IRELAND FUEL AND CO2 REDUCTIONS DUE TO WIND ENERGY LESS THAN CLAIMED

Wind proponents often claim one kWh of clean wind generation displaces one kWh of dirty fossil fuel generation, which is true.

 

However, the inefficiencies introduced into the electrical system by variable, intermittent wind, results in wind being less effective at reducing CO2 than claimed. The more wind percent on the grid, the more the inefficiencies.

 

Ireland’s Power System

 

Eirgrid, the operator of the grid, publishes ¼-hour data regarding CO2 emissions, wind electricity production, fuel consumption and total electricity generation. Drs. Udo and Wheatley made several analyses, based on the operating data of the Irish grid in 2012 and earlier, that show the effectiveness of CO2 emission reduction is decreasing with increasing annual wind electricity percentages on the grid.

 

The Wheatley Study of the Irish Grid

 

Wind energy CO2 reduction effectiveness = (CO2 intensity, metric ton/MWh, with wind)/(CO2 intensity, with no wind) = (0.279, with 17% wind)/(0.530, with no wind) = 0.526, based on ¼-hour, operating data of each generator connected to the Irish grid, as collected by SEMO. More wind percent on the grid leads to a lesser CO2 reduction effectiveness

 

Wind proponents claim: If 17% wind, the CO2 reduction is 17%, i.e., 83% is left over.

 

Real-time grid operating data shows: If 17% wind, the CO2 reduction is 0.526 x 17% = 8.94%, i.e., 91.06% is left over.

 

Ireland Had an Island Grid

 

Ireland had an island grid, with a minor connection with the UK grid, until October 2012. As a result, it provides an ideal case for demonstrating the more wind percent on the grid would lead to a lesser CO2 reduction effectiveness

EU Brussels Bureaucrats Came to the Rescue to Achieve a Happy Ending

 

The poor CO2 reduction effectiveness of wind came to the attention of EU bureaucrats in Brussels.

Brussels provided Ireland with subsidies to build large-capacity connections to the much larger UK and French grids, which have much lower percentages of wind on their grids.

 

Any variations of Irish wind output are dealt with by the hundreds of generators on the UK and French grids.

The Irish wind output variations disappear in the noise of the UK and French grid operating data.

 

As a result, the Irish CCGT* plants are operated much more efficiently, because they are no longer burdened with having to deal with the variable, intermittent wind outputs.

* CCGT means combined-cycle, gas-turbine

 

- What applied to the Irish grid would apply to the New England grid as well; it also has minor connections to nearby grids.

- Europe is stuck with mostly CCGT plant counteracting wind variations, as it does not have nearly enough hydro plant capacity with storage.

http://www.theenergycollective.com/willem-post/2389832/german-renew...

If Minimal Wind in Ireland and UK

 

If winds in Ireland are minimal, that likely is also true for the UK, which lies east of Ireland. The UK cannot expect any wind energy from Ireland, and visa-versa.

 

As a result, Irish and UK CCGT plants will need to ramp up their outputs, or be turned on, to fill in for the lack of wind, as needed to meet demand.

That means, these CCGT plants will have to be staffed, fueled, and kept in good working order, to be ready to provide electricity to the grid, as ordered by the grid operator. Some of these plants will need to be in hot, synchronous standby mode.

None of that service would be for free, but it would not be charged to the owners of the wind systems, who were not required to provide STEADY POWER OUTPUT, such as by means of battery storage systems.

The French grid could provide some electricity to Ireland and the UK, but not enough to make much of a difference, because the capacities of the grid connections are limited.

ANALYSIS

 

Natural Gas and CO2 Reductions Less Than Claimed

 

If 0% Wind

 

This alternative assumes no wind turbines in Ireland. The CCGT plants merely adjust their outputs to follow the highly predictable daily demand curve.

 

Annual average CCGT plant efficiency is assumed at 50%

Production is assumed at 100 kWh, for analysis purposes. See note

Required gas = 100 kWh x 3413 Btu/kWh/0.5, efficiency = 682,600 Btu

Emitted CO2 = 682600 x 117/1000000, per EPA = 79.864 lb.

 

If 17% wind

 

This alternative assumes 17% wind generation on the Irish grid. The CCGT plants have to perform two functions: 1) adjust their outputs to follow daily demand, and 2) counteract the unpredictable up and down variations of wind output, 24/7/365. The greater the wind generation on any grid, the greater the quantities of electricity associated with the up and down variation of wind outputs.

The net result is much less-efficient operation of the CCGT plants, and more wear and tear.

 

Wind proponents claim:

Required gas = (100 kWh – 17 kWh, wind) x 3413/0.50 = 566,558 Btu

Emitted CO2 = 566558 x 117/1000000 = 66.287 lb

Claimed CO2 reduction = 79.864 - 66.287 = 13.577 lb

 

If 17% wind

 

Real-time grid operating data shows:

Actual CO2 reduction = 13.577 lb x 0.526, effectiveness (see Wheatley URL) = 7.142 lb

 

Remaining CO2 = 79.864 lb – 7.142 lb = 72.722 lb CO2.

