Renewable Energy Costs and Effectiveness in Germany

A comparison of both the Capital Cost and Energy Production Effectiveness of the Renewable Energy in Germany.

Germany has expended far more on its Energiewende for Renewable Energy installations than any other European Nation.

Screen Shot 2015-06-05 at 10.29.41

http://www.energies-renouvelables.org/observ-er/stat_baro/barobilan/barobilan13-gb.pdf

Renewable Energy technologies

Onshore Wind power is the most effective form of Renewable Energy in capital cost terms. It is only costs ~9 times as much as conventional gas-fired power generation. On average across Europe Capacity / effectiveness is ~21%.

Offshore Wind power is about ~17 times more expensive to install but its increased capacity factors mean that it should be significantly more productive than Onshore installations.  Nonetheless as well as the significant additional capital costs, Offshore Wind power appears to have major problems with costlier long term maintenance and questionable reliability.

Large scale photovoltaic Solar power is proven to be the least economic Renewable Energy source costing about 34 times more in terms of capital costs, but it usually has reasonable maintenance costs.

On average, in Europe Solar PV  provides ~11% of its nameplate capacity, and even less in Germany.  As well as the impact of cloudy weather Photovoltaic units are susceptible to performance degradation from Ice or snow or obscuration with accumulating dust in drier climates.  Solar power might operate reasonably well at mid latitudes but it is inevitably a poor investment in Northern Europe where yields are low because of their latitude, the adverse weather, the seasons and the daily rotation of the earth.

The cost of the technical Photovoltaic elements of the systems are reducing, but these high-tech elements are becoming an ever smaller part of the final installation.  The costs of the support infrastructure and linkages to the grid are irreducible. It is also clear that the service life of solar cells is limited, degrading over time.  System degradation of the DC to AC inverters is particularly significant, they are an expensive element in any solar system with a limited operational life.

In Germany

The effectiveness of renewable energy installations  are compared to the cost and output capacity of conventional Gas Fired Electricity generation.

  • capacity factor:  installed nameplate capacity compared to the actual electrical energy output achieved as published by European Renewable Energy industry statistics
  • capital cost:  comparison with the cost of equivalent electrical output produced by Gas-Fired electrical generation as provided by US Government Energy Information Association 2013 report table 1.

The diagram below collates the cost and capacity factors of European Renewable Energy power sources, Onshore and Off-shore Wind Farms and Large scale Photovoltaic Solar generation.

Screen Shot 2015-01-24 at 18.10.27

At 37.9% of the total European commitment and at a capital cost of ~€200 billion Germany is the leader of Renewable Energy promotion and installation in Europe.  But comparatively its investment in Renewables has been both the most expensive and also the least efficient overall.  This is primarily because of its excessive commitment, more than 50% of its installed Renewables, to Solar Photovoltaic power.

Germany has made these investments in the expectation that that its “Energiewende, Energy Transition” policy would make the country a world leader in advances in Renewables.  This optimistic approach is not being justified.

http://notrickszone.com/2014/12/05/top-renewable-energy-expert-warns-of-collapsing-euro-energy-supply-germanys-energy-policy-suicidal/

http://notrickszone.com/2014/12/09/energiewende-takes-a-massive-blow-top-green-energy-proponent-concedes-blunder-with-ugly-consequences-huge-blow-to/

Onshore wind power in Germany accounts for ~35% of its massive Renewable investment but about half of its Renewable electricity output. German wind power operates at a relatively low level of capacity at ~18% or even less.

http://notrickszone.com/2015/02/07/germany-2014-report-card-is-in-its-25000-wind-turbines-get-an-f-averaged-only-14-8-of-rated-capacity/#sthash.yWCuzJda.dpbs

Unsurprisingly Germany has almost the highest installation of Renewables / head of the European population.

R E -head 2015-01-21

Large scale photovoltaics have cost some ~64% of Germany’s Renewable investment.

 http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/02/03/us-germany-renewables-idUSKBN0L719U20150203

But because of Germany northern latitude and its often cloudy skies, photovoltaics operate with a capacity factor a capacity factor of only ~9%. As a result overall Germany’s renewables operate at an overall capacity factor of less than 14%.

It seems incredible that Germany, a Nation with such great engineering and pragmatic prowess, could have become so convinced about Renewable Energy, especially the use of Solar Energy, to make such a grossly unwise investments.

http://theenergycollective.com/robertwilson190/456961/reality-check-germany-does-not-get-half-its-energy-solar

http://notrickszone.com/2014/07/21/germanys-habitually-awol-green-energy-installed-windsolar-often-delivers-less-than-1-of-rated-capacity/

In addition Germany, by policy, is withdrawing from Nuclear electricity generation after the Fukushima tsunami. As a result Germany is now installing coal fired generating plant as rapidly as possible to maintain base load power. These new plants burn either lignite, (the most polluting type of coal and CO2 emissive fuel), or ordinary coal.  These plants have no facility for Carbon Capture and Storage, probably because German engineers have realised that CCS in operation is a costly engineering fallacy.

In spite of the fact that Renewable Energy output has grown about fourfold, there has actually been an overall increase of CO2 emissions from Germany since the year 2010. This is a result or rapid deployment of additional coal fired power station mainly using the most carbon intensive and toxic polluting energy source, brown coal.

Screen Shot 2014-12-19 at 10.27.39

Germany has invested very little, less than 1%, in Offshore Wind Power development and so far its experience has been poor, emphasising the technical difficulties of ever making large scale Offshore power fully operational.

http://notrickszone.com/2014/09/11/spiegel-germanys-large-scale-offshore-windpark-dream-morphs-into-an-engineering-and-cost-nightmare/

Even if large scale Offshore wind power in the North sea were eventually successful there is also a major question about the lack of suitable high capacity transmission lines across Germany from the North to its Southern industrial heartlands.

http://notrickszone.com/2014/09/05/giant-400-mw-bard-i-offshore-windpark-shut-down-extended-yet-again-delay-is-now-more-than-1-year/

http://www.thegwpf.com/vahrenholt-lecture/

In all the capital costs expended by 2013 in Europe amounted to some €1/2 trillion for ~170 Gigawatts of “nominal” installed Renewable Energy generation.  Germany has committed to about half of the expenditure.  But because of the reduced capacity factor, those installations provide ~30 Gigawatts of real output electrical power across Europe.  That output amounts to only about 2.9% of the total European generating capacity of 1024Gigawatts.

Intermittency and Non-dipatchability in Germany

In addition Renewable Energy, Wind and Solar power, electrical output is intermittent and non dispatchable. Their output cannot respond to electricity demand as and when needed.  Energy is contributed to the grid in a haphazard manner dependent on the weather, the time of day and the seasons.  A thorough and very detailed examination of the policy errors and vast expense to the UK in particular can be see at:

http://euanmearns.com/renewable-energy-the-most-expensive-policy-disaster-in-modern-british-history/#more-7697

The major problem with Wind and Solar Energy sources is that their electrical output is intermittent and non-dispatchable.  Renewable Energy electricity output is unable respond to electricity demand as and when needed.  Power is contributed to the grid in a haphazard manner dependent on the time of day, the season and the weather.

The variability of Renewable Energy combined with the “Renewables Obligation”, which mandates that the electricity grid must take high cost energy from Renewable sources preferentially, if available.

Such legislation can easily result in the demand on conventional generation in for example Germany varying widely by about 25 Gigawatts over short periods.  In addition it has the effect of making conventional uneconomic so that base load capacity is having to be shut down and lost from the grid.

This variable use of conventional power sources is inherently inefficient and results in wasteful use of conventional fuels and thus an unnecessary excess of CO2 emissions as back-up power must be available full time.

