Edit: The UK’s already up to 50% nuclear and renewables on the electricity grid, this is an extra 6GW of capacity, and goes on top of previous auctions which are currently under development, it looks like we’re headed for 60-70% in the mid to late 2020s.
So, yes, it's so likely that it's practically guaranteed. Too much wind is an orders of magnitude more likely problem.
It's worth elaborating that too much wind is as bad as too little wind. The blades can only spin so fast before disintegrating, so wind turbines have transmissions and choose a gear appropriate to the current wind speed. Once wind speeds exceed what the highest gear can handle the turbine locks the blades to prevent damage. In that state it doesn't produce any electricity.
Larger turbines are more productive especially at lower wind speeds as far as I know.
They are more expensive than on-shore wind turbines, but still significantly cheaper than other forms of generation (such as nuclear).
With geographic and technological diversity, "smart grid" demand management, inter-connectors, storage tech, and a modest investment in nuclear baseload, we can get pretty close to 100% low-carbon generation in the UK over the next few decades. Even as grid demand increases with the gradual electrification of heating and transport.
Onshore and offshore wind, Nuclear (all mentioned), solar, hydro. As far as I'm aware all the good hydro sites in Britain have been used up, so there's only solar that really should have been mentioned.
Off shore wind is probably more expensive that solar, does that really change the parents point?
Most of that is from the sea.
Worst case scenario for Britain would be a period of little wind in the North sea, in Winter. That would be unusual, but not unheard of.
I'm not aware of any plausible scenarios where global warming would lead to less wind, but I suppose its locally possible.
The trade winds are pretty consistent.
My favourite bit of meteorology trivia is that the wealthier areas in British cities are almost exclusively to the west - this is because the prevailing wind is from the west and so pollution producing factories have been placed in the east of the city.
You can even split wind into onshore and offshore, although the data is patchy.
Wind varies, but from a quick look offshore hasn't gone to zero over the past year and neither has onshore.
In the last year UK produced
The good news is we're not overproducing - even on the most renewable days (Aug 17 at 15:15) when 44% came from wind and 25% from solar, we still had 12% coming from gas, 5% from biomass
(edit - looked at wrong row on my spreadsheet!)
There's currently one reactor under construction, and a bunch more planned, so I expect the current reactors will receive extensions until these or renewables take over.
However looking at https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2018/03/16/uk-...
Looks like equal parts domestic gas, electricity, and industry
About half imported, half mined in the UK.
From that page:
"The vast bulk of imports comes direct from Norway. Technically, Russian gas can only arrive via the Belgian and Dutch pipelines, which amount to 10% of total imports. It is estimated that 35% of Europe’s gas comes from Russia, so in theory about 3% of Britain’s gas comes from Russia."
Looking at that I get a very different view of UK electricity grid, one where natural gas plays its very very common role when wind/solar is not at its peak production.
Would be very interesting to see the UK pledge to get rid of the natural gas plants at some date in the future, rather than say build more of them.
However, that role will increasingly be as contingency/backup for times of scarcity rather than as a continuous baseload. They will only be used during demand peaks that correspond with unfavourable weather conditions, or other unusual scenarios.
This is similar to the current role of the UK's few remaining coal plants.
(I should also note that natural gas use is already in decline in the UK, as is gas turbine generating capacity)
Notice how the gas usage cycles up and down, tracking the inverse of solar and wind. But add another 10GW of wind and solar, which is likely by the mid 2020s, and gas won't be used at all pretty often. But it isn't going away completely unless storage gets much cheaper.
The biggest challenge now is to start moving residential heating from gas to electric heat pumps. That's a large fraction of our CO2 emissions, and it requires individuals to spend money.
The current plan is to maintain about 30% of the grid as gas, to provide backup, and then to deal with the carbon emissions using carbon capture and storage. The target is for a net zero electricity grid by 2030.
It's more like 2050 according to National Grid's forecasts. Carbon capture and storage is still a pipe-dream, really. The technology exists (arguably - not proven at scale) but not in an economically viable way.
To put it another way, it's cheaper to avoid emitting carbon in the first place than to try and capture and store it.
30% of the power usage or 30% of the capacity? A nation that has three times the capacity compared to power usage could produce 100% of the energy on gas and still claim a 33% capacity being based on gas.
