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*****5 STAR Article by Irina Slav - "The Ugly Truth About Renewable Power"

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(edited)

 

2 hours ago, footeab@yahoo.com said:

What is worse is said Batteries capacity should never be used over ~15%->30% of total.  SO, if you supposedly "have" 1GWh, in reality you only have 150MWh->300MWh and then throw in inverter inefficiencies and this drops it to ~130MWh-->~270MWh.

Do you have any evidence to back up your claim that the output is measured on the DC side instead of the AC output? Because I am quite certain you don't. The output numbers are given by the utilities and all they care about is what they see on the AC output.

This is what a small LFP vendor says:

LFP batteries can also last a very long time. Our Battle Born LFP batteries are rated at 3000 cycles, at a full 100% charge/discharge cycle. If you did that every day it makes for over 8 years of cycling! They last even longer when used in less-than-100% cycles, in fact for simplicity you can use a linear relationship: 50% discharge cycles means twice the cycles, 33% discharge cycles and you can reasonably expect three times the cycles.

A grid battery won't need to do a full discharge every day but it certainly can and will if there is a shortage as the price of electricity that day will far exceed the small hit to longevity. The purpose of a grid battery is to make money, if it isn't discharging it isn't making money. The goal is to profit maximize, not maximize the life of the battery, . Don't forget that batteries are rapidly decreasing in cost so replacement in 10 or 15 years is going to cost far less than today's acquisition cost. The profit maximizing behavior is to discharge as much as possible every day according to the price of electricity. Maybe even 100% every day if electricity prices have enough difference between daily low and  high.

Furthermore it is a contractual issue in many cases where the battery must provide a certain level of output. If that requires replacing some cells for degradation it is no different than needing to repair a natural gas plant that has been running at full load.

 

Edited by Jay McKinsey

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1 hour ago, footeab@yahoo.com said:

What is worse is said Batteries capacity should never be used over ~15%->30% of total.  SO, if you supposedly "have" 1GWh, in reality you only have 150MWh->300MWh and then throw in inverter inefficiencies and this drops it to ~130MWh-->~270MWh.

I don't believe deep charge/discharge restrictions apply to flow batteries (not that they have become very "popular" yet). 

Deep discharge/charge in lithium ion chemistries does impact life.  If only performed a handful of times/year, I don't bevel that is a serious economic consideration .   Doing that once/twice a day WILL impact "the money".

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(edited)

Approval granted for $550m Crimson Solar Project in California

The project features a 490MWP solar photovoltaic facility with a 350MWAC/1400MWhAC energy storage system. (Yes the project owner is reporting the output as AC)  Their schedule is to have the whole project completed in one year!

I suspect the plan is to full cycle this battery almost every day. Why sell your peak production when prices are at their lowest when you can capture all of it and sell it in the evening when prices are highest.

https://www.nsenergybusiness.com/?p=291977

Edited by Jay McKinsey
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17 hours ago, Jay McKinsey said:

You are correct, It isn't a test phase, it is an operating phase. It isn't possible to learn everything you need to know just by testing either. Many of the problems are found and solved by the industrial ecosystem. Can't create that ecosystem without going into full production.

The problems incurred at scale can not easily be discovered through just a little testing.

I don't think I agree. We know on average what each individual unit produces in terms of power, and we know its cost. We can calculate, in ideal situations, what these things should earn each year. These simple estimates are enough to make conclusions about feasibility. 

Why do I think that is? You might ask. Most of the time we need to have an operating phase (like we're discussing) to determine feasibility. There's just one problem. Operating phases are for things that look good on paper, but need proving in real environments.

My opinion is that these renewables systems don't look on paper, before we even factor reality in. 

 If a system fails to look good on paper (which is the most ideal representation of any project or idea, since a paper model is exempt from many factors of reality) what's the point in testing it with variables that will clearly make it less feasible than before. I'm talking about serious flaws in the blueprint, before we even build these. Operating phase should come after a 10% return on capital assumed on paper. Right now the paper estimates are around 5 or 6%. 