These extra inefficient emissions can easily exceed any of the CO2 savings made by the use Renewable Energy sources.

The following charts from “agora-energiewende” the show the magnitude of the problem of intermittency and non-dispatchability associated with Renewables in Germany and the UK.

http://www.agora-energiewende.org/service/recent-electricity-data/stromerzeugung-und-verbrauch/

Typical 10 day charts for summer and winter in Germany:

Summer

summer

Winterwinter

The electricity output from wind power can equally be very variable. Electricity generation from wind turbines is fickle, as in the week in July 2014, clearly shown above, where Wind-Power input across Germany was close to zero for several days. Similarly an established high pressure system, with little wind over the whole of Northern Europe is a common occurrence in winter months, when electricity demand is at its highest.

In Germany, its massive commitment to solar energy can briefly provide up to ~20% of country wide demand for a few hours either side of noon on some fine summer days as can be seen in the graph above.  But at the time of maximum power demand on winter evenings Solar energy grid input is nil of necessity.  But Solar energy has absorbed ~65% of total German Renewable investment.

In the Summer example in July 2014 Wind Power input varied from 15.5 GW to 0.18 GW and the Solar contribution varied from nil to some 15 GW.

Germany has similar insolation and cloudiness characteristics as Alaska and the UK being even further North has an even worse solar energy performance.  Solar power inevitably varies according to the time of day, the state of the weather and also of course radically with the seasons. Solar power works most effectively in latitudes nearer the equator and it certainly cannot be seriously effective and useful full time in Northern Europe.

Conversely, on some occasions Renewable Energy output may be in excess of demand and this has to dumped expensively and unproductively.  This is especially so, as there is still no viable and cost effective solution to electrical energy storage on an industrial scale.

Conclusion

The following graphic shows the comparatively poor performance of all Renewable Energy in Germany as opposed to other major committed nations in Europe.

EU 5 cap-cost 2015-01-21

The Holocene context for Anthropogenic Global warming

Summary

Our current beneficial, warm Holocene interglacial has been the enabler of mankind’s civilisation for the last 10,000 years. The congenial climate of the Holocene epoch spans from mankind’s earliest farming to the scientific and technological advances of the last 100 years.

However all the Northern Hemisphere Ice Core records  from Greenland show:

  • the last millennium 1000AD – 2000AD has been the coldest millennium of the entire Holocene interglacial.
  • each of the notable high points in the Holocene temperature record, (Holocene Climate Optimum – Minoan – Roman – Medieval – Modern), have been progressively colder than the previous high point.
  • for its first 7-8000 years the early Holocene, including its high point “climate optimum”, had virtually  flat temperatures, an average drop of only ~0.007 °C per millennium.
  • but the more recent Holocene, since a “tipping point” at ~1000BC, has seen a temperature diminution at more than 20 times that earlier rate at about 0.14 °C per millennium.
  • the Holocene interglacial is already 10 – 11,000 years old and judging from the length of previous interglacials the Holocene epoch should be drawing to its close: in this century, the next century or this millennium.
  • the beneficial warming at the end of the 20th century to the Modern high point has been transmuted into the “Great Man-made Global Warming Scare”.
  • eventually this late 20th century temperature blip will come to be seen as just noise in the system in the longer term progress of comparatively rapid cooling over the last 3000+ years.
  • other published Greenland Ice Core records as well as GISP2, (NGRIP1, GRIP) corroborate this finding. They also exhibit the same pattern of a prolonged relatively stable early Holocene period followed by a subsequent much more rapid decline in the more recent past.

When considering the scale of temperature changes that alarmists anticipate because of Man-made Global Warming and their view of the disastrous effects of additional Man-made Carbon Dioxide emissions in this century, it is useful to look at climate change from a longer term, century by century and even on a millennial perspective.

The much vaunted and much feared “fatal” tipping point of +2°C would only bring Global temperatures close to the level of the very congenial climate of “the Roman warm period”.

If it were possible to reach the “horrendous” level of +4°C postulated by Warmists, that extreme level of warming would still only bring temperatures to about the level of the previous Eemian maximum, a warm and abundant epoch, when hippopotami thrived in the Rhine delta.

For a more comprehensive view of the decline of the Holocene see:

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/11/29/climate-and-human-civilization-over-the-last-18000-years-2/

The Recent Geological Context

The Antarctic Vostok and EPICA ice core records, using the δ18Oxygen temperature assessment technique, show that

  • there have been regular fluctuations at about 100,000 year intervals over the past 800,000 years
  • there have been 5 probably warmer interglacial periods in the last 450,000 years
  • interglacial periods have varied both in temperature intensity and duration.

On occasions some earlier interglacial periods were significantly shorter than the 10,000 year norm.

Screen Shot 2015-11-25 at 10.30.49.png

The Antarctic based EPICA and Vostok Ice Cores above mostly show good accord for the last 200,000 years.  Earlier there seems to be a similar pattern but with some significant time displacement in the period between 200,000 and 450,000 years ago.  Those two Antarctic records are not so well coordinated during the recent Holocene period.

This repeating pattern of long periods of glaciation, (~100,000 years), followed by much shorter warmer inter-glacial periods, (~10,000 years), is driven by the orbital geometry of the earth around the sun.  It can be modulated by the shorter term periodic behaviour of the sun.  These facts controlling the earth’s climate are well documented and well understood.

Prior to the current Holocene epoch a period of deep, encroaching, glaciation had persisted for the previous 100,000+ years as shown by the four Greenland records.

Screen Shot 2015-11-24 at 13.10.31.png

Such long periods of glaciation meant that a mile high ice sheet covered New York as well as much of the currently inhabited Northern hemisphere.

Those glacial conditions can and will return.

On past experience, at about 11,000 years the Holocene interglacial must be approaching its reversion back to a long period of full glaciation.

That ~110,000 year long period of glaciation was preceded by the Eemian interglacial period.  The Eemian epoch was at its warmest about 120,000 years ago.  It was some +3°C warmer on average than the Holocene “Climate Optimum”, of just some ~8000 years ago.

The Eemian interglacial had a much higher peak but lasted about same length of time as the current Holocene.  The current Holocene epoch has had significantly lower temperatures and has had a less exaggerated temperature peak than that of the Eemian interglacial.

The GRIP Greenland Ice Core record in the Northern Hemisphere also clearly shows the onset of the Holocene interglacial and the onset is well coordinated with the Vostok and EPICA Antarctic records.

So based on this pattern of radical climate change our current benign Holocene interglacial could well, our rather should be drawing towards its close.

The temperature profile of our Holocene Epoch

The Northern Hemisphere GISP2 Greenland Ice Core data gives this well accepted detailed profile of our current Holocene Epoch.

Screen Shot 2015-06-06 at 12.34.16

According to longer term Northern Hemisphere Greenland GRIP ice core records, the last millennium 1000 – 2000 AD has been the coldest millennium of the current Holocene epoch, with millennial average temperatures about 1.8°C lower than its early “Holocene climate optimum” in about 7-6000 BC.

There has since been a comparatively minor temperature recovery since the Little Ice Age some 2-300 years ago.

However, it is this limited recovery in temperature that has recently given rise to the “Great Global Warming Scare”.

The overall millennial difference during the Holocene since ~8000BC has in total been a cooling of ~-0.9°C.

The bulk of that temperature loss ~-0.4°C has been in the last 3 millennia since 1000BC.

Screen Shot 2015-11-29 at 12.00.20.png

The temperature progress of the current Holocene interglacial epoch for the last 10,000 years is interesting as a backdrop or gauge for all the recent Warmist and Alarmist predictions that have been developing over the last 40 – 50 years.

