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Permitting: America’s next big climate conundrum

Posted on 12 October 2022 by dana1981

This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections

The vast majority of newly-installed and planned energy projects in the U.S. consist of clean energy –?solar and wind farms, often paired with battery storage -?even before the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) expanded the tax credits available to incentivize low-carbon electricity. Economics, policy, and public demand are now all aligned in favor of clean energy. 

But as a recent report from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) highlights, a growing number of clean energy projects are getting stuck in what are known as “interconnection queues.” In the 2000s, these projects waited an average of two years for the determination about whether the electric grid could handle their added power load. In the 2010s that wait time nearly doubled, to 3.7 years, and a growing number of clean energy projects have been canceled as a result of these lengthy delays. 

The key bottleneck? Too-slow construction of new electric transmission lines (especially long-distance lines) to transport electricity from the exploding number of proposed clean energy projects to the places where it’s needed. If not addressed, transmission project delays caused by factors like an onerous permitting process could dramatically hamper America’s clean energy rollout and thus its ability to cut pollution fast enough to meet the country’s Paris commitments. 

As a result, some experts believe that climate advocacy in the U.S. may need to shift from a focus on stopping fossil fuel infrastructure to one that centers on enabling the clean energy infrastructure that will displace it. 

Demand is shifting from fossil fuels to clean energy 

Another new LBNL report finds that  America’s energy landscape has shifted dramatically over the past decade. About 60% of new energy installations built in the U.S. in 2011 were fossil fuels (mostly fossil gas) compared to just 40% from renewables (mostly wind). In 2021, 85% of newly installed energy capacity came from clean sources (primarily solar), and the remaining 15% from fossil gas. Of the proposed energy projects currently in the queue, LBNL reports that more than 92% are wind and solar – nearly one-third proposed to be coupled with battery storage – ?compared to just 7.5% from natural gas. 

A chart showing the growth of renewable energy capacity in the U.S. from 2007 to 2021. The graph shows total solar increasing from near 0 to 45%.New U.S. energy capacity additions by type and year. Source: LBNL 

But most of those proposed projects in the queue will never be built because of lengthy delays and insufficient electric transmission infrastructure. An analysis by the Progressive Policy Institute found that the permitting of transmission lines takes an average of 4.3 years -?nearly a year longer than for fossil fuel pipelines. In fact, over the past decade the U.S. has built more than 10,000 miles of natural gas pipelines per year compared to just 1,800 miles of new electric transmission lines per year. Although many factors contribute to lengthy permitting timelines, the difference is partly because the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) can approve interstate fossil fuel pipelines, but currently lacks the same authority for interstate transmission lines, which instead require state-by-state permitting approvals. 

The challenge is that large solar and wind farms tend to be built in rural areas with relatively inexpensive available land, far away from the population centers that make up most energy demand. Connecting the two requires long-distance transmission lines, which on average take over a decade to build in the U.S. With less than eight years to meet America’s pledge to cut climate pollution by 2030 to 50% below 2005 levels, the importance of permitting reform becomes evident. 

The IRA did include nearly $1 billion to provide federal agencies with the resources to review environmental assessments more expeditiously, and FERC has proposed some new rules in an effort to help alleviate transmission bottlenecks. These changes may lead to a faster rate of transmission construction, but it’s difficult to quantify by how much. 

According to modeling by the Princeton REPEAT group, were the U.S. to continue its current rate of transmission line build-out, about 80% of the potential emissions cuts from the policies in the IRA would be squandered. The transition from fossil fueled appliances to clean technologies like electric vehicles and heat pumps would increase domestic electricity demand; but without a concurrent acceleration of transmission line construction to allow new solar and wind farms to meet that demand, the Princeton team found that domestic coal and natural gas consumption would rise over the coming decade compared to a scenario with no IRA. 