2030 sounds good, but the average expected life time of a natural gas power plant is 50 years. I would hazard a guess that the most common type of new power plants being built in the UK (in terms of costs) is natural gas power plants. Is the expectation here that all that investment currently being poured into natural gas will just have to give it up in 10 years?
Absolutely not. There have been almost no new gas power plants built in the UK since 2010 (the only new one is Carrington in 2016, a CCGT which replaced a closed coal plant and which had been under construction since 2008). Since several old gas power plants have closed, there has been a net decrease in gas capacity. And as far as I know, there are currently no gas power plants actively under construction anywhere in the UK.
All new capacity in the UK is coming from:
- Nuclear (although this will probably be a net decrease, as old plants will close. Currently only Hinkley C is under construction, with several other projects on hold or cancelled)
Just a random google gave this: https://www.smart-energy.com/industry-sectors/business-finan...
But I have no numbers to compare £700 million (possible times 3) with wind/solar investment for 2019.
"Historically the Site accommodated a 1,875 MW Combined Cycle Gas Turbine power station (the former Teesside Power Station) with the ability to generate steam for utilisation within the wider Wilton International site. The Teesside Power Station ceased generation in 2013 and was demolished between 2013 and 2015."
Yeah, that's disappointing. But development consent approval doesn't necessarily mean they will be built. There are some other CCGT projects that have been approved for a number of years, but construction hasn't started because the economics don't stack up right now.
With the cancellation of several nuclear plants, others being retired over the next 5-15 years, and the ban on coal by 2025, there may indeed be a future deficit of gas generation capacity. It may be that these projects are being developed speculatively in anticipation of that.
What's that? Supply from a grid overseas?
On average GB imports more from europe than exports. It exports more to Ireland than imports.
Doesn't really help with the troughs in wind - when it's calm in the north sea for the UK, it is calm for Denmark too.
Maybe if europe puts a lot of production in Biscay and the Med it will smooth things out - but there's only so much capacity on the interconnects (2GW from France, 1GW from Netherlands, 1GW from Belgium, 500MW to Northern Ireland, 500MW to ROI)
That said, planned interconnects bring it up to 10GW from mainland, 1.5GW to Ireland
It looks like they're all hoping for CCS to become a reality. You're right that it looks infeasible to just turn them all off by 2030. Currently the CCS is getting nowhere either. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-south-yorkshire-201374...
Global warming attracts a certain kind of "gotcha" nerd who will hunt for the one set of data that can be arranged to make it look not so bad while ignoring all the evidence on the other side of the scale. There's an entire site devoted to that (WUWT).
Meanwhile there's a set of quietly competent engineers keeping the lights on and ignoring all this social media nonsense.
I wonder if someone somewhere has a large vested interest in fossil fuels and is annoyed about the BNEF and Bloomberg's mostly positive reporting on renewables.
To your point, I've found that petrolheads are pretty common even in tech.
anyone got a contact at Marvel?
A doubling of wind capacity will reduce how much gas we'd burn in total, but you'd really start to hit diminishing returns.
(This does not include on-shore wind farms, or projects in Scottish waters)
In today’s good news story, we can change “may” to “will” in the headline to match the updated story :)
1. Yes, this is good. They should do this and 2. coal is an awful and inefficient power source with lots of carbon emission which is bad. 3. the way we harvest coal is deleterious to humans and bad for the environment even if we ignore carbon. It's an ancient technology we should leave in the dustbin of history next to lead piping.
The challenge of wind turbines is that they're actually fantastically plastic hungry things. While inexpensive in their current state, we need to heavily invest in more sustainable turbine blade options that don't contribute to our other problems (carbon emission in plastics manufacturing and huge unrecyclable and toxic wind turbine blades). 
Folks concerned about consistency and peak load shouldn't be. We're making huge strides in energy storage (with sodium ion batteries removing our reliance on lithium) and Gallium Arsenide greatly reducing the cost and size of electrical components while increasing their heat tolerance ). Essentially what's left here is tooling and contracts and for dinosaur energy providers to be displaced by newer options.
Wind power is almost always producing something. This production can be statistically modeled. Thus, you can overprovision wind and say that on average, your target of <x> MW is met or exceeded <y> percent of the time. So wind, if planned well, doesn't really need big storage.
Baseload generation is also a fallacy. It only matters that demand is met. Wind has already become the "baseload" in the UK in that wind operators always undercut everyone else on the market, thus displacing other generation.
