Lynas’ Questions

As most CA readers know by now, the following widely-disseminated lead statement to the IPCC press release announcing the Renewables Report was untrue.

Close to 80 percent of the world‘s energy supply could be met by renewables by mid-century if backed by the right enabling public policies a new report shows.

On June 16, Mark Lynas asked four sensible questions about how IPCC came to make the untrue statement as follows:

Dear Dr Edenhofer,

I would also like to have a look at the archive of review comments, as requested by Steve McIntyre earlier. In addition I would ask for a response to the following questions, to which I will happily post your reponses online for clarification:

1. what was the process for writing the press release, and who decided whether it faithfully represented the main conclusions of the SPM/main report?
2. why was the SPM released more than a month before the full report?
3. was Sven Teske in any way involved in the decision to highlight Teske et al, 2010 as one of the four ‘illustrative scenarios’ explored in greater depth as per Section 10.3.1?
4. what is the IPCC conflict of interest policy with regard to lead authors reviewing their own work, and having affiliations to non-academic institutions, whether campaign groups or companies?

I will post a note on my blog informing that these questions are with you and awaiting a response. Many thanks for your attention on this.

Mark

Later on June 16, Andy Revkin endorsed Lynas’ request and asked to be copied on any response. On June 17, Oliver Morton of the Economist added himself to the group asking about the press release.

May I add myself to the group asking for an account of how the press release was drafted, and who was involved?

While Edenhofer copied both Lynas and me on his two emails, he conspicuously did not address either Lynas or me. Yesterday, as reported here by Mark Lynas, IPCC WG3 chair Ottmar Edenhofer replied to Morton as follows:

Dear Oliver,

As I have written to Andrew Revkin, the press release was drafted by the WGIII and the Secretariat. Nick Nutall, spokesperson of the United Nations Environment Programme was acting IPCC spokesperson at the time of the Abu Dhabi meeting, because this position was vacant. He has drafted the first version, which was then reviewed by the Secretariat, the WGIII co-chairs, and the WGIII TSU. Sven Teske was not involved in the process of writing the press release.

It was based on the SPM but supplemented from the underlying chapters, for example with the numbers that describe the upper and the lower one of the four scenarios that have been analyzed in-depth:

“Over 160 [164] existing scientific scenarios on the possible penetration of renewables by 2050, alongside environmental and social implications, have been reviewed with four analyzed in-depth. These four were chosen in order to represent the full range. […]

The most optimistic of the four, in-depth scenarios projects renewable energy accounting for as much as 77 percent of the world‘s energy demand by 2050, amounting to about 314 of 407 Exajoules per year. […]

77 percent is up from just under 13 percent of the total primary energy supply of around 490 Exajoules in 2008. Each of the scenarios is underpinned by a range of variables such as changes in energy efficiency, population growth and per capita consumption. These lead to varying levels of total primary energy supply in 2050, with the lowest of the four scenarios seeing renewable energy accounting for a share of 15 percent in 2050, based on a total primary energy supply of 749 Exajoules.”

Best regards,

Ottmar

As too often in climate science, you have to watch the pea under the thimble. The statement at issue is the lead statement that ‘Close to 80 percent of the world‘s energy supply could be met by renewables by mid-century if backed by the right enabling public policies a new report shows.’

Instead of squarely addressing the claim at issue, Edenhofer quotes a paragraph buried in the press release that wasn’t at issue.

So we know a little bit more about the process. The press release was drafted first by Nick Nutall of UNEP and the press release with the opening false statement was ‘reviewed” – and presumably signed off – by the IPCC Secretariat, WG3 co-chairs (including Edenhofer) and the WG3 TSU, with Teske apparently not being involved. Teske was, however, very fast off the mark, to say the least, as he issued a press release from Abu Dhabi on May 9 that couldn’t have postdated the IPCC press release by very long.

They say that ‘it was based on the SPM but supplemented from the underlying chapters’. However, I, for one, cannot find support for the claim that ‘close to 80 percent of the world‘s energy supply could be met by renewables by mid-century if backed by the right enabling public policies a new report shows.’ I’ve requested a reference from Edenhofer, thus far without success.

Thus, in respect to Lynas’ questions:

1. what was the process for writing the press release, and who decided whether it faithfully represented the main conclusions of the SPM/main report?

see immediately preceding comments. It seems to have been the WG3 chairs and secretariat

2. why was the SPM released more than a month before the full report?

No answer.

3. was Sven Teske in any way involved in the decision to highlight Teske et al, 2010 as one of the four ‘illustrative scenarios’ explored in greater depth as per Section 10.3.1?

No answer.

4. what is the IPCC conflict of interest policy with regard to lead authors reviewing their own work, and having affiliations to non-academic institutions, whether campaign groups or companies?

No answer – other than Pachauri’s statement to Oliver Morton that AR5 authors are not obliged to comply with recently passed IPCC conflict of interest policies.

