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Climate Change Renewables

Challicum Hills wind farm and the wettest September on record

I’m back on my BNC blog tonight, albeit briefly. You see, I’ve been on annual leave since Wednesday, and have spent the last few days on a motoring tour (with my parents and my two boys, Billy and Eddy, aged 11 and 8) around western Victoria — Castlemaine, Ararat, Lake Fyans, the spectacular Grampians National Park. Today I was touring around Hamilton and surrounds (Merino, Tahara, Branxholme), where I lived 25 years ago, for a few years. Not much has changed! It’s still the beautiful, rolling green country of Australia Felix that I remember from my boyhood.

We were in Ararat on Friday 1 Oct and took the opportunity to visit the 53 MWe (peak) Challicum Hills wind farm. Here is a picture of me out the front of it.

 

BNC Blog author Barry Brook at the edge of the 53 MWe (peak) Challicum Hills wind farm in western Victoria, 1 October 2010

 

The turbines were spinning gently (well, most of them), but the breeze was very light and that was reflected in the low capacity factor on that day, as reported on Andrew Miskelly’s “Wind Farm Performance” website (which graphically depicts performance of wind farms connected to the electricity grid in south-eastern Australia over a 24-hour period, showing output as a percentage of installed capacity and actual output in megawatts):

 

I was there at about 10:30 am, during one of those little humps in output. The wind farm, snaking along a ridge line, consists of 35 NEG NM 64 wind turbines, each with a 64 m rotor diameter, 68 m hub height, and a peak output of 1.5 MWe. The CHWF was completed in 2003 at a cost of $76 million. It fun to see WF sites up close that have only previously been names on an analysis data frame! [hint: The Broome to Cooktown Challenge is still looking for input over on Oz-Energy-Analysis.org]

On a climate note, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology has released a new Special Climate Statement. From BoM’s Dr. Karl Braganza (Manager Climate Monitoring, National Climate Centre), it…

details recent high rainfall across Australia in 2010, including record rainfall in northern Australia, and reviews the prolonged dry conditions experienced in south-east Australia and in the south-west of Western Australia.

The end of September 2010 marks 14 years since the start of a very long meteorological drought1 in south-east Australia. In the south-west of Western Australia, similarly dry conditions have been in place over the past 14 years, while a longer term drying trend has been observed since the 1970s.

The prolonged dry spell has been characterised by a combination of recurrent meteorological drought (short-term dry “spells”), less autumn and winter rainfall in most years, and an absence of very wet periods.

Recent, widespread, above-average rainfall across much of Australia has alleviated short-term (month to seasonal) dry conditions. This rainfall has been associated with the breakdown of the 2009 El Niño and the development of a moderate to strong La Niña event in 2010.

The recent rainfall has not ended the long-term rainfall deficiencies still affecting large parts of southern Australia. While some parts received well above-average rainfall, most notably in the Murray-Darling Basin, drought-affected regions in the far south-east of the continent have experienced near-normal conditions. The south-west has continued its run of very much below-average rainfall, adding further to the long-term drying trend in this region.

You can download the PDF of the full statement here.

 

Billy, Barry and Eddy, bush walking in the Grampians National Park

 

This is an interesting addition for me, coming on the back of the recent blog post I wrote, “Do the recent floods prove man-made climate change is real?“.

Whilst offline, I’ve been tinkering further with the SNE2060 modelling and background work (on the assumptions and outcomes), and will put a couple more posts up on this topic during this week.

But for now, I’m back to my holidays. Tomorrow we visit the recently extinct crater lake of Mt Eccles (Australia’s most recent mainland volcano — last eruption was approximately 8,000 years ago), then it’s down to the Great Ocean Road, on the winding way back to Melbourne.

After all, I have to get back to Adelaide in time for Wednesday, when I’m speaking at the RiAus event “Thinking Critically About Sustainable Energy #4: A Nuclear Future“:

With an urgent need to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and the global demand for energy rising exponentially, might nuclear energy be the only non-carbon-emitting technology capable of meeting the world’s requirements?

The nuclear industry’s image has been compromised by the threat of nuclear proliferation, reactor malfunctions and the storage of radioactive waste. However, today’s proponents argue that improvements in reactor design have made them safer as well as more fuel-efficient and cost-competitive to build, compared with coal plants.

With renewable energy sources still unable to provide enough baseload power, is nuclear energy our best option for reducing carbon emissions? Will the next generation of reactors make nuclear the clean, green option?