Required gas to produce remaining CO2 = 72.722/(117/1000000) = 621,560 Btu

CCGT plant efficiency = (100 – 17) x 3413/621560 = 0.4558, if producing 83 kWh with 621,560 Btu of gas,

CCGT plant efficiency reduction = 100 x (1 – 0.4558/0.50) = 8.85%, due to counteracting wind variations

 

This means the CCGT plants have to operate less efficiently to deal with the variable, intermittent wind output.

That leads to more annual gas consumption than claimed by wind proponents

That leads to less CO2 reduction than claimed by wind proponents.

 

The above bold numbers are summarized in the below table.

Ideal World

Gas, Btu

CO2, lb

Turbine Eff., %

No Wind generation

682,600

79.864

0.5000

17% Wind generation

566,558

66.287

0.5000

Claimed Reduction

116,042

13.577

 

Real World

 

 

 

17% Wind generation

621,560

72.722

0.4558

Actual Reduction

61,040

7.142

 

CCGT plant efficiency reduction

 

 

8.85

 

Lack of CO2 Reduction in 2013

 

The above example was for 100 kWh.

However, in 2013, natural gas was 2098 ktoe*/4382 ktoe = 48% of the energy to generating plants; see SEIA report.

 

*1 ktoe (kilo ton oil equivalent) = 39,653 million Btu

 

The gas energy included 2098 x (1 - 1/1.0855) = 171 ktoe for counteracting wind.

The CO2 emission of 171 ktoe x 39,653 million Btu/ktoe x 117/million Btu = 791.4 million lb.

 

At least 791.4 million lb of CO2 emission reduction did not take place, because of less efficient operation of the CCGT plants

 

Lack of Gas Cost Reduction in 2013

 

The cost of the gas was about 171 x 39,653 million Btu/ktoe x $10/million Btu (2013 prices) = $67.6 million; current prices are much higher.

 

At least $67.6 million of imported gas cost reduction did not take place, because of less efficient operation of the CCGT plants.

 

Fuel Cost of Counteracting Wind/kWh

 

In 2013, the fuel cost of counteracting wind was 5,872,100,000 kWh of wind, per SEIA report/$67.6 million = 1.152 c/kWh, which would become greater as more wind turbine capacity, MW, is added, and as gas prices increase.

 

It is likely there were other costs, such as increased wear and tear of the CCGT plants, and increased grid build-outs for having wind turbines all over Ireland.

 

Ireland Natural Gas Imports Greater Than Expected

 

Ireland imports its natural gas. The Irish people had been told building wind turbines would reduce gas imports.

When the reductions of gas imports were much less than promised, the government conducted an investigation, which proved the efficiency degradation of the CCGT plants.

 

A similar outcome is in store for New England, if it builds out wind on ridgelines and offshore. The laws of physics apply on both sides of the Atlantic. See below section: Hydro-Quebec A Much Better Alternative Than Wind and Solar.

 

Wind Proponents Lied to the Irish People

 

It must be a real downer for the Irish people, after making the investments to build out wind and despoiling the visuals of much of their beautiful country, to find out the reductions of CO2 emissions and the cost of imported gas, at 17% wind on the grid, are only about 52.6% of what was promised*, and, as more wind is added, that percentage would decrease even more!!

 

*Not included are the embodied CO2 emissions for build-outs of:

 

1) Flexible generation system adequacy

2) Grid system adequacy

3) Storage system adequacy to accommodate variable wind (and solar). High percentages of wind (and solar) on almost all grids could not exist without storage system adequacy. See URL.

http://www.theenergycollective.com/willem-post/2396941/wind-and-sol...

 

CCGT Plant Efficiencies are Less at Part Load Outputs

 

If CCGT plants perform peaking, filling-in and balancing, due to variable, intermittent wind and solar on the grid, they would operate at varying and lower outputs, and would experience more start/stops.

 

Such operation is less efficient than at steady and higher outputs, and with fewer start/stops, similar to a car.

 

CCGT plant operation becomes unstable below 40%.

Hence the practical limit is about 50%, which means the ramping range is from 50% to 100%.

 

The table shows maximum efficiencies at low outputs; real-world efficiencies would be even less.

 

Output

 Efficiency

 

 Output

Efficiency

Simple Cycle

100%

38%

 

40%

26%

Combined Cycle

100%

55%

 

40%

47%

 

http://www.wartsila.com/energy/learning-center/technical-comparison...

http://docs.wind-watch.org/Wheatley-Ireland-CO2.pdf

http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/89476/wind-energy-co2-em...

http://www.seai.ie/Publications/Statistics_Publications/Energy_in_I...

http://www.clepair.net/Udo20150831-e.html

http://fredudo.home.xs4all.nl/Zwaaipalen/17E_Wind_in_the_Irish_grid...

APPENDIX 1

Australia Electrical System

 

The Australian electrical system has no connections to nearby grids, i.e., it is an “island system”. In that respect it is similar to the Ireland electrical system. Dr. Wheatley made studies of the grid operating data of the Australian system. See URLs. His report states:

 

- At 4.5% wind, CO2 reduction was about 3.5%, i.e., the effectiveness was about 3.5/4.5 = 78% in 2014.

