Will California “learn” to avoid Peak Rolling Blackouts?

by Planning Engineer

The first week in September of this year California was facing rolling blackouts due to a forecast 20-year high Peak. Residents were asked to cut down electric usage and at risk of rolling blackouts. Is this a new normal? Or can the threat of rolling blackouts be avoided?  The likely answer is that the risk of rolling blackouts could be greatly reduced, but because of other priorities such reliability risks are the new normal.

What has peak demand looked like for California in recent history. The Chart below shows recorded peaks and the projected 2022 value that caused concern in early September.

Screen Shot 2022-09-12 at 12.44.03 PM

The forecasted peak conditions were 2.5% above the high 20 years ago and 2.9% above what was observed 5 years ago.

The idea that a system might be unprepared because it had a peak that was a few percentage values higher than what was seen 5 years ago would have seemed strange to a planner 30 years ago. Many of us were used to seeing spurts in peak demand growth that averaged 8 to 10% a year or more. The peak demand shown above for California is pretty well bounded. The most basic planning criteria is that a system should be able to survive the loss of the largest generating resource and the most critical transmission element during a peak load with no loss of load and no severe voltage declines or undamped system oscillations. Looking at the variability in load levels here, no particular challenges to planners are apparent. If “green” resources were capable of replacing traditional resources with minor adjustments, we would not see the problems we are seeing.

Why is California challenged now and why might it continue to see challenges in the future?  Primarily because the focus on green energy is increasing the percentage of “green” intermittent resources. “Green” resources are not as dependable as traditional rotating machinery nor do they support the system as well. It is likely that these resources have been credited with more ability to provide capacity than is warranted, and when the rubber meets the road they don’t perform as “expected”. Intermittent resources cause problems on both the generation side and the load side. Intermittent solar on the residential side serves to reduce load as seen by the Cal ISO. When solar is not performing well available load which is not displaced by solar on the residential side increases concurrent with solar reduction on the supply side.

If California were more honest about the capabilities of “green” intermittent resources planning would be enhanced. However, being honest about the capabilities of “green” resources would have consequences that some would find unacceptable. There has been a big push to make “green” options appear much more economic and capable than they are so that they will be more competitive. Subsidization of “green” resources by traditional uses occurs in many ways. In addition to crediting “green” resources above their dependable capability, others subsidies include directing costs associated with such additions to others. Being honest makes the “green” dream a much harder sell. Assuming that “green” resources work well saves other investment in the grid. This subterfuge tends to limit the cost increase that should be imposed by these resources, but does so at the cost of reliability. This tradeoff takes a while to see as we have built the electric grids to have very high levels of reliability at the bulk level. In the short term it looks like you are getting a cleaner, equally reliable system at a moderate cost increase. But as penetration levels increase, cost get higher and reliability gets much worse.

In 2015 I wrote here:

Greater penetration of renewable resources will limit the options available to operators while at the same time increasing uncertainty around expected generation patterns. To accommodate such uncertainty the choices are to: 1) increase grid costs and infrastructure, 2) limit the operational flexibility of the grid, 3) increase generation costs through backup generation resources or 4) live with increased risks and degraded reliability. Likely all four are and will continue to occur to some extent as the penetration of intermittent resources increases.

California policy makers have determined resource investment, resource allocations and how and when grid improvements are made to enhance reliability. To blame extreme weather for causing the current concerns seems to be quite a reach. I suspect that a careful and fair examination of the weather data would should that the weather triggering such concerns this was not anything extraordinary considering historical weather patterns. But if it there truly was something unusual about the weather as driven by climate change, shouldn’t this have been anticipated by those responsible? California is spending vast sums of money on the power system based on climate change, it seems incredible that they would not incorporate such anticipated changes into their planning models.

Will California learn to avoid peak rolling blackouts?  If reliability were a primary concern, this situation shouldn’t bubble up again in a few years. California should be able to properly credit the ability of its power resources and match them to projected weather ensuring adequate power. If other priorities prevent responsible steps to ensure reliability, then those priorities, not the weather, should claim responsibility for the consequences. If California wants to continue as they have, they should be honest and make statements such as the following:

This is the end of affordable, reliable electric service as we understood it for most of the last 50 years. We are choosing to go with “green “technology to deal with the climate crisis. Keeping past reliability levels will raise your costs tremendously. As we try to put on limit on costs this will decrease your reliability. At time the power will not be there. We’ve all got help each other out.

Of course, once everything is looked at honestly it may lead to further change. Ideally the power system represents the best  balance between economics, reliability and public responsibility. California has reached a balance skewed by false expectations that “green” resources can not meet. Creating a balance that looks at the true costs and reliability impacts of green resources should benefit electric users in California. Hopefully as consumers, voters, policy makers and others better understand the accurate pros and cons of available generating options either consumers will understand why their reliability is poor or else better choices will be made by policy makers on their behalf. Fairly accounting for the performance of system resources will lead to better balance of economics, reliability and costs.

302 responses to “Will California “learn” to avoid Peak Rolling Blackouts?

  1. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink it. There is no chance California will learn. They are driven by political ideology, as opposed to pragmatism.

    • I disagree. Even Californians will recognize catastrophe when it hits them. But warnings are likely useless.

  2. Glad to see you are back PE. There needs to be more like you dispensing words of wisdom to counter the rubbish put out by the unreliables’ proponents.
    Queensland is having similar problems to California with solar and South Australia with wind. Wattclarity has been documenting them.
    No-one has yet built a reliable electrical grid with a high penetration of wind and/or solar. And wishing it so doesn’t make it happen. How many blackouts does it need for the folly to be exposed?

    • Joe - the non climate scientist

      How efficient is solar and wind going to work in minnesota or canada during the winter – especially when all heating is required to be electric! short days and low wind

      those renewable advocates are delusional lunatics

    • Reading the comments posted, it appears some do not understand the linkage between rolling outages and reliability. To clear this up, I have taken the liberty of extracting what PE wrote in an earlier post.
      “Bulk Grid Reliability applies to the high voltage backbone system that supports bulk generation and the load serving distribution systems. Bulk reliability is concerned with preventing voltage collapse, instability, cascading outages and uncontrolled separation. Events of this sort make national and international news when they occur on modern grids and are called blackouts. They are widespread unplanned, unintentional loss of load. There is a fundamental difference between these events and brownouts. The term brownouts sometimes refer to periods of low voltage and these can damage equipment and disrupt service. When load is deliberately shed (outages occurs by design in a controlled manner) this is also sometimes referred to as a brownout, blackout or as rotating blackouts. This situation can result from poor reliability, but is actually employed as a reliability measure to protect the bulk grid from a major outage. Avoiding needed load curtailments (in order to avoid adverse public relations and the economic burdens imposed by such curtailments) is a reliability risk itself. The impacts of uncontrolled outages are far more severe than controlled or contained area loss of load.”
      Rolling outages are the grid managers’ way of dealing with a system under stress where load exceeds generation. However, it is a last resort and invariably many of the reserves have already been used before it. That means if a second event happens, say a line tripping, then the frequency starts to drop. The rate of change of frequency (RoCoF) is determined by the inbalance and grid inertia. It needs to be slow to allow protection relays to both sense the drop and initiate a trip, then actually open. If the RoCoF is too great, then the frequency will drop too low and the grid cascade to blackout as the generator protection relays trip. This was the South Australian issue.
      So rolling outages are a harbinger of reliability issues.

  3. You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink it. There is no chance California will learn as they are driven by ideology, as opposed to pragmatism.

  4. A major issue would seem to be that government and public planning and policy is only one aspect of the discourse. Private enterprise including utilities and consumers of power such as automobiles, housing, entertainment all act independently of proposed government policy and regulation to a large extent.

    Thus, government does not engage in a true planning process, it is forced to engage in a politicized posture to counter the non-universal stances of private parties who seek to manipulate usage and regulations for their own purposes. The type of balanced, fair, responsible planning espoused by Planning Engineer would require the moderation of advertising and lobbying campaigns, so that government’s main duty would be realistic planning, without the burden of fighting off corporate biases. Such a change would be welcome, but unlikely in the foreseeable future.

    • You’re saying politics is broke. But that is not laid at the feet of fossil fuels. That polticis is broke brought us the amount of Green energy that is causing the problem.

      • “That politics is broke brought us the amount of Green energy that is causing the problem.”

        IMO, Green energy is a byproduct of the problem and not the root cause. It is propagated due to a financial system which has minimal consequences for over/misspending. Governments don’t have to financial sense due to a federal/worldwide monetary system that allows printing of money by major countries with little consequence.

        The current situation cannot last indefinitely. I’m not sure if I hope to live long enough to see the crash or not, but it is surely coming.

  5. If a bureaucrat or politician is honest about green intermitent energy, his/her career is over. Look what happened to Stuart Kirk, senior banker of HSBC, over some pretty mild climate remarks.


    • Kirk is neither a bureaucrat nor a politician, and he was suspended by a private banking institution – presumably for reasons dealing with their image and profitability, not a governmental policy per se.

      • If Green Energy Extremists hadn’t made global warming a policy issue, what the banker said wouldn’t have mattered.

      • And it’s the governments around the world that are pushing global warming as a catastrophe. You can’t ignore that in your analysis.

    • A bureaucrat, and worse, a politician, is never knowledgeable about power systems, let alone being honest about it.

      Worse, they never study management principles and always fall in a major pitfall, that of choosing subordinate managers that are a carbon copy of themselves.

      The article above makes it very clear where to go for good advice.

  6. Judith …

    > If California were more honest about the capabilities of “green” intermittent resources planning would be enhanced. However, being honest about the capabilities of “green” resources would have consequences that some would find unacceptable.

    What I find interesting is that the system that gave us reliable and fairly cheap electric power for +50 years, as you pointed out, somehow has been … corrupted … in California, and elsewhere. How much of it was an engineering faux pax? How much the result of a political policy decision? I think instead of spending all of our time on the responsibilities of either, we may find that the decision making mechanisms should merit some scrutiny.

    For example, I am a recent resident of Arizona. This past election cycle I found something called the Arizona Corporation Commission. https://www.azcc.gov/divisions

    Their mission is: “The Arizona Corporation Commission’s mission is to ensure safe, reliable, and affordable utility services; have railroad and pipeline systems that are operated and maintained in a safe manner; grow Arizona’s economy as we help local entrepreneurs achieve their dream of starting a business; modernize an efficient, effective, and responsive government agency; and protect Arizona citizens by enforcing an ethical securities marketplace.”

    Additionally: “Article 15 of the Arizona Constitution establishes the Arizona Corporation Commission. Only 7 states have constitutionally formed Commissions. Arizona is one of only 13 states with elected Commissioners. In the 37 other states, Commissioners are appointed by either the governor or the legislature.

    In most states, the Commission is known as the Public Service Commission or the Public Utility Commission. Our Commission, however, has responsibilities that go beyond traditional public utilities regulation. These additional roles include facilitating the incorporation of businesses and organizations, securities regulation and railroad/pipeline safety.

    By virtue of the Arizona Constitution, the Commissioners function in an Executive capacity, they adopt rules and regulations thereby functioning in a Legislative capacity, and they also act in a Judicial capacity sitting as a tribunal and making decisions in contested matters.

    The Commission is required by the Arizona Constitution to maintain its chief office in Phoenix and it is required by law to conduct monthly meetings.”

    These are the people who decide the components of our energy sources, transmission, etc.

    There were two seats open on the commission that I was able to vote for. I researched them as best I could and voted for the candidates who promised reliability as their primary concern.

    As I quoted from the website above, many other states have this type of body appointed. I’m not sure about California’s but it wouldn’t surprise me if it was an appointed body. Although, even if elected, this is the type of office that doesn’t get much notice. It’s the responsibility of the citizen/rate payer to do due diligence, as no one is going to do it for you. If there’s limited control over who serves and become the decision makers, we are then at the mercy of interests. Interests most probably not aligned with the average rate payer.

    • The California public utilities commission has five members, appointed by Governor. Our beloved Governor Gavin Newsom is famous for holding a fundraising party at a French Laundry restaurant, closed to prevent the spread of COVID by his own order.

  7. joe the non climate scientist

    Texas is currently generating approx 25% of its electricity from wind and solar. So at first glance, Texas only needs to increase wind and solar by 4x. The renewable experts would say to be safe, it should be increased 5x (for that extra cushion).

    However, when comparing the peak hourly demand 3-8pm during summer with comparing the electricity generated from wind and solar during that peak time, at it is obvious that wind and solar has to be increased by 10x-12x before considering the 2-4 day wind doldrums.

    the EIA . com website provides very good data for electric generation by source.
    Marc Jacobson’s 2022 claims they tested the 100% renewable grid in a model testing every 30 seconds. FWIW – he is a lunatic.

      • Joe - the non climate scientist

        “Worldwide, WWS reduces end use energy by 56.4%, private annual energy costs by 62.7% (from $17.8 to $6.6 trillion per year), and Social (private plus health plus climate) annual energy costs by 92.0% (from $83.2 to $6.6 trillion per year) at a present-value cost of $61.5 trillion,” Jacobson said in his most recent paper. “Thus, WWS requires less energy, costs less, and creates more jobs than business as usual.”

        The above statement is part of a press release for Jacobson’s 2022 updated renewable study for 145 countries.

        Notice the logic error ? – Shifting supply source to renewables is going to reduce demand?

    • thecliffclavenoffinance

      But there are weeks when wind will average less than 10% of nameplate capacity and hours when wind is less than 5% of nameplate capacity., such as just before the February 2021 blackouts when fossil fuel backup did not fi unction in extremely cold weather.

  8. Joe - the non climate scientist

    The key word from the planning engineer


    lets be honest about renewable energy

  9. Pingback: Will California "learn" to avoid peak blackouts? - News7g

  10. Some interesting numbers in this piece. The opinion is that all that the USA can do to reduce GHG emissions is basically for naught if China and India continue on their present course. And they will as it is pragmatic for them to do so.



    • thecliffclavenoffinance

      Under 1 billion people interested in Nut Zero
      US, EU, UK. Australia and New Zealand

      About 7 billion people not interested in Nut Zero
      China, India, Russia and every undeveloped nation
      Many will pretend to be interested hoping to get money but that is fictional interest.

      Nut Zero can not reduce the atmospheric CO2 level even if the
      1 billion population nations succeed, which they will not, because Nut Zero is not feasible and not affordable.

  11. One of the more amusing aspects of the climate wars is how “skeptics” are so convinced that libruls are a buncha chicken-little “alarmists” running around, worrying about dire scenarios:

    Republicans are more likely than Democrats to believe nearly all of the scenarios asked about are likely within the next 10 years. Two-thirds of Republicans (65%) believe that total economic collapse is at least somewhat likely, compared to only 38% of Democrats. Around half of Republicans (48%) say it’s likely that the government will confiscate citizens’ firearms; only 17% of Democrats say this. Republicans are also more likely than Democrats to believe there will be a total breakdown of law and order (49% vs. 31%) and that the U.S. will be invaded by a foreign country (41% vs. 24%).