Join us as our expert panel discusses this hot topic and make up your own mind.

This event is the fourth of six public forums aimed at providing a comprehensive examination of sustainable energy technologies and a critical evaluation of their potential for reducing carbon emissions.

Presented in association with the Centre for Energy Technology, the University of Adelaide’s Environment Institute and the Institute for Mineral and Energy Resources.

Book your seats and I’ll see you then.

By Barry Brook

Barry Brook is an ARC Laureate Fellow and Chair of Environmental Sustainability at the University of Tasmania. He researches global change, ecology and energy.

140 replies on “Challicum Hills wind farm and the wettest September on record”

> definition of the derived unit “power” is the watt (W), which is a joule per second (J/s).

Thank you. You just made my point. It is derived, not fundamental. Energy is fundamental and systems of units have nothing to do with it.

When you guys use Power to calculate your “instantaneous capacity factor” – which is not the same as the commonly understood quantity – you are getting confused.

And you’re creating a tendentious measure that is of not much value.

When you further extend the application of this measure to discontinuous (read intermittent) energy sources you are really, really, doing something that is not acceptable.

Redo the analysis using energy. Finrod’s had the wit to notice this point.

Peter. Can I say this: The AEMO files we’re talking about have a value called “MWH_READING”. I presume this is MWh and not MW as you assert. Also please note that AEMO ask us to read it as MW but I they don’t explain why.

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> I don’t describe fast breeders as new. I never said that.

You did actually.

Immediately after* your slide showing the crossover points of various technologies at differing carbon price points – where you say “carbon capture and storage [needs] $50-60…” you introduce a photo of an experimental fast breeder and say:

…. this is a new type of technology that has the potential to make nuclear sustainable …

You then go on to discuss today’s technology as a “once-through” cycle as contrasted with a closed, breeder based cycle that isn’t limited – at least for a couple of centuries – by fuel supply.

As I said, you could have given this same talk 40 years ago.

“Real Soon Now” gets a bit old as a justification after 40 years. Fast breeders are still experimental and still not productionized.

And as I said above, I kept waiting for the punchline. Where is the “new” in what you had to say?

* Sorry my viewer doesn’t show me a timestamp so I can’t give you the exact point

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Barry,

I think JM is arguing that Power, as it is commonly expressed, is the same as Energy, if the time scale considered is 1 second.

I can’t understand why he is obsessing about this, however. Yes, if you report MW, as AEMO is doing, this is the same as reporting 1 MJ, delivered within a 1 second period. But so…?

However, vy convention which is accepted worlwide, the electricity industry does not report energy as Joules. It reports energy as kWh, MWh etc.

So your point above could be more appropriately written, for electricity, as:

“Power, as it is commonly expressed, is the same as Energy, if the time scale considered is 1 hour.

This highlights the issue with JM’s lack of understanding of the electricity industry.

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JM,

Thank you. You just made my point. It [power] is derived, not fundamental. Energy is fundamental and systems of units have nothing to do with it.

Wrong!. Energy is a derived unit in the SI system. Look it up. The only SI base units are: length, mass, time, electric current, thermodynamic temperature, amount of substance, luminous intensity. It is essential to understand the system of units being used in engineering, or you wont understand anything, as you seem to be demonstrating in your posts on this thread to date.

Whilst what you say is ok in the mks system of units,

The SI and MKS systems are not the same. Did you not know that? Are you really a physcist, or are you trying to become one?

When you further extend the application of this measure to discontinuous (read intermittent) energy sources you are really, really, doing something that is not acceptable.

JM. You haven’t a cluue. Why don’t you take up your point with the electricity industry. Try to convince the electricity industry throughout the world thay they are wrong and you know better.

Peter. Can I say this: The AEMO files we’re talking about have a value called “MWH_READING”. I presume this is MWh and not MW as you assert. Also please note that AEMO ask us to read it as MW but I they don’t explain why.

Why don’t you include a link to what you are referring to. I’ve asked you before to do so. I don’t know where you are referring to. However, this statement causes no confusion for me. MW is numerically the same as MWh over a 1 hour period, so what AEMO is saying is understood in the electricity industry – world wide! You need to understand if you intend to work with the data. You can average a column of MW readings, if they are at equal time spacing, and get average power which you can convert to energy by multiplying by the time span (in hours) of the column of readings. Or you can add the MW readings and multiply by the time difference between readings in hours to calculate the energy in MWh. Everyone in the industry understands this. If you don’t understand this, or you want to argue about it, I sauggest you take it up with AEMO. Or you could just be a bit more humble and be prepared to try to learn instead of thinking everyone else is stupid, but not you.

you have misunderstood what “Levelised Cost of Electricity” (LCOE) means.

