Monday, February 01, 2021

Energy 138, China coal and Europe near blackout

Some interesting news reports here. Forcing more intermittent, weather-dependent RE like wind-solar into the grid is courting more expensive energy and possible econ catastrophy, case of Europe.

China's 2020 coal output rises to highest since 2015, undermining climate pledges
Muyu Xu  Reuters  Shivani Singh  Reuters
PUBLISHED  JAN 17, 2021 11:22PM EST

The world's biggest coal miner and consumer produced 3.84 billion tonnes of coal in 2020, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed on Monday.

China's coal output dropped after reaching a peak of 3.97 billion tonnes in 2013, as Beijing axed excessive mining capacity and promoted clean energy consumption.

Similar story:

China: Coal production, imports increase 
1/24/2021 5:03:55 AM

An ill wind for hard-up electricity users 
By Andrew Montford   January 15, 2021

LAST Wednesday the wind died, and Britain’s fleet of thousands of wind turbines mostly stopped turning. The engineers at National Grid had seen the problem coming: temperatures and wind speeds had been low all week, and were forecast to fall further. Their response was to issue a ‘margin notice’ – a warning to generators that extra capacity was going to be needed. Prices rocketed from their normal £40 per megawatt hour to over £100. Some held off taking this remarkable price, and when the grid still couldn’t balance supply and demand in the evening peak, were rewarded with even higher sums.

On Thursday, with wind speeds even lower, prices for balancing during the evening peak shot up again, reaching £1,400. By Friday’s peak, that figure had risen to a record-breaking £4,000.

8 January 2021: Europe just skirted blackout disaster 
Date: 17/01/21Henrik Paulitz, Kalte Sonne

The reason is the strong expansion of volatile renewable electricity generation and the elimination of large backup power plants in Europe. The output of 50 gigawatts going offline in Europe corresponds to “more than two hundred Danube power plants”. According to Wien Energie, the electricity grids are exposed to ever greater fluctuations. The number of emergency operations has increased from around 15 to up to 240 per year in recent years.

As a result of the “phasing out of nuclear energy and coal power”, a considerable amount of secured output will be shut down “without replacement” in Germany in the coming years, according to Seyfert. Regionally and throughout Germany, this leads to considerable challenges in terms of security of supply, to which political answers must also be found.

Last-Ditch Effort: Germany Weighs Electricity Rationing Scheme To Stabilize Its Now Shaky Green Power Grid 
By P Gosselin on 19. January 2021

The situation in the German power grid has deteriorated so much that Tichys Einblick also comments: “The situation in the power grids has become too critical. The only thing that helps are abstruse ideas like: ‘You are not allowed to refuel your car from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day!'”

Germany preparing for electricity rationing to stabilize green power grid 
Monday, January 25, 2021 by: Ramon Tomey

According to Tichys Einblick, a number of industries have been on the receiving end of “peak smoothing” efforts for some time now. Cold storage facilities and aluminum smelters have to put up with being disconnected from their power supplies for limited periods. However, the publication noted: “It’s a dangerous game [for aluminum smelters] because after three hours, the molten metal has solidified and the factory is ruined.”

Berlin On The Brink! Winter Blackouts Loom As Coal Plants Run At 100% Capacity, Struggle To Keep Lights On In 
By P Gosselin on 28. January 2021

According to Prof. Schwarz:

“With this supply of wind and photovoltaic energy, it’s between 0 and 2 or 3 percent – that is de facto zero. You can see it in many diagrams that we have days, weeks, in the year where we have neither wind nor PV. Especially this time for example – there is no wind and PV, and there are often times when the wind is very miniscule.  These are things, I must say, that have been physically established and known for centuries, and we’ve simply totally neglected this during the green energies discussion.”

See also:
Energy 136, California blackouts and wind-solar, August 21, 2020 
Interview at DZRH on comparative pricing, wind-solar vs coal, December 04, 2020 
Energy 137, Piki Lopez's climate and energy alarmism, December 26, 2020.

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