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Australian Heatwave Excuses

February 14, 2017

The Australian heatwave of 2017 should be a wakeup call that renewables are unreliable, and not be the basis for excuses in efforts to explain away the recent South Australia blackouts.

The South Australia government had been warned about the inability of wind to provide electricity when the last coal-fired power plant in South Australia was closed, May, of last year.

Instead, the labor government extolled the virtues of renewable energy for cutting CO2 emissions, and forged ahead with wind power.

In the United States, grid operators have always maintained a reserve capacity of 5 to 10%, so that electricity would be available when unexpected events, such as heatwaves, occurred.

Capacity, i.e., the ability to generate electricity, is measured in terms of megawatts. In the United States total capacity is now over 1,000,000 MW. Anticipated demand would be around 5 to 10% below this capability to generate electricity. Since the United States is divided into three separate grids, with regional operators within each grid, it’s the capacity within each region that is critical.

The problem with wind turbines is that their nameplate rating is approximately three times larger than their ability to generate electricity. Most wind turbines installed in the United States over the past decade have a nameplate rating of 1.5 MW, but have a capacity factor of around 30%. In essence, they produce the amount of electricity that a 0.5 MW unit would produce if it had a capacity factor of 100%.

Capacity factor is the amount of electricity a wind turbine, or any other power generation method, produces over a year, compared with how much it could theoretically produce based on its nameplate rating.

Coal-fired and natural gas power plants have capacity factors of around 80%, while nuclear power plants have a capacity factor of slightly over 90%.

In other words, wind can’t provide electricity when the wind doesn’t blow, but its nameplate rating has been included, by the unwary, in the total capacity of the grid, and is, therefore, inadvertently included as part of the reserve capacity.

Only baselaod generating capabilities, i.e., coal, natural gas, nuclear, and, usually, hydro, can be included when determining the capacity of the grid to provide electricity under any circumstance, including heatwaves.

In South Australia, demand has exceeded supply twice this year when renewables failed to provide electricity.

In the first instance, the entire state of South Australia was blacked out. In the second, only Adelaide suffered a blackout.

Instead of recognizing the inherent unreliability of wind and solar, the Labor Party has tried to cast the blame for the blackouts elsewhere, and persist in pursuing the objective of having 50% renewables by 2025.

A few states in the United States have similar objectives for renewables: California and New York being the most prominent.

These states face the same outcome if they persist in their efforts to cater to renewables in efforts to cut CO2 emissions.

The Australian, Federal Minister for Energy, Josh Frydenberg, said:

“South Australia has been sacrificed on the alter of climate virtue.”

Certainly, the United States can avoid the same fate.

* * * * * *

Nothing to Fear, Chapter 12, explains why carbon capture and sequestration will not work.

Nothing to Fear is available from Amazon and some independent book sellers.

Link to Amazon: http://amzn.to/1miBhXy

Book Cover, Nothing to Fear

Book Cover, Nothing to Fear

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© Power For USA, 2010 – 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author, Donn Dears LLC, is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Power For USA with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Australian Power

February 10, 2017

(This article is being published from Australia. I hope to be able to publish an article each week while I am traveling overseas.)

Australia endured another blackout this week. As The Australian paper reported, the Australian Energy Market Operator said the blackout was due to “a lack of available generating capacity.”

How can a nation not have ample generating capacity?

Actually, the answer is fairly simple. Too much wind and solar generating capacity was put in place, and too much fossil fuel generating capacity was closed.

This is the second blackout caused by the inability of wind to supply electricity when needed.

Last month, the entire province of South Australia was in darkness when wind turbines had to be shut down due to storms, and the link to Victoria province broke.

This time only 40,000 people were in darkness in Adelaide.

The Australian, reported that Senator Birmingham said:

“It’s a demonstration that ad-hoc state-based renewable energy targets have gone too far.”

The left leaning current government of South Australia has imposed a renewable target of 50% by 2025.

Sydney Opera House. Photo by D. Dears

Sydney Opera House. Photo by D. Dears

The current Premier for South Australia, Jay Weathererill, has blamed both outages on the weather and the National Energy Market for the blackouts, but it’s becoming increasingly evident that wind and solar are incapable of providing reliable power when it’s needed most.