How's the 15% solar capacity factor working my state? Horrendously. I don't need to install 10,000 MW of  modern solar panels in Minnesota to know whether or not it will work. The simple returns on capital, assuming 100% sale of power and regular weather patterns, aren't good enough. If we can't make this work when situations are the most ideal, then it definitely won't work when situations are non ideal

Now, I will grant that there are certainly areas where the line is getting blurred. My family also has residency in South Dakota. What's the CF for wind power here? Around 40%. That's pretty damned good. I'd only really prefer lower cost per turbine at this point, because wind almost works in this state. 

 

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On 5/3/2021 at 7:25 PM, turbguy said:

I don't believe deep charge/discharge restrictions apply to flow batteries (not that they have become very "popular" yet). 

Deep discharge/charge in lithium ion chemistries does impact life.  If only performed a handful of times/year, I don't bevel that is a serious economic consideration .   Doing that once/twice a day WILL impact "the money".

Flow batteries(from those I have read about) can indeed be deep cycled, but are also inefficient.  ~75% and why AMBRI's batteries aren't exactly flying off the shelf.  Throw in an AC-->DC-->AC connection and 50% is realistic.  If solar do not have the AC-->DC connection, but for windpower you do.  I do not believe anyone has made an efficient DC multimegawatt motor yet and it is still more efficient to go to AC motor and convert. 

Neither battery type is good for long term energy storage... IE when solar/wind are down for a week to a month during a winter high. 

There is no scenario that allows batteries to be good for anything outside ~2 days or maybe 3 days of energy storage.  Not even super rich yacht boys can do this in the tropics where they have no need to worry about HVAC. 

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(edited)

11 hours ago, footeab@yahoo.com said:

Flow batteries(from those I have read about) can indeed be deep cycled, but are also inefficient.  ~75% and why AMBRI's batteries aren't exactly flying off the shelf.  Throw in an AC-->DC-->AC connection and 50% is realistic.  If solar do not have the AC-->DC connection, but for windpower you do.  I do not believe anyone has made an efficient DC multimegawatt motor yet and it is still more efficient to go to AC motor and convert. 

Neither battery type is good for long term energy storage... IE when solar/wind are down for a week to a month during a winter high. 

There is no scenario that allows batteries to be good for anything outside ~2 days or maybe 3 days of energy storage.  Not even super rich yacht boys can do this in the tropics where they have no need to worry about HVAC. 

I agree that battery storage (heck, ANY storage) has limits,  Eventually, they must be recharged.

A coal-fired plant's bunkers evenually have to be refilled.

"Long term" events that impact the grid are rare.  Storage is meant for short term, even daily, events.

Deeper penetration of demand management will assist as well.

There are a few very large DC motors (over 100 MW input).  Typically, they are brushless (commutation is done electronically) and are variable speed.  I don't know their efficiencies.  Using such motors typically requires calling the local utility company for permission before you attempt to start it.

BTW, DC Transmission has a LOT of advantages over AC transmission.

Edited by turbguy

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(edited)

9 hours ago, turbguy said:

BTW, DC Transmission has a LOT of advantages over AC transmission.

 

Uh no, only at long ranges and underground.

Edited by footeab@yahoo.com

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(edited)

On 5/4/2021 at 10:36 AM, KeyboardWarrior said:

I don't think I agree. We know on average what each individual unit produces in terms of power, and we know its cost. We can calculate, in ideal situations, what these things should earn each year. These simple estimates are enough to make conclusions about feasibility. 

Why do I think that is? You might ask. Most of the time we need to have an operating phase (like we're discussing) to determine feasibility. There's just one problem. Operating phases are for things that look good on paper, but need proving in real environments.

My opinion is that these renewables systems don't look on paper, before we even factor reality in. 

 If a system fails to look good on paper (which is the most ideal representation of any project or idea, since a paper model is exempt from many factors of reality) what's the point in testing it with variables that will clearly make it less feasible than before. I'm talking about serious flaws in the blueprint, before we even build these. Operating phase should come after a 10% return on capital assumed on paper. Right now the paper estimates are around 5 or 6%. 

