises, I cannot find the results of that program online.
search: ivanpah desert tortoise relocation
” Hope you think wind turbines are a beautiful addition to the landscape, because there are going to be a lot more of them.”
I don’t, but eventually there will be a need to replace/supplement fossil fuels over time. But I’d prefer distributed solar as not taking over open land.
Aesthetically, wind turbines are more appealing than oil storage tanks and strip mining. That’s my opinion.
Okay. But how do they compare with distributed solar on existing rooftops vs. farms?
I’ll take the open land.
Danny, I wouldn’t want wind turbines so thick you couldn’t see anything else on a drive in the country.
Time to exit Ok for a while. Visit Texas, Kansas, and a few others. The view is blocked.
Danny, on a day-long drive from Okla. City to Corpus Christi I don’t recall seeing any wind farms. If I drove from Ft. Worth to El Paso I’m sure I wold,see a lot.
Try Amarillo to Lubbock, then I-10 west in ‘no-man’s land’. They’re not obtrusive, but compared to existing rooftops, an existing eyesore vs. open range…………..
Max10k can’t argue aesthetics, but the footprint (amount of land) needed for solar and wind dwarves the land use associated with conventional generation.
My son went to medical school in Lubbock when a lot of them were built. There is still a lot of open land in the cap rock. My favorite butte south of Post was windmill free the last time I drove from Fort Worth to Lubbock. It’s ugly, but there is uglier.
I miss the good old days when environmentalists fought to protect viewsheds. Even John Kerry fought to protect his yacht racing course.
To all the CE “EXPERTS on Ivanpah” — Could you give a detailed point by point (A) critique and then (B) refuting of the major points discussed in this article: https://cleantechnica.com/2016/03/18/cpuc-gets-right-pge-can-keep-ivanpah-contract/
If I understand your link correctly, my scenario positing a transfer of 1.6
billion dollars from US taxpayers into the pockets of others not initially envisioned as being the recipients of taxpayers largesse still stands,
The article says ratepayers won’t suffer (not initially, anyway). Not until the 1.6 billion dollars has been miraculously vanished.
I presume the ratepayers mentioned are electricity consumers. Correct me if I’m wrong.
It seem like wind or solar are occasionally useful, even cost effective in some applications. They suffer from low energy intensity and intermittency. They are free sources, as are coal, oil, gas and nuclear fuels. Turning an energy source into useful electricity costs money.
Water is also free. Providing a reliable supply, free of harmful contaminants, into your drinking vessel on demand, might cost you plenty.
“Nothin’ ain’t worth nothin’, but it’s free”. Not much else is.
Mike Flynn In taking the DOE Loan Program argument — you go on the record as having the same amount of outrage with Vogtle as you do with Ivanpah?
You wrote –
“Mike Flynn In taking the DOE Loan Program argument — you go on the record as having the same amount of outrage with Vogtle as you do with Ivanpah?”
Could you please point to where I expressed outrage about anything at all? You may be confusing me with a figment of your imagination.
I used to respect people capable of taking the US taxpayers for a ride. Not so much these days. It seems too easy for the very average scammer. I’m not that clever, obviously.
$1.6 billion here, $1.6 billion there, pretty soon you’re talking real money! You’re obviously much richer than me, you appear unconcerned. Good for you!
I salute your patriotism, if you are a US citizen! Give more – settle for less!
Mike Flynn — anyone who has equal outrage over Ivanpah AND Vogtle, would be a person of ideological integrity (like Ron Paul).
In talking about DOE Loans, talking about Ivanpah and conveniently omitting the new Vogtle nuclear units is hypocritical.
Just be consistent.
You wrote –
“Mike Flynn — anyone who has equal outrage over Ivanpah AND Vogtle, would be a person of ideological integrity (like Ron Paul).”
I haven’t got the faintest idea what you are talking about. I have pointed out I am not outraged about anything at all. Outrage seems to be a singularly pointless emotion, but if you enjoy it, so be it.
I don’t know who Rand Paul is, nor do I see why I should care. I might gently point out that all the ideological integrity in the world plus five dollars, will buy you a cup of coffee in most parts of the world.
What is the point you are trying to make, if any?
You’ve got to be joking, or a denier of the relevant facts.
Ivanpah’s cost of average power supplied, if it delivers the expected energy, is $19/W average, i.e. around 3 times the cost of the new US nuclear plants. https://judithcurry.com/2016/03/19/week-in-review-energy-edition-3/#comment-772923
Mr. Lang — Andy Boston (whose study you quote a lot) tried to help you. I’ve tried to help you. You clearly will not listen to anyone of the fundamental engineering system planning errors you continue to make. Again (like Andy and I have recommended), get a hold of a model like GE MAPS and at least understand what it does.
