A brief lull in blogging

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I will be blogging very lightly in the next week or more because I’ve got some stuff that needs done. There’ll still be some product, but this will mostly be me posting R code for producing some of the plots etc. in recent posts. Read the rest of this entry »

Germany gets only 3.3% of its energy consumption from wind and solar. Ignore the headlines

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       “Give a man a reputation as an early riser and he can sleep til noon” – Mark Twain.

There is apparently no greater leader on climate change than Germany. Here is some evidence. This country will build almost 11 GW of new coal power plants this decade, and is in the process of licensing new lignite coal mines. It prematurely shut down 8 zero-carbon nuclear power plants in 2011, closed another one this year, and will prematurely close all remaining nuclear power plants by 2022. Germans have reassured themselves by turning from the disturbing vision of the split atom to the nostalgia of coal fires. Read the rest of this entry »

Is renewable energy growing quickly enough for Britain to meet its renewable energy targets?

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Thanks to Tony Blair not knowing the difference between energy and electricity, Britain must get 15% of its final energy consumption from renewables by 2020.

Is this doable, and is Britain on track to do it? Read the rest of this entry »

Lulls in Californian wind farm output can be severe

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Last week I wrote a post on wind farm capacity factors in America. Below is the key graph showing monthly variations in capacity factor:


This tells a simple story. The average capacity factor of America’s wind farms is very higher, much higher than most other countries. However, to imagine this is the same throughout America would be a mistake. The climate in California is rather different to that in North Dakota or Texas. And wind farm output follows a very different pattern.

We can find out how much wind farm output varies in California by looking at the hourly data provided by CAISO. Let’s look at it from a number of angles. Read the rest of this entry »

Don’t press publish by accident

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My hand is clearly looser than I imagine. I was just chucking a couple of plots into WordPress for a blog post I’ll throw out in the next few days, and I seem to have pressed publish.

So if anyone arrived here via Twitter or email expecting a piece on the variability of German solar output you will just have to wait, til Thursday or Friday.

How reliable are Britain’s wind farms?

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According to the Telegraph website, Drax (the owner of Britain’s largest biomass power plant) has attacked wind and solar power for their lack of reliability.

The Telegraph reports:

Dorothy Thompson, Drax chief executive, said the UK’s wind and solar farms were “increasing the instability of the grid”, with “mounting” cost implications, citing forecasts suggesting the bill for balancing supply and demand would rise from £1bn this year to £2bn by 2020.

Yet “aggregate wind farm and solar output in the UK can be expected to fall below 1pc of total electricity production with reasonable regularity”, she argued.

Read the rest of this entry »

Hillary Clinton’s climate change goals aren’t going to save the planet

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Hillary Clinton announced her climate change policies last night. What should we make of them?

Let’s look at her two main policies.

The first:

Have more than half a billion solar panels installed across the country by the end of Hillary’s first term.

To say that this policy is worded in a deliberately misleading way is accurate. The average voter knows nothing about energy or climate change. Open season for a politician like Clinton. Read the rest of this entry »