62 Comments

  1. justbeau
    Posted Jun 18, 2011 at 2:24 PM | Permalink

    There is something charmingly inane about the IPCC admitting it needs improved procedures to combat bias and conflict of interest, however just not yet. What kind of credibility will this give to AR5?

  2. Alan Bates
    Posted Jun 18, 2011 at 5:54 PM | Permalink

    Did I miss something or does this not make sense:

    “While Edenhofer copied both Lynas and me on his two emails, he conspicuously did not address either Lynas or me.”

    A word or phrase dropped out??

    • RomanM
      Posted Jun 18, 2011 at 6:07 PM | Permalink

      It makes sense to me.

      Although the email was sent to both Steve and Lynas, none of the content of the emails was directed toward either of them nor were any of their issues necessarily dealt with by that content. Edenhofer knew they would read them, but he wasn’t communicating directly to either Steve or Lynas.

    • Salamano
      Posted Jun 18, 2011 at 6:47 PM | Permalink

      Perhaps the implication is that Edenhofer wanted Steve to know that, while he is going to be begrudgingly informed, he (or his concerns as he states them) are not worthy enough to be directly acknowledged.

    • tetris
      Posted Jun 18, 2011 at 9:17 PM | Permalink

      Nothing lost. Edenhofer wrote back to Revkin, but refused to address both Steve’s and Lynas’ questions.

  3. ChE
    Posted Jun 18, 2011 at 7:12 PM | Permalink

    Close to 80 percent of the world‘s energy supply could be met by renewables by mid-century if backed by the right enabling public policies a new report shows.

    Several other people have said this, and I’ll say it again. Strictly speaking, the statement isn’t false, it’s just unsupported. It’s quite possible that a breakthrough in storage technology, for example, could make an 80% RE very doable by 2050. A lot can happen in 40 years.

    The real issues with this statements are that:

    1) it’s unsupported,
    2) it doesn’t address cost including opportunity cost, and
    3) in a planning document, optimistic scenarios are irrelevant. It’s the worst-case that has to govern.

    • Keith W.
      Posted Jun 18, 2011 at 8:28 PM | Permalink

      ChE, it isn’t that the statement is potentially false, it is that it is unsupported. The report itself gives no description of the mechanism they expect to be in place tp make those numbers come true, other than a significant drop in the amount of energy used by the human population. The values they forecast for renewables are certainly feasible, but to get to the 77% percent value, the human race would have to use less energy than it does now, which is an energy devolution, something that has never happened in recorded history.

      • tetris
        Posted Jun 18, 2011 at 9:24 PM | Permalink

        An overarching statement in what is held up to the media as a “scientific” report, unsupported by credible data and based on cornerstone assumptions -global carbon pricing by 2010 and no investment in hydrocarbon energy sources- that are absent or plain wrong, is junk science or propaganda. Your pick.

    • Max_OK
      Posted Jun 19, 2011 at 1:54 AM | Permalink

      I can say with certainty that nothing even close to the 77% is going to happen, and I can say with certainty the underlying assumptions are way off. Now all I have to do is convince people I can see into the future 40 years.

      OK, strictly speaking, the statement in the press release isn’t false. Does that mean if you say it’s false, strictly speaking, you aren’t being truthful?

      I’m not sure what’s meant by “it’s unsupported.” I thought a scenario was a description of assumptions and events leading to an outcome. So is it that the assumptions and events in this scenario don’t lead to the 77% because the math is wrong?

    • matthu
      Posted Jun 19, 2011 at 6:32 AM | Permalink

      ChE – if the statement by the cited report “Close to 80 percent of the world‘s energy supply could be met by renewables by mid-century if backed by the right enabling public policies” is unsupported then the cited report does not show it.

      So the statement by the IPCC that “Close to 80 percent of the world‘s energy supply could be met by renewables by mid-century if backed by the right enabling public policies a new report shows” is wrong.

    • sleeper
      Posted Jun 19, 2011 at 9:17 AM | Permalink

      Re: ChE (Jun 18 19:12),

      Strictly speaking, the statement isn’t false, it’s just unsupported.

      Otherwise known as a belief, opinion, etc., etc.,…

    • Gunnar
      Posted Jun 20, 2011 at 3:14 PM | Permalink

      >> Strictly speaking, the statement isn’t false, it’s just unsupported. It’s quite possible

      ChE has the most reasonable response here.

      >> ChE, it isn’t that the statement is potentially false, it is that it is unsupported

      But it is supportable. During the Clinton years, we were treated to many, many statements that were very misleading, and were only technically true or technically false when very carefully parsed. “Depends on the meaning of word IS”. This argument seems to have deteriorated nearly to that level.

      Example: Summer is generally warmer than winter, a report by Johnson showed.

      Might be technically false, because perhaps Johnson wrote an article, instead of a report. However, the normal person will not be impressed when he realizes that your objection is not with the actual assertion, but with a technicality.