The Holocene interglacial can be looked at in two phases:

  • the early Holocene, encompassing its highest “Climate Optimum”, was relatively stable at the millennial level showing only a modest cooling of about 0.007°C per millennium from about 8000BC up until about 1000BC.
  • thereafter the more recent 3000 year phase 1000BC – 2000AD shows much more rapid cooling at a rate of 0.137°C per millennium, (i.e. at about twenty times the earlier rate).

Screen Shot 2015-11-23 at 14.35.46.png

This millennial analysis of the GRIP record is reinforced by the profiles of other Northern Hemisphere ice core records, on millennial scales as shown below.  These other millennial profiles show even steeper declines than the GISP2 record.

Screen Shot 2015-11-23 at 14.36.03.png

Judging from the lengths of past interglacial periods, after some 10,000 – 11,000 years the Holocene epoch should now be drawing to its close.

A climate reversion in to a full, encroaching, glaciation is therefore foreseeable, if not overdue, in this century, the next century, or this millennium.

So the most recent 3 millennia have experienced accelerated cooling.  

A continued natural climate change towards a colder climate is now more than likely. 

Cooling will lead to more intense and adverse weather.  There is good reason to expect this, simply because the overall energy differential between the poles and the tropics can only be greater with cooling and that in itself would lead to less stable conditions in the atmosphere.

In addition to more adverse weather, any coming cooling will also lead to very serious deprivation for mankind and the biosphere as a whole.  

Growing seasons will shorten and less arable land will be capable of crop production.  

There is clear evidence of this form of detrimental climate change with the cooling during the Little Ice Age.  In Europe that was a time of great pestilence, social upheaval and failure of civilised settlements due to that adverse colder climate change.  A further contemporary example was the demise of the Ankor Wat civilisation in Cambodia, which occurred from the drive cooler climate of the Little Ice Age.

But during the last two centuries the world has been recovering from these adverse conditions and the marginal rise in temperature the late 20th century has been wholly beneficial for mankind and the biosphere.

But all current Climate Change discussions and alarmist propaganda only concentrate on short term temperature variations since about 1850, (the recovery from the Little Ice Age).  Often these are dependent on  very minor, short term temperature increases. These always try to emphasise ever increasing global temperatures.  They are often presented as disaster but they are only measured in virtually undetectable one hundredths of a degree Centigrade.

The predictions of Catastrophic Global Warming by alarmists should be set in the context of the temperature picture of the current Holocene interglacial.  When setting the predictions of Global warming alarmists in the overall context of the Holocene epoch the much vaunted and much feared “fatal” tipping point of +2°C can be seen to only bring Global temperatures to the level of the very congenial and productive “Roman warm period”.  And that further rise of +2°C could only bring positive economic benefits to the bulk of man-kind especially in the Northern hemisphere.

Catastrophic Global Warming alarmists postulate that temperature rise will reach the “potentially horrendous” level (in their view) of +4°C by from the inclusion of major positive feedbacks from additional water vapor in the atmosphere. Even so the +4°C temperature level would still only bring global temperatures only up to about the level of the previous Eemian maximum.

The Eemian interglacial ~120,000 years ago, was a warm and very plentiful period in the world’s history:  hippopotami thrived in the Rhine delta.  As on-land ice sheets receded substantially in the Eemian, the resulting sea levels were about 3 meters higher than are found at present.  But the ice sheet disintegration process to achieve that would have taken several millennia to have been fulfilled.

However according to the Alarmists all their radical and destructive consequences of temperature increases are supposed to occur over a span of less than 100 years in this century 2000 – 2100AD. And according to them this “overheating catastrophe” will be solely attributable to Man-kind’s burning of fossil fuels and emission of extra Carbon Dioxide into the atmosphere.

Excess CO2 from burning fossil fuel was certainly not the cause of the much higher Eemian peak ~120,000 years ago.

 

But over the past ~20 years: 

  • Man-made Co2 emissions have risen by ~14%
  • CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere have increased by almost ~8%

and there has been no perceptible increase in Global temperature. 

Records from the recent past

In fact in the recent past, some well reputed temperature records such as the UK Meteorological Office, CET (Central England Temperature record) shows that current CET temperatures were close to being matched towards the end of the Medieval warm period and the great variability of temperatures in the record.

Screen Shot 2015-11-30 at 09.59.17.png

But looking at more recent detail values from the CET record, it shows a complete “pause / hiatus” since 1990 and even a decline of -0.56°C in the 17 years since 1998.  This is in spite of 2014 being the warmest year of the CET record since its inception in 1659.

So this recent decline has already eliminated more than half the 1.0°C that is claimed to have occurred since  Man-kind’s industrialisation of the planet commenced.

Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 09.22.01.png

But Global Warming Alarmists including:

  • the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
  • the United Nations
  • many Western Governments
  • Green NGOs, etc.

aggressively assert absolute catastrophe from excessive Man-made temperature rises.

It is extreme arrogance to expect that the actions of mankind could ever achieve a complete reversal of the world’s climatic cooling progress of the last 3000 years and in addition achieve a positive +4°C change over the course of the current century.

When the postulated warming in the coming century as promoted by the IPCC and other Global Warming alarmists is collated against the progress of actual Holocene temperatures, the absolute implausibility of the Man-made Global Warming hypothesis by adding comparatively marginal amounts of CO2 to the atmosphere becomes obvious.

Global warming protagonists should accept that our Holocene interglacial

  • has been in a long-term decline
  • that decline has accelerated over the last 3000 years and
  • that any action taken by Man-kind is unlikely to make any difference whatsoever.

Were the actions by Man-kind able to avert any warming they would eventually just reinforce the catastrophic cooling that is bound to return very soon in geological time.

References

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/hadobs/hadcet/data/download.html

http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/indexice.html

Charting the costs and effectiveness of Renewable Energy in Europe

A comparison of both the Capital Cost and Energy Production Effectiveness of the Renewable Energy in Europe.

The diagrams below collate the cost and capacity factors of European Renewable Energy power sources, Onshore and Off-shore Wind Farms and Large scale Photovoltaic Solar generation.  They are compared to the cost and output capacity of conventional Gas Fired Electricity generation.

  • capacity factor:  installed nameplate capacity compared to the actual electrical energy output achieved
  • capital cost:  comparison with the cost of equivalent electrical output produced by Gas Fired electrical generation.

Screen Shot 2015-01-25 at 11.04.53

Overall European renewable Energy has almost 6 times lower capacity than conventional Gas Fired power generation and it costs about 16 times more in capital expenditure alone.

In all the capital costs expended by 2013 in Europe amounted to some €1/2 trillion for ~170 Gigawatts of “nominal” installed Renewable Energy generation.  But because of the reduced capacity factor, those installations provide ~30 Gigawatts of real output electrical power.  That output amounts to only about 2.9% of the total European generating capacity of 1024Gigawatts (1).

Screen Shot 2015-01-25 at 11.08.22

In addition Renewable Energy, Wind and Solar power, electrical output is intermittent and non dispatchable. Their output cannot respond to electricity demand as and when needed.  Energy is contributed to the grid in a haphazard manner dependent on the weather, the time of day and the seasons.  A thorough and very detailed examination of the policy errors and vast expense to the UK in particular can be see at:

http://euanmearns.com/renewable-energy-the-most-expensive-policy-disaster-in-modern-british-history/#more-7697

Renewable Energy technologies

Onshore Wind power is the most effective form of Renewable Energy in capital cost terms. It is only costs ~9 times as much as conventional power generation. On average across Europe Capacity / effectiveness is ~21%.

Offshore Wind power is about ~17 times more expensive to install but its increased capacity factors mean that it should be significantly more productive than Onshore installations.

Nonetheless as well as the significant additional capital costs, Offshore Wind power appears to have major problems with costlier long term maintenance and questionable reliability (4).

