Author Archives: Roger Andrews

Blowout week 155

This week we kick off with the good news that the Antarctic sea ice area has changed little since the time of Scott and Shackelton. All those who have feared for the worse can breathe a huge sigh of relief. We … Continue reading

Posted in Blowout | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 53 Comments

Solar power on the island of Ta’u, a preliminary appraisal

A 1,400kW(p) solar PV array backed up by 6,000kWh of battery storage and a smart grid has been installed on the island of Ta’u in American Samoa. It’s widely reported that this system already allows Ta’u to obtain 100% of its electricity from renewable sources for 100% of the time, and this brief review suggests that it will in fact be capable of delivering 100% electricity for almost 100% of the time if and when it reaches full operation. Continue reading

Posted in Energy | Tagged , , , , , | 113 Comments

UK Electricity Part 3: Wind and Solar

Part 1 of the series on 2050 electricity demand provided a “high electrification” scenario where the average electricity demand was approximately 72GW, but peak demand on exceptionally cold days could reach 121GW.

Part 2 described how this demand could be fulfilled with a nuclear supply model. In Part 3 we have used the same demand model to show how this could be substantially fulfilled with wind and solar power; though relying on significant amounts of storage to match supply and demand, and gas (or biofuel) capacity to operate when storage is insufficient. A number of different scenarios are explored, with the preferred scenario laid out below, adjacent to the nuclear scenario for comparison. Continue reading

Posted in Energy | Tagged , , , , , , , | 115 Comments

Blowout Week 152

This week we begin with Trump’ plans for Nigel Farage and continue with the Obama administration’s rush to push more regulations through, Saudis pull out of oil talks with Russia, oil potential in Mexico, pipeline gridlock in Canada, Gazprom pushes ahead with Nord Stream, Swiss to vote on nuclear phaseout, gas to ride to the rescue in France, Canada to phase out coal, snow, coal and gas in Tokyo and Beijing, the Torness nuclear outage, EU to challenge capacity markets, more UK funding for EVs, protected European forests being felled for biomass, Scott, Shackleton and Antarctic ice, how cement absorbs carbon (which is not the enemy) and the Pacific island of Ta’u, now 100% powered by solar. Continue reading

Posted in Blowout | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

The European Blackout Risk

At 2000 hours Central European Time on February 8, 2012 combined electricity demand in the UK, France and Germany peaked at a historic high of 231GW during a winter cold snap. This caused no serious problems at the time, but the UK, France and Germany could have a combined total of as little as 210GW of capacity on-line this winter, and if another 231GW demand peak coincides with 210GW of available capacity, demand management will undoubtedly come into effect somewhere. Continue reading

Posted in Energy | Tagged , , , , | 66 Comments

Blowout Week 151

We begin with the Wolfcamp shale oil play in Texas and continue with the requisite dose of Trump articles, following up with Obama’s ban on Arctic drilling, Russia makes $6 billion simply by talking to OPEC, the North Sea O&G industry pleads for support, fossil fuel era “far from over”, Vietnam cans a nuclear plant, the Chernobyl Arch is moving, Asia to underpin coal demand, France to shut down coal, the Marrakech Climate Conference, global CO2 emissions not growing, vegetation slows atmospheric CO2 increase, the EU to introduce capacity mechanisms, the UK’s carbon price floor, tidal power generation in Scotland, the renewables threat to grid stability, large wind farms reduce wind speeds, a hot North Pole and a cold Siberia, UK research institute accused of misconduct and fraud, lithium from geothermal brines and what Donald Trump thinks of Scotland. Continue reading

Posted in Blowout | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 33 Comments

France’s nuclear “crisis” and UK energy security

France’s electricity generation since June has been running 5-10GW below normal because of nuclear plants being shut down for inspection. France has made up this shortfall by reducing electricity exports – generation from oil, coal, gas, hydro and renewables has stayed about the same. Exports to UK have decreased to the point where overall the UK now exports more power to France than it imports. The exports, however , occur dominantly during periods of low UK demand. The UK still imports up to 2GW of power from France during peak periods, although it’s unlikely that it would be able to do so should there be a protracted cold spell in Europe this winter. Continue reading

Posted in Energy | Tagged , , | 50 Comments

Blowout Week 150

Trump special blowout includes reactions to the Trump triumph at the polls, dismay on the part of the greens and the climate science establishment, warnings from foreign governments (except Russia, which likes Trump), predicted impacts on the energy industry, the possible demise of the Paris Climate Accord, a remarkably upbeat Al Gore and a classic example from the Independent of a projection gone awry. Following Trump we have an abbreviated mix of stories, including a $6 billion gas deal in Iran, CCS in the UAE, Scotland and Brexit, the French nuclear crunch, NatGrid says no blackouts this winter and Ed Davey falls foul of the Freedom of Information Act. Continue reading

Posted in Blowout | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 31 Comments

Death and Climate Change

According to various studies and numerous web postings climate change is already causing hundreds of thousands of deaths and will cause millions more in the future, dominantly in poor countries. In this post we take a brief look at how these estimates were arrived at and whether they have any firm observational or statistical backup. Continue reading

Posted in Climate change, Political commentary | Tagged , , | 40 Comments

Blowout Week 149

Blowout begins with EU proposals to cancel the renewables merit order after 2020 and follows on with the ratification of the Paris Accord and its dismal prospects of success, the Saudi-Iran oil production cut squabble, oil & gas jobs on the point of recovery, the recent North Sea oil & gas leasing round, fracking bans, nuclear in US being replaced with gas and coal, French nuclear plant outages, China still building two coal plants a week, Finland to ban coal by 2030 while the EU finances new coal plants in Greece, EU to bolster its failing Emissions Trading System, the UK’s failing solar industry and how it was not to blame for the renewables overspend, whether Whitehall is deliberately sabotaging Scottish renewables and NatGrid plays fast and loose with public money. Continue reading