How's the 15% solar capacity factor working my state? Horrendously. I don't need to install 10,000 MW of  modern solar panels in Minnesota to know whether or not it will work. The simple returns on capital, assuming 100% sale of power and regular weather patterns, aren't good enough. If we can't make this work when situations are the most ideal, then it definitely won't work when situations are non ideal

Now, I will grant that there are certainly areas where the line is getting blurred. My family also has residency in South Dakota. What's the CF for wind power here? Around 40%. That's pretty damned good. I'd only really prefer lower cost per turbine at this point, because wind almost works in this state. 

 

I think the fundamental problem is that without storage it is not possible to get a higher return. We could spend many billions in direct gov;t grants developing a design, developing new materials, processes, etc (don't kid yourself on how expensive it is to do all that without cash flow driving an ecosystem) that could on paper generate 10% return.  But just building a few of them would be extremely expensive in capital costs. and be pointless. The only way to get those capital costs down is to scale (which is what has been happening in the current model) but as soon as you scale you drive down the potential return because now you have a lot of turbines all producing electricity at the same time in a region. The more they produce the lower the price they can sell their electricity at because they are all producing at the same time.

I think we will find that the current designs will increase ROI dramatically as batteries come online.

Edited by Jay McKinsey

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I agree with you to a point. The huge hump summer daily peak in say Texas can be turned into duck curve like California. Batteries can take care of daily demand peaks with 6-8 hours of battery. But once you get into 6 day storms nat gas is still the cheapest tech. And that’s paying them enough to sit around and do nothing. 
As other tech becomes cheaper it can peck away at resilience backup but there is no easy answer yet.

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(edited)

4 hours ago, footeab@yahoo.com said:

Uh no, only at long ranges and underground.

Two conductors over three.

No skin effect (smaller conductors to carry the same current).

No line reactance to support.  Ever charge a dead AC transmission line?

No phase synchronism to deal with (although VF Transformers can handle that between AC grids).

AC has it's place, since Edison (et al) could not generate high voltages sufficient for distant ( about a mile) transmission without "buss bar" for conductors.

Look around your house.  How much "stuff" actually operates on DC?  

DC can now be transformed with power electronics, rather than coils, cores, and oil.

But, Tesla and Westinghouse got to High Voltage first, so we built around that advantage, and have that as our legacy.

The "War of the Currents" has restarted.

Edited by turbguy

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3 hours ago, turbguy said:

Two conductors over three.  YES

No skin effect (smaller conductors to carry the same current). Partially true, but not really, other than in a perfect lab where current never changes

No line reactance to support.  Ever charge a dead AC transmission line?  Nope and its not a big deal.

No phase synchronism to deal with (although VF Transformers can handle that between AC grids).  True, but you instead have current balance problems and I have no clue how to do that on a grid scale, not enough knowledge. 

AC has it's place, since Edison (et al) could not generate high voltages sufficient for distant ( about a mile) transmission without "buss bar" for conductors.

Look around your house.  How much "stuff" actually operates on DC?  Nothing much other than piddly stuff, but most of the common appliances/kitchen/household stuff could be changed to DC no problem

DC can now be transformed with power electronics, rather than coils, cores, and oil. True, and they are EXPENSIVE if you want power.  Small stuff?  Dirt cheap, but power?  Uh, ouch my pocket book is wincing already.  Might be solved by mass conversion of everything, but... yea not going to happen as all the motors will be MUCH more expensive and MUCH larger.  Unless of course Permanent magnets become dirt cheap. 

But, Tesla and Westinghouse got to High Voltage first, so we built around that advantage, and have that as our legacy.

The "War of the Currents" has restarted.

 

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On 5/3/2021 at 5:53 PM, Jay McKinsey said:

Well you have to start at the beginning. How do they get better without building, testing, operating, improving? It is not at all feasible to properly understand and develop all of what is needed in a lab.