A graph showing how expansion of transmission is necessary to getting the full emissions reduction potential from the Inflation Reduction Act.U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in scenarios without the IRA (red; 27% below 2005 levels by 2030) and with the IRA combined with a continuation of the current 1% annual rate of transmission build-out (light blue; 30% cuts by 2030), an acceleration to 1.5% (dark blue; 39% cuts), to 2.3% per year (black; 42% cuts), and a pathway consistent with U.S. Paris commitments (turquoise; 50% cuts by 2030). Source: Princeton REPEAT 

The conundrum that is permitting reform 

The permitting reform bill recently proposed by Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) – called the Energy Independence and Security Act – contained several provisions to speed-up transmission projects. For example, it would have empowered FERC to approve interstate transmission lines and also to allocate their costs based on who would reap the benefits, which would avoid lengthy fights over who pays for the projects.  

But the package also included provisions aimed at expediting fossil fuel infrastructure projects. These were strongly opposed by many environmental justice groups, who viewed the bill’s restrictions on public input on infrastructure environmental assessments as “an attempt to sacrifice and silence frontline communities,” as the nonprofit environmental law organization Earthjustice put it

On the other hand, Earthjustice also acknowledged that “we must rapidly build out the infrastructure to unleash clean energy.” Failing to do so would risk squandering the potential pollution cuts from the policies passed in the IRA, significantly lessening its health benefits for disadvantaged communities. 

Analyses of the IRA’s benefits found that the associated reductions in air pollution could prevent tens to hundreds of thousands of premature American deaths over the coming decade. If some of those potential pollution cuts are delayed because of transmission project bottlenecks, the cost could be many thousands of lives lost and other adverse health impacts, primarily in disadvantaged communities located near sources of pollution like coal power plants. 

Those considerations need to be weighed against the proposed restrictions on public and federal agency reviews of infrastructure environmental assessments. But that’s not a simple calculus, because those public comment tools are important in ensuring that disadvantaged communities are not adversely impacted by harmful infrastructure projects polluting their populations and lands. 

In theory, transmission permitting reforms such as empowering FERC to approve interstate lines could be passed (as proposed in a bill called the SITE Act, for example) without attaching other controversial provisions in the proposed package. But in today’s highly partisan and narrowly divided Senate, legislation requires 60 votes to pass, and some key senate Republicans have voiced opposition to taking that authority away from states. And the Republicans’ permitting reform counter-proposal included only the controversial provisions and other fossil fuel-friendly policy changes, with very little content that would accelerate clean energy projects. 

Finding a permitting reform pathway through the divided Senate will be a challenge – particularly in a lame-duck session after a congressional election just a month away. But it may be critical if the U.S. is to meet its Paris commitment and reduce air pollution and associated adverse health effects in disadvantaged communities. 

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Comments 1 to 27:

  1. Great presentation of the magnitude and nature of the problem that developed in the USA. There are many points for people, especially those in leadership roles, to seriously ponder. I will highlight a few that I see.

    1. There is a problem with the statement that "...some experts believe that climate advocacy in the U.S. may need to shift from a focus on stopping fossil fuel infrastructure to one that centers on enabling the clean energy infrastructure that will displace it." Wouldn't anyone deemed to be an expert on the topic understand that both things, discouraging and opposing fossil fuel development and encouraging and supporting renewable energy development, needed to be done from the beginning?

    2. Why aren't the new generation facilities being built near the users, ideally being built within the developed areas of the users? Likely because the developed marketplace of popularity and profit resists that.

    3. Why aren't new generation facilities being built immediately adjacent to, or on the property of, the soon to be moth-balled power generation facilities (where the transmission infrastructure already exists)? Likely because the developed marketplace of popularity and profit resists that.

    4. Why isn't power system infrastructure and management throughout the USA already allowing home and business owners to set up their own generation units and be able to export excess to the grid or draw from the grid as needed (it has been 30 years since the need for change was undeniable)? Likely because the developed marketplace of popularity and profit resists that.

    5. Why is the marketplace of popularity and profit not seen to be the major problem developer, and major resistance to correction, that it undeniably is?

