Monday 25 April 2016

How Green Is This ?

A windfarm constructed this month in Donegal raised some eyebrows when a seemingly endless amount of construction vehicles arrived on site. With such a low capacity credit, will this windfarm ever payback it's embedded CO2 emissions ?

Tuesday 19 April 2016

Is Something Happening to the Seas Around Ireland ?

Post by Owen Martin

Sea Surface Temperatures (SST) have lately been showing a large cold blob around Ireland and Western Europe. The SST Anomaly shows how colder or warmer a sea region is from the long term average. Right now it's colder than average for this time of the year.

If we look at previous SST maps, we can see that for every year in the recent past, the SST was warmer than average around Ireland at this time of year. Not since the year 2000 (last on below graphs), has there been anything even remotely comparable although the current "blob" dwarfs that one.

Sunday 17 April 2016

CO2 Emissions Variations in CCGTs Used to Balance Wind in Ireland

There's an interesting analysis of CCGT emissions and how it is affected by high wind generation along with an interesting discussion posted over at Energy Matters website :

Monday 11 April 2016

Wind Energy will provide just 3% of Peak Demand

Eirgrid expect that somewhere between 4,000MW and 5,000MW of wind will be built by 2025 :

That's enough generation capacity to almost meet projected peak demand :

However, wind energy is not normal generating capacity. A duplicate generation system will have to be maintained alongside all this subsidized wind. How much will all these new wind farms contribute to peak demand - the answer is between 3 and 4%.

That's right, Eirgrid estimate that at least 96% of peak demand will have to be met by conventional, mostly fossil fuel (presumably), sources :

All this generating capacity will require capacity payments to remain viable skyrocketing energy bills. While Eirgrid maintain that wind has some capacity credit, this ultimately proves that it has zero, which is what the Danish consider it to be (and quite rightly). You need to back up wind with 100% dispatchable generation. Which right now means either fossil fuel, nuclear or biomass. Since the Irish government are currently not in favor of the last two, that means 100% fossil fuel back up.

Source : Eirgrid, Generation Capacity Statement 2016-2025

Tuesday 5 April 2016

Ireland's Defunct Energy Plans - Rising Greenhouse Emissions and Energy Prices

Government is organized opinion.
The politician's promises of yesterday are the taxes of today.
                                                           - William McKenzie King 

According to the European Commission, Ireland is one of just eight EU countries to have increased it's greenhouse gas emissions between 1990 and 2012 :

This is despite the fact that we have replaced most of our oil power stations with gas and installed 1,4oo wind turbines.  There is a small reduction since 2009 but this is obviously more to do with the recession than renewable energy. 

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are now getting worried :

  • • Ireland is unlikely to meet 2020 EU greenhouse gas emission targets for sectors including  agriculture, transport, residential, commercial, non-energy intensive industry and waste;

  • • Ireland’s emission reduction target is 20% below 2005 levels by 2020: EPA projections indicate that emissions will be 6 - 11% below 2005 levels by 2020;

  • • Agriculture and transport are projected to account for over three-quarters of Ireland’s non-Emissions Trading Scheme emissions in 2020:  agriculture (47%), transport (29%);

  • • Current and planned policies and measures are not sufficient to meet the 2020 targets.

Of course, if you prepare to fail, you fail to prepare. There are proper assessments which need to be undertaken before one could even contemplate taking on such a challenge. For example, the progressively lower capacity credit of wind energy means it can only have negligible impact on GHG emissions. 

But it gets worse. The government are now introducing a Renewable Heat Incentive to try to meet its 12% target for Renewable Heating but have failed to include households. They have cited cost as the reason. This is one of the initiatives that might actually have worked. But what they have in fact done is pushed up the cost of electricity for very small reductions in GHG emissions. Ireland now has the highest base cost of electricity in Europe (Eurostat) :

But we were told that all this wind energy would reduce the wholesale price. This is not happening either. So we have locked ourselves into expensive and ineffective policies for decades preventing money being spent on policies that could have worked.