Untangling UK Wind power production

Cross posted from Clive Best. Clive is a physicist of some distinction and a climate and energy blogger with coding skills that go beyond the norm. In this post he explains the portion of UK wind power generation that is metered by BM reports and that portion that is not. This is vital to the understanding of load factors, economics and the efficiency of UK wind power.

There are currently 6044 operational wind turbines in the UK with a total capacity of 12.133 GW. Do we know how much electrical power they generate? The answer is not simple. These 6044 turbines are installed in over 700 sites, some of which are very large while others are only a single turbine.  There are 3 ways to connect them to the Grid.

1. Direct transmission line to the Grid. This is suitable only for large wind farms especially off-shore. The output of such wind farms is metered through the ‘balancing mechanism’, from which Gridwatch and this site get their live updates. A full list of these directly connected wind farms are given below.

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GWPF Launches Enquiry into Integrity of Temperature Data

The Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF), Lord Lawson’s London based climate change think tank, has launched an enquiry into the integrity of data used to reconstruct global time-temperature series. These time-temperature reconstructions provide the core evidence that Earth’s lower troposphere is warming in response to rising CO2 levels.

The backdrop to this enquiry begins with UK climate and energy blogger Paul Homewood’s timely reminder of how temperature records may be adjusted to supposedly correct for non-climatic artefacts, a correction procedure commonly known as homogenisation. This was picked up by Telegraph columnist Christopher Booker who published a story levelling an accusation of one of the greatest scientific scandals of all time that drew a large amount of public interest.

The inquiry is to be led by Professor Terence Kealey, the former vice-chancellor of the University of Buckingham. Professor Kealey’s background is in medical sciences and he has published a book questioning the role of government funding of science. At first glance he may appear to be a curious choice. But on reflection, appointing an eminent scientist equipped with all the analytical skills required to assess the relevant data from outside the highly controversial sphere of climate science is exactly what is required.

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Blowout week 69

The oil just keeps on coming:

ARAMCO oil refinery, Dahran, Saudi Arabia

Bloomberg:  Saudi Arabia’s Solution to Global Oil Glut: Pump Even More Crude

The world’s biggest oil exporter, having abandoned last year its role of keeping global markets in balance, now has incentive to maximize output and undermine rival producers by using its reserve capacity, according to Citigroup Inc. and UBS AG. Just meeting its own domestic demand this summer will require a lot more fuel, others estimate. The increase — a snub to fellow OPEC members calling on the kingdom to cut production — will heighten tensions when the organization meets in June. Oil plunged to a six-year low near $45 a barrel in January, six weeks after the Saudis overcame opposition within the group to keep up output despite surging U.S. shale supplies. “Increasing production and exports is the clear implication of Saudi’s new oil policy,” Seth Kleinman, head of European energy research at Citigroup in London, said by e-mail. “If you want to pressure high cost producers, why hold oil back on spare capacity? Use it all and use it now.”

More on the oil glut below the fold, plus fracking and earthquakes in the US, grass-to-gas conversion in UK, Drax pellet demand, nuclear in Japan and China, coal miners march in protest in Germany, Pakistan bans wind and solar, the Yellowstone “supervolcano”, the zero-carbon airliner of the future (complete with CO2 scrubber), the GWPF launches an enquiry into adjustments to temperature records (h/t A.C. Osborn) and how the tragic deaths in the Mediterranean are precisely in line with the predictions of climate security analysts.

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Averaging Temperature Averages

I sent a link to my recent post The Hunt For Global Warming: Southern Hemisphere Summary to Professor Richard Muller at Berkeley drawing attention to the gulf between Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) for southern hemisphere land and the compilations produced by Roger Andrews and I (Figure 1) in the hope that he or his group may help us to understand where the discrepancies may lie. He passed this on to Steven Mosher to respond and we exchanged several emails. Most of this correspondence shall remain confidential but suffice to say that Mr Mosher pointed out that they have verified and tested BEST and since neither I nor Roger had documented verification of our methods the onus was on us to do so.

In summary, Roger Andrews’ (RA) compilation for Southern Hemisphere land has good geographic cover and uses 369 records. My compilation (EM) to date uses 174 records and is specifically designed to sample low population areas. It nevertheless gave a result very similar to RA. Since 1882 BEST runs at about 0.7˚C per century warmer than either RA or EM (Figure 1). RA and EM are using GHCN V2 records that are “unadjusted”. A handful of spot checks in Australia show that these are the same records as unadjusted BEST. BEST is however using their own homogenisation algorithim to supposedly correct for non-climatic artefacts. Roger has compared BEST adjusted with unadjusted records in South America and found a large positive bias in the homogenised set (Figure 2).