Hey, we are beginning to explore Mars...would you like to bet on Mars colonies in another twenty years?  I'll bet against that....

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(edited)

3 hours ago, Ecocharger said:

Hey, we are beginning to explore Mars...would you like to bet on Mars colonies in another twenty years?  I'll bet against that....

What does that have to do with anything?

 

Edited by Jay McKinsey

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23 hours ago, turbguy said:

Two conductors over three.

No skin effect (smaller conductors to carry the same current).

No line reactance to support.  Ever charge a dead AC transmission line?

No phase synchronism to deal with (although VF Transformers can handle that between AC grids).

AC has it's place, since Edison (et al) could not generate high voltages sufficient for distant ( about a mile) transmission without "buss bar" for conductors.

Look around your house.  How much "stuff" actually operates on DC?  

DC can now be transformed with power electronics, rather than coils, cores, and oil.

But, Tesla and Westinghouse got to High Voltage first, so we built around that advantage, and have that as our legacy.

The "War of the Currents" has restarted.

I think it's interesting to see China's grid overlaid in top of the US since they are roughly geographically similar sizes.

The black lines are HVDC.

1475565225_ScreenShot2021-05-06at11_46_54PM.thumb.png.e253b8824c855718d8d1b0baaf136872.png

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The Ugly Truth About Renewable Power

By Irina Slav - Apr 26, 2021, 12:00 PM CDT

e32c0481fd5347b2402e1155623ab61c.jpg

https://oilprice.com/Alternative-Energy/Renewable-Energy/The-Ugly-Truth-About-Renewable-Power.html

When Texas literally froze this February, some blamed the blackouts that left millions of Texans in the dark on the wind turbines. Others blamed them on the gas-fired power plants.

The truth isn't so politically simple. In truth, both wind turbines and gas plants froze because of the abnormal weather.

And when Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway said it had plans for additional generation capacity in Texas, it wasn't talking about wind turbines. It was talking about more gas-fired power plants—ten more gigawatts of them.

While the Texas Freeze hogged headlines in the United States, across the Atlantic, the only European country producing any electricity from solar farms was teeny tiny Slovenia. And that's not because Europe doesn't have any solar capacity—on the contrary, it has a substantial amount. But Europe had a brutal winter with lots of snow and clouds. Despite the often-referenced fact that solar panels operate better in cooler weather, sub-zero temperatures are far more drastic than cool. This is not even to mention the cloud cover that, based on the Electricity Map data above, did not help.

If we go back a few more months, there were the California rolling blackouts of August that state officials and others insisted had nothing to do with the state's substantial reliance on solar and wind power. The state's own utilities commission disagrees.

This is what the California Public Utilities Commission and the state's grid operator, CAISO, said in a joint letter to Governor Newsom following the blackouts:

"On August 15, the CAISO experienced similar [to August 14] supply conditions, as well as significant swings in wind resource output when evening demand was increasing. Wind resources first quickly increased output during the 4:00 pm hour (approximately 1,000 MW), then decreased rapidly the next hour. These factors, combined with another unexpected loss of generating resources, led to a sudden need to shed load to maintain system reliability."

Further in the letter, CPUC and CAISO also had this to say:

"Another factor that appears to have contributed to resource shortages is California's heavy reliance on import resources to meet increasing energy needs in the late afternoon and evening hours during summer. Some of these import resources bid into the CAISO energy markets but are not secured by long-term contracts. This poses a risk if import resources become unavailable when there are West-wide shortages due to an extreme heat event, such as the one we are currently experiencing."

These lengthy quotes basically say one thing—and it is a well-known thing: wind and solar power generation are intermittent, and this intermittency is a problem. This problem continues to be neglected in the mainstream renewable energy narrative with only occasional talk about storage capacity. The reason? Battery storage is quite expensive and will increase the cost of solar and wind generation. Hence the blackout risk as renewable power capacity continues to rise.