There is an ongoing battle between the left leaning Labor Party, and the Liberals i.e., conservative party, over energy issues.

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said, unequivocally, that the global warming, i.e., climate change, hysteria is no more than a fraud being imposed on unwary citizenry.

Generally speaking, people want to do what’s right about the environment, but don’t realize the nature of the beast being imposed on them

 

* * * * * *

Nothing to Fear, Chapter 12, explains the futility of wind and solar generated electricity.

Nothing to Fear is available from Amazon and some independent book sellers.

Link to Amazon: http://amzn.to/1miBhXy

Book Cover, Nothing to Fear

Book Cover, Nothing to Fear

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© Power For USA, 2010 – 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author, Donn Dears LLC, is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Power For USA with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Grid Storage Reality

February 3, 2017

The only potential solution for the problems caused by wind and solar generated electricity is storage.

But are there limits to storage? Is it possible to provide sufficient storage to allow the closing of a large number of fossil fuel power plants?

The CAISO Duck Curve defines the potential problems if wind and solar are to provide 80% of the grid’s electricity. See, Wind and Solar Inflict Pain.

It’s not possible to know the exact amount of storage that would be required to allow enough fossil fuel power plants to be shut down to cut CO2 emissions from power generation by 80%.

Without the ability to shut down these fossil fuel power plants, it would require consumers to pay a capacity charge to reimburse the utilities for keeping these plants operational, or, alternatively, allow the utilities to go bankrupt and then be nationalized by the government.

While it’s not possible to know precisely how much storage is needed to replace the fossil fuel power generation capacity that must be shut down, a reasonable estimate is that approximately 400,000 MW of storage, with sufficient operational use in hours, is required to replace the electricity that’s lost with the closure of fossil fuel power plants.

This estimate is derived by calculating the amount of coal-fired and natural gas power plants that must be closed to achieve an 80% reduction in CO2 emissions. An 80% reduction in CO2 emissions from fossil fuel power plants requires shutting down 441,000 MW of coal-fired and natural gas power plants.

Unless there is adequate storage of electricity, the fossil fuel power plants must be kept operational, and be ready to go online when the sun stops shining and the wind stops blowing.

Is it possible to have 400,000 MW of storage? Or anything close to that amount of storage?

Pumped storage and Compressed Air Storage (CAES) can store large amounts of electricity, but there are insufficient locations around the United States to accommodate the approximately 400,000 MW of storage needed.

CAES

Only two CAES facilities have been built thus far. One, at Huntorf Germany, in 1978, the second at McIntosh, Alabama, in 1991. Huntorf is rated 321 MW, McIntosh is rated 110 MW. A third CAES facility is proposed for the Intermountain Power Generation site in Utah, which is to be rated around 300 MW.

Note that these amounts of storage using CAES are minuscule when compared with the amount of storage needed.

Pumped Storage

There currently is 20,000 MW of pumped storage in the United States, with the potential for an additional 31,000 MW. While substantial, it still falls far short of the storage capacity needed to eliminate a large portion of fossil fuel generating capacity.

Diagram of pumped storage, courtesy Energy Storage Association

Diagram of pumped storage, courtesy Energy Storage Association

Other Storage Alternatives

Batteries and other possible storage mediums lack the necessary size, and have other additional limitations.

Batteries, for example, have relatively short lives and would have to be replaced periodically, which adds to their cost as a storage option.

Storage, using batteries, costs at least $2,000,000 per MW. A recent trial by Pacific Gas & Electric of battery storage cost more than twice this amount.

Conclusion

It’s virtually impossible to build sufficient storage capacity in the United States to allow for the closure of large amounts of fossil fuel power plants.

By using wind and solar, we are not only faced with the higher cost of electricity from these sources, but also having to pay for retaining nearly all of our existing fossil fuel power plants.

* * * * * *

Nothing to Fear, Chapter 12, explains why carbon capture and sequestration will not work.

Nothing to Fear is available from Amazon and some independent book sellers.

