Monthly Archives: October 2015

Blowout week 96

US shale oil gets a stay of execution, coal-to-liquids in Botswana, CSP in Morocco, wind in the Irish Sea, CO2 emissions to keep rising, dismal earnings from oil majors, Turkey sues Gazprom, China to build offshore nukes, German coal plants now “facilities of last resort”…. Continue reading

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IceLink Under Study

The Independent just published an article about the Iceland-UK IceLink interconnector under the headline “David Cameron is poised to launch an ambitious project that could see Britain harnessing the power of Iceland’s volcanoes within the next 10 years. ” The Independent is jumping the gun a bit because Cameron isn’t poised yet. All that’s actually happened is that a UK-Iceland Energy Task Force “has been set up to examine the feasibility of the scheme and told to report back in six months” Continue reading

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The UK’s Fifth Carbon Budget – Without the Green Crap

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC), under the chairmanship of Lord Deben, recently released its report entitled Power sector scenarios for the fifth carbon budget. The CCC report provides three scenarios under which a ~75% reduction in electricity sector emissions can be achieved by 2030 plus four other “alternative” scenarios that either exceed it or fall short. Continue reading

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Flat Calm Across the UK

On 4th October, in the early hours of the morning, 9136 MW of wind turbines were producing 66 MW of electricity. The load factor dropped to 0.7%. I find this astonishing from a meteorological perspective since about half the metered turbines are offshore and many of the rest are on Scottish hillsides. The wind momentarily dropped effectively to zero across the whole of the UK. Continue reading

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Blowout week 95

The Saudis claim to be winning the oil war, North Sea in the red, billions in oil industry writedowns, Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions at record low, British steel in trouble, 24 US states sue the EPA, China chips into Hinkley, developed vs. developing countries at the Bonn climate talks, hurricane Patricia, the UK Climate Change Committee report, the first cancer case from Fukushima, Africa’s largest wind farm (with a 60% capacity factor), Einstein wrong, UK blackouts and Norwegian hybrid ships. Continue reading

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Waiting for Patricia

Here at latitude 20S in Mexico we get hurricanes. Normally they head off west into the Pacific without doing any damage, but late in the year they sometimes turn right and head inland. Hurricane Patricia is doing that right now. And Patricia isn’t just any old hurricane. According to weather.com it’s “the most powerful tropical cyclone ever measured in the Western Hemisphere”. Continue reading

Posted in Climate change | Tagged , , , | 37 Comments

Chira-Soria – Another Flawed Renewables Project

To the east of El Hierro, where the Gorona del Viento wind-pumped hydro project has attracted international attention, Gran Canaria is developing a wind-solar-pumped hydro project that has so far attracted very little attention outside Gran Canaria. Continue reading

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UK Solar PV Vital Statistics

The UK National Grid publishes model data for solar production in the UK so we can get an idea how much electricity all those roof mounted panels produce. The model data are published with 30 minute resolution and I have chosen to graph all the data for 2014, the most recent year with full cover. The idea is to try and show graphically how useful solar PV is in a high latitude country like the UK. Continue reading

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Where El Niño Makes It Rain And Where It Doesn’t

Does El Niño affect rainfall everywhere or just in a few places? And what does its widely ignored twin sister La Niña do? I looked into this question a few years ago, and here is a brief summary of the results. Continue reading

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Blowout week 94

The UK National Grid warns of possible brownouts. When? Within ten days: Mail:  National Grid warns of brownouts British households are facing the prospect of ‘brown-outs’ this autumn – a reduction in electricity supply that could lead to appliances not … Continue reading

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UK Wind Farm Constraint Payments

Constraint payments for UK windfarms occasionally hit the headlines. At times when there is more wind electricity being generated than the UK grid can handle, wind producers are paid to disconnect from the grid. Renewables enthusiasts will argue this is a small price to pay for Green Electricity while sceptics are riled by the £53 million pounds paid to wealthy landowners in 2014 for not producing electricity. Continue reading

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CO2 – The View From Space – update

A good starting point is to look at a map for a 52 week average of data and compare this with global forest cover. The 52 week average is understood to provide a picture of net sources and sinks of CO2 (upper map). Many of the net sources appear to correlate with global forest cover (lower map) which is counter to intuition that global forests have acted as a net sink for anthropogenic CO2. Continue reading

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European Renewables Investment Heads Towards Zero

According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance investment in “clean energy” in Europe has been declining steadily since the second quarter of 2011 and looks set to flatten out at a value effectively indistinguishable from zero in the not-too-distant future. Continue reading

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Blowout week 93

The spotlight in this week’s Bumper Blowout falls on coal. Vattenfall wants to sell its German lignite plants and lignite mines and Greenpeace wants to buy them – no prizes for guessing why. Continue reading

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A Note on UK Renewable Load Factors

This note compares Solar PV and wind load factors for the UK reported by DECC with those calculated from the Renewable Energy Foundation data base. In summary:
Solar PV UK (REF): 11.8%; Solar PV UK (DECC): 10.8%; Solar VP Scotland (REF): 9.0%; Solar PV England (REF): 11.9%
Onshore wind (REF): 26.3%; Onshore wind (DECC): 27.3%; Offshore wind (REF): 30.5%; Offshore wind (DECC): 37.3% Continue reading

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Renewable Energy At The Crossroads – IEA

IEA has concluded that due to “persistent policy uncertainties” renewable energy is not expanding quickly enough to allow the world to meet its climate targets . This brief post concludes that renewable energy will not expand quickly enough to meet the world’s present climate targets even if these uncertainties are removed. Continue reading

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The Changing Face of UK Power Supply

There are four main points to me made from this post:

1) Dispatchable capacity in the UK has declined 2.1GW since 2004 which is not a material difference since electricity demand has also fallen in that period.
2) The nameplate capacity margin is approximately 13 GW which seems ample contingency for plant outages. Increasing this margin would involve paying companies to keep higher unused capacity in reserve.
3) The risk of capacity failure is always around 6pm on a weekday in winter and only lasts for a few hours each day.
4) 13.5 GW of wind and 7 GW of solar cannot be relied upon to provide any supply at 6 pm on a winter week day when the blackout risk is greatest. Continue reading

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Blarney from Carney

Mark Carney’s claim that between two-thirds and four-fifths of the world’s proven global oil, gas and coal reserves could be left “stranded” because of climate change action is not supported by the data. All of the oil and gas reserves plus about 20% of the coal reserves could be consumed without exceeding the IPCC’s trillion-tonne carbon emissions limit. Continue reading

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Blowout Week 92

Bankers are in the news this week. We begin with Mark Carney …. and follow up below the fold with a plea for climate action from six major US banks. And then the usual mix of stories, including OPEC production up in September, Mexico’s leasing program back on track, Shell pulls the plug in the Arctic, how choking wells will save shale oil, the fusion future, no winter gas shortage in Europe, Japan to restart another reactor…. Continue reading

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El Hierro Renewable Energy Project – September 2015 Performance Review

After a year-long test period the Gorona del Viento (GdV) plant went into full operation on June 27, 2015. According to grid data published by the Red Eléctrica de España (REE) renewable energy from GdV has supplied 42% of the electricity sent to the El Hierro grid in the 96 days of operation since then (from June 27 through September 30) with the remaining 58% coming from diesel. Continue reading

Posted in Energy | Tagged , , , | 26 Comments