Want Statewide Power Blackouts? Then Plug In To Weather-Dependant Wind & Solar

The weather wins: typhoon topples turbines in Taiwan

 

For a bit over 20 years, we’ve been berated with warnings that the climate is changing so rapidly, that ‘fixing’ it is a matter of the most pressing urgency.

Notwithstanding that, for nearly 20 years, global temperatures have stubbornly refused to budge, such that there are plenty of climate alarmists not game to bet on whether things are getting hotter or colder.

The only ‘solution’ proffered by the Chicken Littles to our self-inflicted weather-woes is, of course, carpeting the world in wind turbines and solar panels, with a few $trillion worth of mythical mega-batteries thrown in, which are all set to explode onto the power storage-stage and set the energy world on fire – quite literally (see our post here).

Then, the irony starts.

Australia’s most notorious wind power outfit, Infigen keeps telling its embattled shareholders that it can’t spin a dollar because of ‘poor wind conditions’; not just once, but year, after meteorologically miserable, year.

The thing about irony and its cousin, sarcasm, is its ability to make idiots look like idiots, without them realising it.

It’s this simple, really: when your power supply depends wholly upon the weather, expect it to vary entirely at the whims of Mother Nature.

A few weeks back we reported on hurricane battered Puerto Rico – Weather Dependent Wind Power: Leaves Hurricane Victims Powerless – where a tropical storm managed to ‘distribute’ wind turbines and solar panels all across the island, leaving residents completely powerless.

Before that we covered Texas and the battering it received from Hurricane Harvey. Despite having the largest wind power capacity in the USA, it was nuclear power that supplied Texans with the electricity they needed throughout the tempest and deluge: its wind power fleet automatically shutdown, going into self-preservation mode, while its nuclear generation plant never missed a beat.

Wind speeds barely need to reach gale force and these things go into automatic shutdown, as appears on German turbine maker, Siemen’s website – which has this to say about the automatic shutdown of wind turbines when wind speeds hit 25m/s (90km/h):

Nature presents us with different kinds of challenges. High wind can create extremely high loads, and as a result wind turbines are normally programmed to shut down if the 10-minute mean wind speed exceeds 25 m/s. This may pose a significant challenge for the grid system – for example, if turbines in large wind farms shut down simultaneously.

It was precisely that feature of their ‘design’ that led to South Australia’s Statewide blackout on 28 September last year.

What follows below is based on logic and reason and, therefore, comes with a ‘trigger’ warning: this content is for Adults Only. Intellectual pygmies, wind and sun worshippers should venture no further. Nor should those who pepper their internet musings with the terms ‘belief’, ‘believer’, ‘denier’ or ‘sceptic’. You have been warned.

Nuclear and coal are essential for reliable energy
The Hill
Mike Moore
15 November 2017

When a big storm is coming, people run out to the grocery store to stock up on essentials, in case they can’t get back to the store for a few days. Critical industries typically build the same thing into their planning, because they need to be able to keep operating if there’s a big storm or other emergency.

Consider electricity. The two main kinds of power plants that have powered the country through the past several decades — coal and nuclear — have fuel on site. Nuclear plants can run for about 18 months before refueling. Coal plants keep a 30 to 90 day coal supply on hand in case of supply disruption.

But things are changing in the electricity industry. Coal and nuclear power plants are shutting down, many being driven out of business in markets distorted by heavily subsidized renewables like wind and solar. Renewables and natural gas, which is cheap right now because of the shale gas revolution, are taking the place of coal and nuclear in our power supply.

The problem is that you can’t stock up on wind and sun. When the wind doesn’t blow, the turbines don’t make any power. This has caused problems for operators of the electric grid. A famous episode was in 2008, when wind power in Texas suddenly dropped from 1,700 megawatts (enough to power about 1.2 million homes) down to 300 megawatts in 10 minutes.

The Texas grid operator shut off customers to avoid wider blackouts. In May, the California grid operator had to cut demand (i.e., turn off power to consumers) when out-of-state energy didn’t arrive and solar power dropped in the evening. South Australia had a massive blackout last year when wind turbines suddenly stopped producing energy.

Natural gas presents different concerns. Gas-fired power plants can run when called on, just like coal and nuclear plants. However, they don’t keep fuel on site. Gas is fed by pipeline into the power plants. Some of these lines stretch thousands of miles.

This raises several concerns. First, power plants usually don’t have full rights to demand gas when they need it.

Second, pipelines can get disrupted, by weather, mechanical failure, problems with gas processing that keep gas from getting to the pipes, or criminal acts, as we have seen from anti-fossil fuels activists.

Finally, gas emergencies can have long-lasting impacts. When the polar vortex gripped much of the country in 2014, the country was in a situation of exceptional insecurity and risk for more than a year afterward, as gas producers not only had to keep meeting regular demand, but also had to replenish gas storage facilities that were dangerously depleted after record usage during the extreme cold.

The polar vortex brought the entire U.S. east of the Rocky Mountains close to a system-wide shortage event. When gas storage draws down, so do operating pressures. If pressure gets too low, less gas is retrieved. Worse, it can permanently damage the storage system, and the system could shut down. Some gas storage company leaders believe we were dangerously close to that in 2014. Since then, gas demand has grown. So has the dependence of electric reliability on gas.

The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), the organization that sets standards to keep the U.S. power supply reliable, has voiced concern about over-reliance on gas and renewables for electricity. “Non-synchronous (renewable) generation and natural gas-fired facilities do not currently replace the secure capacity provided by coal and nuclear generation,” NERC wrote recently. NERC said its assessments demonstrate that the ongoing trend toward more reliance on renewables and gas, and retirements of coal and nuclear, “reduces system flexibility to respond to events and may affect reliability, increasing risk” to the grid.

Concerned about the risks, in September, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry proposed a to pay existing coal and nuclear plants enough to keep them operating. It is a good proposal. It would not pay more than a fair amount — payments would be limited to their cost plus a regulated reasonable return.

Some have said this would cost too much, but the alternative is heightened risk of a catastrophic energy disruption, which we definitely cannot afford.
The Hill

Harvey floored wind power in Texas, but didn’t budge its Nuclear fleet.

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.

Comments

  1. Climate change, global warming and fossil fuels’ affect on the world’s climate has long since moved well past reasoning based on sound scientific evidence and verifiable data and into the realms of religious belief and a naive trust and faith based around a 24 hour glossed up media and fascination with celebrity status. Every one of the zealots pushing this 100% renewable guff thinks s/he has all the necessary information at hand to make an informed decision. Even when businesses and economies topple over, they regard their religion as sound and place blame elsewhere. Glad I still have a few kerosene lanterns and a camp stove floating around the house.

  2. Reblogged this on ajmarciniak and commented:
    For a bit over 20 years, we’ve been berated with warnings that the climate is changing so rapidly, that ‘fixing’ it is a matter of the most pressing urgency.
    Notwithstanding that, for nearly 20 years, global temperatures have stubbornly refused to budge, such that there are plenty of climate alarmists not game to bet on whether things are getting hotter or colder.
    The only ‘solution’ proffered by the Chicken Littles to our self-inflicted weather-woes is, of course, carpeting the world in wind turbines and solar panels, with a few $trillion worth of mythical mega-batteries thrown in, which are all set to explode onto the power storage-stage and set the energy world on fire – quite literally (see our post here).
    Then, the irony starts.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: