Renewable Power Fail – As Usual – September 2010

Posted on Tue 01/25/2011 by


More Renewable Power Plants leads to an increase in Carbon Dioxide Emissions.

This may seem to be a pretty bold thing to say, but the data actually supports this and in fact proves the statement.

This Post is one month late in being Posted here. That does not mean I have forgotten it, or tired of posting these facts. The data that I use for these posts was released late in the month of December. When that data is posted, it is originally in the form of very large XL Spreadsheets. Usually, three days later, it is then converted to a more readily accessible html format. That conversion was delayed due to the Christmas break and appeared in the week following that break.

In that week directly following Christmas, here where I live in Rockhampton, in Queensland, there was a major flood event, and I concentrated on Posting articles here at our site on that flood. Then following that, a serious major flood event also came to the State Capital, Brisbane, further to the South from here, and I then concentrated on that event, posting daily UPDATES on the flood crisis there, and even further afield as flooding then started in the State of Victoria.

Because of that, this Renewable Power Post has been late in its compilation…..TonyfromOz.

Some of you may wonder why I persist with doing these Posts, having many times made the dramatic point that no matter how many wind power plants and solar power plants are constructed, they will never achieve what we are being told about them, that they will replace coal fired power plants, and save us from the Carbon Dioxide emissions from those coal fired plants, that CO2 we are told is the major contributor towards Climate Change/Global Warming.

Having made the point once, then there might ‘seem’ to be no real need to continue the Posts, because, in effect, they are basically the same each time I post a new one, giving the impression of just rewording the same old information time after time. However, the exercise I wanted to achieve was to show the results for a whole 12 month period, so I could not be accused of ‘cherry picking’ data for months when the wind may not blow or the Sun might not shine at its brightest. That is why I have contributed these posts in the form of a series, and all the posts for this calendar year so far are shown if you take this link.

As I have stressed all along, the public is being told that these two major forms of generating electrical power using renewable sources are being constructed at a large rate, and because of that they give the impression of supplying an ever increasing amount of power.

That is a vast misrepresentation of the truth, because what should be looked at as the single most important fact is not the amount of power these plants might be able to produce if they could run at their maximum, that increasing Nameplate Capacity of those plants, but the actual amount of power they are supplying to the power grids for consumption by the three main sectors where power is used, the Residential Sector, (38%) the Commercial Sector (37%) and the Industrial Sector. (24%)

While the nameplate Capacity gives the impression that it is increasing at a huge rate, the actual power made available to consumers is in fact around the same percentage as it always has been, and if it is increasing, that increase is tiny by comparison.

Also, because that amount of available power from these renewable plants is not increasing, then those other plants are being required to work for longer periods of time to provide power when those renewable plants are not supplying power, and in some cases, this has achieved the exact opposite of what was hoped these renewable plants would achieve, that of lowering those emissions of CO2. In fact for some months, even with this vast increase in the numbers of these plants, CO2 emissions overall have risen, and in some cases to record levels not seen before.


September Power Chart

This chart shows the overall power consumption totals from the energy source. This chart is not for the month of September, but for the overall consumption for this year 2010 to date. If you click on this image, it will open on a new page and will be a larger image.

September is one of the benign months of the year, not having the heat of Summer, and with the onset of the cold Winter still ahead.

To that end, overall power consumption fell, and fell quite considerably during this month as air conditioners did not have to extract the heat from all those buildings, and there was no need for heating to kick in.

Across the whole U.S. total power consumption feel by nearly 17%. As you can see from the pie chart there, comparing it with the chart for the previous month, figures moved around only slightly.

However what is worth noting here is that while we are in times where we are being told we should be using less electrical power, we are in fact consuming more of it. Again, so I’m not accused of comparing ‘apples with oranges’, this fact is borne out by comparing power consumption with Septembers from previous years, and the total power consumed for this September was higher than it has been for a number of years now. The same has been the case for every month of this year also, so September is not just a glitch.

This overall data is shown at this link.


Because this is one of those benign months, overall power consumption fell, and that was mirrored in the coal fired sector with a fall in power consumption from this sector of almost 16%. This is not because those plants are closing down because of the need to cut back CO2 emissions, or that they are gradually being replaced by renewable plants. That decrease was because the overall total fell because less power is consumed in these months of relatively benign weather conditions, hence that fall was similar across the board for all plants producing electrical power.

Incidentally, these benign months are when these large coal fired plants carry out major maintenance when the plants are slowed, but never stopped, because the need for them to providing the huge amounts of power that they do supply is not there as much. These maintenance down times are carefully planned across the board so there is still a large number of plants available to supply that 24/7/365 Power need.

Again, what is worth noting here was that for this September, coal fired power still supplied 8% more power than it did for the previous September, and because of that emissions of CO2 also rose when compared to last September by that same 8%.