Posted in Blowout | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

El Hierro October 2016 performance update

During October the hybrid wind-hydro Gorona del Viento (GdV) plant achieved 19.8% renewables generation that compares with the 58.2% achieved in August 2016. The cause was an abrupt mid-month fall in the wind. Continue reading

Posted in Energy | Tagged , , , , | 89 Comments

Blowout Week 148

In this week’s blowout: falling renewable investments, the SA blackout, falling oil output in Libya, Nigeria and Venezuela, EU gives pipeline go-ahead, Warren Buffett on wind subsidies, French nuclear woes and UK energy prices, Fukushima reclamation costs up, the end of nuclear in the US and of coal in UK, Australian coal mines reopening, Sweden and Spain to go 100% renewable, DONG considers selling oil & gas assets, renewables and “Big Data”, the Heathrow third runway, Brexit lowers the UK’s renewables-favorable ranking, few in UK support fracking, new life for the incandescent light bulb and how climate change causes cold winters, an increase in child marriage and more politicians being voted out of office. Continue reading

Posted in Blowout | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Blowout Week 147

This week we return to the South Australian blackout followed by plus Saudi Arabia’s $17.5 billion bond sale, Iran puts up 50 oil & gas projects for lease, the USA’s first nuclear plant in 20 years goes on line, nuclear woes in France, the EU/Canada trade deal falls apart, the world’s largest solar PV farm to be built in Turkey, Vattenfall sues Germany, environmentalists sue Norway, the EPA comes under fire in US courts, UK MPs want more battery storage, UK energy bills to increase, emissions from biofuels, scientists accidentally turn CO2 into ethanol and an apartment block which is a model of sustainable luxury. Continue reading

Posted in Blowout | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 45 Comments

How much more electricity do we need to go to 100% electric vehicles?

As reported in Blowout week 146 the EU is drafting legislation to mandate the installation of electric vehicle charging stations in new homes while Germany and the Netherlands are considering legislation requiring that all cars and light vehicles sold after 2025 or 2030 must be 100% electric. None of this legislation has as yet been approved, but if it is how much extra electricity will be needed to power the millions of EVs involved, and how much will it cost? I’ve seen no numbers on this, so in this post I come up with some, starting with Germany, the Netherlands and the EU and adding a few more countries – and the world – as we go. Continue reading

Posted in Energy | Tagged , , , | 170 Comments

Blowout Week 146

Blowout this week begins with the EU embracing electric vehicles (EVs) and directing citizens to install charging points at home; EU and California target zero emissions; in Germany and China renewables outgrow the grid; Ontario’s broken grid; subsidies boost USA wind; global clean energy investment slumps; The Sun set to produce energy 24/7; home battery storage costs plummet 50% to $10,000; America sacrifices southern forests to save the planet; UK blackout risk averted by consumers paying £122 million; Tesla benefits from South Australia blackout; UK government plans to break the laws of thermodynamics; Baroness Worthington concedes that EU 2020 contributed to Brexit; are Putin and Erdogan the only sane leaders left?; Israeli gas heading for Europe over Turkey; hydrogen rots the minds of policy makers. Continue reading

Posted in Blowout | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 57 Comments

A more detailed look at the California grid data

In the June “Renewable California” post I presented a brief analysis of California’s progress towards its goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions at least 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 based on annual generation data. Hourly grid data for the period between April 20, 2010 and March 9, 2016 are now available, and this post reviews them to see what they add. The conclusion is basically the same as before – that despite all the legislation that California has passed in an attempt to stimulate the growth of renewables the state has not progressed at all. The percentage of renewables in California’s energy mix is still about the same as it was in 2010 and the percentage of low-carbon generation in the mix has decreased slightly. The California “Duck Curve” also remains a matter of concern. Continue reading

Posted in Energy | Tagged , , | 44 Comments

Blowout Week 145

In this weeks bumper blowout: OPEC deal and oil prices; major oil find in Alaska; North Sea drilling plunges; floating nuclear in Russia; Russia suspends plutonium agreement; coal mining in India, China, USA and Poland; too much renewables; the Australian outblack; global super grid; Gibralter rules the waves; megadrought in America; fracking in the UK; coal gasification in Scotland; kite power in Scotland; UAH global warming at +0.44˚C. Continue reading

Posted in Blowout | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

El Hierro September 2016 performance update

During September the hybrid wind-hydro Gorona del Viento (GdV) plant achieved 58.2% renewables generation, comparable to the 55.6% achieved in August and far higher than the 19.9% achieved in September 2015. This was largely a result of the fact that the wind didn’t die early in the month as it did in September 2015. Total renewables generation since full operations began at GdV on June 27, 2015 is now 40.1%, up from 38.7% at the end of August. Continue reading

Posted in Energy | Tagged , , , | 48 Comments

Blowout Week 144

This week’s Blowout features a blackout, specifically the long-anticipated outage that plunged South Australia into darkness last week. But it was caused by strong winds that took down transmission lines, not by too much wind power on the grid. Or was it? Continue reading

Posted in Blowout | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 36 Comments

Does carbon capture & storage have a future in the UK?

A UK Parliamentary Advisory Group (PAG) recently published a report in which it claimed that carbon capture and storage was “critical” if the UK is to meet its CO2 emissions targets. The PAG is correct in so far as something needs to be done, but whether CCS is it is open to question. Accordingly, this post addresses the subject of whether CCS offers potential for emissions reductions on the necessary scale in the UK and concludes, as others have concluded before, that it doesn’t. Continue reading

Posted in Energy, Political commentary | Tagged , , , , , , | 36 Comments