    You can’t beat the “skept-o-sphere” for the sheer joy of unintentional irony.


    • Joshua …


      And these are sanitized images for stock sale. :-) My favorite has a photo of a polar bear, whose numbers have exploded over the past 20 years.

      • Bill –

        Have you built your bunker yet? Steel-reinforced concrete I assume?

      • Joshua …

        Want me to save a place for you? I do know you’re picky about what you eat.

        And don’t worry, we’ll take care of you from marauding MAGA monsters. The librul ones, too.

    • Yes, it’s hard to figure out why right-leaning people might feel like things are falling apart. This list is since 2017. It’s gotten longer since.

      Here Are All The Left-Wing Violent Protests Over The Past Several Years


    • J

      One side lives in Utopia. The other side sees threats from the real world.

      As an example, let’s look at the Utopian view versus the reality view of the Budget. By 2027 Biden’s tax on the rich increases revenue from millionaires by only $2 billion over last year. By 2027, spending on Social Security and Medicare goes up by $1 trillion over last year.

      Guess which side is doing their best Alfred E Neuman impersonation by saying “What, me worry?” and which side is saying we have a problem.


      • I get it kid.

        The world’s coming to an end, but maybe we can fix it if we just get rid of all those librul alarmists.

    • But the survey also found that a high percentage of Portlanders have similar concerns in their own neighborhoods. A majority of resident from all demographic groups report people living in tents, cars and RVs in their neighborhoods.

      Nearly half — 48% — do not feel safe walking alone at night. Of those who feel unsafe, 78% fear being physically assaulted, 71% fear being confronted by people with mental health and drug issues, and 62% fear gun violence.

      “Measuring the extent of the concerns is important for public policy decisions. The percent of people who do not feel safe in their own neighborhoods is significant,” said DHM Research political director John Horvick.


    • Libruls are a buncha chicken-little “alarmists” running around, causing problems and then trying to fix them.
      We were right about the subject of PE’s post. It took everyone 10 years to admit it. It’s physics. Long carbon chains can do X. Solar panels cannot do X in any comparable way. Long carbon chains can make nice phased electricity easily. Solar panels cannot.
      As Einstein said: It is easier for a solar panel to go through the eye of a needle than for crap renwables to provide cheap reliable electricity.

      • > We were right about the subject of PE’s post.

        Like you were right about Covid. Except when you were wrong. Which was pretty much always. But other than when you were wrong, which was pretty much always, you were right.

      • Joshua
        Be careful writing about covid. You were WRONG about lock downs, forced mask wearing as well as the effectiveness of vaccines.

      • Rob –

        > You were WRONG

        You’re insufficiently careful when writing about COVID . I wasn’t wrong about NPIs, masks, or vaccines.

        But do go ahead and waste your time trying to find examples of where is was wrong, if you wish.

        Contrarywiss, finding examples of where Ragnar was wrong would be like shooting fiah in a barrel.

  12. It’s all a matter of perspective and priority. The liberal folks in Sacramento believe that there is a cataclysmic climate change ahead without dramatic and immediate reductions in emissions. While burying their heads in the sand regarding the 40% of global emissions by Russia, China and India, and their self-serving approach to providing themselves with fossil energy, particularly coal, they want to show that they are contributing in their small way (like showing the flag on July 4th). And they regard that as more important than preventing fires, providing adequate water supply, and providing adequate power, and they are willing allow these commodities to fall short so long as they relentlessly pursue their agenda for renewables and EVs. In their priority scheme they neglect fire, water, and power as subservient to the greater goal of reducing the less than 1% of global emissions from the state. This is the same state government that for the last 30 years has shown a callous disregard for serving the public via the DMV with long lines winding around the block. This state provided a haven for all the illegal immigrants that could sneak past the fed; then faced a vicious housing shortage. (living in CA last 43 years)

    • Not to mention Southern Cal buying some of their power from Mexico. Talk about a threat to reliability!

    • Liberal people in CA attribute any and all adverse weather to human caused climate change. It is marketing genius and is proving effective in persuading the ignorant masses.

  13. There’s really no way to “learn” to avoid blackouts when using the current green energy model. In Jurassic Park, the skeptical scientiest character describes how “chaos” theory works. Weather is chaotic, meaning worst case scenario there could be no sun and no wind for days. The only way to completely prevent rolling blackouts is to make sure that you “diversify” the energy supply by including more predictable supplies which can reliably produce “on demand” energy. These include modern, clean coal techniques and nuclear. ONE nuclear power plant strategically placed in CA could help eliminate these problems. Nuclear has a small footprint for land area, and actually produces less waste than ANY of the other methods, including solar and wind. However, given the state of mis-management and bad politics that exists in CA right now, I dont’ see the situation getting better. Poor planning and lack of foresight will continue to plague the state until everyone except the ultra wealthy are driven out. See my blog about energy here https://xthehype.wordpress.com/2021/07/27/a-look-at-sustainable-energy/

  14. Nice to read something by a power system engineer about power systems for a change. I would have liked some comments on the impact on system stability with the increase of the amount of asynchronous generation from renewable sources.

    • Aplanningengineer

      Thanks. There are some embedded links to previous postings with comments on such topics including these: https://judithcurry.com/2015/05/07/transmission-planning-wind-and-solar/

      • I also have a question. Do deployed grid batteries provide in synch electricity or do they provide the unsynched kind?

      • Aplanningengineer

        Ragnar – same as solar or wind, All energy supplied to the grid must be in synch. It can be in synch one of two ways. One is if the source rotates with the grid directly. Coal, nuclear, hydro gas do that and provide inertia. These units speed up or slow down some as grid conditions change. This is what is meant by a synchronous resource, Wind rotates but not in synchronism with the grid, the power from wind is converted like the power from solar and batteries to match the waveform of the system. This is done through electro mic emulation, generation that goes from a dc form and is electronically changed is called asynchronous,

      • Aplanningengineer

        Pardon the typo, done through electronic emulation.

    • You can search this site for Planning Engineer. I do sometimes when I am trying to prove a point to someone. Rotating inertia. Another thing wind and solar can’t do without adding synthetic inertia which has a cost that should attributed to wind and solar.

  15. California’s in the process of banning natural gas in all new homes.

    • Yep, and then leave them without an alternative source of energy to cook, heat their water and heat their homes when the power system fails, and IT WILL FAIL.

    • concur with Wagathon and liberator
      “California’s in the process of banning natural gas in all new homes.”

      “Yep, and then leave them without an alternative source of energy to cook, heat their water and heat their homes when the power system fails, and IT WILL FAIL.”

      Never put all your eggs in one basket – thousand of examples throughout history of catastrophic failure when putting all your eggs in one basket.

      Prime example – Feb 2021 – Texas Freeze. Electric generation from fossil fuels lost 40% production for approx 18 hours and approx 20% for another 20 hours.

      At the same time wind and solar lost 70% -90% of electric generation for 7 days – That was 7 days across the north american continent

      • No one is in charge of creating an “engineered energy transition” or any energy policy. The Regulating Bureaucrats only have Decarbonization in mind, not a suitable replacement for what we depend on. Absurd is too gentle of a word to describe U.S. Energy (Not) Policy

      • thecliffclavenoffinance

        “Prime example – Feb 2021 – Texas Freeze. Electric generation from fossil fuels lost 40% production for approx 18 hours and approx 20% for another 20 hours.

        At the same time wind and solar lost 70% -90% of electric generation for 7 days – That was 7 days across the north american continent”

        Fossil fuels should not have lost any production if they were designed to operate in very cold weather. But they were not.

        Solar power and wind provide power only when wind and sun are available. There are periods when TEXAS HAS VERY LITTLE WIND, as in the hours before the blackouts. During that month ERCOT had a low forecast of 6% of wind nameplate capacity for one week. The actual low output week was 4% of capacity thanks to low winds and icing on half the windmill blades. It was ERCOT’s responsibility to have fossil fuel backup that worked in very cold weather. That backup was not available in very cold weather. That was the entire problem.

        Solar and wind power are highly variable. They did not lose 70% to 90% of nameplate capacity — their output always varies with the wind and sun — which is why they require 100% fossil fuel backup that works in extremely cold weather. The highly variable output is why electric grids lose reliability as the percentage of solar and wind energy increases.

        Texas had about half the national average of spare fossil fuel capacity and very low capacity interconnectors with other grids. Just the opposite of what Texas needed with so many windmills.

        ERCOT did everything wrong after the February 2011 rolling blackouts that affected 3.2 million Texans … which happened with very little wind capacity — it was a cold weather problem.

        February 2021 cold weather was colder, and the cold weather lasted longer, than in February 2011
        Texas still has the cold weather problem along with a new hot weather capacity problem. ERCOT does everything wrong.

      • ‘Let’s come right out and say it,’ says Joseph Sternberg (WSJ), ‘Anyone who still thinks climate change is a greater threat than climate policy to financial stability deserves to be exiled to a peat-burning yurt in the wilderness.’


      • Joe - the non climate scientist

        Cliff’s comment – “NONSENSE
        Fossil fuels should not have lost any production if they were designed to operate in very cold weather. But they were not.”

        Two separate issues

        A) you are correct that fossil fuels should not have lost production. That was the tactical error.

        B) Wind and Solar at the same time lost 70%-90% of production. YEs everyone predicted that would happen. What that shows is the renewables are not the solution. The failure of wind and solar to produce for 7-9 days was both a tactical error and a strategic error.

        renewable advocates try to defend renewables failure by noting that it was expected. That further demonstrates that they know renewables are a total catastrophic failure waiting to happen.

  16. Planning Engineeer says:

    “To accommodate such uncertainty the choices are to: 1) increase grid costs and infrastructure, 2) limit the operational flexibility of the grid, 3) increase generation costs through backup generation resources or 4) live with increased risks and degraded reliability.”

    However, there is fifth option, which is the option we should take. It is:

    Replace renewables and coal fired power stations with small modular nuclear reactors. Maintain some gas power plants and some storage to meet peak power demand.

    • Aplanningengineer

      Small nuclear could provide a lot of benefits and should work well if politics and over regulation could be kept at bay. Sometimes it seems like the answer that can’t be used, just because. While it might be great for society as a whole, I would be wary of recommending investment in nuclear when regulatory and political authorities can subvert the project.

      • If you avoid any investment where government might step in and ruin it, you will have to put your money under the mattress. Even then, the government can always outlaw paper. money.

      • PE …

        I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss nuclear due to regulatory/political concerns just yet. NuScale and Terra Power are just two examples of large amounts of capital being directed to nuclear. Big capital always means big lobbying. And this is a unique time period where the existing fuels (fossil, hydro, old nuclear) that brought us a bounty of energy are being opposed on many fronts. That opposition has brought us to a point of potential breakdown, as you expressed.

        There are many opinions on here as to who makes up the ‘opposition’ to not only nuclear but fossil fuels. For myself, I just see a situation ripe for big capital to take advantage. Will Bill Gates win with Terra Power (and other nuclear), or will Warren Buffet win betting on Occidental Petroleum (and a resurgence of fossil fuels)? ESG investing Blackrock is aligned with the former. All are positioning themselves for an expected frustration of the populace, which usually means an abrupt turn of support for those seemingly with ‘the answer’. The next two election cycles will have much impact as they will be regarded as a register of energy frustration.

        I enjoyed your piece. Thanks.

      • Aplanningengineer

        Don’t mean to be dismissing nuclear. I don’t say much more about it usually than that it works fine. As a committed national policy, I would support wholeheartedly. As a practical choice for generating entities – it more than most anything else tends to get over regulated to its great detriment. I encourage everyone to oppose over regulation of nuclear. It beats most others resources down when it comes to safety, yet greater and greater safety demands are imposed upon it. There is a collective paranoia that is hard to get past. (Hope we do.). In my experience those who avoided entanglement with nuclear projects were pleased and those who became part of nuclear projects typically regretted it. It should be practical – I don’t know if the world will let it be.

      • PE,
        Enjoyed your analysis and look forward to future essays. BTW, nuclear power plants need a small army of armed security people on duty 24/7/365. Not something renewable energy power sources have to deal with. Then there is always the chance of a deranged employee sabotaging operations to cause a meltdown. Do pro-nuclear supporters ever breakout that cost item on their LCOE projections?

      • Joe - the non climate scientist

        jacksmith4tx | September 13, 2022 at 2:24 pm |
        “Do pro-nuclear supporters ever breakout that cost item on their LCOE projections?”

        Do the pro-renewable advocates ever breakout the costs the fossil fuel generators have to cover to keep the grid reliable due to the use of renewables?

      • Joe,
        Yes they do. They call them grid scale batteries and are widely available as a option on most new RE projects. They are not very cheap but they are very fast and flexible with both voltage and frequency. Sometimes they catch fire depending on the technology used. The silver bullet is seasonal storage, but the tech isn’t there yet.

      • Jack, fossil fuels already have Era scoped storage.

      • PE … Thanks for your reply.

        My use of dismiss was a poor choice of words, as I didn’t mean you in particular, but the society in general. I agree with your description as to why it has not been used more. So, I was just saying that once big capital gets behind it, which it has, and the particular situation we are in with reliability of renewables and the hostility to fossil fuels, there seems to be an opening for small reactors to make an entrance. If the situation becomes worse for reliability, which I believe it will, that will only help those who wish to introduce the small reactors.

        Personally, I would use the NG we have, even some coal, and move more slowly, yet deliberately, to get back to the old standard of reliability while introducing new technology, properly vetted.

      • Joe - the non climate scientist

        Jack – you missed the question

        Do the renewable advocates ever include the costs of maintaining the reliability of renewables in the LCOE computation. Ie the extra costs of transmission, back up batteries, back up fossil fuel costs. All those extra costs that are incurred so that renewables can power the grid some of the time.

        those of us in the cost accounting world like to compare all the costs. LCOE is a metric that is excessively deceptive.

      • Jack:
        “They call them grid scale batteries and are widely available as a option on most new RE projects.”
        But batteries of RE projects are not substantial or material in what they can contribute and will contribute for the next 5 years.
        This will close to double the renewables in cost. And batteries will have to be replaced every 15 years. To be a Big Boy power generator, to sit at the adults table, solar and wind need to double their price when you include some contribution of grid scale batteries. Batteries suffer from the density problem. To pack enough power into them, you risk them catching on fire. Seasonal storage is unsolvable for 25 years. Batteries are pretty close to being no there there.

      • Relatively small battery installations regulate voltages across grids over short periods when supply is abruptly lost – time enough for slower response sources to spin up. In that context they pay for themselves.