Stephen Segrest you are a joke. You keep saying you wont respond to me any more, but each time I refute your silly comments you can’t help yourself. Andy Boston tried to help you. You didn’t understand. You are simply a down in the weeds engineer, driven by your Green ideological biases, and know nothing about what is relevant for policy analysis. Here’s my response to your comment trying to crawl to Andy Boston: https://judithcurry.com/2016/01/19/is-nuclear-the-cheapest-way-to-decarbonize-electricity/#comment-768157
Mr. Lang — I’ve posted this before where Andy Boston cut off his discussion with you (after your repeated bullying to get him to say what you wanted). He told you of your mistakes. You know of the specific link of his words not mine.
I’ve already responded to that and explained that you misunderstood or were misrepresenting the interaction between Andy Boston and me. We agreed on the facts and disagreed on some interpretations. He wanted to promote his analysis and didn’t want to or couldn’t publicly acknowledge that his report shows that nuclear power is the cheapest way to decarbonise GB electricity to meet the recommended targets (which it does). He also advocates for very high carbon, taxes and believes they are needed and inevitable. I do not agree.
Segrest, please stop misrepresenting what I and others say. You do this frequently, it shows you are intellectually dishonest and I will continue to point it out.
I don’t have to read it. I know what he said, what I said and what you said in your comment here: https://judithcurry.com/2016/01/19/is-nuclear-the-cheapest-way-to-decarbonize-electricity/#comment-767906.
Again, for the umpteenth time:
Andy Boston to Peter Lang: “To those tempted to use simple metrics like LCOE to compare technologies: You can’t. You have to do holistic modelling as value is a function of grid mix.”
This is what I’ve repeatedly explained to Mr. Lang and for him to at least understand what an integrated resource model (like GE MAPS) does.
A clearly frustrated Andy Boston to Peter Lang: “I think we’ve exhausted this debate. You keep asking me to endorse your analysis of the report, I keep telling you the work wasn’t done to answer that question. If I wanted to know what the most economic mix of technologies were I would use different models and different inputs”
This was Andy’s last response to Mr. Lang — who kept on posting and posting.
Why do you keep repeating yourself, keep cherry-picking, misrepresenting the discussion, making up strawman, telling lies and avoiding acknowledging I’ve already addressed all that you restated here? As I said you are unprofessional and do not have the professional or intellectual integrity expected of an engineer.
I’ll also point out that Andy Boston’s comment “To those tempted to use simple metrics like LCOE to compare technologies: You can’t. You have to do holistic modelling as value is a function of grid mix.” was his reply to you, not to me. I’ll repeat, to set the record straight, the reply I gave you on this very point (to illustrate for other readers your lack of integrity):
As I said, your comments demonstrate you are dishonest and lack the professional integrity normally expected of an engineer.
The comment quoted above is here: https://judithcurry.com/2016/01/19/is-nuclear-the-cheapest-way-to-decarbonize-electricity/#comment-768149
The previous comment is immediately before, i.e. here: https://judithcurry.com/2016/01/19/is-nuclear-the-cheapest-way-to-decarbonize-electricity/#comment-768130
Clearly, Dr. Curry is an expert scientist. But that she relies on engineering and economic information from the Daily Caller raises my eyebrows.
For example: The Daily Caller article stated — “To help keep the project afloat, NRG Energy, which holds the largest stake in Ivanpah, has applied for federal grants through the Treasury Department.”
What is this federal grant that The Daily Caller and Fox News is referencing?
As BrightSource explains, this so called grant is the Federal Production Tax Credit available to all projects of this type. This is just horrible, inflammatory reporting.
Stephen – But that she relies on engineering and economic information from the Daily Caller raises my eyebrows.
Stephen-I think Judith has always linked to a variety of articles. She does not endorse, subscribe to or rely upon the bulk of them. They just show what people are thinking and talking about. She does not screen for ideological purity. I appreciate that she does it. I raise my eyebrows at your sloppy mischatacterization.
Rely – to depend confidently; put trust in (usually followed by on or upon)
The issue here is that the relevant article was published by WSJ and behind paywall. I then googled to find another article that covered the same territory.
I do post things from a variety of perspectives, but I try to select the best source that isn’t behind paywall, and figure I have about one minute to spend on each of these items.
