Tom Kirkman

Natural gas is crushing wind and solar power

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3 hours ago, Tom Kirkman said:

Seems to me that Natural Gas being reliable, cheap and abundant is a GOOD thing, not something to complain about.

Yes it is truly bizarre. Switching power production to efficient gas plants is a major way to reduce emissions that doesn't have all the hassle of renewables or the political baggage of nuclear and might even cut power costs. Gas turbines are also better at load following - the output can be varied much more easily than coal plants - and so are easier to match on grids with renewables, and still commentators are still whining .. sorry guys, they should be told, if you're serious about mad targets like 40 per cent of grid power (excluding hydro) being renewable in ten years time or whatever then, unless you've got a few dams in your back pocket, gas plants are the only option. Deal with it.  

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8 hours ago, Tom Kirkman said:

The African Development Bank, for example, is only financing "green energy" projects, not coal or natural gas. It is substituting a cheap form of clean energy for a costly "green" alternative. Why?  ...

The answer is simple.  They are optimizing on a zero carbon footprint and not the lowest cost of production.  Stop calling natual gas a "clean energy source."   It is a CLEANER energy source than coal, but not a clean energy source in real terms. It does generate greenhouse gases.  Once this is understood,  fog starts to lift on their thought and decision process.

Natural gas will not be accepted by environmentalist unless Hydrogen Fuel Cells take off and natual gas is used used as a hydrogen source.

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11 hours ago, George8944 said:
20 hours ago, Tom Kirkman said:

The African Development Bank, for example, is only financing "green energy" projects, not coal or natural gas. It is substituting a cheap form of clean energy for a costly "green" alternative. Why?  ...

The answer is simple.  They are optimizing on a zero carbon footprint and not the lowest cost of production.  Stop calling natual gas a "clean energy source."   It is a CLEANER energy source than coal, but not a clean energy source in real terms. It does generate greenhouse gases.  Once this is understood,  fog starts to lift on their thought and decision process.

Natural gas will not be accepted by environmentalist unless Hydrogen Fuel Cells take off and natual gas is used used as a hydrogen source.

First, as an intergovernmental body with a global socialist background, the goal of the development banks is to prevent private development. In that context it should be clear that it is like China's debt trap projects in the Belt and Road initiative. It is not intended to produce a benefit but to prevent private economic development, particularly of domestic origin. So there is a permanent structural bias to fund things that cost more than their output would ever pay back. 

The carbon emission red herring is covering the imposition of costly inefficient energy projects that will cement in physical reality  a permanent economic disadvantage

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23 hours ago, Tom Kirkman said:

For some reason, the media complains lately that Natural Gas is a reliable, cheap and abundant competitor to wind and solar - which are unreliable, expensive, and require backup systems for when the sun doesn't shine and the wind doesn't blow.

The expression of 'backup systems' is a non-sequitur. An RE system needs to include storage, so a more accurate representation is Wind/Storage and Solar/Storage.

China imports natural gas, so wind and solar in China are cheaper than natural gas, but not cheaper than coal. Of course, environmentalists that grouse in China soon end up in detention, so the relative silence is deafening. Some of the numbers I'm running into right now suggest that China is closing the gap on coal, and other numbers suggest that American RE is about to pull the rug out from under NG.

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23 hours ago, Tom Kirkman said:

The African Development Bank, for example, is only financing "green energy" projects, not coal or natural gas. It is substituting a cheap form of clean energy for a costly "green" alternative. Why?  ...

Define 'costly'.

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24 minutes ago, Meredith Poor said:

Define 'costly'.

Even if we could squeeze 600 W per square meter out of solar, it still takes up too much space, and demands an energy storage system all the same. I keep tabs on my state’s wind power projects, and I can tell you that the saddening figures you can find elsewhere are true if you do the math here. 

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On 2/21/2020 at 2:37 PM, Tom Kirkman said:

The African Development Bank, for example, is only financing "green energy" projects, not coal or natural gas. It is substituting a cheap form of clean energy for a costly "green" alternative.

 

44 minutes ago, Meredith Poor said:

Define 'costly'.

 

In this case, financing "green" alternatives are more expensive than hydrocarbons.

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On 2/21/2020 at 2:37 PM, Tom Kirkman said:

For some reason, the media complains lately that Natural Gas is a reliable, cheap and abundant competitor to wind and solar - which are unreliable, expensive, and require backup systems for when the sun doesn't shine and the wind doesn't blow.

 

51 minutes ago, Meredith Poor said:

The expression of 'backup systems' is a non-sequitur. An RE system needs to include storage, so a more accurate representation is Wind/Storage and Solar/Storage.

