Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #365

By Ken Haapala, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project

Brought to You by Swww.SEPP.org

Quote of the Week:for the purpose of promoting scientific inquiry’ — Cambridge Philosophical Society – See Article # 2

Number of the Week: 2.34 mmb/d

0.04% NOT 0.4%: Last week’s TWTW contained a significant typo, which was caught by a number of readers. The current concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere is approximately 0.04%, not 0.4% as erroneously stated. This is based on measurements made at Mauna Loa, an observatory at 3402 m, or 11,200 feet above sea level on the island of Hawaii (the Big Island). The actual average for May was 414.7 parts per million (ppm). It declines as the summer season takes hold in the Northern Hemisphere and plants use photosynthesis to create food and oxygen from CO2 and water. In May 2018, the average was 411.2 ppm. TWTW appreciates those who corrected the typo and regrets any confusion the typo may have caused.

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Russia Will Be Ruined by the Clean Energy Transition

By Eric Worrall – Re-Blogged From WUWT

According to Forbes, when renewable energy programmes like Germany’s Energiewende mature, demand for Russian fossil fuel will collapse.

Will Russia Survive The Coming Energy Transition?

Jun 27, 2019, 10:35am
Ariel Cohen Contributor

A new global energy reality is emerging. The era of the hydrocarbon – which propelled mankind through the second stage of the industrial revolution, beyond coal and into outer space – is drawing to a close. The stone age ended not because we ran out of stones. The same with oil and gas.

World Energy Consumption
World Energy Consumption. By Con-structBP Statistical Review of World Energy 2017, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

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Battery Storage—An Infinitesimal Part of Electrical Power

By Steve Goreham – Re-Blogged From Energy Central

Large-scale storage of electricity is the latest proposed solution to boost the deployment of renewables. Renewable energy advocates, businesses, and state governments plan to use batteries to store electricity to solve the problem of intermittent wind and solar output. But large-scale storage is only an insignificant part of the electrical power industry and doomed to remain so for decades to come.

Last month, Senator Susan Collins of Maine introduced a bi-partisan bill named “The Better Energy Storage Technology Act,” proposing to spend $300 million to promote the development of battery solutions for electrical power. Collins stated, “Next-generation energy storage devices will help enhance the efficiency and reliability of our electric grid, reduce energy costs, and promote the adoption of renewable resources.”

Arizona, California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Oregon adopted statutes or goals to develop storage systems for grid power, with New York committing to most ambitious target in the nation. In January, as part of his mandate for “100 percent clean power by 2040,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a target to deploy 3,000 megawatts (MW) of storage by 2030.

Today, 29 states have renewable portfolio standards laws, requiring utilities to purchase increasing amounts of renewable energy. But the electricity output from wind and solar systems is intermittent. On average, wind output is between 25% and 35% of rated output. Solar output is even less, delivering an average of about 15% to 20% percent of rated output.

Mandating the addition of wind and solar to power systems to is like forcing a one-car family to buy a second car that runs only 30% of the time. The family can’t replace the original car with the new intermittent car, but must then maintain two cars.

Renewable advocates now propose electricity storage to solve the intermittency problem and to help renewable energy replace traditional coal, natural gas, and nuclear generators. When wind and solar output is high, excess electricity would be stored in batteries and then delivered when renewable output is low, to try to replace traditional power plants that generate electricity around the clock.

Headlines laud the growth of battery installations for grid storage, growing 80% last year and up 400% from 2014. But the amount of US electricity stored by batteries today is less than miniscule.

Pumped storage, not batteries, provides about 97% of grid power storage in the United States today. Pumped storage uses electricity to pump water into an elevated reservoir to be used to drive a turbine when electricity is needed. But less than one in every 100,000 watts of US electricity comes from pumped storage.

In 2018, US power plants generated 4.2 million GW-hours of electrical power. Pumped storage capacity totaled about 23 GW-hrs. Battery storage provided only about 1 GW-hr of capacity. Less than one-millionth of our electricity is stored in grid-scale batteries.

Electricity storage is expensive. Pumped storage is the least costly form of grid storage at about $2,000 per kilowatt, but requires areas where an elevated reservoir can be used. Battery storage costs about $2,500 per kilowatt for discharge duration of two hours or more. Batteries are more expensive than onshore wind energy, which has an installed market price of under $1,000 per kilowatt. But a key factor in the effectiveness of storage is the length of time that the system can deliver stored electricity.