Baseload demand is the point which demand never falls below. Back in the age of coal, it made sense to meet this baseload demand with large baseload plants, that were big and did not change output and gained economies of scale.
One challenge that I think people overlook in the shift to renewables is grid frequency stability. Big thermal plants have heavy rotors that have a lot of inertia, stopping the grid frequency from changing too quickly in an imbalance. Replace these with inertia-less wind and solar, and you will need another solution for grid stability.
Smaller batter installations can also help with frequency stabilization. The Tesla installation in South Aus primarily serves the purpose of grid stabilization rather than bulk storage, for example. I think solar needs that stabilization and storage more than wind, it's probably important to have a diversity of sources and locations with renewables to keep any one source from having too large an immediate impact on the grid.
You're absolutely right about baseload being a fallacy. I would argue that balancing the grid is probably an easier problem in the absence of big constant baseload generators like nuclear, than with them.
With renewables providing baseload generation, there is more capacity for variable renewable sources; if these can be sufficiently decorrelated (by geography, type of source, even design of e.g. turbines) then they would have a high likelihood of averaging out to support baseload needs while having greater backbench dispatchable capacity at play. You might only need to overprovision by (making up numbers here) 1.5x rather than 4x to have sufficient dispatchable capacity than if you combined say, nuclear baseload with renewable peaking. The aggregate effect of this would be making the renewable sources cheaper per nameplate Wattage.
The wind farm tripped unexpectedly easily .. but apparently this can be solved with a software update. As and when we start rolling out batteries they are excellent for frequency response, and are already getting paid for that purpose in some places.
Give me another place in Europe where Wind is more abundant than UK ?
Putting wind mills in Greenland and Arctic may produce a whole lot but bringing it to population centers is an issue.
Base load is a bitch, UK is the best case scenario enjoy it.
Your performative loyalty isn't going to build a better future. Relentless progress will.
I've heard this line before. We don't have the luxury of picking and choosing our problems anymore.
The point I'm trying to make here is that wind turbines are so much better than the status quo, which is quite literally killing us, that it's not worth fretting over one of their smallest drawbacks. They have much larger drawbacks to address first. Fretting over the little things takes your limited attention away from more important things and you end up worse off overall. That's a (my) philosophy for life in general, and I stand by it.
Solar peaks around noon 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm (I am being charitable here) do we have solid storage that would hold this generated power for delivery from (4:00 pm - 7:00 pm) peak ?
That 4 to 6 hour storage window is still a big issue - if you are talking about Sodium batteries we are a decade or more away from them to be grid scale!
(The reference  article still suggests it is in labs not in production)
For example, this recent LA contract got lots of press:
The technology is not hard or mysterious for storing during the daily cycle, it's just a matter of costs falling. And costs are falling dramatically.
The bigger question is what we may do for seasonal storage, or if instead of seasonal storage we just have capacity for 200% of generation and overproduce for much of the year.
In limited deployment? Yes, absolutely. Sodium batteries make this proposition cheaper. You could make your house entirely off-grid and run-off-storage if your local production options are good.
> That 4 to 6 hour storage window is still a big issue - if you are talking about Sodium batteries we are a decade or more away from them to be grid scale!
No, we're not 10 years away from using sodium ions batteried at this scale. The bulk scale problem is MUCH easier than the micro-scale package problem. Ongoing work on sodium ion batteries will be to work on equivalent package competitors for lithium ion polymer batteries, which still have unparalleled density.
For less robust, large packages the work is done, the compound required is done. We already use old and inefficient batteries in these applications. It's one of Tesla's major business models and why they take your battery pack back from you at the end of life of the car.
Have a click about on https://flatline.org.uk/daystats.html - the best case is getting over 50% of the generation from 9AM to 6PM. The worst case is getting almost nothing for three months in the winter.
Even if there was no such thing as climate change, long-term we still need to eventually move to renewables.
We have all the non-renewables as the fuel to do so. We can't continue to waste them - once they are gone, you can't bootstrap a renewable energy system.
However, it's most certainly feasible to make steel without fossil fuels. In the US, many newer iron makers use Direct Reduction of Iron in furnaces fed with CO and H produced from natural gas (and then this DRI product is refined electrically in electric arc furnaces at so-called "Mini Mills" which are not so mini). There's no reason you couldn't just use hydrogen directly produced via electrolysis instead.