Link to Amazon: http://amzn.to/1miBhXy

Book Cover, Nothing to Fear

Book Cover, Nothing to Fear

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© Power For USA, 2010 – 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author, Donn Dears LLC, is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Power For USA with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Keystone Pipeline Benefits

January 31, 2017

Al Gore said,

“If approved and built, this pipeline, Keystone XL, would carry the most carbon-intensive source of oil on the planet.”

There it is, the real reason why the Obama administration stopped the Keystone pipeline: To avoid CO2 emissions.

All other explanations were a smokescreen to take everyone’s eyes off the real reason as told by Al Gore: Stop CO2 emissions.

While the real objection to importing Canadian crude produced from tar sands is that it results in increased CO2 emissions, the exact same problem exists with Venezuelan crude that largely comes from the Orinoco heavy crude oil sands deposits.

Canada is our friend, while Venezuela has acted against the interests of the United States.

Al Gore isn’t objecting to importing Venezuelan crude even though it is similar to heavy Canadian oil with respect to CO2 emissions.

Map of Venezuela showing oil sands location

Map of Venezuela showing oil sands location

One of the first benefits of the Keystone pipeline will be to help our friends in Canada.

Not only does it provide a way for Canadian oil to be exported, but it allows the Canadians to also get a higher price for their oil.

When Canadian oil is transported by rail, it gets a lower price. With the Keystone pipeline, it will command a higher price.

And pipelines are a safer method for transporting oil than is rail.

Canada’s National Post newspaper said in its January 25, 2013, headline”

“Oil Price Discount costing each Canadian $1,200.”

Now, with the resurrection of the Keystone pipeline, we will be treating our friends fairly.

Without the Keystone pipeline, existing pipeline capacity for transporting Canadian oil from Western Canada will reach capacity limits by the end of 2017, so Keystone will play an important role in getting Canadian oil safely to the United States from Canada.

Indirectly, the Keystone pipeline will help make North America energy independent.

Another important benefit of building the Keystone pipeline is that it will create high-paying construction jobs for Americans.

Building the Keystone pipeline:

  • Treats our friends, the Canadians, fairly
  • Transports oil more safely
  • Helps North America become energy independent
  • Creates high-paying jobs for Americans.

* * * * * *

Nothing to Fear, Chapter 12, explains why carbon capture and sequestration will not work.

Nothing to Fear is available from Amazon and some independent book sellers.

Link to Amazon: http://amzn.to/1miBhXy

Book Cover, Nothing to Fear

Book Cover, Nothing to Fear

* * * * * *

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© Power For USA, 2010 – 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author, Donn Dears LLC, is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Power For USA with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Rearguard Obstructionism

January 27, 2017

Those who support the CO2 hypothesis for global warming or climate change are poised to obstruct the rollback of regulations requiring the cutting of CO2 and other GHG emissions.

Whether it will be Hollywood celebrities crying over issues, or organized efforts by environmental organizations, we can expect there will be public demonstrations and lawsuits to prevent dismantling the EPA regulations that require the cutting of CO2 emissions.

The EPA’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) could be the first to be dismantled.

Power Magazine highlighted one approach for preventing the dismantling of the CPP that has already emerged, citing a new paper published by Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and the University of North Carolina’s Center for Climate, Energy, Environment & Economics.

The Power Magazine headline said:

“Experts: If Clean Power Plan Perishes, GHG Regulation Almost Certain Under NAAQS Program”

The paper from the universities suggests that organizations could sue the EPA to require it to use National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) to control CO2 emissions.

Chart of improving air quality from Outside the Green Box by Goreham.

Chart of improving air quality from Outside the Green Box by Goreham.

It notes, “Stakeholder groups have [previously] petitioned the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases under the NAAQS program, and that petition still sits undecided within the EPA.”

Using NAAQS requires that pollutants “endanger public health and welfare” and come “from diverse sources.” CO2 emissions meet these conditions under current EPA rulings.

The Supreme Court’s landmark decision confirmed the EPA had the authority to regulate GHGs under the Clean Air Act, if there were an endangerment finding. The subsequent EPA endangerment finding provides legal precedent for environmental groups to litigate and attempt to force the EPA to regulate CO2 emissions under NAAQS.

