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Forced responses: Feb 2020

Filed under: — group @ 8 February 2020

This month’s open thread on climate solutions.

527 Responses to “Forced responses: Feb 2020”

  1. 201

    BPL continues to miss the point @196:

    And he does it again. He is absolutely trapped in a loop.

    What part of “their position is epistimically closed AND I WILL NOT BE BOTHERED WITH REFUTING CRAP SELECTED WITH NO BASIS IN FACT” don’t you understand?

    If they’re among your sources, you’re hopeless.

    @197:

    Was the sun out for two weeks, too?

    What part of “Bonneville Power Administration” don’t you understand?  The service zone BEGINS at the 42nd parallel and goes north from there.  It’s famed for being cloudy and rainy much of the year.  OF COURSE THE SUN WAS OUT (of service); IT’S OUT OF SERVICE FOR PRACTICALLY THE WHOLE SEASON.

    Maybe they should have both solar and wind power in that area.

    Maybe you should have a clue about geography, but you don’t.

  2. 202
    David B. Benson says:

    Barton Paul Levenson @197 — The Pacific Northwest is known for cloudiness.

    In any case, BPA is now in the embarrassing situation of too much generation, so having to lower prices and cut expenses.

  3. 203
    David B. Benson says:

    Engineer-Poet @199 — Yes. However my point was to encourage looking at what happened to the wholesale prices in ERCOT last summer for about 3–6 weeks when everyone ran air conditioners while wind power was minimally available.

  4. 204
    Mr. Know It All says:

    197 – BPL
    “BPL: Was the sun out for two weeks, too? Maybe they should have both solar and wind power in that area.”

    Ever spent a winter in the PNW? A 2 week period without sun would not be unheard of on the west side of the Cascade Range. ;)

  5. 205
    Mr. Know It All says:

    “BPL: Was the sun out for two weeks, too? Maybe they should have both solar and wind power in that area.”

    Ever spent a winter in the Salt Lake basin? They get inversions where the smog/clouds cannot get over the Wasatch Range, and I’ve seen periods of a month or more with no direct sun. Get above the clouds in the mountains – bright beautiful sunshine. Similar phenomenon occur in many towns located in bowl-type basins in the western US. Locate solar plants carefully. ;)

  6. 206
    James Charles says:

    “The road to hell is paved with corporate profits and compromised NGOs”

    http://www.wrongkindofgreen.org/

  7. 207
    James Charles says:

    Could be?

    “LONDON, 19 February, 2020 − Virtually all the world’s demand for electricity to run transport and to heat and cool homes and offices, as well as to provide the power demanded by industry, could be met by renewable energy by mid-century.
    This is the consensus of 47 peer-reviewed research papers from 13 independent groups with a total of 91 authors that have been brought together by Stanford University in California.”
    https://web.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/Articles/I/CombiningRenew/100PercentPaperAbstracts.pdfb

  8. 208
  9. 209
    MA Rodger says:

    Engineer-Poet @198,
    The opinion-piece by Bruce Charlton you link-to appears on-line as no more than an Abstract. Thus the accusations made by Charlton back in 2009 have no proper context (except that they appeared as an ‘editorial’ in the then-non-peer-revieved Medical hypotheses which Charlton controversially single-handedly editied) and are thus pretty-much worthless babble. To get some better understanding of Charlton’s alarming thesis (here in a 2016 piece presenting this unsupported assertion) that:-

    “The policing mechanisms of science have failed; such that massive deliberate misrepresentation, known falsehood, blatant plagiarism and cheating, are routinely covered-up, go unpublicised and unpunished; especially when they are done by famous, influential and powerful scientists. Instead,such behaviours are rewarded with high status jobs, lavish funding, control of the all-pervasive peer review system, socio-political power, and prestigious awards and prizes. (I know of multiple examples from direct personal knowledge and also information from trusted sources – the problem is especially bad in my main field of ‘medical research – as well as many more example via the professional literature and investigative media.)
    ..
    “Thus, the garbage/ lies/ ‘noise’ nowadays utterly swamp the reality/ truth/ ‘signal’.”

    perhaps his 2012 publication ‘Not even trying: the corruption of real science’ might best explain his complaint, even if it is 28,000 words long and may do no more than assert that today’s science is beset by “the systematic imposition of non-honesty; not only indirectly by rewarding hype, spin, fashionable incompetence and lies; but eventually directly by the punishment of honesty” (which appears to be the case after a quick skim through it).