Figure 1 Comparison of RA, EM and BEST. BEST series based on monthly data downloaded from their site and recalculated to the equivalent metANN employed by GHCN (DJFMAMJJASON). RA series begins in 1882 hence this is used as the start point. All three series adjusted so that 1882 = zero. There is a reasonably high degree of congruity between EM and BEST, i.e. the peaks and troughs rise and fall together. Note how similar the BEST 1976 feature is to EM. But the gradients are totally different. 1880 to 2011 EM = +0.18˚C per century; BEST = +0.91˚C per century.

In this post I report on three simple tests to the methodology I employed  to see how robust it is. This includes 1) summing the gradients of 5 individual records and 9 groups of records and comparing these with the gradient of the average of dT determined on the same record stacks; 2) filling blanks with average data for a region and comparing this with unfilled data; 3) decimating data by removing 20% and 50% of the records.

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Blowout Week 68

A somewhat abbreviated and late Blowout this week owing to pressure of other events. Readers are encouraged to link to any interesting articles the newsroom staff may have missed.

This week we feature the forthcoming UK general election. How might the results impact future UK energy policy?

Carbon Brief:  What the general election means for UK climate and energy policy

In three weeks, the UK will go to the polls in one of the closest-fought and least predictable elections in a generation. Carbon Brief has already pored over the political parties’ manifesto views on climate and energy. But the chance of a multi-party coalition make it hard to extrapolate pre-election commitments into future government action. Carbon Brief asked a range of experts for their views on the May 7 poll’s implications, in particular:

• What are the key climate and energy dividing lines for the election?
• How do you see potential election outcomes affecting climate and energy policy, post-election and in the run-up to Paris?

Here’s what they had to say ……

More below the fold, including the latest pronouncements of OPEC, oil prices and the US Fed, layoffs at Schlumberger, yet more problems for Hinkley Point, the California drought, the EU to sue Gazprom, US tree exports to Europe and how global warming will cause giant super-fast spiders.
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US Oil Production Forecast Scenario

Readers are keen to know when US oil production will begin to fall. This is not an easy question to answer but in the comments to last week’s rig count update some interesting links were posted. Among them I came across a link to an Energy Information Agency (EIA) report into US drilling efficiency that sought to link future production to drilling activity and this seemed an interesting avenue to explore. The analysis presented here is jam packed with multiple lines of uncertainty, but a simple analysis based on many assumptions suggests that US production may actually increase further by about 1 Mbpd, due to an estimated 18 month time lag between drilling and first production, improved drilling efficiency and a growing backlog of drilled but idle wells. US oil production may not actually begin to fall in earnest until the middle of 2016.

Figure 1 US oil production (RHS) and total rig count from Baker Hughes (LHS). While we feel instinctively there should be a connection between drilling and production, it is not at all obvious from this chart. The production spike down in 2008, whilst coincident with the financial crash and plunge in drilling, is I believe linked to a hurricane. The essence of this post links production decline in 2010 to the drilling decline of 2008/09.

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Forging Arctic Heat

Arctic warming is still very much in the news and there is on-going concern that this may cause accelerated melting of permafrost, release of even more CO2 and methane and a form of runaway warming. A little known “fact” is that many parts of the Arctic were just as warm around 1940 as they are today. This is a theme I will return to shortly with a few more comprehensive data sets. In this short post I simply want to take another look at the two records close to Yamal – Ostrov Dikson and Salehard – that I mentioned in my recent post on the Yamal “vent”.

Figure 1 GHCN V2 “raw” in blue and GHCN v3 “adjusted” records in red for Ostrov Dikson, near Yamal, Arctic Russia. Scales offset by 3˚C to facilitate comparison. Can you spot the forgery from the Da Vinci?
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Rig Count Update March / April 2015

The global rig count statistics published by Baker Hughes provide a crucial industry activity indicator and some of the most up to date industry statistics available. This is a short report updating international statistics to March 2015 and US statistics to 10 April 2015.

Figure 1 The Middle East OPEC gulf states continue to confound expectations by increasing their rig count and drilling, evidently intent on keeping the oil market over-supplied and the oil price suppressed. Oil rig count for these 4 countries increased 6 to 161 for the month of March. Saudi oil production hit a new record of 10.3 Mbpd in March. Oil Minster Ali Al-Naimi  wants price stability and order to return to the market but on OPEC’s terms.