Because there was a decrease in power supplied, then the emissions of CO2 also fell, by the same percentage.

However, the rolling total for coal consumption for the year thus far shows an increase of 9% over what was consumed last year. That bland percentage figure seems low when expressed in that manner, so to show it in actual figures, an extra 48.6 million tons of coal has been burnt so far this year, leading to an increase in CO2 emissions in the amount of almost 140 million tons (Extra CO2 Emissions) over what was emitted for the same period last year.


After three months in a row of record and near record consumption of the fuel that drives these plants, Natural Gas, because of the benign weather in these Autumn months, the Natural Gas fired sector part of the total power delivered fell back, and in this case by a substantial 22%. That CAN be explained in the main because of the benign nature of this particular time of year.

These plants are designed to run for short periods of time to top up the Base Load power provided by the coal fired and Nuclear power sectors. Unlike huge coal fired plants that need to be consistently operating at their maximum all the time, these plants can run up to speed quickly and provide their power to the grids quickly.

These times are early in the mornings prior to work and school, and from 4 mid afternoon into the early evenings when people come home from work and school. This is the normal Peaking Power periods when these usually smaller plants come on line to provide that extra power as it is needed, and with reduced cooling or heating requirements, then less of these plants are running to provide that top up power.

However what needs to be taken into account here is that even with this quite substantial fall in the power they delivered, the actual amount was still quite a bit higher than for the previous September, and this sector has consistently increased when compared to each previous September, and in fact that increase over the last two years has been around 17%

While these plants emit less CO2 than coal fired plants, only one third as much, there has still been an overall increase in their emissions. In fact, that increase when compared to the same period for the last calendar year sees an overall increase in the emissions of CO2 by almost 30 Million tons.


Now, perhaps some of you who are believers in renewable power might actually look upon this a ‘gotcha’ moment because, while all other sectors showed a decrease in the power they supplied to consumers, the two renewable power sectors most in favour, Wind and Solar, actually showed an increase of around 9%.

However, that hoped for ‘gotcha’ moment must be tempered by the amount of power that they actually do provide. That total supplied by wind and Solar comes in at 2.1%, so the increase was 9% of 2.1% or only0.19% of that total, which is around the same amount of actual power provided by ONE large coal fired power plant in 8 days, and that renewable power percentage increase is for the whole U.S.


Wind Power increased the power they all supplied to grids across the U.S. by 11% but that needs to be tempered by its overall total percentage supplied to grids of only 2.05% for the Month, so that increase amounted to only 0.22% overall, or the same amount of actual power supplied by that ONE large coal fired plant in 9 days. The wind power total for the 9 months to date comes in at 2.16% of the total, and compared to last year’s total of 1.7%, the increase is indeed still quite small, so even though wind plants are being constructed at a large rate, any increase in power they supply to grids across the U.S. is indeed small.

Bland percentages can be just that…..bland, so let’s then look at them in their actual number and show how efficient they are (in this case, are not) at delivering that power.

They are being constructed at an ever increasing rate, and each month now, more of them come on line.

To date, there is a Nameplate Capacity of Wind Power plants across the U.S. of 41000MW, which is the same as the Nameplate Capacity of 21 large scale coal fired plants, and keep that number of 21 large coal fired plants in mind.

If these wind towers could theoretically provide their power on a 24 hour basis, than they could produce 29.5 Billion KWH.

The amount of power that they actually did provide to the grids was 7.08 Billion KWH.

This gives them an efficiency rate for delivery of power of 24%, effectively meaning that every wind power in the U.S. is only delivering its maximum power for five hours and forty five minutes out of every day.

Now, remember the equivalent 21 large scale coal fired power plants i mentioned above. Those  21 coal fired plants delivered the same amount of power produced by every wind tower in the U.S. by 5AM on the 8th September, just over 7 days.

That power delivery efficiency rate of 24% is well below the usual quoted delivery rate of around 35% but slightly higher than the current World average of only 20% at best. That power delivery efficiency rate is never quoted as an outright figure because that would make people consider that they really don’t supply all that much power, and be able to do so on a consistent basis. Those people constructing these wind towers tell you that their wind plant will provide power to supply X number of homes. This is a very, very, careful way of misleading you into believing that they do supply a lot of homes, but these wind plants are never connected directly to those homes, but they supply their power only to the grid where it is consumed by all the sectors connected to that grid, residential, commercial and industrial.


I don’t know why I even bother including these statistics for Solar power, because they are so small that any power they do supply is not ever going to enough to be relied upon for any purpose whatsoever, and if the truth is to be told, that will ALWAYS be the case.

As we move away from the Summer Months, the amount of power supplied by every Solar plant across the U.S. falls, and it falls pretty dramatically.