  10. 210


    Kevin McKinney writes @200:

    Basically an (somewhat) extended strawman argument. First, the fact that there was a two-week production lull for the BPA wind fleet as it was in 2015 does not mean that forever, always, and everywhere one must plan for such production lulls.

    LOLwhut?  Are you SERIOUSLY arguing “we don’t need to plan for another shortfall like THIS DOCUMENTED ONE IN THE RECENT PAST even as weather patterns change in ways we cannot properly predict”?  Are you INSANE?!

    What would the consistency of the BPA fleet be if it included significant offshore capacity? If it were better interconnected with other regional grids? For that matter, what is the geographic coverage now of the wind fleet as it is now?

    Those are questions YOU should answer.  If you insist we can rely upon wind power, it is up to YOU to show that adequate power is available elsewhere during such lulls… and give us cost figures for the interconnects to get it into the areas of shortage.  Oh, and also time for construction, including time to resolve issues of eminent domain, endangered species act, and so forth.

    More fundamentally, why are we even talking about wind-only power grids as if anyone, anywhere, were seriously considering building them?

    The further north you go, the more your “renewables” are effectively wind-only in winter due to axial tilt and clouds.  An awful lot of people live in such areas, so you really should give them more than a bit of consideration.

    Add solar PV to the mix.

    Even if it’s practically useless when these events occur?

    Interconnect better.

    Interconnects cost money and dissipate power; they generate nothing.

    Disperse wind resources better.

    IOW, put wind farms where the wind isn’t as good on average so as to hope to generate when the good spots are becalmed, driving up the average cost of energy?

    All of the things you propose cost money and energy, and reduce EROEI.  The 100% renewable scheme was hopeless at the outset, but maybe making it even MORE hopeless will convince some people that Greenism is a religion, not a solution.

    Tesla *warranties* them for ten years

    Tesla keeps issuing over-the-air updates to manage battery deterioration issues at the expense of vehicle performance.  All they have to do is barely make 10 years and they’re home free.

  11. 211

    #201, 202, 204, 205–

    Yes, the solar resource is not as good in Seattle as it is in Phoenix–or Columbia, SC, for that matter. But it’s pretty much comparable to, say, Boston. Which is to say, solar PV is still perfectly workable in the PNW.

    Part of the reason is that cloudy days reduce but do not kill production–a cloudy day will probably give you 25% of rated max, and even conditions of very heavy cloud generally still yield 10%.

    https://cleantechnica.com/2018/02/08/solar-panels-work-cloudy-days-just-less-effectively/

    Plus, panels like to be cool, so the lower Northwest temps tend to boost output and reduce panel degradation over time.

    So, yeah, PNW solar is a ‘thing,’ whether you like it or not:

    One of the American cities with the most cloudy days is Seattle, but solar power is continuing to grow there as well. “Seattle is quickly becoming one of the best cities for solar in America thanks to Washington’s great payback incentive and net-metering policy as well as the city of Seattle’s growing market competition.”

    Another one of the cloudiest cities, Portland, is also a leader among American cities in solar power — the 17th best US city in terms of solar capacity.

    https://sciencing.com/solar-panels-viable-pacific-northwest-7357.html

    https://www.nwcouncil.org/news/solar-power-grows-pacific-northwest

    Facts, guys–not facile stereotypes and assumptions.

  12. 212
    zebra says:

    David Benson,

    You’ve brought up the ERCOT wholesale price increase over and over, but you have yet to explain what your point is.

    It’s a market system, and it responds to supply and demand, just like it is supposed to. So what?

    The only problem I can see is that it is not enough of a market system; the technology to create a more flexible market response is certainly possible:

    https://cleantechnica.com/2020/02/14/tesla-steps-into-the-utility-space-with-new-grid-controller-patent/

    Sounds like ERCOT is demonstrating the necessary way forward.