The fact that Brightsource is applying for the PTC doesn’t make the project laudable or viable. PTC is for renewable energy and is therefore a bad idea in and of itself. You are just looking for nits to pick.
From the article:
The Production Tax Credit (PTC) is a federal incentive that provides financial support for the development of renewable energy facilities.
Question: Who is worst as to objectivity, Sites like The Daily Caller or the Huffington Post? Fox News or MSNBC?
Answer: All of the above are pretty bad (as to objectivity).
Jim 2 — Please remind us again, you have equal outrage to the PTC for new nuclear — right????
Dr. Curry — In making quick decisions on who to link to, I’d go with Bloomberg Business over The Daily Caller. For example:
thanks for spotting this. I would normally go with bloomberg, but apparently didn’t see this
Stephen, you have a formidable way to argue. But it can work both ways. Do you still believe that octane is an additive to gasoline?
Try to stick to the topic.
Curious George — If I said this in a quick blog comment, this is not what I meant. Only you want to twist this into something negative.
Are you a chemical engineer? In the blog that I wrote on ethanol & octane, I asked Robert Rapier (who wrote an article in Forbes that Dr. Curry today linked to) to review the article for any glaring errors.
I went back to my blog today (that I wrote over a year ago) and reviewed it:
I copied this today from the above site:
Octane rating (RON, MON) is a measure of a fuel’s ability to resist/reduce the reaction of gasoline to combust/ignite under pressure in a car’s engine cylinder (called anti-knock, AKI). Without proper octane levels in gas we buy at the pump, automobile performance levels will decrease and cause engine damage.
Un-blended gasoline (E-0 ethanol free) has an octane rating of ~84 and thus needs an octane enhancer to achieve a minimum rating of 87. Ethanol has a high octane rating (~113), where the majority of U.S. gasoline today is blended with ~10% ethanol (called E-10) to achieve the needed regular grade octane rating level of 87 for proper engine performance:
Curious George — and by the way National Public Radio (NPR) ran a story which mirrors my blog article (or are they ignorant also?):
Old blather about burial. Not a word about the best long-term solution: new technologies that can use the waste as fuel.
Not trying to be nationalistic here, but long after Ivanpah has been converted to a tanning studio (daytime only) and the last American forest has been fed to Drax (unless Brexit)….
I truly believe that Tasmania’s great energy bungle with live on in memory as the supreme green stuff-up. As you read, keep in mind that Tasmania, as well as recent dry spells like that of 2008, has experienced severe droughts in 1908-10, 1913-15, 1918-21, 1926, 1933-34, 1935-36, 1945-46, 1949-52, 1954-55, 1967-68, 1972-73, 1982-83, 1987-88, 1993-95…But that’s just one century. 1888 was the real doozie.
Now, suspend disbelief and read:
Just when I was beginning to think that New York State had cornered the market on “you have to be kidding me” energy stupidity I realize that it could be much worse. This story is incredible.
The most amazing green boondogle I’ve ever seen is Bloom Energy:
The best summary I’ve heard is this Heartland podcast:
Iowa gets 31% of its energy from wind? Where is planning engineer when you need him!
(Wow, America Gets A Lot Of Electricity From Wind These Days)
There is too much renewable porn to comment on all of it. There are all kind of ways to use inappropriate figures to make supporters feel good and characterize what is going on. Stuff I’ve warned against pops up in articles all the time. As I’ve said in previous postings – for a well interconnected system it is the overall penetration level withing an integrated power supply system that is important. A component of that system can have high levels of intermittent renewable if that is balanced out by other parts of the system with more conventional generation. Power is effectively shipped from less populous (less load intensive) Iowa to the bigger consumption states.
I’m not looking at the numbers but Iowa makes up a large amount of the wind generation for the regional grid but a small part of the load – put those two numbers together and you get a high percentage from wind. But Iowa is “served” from the grid – not just it’s local generation resources.
The graph shows land mass (which does not have a lot to do with magnitudes). The big low density states have the high wind numbers which get swamped when you average with the intensive electric using states. This is one reason this is “renewable porn”.
Thee big low population states are the best candidates to contribute wind to a regional pool. (See upcoming piece by me and Rud on Horses for Courses. Other than that you only see bigger number in States that are being deliberately aggressive.
Texas is a better indicator of what is going on here a little over 10% in an independent grid that is ERCOT.
“Renewable porn!” I like it.
So, it is your knowledge, or is it your suspicion that wind energy is being distributed to get rid of wind energy surge, and then tallied as Iowa consumed? Do you know whether Iowa is bringing in energy from other states when the wind isn’t blowing?
