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Posts from December 0

Reliable vs. Intermittent Generation: A Primer (Part II)

By Bill Schneider -- March 2, 2023

“IVREs are inherently unreliable. One cannot demand that the wind blow or the sun shine. Industrial wind power and on-grid solar is not cheap but expensive, duplicative, and parasitic.”

Intermittent variable renewable energy (see Part I) generation sources are primarily wind turbines and solar photovoltaic panels (solar PV). But they can include underwater-based turbines (“tidal”) and solar collectors (“mirrors”); large-scale lithium-ion battery storage facilities (“batteries”); and electric facility-stored fuel (water/hydro, oil, coal, natural gas, or nuclear energy), to be turned into electrons when needed, since these fuels can be stored at less cost than electrons.

Storing fuel and converting it into moving electrons (electricity), with the exception of planned maintenance (relatively rare occurrences) and unplanned outages (even rarer), most generators were designed – and, more importantly, costed – to operate at a fairly steady state.…

Reliable vs. Intermittent Generation: A Primer (Part I)

By Bill Schneider -- March 1, 2023

“Why should a thermal plant spend money in a government-rigged market that threatens a reasonable profit? Why should the plant even remain in the market under these conditions?”

“For IVREs it’s a no-risk deal, with markets guaranteed and taxpayers country-wide adding profits. But what about the need for reliable power?”

This two-part post (Part II here) is a follow-up to Robert Bradley’s recent IER article, “Wind, Solar, and the Great Texas Blackout: Guilty as Charged.” His article discussed how regulatory shifts and subsidies favoring Intermittently Variable Renewable Energy (IVRE) producers resulted in prematurely lost capacity, a lack of new capacity, and upgrade issues with remaining (surviving) traditional capacity. These three factors–“the why behind the why”–explain the perfect storm that began with (or was revealed by) Storm Uri.

Part I below describes how the market was originally meant to work–but has not worked given the governmentally redesigned power market, beginning with generation.…

Dissecting a Wind Project: An Introduction to Bad Economics (and political correctness)

By Bill Schneider -- November 14, 2022

“My own personal experience turned me from being ‘mildly agnostic’ about intermittent renewable power to being a strong opponent of such schemes. And outside of some ephemeral political argument about ‘saving the planet’ … intermittent power schemes, whereby the generation capacity is linked to either a regional grid or large power user that relies upon predictable energy, should be avoided at all costs.”

This is an energy story, a personal one – and it begins back when I first saw the option on my utility bill while living in a suburb of Boston back in 1999. I could elect to pay more for “green” power, about 20 percent more. “Buying a cup of coffee to save the planet” seems reasonable. I checked the box.

This was how an “Average Joe” thought~23 years ago.…