 

Disagree.  You are splitting hairs over mere semantics.

Wind and solar energy are intermittent, unreliable, and definitely not continuous.

Since wind and solar energy are not able to generate power continuously, some other fully functional form of energy system needs to be in place, for when wind and solar FAIL.  Generally, that can be hydrocarbon or nuclear.

Call it whatever you like.  I generally use the term "backup system".

Wind and solar can AUGMENT hydrocarbon and / or nuclear.  They are an expensive ADDITION, but in most parts of the world, are simply incapable of being the primary source of energy for powering the civilized world.

It annoys me that wind and solar enthusiasts typically insist on deliberately omitting the cost of having a fully functioning hydrocarbon or nuclear backup system in place, for when the sun doesn't shine and the wind doesn't blow.

 

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3 hours ago, Meredith Poor said:

The expression of 'backup systems' is a non-sequitur. An RE system needs to include storage, so a more accurate representation is Wind/Storage and Solar/Storage.

Meredith - it ain't. The wind and solar system may have some storage but at best it would maintain output long enough for the back up plants to kick in .. in the case of wind I have some idea that the on-site storage is about getting the turbines generating again if they have to be stopped for any reason and the grid is down as has happened (you need a little to power up the magnets inside the turbine). Building enough storage to make a real difference unless the grid in question already had heaps of hydro power remains prohibitively expensive.. Norway, for example, has enough hydro power to run 100 per cent renewable but it had that before any of the fuss over carbon. Apart from countries such as Norway I don't know of anyone who has overcome this problem - not even in microgrids (remote towns of a few thousand) where the economics stack up and batteries can make a difference. Storage beyond a few hours ain't going to happen..  

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Wind power is crushing trees.

Scotland’s Wind Industry Clear-Fells 17,283 Acres & Wipes Out 14,000,000 Trees To ‘Save’ Planet

Wiping out entire forest habitats is all part of our ‘inevitable’ transition to a wind powered future. Across Germany, millions of acres of forest have been clear-felled and great swathes cut through others, to allow some 30,000 of these things to be speared across Deutschland.

The same wanton destruction has been integral to Scotland’s wind power disaster, where, so far, 13,900,000 trees have been chainsawed and/or bulldozed out of existence. All, of course, in order to ‘save’ the planet. Where phony eco-warriors jump for joy, real environmentalists are left to weep as natural habitats for all manner of birds and animals are turned into industrial wastelands.

More than 13.9 million trees felled in Scotland for wind development, 2000–2019
National Wind Watch
Scottish Forestry
16 January 2020

A Scottish citizen made a freedom-of-information request, to which Scottish Forestry replied as follows:

Thank you for your request dated 26 November and received on the 5 December and the clarification dated 19 December 2019 under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EIRs).

You asked for:

a) the number of trees felled for all onshore wind farm development in Scotland to date.

b) the area of felled trees, in hectares, for all onshore wind farm development in Scotland to date.

I enclose some of the information you requested.

Specifically data covering renewable developments on Scotland’s national forests and lands, which is managed on behalf of Scottish Ministers by Forestry and Land Scotland. The area of felled trees in hectares, from 2000 (the date when the first scheme was developed, is 6,994 hectares [70 km², 17,283 acres]. Based on the average number of trees per hectare, of 2000, this gives an estimated total of 13.9M.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have some of the information you have requested. Namely data on renewable developments on privately owned woodlands.

Download original document: “Scottish Forestry information request 19-02646
National Wind Watch

 

forest-scotland.jpg?w=584

Scotland’s forests before ‘green’ energy arrived ….

wind-farm-scotland.jpg?w=584

and what’s left after the wind industry showed up to ‘save’ the Planet.

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I watch these discussions/arguments with a fairly open mind, since I am really not "pro" either side:

1.  It is obvious to me that wind and solar should be developed, and developed aggressively where possible, but I also believe the marketplace should drive the efforts; taxpayers should not be forced to fund government mandated targets based on what only a minority representation of the electorate insists upon.  That is not how our Democracy works and taxation is a part of our system of government.  Taxpayers should not be forced to fund technologies with no proof that those investments will pay off within the taxpayer's foreseeable future.  There have to be transparent reviews, and where efforts are found not to be living up to their promise they must be amended or even scrapped, the same as they would be in any commercial enterprise.  The only reasonable way that ANY government should be able to mandate its citizens to pay the bill for R&D with "hopeful" outcomes, is if and when the government puts it to a vote by the citizenry. 