      • Ragnaar,
        They just installed a big one not far from me: Only took a little over a year to build it.
        I will be watching to see how it performs and when it will recover the cost. Rember ERCOT is a demand market so this is big enough to arbitrage supply and demand almost instantly.
        Tesla home batteries are also doing virtual power plants in TX & CA which is sort of a distributed grid-scale battery. In a few years V2G will start to shift the demand curve and time-of-use to better match supply to load.
        Technology is pointing toward grid-agnostic microgrids farther down the road IMO.

      • Joe - the non climate scientist

        jack – not sure that de cordova 260mw battery storage system is all that beneficial

        1 the 260mw is only good for approx 1 hour before requiring recharging.
        2) it does help considerably daily for very short periods to be charged up with demand is low and the used to supply the grid later in the day when demand is high. From that point, the battery storage is very usefull
        3) however, the battery storage is only good for approximately one hour.
        4) the footprint for the 260mw is approx 5 acres. to cover a 4 day period of little or no wind, there would have to be approx 150-200 square miles for sufficient storage to last those 4 days in Ercot grid.

      • Joe,
        It has on-site gas turbines that take over before the battery is drained. Think of it more as a hybrid like my Chevy Volt. There are no seasonal grid-scale storage solutions except hydro and maybe compressed gas.

        One solution I really hope works, ultra-deep geothermal.
        Something like this could make most other variable sources obsolete and probably close to zero pollution.

      • Ellison:
        I understand existing grid batteries. To smooth out whatever. Storage of any substance hardly exists as a percentage of all electricity consumed. Middle of the day storage of solar solves my problem. I’ll save money later in the day when prices are higher. But on a cloudy day, the grid has a bigger problem. Because my demand is added when it wasn’t there before. It requires fossil fuels to be run more sporadically. So batteries used this way, exploit the system and make things worse. The reason this problem exists is because of structural problems of the system. Look up demand charges. Customers that show up once in awhile and demand energy should be charged more. Xcel charges my non-profit park 7 times the normal charge. Why? Because we hit 4 ballfields field lights and draw as much as 100 homes for 2 or 3 hours. We do this in the Summer. Then we draw less than 1 home for at least 8 months. Their pricing is rational and I cannot argue against it. We are a terrible customer. Perhaps we should close the park and put up a solar farm and get that government money while the getting is good. We are right on substantial line near where another solar farm was proposed. That was shot down though thankfully. You can bet I commented on that proposal.

      • Jack:
        “Technology is pointing toward grid-agnostic microgrids farther down the road IMO.”
        Policy is destroying the grid. Of course microgrids will pop up as people leave the mess. Bad policy is bad policy and you can’t conjure up energy out of nowhere. We are dealing with such a basic thing the B.S. cannot sustain itself. And what has value which is fossil fuels, cannot be destroyed. They will smuggle it in and across state borders. The rich will be fine. The poor, not so much. The microgrids. It will be the rich leading that I am sure.

      • There are no grid scale battery storage installations. But there are hydro, geothermal, biomass and gas peaking etc. sources to balance supply in a mixed system. These other sources profit most by selling electricity on the spot market when prices are highest. One day you may understand but not until you drop the motivated reasoning.

      • Ellison:
        I took some days off. Spent the time arguing on Judith’s Twitter comments.
        “These other sources profit most by selling electricity on the spot market when prices are highest.”
        I see that there are rational opportunites to fill the demand. But those exist for the most part because of wind and solar. These middle men fill the gaps. But this is limited mostly to daily demand and weather variability. In winter in MN these same middle men cannot make up for all the missing solar. The sun is low and up for a shorter time. Yes I am in favor of smoothing out daily demand. But the problem is seasonal storage or if not that, taking realiable systems offline a lot of the time which hurts them. As they have less revenue to cover their overhead. Cut a grocery stores days open in half. They’ll go out of business. Because they are running the freezers same as before. Paying the same financing costs. Plowing the parking lot just as often. All the Big Boy generators have to give financial participation trophies to wind and solar. And people pretend they can’t see it or they don’t understand it. These problems will be reflected in prices. You can only hide this so long. You can’t hide Mao’s backyard pig iron forever. Which likely contributed to the Great Chinese Famine. I am not predicting famine but grain commodity prices? Corn is almost $7 a bushel.

      • Joe - the non climate scientist

        JackTexas comment – “Joe,”
        “It has on-site gas turbines that take over before the battery is drained. Think of it more as a hybrid like my Chevy Volt. There are no seasonal grid-scale storage solutions except hydro and maybe compressed gas.”

        Jack I agree with you comment – for clarification, the De Cordova backup batteries are designed to moderate the daily fluctuations in demand ( recharge at night to be used later in the afternoon. Such that the gas generation doesnt have such wide swings in electric generation during the day.

        My point is that those backup batteries have little effectiveness for a typical 2-4 day outage of wind or solar output, since there capacity is only rated for 260mw for an hour which is Cordova gas generating capacity for an hour.

        The second point is that the land footprint for ercot to have backup electric power storage is appox 150+200 square miles.

        The “unwise folks ” at Skeptical science” are bragging about a cost study showing 100% renewables are massively cheaper. That study included the costs of a 1 month back up power storage system with low costs. Somehow, that study fails to note that Texas/Ercot would require a land footprint of nearly 700-800 square miles which is approximately 3/5’s to 2/3 the size of the dfw metroplex .

        So if you comment is that there are no grid scale storage available, now or in the foreseeable future, then we are in agreement

      • Geothermal, biogas, hydro, wind and solar all play well together reducing the need for very expensive gas peaking power.

      • Yet again Robert you are displaying your lack of any practical knowledge about electricity generation and transmission. Other than Geysers, which is a special case and already tapped out, geothermal can’t reduce the requirements for GTs’ peaking power. They don’t load follow, especially if the resource is low enthalpy fluid, and they don’t take kindly to stop start conditions. Geothermal is in the same category as nukes. Expensive capital cost, low fuel cost and very high and reliable capacity factors.

    • In my extensive experience with advanced technologies – people who call themselves planning engineers don’t have a technical bent. Chris is one of these.

  17. I am not a fan of renewables. They are too low density energy sources to be a realistic way to meet future energy demands. But the main reason is they do not progress mankind. For that we need nuclear power – small modular, either fusion or thorium fission.

    That said, and given we already have quite a lot of solar and wind capacity now, a lot of it going to waste or not producing enough when we need it, is the matter of storage, and I’ve recently been made aware of ammonia as a form of hydrogen storage. It’s not without its issues (obviously), not least of which is that it is inefficient when recovering the energy compared to pure hydrogen.

    I would be very interested in an informed take on it with this article as a starter: https://www.thechemicalengineer.com/features/h2-and-nh3-the-perfect-marriage-in-a-carbon-free-society/

  18. The grid modeling software in use today cannot accurately model increasing renewables. New software would reveal the problems. We are flying blind into the wall.

  19. Not only California, the entire U.S. does not have an “Energy Policy” per se. What we have is a Decarbonization Policy that also is not favorable to nuclear. The policies are promulgated by Green Ideologues such as John Kerry, Gina McCarthy, John Podesta and others that know very little about energy and electricity generation. Over 102,600 MW of reliable, Dispatchable coal and nuclear plants have been shut down since 2010. The last major (600 MW+) clean coal plants built were about 2012 (Turk in Arkansas and Longview in WVA), Since then numerous reliable nuclear units were also shut down. Three Mile Island, Indian Point, Palisades and a few more. It is insane that the strongest country in the world, the country that developed commercial nuclear and many systems for cleaning coal plant flue gases has evolved to such a state of ineptitude in applying “Climate Policy” with what appears to me to be absolutely no understanding of electricity generation fundamentals. Such as Dispatchability and the need for “Spinning Reserves”. We have over 1100 GW of total installed generation (by nameplate) and continue down the same foolish path as Germany and the UK on Decarbonization. Yes, Small Modular Reactors are a good idea. First one expected to be in operation by NuScale is about 2029-2030. That will be less than 100 MW in capacity. Take the 1300 MW Zimmer coal plant as an example. Shut down in May of this year. The biggest SMR being talked about is 300 MW. It would take five SMR’s on the Zimmer site (near Cincinatti on Ohio River) to replace the Dispatchable coal generation of this once fine example of clean power generation from America’s Treasure of Energy, coal. Here are my thoughts: : https://dickstormprobizblog.org/2022/07/13/no-energyno-power-extremists-want-more-than-clean-air/(opens in a new tab)

  20. Here is the link I tried to include above: https://dickstormprobizblog.org

  21. UK-Weather Lass

    A welcome piece from Planning Engineer exposing the absence of responsibility for the actions taken by those responsible for getting energy policy fit for purpose (i.e a reliable supply of energy on demand at all times) because they will not honestly state that they know not what they are doing.

    Who are the real deniers in all this brouhaha?

  22. If you need 100% Pure and Natural Essential Oils in India at an affordable price. we have so many oils used in food and beverages. it’s used in wellness and beauty products for better health.


  23. California’s fight against global warming is on a collision course with its rickety grid. The state aims to end net greenhouse gas emissions by 2045, forcing many things that burn fossil fuels — particularly vehicles, factories and buildings — to switch to electricity. And yet California, the world’s fifth-largest economy, struggles to keep the lights on during its increasingly severe heat waves.

    The state legislature recently voted to keep California’s last nuclear plant open past its planned 2025 retirement after projections showed years of tight power supplies to come. But even with the plant running, power demand will stretch the limits of supply — and that’s before millions of electric vehicles plug into the grid.


  24. Planning for grid reliability is a federal function but NERC is not doing it properly.



    There are 93 NERC Reliability Standards that have been approved by FERC. None of them has anything to do with controlling the adverse impact of renewables upon reliability.

  25. Divided responsibility is a big problem. Reliability planning is a federal function, by NERC under FERC. But generation is up to the states. In between we have the regional ISOs running the grid. No one is in charge of reliability.

    • Part of this problem is that NERC is a quasi-regulatory corporation run by the utilities that are making a fortune replacing reliable fossil and nuclear plants with unreliable wind and solar generation. These utilities are not penalized for unreliability. The incentives are truly screwed up.

      • Aplanningengineer

        NERC was nice run (and owned) by the utilities. Now it calls the shots. It enforces compliance with its reliability standards and entities can be fined millions a day for non-compliance. They have a bit of discretion with penalties. Nobody wants to incite NERCs ire so, input and information shared with NERC is moderated from what might have been the case in he past. FERC however does have influence with NERC. They are big on access to all and fostering an environment which supports open competition. (So far the benefits of open competition as regards cost and reliability have been underwhelming. ) It used to bother the hell out of me when the old NERC CEO would insist that NERC was only concerned with reliability not cost. We knew renewables were threatening reliability but his fall back was that for extra $$s special devices could (theoretically) ensure reliability. He insisted we develop good standards without concern for whether they could be economically met by renewables or not. But somehow responsibility did not accrue to the renewables for the shortcomings they created.

      • The large and obvious extra costs of wind and solar along many dimensions of the economy world wide should be included in the LCOE for those sources. In fact, given the economic damage being done by “green” policy in the here and now, one might even classify these damages as “externalities.”

      • thecliffclavenoffinance

        Utilities sell electricity at their cost of production and make profits on their investments. The incentives are to build more wind and solar power infrastructure. If there is a blackout, they were not making a profit on the electricity sale anyway — because the electricity was being provided at cost. There are a few for-profit utilities that are exceptions, but not many,

  26. Fragmented utility grids are slowing down the transition to more grid resilience. Interesting graphics of the structure of the US grid.
    “In July’s task force meeting, Chairman Glick reflected on the Texas power outage caused by winter storm Uri and how increased transmission capacity can provide resilience benefits (that is, if ERCOT had more capacity to bring in power from other regions, it could have kept the lights on).”

    • This is another push for the “super grid.” It’s just one more way “green” energy will be more expensive and at the end of the day won’t work anyway.

    • Joe - the non climate scientist

      Jack – the ability to transfer power between grids would have reduced the damage to texas/ercot, though not by nearly as much as believed, The 3 other grids were also near capacity and/or collapse. So there wasnt much space capacity available to transfer.

      The second point which has been mentioned numerous times was the tactical failure of fossil electric generation. What the green advocates ignore is that wind and solar had both a tactical failure for 7-8 days and are a strategic failure.

      • Lets not overlook the grid operators like ERCOT who could have avoided many of those days-long blackouts which caused hundreds of deaths and billions in property damages because they completely failed to leverage their smart meter network. Every meter could be remotely switched off/on on a 4-6 hour schedule and control demand on a granular and dynamic level. It didn’t have to be this bad.

        PS: I have grid tied solar but I never lost the grid so I was actually exporting electricity on 2 days. I was lucky I live near critical infrastructure (water tower covered with cell phone antennas).

      • Joe - the non epidemiologist

        jack – smart meters would have mitigated some of the damage, but you have to remember the demand was extremely high. in the grand scheme, the smart meters could only have spread the damage more evenly across the state, The total demand would not have been reduced.

        How much electricity did you export to the grid from 1am Feb 15th through morning of Feb 17th, the two most critical days

      • joe> “but you have to remember the demand was extremely high”
        In fact it was impossibly high given the weather conditions of minus zero degrees for days. If they could have cycled individual meters on/off every 4 hours it could have prevented a lot of frozen pipes and dead people.

        Here is a graph of my system during the storm:

  27. ERCOT is a separate interconnection so the lack of transfer capacity is deliberate. Not sure it would have helped as surrounding states were also hit hard so likely had no spare juice.

    In fact this sounds like the fallacy that the wind is always blowing somewhere. Low wind highs are almost continental in scale. And night is very widespread.

    CA already imports about a third of its juice, from as far away as Oregon and North Dakota. Everyone is replacing fossil with renewables so the shortages are everywhere. More interconnection is a waste of money.

    • The government solution to intermittent renewqbles is to extend the Grid with more transmission lines from other areas, such as Texas getting more power from neighboring states. My view of increased interconnection is that it just buys time until the entire 48 states are into an energy crisis together as Texas & California are now in risky reliability and Hawaii (a true coal free energy island) is with electricity costs approaching $0.30/kWh. It is absolutely nuts that so many otherwise smart people put making money over doing what is best for America.

      • From my limited knowledge of grid theory. I believe there is a practical size limit to grids. This is because of the harmonics and control issues. The limit is from long transmission lines – Ferranti effect and the like. Interconnectors and the like cause giant spring washers. If is correct, then the supergrid is yet again politicians believing legislature can over-ride the laws of physics.

      • The Ferrenti effect is routinely compensated for in distribution lines greater than 50km.

        What’s nuts is giant spring washers.