    6. The real obvious need is reducing the per-person demand for energy. Why is that seldom part of the discussed actions? Likely because the developed marketplace of popularity and profit resists that.

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  2. OPOF @1. Good points / questions.

    "3. Why aren't new generation facilities being built immediately adjacent to, or on the property of, the soon to be moth-balled power generation facilities (where the transmission infrastructure already exists)? Likely because the developed marketplace of popularity and profit resists that."

    I remembered reading about this recently. Some progress is being made according to this commentary although its on already mothballed sites: "In a Twist, Old Coal Plants Help Deliver Renewable Power. Here’s How."

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    As I previously stated, I like to cross check the data presented.  


    The article notes that 85% of new installation was from clean sources.  Included in that 85% is solar.  The LBNL states that 12.5Gw (ac on annual basis)  was solar.  Note that the 12.5Gw is name plate capacity.  Actual average capacity was 24.8%. (information confirmed with joachim seel and mark bollinger of LBNL)

    Just noting for informational purposes and honest assessment, that the installed green capacity is over stated

    from paragraph 2 of the lbnl report. "A record of nearly 12.5 GWAC of new utility-scale PV capacity came online in 2021, bringing cumulative installed capacity to more than 51.3 GWAC across 44 states"

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  4. Nigel and one planet - It would be logical to use the retired fossil fuel plants.  However, there are logistical reasons why it is often impractical

    first, the footprint per watts is substantially larger for solar (and wind), 10x-25x.  So often there simply isnt enough available land for solar.  

    second, there is the cost of removing the existing plant.  major reason why solar farms are build on raw land.

    third, as renewable pentration increases, there problems of grid stability  greatly increase.   

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  5. David-acct,

    Everyone informed knows that no power plants ru all the time.  In the USA the average capacity factor of coal plants was 40% in 2020.  Nuclear plants in most countries have capacity factors less than 70%— and they don't count long term outages for major overhauls.  Many fossil peaking power plants have capacity factors less than 20%.


    Just not in for informational purposes.  I like to cross check biased posts.

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  6. David-acct: 

    Your wild claim that more renewable penetration increases creates instability is completely false.  Provide citations that support your claims.  I note that the freeze in Texas and the ongoing crisis in Europe were both caused by fossil gas problems.  Meanwhile, heat wave related crisis in California and Texas were resolved without blackouts because of strong renewable power production.


    I like to cross check claims posted at SkS.

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  7. nigelj @2,

    Thanks for pointing out the New York Times article.

    For the benefit of others like me, who try to avoid on-line financial transactions, a similar presentation is available from the Footprint Coalition - Old coal plants are being resurrected as clean energy hubs

    Indeed. Some action is happening to make use of some decommissioned fossil fuel sites. In some cases the use is limited to connection of off-shore renewable generation to the existing transmission infrastructure. But there are cases where the site was repurposed, or is planned to be, for renewable generation facilities on-site.

    My question goes beyond the use of the site. It is about maximizing the use of existing transmission infrastructure for a location. That may require land adjacent to the fossil fuel power plant site to also be converted to renewable energy generation. And that adjacent development could have been brought into service in parallel with a phased reduction of operation of the fossil fuel facility.

    Upon further reflection, Question 3 would include upgrading the existing transmission system and substations (potentially no major approval hurdles) to maximize renewable power transmission from an existing location.

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  8. David-acct @4,

    First - My question 3 is unanswered by your first repsonse. See my expansion of Question 3 in my comment @7.

    Second - There is a cost of removing the plant - Period. So that is rather irrelevant.

    Third - Answer michael sweet's good questions.

    I have more to say in response, but I will await an updated response from you.

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  9. One planet - in response to your question (#3) - there are several reasons that renewable electric generation is not often built on the old fossil fuel generation sites. The first logical reason is that there  is not sufficient land available at many of the old sites . Back to understanding the basics, electric generation from solar takes 10x-15x more acreage to generate the same amount electricity as a fossil fuel electric generation plant. Many of the older plants have had industrial and residential development encroaching the area surrounding the plants so that it is no longer practical. In those cases, there is obvious restrictions on increasing the footprint. So it becomes impractical to replace a 200Mwh fossil fuel plant with at 20Mwh solar plant.