In spite of the controversial headline, it’s doubtful such litigation will be successful, but the paper by the two universities demonstrates there will be tireless efforts by extreme environmental groups to prevent repeal or adjustments to regulations relating to CO2 emissions.

Extreme environmentalists will not sit idly by while the new administration removes the regulations that are harming this country.

All of the actions by extreme environmentalists will be played out in the media which generally supports the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) CO2 hypothesis.

Power Magazine appears to be one of the media publications supporting the hypothesis that CO2 is causing global warming or climate change. Why else did Power Magazine bring forth the obscure paper from the two universities mentioned above. And what else explains why, three years ago, the magazine replaced its former editor, an engineer who was skeptical of the CO2 hypothesis, with an editor who has a Ph.D in English.

The media’s reporting will affect public perceptions, so It will be important for those who disagree with the AGW CO2 hypothesis to continue with their efforts so that the public is not overwhelmed by misinformation.

Now is not the time to assume that the battle for real science has been won.

It may be “the end of the beginning, and the beginning of the end,” but it’s nowhere near the end of the debate over whether CO2 and GHG cause climate change.

* * * * * *

Nothing to Fear, Part 2, explores the problems of using wind and solar for generating electricity.

Nothing to Fear is available from Amazon and some independent book sellers.

Link to Amazon: http://amzn.to/1miBhXy

Book Cover, Nothing to Fear

Book Cover, Nothing to Fear

* * * * * *

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© Power For USA, 2010 – 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author, Donn Dears LLC, is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Power For USA with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Vastly Improved Modern Coal-Fired Power Plants

January 24, 2017

Ultra-supercritical coal-fired power plants deserve clarity.

Recently, an editor dismissed ultra-supercritical coal-fired as jargon, and asked: Is there really something called an “ultra-supercritical” power plant?

Yes, there is: And everyone, engineers and average people, deserve an explanation about why they are such a great improvement over the coal-fired power plants built in the past.

They are called ultra-supercritical because they operate at very high temperatures and pressures that have been made possible by recent advances in metallurgy.

They operate at 4,350 psi, and 1,112°F, with efficiencies of 44% HHV (high heating value).

Ultra-supercritical (USC) steam generally refers to supercritical steam at more than 1,100 degrees F. Supercritical refers to when the steam undergoes a transition from a mixture of water and steam, to vapor with corresponding changes in physical properties.

While engineers are interested in the technical details, everyone should be interested in the increased efficiency.

Virtually all of the existing coal-fired power plants in the United States operate at an efficiency of 32% HHV.

USC plants with an efficiency of 44% are, therefore, nearly 40% more efficient than all but one of the existing coal-fired power plants in the United States.

This means they use roughly 40% less coal and emit approximately 40% fewer emissions, including CO2.

Ultra-supercritical coal-fired power plants are an important improvement over existing coal-fired units. While they are more costly than traditional supercritical plants, they cost half as much as nuclear or integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) power plants.

John W. Turk, only U.S. ultra-supercritical power plant. Photo courtesy of SWEPCO.

John W. Turk, only U.S. ultra-supercritical power plant. Photo courtesy of SWEPCO.

The only USC plant built in the United States is the John W. Turk, 600 MW plant in Fulton, Arkansas.

Currently, no new coal-fired power plants can be built in the United States because of EPA regulations limiting CO2 emissions. USC plant CO2 emissions are slightly above the 1,400 pounds per MWh limitation imposed by the EPA.

Coal is an important resource, with the United States having reserves that could last 400 years.

Coal, together with natural gas, can provide inexpensive baseload power for all Americans.

Ultra-supercritical coal-fired power plants are a significant improvement over existing coal-fired power plants.

Additional improvements are on the way with USC plants that can operate at even higher temperatures and pressures, and with corresponding additional ,improvements in efficiency.

USC plants that can operate at 1,300 and 1,400 degrees F, are referred to as advanced ultra-supercritical (AUSC) power plants.

The new administration should move quickly to clear the way for these new, and more efficient, coal-fired power plants.

******

Nothing to Fear, Part 2, explores the problems of using wind and solar for generating electricity.

Nothing to Fear is available from Amazon and some independent book sellers.