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The Hunt For Global Warming: Southern Hemisphere Summary

In recent months I’ve had a series of posts looking at the temperature histories of a number of land areas in the Southern Hemisphere [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. This was in response to a post by Roger Andrews where he presented an analysis of about 300 climate stations from the Southern Hemisphere that, when combined, showed substantially less warming than the reconstructions presented by various groups (BEST, GISS, HadCRUT) [6]. I found this to be both intriguing and important and wanted to see if I could replicate Roger’s result.

Figure 1 Note that this chart has an expanded Y-axis scale and the grid lines are at 0.1˚C intervals. A regression through all the data using station average as the base indicates warming of +0.18˚C per century, i.e. close to zero. The black trend lines are parallel to the regression and show there are rising tops and bottoms in an overall slowly rising trend. The alternative view is a flat trend from 1880 to the mid-1970s with a step change to warmer temperatures across the mid-1970s cold snap.

  • The average time-temperature anomaly series for 174 climate stations from New Zealand, Central Australia [1], Southern Africa [2,3], Patagonia [4], Paraguay and Antarctica [5] are presented in Figure 1. A simple regression through the data with no weighting indicates warming of +0.23˚C since 1880 equivalent to +0.18˚C per century. This is substantially less than S hemisphere land temperature reconstructions reported by BEST, GISS and HadCRUT.
  • Comparing with Roger Andrews’ reconstruction the difference is less than 0.1˚C. I have managed to replicate Roger’s result.
  • My default method is to use each station’s average temperature as a base for calculating anomalies. All anomalies have also been calculated using a fixed base period of 1963 to 1992. Doing so makes no material difference. Warming is reduced to +0.21˚C since 1880 using the fixed base.
  • Area weighting the results produces a trend of +0.19˚C warming since 1880. Area weighting lends substantial weight to Antarctica (only 14 records) where the main data series begin in 1954 and possible methodological problems are identified with lending 55% weight to only 14 stations with records that begin in the mid point of the time series.
  • The mid-1970s stand out as an anomalous cool period seen in records throughout Central Australia and Southern Africa. It was also cool, although not anomalously so, in S America, Antarctica and New Zealand at this time.
  • The structure of the data is one of cyclical warming to circa 1914 followed by cyclical cooling to the mid-1970s followed by cyclical warming to the present day. There is no evidence for warming linked to the 1998 el nino in these data. Nor is there evidence for a pause in warming in the Southern Hemisphere since 1998.
  • The data presented here are not intended to provide full cover of the Southern Hemisphere. Coverage will be extended at some point. But there is probably sufficient cover to be representative of the southern hemisphere land and surrounding marine conditions. There is scant evidence for significant warming in these data suggesting global warming is confined mainly to the Northern Hemisphere.

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Blowout Week 67

This week marks the 200th anniversary of the eruption of Tambora in Indonesia, the largest volcanic eruption yet witnessed by humans (although not the loudest. The eruption of Krakatoa in 1883 was heard almost 3,000 miles away):

Weather Underground:  200th Anniversary of the Tambora Eruption

(O)n April 10, 1815, the mightiest volcanic explosion ever witnessed and recorded by humans rent Tambora in a cataclysmic eruption heard more than 1,200 miles (2,000 km) away. The Tambora eruption threw so much sulfur dioxide (SO2) gas into the stratosphere that a “Volcanic Winter” resulted. The sulfur pumped by this eruption into the stratosphere dimmed sunlight so extensively that global temperatures fell by about 0.4–0.7 °C (0.7–1.3 °F) for 1 – 2 years afterward, triggering the infamous Year Without a Summer in 1816. In Western Europe, summer temperatures in 1816 were up to 3°C (5.4°F) below average, resulting in crop yields that plunged more than 75%. Tens of thousands died of starvation, and tens of thousands more died in the typhus epidemic that followed. The situation was even more dire in India, where the eruption caused the failure of the monsoon rains from June through August 1816–the longest recorded break in the Southwest Monsoon in recorded history. The resulting famine and cholera epidemic that erupted ended up killing millions over the next few decades. Unprecedented July snows also hit Yunnan, China in 1816, resulting in widespread famine, and killing frosts in June, July, and August 1816 in Eastern Canada and New England caused widespread crop failures. A cold wave on June 5 – 11 dumped up to a foot of snow on the Northeast U.S., and lake and river ice were observed as far south as Pennsylvania in July and August.

