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Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Shining A Highlight On Wind & Photo voltaic Misinformation

Hopscotching the world for clear power headlines the opposite day, I chanced upon an article by one Bryan Leyland at a web site that calls itself The Power Collective Group. Leyland payments himself as “a New Zealand-based electrical energy engineer with world vast expertise in energy era, energy programs and electrical energy markets.” The article he wrote was entitled, “The wind and solar energy fable has lastly been uncovered.”

Effectively, if there’s a fable on the market about wind and solar energy, I actually needed to know extra. Maybe my entire profession as a author for CleanTechnica has been based mostly on a lie. Maybe if I knew the reality, I’d mend my methods and begin disseminating the straight skinny to my readers. The Power Collective Group says it “brings collectively the perfect thinkers on power and local weather. Be a part of us for sensible, insightful posts and conversations about the place the power trade is and the place it’s going.”

Okay, then. I’m fascinated with sensible, insightful posts and conversations about the place the power trade goes. So take me by the hand, Bryan. Let’s see what you’ve bought. I dived into the story and right here’s what I discovered.

The Wind & Photo voltaic Delusion

After acknowledging that wind and photo voltaic are being prioritized by the governments of most international locations as a option to slash emissions from producing electrical energy, Leyland writes, “These plans have a single, deadly flaw: they’re reliant on the pipe-dream that there’s some inexpensive option to retailer surplus electrical energy at scale.”

Not so, the extensively skilled electrical energy engineer claims. “In the actual world, a wind farm’s output usually drops under 10 per cent of its rated ‘capability’ for days at a time. Solar energy disappears fully each night time and drops by 50 per cent or extra throughout cloudy days. ‘Capability’ being a largely meaningless determine for a wind or photo voltaic plant, about 3000 megawatts (MW) of wind and photo voltaic capability is required to switch a 1000 MW typical energy station when it comes to power over time. And actually, as we will see, the traditional energy station or one thing very like it should nonetheless be wanted incessantly as soon as the wind and photo voltaic are on-line.”

Leyland scoffs at the concept the way in which to internet zero is to easily construct extra wind and photo voltaic installations. We are going to quickly come to search out that we nonetheless want good quaint thermal producing stations to maintain the lights on when the wind doesn’t blow and the solar doesn’t shine.

“This brings with it a brand new working regime the place stations that had been designed to function repeatedly should observe unpredictable fluctuations in wind and solar energy,” Leyland writes. “Consequently, working and upkeep prices have elevated and lots of stations have needed to be shut down. In reality it’s already frequent to see environment friendly combined-cycle fuel generators changed by open-cycle ones as a result of they are often throttled up and down simply to again up the quickly altering output of wind and photo voltaic farms. However open-cycle fuel generators burn about twice as a lot fuel as mixed cycle fuel generators. Switching to high-emissions equipment as a part of an effort to cut back emissions is, frankly, insanity!”

Wind & Photo voltaic Insanity!

Leyland is simply getting warmed up. Nations which used to provide electrical energy by way of cross border transmission strains will not give you the chance to take action as a result of all of their baseload thermal mills have been shut down because of surges in renewable power, a lot of which will probably be squandered — curtailed is the phrase the trade makes use of —  when the solar is shining and the wind is blowing. Energy costs will soar, making roughly all the pieces dearer, and there will probably be frequent blackouts.

Constructing much more renewable capability won’t assist. Even 10 or 100 occasions the nominally vital “capability” might by no means do the job on a chilly, windless night, Leyland factors out. We are going to want massive scale power storage, adequate to maintain the lights on for a number of days. He calculates that California will want 200 MWh of put in storage for each MW of wind and solar energy.

Since the price of battery storage is at the moment $600,000 per MWh, that equates to $90 million wanted for each MW of renewable power generated within the Golden State. Since photo voltaic farms now price $1.5 million per MW, by lightning-like calculation, storage will price 80 occasions greater than the price of constructing a solar energy plant within the first place.

Nevertheless it will get worse. There may be not sufficient lithium, cobalt, and uncommon earth minerals to make all of the batteries that may be wanted to retailer that a lot electrical energy, and the hunt for extra will push commodity costs into the stratosphere.

None Of The Options Are Possible

Leyland then catalogs all of the attainable different power storage applied sciences and dismiss all of them. Pumped hydro received’t save us as a result of it may possibly solely provide energy for six to 10 hours of operation. What’s worse, there are only a few locations the place massive hydro storage amenities might be constructed. “Hydro-pumped storage will seldom be a possible choice. It can not resolve the issue on a nationwide scale even in international locations just like the USA which have numerous mountains,” Leyland writes.