"People wonder how we made it through the heat wave of 2006," said CAISO's chief executive Stephen Berberich last August. "The answer is that there was a lot more generating capacity in 2006 than in 2020.... We had San Onofre [nuclear plant] of 2,200 MW, and a number of other plants, totalling thousands of MW not there today."

In a recent article for Forbes, environmentalist Michael Shellenberger cited both the Texas Freeze and the California August 2020 outages as examples of why there should be less solar and wind capacity added to the grid, not more: because the more renewable capacity there is, the higher the risk of blackouts.

Solar and wind are weather-dependent sources of electricity and, as the events in Texas and California show, they are unreliable, Shellenberger, who is the founder and president of Environmental Progress, a research nonprofit, wrote. He also pointed to Germany, where an audit of the country's energy transition plans showed that some of the projections were overly optimistic, while others were outright implausible.

People in Germany, like people in California and New York, by the way, are paying more for electricity than people in places that are less dependent on renewable energy. While some may be perfectly fine with paying more for cleaner electricity, not everyone can afford it over the long term. And affordable energy is crucial for civilization, Shellenberger notes.

Affordability is one essential requirement for energy if it is to contribute to the improvement of living standards, even if we take economic growth out of the equation since it appears to be very passé these days amid the fight against climate change. Yet affordable energy is one of the driving forces of equality among different communities across the world. And so is reliable energy.

Affordability and reliability, then, are the two things good energy sources need to be. Solar and wind—unlike hydropower, which is also a renewable source—can only be one of these two things, and that's if there is no storage included. They can be affordable, as we are often reminded. Yet, sadly, they cannot be reliable.

This means that the more billions are poured into boosting renewable capacity, the greater the risk of further blackouts. Perhaps at some point, if wind and solar become the main sources of electricity, authorities will need to institute planned outages.

The author of this article grew up in the 1980s in Bulgaria—a time when the country's socialist government exported so much electricity for hard currency payments that blackouts were a part of life. It wasn't a particularly convenient life, but millions of people lived that way in both Bulgaria and Romania. It’s worth mentioning, though, that back in the 1980s, people were not constantly online. Our energy consumption has soared since then.

To be fair, the limited availability of electricity would have an incredibly positive effect on greenhouse gas emissions. That is, if the limitation comes from the limited amount of energy generated rather than from excessive exports. In the end, from an environmental perspective, an overwhelming reliance on wind and solar, and the planned blackouts that are quite likely to result from this reliance, would go a long way towards the Paris Agreement targets. Of course, it would cost people certain inconvenience and loss of economic—and scientific, and medical—activity. But if priority number one is fighting climate change, then the end must surely justify the means.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

 

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21 hours ago, Jay McKinsey said:

What does that have to do with anything?

 

It should be obvious.

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Here is how it happened....

"Officials at ERCOT said that the grid operator was unaware that the program to save power actually ended up cutting off some of the much-needed natural gas supply at the time by shutting down critical natural gas infrastructure."

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On 5/7/2021 at 7:18 PM, Ecocharger said:

Here is how it happened....

"Officials at ERCOT said that the grid operator was unaware that the program to save power actually ended up cutting off some of the much-needed natural gas supply at the time by shutting down critical natural gas infrastructure."

That was pointed out a long time ago. One problem pointed out was newer nat gas power plants have to file a 3 page form to get on the do not cut power list. Just like a hospital or other essential service would. So any essential service, including power plants that forgot or did not know had a good chance of their electricity cut. Basically total incompetence, system failure, all over paperwork. 
When we get the final reports we will know just how big a problem this was. Stay tuned. This is how greenies work. They ferret out the truth. Then more Texas Republican bashing will resume if the problem was anything but minuscule. People died and 10’s of billions lost.