...and power-to-gas is also feasible (although approximately twice as expensive to produce per unit energy as electrolytic hydrogen is). And with that synthesized gas, you can also produce any kind of petroleum-derived product via Fischer-Tropsch, including graphite and coke and the resins needed for wind turbine blades. And all these products would be higher purity than those produced from fossil fuels (although the price WILL be higher).
So let's not let perfect be the enemy of the good. Let's transition now as soon as possible whatever we can. And that means off-shore wind.
Windmills do not change much different, than I would say, a city with scyscrapers does. So it is changing, but to affect the global jetstreams, we probably would have to build really big windmills, directly exploiting those winds on a big scale ...
So sci-fiction we are talking about, not at all, what we have now...
It's worth understanding the impact of all of these in addition to what you ask as well.
Farmers plant trees for wind-breaks in the Great Plains to reduce erosion of the soil. Wind turbines can serve the same purpose.
But the most important recent development in wind power has nothing much to do with windmills, as such. Roger Ruan at UMn, and Roger Gordon in Canada have both invented small-scale, efficient reactors that can turn power, water, and air into ammonia. This is important because the overwhelming majority of places with useful wind are nowhere near an electrical grid, but many of them have immediate uses for ammonia.
Now, you can put up a windmill anywhere, and it can produce useful liquid fuel and fertilizer any time the wind blows, with no inconvenience to anyone when wind doesn't blow. Farms need large amounts of both fuel and fertilizer, and have lots of space for windmills. Any extra ammonia can be sold to neighbors, so wouldn't need to be transported far. Ammonia is directly useful for fertilizer--you pipe it right into the ground behind plow blades, and soil microbes fix it instantly.
Any manufacturer of windmills should be very excited by this development, because it stands to radically increase the market for windmills. A single windmill is now a useful purchase, and any farm can use one. Industrial ammonia production consumes huge quantities of natural gas, and belches 10 megatons of CO2 every year, not counting exhaust from transporting it and processing it to solid form.
"The intermittency of other sources such as wind and solar photovoltaic can be addressed by interconnecting power plants which are widely geographically distributed, and by coupling them with peak-load plants such as gas turbines fueled by biofuels or natural gas which can quickly be switched on to fill in gaps of low wind or solar production. Numerous regional and global case studies – some incorporating modeling to demonstrate their feasibility – have provided plausible plans to meet 100% of energy demand with renewable sources."
"Together, a mix different types of renewable energy sources can
replace a conventional generating system and can be just as reliable."
Currently the type of power plant that receive the highest amount of investment and construction is natural gas power plants. In all parts of the world there are massive natural gas pipe lines being built, and the countries in those areas intend to use them and get a return on investments.
Batteries and dynamic power usage could in theory be tuned so we don't need natural gas to fill in the gap, but if we follow the money, follow the political decisions, following the current vectors of what people are actually doing and expect to get return on investments on, then no. Renewables will not be used for base load.
North america is currently investing $1 trillion on natural gas pipe lines (not countring natural gas power plants themselves). In texas, there are pipe lines being built today for an additional 12 million barrels of oil equivalent per day. In just over the small country of Sweden we have 2 massive natural gas pipe line projects, one from Norway and one from Russia, competing to provide an ever increasing demand for natural gas in EU. The russian one has an annual capacity of 55 billion cubic metres of gas.
The doubt about energy sources like wind power is not if its plausable to use renewable energy for 100% of the energy demand. The doubt and skepticism comes from the fact that no one is doing it (with minor exceptions). No one is going towards such goal or investing in it. The power grid being built today and in the current long term investment window is natural gas as base load and replacement for coal, wind and solar as cheaper energy production during good conditions.
I smell the anti-CO2 crowd, subsidies, etc. But even if this is wrong, I suspect that now gas is too cheap since at too many well heads it is just burned off to get the oil and with no good way to collect, compress, and move the gas. When the pipelines are in place, then the price of gas at the well heads will go up to compete with, say, coal, and we will be back to coal and gas and less in renewables.
Which part of the thermal absorbtion/emission IR spectrum of CO2 do you disagree with?
The photons the CO2 absorbs are supposedly mostly just those radiated by the Planck black body radiation of the surface of the earth heated by the photons direct from the sun. Lindzen argues why this absorption is not affecting the climate.
