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Approaching a tipping point in the power supply

Guest post by Rafe Champion

We are installing wind and solar power at a great rate and the expectation is that this will go on and RE will increasingly penetrate the system as coal power fades away. In the SE we still have just enough conventional power to get by almost all the time but the tipping point will come when we lose another couple of coal stations and we will need to have a continuous supply of RE. There will not be enough conventional power to keep the lights on through windless nights.

The point is that RE can DISPLACE coal power but not REPLACE it.

Note from Jo: With the sad demise of Catallaxy, I invited Rafe to continue here blogging about energy and electricity in Australia. So the format of the blog will flex somewhat to try to fill some of that void.

9.6 out of 10 based on 92 ratings

125 comments to Approaching a tipping point in the power supply

  • #
    Bright Red

    I am an Electrical Engineer and I have already installed a diesel generator which pretty much says what I think about the future of the Aus power grid. To put it bluntly. It’s stuffed.

    620

    • #
      clarence.t

      Am I being too optimistic in hoping sanity will prevail ?

      220

      • #
        Vladimir

        Yes, you are.
        The Sanity was in short supply even in our times, but 21st Century beats the record.

        360

      • #
        PeterS

        What sanity? It’s all going pear shaped as long as we keep voting for either major party into power on their own right. It amazes me that anyone would think otherwise given what we have been witnessing for the past few elections ever since Abbott was turfed out, not that he was much better. At least he got rid of the carbon tax. We now have something a lot worse – emission reduction targets. Too many people are walking around like zombies expecting something better it coming from either major party, yet the reality it’s getting worse. Oh well I suppose one day they will learn the hard way. It will be chaos though.

        340

        • #
          Saighdear

          But that’s politics ! -as our Councillor said at a PublicMeeting against an ECO project, “Isn’t it exciting” Can’t win with stupid people.

          140

      • #
        Analitik

        Sanity will prevail but only after a major collapse.

        The MSM have the general population convinced that renewables backed by batteries are fully capable of replacing thermal generators. Most people do not have the background to understand even the basics of power generation and are disinclined to do the math to see the utter inadequacy of the batteries that are supposed to “stabilise the grid”. Many won’t even attempt to listen, even if you offer to step them through the equations and provide the links to the figures from the AEMO – I know because I have tried.

        People will come to their senses after (hopefully short) spell of major discomfort (no heating or cooling) and inconvenience (stranded, thawed fridges and freezers etc). The problem is that recovery our baseload thermal generation capacity will take time and during that period we will have to pay exorbitant rates to keep the quickly deployed but fuel hungry open cycle gs generators that will keep the grid powered.

        330

        • #
          OldOzzie

          Meanwhile – Tesla big battery blaze under control as probe launched

          A fire at one of Tesla’s biggest ever battery projects in Victoria has been brought under control four days after it was set alight during testing.

          The giant facility stacked with batteries supplied by Elon Musk’s Tesla – dubbed Victoria’s Big Battery – caught ablaze on Friday with 150 firefighters and 30 trucks attending the Moorabool site near Geelong.

          Firefighters found a 13-tonne lithium ion battery in a shipping container which set off a warning to local communities about toxic smoke fumes. The fire spread from an initial Tesla battery pack to a second unit on Friday with the blaze finally declared under control on Monday afternoon.

          Investigators attended the scene on Tuesday to probe the cause of the blaze with firefighters remaining on site as a precaution, the Victorian Country Fire Authority said in a statement.

          The 300 megawatt energy project was dubbed by Tesla chairman Robyn Denholm as a ‘‘humungous’’ battery the size of a gas turbine, pitting the US giant’s clean energy ambitions against the fossil fuel.

          Victorian Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said the new battery would assist in helping get more solar and wind energy into the state’s energy supply, and ease concerns about summer blackouts if higher temperatures push the state’s ageing coal-fired power stations beyond their operating limits.

          French renewable operator Neoen funded the estimated $250m capital cost of building the battery, and will be paid about $12.5m a year under a service contract with the Australian Energy Market Operator to have 250MW of its 300MW capacity available for use at AEMO’s direction.