      >> Otherwise known as a belief, opinion, etc., etc.,…

      Or it could be self evident or common sense. One of my themes is that people regularly exaggerate man’s activity, including his energy usage. For example, 3 yotta joules (YJ) of solar energy is striking earth’s surface. There is more solar energy in one hour than the global population uses in one year. 3 YJ is about twice as much as will ever be obtained from all of the Earth’s non-renewable resources of coal, oil, natural gas, and mined uranium combined.

      Common sense dictates that humans will eventually tap into this reserve. There is no scientific, engineering or financial reason that prevents it.

      • Steve McIntyre
        Posted Jun 20, 2011 at 3:42 PM | Permalink

        Gunnar – your optimism about solar may be justified. In that case, there are surely alternative methods for IPCC to show this besides recycling a Greenpeace scenario. I am quite intrigued personally with the various energy alternatives. hence my frustration with IPCC’s failure to do their job properly.

        That you believe that the Greenpeace scenario can be justified on alternative grounds doesn’t change IPCC’s disappointing failure.

        • Gunnar
          Posted Jun 21, 2011 at 10:05 AM | Permalink

          >> IPCC’s failure to do their job properly. … on alternative grounds doesn’t change IPCC’s disappointing failure

          But why do you care about the IPCC? Who says they have a “job” to do? They have no constitutional role in the US, and I don’t believe they have a formal role in Canada either. They aren’t part of a scientific process. The free enterprise system doesn’t require the IPCC to plan and execute business plans. They only appear important, because misguided people look to the IPCC for guidance.

      • Posted Jun 20, 2011 at 6:16 PM | Permalink

        Then as Steve puts it “SHOW” a working scenario that lays out how the engineering difficulties will be overcome. No hand waving.

        I have never seen a working scenario for solar power that powers the grid 24/7 — not even when accompanied by wind power. (Maybe especially).

        Only with close to 100% backup with hydro, coal, nuclear and gas generation of electrical power is this conceivable in any scenario that I have seen.

        Please — just one scenario where say Ontario Canada could be powered by Solar and Wind and I will be pleased to acknowledge same. But do show how the new transmissions will be laid out, please cover the “dark” hours — somehow.

        All the data you need should be available here.

        http://www.ieso.com/

        Let me know if you can’t find the tables showing historical draw.

        I too am intrigued that it could be possible.

        • Gunnar
          Posted Jun 21, 2011 at 10:33 AM | Permalink

          >>I have never seen a working scenario for solar power that powers the grid 24/7 — not even when accompanied by wind power. (Maybe especially).

          First of all, I reject the premise that any one source needs to power the grid 24/7. That’s not how markets works. Do we worry about McDonalds or Tim Hortons being able to supply all the food needed, 24/7?

          If your electrical market isn’t deregulated yet, it will be so in the future. The PJM market (http://www.pjm.com/markets-and-operations.aspx) consists of generating entities and load entities. Generators offer energy for sale, and utilities buy energy in a commodity auction market. In other words, a solar power plant would offer to sell power for use during the day. It would be initially competing against peak load sources. For example, a large facility in PA that consists of multiple large jet engines. When they get the chance, they spin up, sell power, and charge something like $1000 per MWH.

          >> Only with close to 100% backup with hydro, coal, nuclear and gas generation of electrical power is this conceivable in any scenario that I have seen.

          You’re talking like a central planner. Yes, every generating source needs backup, just like any one grocery store needs to be backed up by other food sources. Grocery stores are backed up by Denny’s for the 1 AM hour. But it’s not centrally planned.

          >> Please — just one scenario where say Ontario Canada could be powered by Solar and Wind and I will be pleased to acknowledge same.
          >> lays out how the engineering difficulties will be overcome. No hand waving.

          I believe the only thing that Wind is good for is charging the battery on sailboats. Any bigger and they become expensive ways to kill excess birds. Solar is a different story. There is NO new technology that needs to be invented to make it work. The components are:

          1) land with high average insolation
          2) solar panels
          3) HVDC transmission lines
          4) Inverters

          Obviously, #1 exists. Turns out that the cost of land is insignificant compared to the cost of #3.

          Obviously, #2 exists. You may think that the efficiency is crucial, but actually, it’s not that important. A lower efficiency only means that more land is required.

          Obviously, #3 exists. Check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_HVDC_projects.

          Obviously, #4 exists.

          That’s why the Chinese are planning a 2 GW solar farm plant, and the Indians are planning big things for the Thar desert, in which they have reserved extremely large tracts of land for solar.

        • Posted Jun 21, 2011 at 12:22 PM | Permalink

          OK so there are no credible engineering and financial studies for how this can be achieved on the scale envisaged. Fair enough. Now people know what they have to do to sell the concept.

          Negotiating the land rights and transmissions corridors should be interesting. I would like to see that study…

        • Gunnar
          Posted Jun 21, 2011 at 12:34 PM | Permalink

          >> OK so there are no credible engineering and financial studies for how this can be achieved on the scale envisaged.