Below the fold we have another rig count decrease, more production from Saudi Arabia, more nukes from Rosatom, an oil discovery at Gatwick Airport, a blackout in Washington DC caused by a coal plant closure, Denmark and Germany squabbling over Danish wind imports, storing energy in hybrid flywheels, making hydrogen from corn husks, the Shell/BG acquisition, how CO2 emissions threaten another mass species extinction and “The Blob”.
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On the Origin of a Permafrost Vent on Yamal Peninsula, Russia

In my recent post on temperature history around Moscow, Alexander posted a link to a vent in Siberian permafrost that sparked some interesting discussion. Syndroma followed up with a link to a paper that described the feature. I have two motives for writing this post. The first is to describe some aspects of the geology of this area and the vent which I find to be quite extraordinary. And the second is to highlight some commentaters’ obsession with seeking to explain all natural phenomena such as this one by anthropogenic global warming and to block out all other explanations no matter how plausible they may be. Unfortunately this extends to the authors of the paper (p68) (Marina O. Leibman, Alexander I. Kizyakov, Andrei V. Plekhanov, Irina D. Streletskaya [1]) who provide much useful descriptive detail but exclude what I consider to be the most likely origin using a false pretext.

What lies behind the formation of this recent vent in permafrost on the Yamal Peninsula? Is it the result of methane ice clathrates melting in the permafrost? Or is it the result of a natural blowout from natural gas deposits below the permafrost?

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A Tale of Two Weather Stations

Down in the windswept wastes of the great Southern Ocean lies Base Orcadas, an Argentine naval outpost that boasts a weather station, and it’s a particularly important weather station because it’s the only one below latitude 60S with a long-term temperature record. The station was established by the Scottish National Antarctic Expedition in 1903 and transferred to Argentina in 1904 and it has been recording temperatures since April 1903. The station is located on a somewhat insecure-looking gravel spit on Laurie Island in the South Orkneys:

Figure 1: Base Orcadas Weather Station, South Orkney Islands: 60.7S 44.7W (Photo credit Noticias Ambientales)

The Orcadas record has another distinction: it’s one of the few records in the Southern Hemisphere where the homogeneity adjustments applied by GISS, NCDC and BEST generate a substantial cooling correction. Here we will look into whether this cooling correction is any more valid than the wholesale warming corrections, the adjustments applied elsewhere in the Hemisphere.

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Blowout Week 66

The focus this week is on the recent nuclear agreement with Iran. What happens if sanctions on Iran are lifted? (photo credit MarketWatch)

Irish Independent:  Oil driven lower as markets prepare for Iranian shipments

Iran could resume oil exports within months, adding to a glut of supply that has already halved wholesale oil prices in recent months. The preliminary agreement outlined on Thursday signals the Persian Gulf nation may be able to resume exports within months of a final deal, which negotiators aim to conclude by June 30, analysts at UBS Group and Commerzbank said.Iran’s shipments abroad have been curbed 50pc by measures imposed in mid-2012. The return of Iran’s oil to a global market oversupplied including by US shale output threatens the price recovery fellow producers are expecting later this year. Under the accord, the US and European Union would lift the economic sanctions if inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency verify Iran’s compliance with curbs on its nuclear programme. “In essence, there will be more Iranian oil soon,” Giovanni Staunovo, an analyst at UBS, said.

MarketWatch:  Oil drops on bets Iran pact may lead to greater supplies

Oil futures settled sharply lower on Thursday with traders betting that a preliminary deal on Iran’s nuclear program will only add to excess supplies that have been weighing on prices. The oil market had been concerned that an agreement would lead to an easing of sanctions on Iran, which would in turn be able to release much more of its oil onto world markets. Under the agreement reached on Thursday, the U.S. will end all nuclear-related sanctions on Iran. “The Iran nuclear deal is a massive blow for the oil price and we could see the crude-oil price falling to $30 very easily,” said Naeem Aslam, chief market Analyst at AvaTrade. Some analysts estimate that the lifting of oil sanctions would lead to an addition of around 800,000 barrels a day in global markets and that Iran’s return to the oil market would be “long and arduous.”

More on Iran and the Middle East below the fold, plus leaks at nuclear plants, layoffs at Hinkley, smart grids, the coal glut, Europe falling behind in renewables, Republican senators going after the EPA,  methane emissions from hydro plants and a temperature record that wasn’t.