In the case of New York State, plans call for the installation of 9,000 MW of offshore wind capacity by 2035 and 3,000 MW of battery storage by 2030. The wind system will likely cost in excess of $9 billion, and the battery system will likely cost about $7.5 billion. But this planned battery deployment is wholly inadequate to remove the wind intermittency.

If the wind system has an average output of 33% of its rated output, then the planned 3,000 MW of battery storage would only be able to deliver the average wind output for about two hours. To replace output for a full day when the wind isn’t blowing, 36,000 MW of storage would be needed at a cost of $90 billion, or about ten times as much as the wind system itself. Since several days without wind in most locations is common, even a day of battery backup is inadequate.

In addition, the 10-15 year lifetime of grid-scale batteries is no bargain.  Wind and solar systems are rated for 20-25 years of service life. Traditional coal, natural gas, and nuclear systems last for 35 years or more.

Storage of electricity should be regarded as foolish by anyone in the manufacturing industry. For decades, major companies pursued just-in-time manufacturing, “lot size one,” Kanban, lean manufacturing, and other programs designed to eliminate finished goods inventory to reduce costs. Electricity is delivered immediately upon generation, the ultimate zero-finished-goods-inventory product. But many organizations now clamor for electricity storage to try to fix the intermittency weakness of renewables.

Today, grid storage capacity is less than one millionth of national electricity output. Practical battery storage adds a cost factor of at least ten to the cost of the partner renewable system. It will be decades before grid battery storage plays a significant role in large-scale power systems, if ever.

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Republican Generation Gap Over Climate Change Policy

By Eric Worrall – Re-Blogged From WUWT

Vox thinks the Republicans are torn between young members who want climate action, and older members who oppose a new carbon tax. But Vox are overlooking something important.

Frank Luntz vs. Grover Norquist: the GOP’s climate change dilemma in a nutshell

Republican ideology is on a collision course with public opinion.
By David Roberts@drvoxdavid@vox.com  Jun 21, 2019, 10:10am EDT

The Republican Party is in a bind on climate change.
On one hand, it has spent decades denying that global warming is a problem and is ideologically opposed to all the public policies — taxes, investments, and regulations — that might solve it.

President Jimmy Carter installing solar panels on the White House

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Will The Philadelphia Refinery Explosion Send Gas Prices Skyrocketing?

By Michael Bastasch – Re-Blogged From Daily Caller

Explosions at the Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES) refinery, the largest refinery on the East Coast, sent gasoline futures soaring, but experts say it’s still too early to know the full effects of the incident.

“It is too early to know the full impact the fire at the PES facility will have on summer gas prices and for how long for East coast motorists,” Jeanette Casselano, spokeswoman for the American Automobile Association (AAA), told the Daily Caller News Foundation in an email.

The fire, which started in a butane vat around 4 a.m., set off a series of explosions that rocked neighborhoods miles away. Emergency responders had the fire under control by 7 a.m. and no injuries have been reported.

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Norwegian Oil Pioneer: Big Oil’s Exodus Has Started

Smaller independent oil and gas producers will have more opportunities to develop resources on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS) because in ten years’ time all oil majors except state-participated Equinor will have left Norway’s offshore, the head of a small Norwegian oil firm told Reuters on Tuesday.

“I don’t think we will have any majors on the Norwegian continental shelf in 10 years. Equinor will be the only one left because of the state’s ownership,” Erik Haugane, co-founder and chief executive at OKEA, told Reuters on the day on which the company’s stock started trading on the Oslo Stock Exchange, after a successful completion of an initial public offering (IPO).

Why Natural Gas Prices Collapsed

gas storage

U.S. natural gas prices have collapsed since the end of winter, even as inventory levels remain below average levels for this time of year.

Henry Hub prices spiked in the fourth quarter of 2018 due to record levels of demand, cold weather, and historically low inventories. But prices remained elevated, over $4/MMBtu, for only a brief period of time. Production continued to soar, so traders were not overly concerned about market tightness.

As peak winter demand season drew to a close in March, prices continued to ease, and prices have eroded steadily in the last few months. Prices dipped below $2.30/MMBtu recently, hovering in that range for the first time in roughly three years. As recently as December, prices were twice as high as they are now.

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