          Neoen said the flames had died down on Friday evening and air quality had not been compromised.

          “Though the flames had subsided by Friday evening, emergency services remained on site with Tesla staff and contractors to monitor the temperature decline of the two affected battery packs,” Neoen Australia managing director Louis de Sambucy said.

          110

      • #
        Ian

        “Am I being too optimistic in hoping sanity will prevail ?”

        In this context what sanity is depends on your point of view.

        Private enterprise regards sanity as not building fossil fuel fired power stations.

        The finance and insurance companies regard sanity as not providing coal mining with finance or insurance
        https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/adani-coal-contractor-asks-australian-government-insurance-help-2021-05-13/

        I regard sanity as using nuclear power to generate electricity

        115

        • #
          Disco Stu

          You are not describing sanity, you are describing choices, including illogical choices. The choice of the finance and insurance companies to ignore profit in favour of religious obedience, that is not a sane choice for the company or its shareholders.

          Private companies have no incentive to build a coal fired powerstation when they know full well that the government will try to ruin them. When you take away the unlevel playing field, profit would provide the incentive.

          Insanity is to ignore reality and logic, like hitching your electrical grid and economy to a disproven hypothesis.

          230

          • #
            Ian

            “The definition of sanity is the ability to think and behave in a normal and rational manner”

            In this context the ability to think and behave in a normal and rational manner depends on your point of view.

            Private enterprise regards the ability to think and behave in a normal and rational manner is to not build fossil fuel fired power stations.

            The finance and insurance companies regard the ability to think and behave in a normal and rational manner is to not provide coal mining with finance or insurance

            I regard the ability to think and behave in a normal and rational manner is to use nuclear power to generate electricity

            211

            • #
              clarence.t

              And yet you can provide no reason not to use that which has kept Australia supplied for decades.

              Certainly CO2 emissions is not a scientifically rational or valid reason.

              While Australia has among the best coal supply in the world, that is what we should be using.

              150

            • #
              clarence.t

              ps.

              Any company or business that takes the anti-CO2 stance is not acting rationally.

              They are virtue seeking or kowtowing to the lowest anti-science meme…

              … so as to not get picked-on by the anti-science, CO2-plantlife-hating, AGW, religious zealots.

              90

    • #
      Deano

      I’m pretty sure I heard a stock market report earlier today saying Murdoch had invested over a billion in coal. He knows how to make a buck so I assume he sees the end of coal isn’t happening anytime soon.

      261

    • #
      James

      A mate of mine was talking about going off grid. He has occasional peak loads from welding, and plans a diesel generator to operate a welder and charge battery storage to run his house on. I suggested a few windmills might be in order too where he lives!

      30

      • #
        Yonniestone.

        I have a workmate that lives off grid with solar and lead battery storage, its a small dwelling on one acre tank water and some garden, he’s done well so far and plans for a shed with more solar needed.

        31

        • #
          Sambar

          Likewise Yonnie, a mate of mine was “off grid” for years however there is one problem that ALWAYS occurs. That is batteries, regardless of type, have a finite life.
          In my mates case, as the lead acid batteries started failing in a slightly haphazard manner he was faced with two choices, 1/ replace the lot. a significant cost and from memory some where in the $40K dollar range. or 2/ replace each battery as it failed. He chose the second option because of cost, and his once fantastic off grid life became a bit of a guessing game. Would the system working when he got home? Would it fail during a cold winter night? In the end he had to replace the lot regardless as the differences between battery functions was just to great.

          250

          • #
            Hasbeen

            My brother in law lived off grid, with 2 separate solar arrays & battery systems, one for domestic & one to ensure phone & computer power. He’s an engineer so knew what he was doing, but it was a major hassle.

            He has recently moved closer in & back on grid. When asked how he liked the new place his answer was, “it is just so good by be shat of solar & batteries”.

            I have installed a 10 KVA gen set, after too much trouble with storm damage to our local grid supply. Greenie pressure means SEQ will not clear the lines far enough back to ensure trees don’t damage them in major thunder storms. I might have extra reasons to value that investment the way we are going.

