An interim report is out from National Grid on the “Low Frequency Demand Disconnection” (LFDD) experienced in the UK on August 8th. There were a number of contributors to the LFDD. Instead of looking for a single culprit it would be better to list the contributors, because it’s the interaction that resulted in the event. I’ll review the failures in the UK to highlight a recent report from Ontario’s system operator (IESO) that has received too little attention.
Many suspected wind as the primary factor on August 9th, and the Hornsea offshore wind facility was heavily involved. So far that involvement has simply been identified as its failure to ride through a voltage dip caused by a lightening strike to transmission wires elsewhere.
“There was a lightning strike on a transmission circuit north of London …”
“There was a small loss of embedded generation (c.500MW) due to the lightning strike. This is normal …”
Little Barford gas power station and Hornsea wind reduced supply to the grid by 1,378 MW
The last bullet point grabs the most attention, the first triggered the event despite being a common occurrence which was typically handled; but it is the middle point that should instigate changes in the operations of the grid.
I was surprised to read something nonsensical onTwitter yesterday morning only as it was put there by a fairly well respected renewables slogger, and (after a day of sanity away from social media) annoyed to see the poster claiming the nonsense was to illustrate some financial point.
“an ERoEI of 60 over 60 years and 25 over 25 years are identical!”
ERoEI is Energy Returned on Energy Invested. It’s an important metric in places. According to twittering huckster’s thread he was thought riffing on it as a public service:
“So next time some armchair nuclear power hero hails #ERoEI as the reason only nuclear can power the world, you can straighten them out.
I haven’t seen many nuclear proponents hammering away on ERoEI. I did know the World Nuclear Association published an exploration of nuclear’s ERoEI, but I had interpreted that as defending itself from frivolous claims – which has long been made by travellers of the soft path. The first link I checked on when googling “ERoEI of nuclear was a 2013 article at the currently reputable Carbon Brief – which is apparently a huge change over just half a decade:
…the range of estimates for nuclear’s EROI is very large indeed, ranging from an estimated 40 to 60 – from the World Nuclear Association – to less than one. Inman tells us he used a paper that reviewed many studies, which puts nuclear’s EROI at five.
My own little thought experiment will revisit this 1970’s approach, using Germany’s history with renewables to explore the impact of Germany’s renewables surge on systemic ERoEI:
Many energy analysis studies done in the 1970s seem to have assumed that a rapid expansion of nuclear generating capacity would lead to a temporary net energy deficit in an overall system sense. However, this requires dynamic analysis of whole systems…
I won’t discuss the half-a-century of hammering nuclear on ginned-up claims, or the current carnival barker’s petty use of “60 over 60 years” – when the WNA essentially has 60 (59) over 40 years as a claim (and 79 over 60 years), but this idea of systemic ERoEI to demonstrate a far more relevant metric for value.
I saw an opportunity for presenting Ontario electricity data in trying out the free public version of the Tab|eau business intelligence tool.
I’m not sure I have the patience, or the smarts, to learn how to do all I’ve learned with Microsoft’s Power BI, but maybe I should. I’m astonished with the power of this map in filtering the data table!
(afraid the attempt at embedding on wordpress was a failure – but the link works!)
…polling conducted by the Gandalf Group — headed by the man leading the Liberals’ 2018 re-election bid — found large support for the government’s plan for a $15 minimum wage, general support for carbon pricing, if not necessarily the specifics, and even improving assessments of the hydro file, over which the government has been consistently hammered.
The Gandalf Group is led by David Herle, Premier Kathleen Wynne’s campaign manager. Mr. Herle is, in my opinion, a very good policy person and astute pollster. I wrote on his work influencing policy last September (opposition Finance Critic Vic Fedeli cited my work in his Focus on Finance 4).
This isn’t meant to imply policy-by-poll is a good thing. It’s entirely possible the people polled prefer not only poor policy, but ignorance.
Within days of the first story on new government policies polling well (without noting they became policies because they polled well), the Liberal Party friendly Toronto Star published Kathleen Wynne wants you to like her policies, not her. The Premier has implemented this shtick in her canned pre-campaign appearances.
There is a saying in politics that “anger is not sustainable.” I believe that, but I’m not sure most potential voters are simply not liking, or even angry with Premier Wynne. Anger is an energy, but disgust is a sense.
On July 26th Alberta’s electricity market hit its regulated peak price of $1000 per megawatt-hour (MWh) and stayed there for hours 17, 18 and 19. The price soon dropped back down but the commentary continues.
Upon seeing there had been a price spike, I checked to how industrial wind turbines had performed and saw they’d performed exactly as I’d expected, with output dropping from hour 14 to hour 18.
I expected that as I’d seen it in 2014 and in 2012. I didn’t think this was a particularly big event. Prices have been very low in Alberta and this spike will do little to change the yearly average. Alberta is examining a capacity market, and the intent of those is to prevent high price hours – but Texas is an example of a jurisdiction thus far avoiding capacity markets/costs by upping the maximum peak market price. Theoretically, peak pricing can be healthy in encouraging new market entrants with peaking generation, or demand reduction, products. While seeing the one event as not particularly problematic, I did put some short thoughts up on twitter:
capacity credit of industrial wind turbines in Alberta is ~nil 30% renewable goal is 100% wrong-headed get the backbone clean 1st
Capacity credit is an awkward term I’ll return to.
A response to my tweet tagged Andrew Leach who later put some other suspects for the cost spike up on Twitter, including:
If you look at what pulled out of the market, you had BR5 and Milner out, and then one Keephills and one Sundance coal unit exit…
And, on top of having those 4 coal units out, two more ramped down and wind generation dropped…
As @JesseJenkins often points out, we need to re-think “base load” – AB had at least 6 “base load” coal plants out during summer peak.
“two more ramped down and wind generation dropped” is interesting. I’ll simply point to a recent post on flexibility as speculation on that point.
I rudely responded to the last point – which is the point the dreadful Pembina Institute now has a blog post picking up on.
So now I feel I must address the silly commentary from the time, and money, wasting Pembina and associates crowd.
In early 2010, then Minister of Energy Brad Duguid issued a directive to the OPA (Ontario Power Authority) instructing them to create and deliver an “industrial energy efficiency program” specifically for large transmission connected (TX) ratepayers.
That directive led to the creation of the two classes of ratepayers that now exist in Ontario.
If you are unfamiliar with the topic the latest article may inspire you to learn more, I recommend some articles for doing so at the end of this short post.
One statement Parker makes is not entirely correct: “IESO did not start disclosing the consumption by ratepayer class until 2015.” While they did not publish the data to their website, they did share it with those who asked.
My Finnish readers will already know that I announced some time ago that I’m done with energy/climate change discussions. I’ve been following the debate actively since about 2007 and have been writing about it since late 2010. I’ve written two books about the topic, one of which is translated to five languages, and blogged fairly regularly. But now it’s time to do something else.
The main reason why I’m refocusing is because I think the debate is going nowhere, and I don’t want to waste my time on a futile project. We are not going to get a decarbonized energy system by 2050. We are going to fail the climate targets, probably by a large margin, and I suspect that a warming of about 3 degrees centigrade is going to be almost inevitable. It’s perfectly possible that self-amplifying feedback mechanisms under way will amplify this change even more. What…