          Incorrect. How did you conclude that? Btw, Most of my comments are still awaiting moderation, including the 2nd half of that post. Expecting that private companies publish their engineering studies, and taking their lack of publication to mean that there are no studies is completely illogical.

          Where is the engineering challenge? What is needed besides those 4 components, all of which exist?

        • Gunnar
          Posted Jun 21, 2011 at 12:43 PM | Permalink

          >> Negotiating the land rights and transmissions corridors should be interesting. I would like to see that study…

          You seem to know nothing about the US power grid. Here is one image: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=110997398

          The whole country is covered with transmission lines. How do you think they managed that? Only an idiot would require an engineering study to be convinced that transmission lines are possible. If you had clicked on the HVDC link, you would know that HVDC lines of the length that I’m talking about already exist all over the world. Once something has been built, you’ve got to drink a lot of kool-ade to not be convinced that it CAN BE BUILT.

        • Posted Jun 21, 2011 at 4:19 PM | Permalink

          “Only an idiot would require an engineering study to be convinced that transmission lines are possible.”

          Chuckle! I don’t recall that was the issue.

        • Gunnar
          Posted Jun 21, 2011 at 12:45 PM | Permalink

          >> Negotiating the land rights and transmissions corridors should be interesting. I would like to see that study…

          Negotiating? What do you think “if backed by the right enabling public policies” means?

          We’re not talking about a Judge Souter type action.

  4. Les Johnson
    Posted Jun 19, 2011 at 2:44 AM | Permalink

    Nick Nuttal? He, or someone using his name, denied the UNEP report of 50 million climate refugees by 2010.

    http://asiancorrespondent.com/52189/what-happened-to-the-climate-refugees/

    Nick Nuttall 04/14/2011 12:41 PM
    Dear Gavin, I read with interest your bog not least as Spokesperson for the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

    I have trawled through our records and cannot spot UNEP havng made such a statement about numbers of climate refugees by 2010.

    Except I found a report that states exactly that, with his name on the report.

    http://www.unep.org/Documents.Multilingual/Default.asp?DocumentID=538&ArticleID=5842&l=en

    Of course, he never replied.

    It seems to be a common trait. Deny, then fail to respond when presented with proof.

  5. Alexander K
    Posted Jun 19, 2011 at 4:35 AM | Permalink

    Edenhoffer redefines ‘shifty’ and ‘dodgy’ and addresses direct questions not at all, giving the impression he cannot make eye contact during a face-to-face conversation.
    Their ‘enabling legislation’ sounds really sinister to me and leaves me with an image of old people shivering in the gloom.

  6. KnR
    Posted Jun 19, 2011 at 5:00 AM | Permalink

    Sven Teske was not involved in the process of writing the press release.’

    But was he involved in ‘suggesting’ what the nature of should be , I am afraid that the IPCC past behavior means that every word has to be watched in their statements so I wonder what ‘ writing the press release’ means in practice .

    One question is why it was those four that where looked at ‘in-depth’ what was about them that made them more worthy of review than others and who made that decision?

    • Latimer Alder
      Posted Jun 20, 2011 at 2:54 AM | Permalink

      Re: KnR (Jun 19 05:00),

      Even if the remark is entirely factually correct it just shows that ST didn’t hold the pen. Had the comment said ‘not involved in the process of preparing’, not ‘writing’, it would have been a more convincing denial

      For a bunch of supposedly clever people they are remarkably stupid most of the time.

  7. Les Johnson
    Posted Jun 19, 2011 at 6:40 AM | Permalink

    Steve: If I have a web link in my post, the post seems to go to moderation purgatory.

    There was one in your post on the Greenpeace link (still in moderation), plus this today:

    Posted Jun 19, 2011 at 2:44 AM

    Is this the anti-spam software, or am I violating house rules?

    steve- caught in software. released

  8. Posted Jun 19, 2011 at 7:32 AM | Permalink

    Imagine this: a big company is caught in a huge accounting scandal. A conflict of interest policy is written and adopted, but it will only be implemented in 4 years when new people are hired. “it wouldn’t be fair to current employees to make them abide by this new policy”. Sound ok?

    Every organization has rules against conflicts of interest (fraud, etc). Companies have shareholders and boards of directors (plus the SEC and police). School principals have the school board. Government has the voters and the press. Why? Because any single individual (or close-knit “team”) can become corrupted or be sloppy or go crazy. Any system without checks and balances can drift into dictatorship (even if a “noble cause”). UN agencies do not accept this view.

    • Jit
      Posted Jun 19, 2011 at 8:32 AM | Permalink

      Since AR5 isn’t due until 2014, there is still time to change authors who don’t meet the criteria.

      It would take a very dedicated individual to go through the 871 authors to determine whether any of their funding comes from unacceptable sources.