    There’s also this:

    https://pv-magazine-usa.com/2019/11/22/vermont-letting-homesowners-sell-solar-power-direct-to-buiness/

    So, a true market-based system would allow for each geographically unique area to evolve the energy mix best suited to its needs. Why would anyone object to that?

  13. 213
    David B. Benson says:

    zebra @212 — The point is that without adequate reserves the wholesale price of electricity can go to the allowed maximum. That is so high as to suggest there is something wrong. Furthermore, in the case of ERCOT, the excessive demand is met by natural gas burners, hardly low carbon.

  14. 214
    Bill Henderson says:

    Immunity via collective failure

    Now, after three decades of mitigation failure, with GHG emissions continuing to increase globally, it will take an immense global effort requiring deep systemic change to even stay under 2C. And, considering only the runaway warming danger, the evolving climate science strongly suggests that there is a potential cascade of latent feedbacks and a threshold to Hothouse Earth as close as one more failed mitigation decade.

    But GHG emissions continue to rise. This is why Greta and the kids are out in the streets. We know better but we don’t/can’t get to effective mitigation action. Very few governments globally have achieved even their modest emission reduction targets. The few jurisdictions leading in emission reduction – the UK, Germany, California, for example – are only achieving a fraction of their emission reduction needed and almost all nations have lapsed into ‘immunity via collective failure’ where what mitigation planning exists are plans to fail like Canada’s Pan-Canadian Framework which is projected to not even meet its too small by half Harper-era targets.

    Our climate predicament is dire, an emergency, we are rapidly heading for warming that promises to crush our civilization and all we love and care about, and our governments are getting worse not better at achieving needed emission reduction. We need leadership and action urgently but instead our governments are choosing collective failure.
    https://countercurrents.org/2020/03/perverse-leadership-in-immunity-via-collective-failure-globally

  15. 215
    zebra says:

    #213 David Benson,

    But this is exactly the thing I don’t get; what does “adequate reserves” mean here??

    Sounds like you are saying it means “adequate to keep the price from going to the allowed maximum price”.

    So, what if you just increase the “allowed maximum price”… would that mean you now have “adequate reserves”, without building any new capacity??

  16. 216

    E-P freaks out at #210–

    LOLwhut? Are you SERIOUSLY arguing “we don’t need to plan for another shortfall like THIS DOCUMENTED ONE IN THE RECENT PAST even as weather patterns change in ways we cannot properly predict”? Are you INSANE?!

    I might ask him, “Would I know if I were?” Would I, for instance, realize that I was making rather free use of the shift key?

    But I don’t think I’m crazy, FWIW. Seems to me that when someone argues that a particular circumstance “proves” that it is *always* necessary to plan for “several weeks” of energy storage, one is well-advised to ask questions about said circumstance. After all, the 2015 lull was measured via output of the BPA system as it then existed, and as it was then interconnected. If the system is more widely dispersed now, would that lull still look the same?

    He cites some questions I asked per exemplum, then opines:

    Those are questions YOU should answer.

    Yes, if I were a researcher in this area instead of a blog commenter. But I note that when I and others point to work by actual researchers addressing exactly the kinds of points at issue, they are dismissed unless they are in agreement with E-P’s prejudices.

    Then there’s a bunch of rhetorical cheap shots, yada yada, and then we get to “The 100% renewable scheme was hopeless at the outset…”

    That one is a pure straw man WRT me, inasmuch as I’ve been saying all along that we are going to have nuclear capacity for the next several decades, and I’m fine with that. IOW, I’m not arguing for 100% wind and solar. Never have been. What’s at issue is E-P’s fantasy that wind and solar don’t displace fossil fuels, when clearly out there in the real world they are doing exactly that.

    The final fail is this:

    Tesla keeps issuing over-the-air updates to manage battery deterioration issues at the expense of vehicle performance.

    Could be a telling point, *if* true–it’s just yet another unsupported assertion, after all–except we were talking about Tesla grid storage, not Tesla EVs. So, not real relevant. Grid storage is a much less demanding application by every account I’ve read.

  17. 217

    WRT our occasional comments on the potential role of agriculture in carbon sequestration, here’s a nicely-done interview:

    https://e360.yale.edu/features/why-its-time-to-stop-punishing-our-soils-with-fertilizers-and-chemicals

    There are some familiar ideas there–presuming you’ve been reading these threads for a while. But there are some things I’ve not seen, or not seen put as well.