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The Hunt for Global Warming: Moscow and Urban Heating

  • 34 climate stations centred on Moscow are divided into three groups: 1) Large cities over 1 million 2) large towns and small cities 20,000 to 1 million and 3) Rural 20,000 and less.
  • The warming trend through the large cities is +2˚C since 1880. The warming trend through the rural records is +1.2˚C since 1880. The large towns and small cities lie close to but slightly warmer than the rural records. There is clear evidence for urban warming.
  • It is quite clear that the rural records provide the most reliable evidence for warming from this region that spans a 765 km radius around Moscow. Including the large cities in a regression biases results upwards by +0.4˚C.
  • Berkeley Earth report warming for Russia of +3.39˚C per century since 1960. The rural records I have selected yield 0.92˚C warming per century. Clearly a very large discrepancy that requires an explanation.

Are things heating up in Moscow?

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Tories Place Energy Policy at Heart of Manifesto

In a surprise move, The Conservatives have placed the reform of energy policy at the heart of their manifesto launched today pledging to repeal the loathed 2008 Climate Change Act in the first session of the new parliament should they be elected.

At the launch Mr Cameron said:

….The 2008 Climate Change Act is Labour policy of the worst sort. It has enslaved the energy producers to the state with progressively complex regulation that is leading to bankruptcies and nationalisation. It has enslaved the UK government to unrepresentative Green NGOs and their continual whining about CO2 emissions and renewable energy. It is time for Britain to stand up for itself once again.

….Conservatives are in favour of small government and a fair society. Why should pensioners pay more for their electricity in order to line the pockets of wealthy land owners?

Mr Cameron added that Feed In Tariffs (FITs) and Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs) would be abolished immediately. There would be no more subsidising of inefficiency. Existing FITs and ROCs would be phased out over 5 years.

Mr Cameron also announced that Britain would build a new fleet of nuclear power stations announcing the formation of a new state owned and funded company to oversee the construction and commissioning phase.

David Cameron wants the UK to build a new fleet of nuclear power stations.

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Climate Scientists Confirm No Global Increase in Extreme Weather Events

It’s now accepted in certain quarters that climate change AKA anthropogenic global warming (AGW) is causing more frequent extreme weather events, and about once a week along comes another extreme event that gets blamed on AGW,  with the most recent being the Chilean floods. Before that we had the California drought, Cyclone Pam, the frigid US winter, the Boston blizzard and the Australian bushfires. We can in fact trace a chain of extreme events allegedly caused in whole or in part by AGW that goes all the way back to hurricane Katrina in 2005, the “superstorm” that got the ball rolling.

Now, however, a report that calls these claims into question has come to Energy Matters’ attention. We are not presently at liberty to disclose which report it is, but it’s written by a group of climate scientists whose academic credentials are impeccable and who have numerous peer-reviewed publications to their credit. The report concludes that with the arguable exception of heat waves there is no compelling observational evidence for global increases in the frequency of any extreme weather events, meaning that the oft-heard claims that AGW is causing more of them are totally without foundation.

Here is a brief summary of what the report says.

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The Hunt For Global Warming: Antarctica

My hunt for global warming in uninhabited areas of the Southern Hemisphere continues with Antarctica. Given the proclamations of the climate alarm community and global media I was expecting to find a continent in melt down. Nothing could be further from the truth. 14 stations distributed around the edge and in the centre of the continent show a warming trend of +0.35˚C since 1954. If the regression is started in 1969, the trend is completely flat. There is scant evidence of warming on the main Antarctic continent for 42 years.

This observation does not include 3 stations from the Antarctic Peninsula that clearly belong to a separate climatic regime and are therefore treated separately. These three stations show warming of +3˚C since 1944. Given that the continent to the South and Patagonia to the North show barely any signs of warming at all, the dramatic rise in temperature on the Antarctic Peninsula can hardly be attributed to CO2 forcing of temperature change or to ozone depletion. Rather, there appears to have been a change in climatic regime that is shared with the South Orkney Islands (Base Orcadas) and South Georgia (Grytviken). Warmer temperatures may be attributed to greater marine and less continental influence in the atmospheric circulation pattern.

In this post I use the GHCN V2, slightly adjusted records.  I calculate T anomalies two separate ways 1) relative to the station mean and 2) relative to a 1963 to 1992 fixed base period for each station. There is no material difference between the two approaches.

