Saturday, March 25, 2017

Offshore Wind Power Comparison - 1991 to 2016

Subtitle:  Modern Offshore Wind Power Costs Less Than Half of First Project

A recent article on WUWT continues the theme there of anti-renewables, this time with an article that purports to compare the first offshore wind project, now in decommissioning, to an average of current projects.   I left a comment, shown below, to compare apples to apples, the first project to the best of today.   By definition, the first project was the best of its time. 

"For Captain T. A. “Ike” Kiefer, if I may. 

A very misleading analysis above.  To compare the first offshore project, Vindeby, to an average of current projects misses the mark.   A better comparison would be for the first project, by definition the best at the time, to one of the best projects by today's technology - all located in the same general area.    I have done so below.   The result is that today's best project delivers power at less than half that of the Vindeby project. (Vindeby = 100, Nordsee One = 42) 

The Nordsee One offshore wind project is under construction and has ample information published by which to make the comparison.   The project, off the coast of Germany, has 332 MW gross capacity with 54 turbines of 6.1 MW each.   Published cost data shows US$978 million (2015) for a cost-per-kW of $2945.  Annual capacity factor is expected to be 41.5  percent, based on the published anticipated production of 1.2 million MWh annually.  Nordsee One website is at this link


Plant:...............Nordsee One............Vindeby
Year.......................2017.......................1991
MW ...................... 332.......................4.95
N Turbines...............54..........................11
Turbine size, MW.....6.1.........................0.45
Cap Cost (million)..$978........................$23
Cost/kW.................2945.......................4645
Capacity Factor......41.5.......................22
MWh/y delivered....1.2.....................0.0095   (millions)
Sales price for 10-year payout  - 10 percent approximate Return on Investment
..... $/MWh.............81.........................241
O&M $/MWh..........35...........................35
Total sales price
.......$/MWh...........116........................276

Ratio, modern to old:   (116/276) = 0.42

This result is not surprising, given the known improvements in economy of scale, higher hub heights, much better capacity factors, and continued reduction in both installed costs per kW, and Operations plus Maintenance.  

The future is bright for offshore wind, with even larger turbines, higher hub heights, and improved capacity factors.  See "Enormous Blades for Offshore Energy," by Sandia National Laboratory.  see link 

Roger E. Sowell, Esq.
Marina del Rey, California
copyright (c) 2017 by Roger Sowell - all rights reserved


Topics and general links:

Nuclear Power Plants.......here
Climate Change................here  and here
Fresh Water......................here
Engineering......................here  and here
Free Speech.................... here
Renewable Energy...........here  

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Renewable Energy - Physics vs Economics

Subtitle: The Physics is Inescapable - But Economics Matters Most

A question posed on WUWT today, "Why is it that people who shout “It’s simple physics” about global warming immediately shout “It doesn’t matter about the physics” when it comes to renewable energy?"

My reply:

The physics always matters, it cannot be overcome. However, renewable energy is all about the economics, which are improving rapidly year over year. Wind power in the US is now profitable at US $0.043 per kWh, of which $0.02 is paid by the utility, and $0.023 is by the government as a tax credit. Note: the wind power producer must have profits from somewhere to take advantage of the tax credit. The proof of this (profitability) is the rapid growth of wind power installations in the US, both onshore and now offshore.

Solar PV at grid-scale is not far behind.

From the US Dept of Energy, “2015 Wind Technologies Market Report”: link is here.  

o Installed cost in the windy Great Plains is $1,640 / kW, continuing the downward trend of the past several years.

o Also, wind power is sold at very low prices under a Purchase Power Agreement, for $20 / MWh. The federal tax credit continues at $23 per MWh.

o Finally, capacity factors for 2015 are higher than ever, at 41.2 percent among projects built in 2014.

More about renewable economics: California residential prices have not increased due to renewable power installations and production. Wind is a minor player in California, with almost all the available sites already built out. Solar PV has substantial future growth potential.