Sorry I missed that comment in your presentation, I thought you were addressing only operational costs.

Which demonstrates you haven’t the slightest understanding of LCOE. Clearly you do not understand that costs that are internalised for electricity are externalities for the other electricity generating technologies. You have also demonstrated that you have not the slightest understanding of cost estimating, real costs, constant versus current costs, etc. Not a clue but you think you do. You criticise the estimates of the future cost of Gen IV, but don’t seem to criticise the estimates of the future cost of renewables. Why not?

Can I suggest you Google “ExternE” to find out about the externalities costs of electricity generation systems, “ExternE NEEDS” to find out how cost estimating is done for the future (compare the Solar Thermal and Nuclear estimates for example) and “ExternE NewExt” to learn about comparitive health effects and risks of the various electricity generation technologies.

Or you could read the articles here and start on your course of learning:
https://bravenewclimate.com/renewable-limits/

Please do some homework and then, if you want to, post questions on the appropriate thread. There is great deal you could learn from BNC if you want to, and you can go back to the cited sources to dig deeper and check. Of course there will be errors, and we welcome them being pointed out. But at the moment I wouldn’t give any credibility to anything you say.

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Barry,

The paper has now been accepted in the journal Energy, as of yesterday.

That is excellent news. Congratulations to you and Martin Nicholson. It is a great paper and I strongly recommend it as essential reading.

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JM, power is a derived quantity. It has dimensions kg.m2.s-3 (using SI units).

Energy is a derived quantity. It has dimensions kg.m2.s-2.

Power and energy are both quantities with derived units, in the sense of the term that has physical meaning. The fundamental quantities are things like mass and time.

Energy is not somehow more fundamental than power. They are both objective, real and different physical quantities. They have different qualities. Energy, for instance follows certain conservation laws that have interesting consequences. But so does momentum.

You appear to think a quantity that is defined as a derivative is somehow less fundamental. For instance, I imagine you think electric charge a more fundamental quantity than electric current.

But in the SI system, the fundamental electrical quantity is current. If you want to talk about charge, you need to integrate a current over time. Electrons carry a charge of 1.6×10^-19 ampere.seconds

I think this is exactly analagous to your confusion over energy and power.

I think you are coming unstuck on some fairly fundamental concepts in physics and calculus, which were first raised by the likes of Zeno and Democritus in ancient Greece, substantially dealt with by Newton, Liebniz and others, and pretty well tidied up by the later development of mathematics into the 20th century.

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This sentence in my last post to JM:

Clearly you do not understand that costs that are internalised for electricity are externalities for the other electricity generating technologies.

was supposed to read:

“Clearly you do not understand that costs that are internalised for nuclear are externalities for the other electricity generating technologies.”

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@ JM:

Fin’ I think you need to read what that paper actually says.

Pure insolence, given your ridiculous claims concerning the paper’s contents.

It’s only concerned with evaluating 3 different mooring strategies. The $1000 you’ve been so enthusiastically quoting only refers to the contribution of mooring the membrane in the water.

It completely ignores other costs associated with the process

This is a bald-faced lie. The paper gives three seperate tables detailing 1) the cost of production of the adsorbant cloth, 2) The cost of adsorbant mooring at the ocean site for three different methods, and 3) desorption and purification costs. There is also a table summarising the relative costs of various mooring options which include the adsorbant production costs and the desorption and putification costs.

Now to examine each seperately:

1) Assuming a production rate of 10,000 tonnes/year, this is figured to be 4.93 million yen/tonne, resulting in a cost of 4,100 yen/kg U from that input.

2) The cost input to 1 kg of U from ocean site mooring is estimated as:

a) 47,300 yen for the bouy method, or

b) 43,800 yen for the floating body method, or

c) 22,100 yen for the chain-binding method.

3) The desorption and purification cost is estimated at 2,900 yen/kg U.

This gives us a cost range for 1 kg of U from 29,100 yen to 54,300 yen.

These estimates were made in 2001, when the $US-yen exchange rate was ~120yen/$US. Thus the high-end estimate is ~ US$450/kg U, and the low end estimate is ~US$240/kg U.

The $1000 figure I offered for my previous calculations was indeed the cost (slightly overestimated) from the experimental tuns made a few years ago. JM has either not bothered to check any of this, or was hoping nobody else would.