            140

    • #
      Budge it an Scarpa

      Are you running the generator direct to your home, or charging a bank of batteries, inverter etc ?

      30

      • #
        Bright Red

        I use the generator as a standby with an Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS) to start the generator and switch over to it and return to mains once it is back and stable. Has come in handy a couple of times in the 6 months it has been installed.

        120

      • #
        Bodge it an Scarpa

        My question above was meant to be addressed to Bright Red.
        I am a widowed aged pensioner and live alone, off grid on 40 acres of bush land in the Yarra Ranges and have been researching viable alternatives to powering my mainly LPG serviced cabin. I have a 6kVA petrol powered genset for power tools, welding etc, I run 12volt LED lighting and just charge up two 12 volt car batteries in my 4×4 when I occasionally travel somewhere, or on a couple of fold out solar panels to power the lights, charge my phone and the battery in the LPG/12 volt shower unit. I buy good used car batteries from a motor wrecker for $25 each and generally get 12 months use out of them before they require replacing. With automobile LPG gradually being phased out, I am researching a more affordable means of running a large refrigerator/ freezer than paying exhorbident LPG prices from swap and go gas retailers ,as I intend to convert to a Venison and homegrown vegetable diet once the economy goes really pear shaped. The cost of purchasing and occasionally replacing deep cycle batteries and inverters has always prevented me from investing in a full solar system.

        120

        • #
          Sambar

          For what its worth Bodge, we started pickling / corning venison years ago. Store it in a 20 litre container in a cool place and it lasts for months and saves the freezer space. Lots of recipes on the net, just make sure you have your salt acid ratios right to match the weight of meat. Also a touch of the good old “pink salt” ( sodium metabisulphate ) used by butchers for the very purpose of preserving meat and small goods. We have had all the doom sayers tell us its only a matter of time before we make a bad batch and wind up crook, but so far so good. Pickling and corning has a history going back hundreds of years and has fed millions of people over time.

          100

    • #
      TdeF

      I have three petrol generators on standby, but this last year there was no summer at all in Melbourne. The last decade has been cooler than I ever remember. We had only a few days when we reached even 30C and none where we reached 40C or even a few days in the 30s.

      Still we are paying a fortune for electricity from the same coal power stations as ever, topped up at enormous expense with rare and vanishing gas. And now our dictator Premier is spending our money on big batteries which will last minutes at best. The same Premier who tripled the price of coal to force the closure of Hazelwood which was running at 98% of design capacity when closed. That was criminal.

      190

      • #
        Chad

        TdeF
        August 4, 2021 at 10:07 am · The same Premier who tripled the price of coal to force the closure of Hazelwood which was running at 98% of design capacity when closed. That was criminal.

        No way would i support that man, but i dont like false information being thrown around randomly.
        No one “tripled the price of coal”…
        What was tripled was the state “Royalty” on coal extraction, increased from 7.6 c/Mj to 22.8 c/Mj.
        Even at that, it is still less than the equivalent NSW Royalty charge.
        And that increase in Royalty resulted in an extra $3.3 per ton of coal , which equates to an increase in generation cost of approx $ 0.67 per MWh .
        Hardly a business closure forcing cost increase !

        24

        • #
          Richard Jenkins

          Chad 3×7.6 =22.8.
          The dictator did increase HIS charge by 3 times.
          Add Dan’s ignorant attitude and other stupidity and you would be very worried about coal generation in Victoria.
          How many people died in nursing homes? Dan would not remenber and his amnesia is more contagous than covid. If you have broken ribs you miss 4 weeks football but months avoiding questions in parliament!
          I advise people to buy a diesel generator.
          We bought a three phase factory and I had an electrician put a switch on the main board that would disconnect the mains and select my generator. At the same time all the lights and power went to single phase. We did not have any 3 phase outlets or equipment. Keep yor fuel in bulk as bowsers don’t work when the sun is behind clouds on a calm day and 5 minutes of battery has gone flat.
          As SA admits 5 minutes is long enough for people to get their generators going. Musk is laughing all the way to the space trips.