    The second reason is the need to maintain the operation of those plants as backup until the point in time that sufficient battery back up is developed and/or installed to cover the frequent short comings of renewables. While battery storage is greatly expanded over the last 10 years, it remains a good 10 years in the future before battery back up becomes a significant component of the grid.

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    In response to Michael Sweet, there are a lot of misconceptions and misunderstandings on both sides of the renewable debate. One of the biggest misconceptions results from not understanding the mismatch in timing of electric generation from renewables and the timing of the demand for electricity.

    To assist in the understanding, I am providing two links which provide significant detail of the supply side of electric generation and the demand side of the electric generation.

    The first is the Energy Information Association - pay close attention to the grid

    Electric generation by source

    The second is a link to the published graphs for the MISO grid for the months October 2021-September 2022.  The data is from the EIA website, the same link above. 

    three items will stand out

    1) the very predictable electric generation from solar and the surprisingly very short period of time during daylight that solar produces electricity (basically only 6-10 hours depending on time of year)

    2) the very wide volatile fluctuations in electric generation from wind on an hourly basis, daily basis,

    3) the third item to notice is the mismatch in timing of the electric generation from wind and solar and the timing of the demand.

    these links are great for understanding the basics of renewable electric generation, along with dispelling many of the myths that pervade both sides of the debate.

    lets discuss further after you have had a chance to get up to speed on the subject.



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    Moderator Response:

    [DB] Inflammatory snipped.

  11. David-acct @10

    "One of the biggest misconceptions results from not understanding the mismatch in timing of electric generation from renewables and the timing of the demand for electricity."

    You are joking right? Everyone except a very small number of complete dummies would understand the mismatch of timing. Obviously solar panels dont work in the dark, and wind turbines have reduced output when the winds are light breezes. A child would appreciate that.

    However there are known and proven technologies that can deal with these challenges that are easily googled. So whats your point

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  12. David acct,

    You continue to refer to current renewable eletrical generation and say that shows that renewable sources can never supply all electricity.  That is the same argument people used when they said that ICE cars would never be adopted since there were no gas stations.  Eventually gas stations were built and most people drive cars.  I remember 10 years ago when fossil supporters claimed it would be impossible to incorporate more than 20% renewable energy into the grid.  That turned out to be complete BS.  Recently California was 100% renewable energy (many other smaller markets have also been 100% renewable).

    I note that the data you provide shows solar produces the most electricity during the peak consumption hours of 12-5 during the day.  This leaves only 5-9 as high consumption hours that need to be supplied by other sources of power like batteries, hydro and wind.  Solar covering the crucial times of peak power usage was why renewable energy saved Texas and California from blackouts this past summer.

    This is the same situation that we currently see with fossil power generation.  So called "baseload" plants like coal and nuclear cannot economically be turned off.  That means that too much power is generated at night.  Most of the pumped hydro currently in the USA was built in the 1970's to store excess nuclear power for use during peak loads during the day.  (Nuclear supporters who say batteries for renewable energy will be too expensive never account for the large storage costs using nuclear power.)  Many existing commercial air conditioning and heating systems have large cool (heat) storage built in so that they can run their air conditioners (heaters) at night with cheap power and then use the stored cold (heat) during expensive power during the day.  The school that I worked at in Florida had a large energy storage system like that.  Why do you think people will not be able to use renewable energy in the same way that they currently use excess fossil power??  They can use the currently existing systems to store power if needed.  I note the people who criticise renewable energy never discuss energy storage systems currently used to store fossil power.

    Several recent studies have found that with a renewable enegy system it will be cheaper to charge cars during the day since solar power is the cheapest energy.  Currently it is cheapest to charge at night since nuclear and coal plants cannot be turned off.  Why do you have a problem with that?  Renewable power can be accurately forecast days in advance.  If windy nights with cloudy days are forecast it will be cheaper to charge your car at night.  If cool, sunny days are forecast than charge during the day.