Large scale photovoltaic Solar power is proven to be the least economic Renewable Energy source costing about 34 times more in terms of capital costs, but it usually has reasonable maintenance costs.

On average, in Europe Solar PV  provides ~11% of its nameplate capacity.

As well as the impact of cloudy weather Photovoltaic units are susceptible to performance degradation from Ice or snow or obscuration with accumulating dust in drier climates.

Solar power might operate reasonably well at mid latitudes but it is inevitably a poor investment in Northern Europe where yields are low because of their latitude, the adverse weather, the seasons and the daily rotation of the earth.

The cost of the technical Photovoltaic elements of the systems are reducing, but these high-tech elements are becoming an ever smaller part of the final installation.  The costs of the support infrastructure and linkages to the grid are irreducible. It is also clear that the service life of solar cells is limited, degrading over time.

System degradation of the DC to AC inverters is particularly significant, they are an expensive element in any solar system with a limited operational life.

An analogy for the Nationally mandated use of Renewable Energy.

By law a family has to purchase two cars, one works well all the time, is cheap to buy, is cheap to maintain and does not cost too much to run but the other is very expensive to buy and only works about 1/6th of the time although the fuel costs very little.  But by law the family is forced to use the expensive car if it is working even though it may well let them down at any time.  At the same time the cheap car must be kept ticking over using fuel but going nowhere in case the expensive car stops.

Renewable installations by committed European Nations (1)

Major commitments to Renewable Energy in Europe have been made by 15 Nations accounting in total for more than 95% of all European installations.

EU 15 mix MW 2015-01-21

The mix of major Renewable Energy types in Europe is as follows.

EU mix pie2015-01-21

And the extent of renewable installation measured in Megawatts / million head of population in each European nation is shown, with Denmark unsurprisingly just leading with the most intense usage.  Denmark is closely followed by the vast commitments made in Germany.

R E -head 2015-01-21

Of these 15 nations only 5 have made the major commitments amounting to more than 80% of all European Renewable Energy installations.

These are:

  • Germany   37.9%
  • Spain   16.2%
  • Italy 14.5%
  • France   6.9%
  • United Kingdom 6.5%.
  • Denmark 2.7%

Comparative Calculations

Capacity calculations are straightforward. Published figures from the 2013 version of “The State of Renewable Energies in Europe: EurOberv’ER Report”(1), give the installed base of Renewables Name Plate capacity in Megawatts by country and also their total annual energy output recorded in Gigawatt hours.

The report (1) does not include an output value for Offshore Wind power so an arbitrary but high end value of 30% capacity is used in these calculations.

Annual Gigawatt hours output can be translated to equivalent Megawatts of installed capacity by accounting for the 8760, (365 * 24), hours in the year (2). The reported output over the year converted to equivalent installed Megawatts of conventional generation capacity is then compared with the installed Nameplate capacity to give the capacity rating.

A yardstick of comparative capital costs, quoted in US$, but nonetheless useable for comparative purposes, is provided in the recent US Government Energy Information Association 2013 report table 1 (3).  It gives “Overnight Capital Costs” / Gigawatt for each type of Renewable and Conventional Energy. In addition the table also gives comparative values for Operation and Maintenance, including fuel costs, for each type of generation.

Screen Shot 2015-02-13 at 07.25.21

The base for these comparisons is Gas fired power generation costing about €1,000,000,000/Gigawatt

“Overnight Capital Cost” is the standard comparative measure for capital costs used in energy industries. The specific Overnight Capital Costs used include:

  • Civil and structural costs
  • Mechanical equipment supply and installation
  • Electrical and instrumentation and control
  • Project indirect costs
  • Other owners costs: design studies, legal fees, insurance costs, property taxes and local electrical linkages to the Grid.

However and very importantly “Overnight Capital Costs” specifically do not include:

  • Remote access costs, which for Renewable Energy in many cases will be very onerous
  • Extended electrical linkages to the Grid from remote locations.
  • Provision of Back-up power supply, “spinning reserve” for times when renewable power is unavailable.
  • Fuel costs for actual generation and the spinning reserve.
  • Maintenance, including electrical input necessary sustain wind turbines when idle.
  • Financing   etc.

These further costs, excluded from “Overnight Capital Costs”, mean that the additional capital commitment for Renewable Energy is certainly significantly more than the simple capital cost comparisons presented here.

Intermittency and Non-dipatchability

The major problem with Wind and Solar Energy sources is that their electrical output is intermittent and non-dispatchable.

Renewable Energy electricity output is unable respond to electricity demand as and when needed.  Power is contributed to the grid in a haphazard manner dependent on the time of day, the season and the weather.

The variability of Renewable Energy combined with the “Renewables Obligation”, which mandates that the electricity grid must take high cost energy from Renewable sources preferentially, if available.

Such legislation can easily result in the demand on conventional generation in for example Germany varying widely by about 25 Gigawatts over short periods.  In addition it has the effect of making conventional uneconomic so that base load capacity is having to be shut down and lost from the grid.

This variable use of conventional power sources is inherently inefficient and results in wasteful use of conventional fuels and thus an unnecessary excess of CO2 emissions as back-up power must be available full time.

These extra inefficiency emissions can easily exceed any of the CO2 savings made by the use Renewable Energy sources.

The following charts from “agora-energiewende” the show the magnitude of the problem of intermittency and non-dispatchability associated with Renewables in Germany and the UK (5) (6).

Typical 10 day charts for summer and winter in Germany:

summer

winter

The electricity output from wind power can equally be very variable. Electricity generation from wind turbines is fickle, as in the week in July 2014, clearly shown above, where Wind-Power input across Germany was close to zero for several days. Similarly an established high pressure system, with little wind over the whole of Northern Europe is a common occurrence in winter months, when electricity demand is at its highest.

In Germany, its massive commitment to solar energy can briefly provide up to ~20% of country wide demand for a few hours either side of noon on some fine summer days as can be seen in the graph above.

But at the time of maximum power demand on winter evenings Solar energy grid input is nil of necessity.  But Solar energy has absorbed ~65% of total German Renewable investment.

In the Summer example in July 2014 Wind Power input varied from 15.5 GW to 0.18 GW and the Solar contribution varied from nil to some 15 GW.

Germany has similar insolation and cloudiness characteristics as Alaska and the UK being even further North has an even worse solar energy performance.

Solar power inevitably varies according to the time of day, the state of the weather and also of course radically with the seasons. Solar power works most effectively in latitudes nearer the equator and it certainly cannot be seriously effective and useful full time in Northern Europe.

A further UK example of the failure of Renewable Energy at a time of peak electricity demand is shown below, the ~11Gigawatt Wind Power fleet contributed just 0.19GW for the actual demand of 53.5GW, or only 0.36% (7).  Electrical input from the UK Solar power installations in the same period was nil.

Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 09.54.58

Conversely, on occasions Renewable Energy output may be in excess of demand and this has to dumped expensively and unproductively.  This is especially so, as there is still no viable and cost effective solution to electrical energy storage on an industrial scale.

It is for this reason that the word “nominally” is used throughout these notes in relation to the name plate capacity outputs from Renewable Energy sources.

Renewable Energy performance in five European Nations with major commitments

Screen Shot 2015-02-13 at 07.11.31

EU 5 cap-cost 2015-01-21

Germany

Screen Shot 2015-01-24 at 18.10.27

At 37.9% of the total European commitment and at a capital cost of ~€200 billion Germany is the leader of Renewable Energy promotion and installation in Europe.

But comparatively its investment in Renewables has been both the most expensive and also the least efficient overall. This is primarily because of its excessive commitment, more than 50% of its installed Renewables, to Solar Photovoltaic power.