Installed generating capacity in California is about 70,000 MW, of which 40 percent is renewable (24 percent solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, and 12 percent large hydroelectric). We don’t have grid instabilities, nor blackouts, nor huge price increases from renewables. On an annual basis, total kWh supplied to the grid by renewables in 2016 was approximately 27 percent (excluding large hydroelectric). Large hydroelectric supplied approximately 5-6 percent in a drought year. In average rainfall years, large hydroelectric contributes 15 percent.

Now that the California drought is over, 2017 is expected to have 45 percent combined renewables plus large hydroelectric power (approximately 30 percent solar, wind, etc, and 15 percent large hydroelectric.)

Roger E. Sowell, Esq.
Marina del Rey, California
copyright (c) 2017 by Roger Sowell - all rights reserved


Topics and general links:

Nuclear Power Plants.......here
Climate Change................here  and here
Fresh Water......................here
Engineering......................here  and here
Free Speech.................... here
Renewable Energy...........here 

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Ten Causes of Global Warming - None is CO2

Subtitle: Wrong Attribution of Causation is a Beginner Mistake - Or Furthering an Agenda

A previous post on SLB (see link) gave seven causes (non-CO2) of measured atmospheric measured warming, especially near the surface where land temperature measuring systems are located.  In the US, there are thousands of such sites known as the USHCN, US Historical Climate Network, and a more recent hundred sites known as the USCRN, US Climate Reference Network.   As argued before on SLB, it is entirely wrong for climate scientists to measure one effect, increase in temperature over time, and attribute that to increased CO2 in the atmosphere when there are so very many other known causes of increased temperature trend.  

The previous post's seven known causes will be added to in this article, bringing the total to ten.  Those seven are:

1.  Increased population density in cities (more buildings in a small area)
2.  Increased energy use per capita (each building uses more energy, and people use more)
3.  Increased local humidity due to activities such as lawn watering, industry cooling towers
4.  Prolonged drought (the opposite, regular rain, reduces temperatures in arid regions)
5.  Reduced artificial aerosols via pollution laws being enforced
6.  Change in character of the measurement site, from rural to more urban with pavement and other artificial heating 
7.  Wind shadows from dense buildings prevent cooling winds from reaching thermometer

Causes 8, 9, and 10 are:

8.  El Niño short-term heating effect in many areas (e.g. the US South and Southeast)
9.  Reduced sunspot activity and number that allows more cloud-forming cosmic rays to reach Earth
10.  Fewer large volcanoes erupting with natural aerosols flung high into the atmosphere

Short-term El Niño Effect

The El Niño-Southern Oscillation, ENSO but more commonly just El Niño, is a complex, repetitive natural phenomenon in which the Pacific Ocean surface changes every few years from a warm to a cool state.  NOAA has long discussions on the El Niño and its opposite, La Niña.  For atmospheric temperature measurements, El Niño typically, but not always, brings more rain and snow to the Pacific states, and hotter temperatures with less rain to the South and Southeast states.   The usual mechanism is a southerly shift in the jet stream, so that Pacific storms are brought across California, but turn to the north in mid-continent.   The temperature trends in many climate-related publications show the temporary warming of an El Niño, with a characteristic rise around 1983, 1998 and again in 2015.  

Reduced Sunspot Activity

It is known that reduced sunspot activity, measured by visible sunspots, is associated with reduced solar magnetic field strength.  The smaller solar magnetic field deflects fewer galactic cosmic rays, allowing more such GCRs to reach Earth.  The GCRs are known to create cloud nuclei in the atmosphere that leads to more cloud formation and less sunlight reaching Earth.   The opposite is also true: sunspot cycles with greater sunspots result in fewer clouds and more sunlight warming the Earth.  

Fewer Large Volcanoes Erupting

This one is related to the aerosols discussed in Point 5 above, artificial aerosols.  However, volcanic eruptions can send huge clouds of dust and sulfur compounds high into the atmosphere so that sunlight is affected for weeks and months.  Less sunlight reaches the Earth surface.  