- The reports states, if 9% wind, CO2 reduction would be about 6.3%, i.e., the effectiveness would be about 6.3/9 = 70%.

 

By straight line extrapolation,

 

- If 13.5% wind, effectiveness would be about 62%

- If 18% wind, effectiveness would be about 54%

 

The 54% would be similar to the 52.6% at 17% wind of Ireland electrical system. Thus, the more wind, the less its effectiveness regarding reducing CO2 emissions and fuel consumption. The laws of physics apply to Ireland, Australia, etc.

 

http://joewheatley.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/sub348_Wheatley.pdf

http://joewheatley.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/report.pdf

http://joewheatley.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/co2_nem.pdf

APPENDIX 2

Denmark Electrical System

 

About 50% of Denmark’s total electricity generation is by wind. Its wind turbines are connected to the national grid. The national grids of Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark are connected in a grid called Norpool. During higher wind periods, Denmark’s wind turbines produce too much electricity; any excess is exported, mostly to Norpool.

 

- The hydro plants of Sweden and Norway merely pass less water through their turbines to perform CO2-free balancing of the system. Denmark is in a unique case, and should not be used as an example regarding build-outs of wind turbines.

 

- In New England, that balancing is performed by CO2-emitting gas turbines, which creates operating inefficiencies, as above described.

 

APPENDIX 3

Hydro-Quebec A Much Better Alternative Than Wind And Solar 

 

“Vermont has the option to purchase up to 200 megawatts, but Jessome said he doesn’t expect the state to take advantage of that option.”

 

Apparently, Green Mountain Power prefers to buy much higher-cost wind and solar from a variety of local suppliers. The 200 MW could provide about 1.3 million MWh/y, with no capital investments and subsidies, replacing most of what Vermont lost when Vermont Yankee was shut down in 2014.

https://vtdigger.org/2016/02/09/army-corps-of-engineers-approves-1-...

By means of plant upgrades and new plants, Hydro-Quebec plans to have about 5000 MW of additional hydro plant capacity. See URL.

Here a list of the benefits of hydro energy:

- Clean (no particulates, no SOX, no NOx)
- Low-cost (5 - 7 c/kWh, plus 1 c/kWh for transmission), much less than wind and solar. See URL.
- Very low CO2/kWh emissions, much lower than wind and solar
- Steady, 24/7/365, i.e., NOT variable and NOT intermittent, unlike wind and solar, which are weather dependent, variable cloudiness dependent, night and day dependent, and season dependent
- NO federal and state subsidies and investment tax credits
- NO capital outlays by Vermont’s government
- NO enriching of multi-millionaires and their lucrative, risk-free, tax shelters
- MINIMAL additional environmental impact in Vermont and Canada
- Private entities would own the transmission lines from Quebec to New England
- RECs would not need to be sold to out-of-state entities so they would be wearing the green halo, instead of Vermonters.
- Much less social discord than controversial wind on pristine ridgelines and solar in fertile meadows

 

Here are some URLs about increased hydro energy from Hydro Quebec.

 

http://vtdigger.wpengine.com/2015/01/28/utilities-want-flexibility-...

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/eversource-hydro-qu-bec-offer-170400...

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/increased-canadian-hydr...

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/more-energy-from-hydro-...

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/gmp-refusing-to-buy-add...

 

 

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Maine Center For Public Interest Reporting – Three Part Series: A CRITICAL LOOK AT MAINE’S WIND ACT

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(excerpts) From Part 1 – On Maine’s Wind Law “Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine if the law’s goals were met." . – Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, August 2010 https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-power-bandwagon-hits-bumps-in-the-road-3/From Part 2 – On Wind and Oil Yet using wind energy doesn’t lower dependence on imported foreign oil. That’s because the majority of imported oil in Maine is used for heating and transportation. And switching our dependence from foreign oil to Maine-produced electricity isn’t likely to happen very soon, says Bartlett. “Right now, people can’t switch to electric cars and heating – if they did, we’d be in trouble.” So was one of the fundamental premises of the task force false, or at least misleading?" https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-swept-task-force-set-the-rules/From Part 3 – On Wind-Required New Transmission Lines Finally, the building of enormous, high-voltage transmission lines that the regional electricity system operator says are required to move substantial amounts of wind power to markets south of Maine was never even discussed by the task force – an omission that Mills said will come to haunt the state.“If you try to put 2,500 or 3,000 megawatts in northern or eastern Maine – oh, my god, try to build the transmission!” said Mills. “It’s not just the towers, it’s the lines – that’s when I begin to think that the goal is a little farfetched.” https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/flaws-in-bill-like-skating-with-dull-skates/

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Hannah Pingree on the Maine expedited wind law

Hannah Pingree - Director of Maine's Office of Innovation and the Future

"Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine."

https://pinetreewatch.org/wind-power-bandwagon-hits-bumps-in-the-road-3/

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