Germany has made these investments in the expectation that that its “Energiewende Energy Transition” policy would make the country a world leader in advances in Renewables.

This optimistic approach is not being justified (9) (10).

Onshore wind power in Germany accounts for ~35% of its massive Renewable investment but about half of its Renewable electricity output. German wind power operates at a relatively low level of capacity at ~18% or even less (17). Unsurprisingly Germany has almost the highest installation of Renewables / head of the European population.

Large scale photovoltaics have cost some ~64% of Germany’s Renewable investment (16). But because of Germany northern latitude and its often cloudy skies, photovoltaics operate with a capacity factor a capacity factor of only ~9%. As a result overall Germany’s renewables operate at an overall capacity factor of less than 14%.

It seems incredible that Germany, a Nation with such great engineering and pragmatic prowess, could have become so convinced about Renewable Energy especially the use of Solar Energy (13) (14) to make such a grossly unwise investments.

In addition Germany, by policy, is withdrawing from Nuclear electricity generation after the Fukushima tsunami. As a result Germany is now installing coal fired generating plant as rapidly as possible to maintain base load power. These new plants burn either lignite, (the most polluting type of coal and CO2 emissive fuel), or ordinary coal.

These plants have no facility for Carbon Capture and Storage, probably because German engineers have realised that CCS in operation is a costly engineering fallacy.

Note: Were it to work at all, Carbon Capture and Storage, CCS, can be viewed as a costly way to throw away comparatively miniscule amounts of useful plant food.

In spite of the fact that Renewable Energy output has grown about fourfold, there has been an overall increase of CO2 emissions from Germany since the year 2010, see graph of emissions / head under France later.

Germany has invested very little, less than 1%, in Offshore Wind Power development and so far its experience has been poor (11), emphasising the technical difficulties of ever making large scale Offshore power fully operational.

Even if large scale Offshore wind power in the North sea were eventually successful there is also a major question about the lack of suitable high capacity transmission lines across Germany from the North to its Southern industrial heartlands (12).

Spain

Screen Shot 2015-01-24 at 18.10.43

Spain has made the second largest commitment to Renewable Energy in Europe at ~16% of the European installation in total. Even though Spain has a southerly position in Europe, unlike Germany,  it has invested in a preponderance of Wind power, (~75%), rather than Solar power.

Renewables subsidies have been a significant contributor to the Spanish financial crisis and that they are now being cut back substantially.

In spite of its long coastline Spain has not invested in Offshore Wind Power.

Italy

Screen Shot 2015-01-24 at 18.10.59

At ~14.5% of the European total Italy has made the third largest commitment to Renewable Energy in Europe.

Not unreasonably with its southerly location this investment is largely in Solar power ~68%.

It is believed that Renewable Energy subsidies are contributing to the poor financial position of the country. Renewables in Italy are close to being the least cost effective in Europe.

In spite of its long coastline Italy has not invested in Offshore Wind Power.

France

Screen Shot 2015-01-24 at 18.11.15

At 6.9% France has made a significant commitment to Renewable Energy, with about 65% allocated to wind Power.

France already has a lower CO2 output / head than China, (currently at ~75%, less), because of its 85% commitment to Nuclear power electricity generation.

So investment in Renewable Energy would seem to be an entirely pointless exercise as it is unlikely to reduce CO2 output any further.

The French CO2 output level / head at 5.50 tonnes/head is rapidly approaching the world-wide average at 4.9 tonnes/head (8).

In spite of its long coastline France has not invested in Offshore Wind Power.

Screen Shot 2014-12-19 at 10.27.39

United KingdomScreen Shot 2015-01-24 at 18.11.31

At 6.3% of European installations the UK still only has a comparatively moderate commitment to Renewable Energy so far.  But because of the legal obligations made in the 2008 Climate Change Act, this investment is expected to grow substantially, unless the Act is repealed.

The UK has encountered substantial resistance to on-shore Wind Power and has committed ~30% of its capacity and ~50% of its cost to investments offshore.  These high cost installations are subject to the future reliability and maintenance problems of all off-shore wind generation (4).

Solar power is only ~17% of the UK investment and has a low capacity factor of ~8%.

In 2013 The UK was close to the Chinese emissions / head of ~ 7 tonnes / head / annum.

Denmark

Denmark renewable installations are only 2.7% of the European total, so in terms of total installations it is a minor player.

But as a pioneer, with major industrial commitment to wind power, it has the highest installed base of Renewables per head (15).

Its Wind Power capacity record at 28% is the highest in Europe as opposed to the European average of ~22%.

Nonetheless Danish Renewable Energy is insignificant in saving CO2 emissions, being only 0.13% of current (2013) World CO2 emissions and only 1.14% of total EU emissions.

For its size, Denmark has also invested substantially in Offshore Wind Power.

Some Conclusions

European nations have already committed massive investments to Renewable Energy, Wind and Solar power.

According to Renewable Energy industry sources, conservatively in capital costs alone, this amounts to at least ~€0.5 trillion but this only provides ~2.9% of European Generating capacity.

Renewable Energy installation costs are about 16 times greater than comparable Gas Fired generation.  

By 2013 his investment has resulted an installed Nameplate Capacity of ~169Gigawatts which is capable of producing a “nominal” ~30Gigawatts of electrical Generating Capacity in reality, that is 17.5% of the its nameplate capacity.

As is well proven in France, the most effective way of controlling and reducing CO2 emissions, if it were needed, is by using Nuclear power for electricity generation. CO2 emissions per head in France now stand at ~75% of those in China for the whole Chinese population of 1.4 billion.

At the resulting price €16.87 billion/Gigawatt for Renewable Energy, replacement of the 1024GW European Generating fleet would cost about €17.3trillion, a sum close to the whole annual GDP of the European Union.  This capital sum should be compared to an approximate cost of about €1trillion for the replacement of the whole European generating capacity by conventional generation capacity. 

But the “nominal” 30GW of Renewable Energy production is not really as useful as one would wish, because of its production is intermittent and non-dispatchable.  

These uneconomic investments have been promoted and supported by government subsidies and other artificial government market manipulation.  

Without its government subsidy structure Renewable Energy would not be financially viable as a source of electrical energy.

But the expense of those policies has been loaded mainly on the electrical bills of Electricity customers, private individuals or industry:

these policies have already caused very substantial hardship to poorer individuals in European society

these policies are severely damaging the competitiveness of European industries.

References

(1)  http://www.energies-renouvelables.org/observ-er/stat_baro/barobilan/barobilan13-gb.pdf

(2)  Prof David MacKay in “Sustainable Energy – without the hot air”, page 334

(3)  http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/capitalcost/pdf/updated_capcost.pdf

(4)  http://notrickszone.com/2014/09/11/spiegel-germanys-large-scale-offshore-windpark-dream-morphs-into-an-engineering-and-cost-nightmare/

(5) http://www.agora-energiewende.org/service/recent-electricity-data/stromerzeugung-und-verbrauch/

(6) http://www.ukpowergeneration.info

(7)  http://euanmearns.com/uk-hits-minus-13˚c-and-wind-hits-zero-output/

(8)  https://edmhdotme.wordpress.com/2014/09/13/the-record-of-recent-man-made-co2-emissions-1965-2013/

(9) http://notrickszone.com/2014/12/05/top-renewable-energy-expert-warns-of-collapsing-euro-energy-supply-germanys-energy-policy-suicidal/

(10) http://notrickszone.com/2014/12/09/energiewende-takes-a-massive-blow-top-green-energy-proponent-concedes-blunder-with-ugly-consequences-huge-blow-to/

(11) http://notrickszone.com/2014/09/05/giant-400-mw-bard-i-offshore-windpark-shut-down-extended-yet-again-delay-is-now-more-than-1-year/