          10

    • #
      yarpos

      Yes we did the same and rewired for ease of connection and changeover. Been used a few times now over a couple years in smaller blackouts, works nicely to keep all the basics running.

      40

    • #
      Ronin

      BR, have you installed a watercooled diesel and captured the hot water.

      10

    • #
      Ronin

      BR, any idea if a 2kva ‘suitcase’ type petrol genny will reliably start a normal domestic fridge.

      10

      • #
        Bodge it an Scarpa

        I have a 1500 watt 7.5 amp potable aircon unit that starts and runs on a 3.5 kva Kings Invergordon generator, but I don’t have a compressor driven fridge to compare the watt-amp numbers with.

        20

      • #
        Bright Red

        Ronin, My genset is water cooled but it is currently used as a standby so does not run very often. If I went off grid and it became a Prime source I would look at recovering heat from the coolant and exhaust. No plans to do that yet but you never know. If the grid becomes too unreliable or expensive going off grid becomes more attractive. Currently you can claim a fuel rebate on your tax for any fuel used for domestic power generation. While it is currently more expensive to run a diesel genset the gap is closing.
        Lots and lots of variables when working out if a gen can start a fridge. Without going into detail I wold expect a 2Kva should start a modern medium sized inverter based fridge provided that there was not to much other load on it at the time.

        10

  • #
    Kim

    A challenge: via the use of zoning regulations – ie via private finance – create a town (such as Onslow) that is 100% fully off grid – off grid electricity generation (solar and wind), off grid water and off grid sewerage, and off grid rubbish disposal. Completely self contained. Complying 100% with ‘renewable’ and ‘sustainable’ criteria. Implement it and let’s have it running in the background with plenty of publicity – let’s see how it goes.

    70

    • #
      Chad

      Kim, that type of experiment has been running for several years on Flinders Island .
      It runs on Wind solar, battery, etc, and it is all logged in real time and available on line
      https://www.hydro.com.au/clean-energy/hybrid-energy-solutions/success-stories/flinders-island

      30

      • #
        RickWill

        Wind and solar do have a couple of economic niches. One is for conservation of perched water in a hydropower dominated grid that is storage constrained. The other like Flinders Island and remote mining sites with existing diesel generators where weather dependent generators can act as a diesel substitute to conserve diesel fuel. A number of mines in Australia have installed solar to reduce fuel costs.
        https://www.miningpeople.com.au/news/how-the-mining-industry-is-using-solar-power

        If reliable batteries ever get under $100/kWh then new suburban developments may find economic use of rooftop solar and low cost storage. Already there are locations where it is lower cost to add batteries rather than upgrade the distribution network. That could become more common if BEVs become popular in existing city and suburban locations.

        40

        • #
          David Wojick

          Grid scale batteries in the US are averaging around US$1500/kWh so $100 is a long way off, to say the least.

          140

          • #
            Chad

            The latest hot topic for grid scale batteries… the Iron/Air battery
            https://formenergy.com/technology/battery-technology/
            Claim is $15/kWh, and commercial in 2023 ?
            To me, it looks like BS, as the numbers do not stack up…
            They claim high energy density ..200-300kWh in a unit the size of a washing m/c..
            But, the say a 1MW facility would take uo about one acre of space ??…
            That is about 80 times more space than a Tesla MegaPack battery. .
            Also i believe that the process is only about 60% efficient on energy out vs energy in.?
            Another RE scam tto harvest development grants and funding ?

            10

        • #
          Kalm Keith

          Re paragraph 2.

          Are you kidding?

          “145 comments to The Tesla battery fire burned for longer than it operated for”

          71

        • #
          Graeme#4

          Large-scale mining sites in the NW of Australia mainly use cheap local gas as their primary fuel.

          10

      • #
        Hanrahan

        OK, I watched for a few minutes and the flywheel was constantly negative. How long before it simply stops?

        I used to bunk in the Moranbah substation which had a flywheel running within the fence. Its purpose was to smooth the intermittent demand of the drag lines on the coal mines. This variation was parts of a minute and it didn’t do that terribly well. The freq tape was still wider than would be the case elsewhere.

