Thursday, February 03, 2022

Energy 159, US coal, gas, oil production vs solar

I like this article by David Middleton:

U.S. to shutter 14.9 GW of coal-fired & add 46.1 GW of utility scale solar PV in 2022
David Middleton. January 12, 2022.

Nuclear power plants generally have a 95% theoretical capacity factor and nearly 100% utilization rates. Therefore, their realized capacity factors are usually >90%. 

The theoretical capacity factor of coal-fired power plants is about 85%. The realized capacity factor is variable and tied to the price of natural gas. The higher natural gas prices go, the greater the utilization rate of coal-fired power plants.


Utility scale solar PV power plants achieve an average capacity factor of 25%.


The theoretical output of 14.9 GW of coal-fired capacity is greater than the average achieved capacity factor of solar PV. And the actual output of solar PV is generally the maximum achievable output.

    Cap. Factor GW     GWh/yr
Coal 85%         14.9       110,945
Solar PV 25%         46.1         99,747

When you replace dependable, 24/7/365 base load with this:

You get a “duck curve“…


See US crude oil production, in million barrels per day (mbpd):

3rd week Jan. 2013, end of Obama 1st term, 6.99

3rd week Jan 2017, end of Obama 2nd term, 8.96

Jan 2018, Trump 1st year, 9.92

Jan. 2019, Trump 2nd year, 11.9

Jan. 2020, Trump 3rd year, 13.00

(and world oil prices were low, US became a major oil and gas exporter under Trump)
Lockdowns started March 2020, low oil demand, reduced supply.

Jan. 2021, Trump 4th & last year, 11.0

Jan 2022, Biden 1st year, 11.5.

US gasoline prices been rising, especially since Jan. 2021 when Biden came to the White House.

Natgas prices too. Basic supply-demand. Biden restricts oil-gas supply while demand increases. The killing of Keystone pipeline that will bring Canada oil sands to the US cheaper for refinery. The cancellation of fracking for oil-gas in federal lands. 

Among the reasons why US inflation last December, 7.0%, at 39-years high, since 1982.

Other good articles:

1. Oil and gas discoveries are at the lowest level since 1946
By Michael J. Coren  December 28, 2021

The oil and gas industry is on track to discover just 4.7 billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe) by the end of 2021, its worst performance in 75 years, according to the research firm Rystad Energy.

2. German Household Electricity Prices Reach New Record High In 2021…Share Of Green Electricity Falls!
By P Gosselin on 11. January 2022

3. Why Democrats Make Energy Expensive (And Dirty)
Michael Shellenberger. Jan. 11, 2022

4. Europe’s energy calamity offers a global teaching moment – do not try this at home
Terry Etam  December 18, 2021

5. Fossil Fuel Generation Outpaces Renewables in 2021 – IEA
Paul Homewood  Jan. 14, 2022

6. ENERGY CRISIS Families are “rationing fuel or turning off fridge freezers” due to soaring energy prices – how to get help
Marc SHOFFMAN. 16:27, 13 Jan 2022

7. How green policies are fuelling the energy crisis
We have swapped abundant and reliable sources of energy for intermittent renewables.
ROB LYONS.  9th January 2022

8. Energy industry blames Biden’s oil-and-gas crackdown for higher
Valerie Richardson - Wednesday, January 12, 2022

See also:
Energy 156, More on Europe going back to coal and gas, October 14, 2021 
Energy 157, Blackout-friendly RE, Europe experience and lessons for the PH, December 18, 2021
Energy 158, Europe rolling blackout, Germany's anti-nuke anti-coal policy, December 25, 2021.

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