      • Chris, probably long distance connections would be DC, not AC. So frequency isn’t a consideration except at the delivery point. This doesn’t mean a “super” grid is a good idea, it isn’t. The best idea is to burn all the fossil fuels needed to ensure a solid electricity supply while we build out nuclear. We really need to stop wasting money trying to make wind and solar work.

      • Long distance lines would probaly be DC, but DC lines are not synchronous and so provide no system inertia. They just transmit energy. Which is valuable, but you also need the stability that inertia provides.

      • Rotational inertia is provided by the angular momentum of spinning generators. It can be replaced if there is power in the system to stabilise line voltage. And HVDC lines are uncommon because one then needs 2 expensive converters to work with steam turbines.

      • Inertia is a physical state of being, and it cannot be provided synthetically. It carries the system through the transient until steady state power levels can be increased. It manifests as speed droop. A form of negative feedback that maintains stability…just as negative feedback creates stability in any control system.

        The crossover point for the economics of DC transmission lines is about 600 miles long last I knew.

      • HVDC lines are feasible – it may happen in the right conditions.

        Frequency regulation with renewables can be 50 times faster than the rotational inertia response.


      • AC-DC-AC ties are already in place between the major grid divisions in the US. The DC part isolates frequency difference between the two sub-grids.

      • Nothing can be 50 times faster than instantaneous. By instantaneous I don’t mean really really fast, I mean existing on the system at time zero when the transient begins. The NREL “spin” is discussing the ability to respond to changes in load via frequency response services. This is important but it is not the same thing as inertia.

      • Which part of HVDC has advantages that may make the cost worthwhile in some circumstances don’t you understand? In Europe they are mostly underwater. AC cables are mostly overhead because that’s cheap.

        But that has nought to do with grid frequency management for which there are a number of techniques. Or indeed the post itself.

      • Nothing in my response is inconsistent with the NREL video. NREL is just spinning the issue to imply there is no issue. Listen to the end of the video they acknowledge there is one.

        Not sure what your on about with HVDC power lines. AC is cheaper over short distances. Under ground or under water lines increases line capicitance and so increases the voltage rise caused by the F effect in AC lines.

      • You are wrong again Doug. Indeed wildly off the mark.

      • ‘Long distance lines would probably be DC, but DC lines are not synchronous and so provide no system inertia. They just transmit energy. Which is valuable, but you also need the stability that inertia provides.’

        It is first of all not inevitable that long cables will be HVDC. But the point was that rotational inertia is a property of spinning turbines and not the grid of any type. And frequency regulation can be provided by other means. Indeed faster and more precisely. And frequency regulation using rotational inertia is far instantaneous. It may take seconds – but that’s an eternity. Electronic switching is much quicker. It has of course been measured.

        What the NREL said at the end of the video was that they don’t know what exactly will be needed with deeper penetration. Of course they don’t. This is new territory. Everyone is working on it. But the US is nowhere near a penetration of concern in that context.

        The transition to a 21st century energy system will happen with or without you. But you would do yourself a service by making some attempt to understand the detail.

      • You do not understand the basic mechanics of grid operation and limitations, do you Robert. To help your understanding of the real world, here is a simple explanation of spring washers – Note the name is in the title – Google can only go so far.

      • The Ferrenti effect happens on grids whatever the source of electrons are. It is only marginally relevant to diversifying energy sources.

      • Wrong again Robert – you are not having a very high strike rate are you. For long at times lightly loaded lines, to control destination voltages, the grid gets the synchronous generators on the ends to swing the VARs. And they do it for free, like the provision of inertia. You can’t do that for asynchronous generation.
        I gather you still don’t understand spring washers. You claimed you review a lot of documents. Nothing we have seen indicates you actually comprehend them.

    • You are right about the electric grid but it’s a whole different story with our natural gas network. Did you know that Mexico depends on our natural gas pipelines to supply up to 70% of Mexico’s gas fired electric generation?
      Why haven’t we told Mexico to stop all the illegal aliens crossing our border or we will cut them off? (hat tip to Putin). /s

      • Democrats don’t want illegal immigration to stop, that’s why, Jack.

      • It’s not democrats. What draws all those illegal aliens to the US? Jobs and wages. It’s why GOP controlled Texas doesn’t punish E-Verify employers. When was the last time you heard of a CEO put in jail for hiring illegals?

      • You are absolutely correct, jack. Just look at the Koch Bros. There’s a whole section of the Republican party that’s for open borders, and certainly the rest of the globalist agenda.

      • You are correct that the Chamber of Commerce wing of the Pubs is pro illegal immigration.

      • Be that as it may, CoC GOP like illegal immigration, the Democrats are in charge.

    • Joe - the non climate scientist

      David Wojick-“In fact this sounds like the fallacy that the wind is always blowing somewhere. Low wind highs are almost continental in scale.”

      Bingo! – the Feb 2021 freeze – Texas lost approx 70% of electric generation for 9 days of which it was a loss of approx 90% for 2 days. Most of the north american continent lost 70+% for 4 days.

      Absolutely no possibility of renewables overcoming that deficit in the middle of the winter even with battery back up

      • thecliffclavenoffinance

        Texas had contingency plans for wind output at 6% of nameplate capacity for one week in February 2021. Even with half the windmills with iced blades (NO BLADE HEATERS) they managed about4% of nameplate capacity for the week.
        That happened with wind sometimes.

        Wind might average 25% of nameplate capacity for three weeks and then you get a weak wind week. There is no logical reason why the low wind output could not have been backed up by fossil fuels. Except that fossil fuel plants and other Texas energy infrastructure could not handle the very cold weather

        Windmills operated as they were designed to
        Highly variable power output
        Why they are attacked to electric grids, where 99.9% reliability is the primary goal, is a mystery. Windmills belong in museums

      • Joe - the non climate scientist

        to follow up on Cliff’s point regarding the Feb 2021 freeze

        Fossil fuels can back up wind and solar (ha ha)
        but wind and solar can not and never will be able to back up fossil fuels.

        The greenies like to claim that the loss of wind was expected, therefore the fault was entirely fossil fuels error. Since wind did as expected, then wind is the solution.

        In reality, the Texas freeze demonstrated that wind & solar are not a viable solution

      • thecliffclavenoffinance

        Texas demonstrated the infamous
        Cliff Claven Iron Windmill Equation
        (Nobel Prize pending)

        One windmill + no wind = no electricity
        One bazillion windmills + no wind = no electricity.

        Texas had low windmill output for a week.
        That was a small part of their problem
        The big part of their problem was backup fossil fuel energy that did not function at extremely low temperatures. That was the same problem that caused the February 2011 rolling blackouts that affected 3.2 million Texans. With very little wind capacity at the time — about 1/8 the windmill nameplate capacity as in February 2021.

        And extreme cold weather problems will happen again in Texas because building lots of windmills from 2011 to 2021 was not the solution to the weatherization problem in 2011, which was basically ignored for ten years. The weather cooperated for 10 years until February 2021 — Texas was lucky for 10 years.
        Windmills without the optional blade heaters was another mistake/ ERCOT specializes in mistakes and financial incentives that favor windmills. Their interconnection capacity is very low. Their spare fossil fuel capacity is very low.

        ESCOT operates as if reliability risk is not important. They can’t be expected to solve problems with their policies. Now Texas has difficulty meeting electricity needs on hot summer days. In another decade with more population growth, there will be problems on some Spring and Fall days too.

        California, Texas, UK, Germany and Australia are all competing for the Golden Flashlight Prize, for the state or nation with the first serious blackouts from Nut Zero policies.

        There shoiuld be a betting contest in Las vegas — maybe there is?

        Windmills belong in museums and solar panels belong in tanning salons.

        US grid reliability is 99.9% and declining as unreliables increase. What a waste of money to make electric grids less reliable !

      • Joe - the non climate scientist

        following up on cliffs comment

        the eia . g ov website is an excellent source of info – It basically shows the impossibility of wind & solar being a viable solution


        go to the dashboard for electric generation by source
        Select the ercot grid and select any 30 day period during the summer of 2022

        1) the electric demand peaks in the 2-7pm time frame daily
        2) the wind generation is typically at a low point in that same period.
        3) solar generation is up during that time period, but doesnt quite / barely covers the lost generation from wind during that time period.
        4) the required generation from fossil fuels to make up the demand deficit is typically 7-12x the power generation from wind and solar.
        5) while ercot total generation from wind and solar is approx 30%-35%, which would indicate that wind and solar capacity only needs to be increased by 3x or 4x, the reality it that wind and solar would need to be increase by at least 12x to cover the average daily deficit without taking into account the frequent 3-4 days with virtually no wind.


      • ERCOT has a demand market pricing structure that privileges any producer with the lowest cost. What you want is a supply market where the utilities are REQUIRED to build capacity to cover the maximum demand regardless of the time of day or weather (excluding transmission). Seems to me the demand model (with 15min price auctions) would be the cheaper option, but you will lose some reliability.

  28. I keep waiting for the fissures to pop up in the global financial system because of this accelerated transformation in energy policy. It only took a failed short squeeze involving an obscure bank to create the Panic of 1907 with global ramifications. An Austrian bank’s insolvency in 1931 is associated by historians with the Great Depression. Well intended public policy on home ownership in 1995 and banking innovations on mortgage tranches and negative amortization on loans eventually led to the Great Recession of 2008-9

    The world is moving so fast in the energy arena I wonder if the financial system can keep up. Are bets being made now that eventually will make the leveraging in the mortgage arena of the early 2000s look like child play?

    “You don’t find out who’s swimming naked until the tide goes out.”

    Warren Buffett

  29. @ | September 13, 2022 at 12:23 pm trapped in moderation

  30. Planning Engineer,
    Do you know an experienced electrical engineer, MW scale power, who might be interested in working with me on a new/old solution to the curtailed electricity problem?

  31. Yes, it was, now verifiably, stoop id to discourage exploration, production, and use of fossil fuels while at the same time wasting money on wind and solar, and more useless grid to connect them to load centers hundreds of miles away. There are too many stoop id things to count when it comes to wind and solar.

    Oil prices will be pushed higher as demand outpaces supply and alternative energy sources such as natural gas and renewables fail to plug the gap, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co.

    Christyan Malek, the bank’s global head of energy strategy, reiterated his $150-a-barrel price forecast during an interview with Bloomberg TV on Tuesday.


  32. The energy we all take for granted is not a given, it’s there only because of technical expertise and the will to listen to it.
    The fact that solar-powered California faced rolling blackouts because it was unusually sunny should cause some people to pause and a media to investigate. The latter won’t happen, so the former wont either.

  33. Pingback: Will California “Learn” to Avoid Peak Rolling Blackouts? – Watts Up With That?

  34. Pingback: Will California “Learn” to Avoid Peak Rolling Blackouts? – Watts Up With That? - Lead Right News

  35. Pingback: Will California “Learn” to Avoid Peak Rolling Blackouts? – Watts Up With That? -

  36. Fundamental changes are rapidly changing an Earth system capable of extreme and rapid responses. So we can see the sense in moving to low carbon energy sources. Even before considering the security, price volatility and limited supply of fossil fuels.

    Wind and solar penetration even at Californian levels is not a reliability problem. Curtailment is a bigger problem – and a bigger opportunity in a diversified energy economy. But what normally happens when demand outstrips supply is that new supply is built. I suggest nuclear.

    ‘Consumer energy conservation played a large role in preventing rolling power outages, CAISO said on Twitter. The state urged consumers to reduce energy use between 4 p.m. and 10 p.m. by taking actions like setting thermostats to 78 degrees or higher if health permits, unplugging unused electronic devices, turning off unnecessary lights and avoiding the use of major appliances.’ https://www.pbs.org/newshour/nation/californias-electricity-demand-breaks-all-time-record-during-severe-heat-wave

    In the meantime I suppose the politically appointed management apologises for the inconvenience.

    • Robert – you continue to show your ignorance of how a grid works and the protection needed within it. When they are down at the bottom of the duck curve with little synchronous plant on, it takes very little for a grid collapse like South Australia had. Could be a cloud front going over a city, one of the nuke units or a heavily loaded line tripping.
      If that type of event occurs, they will be black before any curtailment starts.

    • Here is a reliability issue causing a blackout the went way further than the initial operator error. A cascade down like the one the blacked out NY

    • The topic was California – and it was not nearly cataclysmic. It was because demand outpaced supply on an unseasonably hot day. In a drought. But the moral outrage over wind and solar is palpable and risible.

      Replacing synchronous generation with precise battery voltage regulation or with synthetic synchronicity is not a difficult technical problem or prohibitively expensive. The expenses of additional power capacity kick in at much higher penetrations – I know that because I have read experts in the field over decades and keep an open mind. Unlike you.


      I think it’s contrarians being so wrong about so much for so long they need to hang on to something – however absurd it is.

      • Really Robert? As you seem to take your grid expertise seriously, where has synthetic inertia from batteries actually worked? We aren’t talking about models -as PE pointed out in an earlier post, models never predicted sub synchronous harmonics until after a couple of turbine shafts got broken. There are enough grid batteries out there to show whether or not they can stop frequency collapse before the tripping relays activate.

      • Chris,

        I can no longer say our PV system was installed on the highest load day experienced on the CA grid. The record stood for a long time (over 16 years). A recent evaluation of the CAISO market was posted that you may find of interest-

        Davis, Lucas. “How High Did California’s Electricity Prices Get?” Energy Institute Blog, UC Berkeley, September 12, 2022, https://energyathaas.wordpress.com/2022/09/12/how-high-did-californias-electricity-prices-get/

        Stresses on the distribution and transmission infrastructure in the Bay Area lead to a fair number of outages in PG&E’s service territory. CAISO updated there procedures recently to ensure stakeholder’s were aware of how to document outages-


        Provides guidelines to summarize and clarify the assignments for reporting significant events to the Department of Energy (DOE), the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), and the Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC).”

        Over 7000 customers in the South/East San Jose area lost power minutes before a flex alert was called last week. The preliminary cause of the outage was denoted as weather related. It will be interesting to see if the update(s) to WECC and NERC provide a bit more detail on the outage.

      • Batteries compensate for grid voltage changes more quickly and more reliably than rotational inertia.


      • Chris Morris,

        You have any links to the “broken turbine shafts”. Tks in advance.

        There is one experience here a couple of years back when in an electric storm as darkness fell, the long flashes tripped all the ELCB’s in my locality. Apparently it had to do with something related to solar panels. But I never got an answer.

      • melitamegalithic
        Here is one paper
        But a lot of it is just accumulated knowledge of grid and station engineers. That is where PE probably gained his info and his 2015/16 post alerted me to it.
        Changes were made to reduce the occurrence of it so it is now one of those things done without people knowing the history.

      • “But the moral outrage over wind and solar is palpable and risible.”