Link to Amazon: http://amzn.to/1miBhXy

 

Book Cover, Nothing to Fear

Book Cover, Nothing to Fear

******

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© Power For USA, 2010 – 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author, Donn Dears LLC, is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Power For USA with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Latest on Electric Vehicle Sales

January 19, 2017

Plug-In (PHEVs) and battery electric vehicles (BEVs) had a good year in 2016, while sales of hybrids, like the original Prius, continued to fall until the last quarter.

US Sales of Electric Vehicles, Including HEVs 2016

Month

Hybrid (HEVs)

PHEVs&Extended Range Vehicles

Battery (BEVs)

Totals

Total PHEV & BEV

January

20,967

3,137

3,576

27,680

6,713

February

24,371

3,909

4,424

32,704

8,333

March


28,756


5,290


7,815


41,861


13,105


Total 1Q 2016

74,094

12,336

15,815

102,245

28,151

Total 1Q 2015

86,005

7,722

14,127

107,854

21,849

% change


-16%


37%


11%


-5%


22%


April

28,988

5,842

6,266

41,096

12,108

May

30,573

5,619

6,526

42,718

12,145

June


27,679


6,094


7,678


41,451


13,772


Total 2Q 2016

87,240

17,555

20,470

125,265

38,025

Total 2Q 2015

104,965

10,787

20,069

135,821

30,856

% 2Q change


-17%


63%


2%


-8%


23%


July

32,633

6,525

7,762

46,920

14,287

August

32,206

6,372

8,601

47,179

14,973

September


31,286


6,037


10,032


47,355


16,069


Total 3Q 2016

96,125

18,934

26,395

141,454

45,329

Total 3Q 2015

105,405

10,660

17,071

133,136

27,731

% 3Q change


-8.8%


77.6%


54.6%


6.2%


63.5%


October

26,484

5,943

4,864

37,291

10,807

November

28,498

7,858

6,266

42,622

14,124

December


34,507


10,211


13,077


57,795


23,288


Total 4Q 2016

89,489

24,012

24,207

137,708

48,219

Total 4Q 2015

88,029

13,789

19,797

121,615

33,586

% 4Q change


1.7%


74.1%


22.3%


13.2%


43.6%


YTD Year 2016

346,948

72,837

86,887

506,672

159,724

YTD Year 2015

384,404

42,958

50,995

498,426

114,022

% change

-9.7%

69.6%

70.4%

1.7%

40.1%

 
Total sales all light vehicles 2016

17,396,291

% PHEV & BEV to total

0.92%

(Data from Electric Drive Transportation Association)

Sales of both PHEVs and BEVs grew at the same rate during 2016.

Sales of PHEVs and BEVs remained minuscule, at less than 1%, when compared with total light vehicle sales.

The media hype for BEVs continues, but sales remain so small that they must be considered cars for the rich and famous. While sales increased by 70% year over year, they amounted to fewer than 100,000 vehicles.

Total sales of BEVs from 2011, essentially when they entered the market, through 2016 were still only 292,992 vehicles. This is far short of Obama’s prediction of 1,000,000 BEVs by the end of 2015.

The business model for BEVs is highly questionable, with Tesla, for example, having received much of its income from the sale of California Zero Emission Credits amounting to over $390,000,000.

Tesla logo

Tesla logo

There is also the question of whether the federal government will continue to allow a $7,500 subsidy for BEVs.

The introduction of the Bolt by GM, and Tesla’s Model 3, priced at $35,000, and currently still eligible for the $7,500 tax credit, could determine whether battery-powered vehicles go mainstream.

BEVs have four important impediments.

  • Insufficient range, compared with ICE vehicles
  • The high cost of batteries, which results in the high cost of BEVs
  • The lack of charging stations
  • Time required to charge batteries

PHEVs eliminate range anxiety, and partially reduce the cost penalty for the battery.

The real issue is whether BEVs and PHEVs can become a replacement for internal combustion engine (ICE) powered vehicles, without subsidies and EPA fuel mandates for gasoline powered vehicles.

* * * * * *

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© Power For USA, 2010 – 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author, Donn Dears LLC, is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Power For USA with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.