Sunday, 29 November 2015

SEAI release more poor quality energy information

SEAI released some press releases in the past few weeks which were published without question by most of the Irish media :

  • In 2014, wind generation accounted for 18.2% of electricity generated and as such was the second largest source of electricity generation after natural gas. Without wind in 2014, power generation related CO2 emissions would have been 16.2% higher. (This includes accounting for the ramping and cycling of fossil fuels plants associated with supporting wind generation.)
  • Renewable electricity generation in 2014, consisting of wind, hydro, landfill gas, biomass and biogas, accounted for 22.7% of gross electricity consumption.
  • Without renewables, power generation emissions would have been 23% higher.  

  • Joe Wheatley's research has shown that for each kWh of wind generated, associated emissions and fossil fuel savings are 0.54 kWh due to increased ramping and cycling of gas plants.  So if Wind generated 18.2% of electricity, the power generation emissions would have been 9.8% higher, not 16.2%. 

    • The carbon intensity of electricity generation fell to a record low in 2014 of 457 grams of CO2 per kilowatt-hour of electrical output, half the level in 1990.
    • Renewable energy use continued to grow with 23% of electricity now from renewables, this resulted in the lowest ever carbon content of electricity generation.
    The implication is that renewables were the biggest contributor to this reduction in carbon intensity. In fact, the East West interconnector (EWIC) was a more significant contributor. The interconnector provides about 8% of Ireland's electricity but is dispatchable, which means a power station can be pretty much closed down and replaced fully by EWIC. In this case, one of the CCGT power stations in Huntstown has been lying idle since the EWIC has come into use. Our 2,500MW wind fleet can never do this as it's capacity credit is too low.

    EU regulations dictate that carbon emissions are counted in the country of origin, so emissions from electricity imported from the UK are counted in the UK, not Ireland, even though we use the electricity here.

    We didnt have any interconnectors in the 1990s. We also had a higher percentage of oil generation which has been mostly replaced by cleaner gas. This is another significant factor in the reduction of our carbon intensity. Attributing it all to our renewables is not technically correct.

    The upshot of all this is that the Government are basing long term energy policy on the likes of the above information released by SEAI. The last time Government based long term policy on bad information was during the Celtic Tiger when ESRI informed long term economic policy.

    And we all know how that ended..........


    1. I was part of an accountability canvass on Saturday. About 100 people from all over Ireland assembled in Churchtown, Dublin in the constituency of Irish Energy Minister Alex White to ask voters to vote him out of office in next Spring's election. We were well received and it doubled as an opportunity to beat the Irish media lies and censorship about wind energy. Next day, White was forced to come on the lunch time news and interviewer Richard Crowley asked some good questions. He asked about the ratio of wind, meaning how much fossil plant it displaces, White could not answer. He also asked about noise from turbines. White agreed that current guidelines are to set turbines back 500 meters from dwellings in Ireland, but he quoted two unnamed Canadian reports stating there was no noise effects at all. He said they proved the current guidelines were robust. Then Crowley asked a very intelligent question. "What are the set back distances in place in Canada where the studies were done?". White did not know. Crowley pointed out that if the set back distances in Canada were one km or 2 kms or one mile, the results would not be comparable with the Irish situation. White was lost, could not answer. We found no support for him among voters. I will try to find a pod cast. RTE Radio news at 1 pm, with Richard Crawley Sunday 29th November, 2015 about 5 minutes into the programme.

    2. At its very very best, relying on the E.on Netz 2005 study, carried out by that (pro wind) company in the business of making electricity and Dr. UDO, studies, for every 100 ship loads of fuel sailing into Ireland to supply power stations in a scenario with no wind, 1.6 is saved because of wind. With our current wind capacity of 2,300 mw, 98.4 ships are needed, instead of 100 if there were no wind. The contribution of wind tends towards zero as the penetration increases according to the ESB 2004 report. The Bentek report said they could find no saving with coal plant in Colorado. I offered a bet at the Sligo conference last week, I offer 100 euros to 5 (20 to 1) to anyone who can prove that all of Ireland's wind farm since the year 2000, ever saved one barrel of oil equivalent. About a small car trailer load of coal or enough to run a sitting room fire for 35 hours.

    3. Its been very windy in Ireland this morning and a check of Eirgrid's Dashboard at 4 am shows wind was generation 54% of (demand plus export), it appears they are trying to increase penetration of wind above 50% at times when a blackout would not be notices.
      I have noticed that there are less blackouts recently than were years ago. I can never remember a year when one or more blackouts did not happen, (excluding weather related ones). I suspect that a staff effort is being put in to monitor the grid. It all adds to the cost. In an interview last Sunday, Minister Alex White said Irish people were prepared to pay more to have renewable energy. Meanwhile there are reliable reports of tensions within government over proposed (dwelling to turbines) set back guidelines. I believe this will end when the majority of the public realise its a waste of money and stop supporting promoting politicians.