  9. Posted Jun 19, 2011 at 7:59 AM | Permalink

    The difference between Edenhofer copying his reply to McIntyre and Lynas, the original framers of the questions, rather than addressing it to them directly is simple. He’s indicating they’re as dust beneath Mr. Edenhofer’s chariot wheels.

    Pointman

  10. Posted Jun 19, 2011 at 12:12 PM | Permalink

    It is difficult to justify the statement that the report “shows” that you could provide 80% of the worlds energy through renewable energy. This is particularly true with wind power and you can extend the arguments to solar.

    First, a note about the “average” nature of the debate. The work of Richard Wakefield should make the point obvious that the MEDIAN is a more true measurement of the output of a windfarm. For those in the group with a good grasp of statistics this should tell the entire story.

    For this to make sense you need to look at the following article regarding the energy output of the Wolfe Island, Ontario Canada farm. I chose this one to illustrate a point in as obvious a manner as possible — I have not made any attempt to be “fair”. However, if you look at the other “farms” illustrated then you will see that they have similar performance characteristics.

    Here is a link to Wolfe Island:

    http://ontariowindperformance.wordpress.com/2010/09/26/chapter-4-4-7-wolf-island/

    Look at the BAR GRAPHS at the bottom and notice his arrows that point to the MEAN (Arithmetic Average) and the Median (The Halfway point).

    The greater the difference in the the values — the less consistent the output.

    The lower the median the worse the performance — since half the time the output is at or below that value. So in summer Wolfe Island produces at the 7% level or less about half the time. The average shows 15% output for summer.

    What this means is that if you used the average to schedule in the output you would almost always have a shortfall of power. That would be interspersed with very short periods of high output.

    Elsewhere he shows conclusively that the wind sites are highly correlated — so that the argument that “output averages out” across a wide area simply does not hold up either.

    For another take on whether or not one can count on windfarms elsewhere to supply while one part of the grid is quiet — see this article and look for the section that says A few Days In The Life. Note that the dips in output are dips in the collective output of the entire Ontario Grid.

    See: ontariowindperformance.wordpress.com/2010/09/24/chapter-3-1-powering-ontario/

    I hope that helps everyone understand why the issue is important and why it always leads to discussion.

    The bottom line is that people would rather discuss this around financial ratios and the like because if you look at the technical performance it quickly becomes obvious that you cannot supply 80% of the grid through windpower.

    If you do the same analysis for Solar it will of course typically peak at solar noon — not allowing for clouds and dust storms.

    This illustrates the difficulty of matching demand with supply when dealing with so-called “renewable energy”.

    I believe this to be on-topic because it goes right to the heart of showing that the “80%” claim is difficult to justify. I too would question that the report “shows” that the claim is possible.

  11. Posted Jun 19, 2011 at 12:26 PM | Permalink

    I suppose that the plausibility of the contention is irrelevant here but on the off chance that it is, there are certainly many who not only think that and more are possible but who have provide details on how it can be accomplished.

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=a-path-to-sustainable-energy-by-2030

    • Posted Jun 19, 2011 at 1:04 PM | Permalink

      Just one brief comment which again goes to the heart of the matter….

      The question is whether the report in question did show or did not show how it was possible to achieve the 80% factor…

      “The authors’ plan calls for 3.8 million large wind turbines, 90,000 solar plants, and numerous geothermal, tidal and rooftop photovoltaic installations worldwide.”

      How did they show that it was possible to complete the construction program for the 3.8 million turbines (Which currently cost about $2.5M to $3.5 M per unit). How did they show that enough heavy equipment and crews could be mobilized to erect the machines, and where did they calculate the cost and distribution of the manufacturing facilities.

      How did they show they could cope with the wide variation in wind and Solar out put and the required changes to the grid.I know they stated it was possible — but that is not “showing”.

      Much as they were missing from the previous report, I believe those details were missing here.

      • Jit
        Posted Jun 19, 2011 at 2:31 PM | Permalink

        If that price is accurate then 3.8 million turbines will set you back 9.5 trillion dollars. Of course, there will be economies of scale.

        And these are 5MW turbines. Even the Greenpeace study only requires 2.5 million @ 1.5MW at current capacity factors.

        The authors say:
        “Because the wind often blows during stormy conditions when the sun does not shine and the sun often shines on calm days with little wind, combining wind and solar can go a long way toward meeting demand, especially when geothermal provides a steady base and hydroelectric can be called on to fill in the gaps.”

        Yeh, but when it’s stormy they switch the turbines off…

        • Posted Jun 20, 2011 at 9:53 AM | Permalink

          Yeah, they have to shut the wind turbines down if the wind speed is too high, to prevent damage to the structure. Seems like some bright engineer needs to come up with a new design.

          I’ve seen some helical bladed turbines, but the standard seems to be the airplane propeller type. I’m guessing the helical aren’t as efficient?