        61

      • #
        PaulC

        The etc includes diesel which is currently (10 PM) providing 80% of Flinders Island’s electrity.

        150

      • #
        Analitik

        Hydro Tasmania refuse to provide the costings for KIREIP, Flinders Island and Coober Pedy so it is impossible to tell if they are cost effective or even close being so.

        They do make pretty websites (funded by your tax dollars through ARENA)- the KIREIP one also shows real time power flow through the various system components
        https://www.hydro.com.au/clean-energy/hybrid-energy-solutions/success-stories/king-island

        40

    • #
      Graeme#4

      Kim, even Onslow still retains its backup diesel gensets.

      20

    • #
      Ronin

      How about non fossil fuelled as well as off grid, that is the challenge.

      00

  • #
    Fursty

    Great to see Rafe here! Wouod love to see all the bloggers from the cat come over.

    130

  • #
    Analitik

    Yep. Hazelwood took us to the edge and Liddell will take us over – the single unit (of 4) given an extra year of operation wont be enough.

    I too have a generator, though only petrol one that will keep the refrigeration going.

    110

    • #
      Bodge it an Scarpa

      A full refrigerator will apparently keep food safe for around 4 hours before one needs to fire up the generator. That’s fine to get through the occasional blackout, but even running a more economical diesel generator 6 times a day for however long it takes to keep the fridge at optimum temp would be very costly not to mention a PITA I would imagine. This is the dilemma that I will be facing once I am no longer able to run my cabin on Automobile LP Gas.

      40

    • #
      yarpos

      Fuel type really isnt the issue as long as it meets your needs. Their are fanboys for each, bit like mentioning oil, tyres or spark plugs on a car forum.

      10

  • #
    WXcycles

    Yes, but won’t that mean earlier net-zero Australia?

    40

  • #
    RickWill

    The linked brief article deserves a gold medal. It is the first time I have seen wind and solar appropriately described. Not a “renewable” to be found.

    The sad fact is that the term “renewable” no longer has suitable meaning. It has become associated with weather dependent generators that are anything but renewable. It is false advertising that hooks a broad spectrum of the community into a promise that can never be met with existing technology.

    100

    • #
      PeterS

      Agree but it was always false advertising from the start. The only thing that will be truly renewable is when we crash and burn then renew. Perhaps then we will come to our sense, grow up and start building modern coal and nuclear power stations, but I won’t hold my breath. Perhaps we will go the way of Mexico. I hope not.

      110

      • #
        Ronin

        I thought it was called ‘renewable energy’ because the batteries had to be renewed every ten years and windmills and solar panels every 20 years.

        60

  • #
    Nezysquared

    In an ideal world (presumably where sanity prevails) most people with an IQ of 50 or more would understand the fraudulent claims of renewable advocates. However, the comments by most readers of this blog view the issue through the clear lens of a market driven economy where the supply and demand curves drive the consumer price. This takes no account of government intervention where the 2 major parties compete to appease the evil green fairy. The following links may help in explaining the preponderance of current renewable supply but they also hint at how difficult it is to unravel existing legislation to clear the decks of unfair competition. The solution is obvious and simple but it’s much more of a political challenge than a technical one.
    https://www.spectator.com.au/2020/09/this-weeks-big-energy-announcements-just-another-nail-in-the-coffin-of-low-cost-power/
    https://www.spectator.com.au/2021/08/will-big-financial-institutions-destroy-our-resources-sector-before-the-greens/

    50

    • #
      PeterS

      Therein lies the problem about half the population have an IQ below 50. It might sound harsh and I’m not so sure it will work anyway but I always though one ought to have an IQ of say above 105 before they can vote. Why allow “children” to vote? In fact some children of below voting age have much better sense than some adults. Not sure if IQ is a good measure though.

      113

      • #
        Sceptical Sam

        Therein lies the problem about half the population have an IQ below 50.

        No they don’t.

        You better pull out your Psych texts and do a refresher.

        The mean, median and mode, by definition, lies at 100.

        https://paulcooijmans.com/intelligence/iq_ranges.html

        An IQ of 50 puts a person at the lower end of the category of the Moron. Below that lies the Imbecile and then the Idiot.