        What outrage, go ahead and run your toaster with it. Fine by me. To recap:
        Wind/solar work great, as long as you buy massive expensive batteries, which work great as long as connect your grid to the state next door, which works great as long as you build natural gas turbines or oil-fired generators to back up the first three things you can’t count on, which works fine as long as you accept rolling blackouts.
        Or you could do option 2 and have a real energy grid. That’s available too, both with or without CO2 emissions.
        But, sure, the objection to the first option just has to be “moral” and “risible.”

      • ‘It is viable and affordable to take wind and solar to about 30 percent of a power system…’ JC

        There are obviously many things you fail to understand.

  37. Solar is intermittent.

    Wind is spasmodic.

    Hydro depends on rainfall, and requires the green ideologues (NIMBY’s) to stop pestering the sites chosen for dam construction.

    Renewabubbles are not “firmed” (ie. backed up, avoid the weasel word) but rather provide unreliable backup to actual 24/7/365 power generation from coal, gas, oil, nuclear.

  38. Thanks for a great article. I have been following the situation in New York State as they try to implement a net zero transition. The New York Independent System Operator and the New York State Reliability Council have submitted comments that align with the findings of this analysis. I did a post today that described the Reliability Council comments. https://pragmaticenvironmentalistofnewyork.blog/2022/09/13/new-york-state-reliability-council-draft-scoping-plan-comments/

  39. Pingback: Will California “Learn” to Avoid Peak Rolling Blackouts, or are they doubling down on Stupid?on September 14, 2022 at 12:00 am - Always Bet On Black

  40. Pingback: Is California “Learning” to Avoid Outages During Peak Times? - Is it good? - News7g

  41. Pingback: Will California “Be taught” to Keep away from Peak Rolling Blackouts? – Watts Up With That? - news page

  42. About the worst that can happen in California if wind and solar output is variable is burning more natural gas in expensive peaking plants. Presuming they have exhausted geothermal, biomass, hydro or storage capacity.


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  46. Germany listened to the Green Energy Extremists. Then the built out wind and solar and eschewed local fossil fuel development. This is what they get for it.

    The German government may increase its stake in Uniper SE above 50% and is open to taking the historic step of fully nationalizing the country’s biggest gas importer to prevent a collapse of the energy system.

    Dusseldorf-based Uniper needs more help from the state after already tapping into a support package that could be worth as much as 20 billion euros ($20 billion), according to people familiar with the matter. A surge in natural-gas prices and Russian supply cuts have triggered millions in daily losses, prompting the government to step in with a rescue package in July which included a 30% stake.


  47. @ jim2 | September 14, 2022 at 7:40 am trapped in moderation

  48. This breathless article about solar energy mentions not at all the problems for it with grid integration, swallowing huge chunks of land whole, and the other issues we discuss every day here.

    Numbers on that scale are hard to comprehend. The solar boom of the past two decades has left the world with a cumulative 971GW of panels. The polysilicon sector is now betting on hitting something like that level of installations every year. Generating electricity 20% of the time (a fairly typical figure for solar), 940GW of connected panels would be sufficient to supply about 5.8% of the world’s current electricity demand, and then another 5.8% next year, and the next. That would be equivalent to adding the generation of the world’s entire fleet of 438 nuclear power plants — every 20 months.


  49. Pingback: Will California “Learn” to Avoid Peak Rolling Blackouts?on September 14, 2022 at 1:34 pm - Always Bet On Black

  50. As an aside … I thought this interesting. How far are we willing to go to assuage the supposedly coming climate catastrophe? Sauteed cricket anyone? NYC has a ready supply of cockroaches.


    • Bill –

      Personally, I don’t buy this.


      I don’t see a mechanism for how attributes like propensity to be disgusted would be distributed in association with political orientation. But I do think that the relationship between disgust and political orientation might plausibly be mediated by specific eliciters of disgust – In which case the question would be what’s up with some “conservatives” and insects?

      • Joshua …

        We agree, I don’t buy it either.

        As to specific elicitors of disgust, my mind has wondered what’s up with some liberals and hunting? Particularly if they’re meat eaters. So I can relate to your insect example.

        Revulsions are even cultural. For example, I wonder how many of those pushing insect cuisine would enjoy dog, or cat? I was given squirrel once for breakfast in a serving of eggs without my knowledge. I have to say it wasn’t bad.

        My grandmother knew I didn’t care for the heart, stomach and other entrails of the turkey at Thanksgiving, so she diced them up and put them in her stuffing, which I gorged myself on, only finding out the truth decades later. Growing up in the hills of rural Italy she certainly was from a different culture than I.

        So, I say allow those who want to eat insects to gorge themselves silly. But please don’t force it, particularly on peoples’ children. Unless, of course, the parents agree.

        And as for a sense of humor, there might be specific elicitors for that, too.

      • Bill –

        > . But please don’t force it, particularly on peoples’ children….

        Does this overlap with that article about how some “conservatives” are so prone towards alarmism?

        At any rate, maybe if you run out of food in your bunker, some insect-eating might come in handy?

    • Bogong moths and witchetty grubs – as in the Spectator photo – are traditional Australian fare. Crickets are not – and at these prices they are not likely to be.


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  52. Look at this map https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=46156#:~:text=Electricity%20generation%20exceeds%20electricity%20consumption,generation%20is%20traded%20among%20states.

    California is the leader in imported power. Arizona is a net exporter of power. However, it is likely worse than this map shows as Arizona is happy to take California’s excess power when they can get that power for less than it would cost to generate it, they simply power down their generators and accept the power. At TEP (an Arizona Power Company) the coal powered generators demonstrated total stability at 50% load. They also can be taken off-line for maintenance. When California needs power the coal powered plants are brought up to full capacity and Arizona sells power to California at a premium. Arizona has a large amount of excess capability including fast gas powered reactors that can swing quickly while the base load reactors such as the coal plants swing, but just at a slower rate (hours instead of seconds). Arizona also has nuclear power which I assume they leave at full capacity. The situation in California would be much worst if it were not for their neighbors. Not that their neighbors don’t take advantage of them, they do on a regular basis. With buying and selling taking place all the time, and as their neighbors dictate the terms of the buying and selling it is going to be at California’s expense in both directions.

  53. Joshua …

    Everybody has alarmism … we all just have to acknowledge it. That said, lately the good jokes seem to be at the expense of the left.

    I’ll make sure they’re on the menu when you come seeking succor. If you don’t mind, I’ll marinate Jiminy with some tomato sauce, as it only seems right.

    • Bill –

      > That said, lately the good jokes seem to be at the expense of the left.

      You have Louie Gohmert and the my pillow guy – we could never catch up.

      • Transcript here:

        Transcript: Ezra Klein Interviews Felicia Wong https://nyti.ms/3LzBp1D

      • Bill

        > Klein needs to read the Constitution, as the President isn’t elected by popular vote.

        I do appreciate you taking the time. But if you’re going to say that I’m actually not going to bother engaging further. If you think he’s (or I’m) not aware of how the Constitution sets up the electoral college, then I think you’re just not getting what I’m talking about with good faith engagement, perspective taking, cognitive empathy, etc.

        I think it’s certainly arguable as to whether the electoral college is anti-democratic in effect, what the reasons are why we have a democratic republic rather than an outright democracy or other forms of government that are arguably more straight forwardly democratic. It’s certainly arguable as to which form of government is best. But if you think that Klein (or I) isn’t aware of the basic issues at hand, or that there’s nothing arguable about any of this, or that he (or I) needs to have our system of government explained to interrogate his (or my) perspective, then we just see things too differently to do anything other than agree to disagee here. It seems I’m not getting anywhere here and I’m not sure it’s worth any further effort. Perhaps if we could talk over a beer rather than try to do this through such a constrained medium we’d get farther.

        Have a good day.

      • Joshua said: “It seems I’m not getting anywhere here and I’m not sure it’s worth any further effort.”

        I’ve been staying out of this exchange between you and Bill, but did read over the comments again. This exchange has rambled over many nuances, but I can’t find the statement of what you are trying to achieve. If you stated that clearly and succinctly, you, and others, might sense that your are getting “somewhere.”

      • your should have been you’re.

    • And don’t forget “release the kraken.”

      • Joshua … Yep, it is hard to beat Louie and that pillow guy.

        But I’m sure you’ll agree that comedy is language based. The left has the best head scratchers of all time … minor attracted person … very creative I must say. I mean, seriously Joshua, how do you not laugh yourself into stomach pains on that?

      • Bill –

        Hopefully you’ll see this comment.

        I listened to this podcast while hiking today and though of our discussion about the risks/benefits of “government bureaucracy.”.

        If you can stomach it… I think it to he’s on a lot of the questions we discussed….ans while I have little doubt that you’ll think that Klein does a poor job of it, he does at least try at times to spprwocj the issues from commonly presented rightwing perspectives (that I don’t thknk he dismissed out of hand at all). Let me kniw if you listen.

        In partocilar I note the segment at sound 1 hour (!) in, where they discuss a bit an aspect I personally stand behindb leveraging stakeholder dialog and participatory democracy to achieve societal goals.

        I’ll link in the next post, hopefully to help getting around the lame-brained moderation filter.

      • Good God that’s a lot of typos.

        Hopefully you’ll see this comment.

        I listened to this podcast while hiking today and thought of our discussion about the risks/benefits of “government bureaucracy.”.

        If you can stomach it… I think it touches on a lot of the questions we discussed….and while I have little doubt that you’ll think that Klein does a poor job of it, he does at least try at times to interrogate the issues from commonly presented rightwing perspectives (that I don’t think he dismisses out of hand at all). Let me know if you listen.

        In partocilar I note the segment at around 1 hour (!) in, where they discuss a bit an aspect I personally stand behind, leveraging stakeholder dialog and participatory democracy to achieve societal goals.

        I’ll link in the next post, hopefully to help getting around the lame-brained moderation filter.

      • Oy.

      • Joshua …

        Thanks for the podcast link. It will take me a few days, as things have gotten busy around here. But I will listen to it.

      • Joshua …

        I answered you on the podcast, and it got eaten. Something about a nonce? I’ll try again.

        I took 7 pages of notes! LOL!

        My last note was … Society by Utopia/activism.

        They wish to implement a high care/low carbon society. One they deem the sunny side of neo-liberalism. Their vision is not self-critiqued, although Wong briefly mentions the word hubristic.

        They’re concerned the implementation of their program will be delayed/impeded by the existing Federalism and nimbyism. To correct this will require social mechanisms (bureaucracies) that will have far more centralized power, which they honestly and unabashedly sketch out, citing the inefficiencies of the present social mechanisms, etc.

        Two interesting points. They use the defense department as an example of a powerful bureaucracy (which they approve of) that is plagued by inefficiencies which can (assumingly) be remedied. They also cast it as informed by a conservative ideology. If they had read Eisenhower’s Farewell Address they might have a different view, as a large bureaucracy is a danger no matter the apparent ideology.

        Another was the seeming infatuation with worker-owned cooperatives. I actually studied 19 worker-owned, cooperative saw mills in the Pacific Northwest in the 70s when I was a sociology student. Many were so successful that they actually reverted to standard ownership. This occurred when worker/owners either retired or wanted to embark on other paths in life. Their shares in the coop became so expensive to buy that single workers looking to join the coop couldn’t afford them. The result was the coop had to buy back the shares and redistribute them to the remaining worker-owners. This compounded the situation and new employees were not worker owners. Eventually, the mills were bought out, disbanded or just became standard ownership models. And while I’m sure there are coops in operation today, the model is far from ubiquitous.

        Their program to achieve a North Star Vision is paramount to centuries of political and economic gains, which must be redesigned to effect their goal. As I said, they make it quite clear that bureaucracies (any social mechanism actually), even Bernie Sanders’ criticisms, nor individuals regardless of political persuasions should/can stand in the way. This makes me a bit fearful of them, yet their lack of political and economic knowledge makes it evident that it may all be much ado about nothing. I guess we’ll see.

      • Joshua …

        In reference to the above discussion, radically changing social mechanisms many times requires a revision of history, which many times supports those mechanisms, and the humans who contributed to their formation.

        Here’s an article with a video clip of Bill Maher, certainly no conservative, who has a riff on such revisions. It’s only less than 9 minutes so I hope you’ll view it.


      • Bill –

        > Here’s an article with a video clip of Bill Maher, certainly no conservative, who has a riff on such revisions. It’s only less than 9 minutes so I hope you’ll view it.


        You note their lack of political and economic knowledge and then offer Maher as some kind of counterpoint?

        At any rate, I was hoping for meaningful exchange on the issues and instead I provoke an alarmist reaction – indeed a deep fearing for our very future!!

        I dunno l, looks to me like you ran everything they said through a filter that catches everything that might match a cartoonist image of “the left,” and threw everything else out. For example:

        > They use the defense department as an example of a powerful bureaucracy (which they approve of)

        The notion that they “approve of” the military, let alone the associated waste and inefficiency, could only survive with the worst faith reading imaginable. (please note – I use the term “bad faith” different than most. I don’t use it to refer to honesty, as it is typically used – but to refer to an extension of the “intelligent naysayer – where you construct the interlocutor’s view with perspective taking.)

        Their point was that generally, and on the right in particular, the waste and inefficiency in the military has a long history of being widely accepted as a price to pay for the benefits (indeed, “safety,” which they analogize to the benefits of other forms of a social spending).

        > They also cast it as informed by a conservative ideology. If they had read Eisenhower’s Farewell Address they might have a different view, as a large bureaucracy is a danger no matter the apparent ideology.

        Indeed, the view that they’re ignorant of Eisenhower’s address, can likewise only survive with a bad faith reading. But that said, Eisenhower’s address notwithstanding, clearly in the US “the right” has, for pretty much forever, been way disproportionately supportive of military spending as compared to “the left.” The selective parsing that it would take to tease out a “conservative” tendency to *disfavor* military spending, as distinguished from an unarguable tendency on “the right” (compared to “the left”) to be pro-military (despite the inefficiency and waste) beggars belief. Admittedly, the calculus has shifted somewhat in the direction of equilibrium in the last 6 years or so, but given the imbalance before that point a state of balance is still nowhere near close. Not the least because even there, one of the major metrics that Trump boasted about at naseuum to prove just how great he was, was how he made America again through ramped up military spending.

        I do appreciate that you took the time to listen. But based on your comment my hope that it might lead towards some productive perspective sharing seems to have been in vain. Not to say that I think their views are beyond critique, indeed, valid critique from the right (as, say, the conservative leaning “steel-manning” that Klein attempted, as imperfect at it was). So no, I don’t think their views are beyond valid critique at all (from the right or the left, actually as well) – but clearly the podcast hasn’t served the purpose of opening a window into further progress in the direction of converging paths. Instead, it seems to only at best serve to make it more apparent no such direction of convergence is likely in our future, let alone anything other than the opposite, of propelling us further along paths of divergence.