        • Posted Jun 20, 2011 at 10:42 AM | Permalink

          Jeff:

          It is best that you use a search engine to look for wind turbine blade design and the Betz limit (~59%) — but yes it depends on swept area.

          Wind turbines are best placed in an area that has sufficient wind for the particular blade and form factor design and where the wind is fairly constant within a range. Any reasonable wind study will hunt out those areas where wind is relatively constant and within an appropriate range. Any study which purports to show that wind is economic of course supplies that information as a matter of course so you can estimate energy recovery. I can’t recall the location of that part of the study — maybe they omitted it in favor of financial ratios. hth

        • JohnH
          Posted Jun 20, 2011 at 11:31 AM | Permalink

          If you want to run a house off a Wind Turbine there are 2 basic designs available.

          1. Designed to generate power at low wind speeds, disadvantage is if high winds are forecast you need to lower it to the ground to prevent damage, no power is produced on the ground.

          2. Designed to withstand force 11 gales. disadvantage is the power generated at low wind speeds is nil and only works at high wind speeds so only useful in high wind areas, first blocking high pressure weather systemand no power.

        • BillyBob
          Posted Jun 21, 2011 at 10:55 AM | Permalink

          10 million per 5MW wind turbine.

          38 trillion dollars.

          “Ballpark figures for a 5 MW wind farm would expect to cost in the region of $9.7-14 (€7-10) million, whether from a signal large turbine or a constellation of smaller units. The figure represents the total project cost and includes the feasibility studies, EIS and planning application, civil and electrical engineering works, grid connection costs. Let’s call it $10 million per 5 MW installed. Calculating the total cost for world wind power:”

          http://www.thegwpf.org/best-of-blogs/2611-the-cost-of-running-the-world-on-renewable-power.html

        • Posted Jun 21, 2011 at 11:31 AM | Permalink

          BillyBob:

          Unless things are changing rapidly I believe that you will find that the 5MW turbines are “Offshore” models — and very large. …hence the higher costs. I suspect that may be the “installed” cost.

          The land based turbines are smaller (1.5MW to 3.5MW) and significantly cheaper.

        • BillyBob
          Posted Jun 21, 2011 at 11:54 AM | Permalink

          “The cost of large commercial wind turbines varies from $1 to $2 million per MW of nameplate capacity. ”

          Do you have other references?

          “The solar component calls for the use of industrial scale concentrating solar plants, the most cost efficient form of solar power. Abengoa Solar, a company currently constructing solar thermal plants, put the cost of a 300 MW plant at 1.2 billion euros in 2007. In 2009, the Arizona state government announced a 200 MW plant for 1 billion US dollars so let’s split the difference and estimate $1.56 billion per plant. Calculating the total cost for world solar power:

          90,000 * $1,560,000,000 = $140 Trillion”

          OUCH!

        • BillyBob
          Posted Jun 21, 2011 at 11:59 AM | Permalink

          “The costs for a commercial scale wind turbine in 2007 ranged from $1.2 million to $2.6 million, per MW of nameplate capacity installed.”

          http://www.windustry.org/how-much-do-wind-turbines-cost

          Ok. 13 million max for 5MW. Onshore.

        • BillyBob
          Posted Jun 21, 2011 at 3:41 PM | Permalink

          Will there be economies of scale?

          I mean, if you have to build 3.8 million within 38 years, thats 100,000 per year. Won’t there be contentions for resources?

          And if they only last 20 years (a WAG), you will have to build more than 100,000 per year when the old ones wear out.

  12. Hoi Polloi
    Posted Jun 19, 2011 at 12:46 PM | Permalink

    You have to consider the fact that this is not about science but politics, therefore you can expect a political (read: nonsensical) answer.

  13. Jeroen B.
    Posted Jun 19, 2011 at 5:07 PM | Permalink

    About the only way to get to any significant percentage of renewable power is to declare nuclear energy as renewable.

    Pretty much anything else but geothermal in favorable locations is a sham.

    Just my 2 cents …

  14. Wolfgang Flamme
    Posted Jun 19, 2011 at 8:47 PM | Permalink

    “Because the wind often blows during stormy conditions when the sun does not shine and the sun often shines on calm days with little wind, combining wind and solar can go a long way toward meeting demand, especially when geothermal provides a steady base and hydroelectric can be called on to fill in the gaps.”

    For Germany the wind-solar anticorrelation was a mere 2% or so in 2006.It’s a myth.

  15. KurtG
    Posted Jun 20, 2011 at 12:47 AM | Permalink

    So the renewable energy scenario reduces world energy use (or perhaps availability) by nearly 20% from 2008 levels (down to 407 exojoules in 2050 from 490 in 2008). The per capita reduction would be much larger. It will be interesting to see just what their idea of right enabling policies are. Likely as positive to people’s welfare as some of Malthus’ positive checks (hunger, disease, etc).

  16. Posted Jun 20, 2011 at 2:50 AM | Permalink

    I’m surprised that no one has suggested yet that many of these “enabling policies” might have to be delivered at the end of a bayonet.