It's a long way from that molecular spectroscopy to the climate effect claims of the alarmists. The analysis in the movie Swindle...
from Lindzen and others explains clearly.
Do you have any sources that haven't been ruled misleading by OFCOM?
Obviously (i) there's a lot of politics in this subject and (ii) politics, with a lot of "hidden agendas" and backroom deals, is tough to explain. So, the explanations of the British politics was interesting. But that doesn't explain the US politics, or that in France, Germany, etc.
I don't know anything about OFCOM. Here in the US we totally refuse to pay any attention at all to any such organized criticism of the press, Web sites, documentaries, fictional stories, video clips, etc. I don't think the US has anything like OFCOM, but if we did nearly all of us would ignore it. In the US, if some people don't like some of the movie, then they get to make a movie, white paper, Web site, whatever, to point out where the movie was wrong. I'd eagerly pay close attention to any even half way well done debunking of the movie.
To me the most important remarks were from Lindzen at MIT. Other than that the review of the data, last 2000 years or so and the ice core data back ~1 million years, was credible. In particular, in his movie, Gore misread the ice core data, e.g., the 800 year lag; to me that 800 year lag junks both Gore's movie and Gore.
I also liked Wunsch's contributions, e.g., colder ocean surface waters absorb more CO2 and warmer waters can release CO2. But I've heard before that Wunsch didn't like his statements used in the movie: My guess on why is that he didn't want to get involved in the politics. I can understand that.
For Lindzen, he's been retired, i.e., no longer seeking grant money, for some years, maybe when the movie was made.
I didn't like the part of the movie with their cartoon of photons hitting the earth and, according to the cartoon, essentially reflecting. Nope: The main effect is supposed to be the photons directly from the sun being absorbed by and warming the surface of the earth and, then, MORE photons released by the surface from the effect of Planck black body radiation. So, that released Planck radiation has a frequency distribution depending on surface temperature (my ugrad physics prof was big on that distribution). Then at the surface temperatures involved, the peak and some large fraction of the radiation is out in the infrared (my ugrad physics prof was big also on infrared, e.g., had a USAF contract "To further the science of the infrared", smart USAF!), in particular out where the three absorption spectral lines of CO2 are. Net, it's apparently mostly or nearly entirely that Planck radiation that the CO2 absorbs, not "reflected" radiation or direct radiation from the sun. For the effects of the CO2 warming, I listened to Lindzen and his remarks about the troposphere.
I find credible the argument and data that the temperature changes of the past 2000 years or so are from changes in the rates of sun spots. There were some significant temperature changes, e.g., warming that let grapes grow in England and cooling that froze the Thames River and the Delaware River when Washington crossed it, etc.; CO2 changes don't fit the data at all, but sun spot data does. Definitely the causes were not CO2; the best guess so far is sun spots.
To me far and away the stake through the heart of the alarmists has to be the wild predictions of major warming that didn't happen. E.g., the model predictions and the subsequent observed data are compared at
In short, nearly all the predictions were wildly wrong.
The main test of science, from Newton to Einstein to the Higgs, is to make predictions that come true. When predictions are wildly wrong, we junk the proposed science. Various people, including even F. Dyson, have offered explanations on why such a large fraction of the models failed so badly; explanations (the dog ate my homework) aside, the predictions were junk. The predictions were so bad that we have to suspect gross scientific incompetence or deliberate fraud -- in either case we should be angry. I am. To me those predictions are good evidence that the alarmists are pushing a flim-flam, fraud, scam. Maybe a lot of the alarmists are traditional convenient idiots, but the whole alarmist movement looks like a house made of paper about to fall.
The alarmists want to fight climate change by taking some $trillions of money from taxpayers. I do not believe that human activities are having a significant or harmful effect on climate and vote NO.
You can go along with the idea of spending $trillions if you want.