2.  Oil and gas, and current generation nuclear powerplant designs, should be utilized to their fullest.  I simply don't buy into "the world is ending" hysteria.  In this arena, it seems to me that the compromise that both sides of the argument need to come to is a realistically scaled reduction in both emissions and our dependence on oil and gas as our sole sources for energy.  Setting phase out "goals" and "target dates" that are mandated without the majority of the citizens buying into them is not the type of governance we have chosen for ourselves (...government of the people, by the people, for the people). 

Majority rules in our system of government are the norm and must be adhered to, lest we lose control of government completely.

With the above in mind, my searches for information tend to be ones that look for unbiased views to all energy types.  Today's search, prompted by following this thread and reading everyone's comments, lead me to the article at the link below, which seems to provide a realistic status of where wind and solar, together with cutting edge battery storage systems, are today.

Critics: Austin's renewable energy goals unrealistic

An article that shows how reality can be gauged, alternative initiatives developed, and compromises found when successfully put to the ballot box/vote:

California isn’t requiring rooftop solar on every new home after all

This one shows the battle that is ongoing in New Jersey with regards to (mainly) natural gas vs. "the administration's goal of 100 percent clean energy by 2050".

Gov. Murphy's Energy Plan: Here's Why Critics Say It'll Cost You

I'll leave it with you all; I hope you don't mind my intrusion to your discussion.

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18 hours ago, Tom Kirkman said:

Disagree.  You are splitting hairs over mere semantics.

Wind and solar energy are intermittent, unreliable, and definitely not continuous.

Since wind and solar energy are not able to generate power continuously, some other fully functional form of energy system needs to be in place, for when wind and solar FAIL.  Generally, that can be hydrocarbon or nuclear.

Call it whatever you like.  I generally use the term "backup system".

Wind and solar can AUGMENT hydrocarbon and / or nuclear.  They are an expensive ADDITION, but in most parts of the world, are simply incapable of being the primary source of energy for powering the civilized world.

It annoys me that wind and solar enthusiasts typically insist on deliberately omitting the cost of having a fully functioning hydrocarbon or nuclear backup system in place, for when the sun doesn't shine and the wind doesn't blow.

 

In other words, you don't like the message. 'Conventional' power plants are installing storage in order to smooth out cycling. GE's combined cycle plants are now using storage so that they don't have to run in 'standby' - when peak loads justify starting up the plant they can cold-start.

Right now, 'utility scale storage' can house 6Mwh in a 40' shipping container. Stack these 4 high, and 180 days worth of storage for the entire US would fit in a square about 20 miles on a side. While solar and wind aren't 'continuous' in a 24 hour timeframe, they're pretty reliable in a 180 day timeframe.

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3 hours ago, Meredith Poor said:

Right now, 'utility scale storage' can house 6Mwh in a 40' shipping container. Stack these 4 high, and 180 days worth of storage for the entire US would fit in a square about 20 miles on a side. While solar and wind aren't 'continuous' in a 24 hour timeframe, they're pretty reliable in a 180 day timeframe.

You are saying that industrial batteries

- in 40 foot containers 

- stacked 4 high

- in 20 miles x 20 miles square

can store enough electricity to power the entire U.S  for half a year.

Am I understanding you correctly?

 

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15 minutes ago, Tom Kirkman said:

You are saying that industrial batteries

- in 40 foot containers 

- stacked 4 high

- in 20 miles x 20 miles square

can store enough electricity to power the entire U.S  for half a year.

Am I understanding you correctly?

 

Yes.

6 Mwh per shipping container. 6 x 4 high = 24Mwh

Average 500Gw consumption per hour in the US, 12Twh per day, 12Twh x 180 days = 2160Twh over a half-year interval.

2,160,000,000,000,000 / 24,000,000 = 90,000,000 stacks.

90,000,000 * 40 feet * 8.5 feet = 30,600,000,000 square feet.

One square mile = 27,878,400 square feet (5280 * 5280)

30,600,000,000 square feet / 27,878,400 square feet = 1098 square miles.

Square root of 1098 = 33 miles.

So the math above is a bit off, unless the containers are stacked higher.

However, these containers would need access space around them, so the square miles is really 4x, or 66 miles on a side.

It's unlikely that most of the power storage would be done this way, some storage would be in purpose built stations. Since the US has roughly 1000 'gigawatt-scale' power plants scattered around the country, it's likely that power storage would be similarly distributed, so there would be roughly 1000 locations that would cover 4 square miles each.

If this appears excessive, it's worth keeping in mind that coal and nuclear plants include their respective cooling water, and in any case the land area used by transmission lines within the US is far greater than 4000 square miles. Land used for transmission lines could also be used for storage.

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1 minute ago, Meredith Poor said:

Yes.

6 Mwh per shipping container. 6 x 4 high = 24Mwh  ...

Thanks for the clarification.