    • tetris
      Posted Jun 20, 2011 at 11:46 AM | Permalink

      I though Steve didn’t like “extreme” statements? :-)

  17. observa
    Posted Jun 20, 2011 at 5:56 AM | Permalink

    With regards large scale solar power plants and that 80% renewables statement, here is the latest in large scale technology from BP in Australia-

    http://www.climatespectator.com.au/commentary/big-solar-pv-begins-charge-parity

    Essentially we can see the solar industry needs mechanical tracking to achieve a modest 28% efficiency rate and from BP’s answers to detailed questioning we can infer they have no idea what the long term maintenance and running costs of mechanical tracking will be. The 3km by 3.4km area needed for 150MW is 68,000 SM of land per MW, bearing in mind 150MW is a small coal fired power station. Notice how private finance is still to be forthcoming, as is a contract sale for the power to be produced, although they’ve already been very successful at soaking taxpayers. This is merely subsidy farming to meet an aspirational target plucked out of thin air by blind faith Greenpeace devotees.

  18. John Whitman
    Posted Jun 20, 2011 at 11:49 AM | Permalink

    Regarding this latest IPCC incident revealed to us by Steve McIntyre and his associates, two quotes at the beginning of chapter 11 of Montford’s ‘The Hockey Stick Illusion’ should be commented upon.

    Quote #1 – ‘’’’’IPCC reports are being produced in a very open process under the discipline of science, where honesty and balance are hallmarks of that discipline. ‘’’’’’ (Sir John Houghton)

    Quote #2 – ‘’’’’The point is that every single man who was there knows that the story is nonsense, and yet it has never been contradicted. It will never be overtaken now. It is a completely untrue story grown to legend while the men who knew it to be untrue looked on and said nothing.’’’’’’’ (Josephine Tey, ‘The Daughter of Time’)

    The first quote has been revealed as nonsense; that nonsense has almost become legend.
    The second quote is true wrt the MSM; they wanted to allow the IPCC nonsense to become legend because it supports their ideological premise that whatever the IPCC does will save the planet. MSM simply ignores any controversial IPCC activities as irrelevant because they ‘a priori’ know the IPCC will save the planet. Thanks to Steve McIntyre and his associates for helping to block the IPCC nonsense from becoming legend.

    John

  19. Paul Penrose
    Posted Jun 20, 2011 at 11:52 AM | Permalink

    To be fair, the 20% reduction in demand can easily be achieved by use of rolling blackouts, which conveniently will be the natural consequence of using wind and solar power for the majority of our electrical needs. This is because, unlike conventional power plants, wind and solar are not dispatchable. So if the supply can’t be matched to the demand, then the demand will have to be matched to the supply – aka blackouts. Consumers can’t really expect that the power will always be there every time they throw a switch, can they?

    Another thing that nobody thinks about is how are we going to wire all these new windmills and solar farms to the grid? The answer: copper, and lots of it. If you hate the amount of power lines crisscrossing the country now, you are going to go apoplectic if this green power vision comes to pass. Maybe this is a good time to buy copper futures?

    • Speed
      Posted Jun 20, 2011 at 1:28 PM | Permalink

      The bare wire conductors on the line are generally made of aluminium (either plain or reinforced with steel, or sometimes composite materials), though some copper wires are used in medium-voltage distribution and low-voltage connections to customer premises.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_tension_line

      • Paul Penrose
        Posted Jun 20, 2011 at 8:11 PM | Permalink

        OK speed, copper is not used for high tension lines (although the local interconnects within the farm may be copper), but that wasn’t really the main point of my posting. The real point was the first paragraph. The second paragraph was just one more technical challenge that must be overcome before solar and wind power have a chance. It doesn’t matter what the high tension lines are made of, the salient fact is that they need to be made, and in large quantities. Very large quantities. And they can’t be buried or put into tunnels as Al Gore has proposed. There would be too much loss to ground of they were buried conventionally and the tunnel size required would be prohibitively large (which is why they are above ground).

  20. Posted Jun 20, 2011 at 1:32 PM | Permalink

    In his current editorial, praising SM’s investigations, Rex Murphy lays it on the line: “The IPCC cannot be that stupid by chance.”

    Indeed.

  21. Noblesse Oblige
    Posted Jun 20, 2011 at 1:48 PM | Permalink

    None of IPCC SRES scenarios comes close to 80% renewables by 2100. Yet IPCC is not obliged to say what has changed in technology or economics to warrant this radical new statement. It looks as if IPCC makes it up as it goes along and does not need to be consistent with its previous work or to even reference its previous work.

  22. Posted Jun 20, 2011 at 2:39 PM | Permalink

    http://www.pnas.org/content/suppl/2011/06/14/1015619108.DCSupplemental

    Doesnt take long to find the divergences and exclusions

    OT steve, but the SI looks interesting….