Last month the fall was by 17% and while that number seems large, every Solar plant in the U.S. only provided 0.04% of all power consumed in the U.S. This is the same overall total percentage as for last month, but again, this is only because the overall power consumption dropped by a large amount and even while Solar Power dropped by a large amount also, its contribution is just that tiniest of fractions greater than absolute zero. For the year to date Solar Power’s contribution still only amounts to only 0.035% of the total power supplied to grids for consumption. Keep in mind that the overall percentage for the same period last year was 0.025%, so while there has been an increase, gee who cares, it’s all but nothing anyway.

Okay then, let’s look at just how efficient they are at supplying their power to the grids.

Again, more Solar plants are coming on line, and to date there is 920 MW of Nameplate Capacity for every Solar plant in the US. the equivalent of one medium sized coal fired plant.

If all those Solar plants could provide their power for the full 24 hours of every day, (a physical impossibility, because the Sun sets every night) then, using the same formula as I used for the Wind calculation, then the power delivery efficiency rate for every Solar plant in the U.S. comes in at just a little over 21% or for only five hours each day.

The on equivalent sized coal fired plant delivered the same power from all Solar Plants in the U.S. by 6AM on the 7th September, just over six days.

A completely fruitless exercise is to compare the power delivered by one large scale coal fired power plant, which would have delivered the same amount of power from every Solar plant in the U.S. in 72 hours.


When you add together the power delivered from every Wind plant, and every Solar plant, it only comes to 2.09% of all power delivered to the grids across the whole of the U.S. and the rolling 9 month total comes to only 2.19%.

For the same period last year that percentage was 1.80%, so despite the huge number of new Wind and Solar plants coming on line, at astronomical expense, the power they deliver to the grids across the U.S. is still virtually negligible.

There’s any number of comparisons I could do, but the results would always be the same. Renewable power fails to deliver, on any level.

One thing that should be highlighted is the startlingly obvious.

Even with the increase in construction of these favoured renewable plants, CO2 emissions are climbing, not falling as we are told will be the result of all these renewable plants coming on line.

Hey! Why is that?

With the increased demand for all power, as the figures bear out, then that means more power is required on an absolute basis, that 24/7/365 basis, that much maligned Base Load.

As is graphically borne out by the power delivery efficiency rates for both Wind (24% or five and a bit hours a day) and Solar, (barely 15% at the absolute best for the whole year Summer included, or around three and a half hours a day) then they patently cannot EVER be relied on to contribute that Base Load Power.

So that means that contrary to what we are being told, that we need to stop using coal fired power because of those emissions, coal fired power is still being used and in fact is supplying more power as consumption levels rise.

Added to that is the ever increasing reliance on Natural Gas fired power, which is also rising, not on the same scale as for coal fired power, but as the data shows, at a far greater percentage than coal fired power.

Why is that?

Natural gas fired power supplies Peaking Power, in the main, for those times I explained above.

Because Wind Power and Solar power only supply their power for part of the time, and cannot be relied upon to contribute towards the Base Load, then they are only used to top up the grid as needed.

Because the wind cannot be regulated to blow for the specific two hours in the morning and the specific five hours in the evening, then they also cannot be relied upon to supply a regular Peaking Power.

Because of this, then those Natural Gas fired plants will always HAVE to be on line and supplying their power to the grids, because if those Wind plants aren’t working, then there will be no power.

Hence, those Natural gas fired plants have to work harder and longer, hence burning more Natural gas, and hence emitting more CO2 into the Atmosphere.

So not only has the desired result NOT been achieved, the opposite is in fact happening.

Even after vast fortunes have been spent by Governments subsidising renewable power at every turn, more CO2 is in fact being emitted.

So, when a politician, (who understands politics so intimately) tells you that renewable power is needed to lower emissions, and that this vast construction plan to build ever more of them is imperative, there’s nothing else to be said other than that politician is flat out lying. Either that, or he’s been (a) misinformed or (b) hasn’t even bothered to find out the truth of the matter.

Whichever it is of those three things, that politician is culpable, no matter who he/she is.

There will be people who read this and totally discount everything I have to say, and they will justify their thinking by telling themselves I’m only saying it to support a political agenda.

This is incontrovertible data that has no political tone whatsoever. These figures speak for themselves.

All this only serves to highlight one thing I have said all along.


The links to the data I have used above are all from the U.S. Government’s own site the Energy Information Administration. (EIA) They Post this data on a monthly basis for data three months past.

Overall Electrical Power Generation

Renewable Power Generation

Coal Consumption for Electrical Power Generation

Natural Gas Consumption for Electrical Power Generation

This post adds a further link to the earlier posts for this year. They are available at this permanent link. At this link I have the statistics for each month of this year, 2010, to date.