        Of course, in these woke times, the use of such terms is a no, no.

        These days they speak of retardation. Mild, moderate, severe and profound.

        60

        • #
          PeterS

          I said ABOUT. Please read!

          31

        • #
          PeterS

          I apologies. I meant to say 100 – but still ABOUT.

          60

          • #
            Sceptical Sam

            PeterS,

            ABOUT my foot!

            Please look at the Normal Distribution (Bell Curve) outlined at the link:

            https://iqtestprep.com/iq-bell-curve/

            You’ll need to scroll down a bit.

            Now, check the IQ 55 mark (which is 10% above your 50 mark).

            See what it says about the percentage of the population that score at that level?

            0.1% of the population.

            Is that significantly below “about” or not, in your view?

            00

        • #
          Richard Owen No.3

          SS
          “These days they speak of retardation. Mild, moderate, severe and profound”.

          Should read “These days they speak of retardation. Mild, moderate, severe and political”.

          80

        • #
          yarpos

          Sam , sometimes I fear Peter may be closer to the truth than we imagine

          The 100 number also depends where you are talking about (if those words can be uttered)

          40

        • #
          Ronin

          Back in the old days, they called a spade a spade, looking at a 1902 London census, they have a code from 1 to 4 rating , 3 being lunatic, 4 being imbecile.

          40

      • #
        Analitik

        “Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that” – George Carlin

        200

  • #
    dk_

    Renewable energy is an expensive hoax, wasting more resources than can be produced, for no actual environmenta benefit. The reduction in low-temperature coal combustion for electrical power is mostly a result of the use of more efficient, clean natural gas and scrubbed, high-temperature coal cobustion for power generation. The author is deluded by wishful thinking and scientific and economic ignorance.

    100

    • #
      PeterS

      No one in officialdom will listen to any of that. Emission reduction by way of renewables apparently is the only way. Of course using nuclear would be far better, more efficient, much faster and less expensive. Problem is most Australians are too immature to take on nuclear.

      111

  • #
    Jojodogfacedboy

    Biting the hand that feeds your fuel energy, not a smart move for the Dutch.

    https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/russia-50-less-supply-european-nat-gas-prices-hit-record-putin-turns-screws

    And Ontario Canada has no hope in h e double hockey stick in stopping the closure of line 5. The major fuel line for Canadians fuel economic engine.

    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/line-five-environment-great-lakes-1.6120882?cmp=rss

    The governments have not prepared at all.
    Just been high on their hope-imum.

    60

  • #
    Flok

    Australia never had an energy problem till introduction of holy grail renewable on pretence of reducing CO2 emissions. It didn’t work.

    One report I read that there are now over 755 solar companies in Australia that have gone bust. The market had been flooded with substandard cheap products from China and the rest of the world. Who will fix these when they are faulty? Perhaps some will be serving as a partial shade cover on the roof and eventually all of them.

    All that money spent and all those jobs promised. That light at the end of the CO2 tunnel is the predicted tipping point. Light on, light off. Light on, light off.

    170

  • #
    Serge Wright

    Aside from ending up with a grid that will provide very intermittent energy and force households and business to invest in expensive backup, another problem that I have with this push towards RE is that it removes our grid-energy independence and we will end up with a dependence mainly on China for solar panels, wind turbines and batteries, all which have relatively short life-spans compared with a coal fired power station. Of course once China controls all of our energy infrastructure it’s game over, but I’m guessing this is the entire purpose of the RE transition exercise.

    150

    • #
      Chad

      ……we will end up with a dependence mainly on China for solar panels, wind turbines and batteries, …….

      What makes you think China is the main source for those components ?
      The USA , Europe, Japan, Asia, etc all have existing facilities operating to produce all those components. The only advantage China has is lower production costs.
      …But money has never been a problem in the RE revolution !

      20

  • #
    Chrism

    https://catallaxy-files.com

    is the new cat !
    your spiritual sister site reborn

    40

  • #
    Rafe Champion

    More about islands at this link.

    Flinders Island installed RE facilities but the 40% shortfall is covered by diesel. The Mayor is optimistic that the tidal power might be used to make the power supply 100% RE.