If so, it’s quite a deceitful number, this 31% energy from wind.
Edbarbar. Iowa is not an ‘isolated’ grid, unlike Texas ERCOT. It is part of the vast midwest interconnect system that Planning Engineer helps design and manage. He knows what he is talking about. The made up 31% is just that, a made up arbitrary fiction: Iowa wind/Iowa electricity.
Looking at the “ecoporn” map of wind electricity percentages, you can see that the high numbers are in low population, low density states:
Iowa (except maybe some border areas) is part of the MISO region (Midwest Independent System Operator). They manage the grid to accommodate market exchanges within the area. Iowa makes up about 6% of that system. The wind totals of MISO are not so wow inducing when their high contributors are averaged across the system.
Thanks for that update, planning. It’s as I suspected, hence the question.
The title of the graph is “US wind share of electricity Generation during 2015, by State.” I suppose it is correct, 31% of the electricity generated by Iowa is 31%. On the other hand, 100% of the electricity generated by my home is solar. Perhaps they could use that as a statistic to misguide people.
Enjoy your posts. Looking forward to your next one.
Power generation from wind in December:
From the majority of comments I’ve seen here at CE, I don’t think people really have a clue of what Planning Engineer is telling people when he says:
“As I’ve said in previous postings – for a well interconnected system it is the overall penetration level withing an integrated power supply system that is important. A component of that system can have high levels of intermittent renewable if that is balanced out by other parts of the system with more conventional generation.”
Although I would change one word in the last sentence — from conventional to flexible generation (e.g., an combined cycle natural gas unit).
MISO itself is just a coordinating unit of the vast eastern interconnection, basically everything east of the rockies except Texas. Some (or all) of that Iowa juice may have made it to Florida, or to Newfoundland. Technically it all goes everywhere. There are contract paths but no physical paths. Everyone just dumps their juice into the grid and takes juice out. The electrons they take out are anonymous.
Energy and the 2016 Presidential primaries. As per usual, and apologies for posting this here as it may belong on the presidential posts, but once again we have no idea what Trump will do other than ‘create a better deal’. Dammit. No substance, just words.
We lost not only the integrity of science, we lost the integrity of a government created by the people, for the peole, to protect our God-given rights to enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Slightly off topic, but I happened to read the plight of a person who imported a Tesla vehicle into Singapore recently. He was hit with $15000 SGD carbon surcharge.
The Government’s view is broadly that “Electric cars are not carbon emissions free. They may not produce emissions from the tailpipe like conventional cars, but they take electrical power from the national power grid which has to burn fuel to produce the electricity, and in the process produces carbon emissions.”
Tesla are of course not happy. However, the Government tests actual power consumption per km, rather than blindly accept Tesla’s figures, where second hand vehicles (as this one is), are concerned). It will be interesting if Tesla provide a new vehicle for testing, and the Government laboratory test figures are much different from those claimed by Tesla.
VW diesel emission claims, anyone?
Obviously, Tesla has a vested interest in claiming the highest efficiency it can. A vehicle with efficiency of, say 181 Wh/km, enjoys a rebate under the Carbon Emissions Vehicles Scheme. Tesla wouldn’t massage the figures, would it?
Sorry. SGD=Singapore dollars.
So Volkswagon = Tesla?
India’s looming energy crisis
India’s challenge is 24/7 electricity for all
Re: Power crisis looms in Uttarakand as mild winter & less snow reduce water needed for hydropower [link]
Just a few years ago Uttarakhand had too much rain. Devastation blamed on nature and poorly planned development in an extremely mountainous region.
I’m still in moderation from 8:58 PM last night. How long is my sentence?
Hard to tell today, even the Guardian of the empire has had to utilize radical options to mitigate their sustainability, for perpetuity.
A lovely pattern for a healthy future to see.
Not sure what happened, lots of things landed in moderation, and I forgot to clear it last nite. Apologies to all who were caught in moderation
Ohio fracking study funding pulled by foundations because of wrong conclusions
The study may be read here.
The March equinox is just the beginning of one of the most awesome global warming phenomena ever witnessed… summer!
Sorry. Should have been SGD 15000. Singapore dollars.
Oh no! In some places, the 2C warming limit will be exceeded! Whatever shall we do?
I did love Judith pointing out a study that claims:
“Wow, America Gets A Lot Of Electricity From Wind These Days
You’re going to be blown away by these numbers.”
