Renewable Power Fail – As Usual – November 2010

Posted on Fri 03/04/2011 by


Despite Wind Power showing a good result for its power delivery for the Month , Carbon Dioxide emissions are also increasing.

Now that’s a change for me to be actually able to say that a form of renewable power generation did well, and it specifically highlights something I’ve been saying all along.

When viewed in isolation, some data can give a false impression, so I am really glad that I’ve set myself this task of collating data for a full 12 month period. It’s been a long process, and there’s still one Month to go.

Had I just been selective and picked this one Month to make comment on, the data for this Month would probably have led me to make some false assumptions, and that would have given an incorrect perspective on what we are told is ‘the way of the future’, this move to a clean energy future.

So, having said that Wind Power had a good month, just how good was it, and is there any underlying reason for such an increase in the amount of power actually delivered to grids across the U.S.

True Wind did increase the amount of power it delivered to consumers, but again, this needs to be taken in context.

November is a traditionally windy Month, and just from looking at the overall data which extends back numerous years, this is borne out.

Having said that, the increase in power delivery was just a little better than marginal.

Those people who are pushing hard for the introduction of more wind towers will tell you that they can deliver their power at an efficiency rate of 35%. The current World average for that efficiency of power delivery is currently around 20%.

The figures for this month show that all the wind towers across the whole of the U.S. delivered their power at an efficiency rate of 33% so if this data is viewed in isolation, then those claims start to look pretty close to the mark.

So, even during a traditionally windy Month, those wind towers still failed to deliver the power that their backers claim.

Even so, there is also the claims being made that the further introduction of more of these wind towers will result in the lowering of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions, and that wind power will gradually begin to take over from those main offenders in the emissions stakes, those coal fired power plants.

So, even during a windy month when those wind towers did increase their delivery, did it result in the lowering of those CO2 emissions.

Well, no, in fact.

CO2 emissions actually increased during this month both in the coal fired sector and also in the Natural Gas Sector, and not just by small amounts. That trend of increased CO2 emissions is also something that is not an isolated thing, but in fact those total emissions for the year are increasing, and in fact by quite large amounts, especially in that main offender, those coal fired power plants.


This chart shows the overall power consumption totals from the energy source. This chart is not for the month of October, 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.

With Winter still to kick in, the total power consumption again fell, in what is the last of the fairly benign months of Autumn. However, when compared with the same Month for the previous year, that total consumption shows a rise, and when the running total for power consumed across the U.S. is noted, that 11 month total is nearly the same as for the total consumption for all 12 Months of the previous year, so the mantra that for the sake of the environment, consumers need to be using less electrical power is falling on deaf ears. That mantra stems from the vast bulk of that consumption being generated from sources that emit the supposedly dangerous Greenhouse Gas Carbon Dioxide (CO2).

However, what is noteworthy here is that while total electrical power consumption is indeed rising, and we are told we need to be moving to supplies of electrical power that emit less of this CO2, those emissions from the CO2 intensive sources are rising at a rate greater than the overall total power consumption rise.

It is true that consumption for those Renewables of choice, Wind and Solar are indeed slowly rising, they are not replacing the electricity provided by coal fired or Natural gas Fired power, but are replacing mainly Petroleum based plants. These Petroleum based generating plants are in the main those really old power plants that have reached their expiry dates and in fact are gradually fading from the generating scene.

What is also noteworthy here is that any falls in that coal fired sector are not being taken up by those Renewables but from the Nuclear power generating sector, which is increasingly delivering greater levels of power than it traditionally has. That’s not due to the fact that there are more Nuclear power plants, because none have been constructed for quite a long time now. They are just being tasked with working harder to provide even greater levels of power, in fact 7% more than for last year.


When compared to the same Month last year, the Coal fired sector showed less than a 1% decrease in both the power it provided and the coal it consumed, hence also the same percentage reduction in CO2 emitted, but that 1% needs to be taken in context with the overall emissions of CO2 in the amount of 208 Million tons of CO2, so that reduction in CO2 emissions for the Month came in at only 2 million tons.

However, when looking at the rolling totals compared to the same 12 month period last year, the overall consumption of coal has increased by 4.5% and that needs to be taken in context with the actual total consumed power increase of only 4%.

Having said it like that in bland percentage values, it seems quite a small amount really, but that increased coal consumption equates to an increase in actual CO2 emissions of 124 million tons over and above last year’s total emissions from this coal fired sector.


This sector is one that is indeed moving ahead markedly, and by significantly greater percentages than the overall increase. In fact this Natural Gas sector increased the power it provided compared with the previous November by 8%. Again expressing it as a bland percentage factor does not indicate fully that total extra power delivered, which amounted to 5.1 Billion KiloWattHours. That is enough power to cover every electrical power need for the whole State of Arizona, and that was just the Monthly increase for power provided from this Natural Gas sector.

This marked increase in power delivered means that those plants are consuming more Natural Gas, hence emitting more CO2. These plants emit less CO2 than for an equivalent sized coal fired plant, but just saying that does not mean the number is significantly smaller. The increase in emissions for this month when compared to the same month last year show an added 2.1 million tons of CO2.