    50

    • #
      Analitik

      Do you have a link for the source of the $20 million spent on KIREIP?
      Hydro Tasmania have never been forthcoming on the costs and it would be interesting to know if that amount is total cost for the whole project or just for currently operating equipment (ie have items like the failed vanandium redox flow battery been written off)?

      00

  • #
    Fuel Filter

    Yeah. Good luck to you guys.

    Here in Arizona we have both coal AND nuclear AND hydro (but with our drought, that’s not looking too good.)

    Go to some map app and take a gander at the water level in Lake Powell. Worst since the dam was built. Some info:

    “ Formed by the waters of the Colorado River behind Glen Canyon Dam, Lake Powell’s 1,960 miles of winding shoreline (when full) and 186 mile-length make it the second-largest reservoir in the United States. Lake Mead, formed by Hoover Dam is the largest.

    Lake Powell began filling on March 13, 1963 and completed filling on June 22, 1980 reaching elevation 3,700 feet above sea level with a total capacity of over 26 million acre-feet of water. Lake Powell extends through the main corridor of Glen Canyon as well as into over 90 side canyons that extend outward.”

    https://www.usbr.gov/uc/rm/crsp/gc/

    Now look at the current water level for both Mead and Powell. It’s being covered by every news outlet in the SW as well as in NV and CA, both of which take massive quantities.

    Worst case scenario, water rationing, enforced by whoever provides H20. We are screwed unless the entire region gets massive downpours for a good, long time. I’m not holding my breath..

    130

    • #
      Ronin

      FF, yes, we did a tour of Hoover dam in 2016 and the levels were very low back then, I think from memory one side had only two turbines operating, and that was just for the water release.

      00

  • #
    Lawrie

    Thank God that the posters at Catallaxy have a new home here. Some subjects it covered may not fit well here but they wrote some wonderful, informative and thought provoking stuff. More importantly Catallaxy catered for the non-woke and non-left cohort. Our greatest problem is that conservatives are nice people who do not yell and shout and they tend to think things through logically and always include the consequences. The direct opposite of the left. Welcome Rafe.

    170

    • #
      reformed warmist of logan

      Good morning Jo, Lawrie, et. al.,
      I am sorry, in my over 10 years of informally studying climate science, I’ve never heard of Catallaxy.
      Can you please fill in the blank/s for me?
      101 thanks.
      Warm regards, reformed warmist of Logan

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      Yonniestone.

      Is the new home the one that Adam D got running or the one Dot is currently making, agree 100% on the Cat content.

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      el gordo

      ‘Thank God that the posters at Catallaxy have a new home here.’

      Yes, blog refugees are always welcome. A flash mob is what this place needs at the moment, refreshing thoughts to invigorate the body politic.

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    Bodge it an Scarpa

    Asd

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    yarpos

    Welcome Rafe, always enjoyed your stuff at Catallaxy and glad to see it here.

    Hopefully a new Catallaxy will emerge from the ashes to keep the political commentary side going. I enjoyed the way some of the contributors skewered self interest, hypocrisy, dishonesty and incompetence on both sides of politics.

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    PeterPetrum

    Great idea, Jo, to let Rafe author an article here from time to time. Like you, I regret the passing of Catalaxy. A great loss. Thanks for sharing your site in this way.

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    Ronin

    CSIRO has admitted that ‘firming’ costs are not included in studies that claim unreliable power is cheaper that coal or gas, so we are being ‘misled’ or just basically lied to.

    Also are the klimate klowns who are pushing ruinables on us using those models which have given us BS climate predictions.

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    Raving

    There will be no ‘tipping point’ in the power supply. Easy enough to build new gas plants quickly when the network gets too unstable for people’s liking

    Be more interesting to see what happens when people get tired of building out and replacing renewable energy infrastructure.

