Renewable Power, But Not For When It’s Needed Most (Part 2)

Posted on Mon 04/26/2010 by




January of 2010 was the middle month of what has been one of the coldest Winters on record. Electrical power consumption spiked higher for December by almost 17%, probably expected for the start of Winter, but in January, it spiked a further 3.5% on top of that previous month’s increase. Where did all that extra power come from? Well, not from the renewable sector, which in fact decreased its output of power, the only sector that did decrease its output.

For background on what I will be showing with this post, go and see Part 1 at this link.

The image above is for electrical power consumption by Generation sector for the U.S. The chart is the most recent from The Energy Information Administration (EIA) site and includes data up to and including January of 2010. Click on the image to open it in a new and larger window, and then navigate back and forth.

What is startlingly obvious from this chart is the increase in power consumption from the coal fired power sector, which only last month was down to a tick over 44%. This shows a 4% rise in just one month, and for the last 2 years that coal fired sector has showed a steady decrease every month from 48.6%. Now, in just one month that figure has spiked back up to 48.3%. That 4% increase may sound small when expressed as a percentage, but the amount of actual power consumed is quite large an increase, in fact 37 Billion KiloWattHours. (KWH)

So, then let’s look at those stats in some detail.

This image below is almost unreadable when shown as it is on this page, so if you click on the image, it will open in a new window where you will be able to easily see the numbers. Then just navigate back and forth as I explain those stats. This small part of that main huge page of numbers I have cropped to show just the stats in question, that for November and December of last year, and for January of this year. This is taken from the EIA site as well. The whole page is shown at this link, so you can see that I’m not just making this all up.

The first thing to notice here is the total, and this is at the far right. The total for December shown there is 360,302 and this is expressed in Thousand MegaWattHours, which is a tick over 360 Billion KWH. Compare that with the totals for November and December and notice the spike for the first 2 months of Winter.

As we are only concentrating in a couple of areas, we can discount those with minor totals, but even so, they still increased the totals of power that they delivered to the grids.

Look at something here that may seem puzzling. See the increase in power delivered from the Nuclear sector. No new plants have gone in, well for so long now, and yet that sector still provided a large level of power increases for those last two months. Why would that be? A nuclear power plant runs 24/7/365, and the only time they are not doing this is down time for reactor refuels, when they replace the rods in the reactor with new fully enriched (3 to 4% enrichment) rods. This happens every 18 months or so, give or take some. The plant runs down, the rods are replaced, the reactor is then started back up, creating the steam to drive the turbine, which then drives the generator. Because the greatest demand for power to keep a dedicated and increased Base Load is in mid Summer, and mid Winter, then those down times for all the nuclear inventory are carefully planned so that as many plants as possible are kept running during those important periods, so even though the figures look to vary, and sometimes considerably so, those nuclear plants just keep humming along. That is why there was an increase in power provided from the nuclear sector.

The area showing the most significant increase was that coal fired sector. Again, here maintenance time is carefully calculated so most large plants are running during Mid Winter. That increase also takes into account those smaller coal fired plants that are not used to provide the Base Load of power. They are used at Peak Power times. Smaller plants can more easily run up and down for those periods when needed than large plants, So here, when this spike in power consumption was needed the most, those smaller plants were tasked with running for longer periods. Hence that very large increase of power from that coal fired sector.

This resulted in an increase in the amount of coal being burned to actually provide that increase. That is shown at this link, and as you can see, there was a huge increase in coal consumption from November to December of 15 Million tons, and then a further increase on top of that again of more than 3 million tons.

The other large sector increase was in the Natural Gas fired sector. This is because those plants are specifically designed to operate for the short periods of time for Peak Power periods. This Winter, they have been asked to run for longer periods because those Peak periods have been longer lasting because of the cold of this Winter in particular. There was an increase in December in consumption of Natural Gas of 14%, and a further 4.5% increase on top of that for January.

Now, look closely at the power provided from the renewable sector. In a period of time when electrical power increased dramatically, this renewable sector actually decreased the amount power they provided to grids all across the Country. So, when it was actually required the most, they just could not deliver, and in fact did not deliver. In actual fact, the amount of power delivered from all renewables has steadily decreased over the last 4 months, and not just for Winter. That decrease may seem small, but with more and more of these plants going in, then it would only stand to reason that the power they deliver should be going the other way, and not actually falling.

So, let’s look at that renewable sector in detail.