Roger E. Sowell, Esq.
Marina del Rey, California
copyright (c) 2017 by Roger Sowell - all rights reserved


Topics and general links:

Nuclear Power Plants.......here
Climate Change................here  and here
Fresh Water......................here
Engineering......................here  and here
Free Speech.................... here
Renewable Energy...........here 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

US Air Temperature Trend - USCRN 2016 Update

Subtitle: No Warming From CO2, But There Is Some From El Niño


Figure 1.  USCRN Annual Average Temperature Anomalies, Deg C
Data from USCRN files
Analysis of the 55 temperature measurement sites with the longest records in the Contiguous States in the US Climate Reference Network (USCRN) (see footnote 1) for the years 2005-2016 (inclusive) shows a cooling trend (as reported on SLB earlier see link  and this link) until the record El Niño of 2015-16 increased the temperatures temporarily.   As shown in Figure 1, the US annual average temperature anomalies fluctuate from approximately minus 0.5 to plus 1.0 degrees C over the 12 year period for which data is available.   The annual average trend, excluding the 2015-16 El Niño, was a negative 0.0277 degrees C per year, or minus 2.78 degrees C per century.   The El Niño event changed the trend to positive 3.68 degrees C per century. 
Figure 2.  Average Anomalies for Summer months June-July-August
Data from USCRN files

As shown next in Figure 2, the temperature anomalies for summer months of June-July-August also show a modest increasing trend of 1.57 degrees C per century.  Before the El Niño, the trend was minus 0.87 degrees C per century. 








As shown next in Figure 3, the winter anomalies with the El Niño show a warming trend of 5.27 degrees C per century.  Before the El Niño event, the winter trend was minus 7.7 degrees per century.   The impact of the El Niño is most pronounced in the winter months, compared to the summer months and the US average of all months. 

Figure 3.  Average  Anomalies for Winter Months
December-January-February
Data from USCRN files
 It can be seen from the above that the modest increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide, CO2, of approximately 2 ppm per year over the period 2005-2016 had essentially nothing to do with the temperature trends in the pristine locations that have the USCRN measurement stations. However, the major impact was the El Niño event that started in 2015 and extended into 2016.  In the US, the El Niño was expected to create warmer, drier conditions in the South, and wetter, cooler conditions in the West.   The jet stream carried most of the rain to the north of California, however, so the state did not have much rain until the winter of 2016-17.  

As written before on SLB see link, many actual causes exist for measured warming in the near-surface atmosphere, none of which are increased CO2.   It is a colossal error for scientists to mis-attribute an effect (warming) to a false cause (increased CO2) when many other known causal factors exist.  Indeed, those known causal factors are the primary reason the USCRN was developed, funded, and put in place.   The non-CO2 causal factors include increased population density in cities, increased energy use per capita, reduced atmospheric pollution, increased local humidity from human activities (lawn watering, industrial cooling towers), changed site conditions from rural to urban, long-term drought, and wind shadows from buildings in cities.  

An eighth causal factor can be added to the list, as the data presented here clearly demonstrates: short-term warming from an El Niño event.    As the months and years go by without another El Niño, it is expected that the USCRN 55 stations will show a decreasing trend in summer, winter, and overall average temperatures.   

Footnote 1):  "The USCRN's primary goal is to provide long-term temperature, precipitation, and soil moisture and temperature observations that are of high quality and are taken in stable settings." -- NOAA webpage.    By “stable settings,” NOAA means that the locations are far from human warming influences such as cities, airports, and industries, and are expected to not have their present conditions change over the next several decades.    The stations have automatic sensors, redundancy, and automatic data upload to computer databases.   The intent is to have reliable, unbiased data without gaps and relocation issues. The oldest station began operating in July, 2001 in Asheville, North Carolina.   The next-oldest station began operating in January, 2002 in Kingston, Rhode Island.    By December of 2004, 60 stations were operating.  Of those, 55 stations were selected for this study.  The 55 stations provide a geographically widespread set of stations dating back to December, 2004, thus 10 years of complete data were available by January, 2015. -- end footnote 1. 

Roger E. Sowell, Esq.
Marina del Rey, California
copyright (c) 2017 by Roger Sowell - all rights reserved


Topics and general links:

Nuclear Power Plants.......here
Climate Change................here  and here
Fresh Water......................here
Engineering......................here  and here
Free Speech.................... here
Renewable Energy...........here 



Ninth Anniversary of SLB - Musings

Today, 3/16/2017, marks the ninth anniversary of SLB.  Just a short article to mark the occasion. 