And BTW, nuclear accounts for about 1/3 of Japanese electricity so it’s coal and gas – which have lower fuel costs and lower capital costs – that are subsidizing nuclear and lowering the price, not the other way round and can I also add that Japan subsidizes electricity generally.

The only element of truth in the above statement is that nuclear power entails high capital costs. The fuel costs for coal and gas are far greater than for nuclear power when assessed on a fuel cost/energy delivered basis (and the trasdportation cost for all that gas and coal must be an absolute killer for them… it’s all imported). This is why amortised nuclear plants in the US can produce electricity at a wholesale rate of less than US$0.02/kW.h, why France enjoys extremely cheap electricity by Western European standards, and why the Lithuanians were furious about having to shut down Ignalina to comply with EU membership requirements. If Japan goes fully nuclear (and it will, sooner or later) the price of electricity there will plummet.

In anycase, you’re missing the point – if you’re going to make this case, you must, positively must use the cost of electricity from $1000/kg uranium and not arbitrage against coal and gas or $100/kg uranium (from mined ore).

Referring to my response above, it will be less than the surrent price of electricity in Japan.
JM, it is clear that you have either not read the paper referred to, or at least not read it for comprehension. If you have, that is ethically far worse. In that case you have deliberately lied about it in order to mislead people and obstruct the dissemination of truth concerning energy options. You have a clear history of doing this, and have thus abrogated any claim to be treated as an honest participant in this debate. Given your history of dishonesty, it seems highly unlikely that your claim to have studied and worked in physics is true. I shall make it my business to ensure that whenever I encounter you in a discussion in the future, all participants will be made aware of your history and your form.

To everyone else, if you should ever knowingly cross paths with JM again, you would do well to check everything he/she says about referenced material for yourself. JM is a serial liar concerning such.

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Oh boy.

. MW is numerically the same as MWh over a 1 hour period, so what AEMO is saying is understood in the electricity industry

AEMO sample in 5 second periods, Barry asserts identity between Power and Energy if you use the trick of setting the time period to 1 sec.

Now you want the time period to be set to 1 hour to accomplish the same trick.

Look, this is bloody simple to understand:- Power is not Energy.

Energy is a fundamental. Power is not.

And the derivation of Power is actually Work over time not Energy. Work just happens to be expressed in the same units as Energy.

“Clearly you do not understand that costs that are internalised for nuclear are externalities for the other electricity generating technologies.”

And what is that supposed to mean? Exactly what is internalized for nuclear but external to coal say?

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JM,

You continually repeat the same wrong statements despite having been told by several people including me. You don’t understand. You don’t listen, you continually confuse power and energy and then say I and others don’t understand the difference, you think every one is wrong except you, you dont understand the system of units we’ve been using since the 1970’s, and you don’t know anything about cost estimating, you haven’t bothered to look at the references I gave you which would have answered your last question.

But you are unable to admit you are totally out of your depth.

You’re a fool.

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you haven’t bothered to look at the references I gave you which would have answered your last question.

Even if JM had done so, he just would have lied about what the reference said in the hope that no-one would check up on him.

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> you continually confuse power and energy

I confuse power and energy???? WTF?

How, when?

You’ve done it many times. Other people have also.

The entire basis of this thread is my initial observations that that was what you guys were doing.

Don’t project Peter. It’s not a good look.

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Oh and while you’re there Peter, could you explain this statement:

“Clearly you do not understand that costs that are internalised for nuclear are externalities for the other electricity generating technologies.”

I’m still very curious about it.

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John

Systems of units have nothing to do with it. Energy is fundamental, power is not.

On reflection I find it somewhat ironic that a blog with a large contingent of nuclear fans doesn’t understand what E=mc^2 actually means.

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John: Energy, for instance follows certain conservation laws that have interesting consequences. But so does momentum.

Yes. But energy and momentum are very, very closely related. In many formulations they are essentially identical. You need to look into some relativity a bit.

The analogy is not apposite.

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Oh. My. God.

JM, “Energy is fundamental. Power is not.” does not have any physical meaning.

“Energy and momentum are very, very closely related” does not have physical meaning.

Energy and momentum are never “essentially identical”. There is no formulation in which they unify, including relativistic formulations.

Power is the instantaneous time rate of change of energy in a defined physical system. Its a more general concept than just the time rate of change of work. For instance, you could put a hot iron rod into a glass of water and observe the water temperature rise. The rate at which heat energy is being transferred to the water is the power. No work involved.