The smart politics way to go is to pretend to be concerned about "climate change" and seem virtuous while understanding that Trump is slowly cutting off the US "climate research" money flows, junking the Paris Accords, pushing "clean coal", fracking, and the fossil fuel pipelines, and the whole movement is on the way of the hulu hoop. More time, money, and effort will be wasted, but the $trillions will never be allocated. In the meanwhile, to me, Gore, Bloomberg, AOC, the IPCC, and the rest of the alarmists look motivated by politics and/or money, refuse to look objectively at the science, and are proposing what would be huge harm and wastes of time, money, and energy. I find that those proposals of harm and waste wildly wrong, outrageous, contemptible, and so explain here. But my explanations are changing no minds at all; my attempts to be objective are for nothing. I'm wasting my time and HN points. That so much of the HN audience is going along with the Gore scam, etc., is surprising to me, but live and learn. My explanation is that the core of the alarmists are driven by money and power and the rest are convenient idiots driven by social concerns, tribalism. I can see some of why: Skeptics can get dumped on. Here at HN I just lose points, but elsewhere people could lose jobs, have their tires slashed, etc.
A big question is just how did the climate tribalism get going; i.e., with his obviously silly movie, e.g., the 800 year lag, how did Gore get the movement going? It can't have been just social. Instead at the core it had to be "follow the money" -- some people made big bucks or hoped to. Whatever, it's all on the way to dead now.
I'm shocked and severely disappointed at much of the HN audience. But it will all come out okay; the Green New Deal is becoming the poster child for dementia!!!
The same time it's producing zero in spain, greece and turkey
Really? Take a look at this link. Look at the decline of coal over the last 8 years in the UK. A period in which UK government removed most renewables subsidies, but increased fossil subsidies. UK has spent weeks on end running zero coal in the last couple of years. Today it's at 1.5% of generation. It'll all be gone in a few years.
Further down, look how coal has declined in all those nations, with a couple of exceptions.
Wind is about 15% of UK generation and running nicely.
You're being downvoted because your aggressive tone is attacking anyone on this site and using nothing but logical fallacies and weak ideas to back your statements. It's more likely that you're constantly getting down voted because your tone and behavior is similar to the tone and behavior of these posts. I don't have time to read your back posts, so I can't really say for sure there.
Maybe check out reddit if this is your preferred level of discourse. They're much more receptive to it there.
The sun does always shine someplace on the planet, and the wind never dies down completely, so it is at least theoretically conceivable to provide base load via those sources if you distribute enough solar/wind power plants across the planet.
 Citation needed
While a fossil fuel or nuclear plant is not reliable, their unreliability is uncorrelated. Solar and wind have geographically correlated unreliability, which is a major problem. To make them practical, large scale energy storage is necessary.
As energy storage is expensive, fossil fuel and nuclear redundant generation is going to be necessary for some time. Scaling demand could also help ease the problem. Electric storage heaters, aluminium smelters, and air conditioning for example can respond dynamically to supply through a real time market, or demand-side response agreement.
For the basics:
Achieving a linear transmission loss ignores bounds on the source voltage. In this case, you may as well choose a transmission voltage of infinity and say resistive losses are constant because current tends to zero.
Also, an X volts RMS AC line is 2.8X volts peak-to-peak. The peak voltage is limiting with regards to breakdown voltages, and so DC can reach a higher equivalent voltage on a line with the same maximum voltage.
(The magic component is the "insulated gate bipolar transistor", sometimes using silicon carbide as the semiconducting element. These are capable of multi-kilovolt switching.)
The basic idea is you go to high voltage DC at the generation end, run a long ways (across states), turn the DC to AC and then run that through a transformer. It isn't as efficient as a transformer, but it isn't far behind so you more than get it back by the smaller losses in transmission.
If you consider a voltage source of 1V, a line of 1ohm, with a load of 1ohm (0.25W), the transmission is 50% efficient. With a load of 0.5ohm (0.33W) the line is 33% efficient. with a load of 0ohm it is 0% efficient.
> Also with very high voltage AC we can actually transmit quite far.
We can't transmit efficiently at a quarter the circumference of the globe, which would be required for a continually directly solar powered grid.
I firmly believe in the power of engineering research and given humanities history in solving engineering challenges, we will also solve this one. If we will end up with reliable long distance cables, or some form of energy storage I have no opinion on, only the future will tell us.
Québec built a 735kV AC very-long-haul transmission system in 1965 to address the efficiency concerns, carrying power over 1000km efficiently and reliably. That's almost the width of Texas.
It's also been using renewable hydro-electric power.
Nope: I'm SURE you can see this, wind comes and goes often just hourly. A coal plant commonly can go years without so much as a single flicker in the power output. The coal plant itself and its pile of coal out back are no doubt factors of 10 more reliable than wind or solar.