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If you live in California, Michigan, New York or most of Canada, DO NOT MOVE to TEXAS.  We don't want you to ruin our state. --Tom Nolan

Why Californians Have Sky-High Electricity Bills

By Irina Slav - May 05, 2021, 6:00 PM CDT

ZERO HEDGE LINK

https://www.zerohedge.com/energy/why-californians-have-sky-high-electricity-bills

OILPRICE LINK

https://oilprice.com/Alternative-Energy/Renewable-Energy/Why-Californians-Have-Sky-High-Electricity-Bills.html

Californians pay for some of the most expensive electricity in the United States. They also live in one of the greenest states, at least from an energy perspective. California is only going to get greener. Meanwhile, electricity bills are expected to continue their rise. Some deny there is a link between the two.

The facts show otherwise.

A paper by the California Public Utilities Commission released earlier this year identified the state's plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by adopting more renewable energy as one big factor for bigger utility bills and expectations for further increases in electricity rates in the coming years.

The report said that while the state's plans to reduce emissions will negatively affect electricity bills, a concerted switch to what the authors call "all electric homes and electric vehicles" could lead to a substantial drop in monthly bills. However, this would require a large upfront investment, which would be impossible to shoulder by medium- and lower-income households.

"In the absence of subsidies and low-cost financing options, this could create equity concerns for low- to moderate-income households and exacerbate existing disparities in electricity affordability," the report said.

But funding such a hypothetical move to "all electric homes and electric vehicles" is only part of the problem. Another part, ironically, is distributed energy systems.

A March report in CalMatters summarized the reasons for Californians' high electricity bills as follows: first, the size and geography of the state make the fixed costs associated with the maintenance of its grid higher than in most other states; second, households with rooftop solar installations don't pay for these fixed costs even if they use the grid. And all this is deepening the divide between wealthy and not-so-wealthy Californians, making electricity increasingly less affordable for the latter.

Distributed solar installations appear to be only affordable for the wealthier citizens of the state. They can afford the upfront costs and then benefit from lower electricity bills, according to one of the authors of a UC Berkeley's Haas Business School study that CalMatters cited in its report.

Solar power is regularly touted as cheaper and cheaper, even exceeding the affordability of fossil fuels. The truth, however, is that the cost declines that have been celebrated by renewable power lobbies only concern the PV panels. Granted, any cost decline in solar is good news, but what most reports forget to mention is that it's not just panels that make solar farms or even rooftop installations.

Besides panels, solar power installations also involve other components—whose costs are not falling—and there is the cost of installation. Taken together, all these make up a rather hefty sum, which explains why it is wealthy Californians who are the ones taking advantage of the state's programs aimed at encouraging the adoption of low-carbon energy sources. They are also the ones reaping the benefits at the expense of poorer Californians.

California has something called a net energy metering (NEM) program that basically pays owners of solar installations for feeding electricity into the grid. An analysis of the system between 2017 and 2019, Utility Dive reported recently, shows that the costs of the program stood at $9.46 billion while the benefits stood at $7.96 billion. Another study of the program, focusing on customer bills, found that the benefits of the program came in at $7.58 billion while costs were as high as $20.58 billion and much of that was shouldered by the people who couldn't afford to buy a rooftop solar installation.

And yet, California is forging ahead with its electrification plans as the only presumably viable way of reducing emissions. Meanwhile, the state's utilities are preparing for another hot summer with possible blackouts on the menu. According to the new chief operating officer of CAISO, California will see additional generation—and crucially storage—capacity come online this year, but supply will remain tight because of the retirement of gas-fired plants and one nuclear power plant.

These retired facilities are being replaced with renewables, much of it solar. Last summer, solar was one of the culprits behind California's blackouts as the output of solar farms declines exactly when demand for electricity increases, in the evening, and storage capacity was nowhere near sufficient to handle the discrepancy. This summer, as CAISO's COO, Mark Rothleder, "we will ensure storage resource providers understand how we expect them to operate the system so that storage is available when needed to meet the challenging net peak demand in the stressed summer conditions." 

California's government certainly has its emission-reduction work cut out for it. On the one hand, electricity bills are rising along with renewable power capacity and the retirement of fossil fuel power plants. On the other, grid reliability leaves a lot to be desired. Dealing with the bills will require a massive investment because the people most affected by electricity rate trends simply cannot afford to shoulder that bill, too. Dealing with grid reliability will require investment, too. It would be nothing short of a transformation of the state's grid that will involve lots and lots of energy storage capacity. On the bright side, however, California's emissions have fallen considerably since 2000.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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Without a lot of storage added, or a lot of granular demand side management, future rotating blackouts seem inevitable in California.