        (BTW, I am extremely familiar with a highly successful food Co-op in Philly (Weavers Way), which has been in operation (and expanded significantly) over the course of more than 5 decades. Should I cherry-pick that example, in juxtaposition with any randomly selected failed private company, to dismiss any potential advantages of private enterprises to those collectively owned?

        Well anyway, as they say, nothing ventured…..right?

        But lest I give the impression that I see this attempt as some kind of failure, I’d like to make it clear that’s not the case. The next time I make such an attempt at furthering dialog by offering such material, I will endeavor to make it clear that as such, I’m not offering material as a way of arguing for my perspective, but merely as a way of offering ground for further discussion, and that there’s no point in my interlocutor engaging with the material if their only goal is to refute all of it, in particular from a bad faith (in my use) reading.

        What’s funny is that I often listen or read material generated from a right wing stance, and rejecting it to strengthen my own left-leaning view is rarely my exclusive reaction. I’ll hardly claim that isn’t my reaction to any extent, or even sometimes my dominant reaction. But I instinctively reach towards interrogating the material from a “steel-man,” or what I call a “naysayer” angle so as to test the strength of my viewpoint. I also can’t claim that I always do an un-biased job, not by far, of building that naysayer view, but I do my best to create that good faith naysayer. Indeed, that’s why I seek out engagement with people such as yourself.

        This tendency of mine tends to drive many of my lefty friends and family a bit crazy. They often ask me why I so incessantly devil’s advocate their positions even when I largely share their views.

        I guess I should be realistic in knowing it’s not a commonly cheated trait (either on the left or on the right).

        Anyway, I’ll. Listen. It’s not like I haven’t heard Maher a lot. If nothing else, because Fox News website can’t wait to quote from his Friday show every Saturday (as they did today). The love that someone who identifies as a “liberal” hates the “woke,” is critical of public health policy, etc. Can’t get enough of it.

      • Joshua …

        You ignored the main criticisms …

        – Their program, Sunny Side of Neo-Liberalism or North Star Vision (their names not mine), is meant to be an extensive restructuring of society. Since society isn’t malfunctioning, certainly not in the sense of economic depression or another severe sense, the speakers realize themselves and state quite explicitly that they will need either existing social mechanisms to be strengthened or new social mechanisms created that will be able to overcome the roadblocks such as Federalism, nimbyism, etc. They are advocating for a more authoritarian state to initiate their program, presumably staffed by like minded people.

        There are labels for the type of government to describe the above paragraph, which I purposefully tried to avoid, and in my original response. Instead I was hoping for a discussion of tendencies of bureaucratic structures regardless of which ideology is in charge. As citizens we need to be careful when we give a bureaucracy any particular mandate. The speakers acknowledged this with their example of the defense department, which which I agree. Where we part is their assumption that they can do a better job with such a powerful mandate.

        They use the New Deal as an example of a program that was successful. There are many debates about what the New Deal actually accomplished, however we can say three things. One, it took place during a time when society was malfunctioning, as we were in the Great Depression. Two, it did not pull us out of the Great Depression, rather the ramping up of war time production did. Three, the FDR administration was the most centralized, authoritarian regime we’ve had.

        Again, I’ve not used any type of label other than authoritarian which I said is pan-ideological. Authoritarianism when initiated is usually ‘justified’ by claiming a general societal need. FDR had the GP. So one must ask where is the need for such an authoritarian structure to be initiated? The speakers claim ‘hi care low carbon’ is the need. Hi care wasn’t developed, except for reference to child care, mostly because the legislation discussed didn’t address their concerns. Then we are left with low carbon and the ‘change in productive capacity’, where they are excited about the development of a home based chip industry.

        I’m also excited about the investment in the chip industry. But, they then engage in a discussion of how they think it would be best for government to control that industry. Again, their program has at its base a need for social mechanisms to be able to act without/minimal disagreement or interference … that they expect will occur.

        Regardless of your response, I have given you what you asked for which is a continuation of our comments on social mechanisms, i.e. bureaucracies, etc. Authoritarianism is something to be extremely wary of regardless of ideology as it only exacerbates the social relationship where bureaucracy has power over the individual. This is evident throughout human history. Of course, we’re in a period of revision of history, which is dangerous when it can be used to justify the implementation of authoritarian social mechanisms. That’s why I posted the Maher video clip.

        Enjoy your day.

      • Bill –

        > They are advocating for a more authoritarian state to initiate their program, presumably staffed by like minded people.

        One of Klein’s more frequent topics is what he sees as a trend away from “democracy’ and towards authoritarianism, as reflected in the trend towards presidents getting elected despite losing the popular vote (and then selecting SCOTUS judges accordingly), representatives in Congress and the Senate having power in disproportion to the political views (and partisan identity) of the public, SCOTUS ruling in ways that aren’t reflective generally of public opinion (reflecting the disjunction between the popular vote and who gets elected president), etc.

        Now regardless of how one sees the merits of the view that those aspects reflect a problem with respect to the “democratic” nature of our country, I would imagine that certainly, Klein doesn’t see himself as advocating for “a more authoritarian state.” So that’s what I mean by bad faith reading. It seems that you are making assumptions about his view that just don’t stand up to scrutiny. I suggest you try to challenge yourself to consider how he could have expressed the views he expressed *without* advocating for “a more authoritarian state.” This is what I am advocating for. Perspective taking. Cognitive empathy. Engaging with an “intelligent naysayer” that basically shares most of your values and most of your moral taxonomy.

        That said, maybe Klein is just being inconsistent, and while advocating more “democracy” in some ways, it’s only so as to be in support of certain policy goals, that would easily fit with advocating for more authoritarianism along other dimensions. Indeed, I do see many people of all political persuasions who take a very selective attitude towards authoritarianism, where they’re against it in some policy domains and while not exactly advocates for it in others, tend to not see how their policy objective dovetail with authoritarianism in others.

        So with that in mind, it’s interesting that you see them as advocating for authoritarianism, whereas, (1) I didn’t see it that way and (2) don’t think it’s likely that they’re people who advocate for authoritarianism. So I’m actually going to go back and listen to it again (if I have time for a hike today before football, maybe) to see if I can see whether perhaps you’re right about that. By the same token, maybe you can think of how you could fit an anti-authoritarianism philosophy on their part with their views on the issues they discuss, without there being hypocrisy or logical inconsistency. If you are just operating from a cartoon image, where lefties are by their “nature” authoritarian, then the fix is in, and there’s no way you could interpret what they say in any other way.

        I’ll link to an interaction (in a comment below) I was having on another blog that comes into play here – where someone explained to me my “nature” based on the fact that I’ve expressed some opinions that he doesn’t agree with.

      • Joshua …

        > So that’s what I mean by bad faith reading. It seems that you are making assumptions about his view that just don’t stand up to scrutiny.

        Then let’s scrutinize.

        > One of Klein’s more frequent topics is what he sees as a trend away from “democracy’ and towards authoritarianism, as reflected in the trend towards presidents getting elected despite losing the popular vote (and then selecting SCOTUS judges accordingly), representatives in Congress and the Senate having power in disproportion to the political views (and partisan identity) of the public, SCOTUS ruling in ways that aren’t reflective generally of public opinion (reflecting the disjunction between the popular vote and who gets elected president), etc.

        – presidents getting elected despite losing the popular vote …

        Klein needs to read the Constitution, as the President isn’t elected by popular vote. It’s by the Electoral College. And the process that nominates/confirms SCOTUS judges has nothing to do with the election mechanism for the President.

        – representatives in Congress and the Senate having power in disproportion to the political views (and partisan identity) of the public …

        How is that possible, as they are elected directly by the populace? Did Klein mean the allocation of two Senators to each state? If so, then he objects to Federalism, which was expressed in the podcast. I would suggest to him that he read the Federalist Papers which will explain to him how and why they arrived at not only two Senators per state (the Great Compromise) but the Electoral College.

        – SCOTUS ruling in ways that aren’t reflective generally of public opinion (reflecting the disjunction between the popular vote and who gets elected president), etc.

        Why would SCOTUS have to rule with respect to public opinion? Their job is to interpret whether the laws enacted by the legislature are constitutional and faithfully executed. Public opinion should be/is reflected through the choice of representatives, and then the representatives construct legislation according to public opinion, or they get voted out.

        Klein seems to believe that Democracy is via plebiscite. It is in small groups, as in Athens in the 5th C BC. As political units get larger the very inefficiencies that Klein and Wong lament become so large that a republican form of government becomes the norm. Klein seems to vacillate between different forms/aspects of democracy when it suits him, or he is very ignorant of political science and history. I don’t know which it is, or what combination, but his positions seem to be reflective of his frustrations in getting things done that he is in favor. That’s essentially cherry picking.

        This is a fundamental point that Klein and Wong miss, or dismiss (which would make them highly dangerous) … political structure is not about enacting programs or enforcing ideology. It’s not about the decisions, it’s about how we arrive at the decisions.

        If you’re interested in that last sentence, I hope you’ll take the time to read The Federalist Papers.

        If you want to discuss this further, I’d be happy. But … leave the petty comments out. They contribute nothing.

      • One other point that may have gotten lost … in a democracy ideas go through the arena of public debate where free speech enables ideas to be thoroughly vetted. Censorship has no place in that arena. Thus, any social mechanisms that limit free and open debate are by definition anti-democratic. Just because a person/group thinks an idea is ‘good’ or necessary, doesn’t mean they have the right to deny other opinions, free debate or force those ideas on others. The best advice I can give to people like Klein and Wong is to take some of their energy they put to strategizing changes to the political system and put it into trying to convince people of their views. And … to accept when others do not agree. That is democracy.

      • Bill –

        Sorry for mis-nesting the previous comment…

        One more and then I’m off (unfortunately, the Giants have tied the game).

        This isn’t even really a left/right issue. There are plenty of conservative scholars and pundits who recognize the tension between the “anti-democratic” nature of something like the electoral college, and the “mob rule” aspect of a direct democracy, or that this tension was part of what the founders debated and compromised on during the process of writing the Constition.

        To don’t have to be a lefty to recognize that tension any more than you have to be ignorant of the Constition if you see such a tension.

        I’ll let you know if I have any response to that well-known economics and political scholar, Bill Maher.

      • Joshua …

        Well, I hope you win the Panthers/Giants game. I’m not a Giant fan, either.

        The electoral college and the Great Compromise on the Senate can be viewed as similar. If you say they are un or less democratic, technically you would have an argument. But … there’s always a but … the reasons for those mechanisms were to guard against ‘the tyranny of the majority’. This is something that one would think the left would embrace. Isn’t that what CRT is all about, a majority culture that oppresses minorities?

        The Constitution always surprises me. Enjoy your game!

      • The culture war has played out historically as a clash of economic principles. Central planning and state control V. free markets, democracy and the rule of law. The clash of economic values continues to this day in the climate war. The left says we can have our cake and eat it too. I say it takes prudent economic management on principles of the Austrian school of economics to avoid booms and busts. Manage money supply and cash rates to limit inflation. The left today by and large want massive spending and government control. They are for climate change. The right want no change. Or better yet – a return to the good ole days. They are against climate change. The problem for the left is expense, imprudence and impracticality. The left is inclined to state control that drifts seemingly inevitably into despotic totalitarianism. The problem for the right is that change is the one constant and it is coming fast and furious.

        ‘Let me now state what seems to me the decisive objection to any conservatism which deserves to be called such. It is that by its very nature it cannot offer an alternative to the direction in which we are moving.’ F. A. Hayek

  54. old planning engineer

    Planning Engineer

    I would like to draw your attention to problems at the other end of the scale – what happens when the installed weather dependent generation is actually working at capacity.

    In Australia, roof top PV (behind the meter so its not seen by the market) is being installed at significant rates. This is causing minimum loads to fall dramatically and driving market prices to negative levels. This leads to some major issues:

    – Low fault levels leading to rises in ROCOF;
    – Reliability concerns due to failure to ride through transmission faults. The domestic panels turn off following a fault exposing the full demand to the market leading to a rapid rise in demand past the ability of scheduled generators to accommodate
    – Economic viability of traditional generators leading to early closures and substantial losses.

    See for instance the situation in Western Australia.

  55. It is mainly a matter of mindset. As in so many aspects of life, we always need a balance between satisfying present needs and doing without in order to prepare for the future. Anyone with a 401K or 403B can attest to that. In the field of energy, the alarmists are so convinced that there is impending doom that they are willing to sacrifice the present to avoid the perceived catastrophe in the future. The State of California is particularly unbalanced in that regard, because the people in Sacramento have no sense of need to provide the public with power, water and services, independent of the perceived future catastrophe, and therefore the energy alarmism finds welcome home there. There is also the ancient Judeo-Christian ethic that pervades our society that says doing without is a noble thing.

  56. The successful recycling of batteries would be a major lift to the EV market. In fact, I think the road (pun intended) will be difficult without it.


  57. Pingback: Will California "Learn” to Avoid Peak Rolling Blackouts, or are they doubling down on Stupid?Home - Energy News Beat - Sandstone Group

  58. Pingback: Will California "Learn” to Avoid Peak Rolling Blackouts?Home - Energy News Beat - Sandstone Group

  59. This is interesting. Bernie Sanders is against this mine. But what of “global warming” Bernie?

    Deep beneath the arroyos and canyons of the Sonoran Desert lies one of the Earth’s biggest deposits of copper—18 million metric tons, enough of the indispensable metal to supply more than half the electric vehicles expected to be produced in the US in the coming decades. But the scrubby, arid land above that reserve is the site of the Apache Nation’s Sunrise Ceremony, a four-day rite in which young women dance and sing to mark their coming of age. “It’s been a part of us since creation,” says Wendsler Nosie Sr., an Apache leader who opposes efforts to extract the copper.


    • But who will speak for the fishes?
      “The race is on to figure out how to protect the ocean abyss as deep-sea mining operations look to extract minerals like nickel, cobalt, and copper from the sea floor. “

      • TMC, The Mining Company, out of Vancouver may have received permission from the International Seabed Authority (whatever that is) for test mining in the area your article sites, Hawaii to Mexico. The article I saw is paywalled.

      • I’m sure the sea floor will regenerate over time. It’s the marine version of clear cutting that they do to forests and they grow back eventually. This is a lot about low hanging fruit in that there are lots of minerals we need under water but most are a lot harder to recover than those concentrated nodules Not a silver bullet for our search of industrial metals but it should be profitable.

  60. thecliffclavenoffinance

    Is the California grid being managed by engineers or politicians?
    Do they recognize the grid problems?
    Do they notice the problems are getting worse?
    Is there a plan to prevent future problems?
    This does not look good.