The world has certainly changed, in many areas, in the past nine years.   The Obama administration came and went, with all the changes (some good, some not so good) that that brought.  The Trump administration is now in charge, and the results are necessarily not yet in.   The US EPA is certainly in for some changes, as is the US State Department.  Climate change is no longer high on the list of either agency, because the underlying science is too shaky to bet trillions of dollars.  

Nuclear power plants in the US are shutting down and have shut down, almost all for reasons related to economics: their high operating costs and inability to compete.  Natural gas abundance is high and price is low.  More importantly, renewable power from wind turbines is at an all-time low break-even price (4.3 cents per kWh), and solar from PV is not far behind.  Both wind and solar will become even less expensive in the very near future.   The first offshore wind power facility in the US started up just a few months ago.  Future installations will be much more economic.   

 Coal power plants are shutting down in record numbers, primarily because the de-facto environmental exemption they enjoyed for decades was finally brought to an end - Obama did that.   It will be quite interesting to see if President Trump reverses Obama on this, and allows coal plants to keep running.  In any event, the US has only a few years of economically-producible coal in the ground, as SLB articles showed.   Approximately 15-20 years of coal are available at current prices.  

Hawaii, the state, has announced plans to have 100 percent renewable energy within a very few years, which makes great sense for them.  Their conventionally-fired power plants yield a consumer price upwards of 25 cents per kWh.  Renewables with storage can certainly beat that.   Kudos to my Hawaiian associates. 

Grid-scale storage in the mainland US is already a reality, and growing less expensive each year.   Southern California has many MW of battery storage in service, with another 20 MW/80MWh battery under contract from Tesla.  

Climate change science has come under greater and greater scrutiny as the much predicted warming has simply not occurred over the past 20 years.   Some panicked scientists once again change their calculation methods in an attempt to show a warming where none exists.  This refers to the adjusting of sea surface temperature data to try to show a warming trend in the combined air-ocean data.   Meanwhile, the pristine areas where USCRN sites exist show no warming, instead a cooling occurred from 2005 until the 2015-16 El Niño made a temporary warming blip in the data.    The sunspots have virtually disappeared since January 2017, though, which is very early in the sunspot cycle for such to happen.  It will be quite interesting to watch the cooling that is inevitable.   More importantly, it will be quite fun to watch the main-stream climate scientists try to talk (and write) their way out of the box they find themselves in.  

There has been a bit of activity in lawsuits to hold ExxonMobil accountable for some securities violation, in which it is alleged that Exxon knew decades ago that their primary products, petroleum and natural gas, would cause the planet to warm rapidly from the CO2 released in their consumption.   All this is predicated on there actually being a warming that occurred due to CO2 increase from 300 to 400 ppm, parts per million.   SLB has several articles that show the measured warming from 1900 to 1998 is due to at least seven other causes, none of which is CO2.  (increased housing and population density in cities, increased energy use per capita, decreased air pollution, increased local humidity from human activity, changed temperature site conditions from rural to urban, long-term drought, and buildings that create wind-shadows.)

As to water, especially here in the desert Southwest and West, the six-year drought has ended with a big flurry of winter storms - after the El Niño has passed.   The big rains from El Niño fell north of California last year, leaving California mostly dry.  The rains and snow came this year, to the surprise of NOAA scientists.   The present situation in California is a monster snowpack that is ready to melt, and reservoirs full to the brim throughout the state.   Clearly, the state water managers must release huge amounts of precious water into the rivers and the ocean to make room for the meltwater.   Farmers are furious.    I have contended here on SLB that more reservoirs are simply not in the future for California, because more water leads to more population.   California elites want a smaller population, not more people.

My best to all who read SLB, and please remember that every comment is moderated by me.  

Roger E. Sowell, Esq.
Marina del Rey, California
copyright (c) 2017 by Roger Sowell - all rights reserved
Topics and general links:

Nuclear Power Plants.......here
Climate Change................here  and here
Fresh Water......................here
Engineering......................here  and here
Free Speech.................... here
Renewable Energy...........here