    Reality is that power demand is increasing at a faster rate than new renewables can be built. This leads to an increase in fossil fuel + nuclear generation. Kind of shocking actually

    Tony from Oz is correct. The biggest growth in power demand will come from domestic use in the developing world. The Chinese are building coal plants in other countries for industry. The citizens cannot afford the power until after the industry provides the jobs. The domestic take up of electricity usage lags commercial uptake. That is how it has always been

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      yarpos

      No tipping point is an assertion based on not much really. The reality is more likely that the degree of chaos will vary Country by Country and State by State, it really depends how truly stupid the political leadership is. Contrast South Australia with Western Australia or Queensland in OZ, Im guessing (IIRC you are in Canada) there is a difference between Ontario and more normal Provinces.

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        Raving

        Canada is mostly nuclear and hydro so there really is no difficulty in going fully renewable for electricity generation. Might mean we sell less baseload to the USA

        Naturally we waste loads of money subsidizing excess uneeded generation from wind mills and solar. Green virtue signalling as we are already comitted to hydro and nuclear

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      Kalm Keith

      Good last paragraph.

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    RobK

    Great effort Rafe, and thanks Jo,
    Point 20.2.2 of the linked paper:
    “The RE transition is limited by the lowest points in the supply of wind, not the installed capacity, the high points or the average performance of the wind fleet.”
    The corollary is that the absorbtion power and capacity of the storage needs to be able to deal the total of any excess, unless significant curtailment diminishes the yield of the wind and sun harvesting potential. It becomes increasingly difficult to install capacity to store energy from a glut and hold over for a drought as the system size increases. Hence cost of energy escalates with increased RE.
    Fun facts as a side note:
    Domestic(household) reticulated natural gas is sold here (western Australia)by the cubic metre. One cubic metre is equivalent to 38MJ which is about 10.2kWh of heat. A cubic metre of NG delivered to the house in Western Australia is $0.152, whilst a kWh of electricity is $0.29.
    Those States pushing to minimise NG usage will need to increase the capacity of the grid supply, especially at peak loads, cooking and heating.

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      Raving

      You are lucky that heat pumps are feasible in Aus. Baseboard (resistance) electric heating is expensive!

      Must be a fierce battery drain heating an EV. Don’t expect heat pump techology is available for them yet

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      RobK

      I also meant to add: one cubic metre of NG has about the same energy content as a litre of diesel.

      Raving,
      Heat pumps can theoretically pump around twenty times the heat expended by the pump but if you look on the side label of an air conditioner you will see that the practical ratio is closer to 2.5 x , after Fan and friction losses.

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    ‘There will not be enough conventional power to keep the lights on through windy nights.’

    Or nights when the wind blows too hard… Is that still the case? An Australian Study by Tony from Oz way back analysed the engineering in one of these large turbines in windy Esperance, Western Australia, the kind of tower proliferating around the world. Its electric power is generated in the nacelle behind the propeller. The generator can’t be too large though, or it couldn’t be mounted off the ground, so units most commonly in use only generate about 3/4MW power output. The gear box of the unit is designed to hold the turbine at one speed, to produce maximum power and operate in prescribed wind speeds, and to lock down in high winds so the blades won’t be damaged.

    So you could say intermittency is a constant problem. In the United Kingdom, BBC weatherman, Paul Hudson, reported in 2011, that in three consecutive winters of intense cold, there was little or no wind to generate electricity. On December the 21st, 2010, coal and gas generated 45,000 MW of electricity, compared to wind generated electricity of 20 MW.

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    Craig

    YAY! Rafe is here! Well done, good call 😉

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    Craig

    YAY! Rafe is here! Well done, good call 😉

    [Duplicate. Thanks. – J]

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    yarpos

    Posted this in unthreaded, but may fit better here

    St Jaci’s virtue signalling goes off the rails

    https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/nz-likely-have-record-high-imports-coal-in-2021

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    ren

    Visible stratospheric intrusion of the southern polar vortex in Australia.
    https://i.ibb.co/y8cq8CG/pobrane.png

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    CHRIS

    Well it seems like Ren is on top of the atmospheric circulatory pattern over all levels of the atmosphere…NOT. Trying to relate various temperature/geomagnetic anomalies to solar wind variations…WHAT A HOOT!! Ever heard of Chaos Theory, Ren? I doubt it

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