And throughout the USA.

Better keep those fossil-fueled peakers available for "a while".

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(edited)

2 hours ago, turbguy said:

Without a lot of storage added, or a lot of granular demand side management, future rotating blackouts seem inevitable in California.

And throughout the USA.

Better keep those fossil-fueled peakers available for "a while".

No more rolling blackouts for California. We are building a lot of storage and a lot of demand side management right now.

Edited by Jay McKinsey

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11 hours ago, Jay McKinsey said:

No more rolling blackouts for California. We are building a lot of storage and a lot of demand side management right now.

I beleive that a grid stress test is required to prove actions taken with storage and demand management actually work, before you start retiring fossil backup.

Makes sense to me. 

You?

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(edited)

7 hours ago, turbguy said:

I beleive that a grid stress test is required to prove actions taken with storage and demand management actually work, before you start retiring fossil backup.

Makes sense to me. 

You?

Yes, that is why we aren't retiring anything this year. The article is poorly written and misleading, as usual. If this year is a success then we will retire one NG plant next winter. Then another the winter after that. The nuclear plant retirement is still 3 or 4 years away. I'll admit I am worried about taking it out of the grid so soon. I support keeping it open for another 10 or 20 years.

FWIW, All of those plants are being shutdown because of their once through ocean water cooling systems that harm wildlife. Not the reasons most suspect.

Edited by Jay McKinsey

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By James Rickards - May 3rd

The Sky Is Falling

https://dailyreckoning.com/the-sky-is-falling/

ZERO HEDGE - https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/rickards-sky-falling

What do you think is America’s most serious geopolitical challenge — China, Russia, Iran, maybe North Korea?

None of the above, apparently. According to President Biden’s Director of National Intelligence, Avril Haines, climate change needs to be “at the center” of countries’ national security and foreign policy.

Well, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will be doing her best to make sure the crusade against climate change gets plenty of funding.

Yellen has called for a “whole-of-economy” approach to fighting climate change — which essentially means massive subsidies to finance so-called green energies and discourage fossil fuel production.

In other words, climate alarmism is the official position of the Biden administration.

Where’s the Science?

Alarmism has no basis in observable science. It’s all the result of climate models, which have been consistently wrong about warming because they reflect the biases of their programmers.

Garbage in, garbage out.

They’re kind of like the climate’s version of the Fed’s economic models. They’re always wrong, and not by a little.

If you listen to the climate alarmists, they’ll tell you we only have a few years to save the planet. If we don’t eliminate CO2 emissions quickly, the planet will warm, sea levels will rise, storms will intensify, cities will be inundated, and lives will be lost to starvation, disease and dehydration.

Every one of those claims is empirically false, but that doesn’t stop the global power elite from trying to shut down the oil and gas industries and replace power generation with solar, wind and hydropower or so-called renewable sources.

The War Against Plants

Here are the facts: The best evidence is that the planet is not warming, but it may be cooling under the influence of a periodic minimum in solar flare activity and increased volcanic activity (the two may actually be related), which creates an atmospheric ash layer that cuts down on sun intensity.

Sea levels may be rising slightly, but the tempo is about 7 inches in the next 100 years. That’s hardly cause for alarm considering that sea levels rose 400 feet since the end of the last ice age, and humans adapted just fine.

CO2 is a trace gas that makes up just 0.04% of the atmosphere (400 parts per million) and doesn’t have a major impact as far as science can tell, except that it is essential for plant nourishment.

Based upon recent studies, a doubling of carbon dioxide would likely result in a temperature increase of only about 1.5 degrees Celsius. That’s hardly a crisis.

