Or why National Grid ESO’s obsession with intermittent renewables is leading us over the energy cliff
Would anyone sane buy a car costing some 10 times the normal price to buy and run, that can only work one day in six, when you never know which day that might be ? And then insist that its technology is the only way to power a whole developed economy.
I found this comment a while back from Gail Tverberg interesting on the issue of EROEI and Solar as an example.
EROEI Calculations for Solar PV Are Misleading- here is the linkhttps://ourfiniteworld.com/2016/12/21/eroei-calculations-for-solar-pv-are-misleading/
I wish I could say I was surprised by the fact that a 'senior electricity' analyst had not heard about EROEI, but I'm not. I've had dealings with renewable energy companies, planning authorities and planning inspectors appointed by the Secretary of State and none have demonstrated any knowledge of EROEI. It is a shameful indictment of the state of the country (government, civil service, education) that we have begun, and are about to accelerate along a path that leads to the impoverishment of society and dislocation from all the benefits of high EROEI energy (fossil fuels, nuclear power) all in the name of chasing the chimera of Net Zero. There is no climate crisis that demands we throw ourselves over the EROEI cliff through diktat of governments that clearly have little, or no true understanding of the issues involved.
How long do you think it will be until the first power cuts in the UK? That will be the wake-up call for these issues to get exposure.
Weather dependent means unreliable and horridly expensive as either there is costly back up by fossil sources or those on the grid give up power. Remember who drove us off the energy cliff.)
Doing the calculation with pumped hydro is not relevant. Someone needs to do the EROI calculation for the Wind/Solar plan as it exists today. And that is battery & green hydrogen for storage. Green H2 for process heat. Heat pumps for building heat. And long distance, poorly loaded transmission, to improve the Capacity Factor of the Solar/Wind energy supply. And a whole lot of Overbuild due to seasonal variation. The hydrogen will presumably use fuel cells for electricity production.
And then there is the EROI for wind/solar/storage/hydrogen for transportation applications.
I suspect if you do a complete EROI calculation for those REAL WORLD power grids, it will be around 1:1. Even worse in many regions.
And Charles Hall puts the minimum EROI for a modern industrial civilization with benefits like Arts & Culture, Pensions, Health Care, Education, Military, Legal System at 14:1.
And that 14:1 is going to be made even higher by all the chicanery going on in Government now. i.e.:
Stupid destructive endless wars
Creating all kinds of overpaid less-than-worthless jobs like Offices of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Endless scam projects like Solar Roadways
Casino Capitalism financial scams
Carbon Trading scams, i.e. Net Zero
Plandemic scams i.e. lockdowns, economic blockades
Scams waste energy & resources. 14:1 EROI isn't going to be enough.
What’s the rest of Europe looking like regards EROEI?
Somebody better solve the storage problem, fast.
Strictly you probably need buffering for nuclear, as it is not easy to fix for it to load follow at grid scale. Indeed, Wylfa was supported by Dinorwig pumped storage as well as Anglesey Aluminium which gave it a large baseload customer. If you examine what the French actually do you find that intra day load following is performed by hydro and gas and exports, with seasonal flex in nuclear fixed by scheduling maintenance and refuelling for low demand seasons in normal circumstances. Nuclear flex on shorter timescales is costly, which doesn't matter in a nuclear sub, but is crucial for a grid.
LCOE is of course a useless metric when considering a grid. Any technology has significant cost variation depending on the mode of use. CCGT becomes inefficient when ramped and cycled frequently. Coal and nuclear ditto. Hydro costs depend on utilisation factors. Wind and solar exotics get progressively worse as capacity is added to pay for the added grid investment, stabilisation and curtailment, backup and perhaps storage.
You can really only look at an integrated grid and measure its cost in energy input and money in a range of situations: summer, winter, higher and lower demand and temperatures, wind speeds, commodity prices etc. and then consider variations in capacity provision to see which offer better or worse solutions.
I think the graph is useful, but awkward and confusing.
How about clarifying/estimating all costs - mining, materials, transport, footprint, construction, transmission, storage, waste disposal, facility/materials lifespan, and decommissioning. With this data calculate "true cost" of energy produced.
Energy sources could then be compared in a more apples to apples manner.
Complicated - yes! But a detailed/ inclusive approach would provide a much more accurate and relevant picture. The goal being to calculate and compare the cost of all energy sources, rather than a graph that leaves most of us scratching are heads. If this has already been done, please share source/reference.
Mr Turver - I hope you enjoy my reaction to your essay, linked here: https://open.substack.com/pub/joelelorentzen/p/a-climate-of-skepticism?r=1p5p1m&utm_medium=ios&utm_campaign=post