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(edited)

23 hours ago, Tom Kirkman said:

 

 

 

It annoys me that wind and solar enthusiasts typically insist on deliberately omitting the cost of having a fully functioning hydrocarbon or system in place, for when the sun doesn't shine and the wind doesn't blow.

 

Well, because that stuff is already in place and profitably runs. Zero cost.

If anything fossil humans fear they will lose money as renewables grow.

Edited by Enthalpic

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(edited)

On 2/22/2020 at 5:18 PM, Tom Kirkman said:

Wind power is crushing trees.

Agriculture and livestock did most of that a long time ago... just finishing off the Amazon now...

 

England has essentially no forests or top predators anymore (all dead).

 

I love beef but it's worse for trees than any windmill. You can also grow crops under the windmill or even under solar panels; low light plants grow and it reduces water evaporation. The local high-value ginseng crops grow under mesh for those reasons, some solar panels would be a better alternative.

 

I know you are smart enough to know that they could plant grass and put a few tasty cows under any of those things.

 

Lastly, oil and gas companies cut down plenty of trees.  Even the exploration cut lines that are everywhere add up let alone actual development.

Edited by Enthalpic

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Renewables and storage costs keep on dropping every day. And performance goes up. First you go for efficiency in your situation. And find every passive way to reduce energy demands. Then you pick the low hanging fruit. The most expensive ways get knocked off. As prices keep on dropping You knock off the other fossil places.

I Australia they installed the big battery. 2% of the power demands. Within 2 weeks they wiped out 90% of their revenues. Paid for it self.

As prices keep on falling and performance goes up, there is nothing that natural gas can do. They are already crying about low prices. Day by day fossil providers are going bankrupt. Once the tipping point hits it hits faster than you think.  This 2040 and 2050 stuff is just crap.

We are just starting now to attack fossil fuels. Tesla opening 2 car lines as we speak. Semi trucks later this year. Germany factory opening up next year. Tesla Megapack battery with 1+ GW storage. Install in months, not years like your natural gas plants.

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4 hours ago, Meredith Poor said:

6 Mwh per shipping container. 6 x 4 high = 24Mwh

Average 500Gw consumption per hour in the US, 12Twh per day, 12Twh x 180 days = 2160Twh over a half-year interval.

2,160,000,000,000,000 / 24,000,000 = 90,000,000 stacks.

90 million container sized batteries? You want to go back and read what you've written.. leaving aside whether even that amount would be enough you realise that the batteries will need replacement . Making a very favorable assumption of  a 30 year life span (20 or even 10 is more likely but lets assume improved technology), that works out to an average of 3 million replacement batteries a year. All this is at a time when they are having trouble sourcing batteries for the increasing number of electric cars.. other methods of storage have been proposed and they are all far more likely than mass battery storage.. 

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3 hours ago, Enthalpic said:

just finishing off the Amazon now...

Like most other activist pronouncements repeated claims that the Amazon basin is on its last legs have been proved wrong over many years.. parts of the basin are regularly set on fire by slash and burn farmers and sometimes those fires get out of hand as happened last season. Then the jungle just grows back. There is also western-style logging and there are a lot of problems with illegal logging but its mostly along rivers and highways so the loggers can get the trees out, and there aren't many highways in the amazon so much of the basin and its trees are still there.. 

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1 minute ago, markslawson said:

Then the jungle just grows back.

The jungle grows back if they don't install palm oil plantations or ranch land.

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Just now, Enthalpic said:

The jungle grows back if they don't install palm oil plantations or ranch land.

I was talking about the slash and burn guys, not the corporate stuff. While there has been some encroachment by those two industries - slash and burn is far more important.. 

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2 hours ago, markslawson said:

90 million container sized batteries? You want to go back and read what you've written.. leaving aside whether even that amount would be enough you realise that the batteries will need replacement . Making a very favorable assumption of  a 30 year life span (20 or even 10 is more likely but lets assume improved technology), that works out to an average of 3 million replacement batteries a year. All this is at a time when they are having trouble sourcing batteries for the increasing number of electric cars.. other methods of storage have been proposed and they are all far more likely than mass battery storage.. 

This is what is needed using what is available for sale right now. By the time anything like this is built out, batteries would have most likely improved markedly. There are about 135 million households in the US, so 90 million suggests one shipping container for every single family home in the country. This is patently unaffordable for most households.

The larger point is that the land area this needs has already been disturbed for other purposes, typically either power plants, coal piles, cooling water, or transmission lines. A 40' container would fit in most suburban home back yards, although few people would actually install one. Someone living in a farm house with other outbuildings wouldn't find this bothersome in the least.

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