There is some danger that if CO2 levels are reduced too much, plant life may suffer. The reason hurricanes are producing more property damage is not because the storms are more intense – peak intensity in the past hundred years was in the 1940s – it’s because fools with federally subsidized flood insurance are building mansions on sand bars where they don’t belong and the mansions get blown away in predictable storms.

The Polar Bears Are Getting Fat

Remember when the same climate alarmists said in 1988 that the New York City subways would be flooded by 2010? Never happened. The polar bears are also doing just fine.

Recent reports show the polar bear population is thriving, and one report showed that polar bear obesity is an emerging problem because the bears have so much to eat.

Yet, the claims of the alarmists are even worse than junk science. Even further, the “solution” to these non-problems doesn’t work either. Simply put, solar and wind power cannot replace oil and gas in producing electricity to supply the grid.

This is because solar and wind are unreliable. When the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine (which is often in most places), there is no power output at all.

The only way to overcome the reliability problem is with immensely expensive batteries. And battery production itself uses up enormous amounts of electricity, poisonous chemicals, and metals, creating disposal problems.

Electric Vehicles Aren’t So Green

Solar and wind can be supplemented by oil and gas (and nuclear power), but they cannot replace them due to unreliability and the expense of batteries.

And do you think you’re going green by driving an electric car? Well, research by the Swedish Environment Institute reveals that up to 17.5 tons of carbon dioxide go into producing an electric battery.

If you keep the car for 10 years or longer, the battery will have to be replaced, meaning another 17.5 tons of carbon dioxide.

And electric charging stations largely depend on fossil fuels to generate electricity.

In comparison, a standard internal combustion engine might produce about 45 tons of carbon dioxide after 160,000 miles, about 16 years of use on average.

But the Biden administration seems determined to push the Green New Deal anyway, despite all the costs and little benefit.

Get ready for higher energy costs, power outages, death and damage from cold spells, and possible lines at the gasoline pump. The Green New Deal is a policy fiasco in the making that will take us back to the 1970s.

ESG Investing

Of course, many corporations are fully on board with the environmental agenda because it means subsidies and tax breaks if they adopt the right policies.

Have you heard about ESG investing?

If not, you soon will. ESG stands for Environmental, Social and Governance, which are the three factors business managers and investment advisors are implored to take into account when making business and asset allocation decisions.

Prior to ESG, managers were only accountable for corporate profits (which could be based on a wide array of factors, including good personnel policies and good community relations), and investment managers were only accountable for consistent high risk-adjusted returns.

Making the environment better, improving society and ensuring good governance outside the boardroom was considered to be the job of government, civil society or not-for-profit entities. Companies were all about the bottom line. Not anymore.

Because of their wealth, scope and influence, companies have been hijacked by the power elite and ideologues to carry water for a host of social programs and causes from public housing and education to climate change.

They’re going from shareholder capitalism — which places the shareholders as number one — to “stakeholder” capitalism — which takes the broader community into consideration.

Maybe that’s good overall, maybe it’s not. Regardless, what one thinks of this evolution in the purpose of a corporation is irrelevant; it’s happening, and investors need to take it into account because it can be extremely profitable.

Might as Well Profit From It All

Assets under management in ESG funds are now over $2 trillion, more than the largest sovereign wealth funds. These funds and large asset managers such as BlackRock are scouring the corporate landscape for companies that meet their ESG investment criteria.

Since there is a scarcity of attractive ESG companies relative to the funds chasing ESG investments, the stocks of good candidates are likely to outperform. Funds are also putting pressure on corporate management to conform existing corporate practices to ESG measurements or face shareholder revolts.

Since the ESG target companies are overwhelmingly green (in areas of solar and wind power, recycling and efficient construction), investors may find even better opportunities in blue projects involving water recycling, irrigation, and cutting-edge vertical farming.

Again, whether you agree with the new model or not is irrelevant. It’s happening anyway.

These trends are just beginning, so there’s still time for investors to jump on the red-hot green and blue bandwagon and put their portfolios in the black.

Regards,

Jim Rickards
for The Daily Reckoning

 

 

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