  18. 218
    Mr. Know It All says:

    211 – Kevin
    “Another one of the cloudiest cities, Portland, is also a leader among American cities in solar power — the 17th best US city in terms of solar capacity.”

    No one in Portland gets utility power from Solar, and I’d be surprised if there were more than a very, very few people with 100% PV – probably aren’t any. There is a a lot of roof-top grid connected power there, but much of the time they are getting power FROM the grid which is mostly salmon-killing hydro and perhaps bird-killing wind if the windmills 70 miles east of Portland can feed Portland. If you have to depend on 10% to 25% output from PV for your power you are going to have a very expensive system.

  19. 219
    Mr. Know It All says:

    214 – Bill Henderson
    “Our climate predicament is dire, an emergency, we are rapidly heading for warming that promises to crush our civilization and all we love and care about, and our governments are getting worse not better at achieving needed emission reduction. We need leadership and action urgently but instead our governments are choosing collective failure.”

    Why does the government have to do everything for us like we are little children? Why can’t you, and all the AGW believers quit using FFs, adjust your thermostats, plant trees, insulate your homes, stop flying, grow a garden, install PV, and stop waiting for “the government”?

    Why don’t scientists put their efforts to capturing and sequestering CO2 from the air, and/or the oceans?

    Did the settlers in early America wait for “the government” to clear the land, build homes, plant crops, etc? No they didn’t. The people built this country DESPITE the hindrances put in their way by government.

  20. 220

    Kevin using-his-full-name-today McKinney writes @211:

    solar PV is still perfectly workable in the PNW.

    What time is it?  It’s FISKING TIME!

    So, yeah, PNW solar is a ‘thing,’ whether you like it or not:

    One of the American cities with the most cloudy days is Seattle, but solar power is continuing to grow there as well. “Seattle is quickly becoming one of the best cities for solar in America thanks to Washington’s great payback incentive and net-metering policy as well as the city of Seattle’s growing market competition.”

    Another one of the cloudiest cities, Portland, is also a leader among American cities in solar power — the 17th best US city in terms of solar capacity.

    https://sciencing.com/solar-panels-viable-pacific-northwest-7357.html

    https://www.nwcouncil.org/news/solar-power-grows-pacific-northwest

    Facts, guys–not facile stereotypes and assumptions.

    Facts are stubborn things.  Omitting essential facts, like the difference between nameplate capacity and net generation (related by the dimensionless number capacity factor) proves either incompetence or deception.  I’m going with incompetence here, because the sciencing.com article is obviously written by a scientific illiterate:

    While cloud cover decreases solar panel output, the Pacific Northwest is still a viable location for solar power. In fact, 100 square feet of solar panels rated at 1,000 kilowatts of output power can produce 1,250 kilowatt hours of annual power east of the Cascade Mountains. Locations west of the Cascade Mountains might produce slightly less power — around 1,000 kilowatt hours on a similar system. This is still a useful amount of power.

    Aside from the fact that 100 square feet of solar panel doesn’t even receive 100 kW of sunlight anywhere on Earth (you’d get roughly 9 kW under standard conditions), the generation of 1000 kWh/yr divided by 8766 hours per average year comes to an average of 114 watts.  Figuring 9.3 m² and 200 W rated output per m², that’s 1860 W rated for a capacity factor of 6.1%.  This might be off somewhat, but the real figure is no more than 2x as good, and that means that “1000 watts” of PV is producing less than 1/8 that much on average.

    That’s ANNUAL average.  It’ll be much worse with the short cloudy days of a PNW winter.  And you claim people can keep the lights on that way?  The only reason this “works” is because net metering pushes the job of providing reliability and all other ancillary services off onto the rest of the grid.  In the BPA, that’s largely hydro with a healthy helping of nuclear from the Columbia nuclear plant.  Elsewhere it’s fossil… and that fossil has to go away.

    THAT is why “renewables” (wind and solar) are doomed to failure… and why fossil fuel interests love them and promote them.