However, when the data is observed for the whole year to date, that number increases significantly. Compared to the same period for last year, the additional CO2 emissions amounts to 32 million tons over and above last year’s emissions.


This sector actually showed a percentage increase over and above the total percentage increase. The two favoured forms of generation, Wind and Solar combined increase the amount of power they delivered by 43% when compared to the previous year, and as huge as that increase looks, the actual amount of increase in KWH was only enough to cover one third of the total power need for that same State, Arizona, so while the percentage shows a marked increase, the total is coming from a very small base, which inflates that percentage level.

These two Renewable sources of Power generation still only provided 3.25% of the total power consumed in the U.S. a marked increase from last month’s total of 2.6%, but an increase that has a good reason behind it.


When viewed as monthly totals, November has always indicated higher levels of power delivered, indicating that this is indeed one of those windy months of the year.

Wind power shows a marked increase in total power delivery when compared to the same 11 months for last year, due mainly to the fact that more of these towers have come on line hence delivering more power, so a bland percentage comparison showing an increase can in fact be misleading.

To actually show just how these wind towers perform at delivering their power, we need to compare that delivered power with what they could deliver if they were to operate at their maximum capacity.

Currently there is an installed Nameplate Capacity for Wind Power of 41,000MW, and keep in mind that this is indeed a large amount, and is the equivalent of 22 large scale coal fired power plants, so the perception actually exists that they might in fact be taking up some of the power being supplied by those coal fired plants. I want you to keep those 22 equivalent coal fired plants in mind as I explain just how much power all those wind towers do deliver.

If that total Wind power Capacity of 41,000 MW was to actually work on that 24/7/365 basis, then they would provide a total power of 29.5 Billion KWH for the month .

The power that they actually did provide to grids across the U.S. was 9.875 Billion KWH.

This gives them a power delivery efficiency rate of 33%, which in fact is quite impressive. The claim is that these wind towers can deliver their power at 35%. The current Worldwide average is around 20% and what this high rate indicates is that even during a windy month, these huge towers still do not reach the claimed average for delivery of actual power to consumers. When extrapolate out over the whole 11 month period that delivery rate is only a tick over 25%. This in fact is better than the current World average, but still only equates to a delivery rate of only 6 hours a day.

Now, compare that actual delivery with those equivalent 22 coal fired plants could deliver over that same 30 days. Those equivalent 22 plants would have delivered almost three times as much power to the grids they supply.


As we move into Winter, these plants will be delivering a lot less power which is understandable, as there is not as many daylight hours of bright Sunny skies.

However, doesn’t that sort of defeat the whole purpose if we are told that this is the direction we need to be moving in.

Even so, the amount of power delivered from every Solar Plant across the U.S. amounted to only 40 Million KWH, barely an increase over the same Month last year, but why bother as that total is so infinitesimally small, and in fact is only 0.02% of all the power consumed in the U.S.

Again, let’s compare the power delivered from every Solar plant with an equivalent coal fired power plant.

There is currently 920Mw installed nameplate Capacity for every solar plant, and that equates to one medium sized coal fired plant.

That 920MW Nameplate Capacity delivering at the full 100% could deliver 663 Million KWH. What was actually delivered was 67 Million KWH, giving this a power delivery efficiency rate of 10.1%, meaning that every Solar Plant in the U.S. is delivering its full power for 2 hours and 25 minutes every day, but with such a small amount of power, gee, who cares.

That same equivalent coal fired plant delivered 10 times as much power over those thirty days.


One Month does not show a trend, and this can be explained on two fronts.

This one Month shows a remarkable increase in the power delivered from those wind towers, and taken in isolation it could be played up to mean that they are in fact beginning to make an impact. However, this is traditionally a windy month and therein lies an explanation, because when viewed over the whole 11 months so far, these plants are still only delivering their power for around 6 hours a day.

Using that same one Month trend thing, it can also be pointed to that in the same Month when those wind towers did provide extra power, emissions of CO2 also rose, both from the coal fired sector and also from the Natural Gas Sector. No new coal fired plants have come on line, well, they are virtual poison to even consider any new coal fired plant. Even viewed over the whole year, those CO2 emissions have also increased, and increased markedly from both of those emitting sectors.

Now, why is that?

With so many of those renewable plants coming on line and delivering power, then the natural assumption would be that emissions of CO2 would quite naturally be falling, and not falling by small amounts, but substantially.

Emissions however are rising.

That is because those renewable plants supply variable amounts of power on a sporadic basis, and not for the exact times that the power is actually required. Because those renewable plants are supplying their power on that sporadic basis, those coal fired and natural gas fired plants are required to work for longer periods of time than they once did to make up the absolute requirement for power for WHEN it is actually needed.

CO2 emissions have increased over this 11 Month period when compared to the previous year in the amount of almost 160 million tons, and yes, read that again ….. 160 million tons extra CO2 emissions.

So, those incredible amounts of money being spent to construct those renewable plants is virtually wasted money, because the opposite of what we are being told will happen is happening. Emissions are rising.

Until people come to the realisation that these renewable plants just cannot deliver electrical power for when it is required and on the scale it is needed, then the false belief that they are the ‘way of the future’ will persist.

As each month’s data comes out, it only proves conclusively what I have been saying 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.