Again, click on the image below to open it in a new window. This is also an extract from the main data which is at this link.

The data for Wind and both versions of Solar Power are in the 2 colums at the left.

As you can see, the total power supplied from the Wind sector fell for December and stayed at around that same level in January. That total there is the same as 6.355 Billion KWH. When you compare the total for Wind with the overall total figure for all power for the month, at the far right of the first data image, a simple calculation shows that for this month, Wind supplied only 1.76% of all that power. So, while we are told that Wind is slowly taking over delivery of power, this is not being borne out. In fact the total power delivered from every wind tower in the U.S. amounted to less than just the increase in power delivered from the coal fired sector for that one month.

The U.S. has taken over from Germany as the largest supplier of power from Wind on the Planet. The U.S. currently has a Nameplate Capacity of Wind Power of 38,000MW. That is a huge number and in fact is the equivalent of 19 large coal fired power plants, so a fair thing to do would be to compare the two of those suppliers.

Even though there is that huge number for Nameplate capacity, the actual power delivered in fact is a lot less than that, as I so carefully explained in Part 1. The power delivered equates exactly to the time that they are producing the power.

The calculation is an engineering one. The maximum power that theoretically could be delivered from that 38,000MW of Wind plants running at a 24/7/365 basis for those 31 days of January is 28.2 Billion KWH. They actually delivered 6.355 Billion KWH, meaning they delivered their power at an Efficiency rate of 22%, which in fact is close to the current Worldwide average for power delivery from Wind Power. This amounts to around five and a half hours a day.

Is that what you really want for the middle of Winter when that power is needed the most?

Let’s then compare this with the power delivered from an equivalent Nameplate Capacity of coal fired plants.

Using the same equation, the maximum they can deliver is that same figure 28.2 Billion KWH.

Those coal fired plants actually delivered 24.8 Billion KWH to U.S. power grids.

So, coal fired power delivered 3.9 times the power on an equivalent basis as did those wind towers.

So, when you are told that wind towers will be replacing coal fired power plants, this is a flat out, blatant lie.

Now, look very, very closely at the power deliverd by EVERY Solar plant in the U.S.

That figure there is 8 Million KWH. Work that figure out when compared to the overall power total supplied to U.S. power grids from every source. That amounts to ….. wait for it ….. 0.002% of all power consumed.

When you add that to what is supplied by Wind, the total power delivered from the two sources we are told is the way of the future, that percentage total now comes to 1.762% of all power.


This is what we are told is the future direction for electrical power in the U.S. If this is the future, then we have every reason to be frightened ….. very very frightened.

It’s no use comaparing Solar power with equivalents, because that would be a number so small as to be inconsequential.

So, as an exercise, let’s compare the total power delivered from every Solar plant in the Country with the power delivered from just ONE large power plant, say, the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant in California. That plant was probably like most nuclear power plants over this period that ran at close to 100% power delivery, but let’s take the smaller figure for the whole year of power delivery efficiency rate. Every Solar plant in the Country delivered 8 Million KWH for the 31 days of that Month of January. This ONE nuclear power plant delivered that same amount of power in the first 3 hours and 45 minutes of the first day.

An average large coal fired plant would deliver that same power every four and a half hours.

If Wind Power and both forms of Solar Power are the way of the future, then a very bleak future is in store for all of us. Those idiots in Government who are trying to force this on all of us obviously have not even bothered to check the data from their own Government sources. You just cannot understand why these people are trying to do this. You’d think that at least somebody would TRY at least to find out the real facts about all this.

For the life of me, I can’t figure out why there is this headlong lunatic rush to a form of power generation that is not only enormously expensive to construct at the front end, costs more to maintain, has a lifespan barely one third of the plants they hope to replace, and of most importance, cannot supply the levels of power required absolutely on that 24/7/365 basis.

These simple statistics bear out perfectly that when real electrical power is required, then it still falls to the coal fired sector to supply that power.

Renewable Power failed, and failed miserably for these two months when it was needed, and no amount of hocus pocus magic will make those renewable plants perform any better in the near term and in the long term.

When the people find this out, then those politicians pushing this monumental stupidity of incredible proportions will be looking for somewhere to hide, and no matter how deep the cover may be, the fury of people denied access to electrical power will necessitate that they will need to hide for the rest of their lives.

This can’t be cured by saying ‘Sorry, we might have been wrong, or we were badly informed.’

That’ll be too damned late!