  61. Diverse technologies for energy production progress in leaps and bounds. If there are a few problems in beta testing – well that’s the nature of technology. Balancing diverse sources relies on modern control systems – that are massively more reliable these days. Perhaps this could be a problem if intermittent source dominated supply without an ability to spread supply to meet demand. Something that is constrained by the lack of cost competitive mass storage. That’s merely a technical problem – addressed with research and development. Such as is happening in many fields at a breathtaking pace. The solution to AGW is and always has been technological.

    Australia – a region with higher than average penetrations of wind solar – is not at the level of penetration of low carbon electricity to be an insurmountable problem. Electricity emissions are some 25% of total emissions. Demands for energy and materials multiply this century with population and economic growth and new technologies.

    Wind and solar will continue to be built out at an accelerating rate because that’s what people by and large want. Nothing here from fringe curmudgeons will change that.

    Of course they also want cheap electricity. That isn’t the case consistently with fossil fuels despite conspiracy theories from the peanut gallery.

    • A battery is potential energy. So the problem is put potential energy here, put enough potential energy here, put it here for a long enough time, and do it in an economical way. One has to do all four things.
      Enough potential energy scales with cost. Enough potential energy will be small with fossil fuels and nuclear. Enough potential energy will be smaller when fossil fuels can be the batteries. Which is what they are now. We have economical and cheap batteries. They’re called fossil fuels. So fossil fuels can be batteries. Batteries can be fossil fuels by providing electricity on demand. Wind and solar cannot be batteries. Batteries however can be wind and solar by providing electricity intermittently.
      Grid scale batteries fail on cost. And long service lifetimes. We’ve been working on batteries for 100 years. We’ve seen 10s of Rube Goldberg schemes for storing potential energy. Even pumped hydro storage is incapable of seasonal storage or even 1 months storage for a town of 100,000. But it does demonstrate the amount of potential energy that has to be stored somewhere. No magic allowed. Happy thoughts aint going to do it.

      • ‘It is viable and affordable to take wind and solar to about 30 percent of a power system…’ JC

        Realistically I expect at this time that nuclear fission will be the backbone a system capable of supplying vastly increased demand this century. This doesn’t mean that solar power at yet another order of magnitude decrease in costs has no value.

        I don’t much care for your hypotheticals. They are hopelessly irrelevant – and hopelessly motivated reasoning.

      • I think capitalism values results. The way to measure results is with the poor. They operate at the margin. They are most sensitive. We all can afford our toys. Double the cost of my electricity and I hardly notice it. The well off can handle all the inefficiencies of renewables. In other areas, we focus on where we can do the most good. We want people to have internet connections for instance. The more reliable and capable and inexpensive the better.

  62. Will California “learn” to avoid Peak Rolling Blackouts?

    Of course not… They “think” that electric vehicles will save them from [fill this space] when in reality they won’t and are only going to increase the problem of Electricity consumption and waste.

    But hey, at least it will be FUN to watch.

    After all they like to paint the dry brown grass with Green Paint just to pretend that Everything is Awesome.

  63. The solution to AGW is energy innovation, 21st century land and water management and building resilient infrastructure. I expect huge technological progress on many fronts this century. I am not – however – in the habit of picking winners. What’s really funny is picking fossil fuels as the be all and end all of energy sources.

    This post and comments are all irrelevant to future energy systems. From a few malcontents with Cassandra like prophecies of doom. Maybe that will sink in one day.

  64. Especially Germany, and more generally Europe, listened to the Green Energy Extremists. Following that “guidance,” they built out wind and solar and stopped encouraging fossil fuel development. This has landed them in an energy crisis. Apparently, they are very proud of their “management” skills, for now, in a fit of hubris taken to a fever pitch, they are taking over part of their industry. Inexplicably, they seem to believe they can run these businesses better than the experts. It’s just one more illustration of big government gone wild (and also go very stoop id).

    Alongside its move for the Rosneft unit, Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s administration is in advanced talks to take over Uniper SE and two other major gas importers, Bloomberg reported on Thursday. Germany is pressing ahead with an historic overhaul of its economy just two and half years after the Covid-19 pandemic, grabbing control over a huge chunk of its industrial base to prevent shortages and blackouts this winter.


  65. @ jim2 | September 16, 2022 at 9:54 am trapped in moderation.

  66. If you want an ETF that will protect your money from investments misguided by ESG considerations, here you are:

    After the rapid success of its inaugural anti-ESG exchange-traded fund, Strive Asset Management is striking while the iron’s hot.

    The firm, which launched in 2022 with backing from billionaire investors including Peter Thiel and Bill Ackman, filed for four additional equity ETFs with US regulators on Tuesday. The filings land just two weeks after the Strive US Energy ETF (ticker DRLL) launched, which has already accumulated nearly $250 million in assets.


    • You do know that these synthetic financial instruments are a big part of our over leveraged markets.
      Well at least it’s not crypto…
      “Congress Stock-Trade Tracking Funds NANC and KRUZ Are On Way
      The Unusual Whales Subversive Democratic Trading ETF (ticker NANC) and the Unusual Whales Subversive Republican Trading ETF (KRUZ) would analyze the financial disclosure of lawmakers from both parties and their spouses and dependent children to construct a portfolio of between 500 and 600 holdings, according to a regulatory filing Thursday. When a position is reported as sold, the ETFs will offload the security as well.”

      • ETFs are not synthetic. The company managing the ETF actually owns the stocks.

      • jim2, so if you bought Thiel’s anti-Green ETF what would you own?
        A bunch of Puts, Calls and Shorts on solar/EV/battery stocks collected into a fund/portfolio? But none of those ‘instruments’ are in your name, you probably won’t receive dividends and you will have no vote. There are now single stock ETFs for Tesla, Apple and many other high beta/high PE stocks – they are all synthetic financial contracts/instruments – all invented to create leverage.

      • It’s public information, Jack.

        The index is a subset of a float-adjusted capitalization weighted index of equity securities comprising the 1,000 largest companies from the U.S. stock market. Under normal circumstances, at least 80% of the fund’s total assets (exclusive of collateral held from securities lending) will be invested in U.S. energy companies. It is non-diversified.


  67. The legal standard for adverse events is whether or not it was foreseeable by a reasonable person. ESG may trigger some people but it’s foundation is just due diligence. Blackrock has a 10 year annualised return of 17% – compared to 6.3% for the NYSE. Jim’s commentary suggests that confirmation bias is at work and not due diligence.

    But the market is a bit boring at the moment – day traders can’t decide which way to jump. Volatility with prices down across the board. There’s no rhyme or reason to it. Day traders are driven by fear and greed.
    Not my style at all. The conservative stock market strategy is to buy 25+ great companies based on fundamentals and hold. That’s the Warren Buffet method. Volatility is immaterial.

    I dipped my toes in shorting oil yesterday just to see. Overnight local time I have been both a couple of grand up and down. It might be OK for some play money. Better odds than casinos. But the social risk of leaving all the energy eggs in one oil and gas basket – as supply diminishes and demand grows in future – is even more price volatility in commodities that underpin social welfare.

    • Investment manager who have fiduciary responsibility were already doing due diligence. ESG adds nothing. If E, or S, or G were a threat to the investment, it would be taken into consideration. The Woke ESG movement just add imaginary risks and those don’t need to be taken into account.

      • But the social risk of leaving all the energy eggs in one oil and gas basket – as supply diminishes and demand grows in future – is even more price volatility in commodities that underpin social welfare.

        ESG is not hugely relevant to global energy futures.

    • Business constantly improves methods. It is one of the virtues of capitalism. I focus on balance sheets – as long they can show they have done due diligence. Trust but verify as someone once said. ESG is good business. The relative importance of factors varies with the business. The environment for global miners – social for insurance for instance. Employee motivation for all.

  68. The first week in September of this year California was facing rolling blackouts due to a forecast 20-year high Peak. Residents were asked to cut down electric usage and at risk of rolling blackouts. Is this a new normal? Or can the threat of rolling blackouts be avoided? The likely answer is that the risk of rolling blackouts could be greatly reduced, but because of other priorities such reliability risks are the new normal.

    As I understand it – rolling blackouts didn’t occur? In the longer term, I expect that technology evolution – or revolution – will relieve Californians of the inconvenience of turning off the unnecessary lights between 6 and 10 pm. And ultimately supply stable, reliable and cheap energy. Energy not so exposed to oil market volatility or geopolitical manipulation.

    But one should not lose sight of the risks that are the underlying motivation for a transition that is happening with or without you.

    ‘Prudent risk management requires consideration of bad-to-worst-case scenarios. Yet, for climate change, such potential futures are poorly understood. Could anthropogenic climate change result in worldwide societal collapse or even eventual human extinction? At present, this is a dangerously underexplored topic. Yet there are ample reasons to suspect that climate change could result in a global catastrophe.’ https://www.pnas.org/doi/10.1073/pnas.2108146119

    • Climate change doesn’t accelerate.

      Climate change is an orbitally forced a very slow planetary warming process.

      Climate change occurs on a cyclical basis.

      What climate change does right now is approaching its culmination state.

      We shall adapt to a slightly warmer planet Earth.
      As we have already long ago been adapted to various climate zones, we currently live in.


      • A rational person admits uncertainty and reviews assumptions. A wise person takes measured steps to minimise risk.

        ‘Recent scientific evidence shows that major and widespread climate changes have occurred with startling speed. For example, roughly half the north Atlantic warming since the last ice age was achieved in only a decade, and it was accompanied by significant climatic changes across most of the globe. Similar events, including local warmings as large as 16°C, occurred repeatedly during the slide into and climb out of the last ice age. Human civilizations arose after those extreme, global ice-age climate jumps. Severe droughts and other regional climate events during the current warm period have shown similar tendencies of abrupt onset and great persistence, often with adverse effects on societies.
        National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2002. Abrupt Climate Change: Inevitable Surprises. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/10136.

        Yeah – it might happen anyway.

      • “The climate record for the past 100,000 years clearly indicates that the climate system has undergone periodic–and often extreme–shifts, sometimes in as little as a decade or less. The causes of abrupt climate changes have not been clearly established, but the triggering of events is likely to be the result of multiple natural processes.”


        “A rational person admits uncertainty and reviews assumptions. A wise person takes measured steps to minimise risk.”

        I would propose an enhancement in global food production – only the stable food supply is what it is important at the end of the day!


      • So we are looking for multiple internal feedbacks? Or are you just all over the place making wild assertions that are not even consistent? But here’s a bit of systems theory for you.


        That you will ignore and repeat your self aggrandising Galileo of CE tales. You are far from alone – although you all do have different tales and are all so much smarter than any climate scientist. I don’t really care – but I can see how that might subvert a quest for real knowledge.

        What causes glacials? At the end of the day it is runaway ice sheet feedbacks – which is what defines glacials – but both low summer insolation, thermohaline circulation and no doubt other natural processes play a part.

        And how about global precipitation? From the very long term measurement of Nile River levels we’re pretty sure it’s not random.


        There is enough science to justify transition to low carbon energy – nuclear as a backbone of future energy sources I anticipate – although I am deliberately technology agnostic and I like quite a lot of things. Throw it all in the mix and get a 100 fold return. Including returning carbon to agricultural soils multiplying productivity 2 or 3 times – because that’s what’s needed.

        Carbon sequestration in soils has major benefits in addition to offsetting anthropogenic emissions from fossil fuel combustion, land use conversion, soil cultivation, continuous grazing and cement and steel manufacturing. Restoring soil carbon stores increases agronomic productivity and enhances global food security. Increasing the soil organic content enhances water holding capacity and creates a more drought tolerant agriculture – with less downstream flooding. There is a critical level of soil carbon that is essential to maximising the effectiveness of water and nutrient inputs. Global food security, especially for countries with fragile soils and harsh climate such as in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, cannot be achieved without improving soil quality through an increase in soil organic content. Wildlife flourishes on restored grazing land helping to halt biodiversity loss. Reversing soil carbon loss is a new green revolution where conventional agriculture is hitting a productivity barrier with exhausted soils and increasingly expensive inputs.

        Increased agricultural productivity, increased downstream processing and access to markets build local economies and global wealth. Economic growth provides resources for solving problems – conserving and restoring ecosystems, better sanitation and safer water, better health and education, updating the diesel fleet and other productive assets to emit less black carbon and reduce the health and environmental impacts, developing better and cheaper ways of producing electricity, replacing cooking with wood and dung with better ways of preparing food thus avoiding respiratory disease and again reducing black carbon emissions. A global program of agricultural soils restoration is the foundation for balancing the human ecology.


  69. Robert, you have vast rural areas in Australia, Canada, USA, Russia – plenty of places to have safely built, and safely operated nuclear reactors for electricity production.

    We do not have a desire to see the nuclear reactor’s dome shaped roofs from our kitchen’s windows.

    We are against nuclear energy in our densely populated countries.

    We are against nuclear energy in areas with seismicity.

    Our countries are very small compared to a nuclear disastrous accident’s polluting area.

    We should use some other sources of energy, which are also available. Those are the renewables (wind and solar), the natural gas, the oil, and the coal.


  70. Europe faces a severe energetic crisis because Europe relied onto the renewables the fast implementation.
    Thus, Europe has closed the European coal mines, and now has to import the LNG and the very expensive natural gas.


    • Europe closed unprofitable coal mines. Economic growth needs cheap and abundant energy not subsidised energy. That should include winding back subsidies for wind and solar.

  71. “There is enough real science to justify transition to low carbon energy.

    This will work well enough.”

    But we do not need a low carbon energy.

    Also, we have the wind and solar energy to make our coal deposits to last longer.


  72. China’s misguided COVID-zero policy is reminiscent of Lysenko’s agricultural practices in Communist Russia.

    China’s attempts to stamp out Covid-19 are draining local-government coffers, posing a fresh threat to the economy and bond investors as President Xi Jinping doubles down on his zero-tolerance stance toward the virus.

    Jilin province, in the northeast of the country, has warned of “increasingly outstanding conflicts” between spending and income. Finances at almost half of of its 60 county and district level governments are so tight they are exposed to “operational risks,” the provincial finance department said in its first-half budget execution report released last month.


  73. The Green Energy Extremists aren’t content with simply hobbling the economies of the world, they want to be sure they die completely and we all revert to living in caves, eating bugs.

    Greenpeace and a raft of other environment groups issued the European Union with an ultimatum over its decision to grant some gas and nuclear power stations a “fake” green label under the bloc’s sustainable finance rules.

    Eight Greenpeace organizations across Europe, as well as non-profits ClientEarth, WWF, Transport & Environment and BUND have demanded a review of the decision to include gas and nuclear power in the EU’s green rulebook, known as the taxonomy.


