Monthly Archives: November 2015

The Wind in Spain Blows …..

Pan European lulls in the wind are common place. Sweden, Denmark, UK, France, Germany and Spain have combined 97.9 GW of installed wind. But on occasions in September and October 2015 produced less than 3 GW. The only way to mitigate for this variability is back up from other sources. Building inter connectors cannot solve this problem at the pan-European scale. Continue reading

Posted in Energy | Tagged , , , , , | 90 Comments

Blowout Week 100

This week: the UN’s disaster scenarios, stalling global CO2 emissions growth, declining public support for climate action, OPEC to hold the line, Iran’s oil contracts, US oil reserves highest in 42 years, Russia’s escalating standoffs with Ukraine and Turkey, nuclear closures in France, grid reliability in Australia, mini-nukes in UK, supercritical coal in India, Abengoa files for insolvency, CO2-absorbing bubble baths, exploding plankton populations and how climate change caused Hitler. Continue reading

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Green Gone

UK chancellor George Osborne made his Autumn spending statement on Wednesday 25th November. To a large extent he chose to kick the economic can down the road once more. But the published documentation has this most interesting section on Energy … Continue reading

Posted in Energy, Political commentary | Tagged , , , , , | 51 Comments

Red Eléctrica de España

Spanish electricity data with hourly resolution is presented for the months of September and October. Wind in Spain is balanced mainly by varying coal output with a little help from gas and a tiny amount of help from hydro. Imports and exports are not used at all in the gross balancing exercise. Hydro is used to balance solar and to follow diurnal demand. The Green fantasy of using grid interconnectivity and hydro to balance variable wind is not being put into practice in Spain. Continue reading

Posted in Energy | Tagged , , , , | 61 Comments

Drought, Climate, War, Terrorism, and Syria

It’s routinely claimed that climate-change-induced drought in Syria was a major factor in triggering the Syrian civil war, the Syrian refugee crisis and the rise of ISIS. But are these claims supported by the data? This post investigates this question. Continue reading

Posted in Climate change, Political commentary | Tagged , , , , | 87 Comments

Electricity and the Wealth of Nations

There’s no doubt that electricity is fundamental to GDP growth and that wealth in our modern society cannot be created without it, but a key question is; which comes first? Does the electricity create the wealth, or does the wealth create the electricity, or is the linkage between the two so close that it’s impossible to say? Continue reading

Posted in Energy | Tagged , , , , , | 41 Comments

Blowout Week 99

Read on to learn about backfiring OPEC strategy, the plight of Canada’s oil producers, the US rig count (down again), hope for the North Sea, Luxembourg joining Austria in the Hinkley suit, the EU-Hungary nuclear dispute, OECD to cut coal plant financing, coal output in India to double, high winds shut down German turbines……. Continue reading

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OPEC Can’t Win

Cheap oil is a major benefit to the US economy. Cheap oil reduces the cost of US oil imports and is good for the trade balance. The lost value of indigenous oil production in the US is of little consequence to its gigantic economy.

In contrast, oil production is the major part of OPEC GDP, especially the Gulf states that have rather undiversified economies. The drop to $50 is a disaster for them. With WTI flirting with near term lows (on $40.73) , the time of reckoning is nigh for the oil price. Continue reading

Posted in Energy | Tagged , , , | 49 Comments

A Big Lull

This post follows on from Wind Blowing Nowhere Again and the sequel A Big Gale. In Blowing Nowhere I presented wind data for Denmark, the UK and Germany for September and October 2015 which was a period marked by calm conditions across much of Northern Europe. I have since acquired wind data for France and Sweden and this post adds these data to see if extending the geographic range makes any difference to smoothing the wind data. Continue reading

Posted in Energy | Tagged , , | 75 Comments

Kiribati, sea level rise, and poverty

According to reports the Pacific island nation of Kiribati is heading for a watery grave, courtesy of rising sea levels caused by man-made climate change. It sounds as if Kiribati is doomed, and a part of it may well be. But if so it will be because of too little water, not too much. Continue reading