  21. 221

    Bill Henderson talks some sense @214:

    after three decades of mitigation failure, with GHG emissions continuing to increase globally, it will take an immense global effort requiring deep systemic change to even stay under 2C.

    I am sure you are correct.  I believe we will shortly have sudden events which will shock the world into action, including short-term geoengineering efforts like injection of sulfate aerosols into the stratosphere to attempt to arrest permafrost melting.  These efforts may or may not succeed.

    And, considering only the runaway warming danger, the evolving climate science strongly suggests that there is a potential cascade of latent feedbacks and a threshold to Hothouse Earth as close as one more failed mitigation decade.

    True.  Once there is enough methane from permafrost melting, there is little or nothing we can do to block the ensuing cascade.  We’d need something like an orbital sunshade blocking many percent of incoming sunlight… and we have nothing close to the capability required to do this.

    GHG emissions continue to rise. This is why Greta and the kids are out in the streets.

    Greta’s blame is misplaced.  The rapid rise does not come from the West; it comes from the BRICs and increasingly the Third World.  The West made it all possible, but acted in the spirit of sharing the benefits of progress including the Green Revolution in farming and modern medicine.  It was the Third World which exploded its population while failing to industrialize and modernize.

    We know better but we don’t/can’t get to effective mitigation action.

    We aren’t yet hardened enough to make the decisions and execute the actions required for effective mitigation.  And the decisions ARE hard.

    One of the least-hard decisions is to replace all of our own fossil-fuel energy with emissions-free such as nuclear power, and even that will is missing.  Europe isn’t even willing to address the third-world hordes wanting a piece of their lifestyle and tell them “NO!  GO HOME!”.

  22. 222
    David B. Benson says:

    zebra @215 — ERCOT, like other grids is supposed to maintain a 15% reserve during times of maximum demand. That’s supposed to assure service. The price goes up very high when there is little unused capacity.

    See the PJM-style market thread that I posted a link to earlier.

  23. 223
    David B. Benson says:

    Kevin McKinney @216 — There is almost no additional wind farms in the BPA area since that date and what additional there is is still in the same general area and so subject to the same lulls in the Autumn and Winter seasons. Sometimes also over the summer. The best season for wind is Spring, precisely when there is the most flow through the hydro dams. BPA would rather not have to put up with the wind farms, especially now as demand for electric power is dropping.

    As for utility-scale batteries, read
    https://bravenewclimate.proboards.com/thread/386/utility-scale-batteries?page=4
    and maybe the earlier pages as well. Whatever, these batteries aren’t for ancillary services and also a bit to provide power at the ends of the “California duck curve”. Such cannot help with long periods of insufficient generation.

  24. 224
    Ralph says:

    “The people built this country DESPITE the hindrances put in their way by government.”

    LOL

    Like the hindrances of free land to the two big railway companies.

    And free land to the homesteaders.

    Thanks muchly Mr Lincoln.

    Pffft! What’s the Government ever done for us?

    Besides free college tuition and the Farm Bill and buying Louisiana, Florida, California, New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada ……………..
    ……………………………………. non-stop hindrances all of it.

  25. 225
    Ralph says:

    ………… and DARPA and NASA and winning World War 2 and the Cold War single handedly no less!

    Hindrances one and all.

  26. 226

    E-P 201 does it again: What part of “their position is epistimically [sic] closed AND I WILL NOT BE BOTHERED WITH REFUTING CRAP SELECTED WITH NO BASIS IN FACT” don’t you understand?

    BPL: And he still doesn’t get it.

    BPL: This source says–
    E-P: It’s a bad source!
    BPL: Maybe it is, so let’s check what they say by–
    E-P: IT’S A BAD SOURCE!
    BPL: Yes, you said that. But if so, we can check–
    E-P: I REFUSE TO CHECK A BAD SOURCE!

    And so on. And he cannot see the problem. And he never, ever will.

  27. 227

    E-P 201: What part of “Bonneville Power Administration” don’t you understand? The service zone BEGINS at the 42nd parallel and goes north from there. It’s famed for being cloudy and rainy much of the year. OF COURSE THE SUN WAS OUT (of service); IT’S OUT OF SERVICE FOR PRACTICALLY THE WHOLE SEASON.