Carbon seize and storage is simply wishful pondering. Not solely does it devour many of the power it saves, storing the carbon dioxide is a large downside as a result of three tons of carbon dioxide are produced for each ton of coal burned.

Hydrogen? Overlook about it. Most of it’s constructed from methane, in order that’s a non-starter. Inexperienced hydrogen made by electrolyzing water makes use of big quantities {of electrical} power, 60% of which is misplaced within the course of.

It will get worse. Storing and dealing with hydrogen is extraordinarily tough. It leaks from each accessible level, so by the point you go to make use of it, most of it has dissipated. The opposite draw back is the chance of fireside and explosion.

There Is Good Information, Nonetheless

Issues usually are not hopeless, Leyland concludes. “There may be one know-how that may present an inexpensive and dependable provide of low emissions electrical energy — nuclear energy. Curiosity in nuclear energy is growing as an increasing number of folks understand that it’s protected and dependable. If regulators and the general public may very well be persuaded that fashionable stations are inherently protected and that low ranges of nuclear radiation usually are not harmful, nuclear energy might present all of the low price, low emissions electrical energy the world wants for tons of or hundreds of years.”

Right here in the end is Leyland’s level. “If we had one hundred pc nuclear backup for photo voltaic and wind, we wouldn’t want the wind and photo voltaic crops in any respect. Wind and photo voltaic are, the truth is, fully pointless.”

So Who Is Bryan Leyland?

Leyland actually talks a great sport. He sounds authoritative and among the factors he makes about carbon seize and inexperienced hydrogen are legitimate. However who is that this man? Somewhat digging on the web introduced me to the New Zealand Media Council, which has fairly a file on Bryan Leyland. He has lodged a criticism with the Council in opposition to the New Zealand Herald, which he says is failing to report that world warming is not taking place.

In his criticism, Leyland argued the stories within the Herald that referenced the consensus amongst local weather scientists that human motion is inflicting world heating with out presenting dissenting opinions is irresponsible. “Consensus is all about politics and faith and never about science,” Leyland wrote. “Galileo was in opposition to the consensus of the time. Many scientific breakthroughs have been in opposition to the consensus.” He maintained the world has not warmed lately opposite to all predictions by the Intergovernmental Panel on Local weather Change. By its failure to say this absence of warming, the newspaper had been deceptive its readers, he alleged.

The New Zealand Herald responded by saying it acknowledged its want for stability in protection, however argued that such a stability must be in proportion. “Simply because somebody holds an eccentric view, it doesn’t imply they’re entitled to run within the paper.” The Herald reiterated its perception in “the state of the controversy in peer-reviewed scientific literature, not the media. There could be debate in cyber house and amongst letter writers however it isn’t occurring the place it counts — peer reviewed scientific journals. “

The Media Council reviewed Leyland’s criticism fastidiously and determined the Herald is beneath no obligation to report on each dissenting opinion. It subsequently dismissed Leyland’s criticism.

The Takeaway

There are two takeaways from this tempest in a teapot. One, extra international locations ought to have a media council the place precise journalists try to guard the integrity of the press. Two, there really is a possible answer to the necessity for zero carbon electrical energy that doesn’t mar the panorama, doesn’t depend upon the wind, and doesn’t want sunshine. It really works 24 hours a day each day of the 12 months and can for tens of hundreds of years with out the necessity for batteries or different power storage strategies. As well as, it may be put in regionally so it doesn’t have to depend on excessive voltage transmission strains.

Wish to know what this miracle energy supply is? It’s referred to as geothermal power, and it depends on the truth that temperatures under the Earth’s crust — which is about 12 miles thick — vary from 1000º C to 3600º C. That’s scorching sufficient to make supercritical steam that may energy current mixed cycle generators to make zero emissions power.

Will the warmth under the floor of the Earth ever run out? Sure it should, in a pair million years. It’s an concept that’s being pursued by Quaise Power and the US Division of Power. It can be utilized in district heating programs to heat and funky our properties and industrial buildings.

Simply think about a world with considerable, low price electrical energy that doesn’t pollute the surroundings. No new nukes, coal- or gas-fired producing crops, no costly transmission strains, no wind generators and photo voltaic panels marching throughout the panorama from horizon to horizon. We marvel what Bryan Leyland would consider that?


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