(12)  http://www.thegwpf.com/vahrenholt-lecture/

(13)  http://theenergycollective.com/robertwilson190/456961/reality-check-germany-does-not-get-half-its-energy-solar

(14)  http://notrickszone.com/2014/07/21/germanys-habitually-awol-green-energy-installed-windsolar-often-delivers-less-than-1-of-rated-capacity/

(15)  http://euanmearns.com/wind-power-denmark-and-the-island-of-denmark/

(16)  http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/02/03/us-germany-renewables-idUSKBN0L719U20150203

(17)  http://notrickszone.com/2015/02/07/germany-2014-report-card-is-in-its-25000-wind-turbines-get-an-f-averaged-only-14-8-of-rated-capacity/#sthash.yWCuzJda.dpbs

https://edmhdotme.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/screen-shot-2014-09-15-at-07-24-34.png?w=804&h=480

https://edmhdotme.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/screen-shot-2014-09-12-at-12-32-50.png?w=625&h=375

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8BQpciw8suk

Some Official Adjustments to Temperature Records Worldwide

Accumulating consistent long-term temperature measurements at ground level is much more difficult than it might seem. Static ground based weather stations are very susceptible to changes in their local environment as land use changes around them and also to their being poorly maintained. Because of the Urban Heat Island Effect, caused by the local environment, a large city like London can be as much as 4-9°C warmer than its surrounding countryside. Many of the ground-based thermometers now in use were originally installed at airports, when they were only green fields, now they are massive developments. Screen Shot 2014-10-03 at 10.43.16 The chart above shows the longest, (1659 to date), unadjusted continuous temperature record from Central England. It has been extended further in to the past by the research efforts of Tony Brown of Climate reason.  The record clearly implies that there has been some modest warming over the last centuries as the world has recovered from the Little Ice Age.  In addition the older extension provided by Tony Brown is usefully beginning to show higher temperatures towards the end of the Medieval Warm Period.

By way of example of the official adjustments being made to the land based temperature record, consideration is given here to a single correctly sited and continuously well-maintained, rural US weather station is situated at Dale Enterprise West Virginia.  Its records are instructive. The un-adulterated record even shows modest cooling of 0.29°C per century, if all other adjustments made by “climate scientists” are ignored.

Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 09.59.37

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/02/26/contribution-of-ushcn-and-giss-bias-in-long-term-temperature-records-for-a-well-sited-rural-weather-station/

However as is shown above the NASA GISS published “value added” temperatures for this same location. This shows a massive adjustment lowering of past temperatures before 1965 to give the impression of very substantial (+0.78ºC / century) warming at this station.  Of particular interest is the apparent step wise adjustment of the homogenised data, which would seem to be truly spurious.

ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/ushcn/v2/monthly/menne-etal2009.pdf

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/02/26/contribution-of-ushcn-and-giss-bias-in-long-term-temperature-records-for-a-well-sited-rural-weather-station/

Cumulatively the result has been to emphasise warming from the US rural data sets by some 0.47ºC / century. These results are always a one-way street to emphasise the apparent amount of warming. The following table clearly shows the scale and impact of the overall adjustments in the USA.  Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 15.22.51However this adjustment effect has not been confined to the USA. This type of manipulation of the data throughout all the rural data sets to show apparent warming seems to be an entirely common occurrence within the organisations that are the official guardians of the data.

Those National organisations should be above reproach in their scientific integrity.

In addition many rural and more northerly measuring stations were totally lost with the fall of the USSR. But since then many others still in operation have been deliberately ignored by the UK Meteorological Office, the Climatic Research Unit at East Anglia University and NASA GISS in producing their global data sets. Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 15.25.45 Thus the number of stations being considered have been radically reduced, for example by omitting information from Russia particularly from more northerly and rural stations. The impact of the deliberate loss of these many mainly rural stations on measured temperatures can be seen below. The graph below shows the divergence between well-sited rural US weather stations and weather stations that are increasingly susceptible to the Urban Heat Island Effect (UHI). It should also be noted that Phil Jones at East Anglia CRU has also published papers explicitly discounting the Urban Heat Island effect. Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 15.26.02

http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2010/01/05/cru-3b-urban-warm-bias-in-ghcn/

In addition the adjustments made by these official promoters of the man-made global warming assertion has been progressive.  This effect can be seen in the graphs of presentation of three different versions of global temperature produced by NASA GISS between 1980 and 2007. Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 15.45.33 The promoters of this data set are now proclaiming that 2010 will be the warmest year on record. This is hardly surprising, if they have adjusted the past downwards and the present upwards. One can only conclude that if only well maintained and well sited rural stations were considered so as to avoid the Urban Heat Island Effect entirely and if the adjustments made by climate scientists devoted to the Man-Made Global Warming assertion were ignored that reports of the warming of the earth from ground based measurements would be much reduced.

But it is the protagonists of the Global Warming assertion who are also the official custodians of the data.

Global assessments of world surface temperature are made by combining temperature data from worldwide sources such as the adjusted one at Dale Enterprise Virginia. Sadly the un-auditable re-adjustment of temperature history by the official custodians of the data has become a phenomenon throughout the Western world. Recently it has become clear that many unwarranted adjustments always showing additional warming have been consistently made to the four main sources of accredited global temperature records. Some examples of such adjustments throughout the Western world include:

  • USA: NASA GISS, (previously lead by the extreme Warmist advocate, James Hansen), have admitted errors and revised their data set downwards. It appears that in being determined to announce that 2010 is/was the warmest year ever, they have ignored available data stations in the Canadian and Siberian Arctic using only fabricated data, extrapolated from warmer measurement stations further south. They have also reduced the levels in their historic records for last century thus enhancing the appearance of Global warming. It is now slowly becoming clear that the satellite data provided by NOAA has also been comprehensively corrupted with over estimates and some quite ridiculous readings of temperature, (several hundred °F in the great lakes area), over a period of several years. This data has been distributed worldwide as the foundation of many climate models supporting the Man-made Global warming assertion. It may now be the subject of legal challenge.
  • Russia: only 40% of the now limited available readings were used by the collators of temperature data always favouring warmer urban sites.
  • Canada, many northern sites are now ignored in the collation of temperature data for the IPCC.
  • UK: the evidence that both the UK Meteorological office and the East Anglia University Climatic Research Unit have made unwarranted upward adjustments to the data they publish to support the scientific case of the UN IPCC is clear from the release of data and e-mail correspondence in “Climategate”: eliminating data to “hide the decline”.

In a flagrant contradiction of normal scientific method University of East Anglia have admitted that they have destroyed the original records so their adjustment processes cannot be re-audited and reproduced in retrospect.

  • Australia: another single example, one amongst many in Australia, from the data for Darwin in the Northern Territories makes the point about unwarranted adjustments made by NOAA/GHCN, the Global Historical Climate Network.

Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 15.47.53

That shows how to turn records of -0.7°C cooling/century into 1.2°C warming/century with unexplained, and un-auditable adjustments.

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/12/08/the-smoking-gun-at-darwin-zero/

It is certainly now clear that the Australian Government central research facility, the CSIRO, is wholly committed to the “Warmist” doctrine and supports it on behalf of their Federal Government.