Yep. The US wind industry, after decades of continuous and continuing subsidies, has achieved the massive size of 4.7% of the US electricity consumption. Well, BP Statistical Review of world energy puts it at 4.3%, about 10% less, so they’re already fudging their figures, but I’ll use their claim …
Of course, since electricity generation is only about 15.6% of the total US energy consumption, this means that after decades of continuous (and continuing) subsidies, wind is now providing the US with 4.7% of 15.6% of our energy use … which is about three quarters of one percent of total US energy consumption.
So the wind advocates are cheering and patting themselves on the back because after taking billions of dollars of taxpayer money, they’re they are finally providing us with three-quarters of one measly percent of our energy use???
Sorry, windies, but although I’m “blown away by these numbers”, it’s not blowing me in the direction you think.
There are much more extreme plans afoot than Obama’s EPA Clean Power Plan rule.
Van Hollen’s bill is structured in such a way as to make people believe they will be getting something for nothing:
The deceptive part — what is hidden from view — is that renewables are far less efficient, and far more expensive, than fosseil fuels, and that despite the redistributive sleights-of-hand, in the macro economy somebody has to pay.
The efficiency of the aggregate economy will suffer.
JC did a post on this but here’s another article with some good grpahics.
Did X Cause Y? A New Look at Attributing Weather Extremes to Climate Change
Changing philosophy for E-car subsidies in CA: http://jalopnik.com/rebates-on-electric-vehicles-in-california-will-soon-ha-1766041090
Obama halts new coal leasing on federal land, orders sweeping review Jan 15, 2016
In lock step: Coal company’s stocks plunge after Clinton says she will shutter mines
Now is the time to buy coal stock. Also the Port of Oakland is refusing to load the toxic coal on ships.
So lets ship “stored solar bioenergy”!
“Rolls-Royce is positioning itself as a “white knight” that could rescue Britain’s faltering nuclear power strategy and stop the UK’s lights going out.
“The company best known for its jet engines has met with Government to put forward plans for a fleet of small reactors built around Rolls’s expertise gained producing powerplants for the Royal Navy’s submarines.”
On energy news, Euan Mears has an interesting article about The looming Nordic energy crisis,
written by a Finnish energy analyst called Rauli Partanen. Apparently Sweden has had stable, very low carbon electricity production based on nuclear + hydro for many years. Nuclear energy is now being phased out, partly due to increasing taxation, with no coherent plan for its replacement.
“The Myth Of Expensive Nuclear Power”. A US renaissance in nuclear power was promised in the early 2000’s and Congress passed a bill to facilitate it. Where are the dots for those power plants on the widely publicized Figure 12 (overnight construction cost versus time) from this publication? The estimates are $6-10B/1000 MW for the Georgia Power reactor – more expensive than anything started since 1980. How about the estimated cost for Britain’s Hinkley Point C: 14B pounds or $20B for two 1.65 MW reactors. Again $6B/MW.
The myth is that latest generation of reactors (inherently after?) – the ones likely to be built in developed countries – are going to cost the same as those recently built in South Korea and India.
Wrong. Try again.
Robertok06: Thanks for reading and the correction. I presume $6B/GW or $6000/kW should replace $6B/MW
You may have missed my reply to your similar comment on ‘Energy Matters here: http://euanmearns.com/nuclear-capital-costs-three-mile-island-and-chernobyl/#comment-17090
I’ll repost it here for the convenience of you and other readers:
I have several questions and comments about your comment.
1. How did you identify which reactors are which on Figure 12? Do you have a download of the data?
2. I think you mean $B/GW, not per $B/MW. The y axis on Figure 12 is $/kW which is the conventional way to state capital costs for electricity generators.
3. Only reactors that are completed are included in Figure 12 (except for three S. Korean reactors which are near completion). All other points are for completed reactors. The last US reactor included is Harris -1, which commenced construction in 1978 and completed in 1987 (three Mile Island accident, 1979, delayed it). I asked Lovering:
@great storage blog
“The battery will initially store around 10MW of energy ”
How long do we have to wait until a “green” blogger understands the difference between power and energy?
It’s really discomforting to read all the time this endless nonsense.
I’m back in the saddle again. Moderation of my comments for me to amend. Where the long winded comments go…
From the article:
The Rockefeller Family Fund said on Wednesday it will divest from fossil fuels as quickly as possible and “eliminate holdings” of Exxon Mobil, chiding the oil giant for allegedly misleading the public about climate change risks.
The U.S.-based charity will also divest its coal and Canadian oil sands holdings. The move is especially notable because a century ago John D. Rockefeller Sr. made a fortune running Standard Oil, a precursor to Exxon Mobil.