    BPL: You don’t know that solar panels work in diffuse light? No, you probably don’t.

  28. 228

    DBB 202: The Pacific Northwest is known for cloudiness.

    BPL: Right, but solar panels work on cloudy days. You don’t need to be in the direct beam of the sun.

  29. 229

    KIA 204 (and continuing in 205): A 2 week period without sun would not be unheard of on the west side of the Cascade Range. ;)

    BPL: Do you think it’s pitch-black on a cloudy day? Do any of you guys understand how a solar panel works? I’m beginning to think you don’t.

  30. 230

    E-P 210: The further north you go, the more your “renewables” are effectively wind-only in winter due to axial tilt and clouds.

    BPL: And E-P increasingly sounds like a creationist trying to talk about biology.

  31. 231

    E-P 210: Interconnects cost money and dissipate power; they generate nothing.

    BPL: They can distribute power from areas that have it to areas that don’t, dear. In fact, that’s pretty much the point. Are you sure you’re an engineer?

  32. 232

    KIA, #218–

    Nobody in Portland gets utility power from solar? So what would that prove about its potential efficacy?

    As this commercial solar installer says:

    Portland, Oregon is well known for its long rainy winters which may lead many people to believe that solar doesn’t work here. What we lose in sunshine in the wintertime Portland make up for in the long and sunny summers. Year round, Portland has a solar resource equivalent to Germany, one of the world’s solar powerhouses.

    But actually, Portland General Electric does have 46 MW of solar online:

    https://www.portlandgeneral.com/our-company/energy-strategy/how-we-generate-electricity

  33. 233

    KIA 218: No one in Portland gets utility power from Solar

    BPL: Flat-out wrong.

  34. 234

    KIA 219: Why does the government have to do everything for us like we are little children? Why can’t you, and all the AGW believers quit using FFs, adjust your thermostats, plant trees, insulate your homes, stop flying, grow a garden, install PV, and stop waiting for “the government”?

    BPL: Because the government is subsidizing fossil fuels, and in places like Oklahoma and Florida, actively blocking renewables. That’s why.

  35. 235

    KIA, #219–

    The people built this country DESPITE the hindrances put in their way by government.

    “Hindrances” such as military protection, the rule of law, roads, harbors, canals, and lighthouses.

  36. 236

    Oh, one more thing on solar in the PNW–you guys do realize, don’t you, that the BPA territory *already includes* the ‘Oregon high desert’, which encompasses roughly 24,000 square miles of mostly Federal land and, though not a true desert, only gets about 15 inches of rain a year?

    And if that’s not enough, the solar resource in southern Idaho–also BPA turf–is even better:

    http://solardat.uoregon.edu/Assets/ayrdn.jpg

  37. 237
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Mr. KIA: “Why does the government have to do everything for us like we are little children? Why can’t you, and all the AGW believers quit using FFs, adjust your thermostats, plant trees, insulate your homes, stop flying, grow a garden, install PV, and stop waiting for “the government”?”

    First and foremost, it wouldn’t be enough. Second, it lets dumbass coal rollers off the hook. Third, not everyone can afford solar panels or to take a week off to drive to a destination rather than fly. Not everyone has land where they can plant trees or grow a garden. Fourth, most of us are already doing much of this.

    Why didn’t poor hillbillies install electricity themselves back in the ’20s? Why did it take a government project–the TVA–to do so?

    Here’s a news flash: John Galt is a fictional character in a piss poor fantasy by a piss poor writer and philosopher. Government is not necessarily the enemy. In fact, it seems to be the enemy only when we put Republicans in charge of it. Otherwise, it seems to serve its intended purpose–providing a channel in which we can harness our resources to improve the public good.

  38. 238
    Astringent says:

    Mr KIA @219 exhorts ‘us’ to take appropriate action on our own account rather than expecting governments to do it for us. Fair point, and right after the government stops subsidizing fossil fuels, abolishes corporate welfare payments and all the myriad of other special interest payments and tax breaks that actively work against protecting our environment from degradation, I will get right on it. I’m no, however, entirely clear what I as an individual, can do, for instance if my neighbor decides to open a coal mine. I suppose the proper pioneer spirit would involve calling him out at high noon with six-guns?