The relationships between these quantities is the subject of dimensional analysis, a very powerful analytical technique in physics and engineering. There is no quantity that is more ‘fundamental’ than any other. The thing that is fundamental is the more abstract calculus of their interactions, the mathematical structure in which they exist.

You really do have some basic misconceptions about the nature of physical quantities.

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> The rate at which heat energy is being transferred to the water is the power. No work involved.

I can’t comment any further. We are just going to have to disagree.

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JM said,

Oh and while you’re there Peter, could you explain this statement:

“Clearly you do not understand that costs that are internalised for nuclear are externalities for the other electricity generating technologies.”

I’m still very curious about it.

As I said last time you asked the same question, go to the link I gave you and you might understand (perhaps, but then again you might not. I expect you will say they are all wrong and you know better)

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John

I’m sorry I snapped at you there, and I’m also sorry for not getting back to you earlier but I’ve had some very serious things to deal with over the last two days.

Yes “essentially identical” is probably an overstatement, and I meant it only as a philosophical viewpoint that is not rigorous but isn’t far from the truth either.

Can I refer you to Special Relativity – From Einstein to Strings by Patricia and John Schwarz*, particularly Section 4.2 from which I will quote:


In Newtonian physics, energy and momentum are different quantities. One is a scalar and one is a vector. Under a Galilean transformation, energy remains energy and momentum remains momentum. In relativity, a Lorentz boost mixes energy and momentum, just as it mixes time and space, so that energy are as relative as time and space.

As I said, not completely wrong. And you can see this if you look at photons which the Schwatz’s then go on to do in this and following sections.

Now, to your example of the beer glass and the poker.

Touche. Yeah, you’re right on that one. But you just shot your argument about dimensional analysis and the equal standing of all physical variables (if I can put it that way) in the foot.

Heat transfer of this kind is specifically excluded from the definition of Work. It’s an exception. So not all quantities are created equal. Some are abstractions with applicable only in limited contexts.

Power – IMHO – is one of them. You need time in there to make it work. Energy, however is fundamental. Energy and mass are identical after all, and there is nothing else in the universe than those two.

* I’m sure you know who they are, if not, Google them. And yes, books like this are my lunch time and commute time reading.

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JM,’

Could you be more specific as to what you are asking about? I’ll take a guess that you are referring to this:

Can I suggest you Google “ExternE” to find out about the externalities costs of electricity generation systems, “ExternE NEEDS” to find out how cost estimating is done for the future (compare the Solar Thermal and Nuclear estimates for example) and “ExternE NewExt” to learn about comparitive health effects and risks of the various electricity generation technologies.

which was included in this post:
https://bravenewclimate.com/2010/10/03/challicum-hills/#comment-104710

Start with ‘ExternE’. I’d urge you to look at the others as well.

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Thanks Peter

Now that I understand that you are talking about externalities in the normal sense can I ask you for your response to the WInd and Hydro columns in the results table (bottom of the page)?

In general, nuclear has greater external cost than both.

(Although I’d also express some curiosity about the sensitivity and robustness of the model since external costs seem to vary quite markedly across countries for any given technology.)

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JM,

Can I suggest you take your time to get up to speed on the subject matter first before asking me for more explanation. We do not have a common platform and it is impossible to explain, on short posts, the bacground you need for this discussion. The three references I suggested you review will assist, but you will need to spend some time on them.

I’d also suggest you have a look at the SI system of units because you are thinking in pure physics terms rather than in engineering terms.

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JM, thanks for your response above, and apology accepted. I wrote above,

(Ignoring quantization of energy of course, but thats a level of pedantry not called for here. Yet.)

and it looks like we got there after all, though via relativity rather than QM.

I would still not privilege any particular quantity as being more fundamental than another, but I can see your position is more nuanced than I thought, so until we define clearly what we each mean by “fundamental”, I’ll say I’m not completely right.

On the hot poker, power in thermodynamics is taken to be a more general concept than purely ‘mechanical’ power. ie P=dU/dt where dU=dW+dq. So while heat and work are distinct modes of energy, thermal energy flux is included in the definition of power. (Otherwise, what word do you use to describe the energy flow used to heat the water? I recommend you add some statistical mechanics to your commute reading list.)

Interesting as this is, its rather strayed from the point. What are you trying to do with the wind data you’re after? And have you thought of contributing to the analysis effort at Oz Energy Analysis?

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