Posted in Climate change | Tagged , , , | 13 Comments

Blowout Week 98

This week’s blowout features Bjorn Lomborg’s scathing analysis of the world’s plans to combat global warming …… Continue reading

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Sea level rise and the “urban sinking” effect

Most people are familiar with the “urban warming” effect that can cause temperature stations in and around urban areas to measure warming gradients that aren’t representative of the surrounding rural areas. Here I present evidence for the existence of an “urban sinking” effect that can cause tide gauge records in and around urban and other populated areas to give similarly non-representative results. Continue reading

Posted in Climate change | Tagged , | 8 Comments

A Big Gale

With the UK Met Office starting to name storms it is refreshing to see that there is at least one person who works there that has a sense of humour. Wind blowing nowhere is now giving way to the winter storm … Continue reading

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Energy in Africa: Electricity S of Sahara

The UN has suggested that Africa, the poorest continent on Earth, should skip over an industrial revolution built on fossil fuels (FF) and move directly to renewable sources.

The UN claims: “Four-fifths of all electricity in Eastern and Southern Africa is currently generated from carbon-intensive fossil fuels such as natural gas, oil or coal.”

While in fact Tanzania, Rwanda, Kenya, Mozambique and Angola already get 78% of electricity from hydro and geothermal sources. Continue reading

Posted in Energy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

How much have sea levels really risen?

Two recent papers refocus attention on how much we really know about the causes of sea level rise and how accurately we can measure it. The most recent, Twentieth century increase in snowfall in coastal West Antarctica by Thomas et al. reports large increases in the rate of snow accumulation over the last 100 years on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet – which is said to be on the point of collapse – but provides no specifics on ice sheet volumes. But the earlier paper, Mass gains of the Antarctic ice sheet exceed losses by Zwally et al., does. Continue reading

Posted in Climate change | Tagged , , | 43 Comments

Blowout week 97

A focus on the United States this week, beginning with Obama’s not-unexpected rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline and moving on to the parlous state of the US nuclear industry. Then the usual mix, including rifts in OPEC, Canada to get serious about cutting emissions, blackouts in Adelaide (but not in the UK), the Exxon global warming investigation, China’s coal consumption revised upwards, Icelink under way, the Galloper wind farm resurrected, Antarctica gaining ice, the coming magnetic pole reversal, floating wind turbines, the solar power tower, how whisky can help neutralize radioactive waste and how global warming will cause less sex and fewer babies. Continue reading

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Wind Blowing Nowhere – Again

The central question lies in the wisdom of distributed power generation. Generating your own wind power down on the farm or solar power on your two bedroom semi’s roof may sound like a great back to nature green solution to electricity production. That is until the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine and your dependency is shifted to the owner of the 3000 mile long, 200 GW HVDC power line to Saudi Arabia. Is it not better to be dependent upon the 100 mile long, 1 GW power line to your local nuclear or gas fired power station? Continue reading

Posted in Energy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 37 Comments

El Hierro Renewable Energy Project – October 2015 Performance Review

The Gorona del Viento (GdV) renewable energy plant on the Canary Island of El Hierro is a flagship project designed ultimately to provide the island with 100% renewable electricity and to consign its diesel generators to history. GdV comprises a wind park with 11.5 MW capacity and a pumped hydro storage plant with 11.3MW capacity, installed at a total cost of €84 million. Since operations began in June of this year the plant has not performed up to expectations. This is the second in a series of operational updates. Continue reading

Posted in Energy | Tagged , , , | 38 Comments

Oil Production Vital Statistics October 2015

The “big news” this month is that the banks granted over leveraged, loss making shale oil drillers a stay of execution by continuing to provide credit lines. Consequently, there was no major move in US oil drilling or production though both are trending down. Continue reading

Posted in Energy | Tagged , , , , , | 28 Comments