  39. 239
    zebra says:

    #222 David Benson,

    You keep avoiding my question.

    As I said originally, the price going up when a commodity becomes scarce is exactly what is supposed to happen. Supply and demand, Econ 101.

    I ask you why that is a problem for you, and you just reply by saying “the price went up because the commodity was scarce”.

    You aren’t making any sense. I don’t see any problem here. It was designed as a market system, and it is working exactly as it is supposed to.

    Is it that you are opposed to markets, and would prefer a Socialist system where the government controls specific commodities to keep prices fixed? It’s OK to have such views, but why would you be so mysterious about it?

    The US does stuff like that with fossil fuels, for example, through subsidies; our gasoline prices are pretty low, and there are other countries that keep them even lower. Is that what you are talking about here?

  40. 240
    David B. Benson says:

    Kevin McKinney @236 — completely wrong about the utilities in Oregon and Idaho. The operating companies include Portland General Electric, Idaho Power, some Utah nonprofits and various PacifiCorp subsidiaries.

  41. 241
    David B. Benson says:

    Florida solar power is coming. See the latest post on
    https://bravenewclimate.proboards.com/thread/671/energy-demand-2018-onwards?page=2

  42. 242

    DBB, #223–

    There is almost no additional wind farms in the BPA area since that date and what additional there is is still in the same general area and so subject to the same lulls in the Autumn and Winter seasons.

    But the point isn’t whether BPA has, or has not, actually changed. The point is, does the lull in 2015 have a lot to say about whether or not you need “weeks” of storage? From your information, it could still have comparable periods, which is good to know, but does not answer the question as to whether or not measures like additional, more widely dispersed, wind; and/or solar, and/or storage, and/or even geothermal (since it is the NW we’re talking about) can ameliorate the problem.

    BPA would rather not have to put up with the wind farms, especially now as demand for electric power is dropping.

    Ah, there’s the problem, right? BPA doesn’t actually need to add capacity. Hydro, which is their DNA, covers most of it, and nuclear covers most of the rest. (Then again, if they ever want to lose a few of those dams and help the salmon out, that could change. But that’s a political hot potato.)

    So the problems BPA has aren’t essentially capacity/grid ones; they’re mostly money/politics ones. Which, I would humbly suggest, makes their situation perhaps not a good basis from which to argue that ‘Wind Can’t Work.’ Per you, they’re not trying to make it work, and don’t particularly care if it works. Where that’s different, so is the big picture story.

  43. 243

    E-P, #220–

    Omitting essential facts, like the difference between nameplate capacity and net generation (related by the dimensionless number capacity factor) proves either incompetence or deception. I’m going with incompetence here, because the sciencing.com article is obviously written by a scientific illiterate…

    I’m going with incompetence, too, albeit of the “fisk”-al sort, because E-P totally misses the point. (To be fair, I have some sympathy for him, because the bit he was responding to was not clearly written; I suspect that the author or editor may have dropped a zero, changing 1000W into 100W. Yes, that’s “incompetent,” but could be pretty ‘venial’.)

    The example he quoted was hypothetical; all they were trying to say was that in Oregon east of the Cascades, there’s a 25% power output bonus compared with hotter climes because PV panels work better when cool.

    But all those capacity factor calculations based on a mix of real and hypothetical (but unrecognized as such) numbers were pretty amusing, at least.

  44. 244
    Al Bundy says:

    EP: The service zone BEGINS at the 42nd parallel and goes north from there.

    AB: Who cares? There isn’t a force field preventing electrons from the 32nd parallel from being transferred to the 48th parallel. Do you have a scientific point?

  45. 245
    Al Bundy says:

    DBB: Furthermore, in the case of ERCOT, the excessive demand is met by natural gas burners, hardly low carbon

    AB: That depends on where one buys the natural gas. It is a trivial exercise to produce zero carbon natural gas. That the market permits fossil natural gas is a totally different issue.

  46. 246
    Al Bundy says:

    Ray L: Government is not necessarily the enemy. In fact, it seems to be the enemy only when we put Republicans in charge of it.