Average temperature anomalies for 14 stations from the main Antarctic continent. There is clear sign of gradual warming confirmed by regression and rising tops and bottoms.
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Oil Production Vital Statistics: April 2015

The IEA OMR is out early this month hence April’s edition of vital statistics comes early. The March 2015 Vital Statistics is hereEIA oil price and Baker Hughes rig count charts are updated to end March 2015, the remaining oil production charts are updated to February 2015 using the IEA OMR data. The main oil production changes from January to February are:

  • World total liquids up 80,000 bpd
  • OPEC down 90,000 bpd
  • N America up 220,000 bpd
  • Russia and FSU up 10,000 bpd
  • UK and Norway up 100,000 bpd (compared with February 2014)
  • Asia up 30,000 bpd
  1. Global oil production is declining slowly but remains just above its long-term trend. Just over 94.04 Mbpd was produced in February.
  2. The recovery in the oil price in February reversed in March and WTI has tested its January lows. Spreading conflict in the Middle East adds further complexity to the price dynamic.
  3. The plunge in US oil rig count has slowed significantly although still falling slowly. This may signal a new phase of the oil price war that is discussed at the end of this post.
  4. I anticipate that the price bottom may be in but that price will bounce sideways along bottom for several months until we see significant falls in OECD production. Whilst there are signs that global production is falling slowly there is as yet little sign of a significant drop in US production.
  5. IEA revise data up to three months in arrears and the picture painted a month ago may change as a result of those revisions. A significant upwards revision of 300,000 bpd has been made to US oil production in December 2014. And problems remain with the reporting of UK and European production figures.

Figure 1 Daily Brent and WTI prices from the EIA, updated to 23 March 2015. It is difficult to see the detail of recent action at this scale, so an expanded X-axis chart is given below the fold.

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Blowout Week 65

This week we feature predictions, which as the philosopher Yogi Berra once observed are tough to make, especially about the future:

Financial Post:  Oil could plunge to $20 and this might be ‘the end of OPEC': Citigroup

Despite global declines in spending that have driven up oil prices in recent weeks, oil production in the U.S. is still rising, wrote Edward Morse, Citigroup’s global head of commodity research. Brazil and Russia are pumping oil at record levels, and Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran have been fighting to maintain their market share by cutting prices to Asia. The market is oversupplied, and storage tanks are topping out. A pullback in production isn’t likely until the third quarter, Morse said. In the meantime, West Texas Intermediate Crude, which currently trades at around US$52 a barrel, could fall to the $20 range “for a while”. The U.S. shale-oil revolution has broken OPEC’s ability to manipulate prices and maximize profits for oil-producing countries. “It looks exceedingly unlikely for OPEC to return to its old way of doing business,” Morse wrote. “While many analysts have seen in past market crises ’the end of OPEC,’ this time around might well be different.”

Financial Post:  OPEC is going to make a massive comeback, BP predicts

One of the big stories of the past few years has been the boom in unconventional gas and oil extraction outside the traditional oil-producing countries. The explosion of fracking in the U.S. seemed as if it was dislodging the old oil-producing countries permanently. But that is not likely, according to BP’s latest 20-year outlook for the energy market. BP says the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) isn’t going anywhere, and it will actually make a comeback. BP is forecasting “OPEC’s market share by the end of the Outlook is around 40%, similar to its average of the past 20 years.”

More on OPEC and oil below the fold, plus the growing Middle East nuclear (arms?) race, natural gas in Mexico, blackouts in Holland, the world dragging its feet on emissions reduction pledges, the Longannet closure, Scotland misses its emissions target again, problems with renewables in California and how climate change will force women into prostitution:

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The German Grid and the Recent Solar Eclipse

                               (Photo credit cloudfront.net)

The solar eclipse of March 20th, 2015 and the havoc it threatened to wreak on the German grid generated a lot of portentous web coverage before it happened:

PhysOrg Solar eclipse will test Germany’s green power grid

Will next week’s partial solar eclipse turn off the lights in Germany? Experts say the country’s electricity grid, which relies increasingly on renewable energy, faces a crucial test on the morning of March 20, when the moon will pass in front of the sun and block up to 82 percent of its light across Germany.

Some nail-biting web coverage while it was was happening:

PV Magazine As it happened: Germany’s grid grapples with solar eclipse

10:54: Here comes the big stress test. The greatest change in PV power generation takes place between 11:00am and 11:15am.

And quite a bit of triumphant web coverage after it was over:

Clean Energy Wire Energiewende passes solar eclipse stress test

Grid operators had warned the astronomical event would be “an extreme challenge” that will “stress test the power system” but in the end, all went “wonderfully”. Germany has passed the solar eclipse stress test with flying colours.

But was the eclipse really an “extreme challenge” for Germany’s grid? And what does it tell us, if anything, about the Energiewende? Let us examine the data.

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