    • > they want to be sure they die completely and we all revert to living in caves…
      “Severe Black Lung Cases Continue To Rise – And In Younger Miners”
      “The Mine Safety and Health Administration announced new steps this week to limit silica dust in coal mines. Prolonged exposure to the dust has been proven to cause black lung disease.

      Despite MSHAs action, however, conference attendees received grim news that advanced cases of black lung disease were increasing, and in younger miners.

      Wes Addington, an attorney with the Appalachian Citizens Law Center who handles black lung cases, said some miners are developing the disease in their 20s.

      “What we’re seeing today was baked in a decade ago. Fifteen years ago,” he said. “That’s what’s terrifying.””

      • This is fixable. Has nothing to do with global warming and doesn’t change the fact that wind and solar are problematic in multiple dimensions.

    • A minority strongly object to nuclear power? Yes we know that. They are clearly fighting a rear guard action that will not prevail. But it does give Jim a target to rail against.

  74. More fun for Finland …

    Finland’s grid operator reiterated a prediction that households should brace for rolling blackouts this winter, in an updated forecast of power availability.

    Fingrid Oyj, the network company, has spent the past weeks telling Finns to prepare for potential outages during cold spells, when the availability of imports is less likely. That’s as flows from Russia — key in prior years to bridge the gap between demand and supply — have ended following its war in Ukraine and Finland’s decision to join defense alliance NATO, and Europe’s power markets are in turmoil.


    • The world is entering very dangerous territory. In Europe the locus of threat is Putin’s Russia. If Finland stands up to be counted on the side of peace and freedom – there is of course a price worth paying. Forewarned is forearmed and I can only hope they can fill the gap.

  75. Wind and solar can supply cheap electrons and the scope for higher efficiency and yet lower costs is significant. A problem is that electrons are wasted when supply exceeds demand.

    As of this morning I have developed an interest in antimony. How did we let China get away with manipulating markets for technology (and defense) critical elements for so long?


    This battery technology is being commercialised. Let’s see it working.


    Have a look at the chemistry.

  76. “I am an old man now, and when I die and go to heaven there are
    two matters on which I hope for enlightenment. One is
    relativity/quantum mechanics/quantum electrodynamics [in various versions], and the other is turbulent motion of fluids. About the former I am rather optimistic.”
    Werner Heisenberg and/or Horace Lamb

    There was an amusing interaction on the last post – abuse and lauding of a 1000 page (OMG) Finland Geological Survey report saying we don’t have enough materials for an energy transition. Turns out the guy is a Club of Rome fan and we don’t have enough of anything. What were they on about!!! What’s being transitioned instead is the global ‘economic ecosystem’. Chris Morris says every time he responds to a comment that I lack coal face experience (pun intended) in electricity distribution and generation. Some years ago I got the impression he was sitting in a fossil generating plant control room following a rule book. That’s what junior engineers do. If you are very good you get to write the rule book. That’s what’s being done now by many 1000’s of electrical engineers across the planet and if there’s one thing I can do it’s review literature. Chris needs to to review a little more of the literature before responding. But if ianl and co can’t do better I don’t know why they bother.

    I’m a civil engineer. We were the first and are still the best. The Intransigent hydrodynamical problem is ours to solve incrementally – which is how chaos was discovered by Henri Poincaré. We have saved mores lives and built more wealth. I have built bastions against wild weather and the sea that will stand up to all of natures fury. It’s lucky I wasn’t a fireman – I so love floods and storms. My professional goal was always to build shining cities in vibrant landscapes. Club of Rome inspired austerity wont do that.

  77. Because Europe listened to the Green Energy Extremists and stopped local development of fossil fuels, the pain train is just getting cranked up.

    Saudi Aramco said a lack of investment in fossil fuels was to blame for the global energy crisis and warned that spare production capacity in the oil market might be wiped out once economies rebound.


  78. @ jim2 | September 20, 2022 at 6:04 am – trapped in moderation.

  79. Oil is such a valuable commodity. Fungible, energy dense, easy to move around, lot’s of infrastructure in place. Russia will do OK with its oil while Europe suffers through a cold winter.

    Russia is likely to ship more fuel to Asia and the Middle East in the coming months as Europe tightens sanctions to step up its response to the invasion of Ukraine.

    The two regions have already been taking a greater share of Russian exports since the war broke out, according to data from S&P Global Commodities at Sea, highlighting the as-yet-unfinished reconfiguration of global energy flows. Now, the European Union is set to bar most imports of Russian crude from Dec. 5, followed by a prohibition on oil products that’ll kick in from February, ramping up the pressure on Moscow to redirect more of its energy output.


    • For a few decades – and why burn all of it.
      Cheap synthetic liquid fuels can be made with cheap power. Power, water, oxygen and hydrogen, carbon dioxide, liquid fuel, oxidation, carbon dioxide, water – a circular process that can be repeated.

  80. In the meantime, material limits are making the Holy Grail of the green grid more and more expensive. This will only get worse as the Green Energy Extremists do what they do best: Ignore reality.

    The jump is roughly in line with gains for refined lithium in China, where prices of the battery material have been racking up new records since last week as robust demand from electric vehicles meets tightening supply. Rocketing costs threaten to worsen pressure in the supply chain that’s already eroding profits and prompting battery producers to hike their own selling prices.


  81. Meanwhile, the sanctions on Russian oil is solidifying an alliance between our worst enemy, China, and Russia.

    China’s spending on Russian energy products hit a record $8.3 billion last month, as the world’s top importer continues to expand its reliance on Moscow for overseas supplies of crude, oil products, gas and coal.


  82. Meanwhile, here in the US, Democrats want to take us down the same road to destruction followed by Europe.

    The Biden administration is expected to soon finalize a rule banning oil and gas leasing near a Native American historical site despite heavy opposition from local Indigenous leaders, who say the administration’s rule would prevent them from collecting royalties on their land.


  83. Spare a thought for glassmakers and tilers in Europe who can’t run on solar and wind powered furnaces.

    There are companies that started business in the 1800s and survived two world wars but may not last the coming winter. It’s all changing so fast, they lament. With energy costs rising three to sixfold, the highest energy industries are folding. The first casualties were fertilizer, aluminium and zinc, and now in the second wave, the glass makers and tilers are coming undone, and with them, whole towns that support them will unravel too:


    • We are having a lot of trouble getting generator endrings out of Germany because they do not know their energy costs so can’t give us a quote. This is for specialised technical forgings of which there are very few suppliers in the world, and none that can produce to the same quality.
      I believe our issues, and the downstream impacts it has, will be mirrored by many other companies.

  84. There is a plan for the next 30 years in Australia. Updated every two years. This is happening and there’s not a damn thing to be done except grumble about it. I hope they can make it work in a pragmatic engineering way – that’s what engineers are paid the big bucks to do.


    This is grey literature. It is not peer reviewed but is an official release from an authoritative source. Indeed – the authority responsible for transition planning in my neck of the woods. Let’s hope they’ve hired some electrical engineering specialists – accredited in the sub-discipline – to make it work.

  85. Ultracheap perovskite solar making hydrogen that is stored in salt caverns to be converted to ammonia for transport?


    Ammonia carries hydrogen with nitrogen. It is transportable with existing natural gas infrastructures. It can be burnt in multifuel ICE. Multifuel ICE were big in WW 2 and they may have come some ways since.


  86. Europe’s decision to listen to the Green Energy Extremists and not develop local sources of fossil fuels has cost it about $500,000,000,000 (half a trillion) so far. Lots of damage there done by government policy. The damage from global warming can’t even be measured with any certainty, although attempts are made using non-scientific hocus pocus models.

    The bill for Europe’s energy crisis is nearing 500 billion euros ($496 billion) as governments rush to soften the blow of soaring prices, according to the Bruegel think-tank.


      • Joe - the non climate scientist

        From the link provided by mark Miller – “Utilities worldwide are installing large-scale batteries to stabilize power grids and store excess renewable energy from solar plants and wind farms. But such facilities have a history of fires. While the 182.5-megawatt Tesla installation at Moss Landing just entered service this year, an adjacent 400-megawatt battery facility owned by Vistra Corp. has suffered two overheating incidents since September last year, both forcing the temporary shutdown of part of the plant. ”

        A couple of notes
        A) the 400Mw is only for 1 hour before requiring recharging.
        B) the storage is very useful to manage the day to day/hourly fluctuations. ie to moderate/even out the production during the day
        C) since the 400mw is the total capacity for 1 hour, it is quite trivial for “battery storage backup” for the multiple days when there is no wind.
        D) the foot print for those 400mw is quite large – approx 5 acres, As I previously stated, that requires approx 150-200 square miles for a grid such as Ercot/Texas.
        E ) seems to be a high prevalence of fire.

      • And it was Natural Gas that filled the gap when the renewables underperformed.
        “Natural gas kept things cool as California baked”
        “Data analyzed by the Energy Department’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) show that California’s grid relied heavily on natural gas-fired generating resources during an early September heat wave. The share of electric power generated by nuclear, solar, wind, batteries, and other sources actually fell.”

        If they want to cut out all the fossil fuels they are going to have to overbuild solar, wind and storage by at least a factor of three or cut consumption by 50%. Still if fossil fuels ever double from current prices it might start to make economic sense.

      • Sure, Jack. Except mass electricity storage isn’t adequate and part of it doesn’t even exist since it hasn’t yet be invented.

      • Joe - the non climate scientist

        JackTexas –

        Based on the month of Sept 2022, CA will probably need to increase wind and solar by 15x-20x to meet the hourly swings in demand. Below is the link to the electric generation by source. I selected the CISO (CA) grid. The first week of sept showed daily wind and solar production of electricity for 3-4 hour periods of 2k mw while gas generated electricity was 26kMW. simply put if the demand is 30k mw, and wind and solar are only producing 2k MW, the Gas needs to generate the remainder or you need to increase the wind and solar capacity by the shortage, hence the 15x-20X


    • Stationary batteries don’t need to be lightweight Li-ion. They can be made from cheaper and more durable materials. Stack them in multi story parking garage like structures at strategic locations.

      Ambri batteries are being rolled out across the planet with CAPEX and O&M data to emerge hopefully. The business model is to buy low cost electrons when wind, solar, whatever is available but the demand isn’t there then sell them back into the grid when prices are higher. The South Australian battery banks – with Li-ion batteries – are profitable after only a few years.

      ‘The liquid metal battery is comprised of a liquid calcium alloy anode, a molten salt electrolyte and a cathode comprised of solid particles of antimony, enabling the use of low-cost materials and a low number of steps in the cell assembly process.’ https://ambri.com/technology/

  87. The Green Energy Extremist caused energy crisis in Europe is having political consequences and I’m sure there are more to follow. Sometimes the road to rational behavior is brutal.

    Uniper Woes Trigger Confidence Motions for Finnish Government

    Finnish government owns majority of Uniper parent Fortum
    Opposition parties file motions of no-confidence on Tuesday


  88. This article says Europe’s energy crisis was “sparked” by the war in Ukraine. The war simply brought to the fore that Europe has eschewed local fossil fuel development and now pays the price for listening the the Green Energy Extremists. And the Green Energy Extremists are very happy for the pain everyone is feeling to get worse.

    Germany’s Energy Nationalization Unlikely to Be Europe’s Last

    European Investment Bank head says there may be ‘more of this’
    Hoyer says world must stay the course on green transition


  89. All I can say is OMG. Joshua, could you find some counterfactuals for us?

    (Bloomberg) — Pakistan’s worst-ever floods, record heat in China, never-seen-before wildfires in Europe. Put it all together and 2022 is going down as a year when climate change took on biblical proportions, according to former US Vice President Al Gore.

    The steady drumbeat of climate disasters is for Gore, who’s chairman and co-founder of Generation Investment Management, a vivid reminder of what’s at stake as politicians and investors weigh up whether to throw their weight behind the transition to clean energy.

    “When every night on the TV news is like a nature hike through the Book of Revelation, that builds demands for meaningful action,” Gore said in an interview timed for the release of Generation’s latest Sustainability Trends Report. “And these events aren’t representative of a so-called random walk, they’re getting worse every single year in the last decade.”


  90. @ jim2 | September 21, 2022 at 7:36 am – trapped in moderation

  91. Democracies can make whatever energy policy they like – subject to the ballot box. What most of us who don’t understand grids or generation want is cheap, reliable low carbon energy. But I’m starting to think that Jim’s propaganda is downright pernicious. It was Putin who cut off cut off gas flow to the west to cower opposition to his militaristic madness. Who is the enemy?

    French nuclear assets are now online for the winter. Gas is pouring in from around the world. Internal energy production of every type is in readiness. Western arms are still making it to the front lines.

  92. “During testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, Representative Tlaib (D-MN) asked the heads of banks such as Citigroup and Bank of America what they intend to do to fight climate change.

    She reminded each that their respective banks have made verbal commitments to contribute to net zero emissions by 2050.

    “‘I would like to ask all of you and go down the list, because again, you all have agreed to do this,’ Tlaib stated. “‘Please answer with a simple yes or no, does your bank have a policy against funding new oil and gas projects?’

    Jamie Dimon, CEO, JP Morgan Chase, replied that his institution would not pull investments in fossil fuels.

    ‘Absolutely not, and that would be the road to hell for America, ’he said.”


    Jamie Dimon, someone with guts.

  93. This is the reality for the Californian grid for now and the forseeable future, despite what politicians think. They need natural gas and other regions’ power to keep the lights on as Planning Engineer wrote in the head post.
    The first big blackout from lack of generation will see how the politicians fare. Until that happens, them and California are the world’s crash test dummies.

  94. @ jim2 | September 24, 2022 at 8:40 am trapped in moderation.

  95. “Green” energy is just one complication on top of complications – it’s expensive complications all the way down …

    STANFORD, Cali — Leaving your electric car charging overnight to have it ready in the morning seems like a good idea in theory. But in reality, research suggests doing so does more harm in the long run. Stanford scientists say that it costs more to charge your electric car at night and it could stress out your local electric grid.


  96. Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Energy reality hits Germany after it listened to the Green Energy Extremists and failed to support local fossil fuel development.

    “We have made far-reaching decisions in Germany since the beginning of the year, ensuring that we can secure the supply of coal, oil and gas,” Scholz said in his weekly video message published Saturday. “We can say today: We’ll probably get through. But no sooner have we succeeded than the next task arises.”


  97. I would love some comments from people with some relevant technical expertise regarding this: https://www.thechemicalengineer.com/features/h2-and-nh3-the-perfect-marriage-in-a-carbon-free-society/

    …as a possible solution to energy storage from renewable energy. How viable is this? It seems to me that even with storage, renewables just don’t stand a chance of meeting future energy demands without hugely impacting the environment. The infrastructure required is just too vast for such a low density energy source, and too fraught with reliability issues. Never-the-less, this could mitigate some of the main problems esp with regards to dispatchibility. Thoughts?

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