    • Keith W.
      Posted Jun 20, 2011 at 2:56 PM | Permalink

      Four and a quarter pages of report, 38 referenced source materials, but the only reported data points are based upon two sites – Wood Island, Massachusetts, and Abermarle-Pamlico, North Carolina. Are they spreading the sea level rise around like they did the temperature in Antarctica?

  23. Posted Jun 20, 2011 at 2:42 PM | Permalink

    Thus, in the Bayesian update step
    this quantity is used to update the a posteriori probability of this
    curve among the generated ensemble. These probabilities, for all
    ensemble members, are then used to generate a posteriori uncer-
    tainty bands.
    The result of the Bayesian prediction is somewhat dependent
    on the choice of weighting for the sea-level proxy data; it is
    necessary to downweight them (or inflate their assumed variance)
    to take into account that they are subject to strong serial correla-
    tion. An appropriate choice for this factor would be 10. With this
    choice, we find it is not possible to obtain a reasonable a poster-
    iori result for the entire data period: it is necessary to exclude the
    sea-level data before AD 1000 from the fit.
    Fig. 5 shows the resulting probability density distributions
    for the unknown parameters and functions of interest, and some
    correlation point clouds.

    ……..

    Lowering reconstructed temperature by 0.2 K for the period
    AD 500–1100 produced good agreement with the North Carolina
    sea-level reconstruction (Fig. S4). We studied the sensitivity of
    this fit to a range of temperature corrections (−0.1 K to −0.3 K).
    As shown in Fig. S5, the best agreement was for a −0.2 K correc-
    tion. An error of this magnitude is not implausible as we used
    the global Mann et al. (34) reconstruction prior to AD 1100
    and not the Northern-Hemisphere-only reconstruction in which
    Mann et al. (34) had greater confidence. For the period prior
    to AD 1100, availability of proxy temperature reconstructions
    is poor for the Southern Hemisphere and this is necessarily
    reflected in greater uncertainty for global estimates which can
    accommodate a 0.2 K reduction in temperature within their
    uncertainty. This reduction in reconstructed temperature would
    make the Medieval Climate Anomaly globally less pronounced
    than Mann et al. (34) suggested, and reduce by a half its tempera-
    ture contrast with the Little Ice Age.

  24. maxberan
    Posted Jun 20, 2011 at 5:25 PM | Permalink

    Actually, even if you believed the scenario, 77 per cent isn’t all that close to 80 per cent, especially when you consider it from the reverse perspective of the three non-renewable power stations that wouldn’t get built for every 20 that would. That’s like not being able to boil a kettle or power up the computer for over three hours of those days when the sun didn’t shine or the wind didn’t blow.

    It’s quite telling that 77 percent got rounded to four-fifths rather than to three-quarters.

  25. Bill Jamison
    Posted Jun 21, 2011 at 1:53 AM | Permalink

    After reading the original report cited in this paper, it’s clear that “the right enabling public policies” means spending an extra $6.7 TRILLION (yes, with a T!) on renewable energy. And of course since it’s from Greenpeace it also means phasing out all nuclear energy by then too.

    So, in a sense, they are right. It’s just a matter of public willpower and $6.7 TRILLION extra dollars and we could provde 80% of the world’s energy using renewables.

    Oh and of course we also have to conserve energy too. To reach that goal we don’t have a lot of room to increase energy consumption!

  26. Posted Jun 21, 2011 at 9:01 AM | Permalink

    http://notrickszone.com/2011/06/21/edenhofer-to-der-spiegel-report-sujected-to-strict-scientific-review-process/

  27. Posted Jun 22, 2011 at 2:59 AM | Permalink

    An interesting article on Solar installations and land rights issues.

    http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2011/0627/technology-brightsource-turtles-energy-solar-spot-tortoise.html

    You will have to get pas the advertisement first.

    “The 370-megawatt Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, they proclaimed, heralded a clean, green energy future.” ..and then the turtles came out of hibernation…

    It illustrates the point that implementation of these ideas may have many unintended consequence due to ignorance of the land and the environmental issues. Labeling a project “green” does not make it so.

  28. Punksta
    Posted Jul 10, 2011 at 2:42 AM | Permalink

    From Lynas’s Q4 : what is the IPCC conflict of interest policy with regard to … having affiliations to non-academic institutions, whether campaign groups or companies?

    Why exclude academic institutions? They too have vested interests, being as they are govenment-funded. Indeed government has by far the biggest vested interest of all, given the added taxes and bureaucracies it can justify on the basis of CAGW.

2 Trackbacks

  1. […] Followup from ClimateAudit: Lynas’ Questions […]

  2. By Sun Sun Sun | Skeptical Swedish Scientists on Jun 21, 2011 at 7:51 AM

    […] “6 Degrees” Lynas has just defected to the Skeptic camp, surprised by another major IPCC blunder and consequent Green vitriol. Welcome to The Party, […]

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