    AB: Yep. GOPpers hate efficiency when money grubbing isn’t involved. So GOPpish governments deliberately govern as poorly as possible while running humungous deficits precisely so they can ‘prove’ that government is evil. Then Democrats clean up the GOPpers’ mess, which freaks out GOPpers so they buy, cheat, and steal elections for the sole purpose of degrading society enough to fool folks into believing that centralized planning via an oligarchy is the bestest way.

  47. 247
    nigelj says:

    Mr KIA thinks government is the ‘enemy’. He possibly reads too much Ayn Rand without understanding context. She grew up in the Soviet Union and reacted by going to the other extreme without really thinking things through.Many economists like F Hayek that were critical of communism were more grounded and strong advocates for government help for poor people, environmental laws etc, but they get selectively quoted. I agree with RL’s summation.

  48. 248

    Kevin not-using-his-middle-name-today McKinney bloviates again @216:

    I might ask him, “Would I know if I were?” Would I, for instance, realize that I was making rather free use of the shift key?

    It’s very difficult to communicate extreme incredulity in text.

    But I don’t think I’m crazy, FWIW.

    The insane seldom do, just as the Dunning-Kruger effect keeps the incompetent from understanding their own incompetence.

    After all, the 2015 lull was measured via output of the BPA system as it then existed, and as it was then interconnected. If the system is more widely dispersed now, would that lull still look the same?

    This is the sort of handwaving dismissal which backs up the Dunning-Kruger diagnosis.  The outage extended from wind farms in near-coastal Washington and Oregon all the way to western Montana.  It is highly doubtful that any area in between was not similarly affected, and also doubtful that the becalmed area did not extend some distance beyond.  Yet you hand-wave with weasel phrases like “it then existed, and as it was then interconnected”.  Interconnections are irrelevant, as the measurements included all BPA wind farms whether interconnected or not.

    If you are proposing to rely on any given source of energy, that energy MUST be reliable.  Wind is not just unreliable, but extremely so.  Aside from a few desert areas which are largely cloudless, solar is similarly unreliable including outages every night absent some sort of storage and a strong counter-cyclical seasonal availability in latitudes far from the equator (where most industrial societies are).  As wind and solar are the two chief “renewables” and the only ones which can be scaled significantly, it follows that they require large amounts of storage if they are going to be the mainstays of a reliable energy system.  It further follows that the supplies must be overbuilt to guarantee that the storage is full when such outages occur.

    It is not up to me to prove what the costs and limitations of the “renewable energy economy” are, or even if it can be built.  It is up to the advocates.  So far we have heaps of handwaving, enough to generate wind sufficient for a dozen wind farms, but precious little else.  We don’t have any working examples that don’t rely on e.g. hydropower as the implicit storage system, and that includes Denmark (heavily interconnected to Norway) and South Australia (heavily interconnected to the rest of the region).  From this, I am forced to conclude that “renewable energy” is a fool’s errand.

    That one is a pure straw man WRT me, inasmuch as I’ve been saying all along that we are going to have nuclear capacity for the next several decades, and I’m fine with that.

    One of the two remaining serious candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination insists he’ll shut all nuclear plants down.  This position is mainstream for his party.

  49. 249

    BPL shows just how dishonest he can be @227-229:

    You don’t know that solar panels work in diffuse light? No, you probably don’t.

    solar panels work on cloudy days. You don’t need to be in the direct beam of the sun.

    Do you think it’s pitch-black on a cloudy day?

    From one of the more extreme RE shill sites:

    Solar panels do produce electricity in cloudy weather. They don’t produce as much electricity as they do on sunny days, but they have been shown to produce 25% of what they produce on a sunny day, or 10% when it’s very cloudy.

    So all you have to do is overbuild by a factor of 4-10, plus whatever seasonal day-length variations do during your max-demand season, and you’re golden!  (Never mind what this does to your EROI and thus LCOE.)

  50. 250

    KM shows his ignorance of history @235:

    “Hindrances” such as military protection, the rule of law, roads, harbors, canals, and lighthouses.

    From The Declaration of Independence:

    He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

    Read the rest of the list of grievances too.  Government was pretty bad for quite some time, and arguably re-devolved into such despotism once major cities grew big enough to out-vote the productive hinterlands.