  • New Zealand: the following table shows the unexplained differences between recorded data and data published by the National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research (NIWA) for several locations.

http://www.quadrant.org.au/blogs/doomed-planet/2010/05/crisis-in-new-zealand-climatology

The following graph shows the extent of the downward adjustments of past readings over time made in New Zealand. Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 15.50.08

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/11/25/uh-oh-raw-data-in-new-zealand-tells-a-different-story-than-the-official-one/

http://nzclimatescience.net/images/PDFs/niwa.ct.docs.pdf

These results are now the subject of a challenge in the New Zealand High Court. As a result of the challenge the New Zealand government agency have now accepted that their records had been falsified deliberately as a result of the political pressure upon them. So there is a chance that in future other National records may also be subject to legal challenge. So it seems to have become common practice for national Meteorological Services worldwide to make these sorts of upward adjustments in the present and downward adjustments in the past, always with the intention of showing increased warming of their regions of the planet.

http://wallstreetpit.com/20710-climategate-goes-back-to-1980

A suspicious mind one would consider that these sorts of adjustments were as a result of a coordinated international intergovernmental programme or at least well co-ordinated “groupthink”.

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/12/25/do-we-care-if-2010-is-the-warmist-year-in-history/

Having progressively adjusted upwards / “added value” to the basic ground based data sets, the final assessment of global temperature is then combined from this information and additional data is fabricated for the blank areas by interpolating intermediate temperatures over a grid for the huge territories where measuring stations do not exist. As a result it is hardly surprising that the published record used by the UN IPCC authorities shows significant worldwide warming.

Accordingly the quality of the record becomes questionable and entirely unverifiable in retrospect. Sceptics would certainly think that this was entirely intentional outcome. But it is on these bases that claims are made and officially published of the “warmest year ever” and the “warmest decade ever”.

On the other hand satellite measurements have taken a continuous whole worldview since 1979.  They do not attempt to extrapolate temperatures to cover vast areas such as Russia, Northern Canada or to the poles from an increasingly limited and questionable set of ground based weather stations.

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/05/05/uah-global-temperature-anomaly-a-bit-cooler-in-april/

Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 15.51.19 Current measurements, including the more recent and reliable satellite data, (ie since 1979), and weather balloon sources, certainly show some warming but no warming since the year 1999. Since about 1850, the end of the “little ice age”, there has certainly been some warming of the planet overall, perhaps as much as 0.5°C in the 90 years between 1850 and 1940. In the 70 years since 1940 the increase in temperature has been assessed at a maximum +0.3°C. Man-made CO2 in the atmosphere only became a possible concern after 1940 but the earlier rate of warming from 1850 to 1940 was about 30% faster than in the period 1975 -1995.

Charting the World’s Energy Sources

The following calculations and graphics are based on information on national CO2 emission levels, from 1985, energy sources and electricity generation, since 1985, worldwide published by BP[i] in June 2014 for the period up until the end of 2013. The CO2 emissions data is well corroborated by previous similar datasets published by the CDIAC, Guardian and Google up until 2009.

These notes aggregate the world nations into seven logical groups with distinct attitudes to CO2 control:

developed

  • United States of America, attempting CO2 emissions control under Obama’s EPA.
  • The European Union, (including the UK), currently believers in action to combat Global Warming.
  • Japan, the former Soviet Union, Canada and Australia are developed nations, rejecting controls on CO2 emissions.

developing

  • South Korea, Iran, South Africa, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Indonesia and Taiwan: more advanced developing nations, still developing rapidly, (KR IR ZA MX SA BR ID TW).
  • China and Hong Kong: developing very rapidly.
  • India: developing rapidly from a low base.
  • Rest of World (~160 Nations): developing rapidly from a low base.

Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 13.23.36

Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 17.34.08

Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 17.25.52

Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 17.27.47

Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 17.27.21

Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 17.26.32

Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 17.28.26

Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 17.28.08

[i] http://www.bp.com/en/global/corporate/about-bp/energy-economics/statistical-review-of-world-energy.html

Charting the World’s Developmental Deficit using the measures of electricity generation.

The following calculations and graphics are based on information on national CO2 emission levels, from 1985, energy sources and electricity generation, since 1985, worldwide published by BP in June 2014 for the period up until the end of 2013.

Or in terms electrical generating capacity / head for Developed as opposed to the Developing NationsScreen Shot 2014-09-29 at 13.27.27 These notes then aggregate the world nations into seven logical groups with distinct attitudes to CO2 control: developed

  • United States of America, attempting CO2 emissions control under Obama’s EPA.
  • The European Union, (including the UK), currently believers in action to combat Global Warming.
  • Japan, the former Soviet Union, Canada and Australia are developed nations, rejecting controls on CO2 emissions.

developing

  • South Korea, Iran, South Africa, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Indonesia and Taiwan: more advanced developing nations, still developing rapidly, (KR IR ZA MX SA BR ID TW).
  • China and Hong Kong: developing very rapidly.
  • India: developing rapidly from a low base.
  • Rest of World (~160 Nations): developing rapidly from a low base.

Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 13.17.28

http://www.bp.com/en/global/corporate/about-bp/energy-economics/statistical-review-of-world-energy.html

To get an idea of the development deficit of the developing nations, these notes and figures provide a short commentary on National Electricity Generation capacity used as a proxy for the level of development of the various nation groups.

Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 07.40.29
Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 13.29.04 Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 13.28.41 Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 13.25.45

To get an idea of the development deficit of the developing nations, these notes and figures provide a short commentary on National Electricity Generation capacity used as a proxy for the level of development of the various nation groups. The following diagrams particularly show the real escalation of the development of generating capacity in China from the year 2000 onwards. It also shows the comparatively low rate of generating capacity development in India but for a similarly large population. When the electricity generating capacity per head of population is considered the scale of the development deficit and slow progress in both India and the great mass of underdeveloped “Rest of the World” Nations becomes very clear. Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 13.28.25India and the Rest of the World ~160 Nations account for some 54% of the world population.  China and the Rapidly Developing Nations amount to further ~30% of world population. However when the electricity generating capacity per head of population is considered the scale of the development deficit in both India and the great mass of underdeveloped “Rest of the World” Nations becomes very clear. Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 13.24.41 The following two graphs show the growth rate of generating capacity and the the growth  of generating capacity / head of ver the past 28 years.

Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 13.28.07

Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 13.27.47

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/environment/global-warming/India-to-pitch-for-right-to-grow-for-poor-nations-during-UN-Climate-Summit/articleshow/43248278.cms?

Renewable Energy – Solar and Wind-Power: capital costs and effectiveness compared

A comparison of both the Capital Cost and Energy Producing Effectiveness of the Renewable Energy investments of the USA, Germany and the UK.

The summary diagram below collates the cost and capacity factors of Renewable Energy power sources compared to the cost and output capacity of conventional Gas Fired Electricity generation.

US D UK comp

The associated base data is shown below:

Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 16.16.32

In summary, these figures show that these three Western nations have spent of the order of at least  ~$0.5trillion in capital costs alone, (conservatively estimated, only accounting for the primary capital costs ), to create Renewable Energy electrical generating capacity.

Nominally, this total nameplate generating capacity at ~153GW should amount to about ~26% of their total electricity generation, were it fully effective.  However, because of there is an inevitable ~20% capacity factor applicable across the board for all renewables, the actual cumulative energy output by from these Renewable sources only results in ~5% of the total electricity generation for these nations.

Across the board overall solar energy is about ~34 times the cost of comparable standard Gas Fired generation and 9 times less effective.

Wind-Power is only ~12 times the comparable cost and about 4 times less effective.

The same total electrical energy output could have been produced using conventional natural gas fired electrical generation for ~$31 billion or ~1/16 of the actual capital costs expended on renewable installations.  Had conventional Gas Fired technology had been used, the full ~31 GW generating capacity would have provided non-intermittent and wholly dispatchable electricity production generated as and when needed.

The following calculations only provide conservative estimates of Renewable Energy installation capital costs.  They discount entirely the major additional costs of:

  • supporting backup generation
  • connection to the grid from remote locations
  • the large differentials in ongoing maintenance costs.

As all Renewable Energy technologies are only viable with the support of costly government subsidies, market intervention and market manipulation, can this be a responsible use of public funds or a good reason for increasing energy costs for individuals or industry in the Western world ?