You seem to be dreaming of renewables, at no matter what effort, e.g., superconducting long distance grid lines, molten salt storage, etc. WHY? A lot of nonsense, expensive, chancy, risky nonsense all due to some quasi-religion about CO2.
The renewables proponents want to talk storage: Yes, storage would be crucial for much in renewables. But with coal, there's a really easy approach to storage -- just that pile of coal out back renewed occasionally by long coal trains such as Burlington Northern that Buffett invested in.
Don't be fooled: It's all a swindle, about CO2, and some people are getting big bucks from this swindle.
So the difference in availability between current base load plants (nuclear) and renewables is somewhere between 3x (hydro, solar) and 2x (wind).
I got it, that you do not buy into the co2 story, and it's everyones right to have their own opinions. But have you ever considered that there might be other factors which would make it possible for you to see renewables as a worthy alternative? Burning stuff [2,3] causes all sorts of effects on our environment, directly impacting health.
It can; apparently in the US long it did; but a lot of the dirt got cleaned up. E.g., can have clean air even in LA and NYC with lots of gasoline and Diesel power cars and trucks. And outside the top 50 or so US cities, car and truck exhaust is a problem not worth even talking about. E.g., coal needs to be cleaned up since it can put out sulfur, mercury, some radioactivity, etc. Some uses of coal in China and India might be causing significant to serious problems there.
For some ugly problems, see the movie I referenced here: The movie shows some of what happens in Africa where they try to cook indoors by burning dried animal dung -- really bad, ugly medical problems. They would be much better off burning coal or using electricity from burning coal in a power plant.
That is a bar so low you'll have to dig it up though.
Note: your argument of coal based electric energy is better than burning stuff at home is strongly supported by . But this is not what we are arguing about. No one was proposing to abandon electric energy from the grid and go back to burn wood at home. The question was, if there maybe is a health argument to switch from coal (or generally burning stuff) to renewable energy.
 (This has been published in The Lancet, sorry for the potentially biased looking link, but due to the paywall at the original publisher I had to resort to google for an alternate provider) http://www.scotianwindfields.ca/sites/default/files/publicat...
Less than 2% of the UK's energy comes from coal, it's already dead.
I know it's not the right takeaway from this thread, but seeing the constant cyan Nuclear line in the following link makes me doubly appreciate what a good use nuclear is in the energy mix.
Double nuclear capacity in the UK, and it almost looks like you could get rid of all fossil-based electricity generation
* When you combine renewables together you don’t need to maintain an identical gas backup. Although this will depend on resources at individual locations, some places you will need 100% backup, others substantially less.
* Gas is the dominant, cheapest form of electricity in the US and UK, and a very large percentage of the cost of producing a unit of gas electricity is fuel. Even in the worst case scenario of 100% backup, the price that renewables are competing with is the marginal cost of burning fuel to produce the same unit of electricity. Once renewables get below that level it’s cheaper to incur the capital cost for renewables as well as gas, as a combined system, to avoid some of the marginal cost for gas operating on its own.
* The Great Global Warming Swindle is an intellectual embarrassment.
Of course, this is not at all contrarian to your point, I made the precision because "no longer could be cooled adequately" could be misunderstood.
They were also some problems with the efficiency and reliability of backup generators during heatwaves, but this is not very hard to handle (the backup generators are much easier to cool than the reactor itself).
Coal is basically dead in the UK, gas is the source to beat, and is also a better match intermittent sources.
Renewables are getting to the point of being cheaper then just the burnable material in a fossil fuel plant, ie it is cheaper to have wind and gas/coal, than just gas/coal alone.
All of this is without getting into global warming, and all the other stuff in coal.
wake me when it does.
Here in Germany we have offshore wind parks that are not connected to the power grid. A lot of nonsense is going on in that area.
"The auction cleared at £45/MWh (1). This means that the bids referenced in the Bloomberg story have succeeded. Bloomberg have significantly updated their story to reflect the results. In today’s good news story, we can change “may” to “will” in the headline to match the updated story :)
As mentioned by daveoflynn elsewhere in these comments
Source (incl reason for lack of grid connection) please?
Sorry, maybe more googling would bring up something better. It is well known in Germany.
Edit: maybe it is this here: https://www.ingenieur.de/technik/fachbereiche/energie/so-win... - apparently after a couple of years, many of the generators have now finally been connected. That would be good news.