Sunday, June 22, 2014

More Renewable BS from President

Subtitle: Obama Confused about Renewable vs Solar Energy

An earlier post on SLB discussed a dozen whoppers told by President Obama in his 2014 commencement address to University of California at Irvine (UCI) graduates.  see link.    

I re-read his speech, and found yet another.  Perhaps he mis-spoke (he is quite adept at that, so his apologists tell us).  Perhaps he was misinformed by his advisors.  Perhaps his speech-writer got "solar" confused with "renewable" in the text of the speech.  Or perhaps all the people involved above are just clue-less.    In any event, here is what the President said:

"And this state, California, is so far ahead of the rest of the country in solar, that earlier this year solar power met 18 percent of your total power demand one day."  

BS.  Off by a factor of 3, roughly.  Note that this line was greeted with applause...clearly a bunch of ill-informed in the audience, too.   Possibly it was
just wrong information, though.  The fact is that California has installed more
California Renewable Energy for 6/19/2014
source: CAISO website
and more solar-generated power, both PV and thermal.  The highest amount generated thus far appears to be from 6/19/2014 when combined solar (PV plus thermal) produced 44,500 MWh (see photo at right).  That is barely 6.4 percent of the total power demand that day of 694,697 MWh.    Note that June 19 is near the summer solstice where hours of sunshine are the greatest.  June is also not the hottest month (that is typically August) so total demand is not at the peak.  One could expect, then, that mid-June will usually have the greatest solar energy as a percent of total energy consumed. 

However, total renewable power on that same day was 17.4 percent, where renewables are comprised of solar, wind, small hydroelectric, geothermal, biogas and biomass.  Note that large hydroelectric does not count, at least not in California.   see link for daily results of renewable energy in California. 

It's not hard to imagine that combined renewables reached 18 percent on a day with strong wind, and a bit less total demand a few months ago before summer arrived with more air conditioning load.   It takes quite a bit of effort to dig through the daily reports on the Caiso website, though.  

So, 6 percent vs 18 percent.  Not bad, off by a factor of 3.   Note, though, that this 18 percent for solar in California will likely be (surely must be?) picked up by the media and trotted out far and wide, wrong as it is.   

Roger E. Sowell, Esq.
Marina del Rey, California

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