The following data sources for the USA, Germany and the UK were reviewed:

United States of America: data available 2000 – 2012

Germany: data available from 1990 to 2013

United Kingdom: data available 2008 – 2013

Note:  the Wikipedia sources are used because they normally have a green orientation and are unlikely to be questioned by the advocates of Man-made Global Warming.

These data listed above provide installed “nameplate” capacity measured in Megawatts (MW) and energy output measured across the year in total Gigawatt hours, (GWh). Thus they do not provide directly comparable values as Megawatt nameplate capacity and the actual energy outputs achieved. For this comparative exercise the annual Gigawatt hours values were revised back to equivalent Megawatts, accounting for the 8,760 hours in the year, as indicated by Prof David MacKay in “Sustainable Energy – without the hot air”, page 334.

Although this measure eliminates the unpredictable and variable effects of intermittency and non-dispatchability that characterise Renewable Energy sources, it gives a conservative comparative value of the actual energy output and thus potentially available.

It allows for the calculation of capacity factors in relation to Renewable Energy technologies in each nation. The following graph shows the history of Renewable Energy (Solar and Wind power combined) installations and shows the progress year by year of actual electrical energy generated. Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 20.09.06 The Energy Information Association provides the capital cost information in US$ for the USA.  These capital costs are used for comparative purposes, but they take no account of currency variations and other local financial factors.

The USA Energy Information Association publishes comprehensive information on the capital costs of alternate electrical generation technologies, in Table 1 of their 2013 report. From that full list these notes consider three technologies:

  • Large Scale Photovoltaic: this is the most economic of the PV technologies at ~$3.8 billion / GW.
  • Combined Wind 80-20: merged onshore 80% and offshore 20% wind at ~$3.0 billion / GW.
  • Natural Gas Advanced Combined Cycle: the costliest technical option at ~$1.0 billion / GW.

Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 10.19.25

“Overnight Capital Cost”, (just as if an power generating installation has been created overnight), is the standard comparative measure for capital costs used in energy industries. The specific Overnight Capital Costs used include:

  • Civil and structural costs
  • Mechanical equipment supply and installation
  • Electrical and instrumentation and control
  • Project indirect costs
  • Other owners costs: design studies, legal fees, insurance costs, property taxes and local electrical linkages to the Grid.

However for this comparison “Overnight Capital Costs” specifically do not include:

  • Provision of Back-up power supply, “spinning reserve” for times when renewable power is unavailable.
  • Fuel costs for actual generation and the spinning reserve
  • Remote access costs
  • Extended electrical linkages to the Grid
  • Maintenance
  • Financing   etc.

These further costs for Renewable Energy excluded from Overnight Capital Costs mean that its use probably significantly less economic than the comparisons provided in these tables. In addition for these comparisons the Energy Information Association data denominated in US$ is used. These brief results are primarily for comparative purposes and do not purport to give precise actual expenditures in the various nations and by governments. However, they do  clearly indicate the order of magnitude of the capital sums involved.

They also allow for the calculation of comparative figures to be established between renewable energy generation and standard Gas Fired electricity generation. The results for the individual Nations in tabular form using the EIA Overnight Capital Cost data are shown below: Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 16.15.34 In graphic terms the results for renewable Energy generation in each country is shown below.Screen Shot 2014-11-14 at 17.10.58 Solar power is comparatively successful in the USA, because it is mainly installed in Southerly latitudes, but in Germany its very serious renewable investment in Solar amounting to more than 50% of all renewables is twice as expensive and half as effective as in the USA.  Solar energy in the UK is 55 times more expensive and half as effective again as in Germany.  Fortunately the UK only has about 25% solar generation in the Renewable mix. Wind power is about 26% effective in the USA  and about 11 times more costly than Gas Fired generation. In Germany Wind power at less than 50% of its renewable commitment is 50% more expensive and substantially less effective in the USA.  Wind power in the UK is also about 11 times more costly, similar to the USA, and rather more effective than in Germany, because of wind conditions.

In addition, there is also a very large discrepancy in maintenance costs shown in the Energy Information Association table 1. When compared to a standard Natural Gas plant, maintenance cost comparisons are as follows:

  • Photovoltaics                     times ~1.6
  • Onshore Wind-Power        times ~2.6
  • Offshore Wind Power        times ~4.9
  • Combined Wind  80 – 20    times ~4.0
  • Coal (without CCS)            times ~1.9   (included for reference)
  • Nuclear                              times ~6.1   (included for reference)

There are also significant questions to be answered about the longevity and engineering robustness of the Solar and Wind-Power technologies: this is particularly problematical for off-shore wind farms.

http://notrickszone.com/2014/09/11/spiegel-germanys-large-scale-offshore-windpark-dream-morphs-into-an-engineering-and-cost-nightmare/

In addition a more detailed analysis might well indicate that, in spite of the cost of fuel being essentially free, the development, fabrication and installation of both Solar and Wind-power installations involves the release of substantial amounts of CO2.  The actual savings of CO2 emissions may be hardly exceeded over their installed working life of these Renewable technologies.

http://sunweber.blogspot.fr/2014/11/prove-this-wrong.htm

Intermittancy and Non-dipatchability

However there still remains a further major problem with all Renewable Energy sources. Their electrical output is intermittent and non dispatchable. Their electrical output cannot respond to electricity demand as and when needed. Energy is contributed to the grid in a haphazard manner dependent on the weather.  This effect can seen from German electrical supply in the diagram below, for a week in August 2014, an optimum period for any solar energy input. Power certainly not necessarily available whenever required.

Screen Shot 2014-09-07 at 15.09.47Solar power inevitably varies according to the time of day, the state of the weather and also of course radically with the seasons.  Solar power works most effectively in latitudes nearer the equator and it certainly cannot be seriously effective in Northern Europe. In the example above in August 2014 wind power input varied from 15.5 GW to 0.18 GW and the Solar contribution varied from nil to some 15 GW. Thus this Renewable Energy variability combined with the “Renewables Obligation”, which mandates that the electricity grid has to take energy from renewable sources preferentially, if available, resulted in demands on conventional generation in Germany varying from ~23GW to ~47GW over the period. In Germany, its massive commitment to solar energy can briefly provide up to ~20% of country wide demand for a few hours either side of noon on some fine summer days, but at the time of maximum power demand on winter evenings solar energy input is necessarily nil. But at the same time the output from wind power is equally variable as in the summer months.

Germany has similar insolation and cloudiness characterists as Alaska and the UK being even further North has an even worse solar performance. Electricity generation from wind turbines is equally fickle, as in the week in July 2014, clearly shown above, where Wind-Power input across Germany was close to zero for several days. Similarly an established high pressure system, with little wind over the whole of Northern Europe is a common occurrence in winter months, when electricity demand is at its highest. Conversely, on occasions Renewable Energy output may be in excess of demand and this has to dumped expensively and unproductively. This is especially so, as there is still no solution to electrical energy storage on a sufficiently large industrial scale. That is the reason that the word “nominally” is used throughout these notes in relation to the name plate capacity outputs from Renewable Energy sources.

Overall these three major nations that have committed massive investments to Renewable Energy.  Conservatively this amounts to at least ~$0.5 trillion or ~2.2% of combined annual GDP.  

This investment has resulted in a “nominal” ~31Gigawatts of generating capacity from an installed Nameplate Capacity of ~150Gigawatts.  This is “nominally” almost a quarter of the total installed nameplate generating capacity.

But this nominal 31GW of Renewable Energy output is ~5.4% of the total installed generating capacity of ~570Gigawatts.  Even that 31GW of Renewable Energy production is not really as useful as one would wish, because of its intermittency and non-dispatchability.