    People who study energy systems all agree that the variation of generation with renewable energy can be easily accomodated.  They do not even model people adjusting the time that they use electricity to save money.  (Like the example of people currently running air conditioners at night).  Since the electricity cost will be forecast days in advance, people will obviously try to save money.  My brother currently always charges his electric car during the cheapest times at night.  If it were forecast that electricity would be expensive for two days he would simply not charge until the price of electricity went down.  Since he lives in California soon it will be cheaper to charge during the day using solar power.

    You have suggested several times that you think Jacobson has a basic logical flaw in his papers.  You have never stated what you think the flaw is.  If you state what you think the flaw is I can explain to you why you are wrong and Jacobson is correct.

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  13. David-acct @9,

    I, like many others, pursue increased awareness and improved understanding about what is harmful and how to be less harmful and more helpful. I do that because that is what is needed for the development of sustainable improvements for the future of humanity. Every critical thinker knows that, but everyone should share that common sense governing objective.

    So I welcome good reasons to improve my understanding.

    A key point is ‘good reason’. And the interests and beliefs developed in the marketplace of popularity and profit are not ‘by default good reasons’. In fact, there is ample evidence that the developments of that marketplace game can be expected to be as harmful as can be gotten away with. And, secrecy, misleading marketing, and other forms of deception are key tactics in that game.

    So, thank you for accepting all the other points I made, especially the repeated one about the harmful misleading game-play in the marketplace of popularity and profit.

    With that established I will now update my understanding based on your latest comments. I appreciate that you still have 2 minor points of contention. Michael sweet and nigelj have provided good reasons in response to the concerns about the variability of renewable power generation. So there is no adjustment to be made by me on that point. Therefore, I will focus my response to the minor concern you express regarding the building of parts of an integrated renewable energy system on or adjacent to existing fossil fuel generation facilities.

    Any fossil fuel power generation facility that is surrounded by residential development is likely harming those neighbours, especially the older ones (applicable to the plants and the neighbours). There are so many legitimate reports on that topic that I won’t bother pointing to a ‘favourite one’. But thank you for appearing to accept and agree that all the other fossil fuel plants that are not surrounded by neighbourhoods could, and should, have renewable energy systems built adjacent to them as they are phased out of use (and thank you for appearing to accept that your concern about the cost to remove the existing facility was not a valid concern because that full cost should be fully paid for by the owners of the fossil fuel facility).

    Even if a fossil fuel plant is surrounded by neighbourhoods worth maintaining, unlike all the neighbourhoods that are now realizing that they have to consider relocation due to climate change threat, the site could have solar power generation maximized by installing solar panels on all of the homes and businesses adjacent to the plant. There could also be batteries in the homes and businesses. And there are many other ways to convert the site from its current harmful unsustainable developed state into a less harmful and more helpful (more sustainable) part of the system (making the system more sustainable).

    Regarding back-up power supply for renewable energy generation, already addressed by michael sweet and nigelj, I will add the awareness of gravity battery systems ( that could also be installed on a site. They require very little footprint compared to a fossil fuel power plant. (Substantial amounts of easy to find reporting also exists for this, so I will not point to a ‘selected favourite’. Simply enter the term ‘gravity battery’ in an internet search)

    That point raises an important understanding. Claiming that we need to wait for better battery technology to develop is a symptom of failing to critically and seriously investigate this issue. If ‘waiting for a better alternative to develop’ was to govern, then fossil fuel use never should have developed into the massive harmful activity that it has become. And the developing nations should never have been encouraged to start using fossil fuels.

    I will close by summarizing that the minor points of contention you have raised are the result of misunderstanding developed in the system of competition for status based on popularity and profit. Don’t feel bad. The system made you do it. Only feel bad, because you would be, if you continued to resist changing your mind.

    That system/game created the current massive problem(s) (it has developed many problems, not just harmful rapid global warming and resulting climate change). And it powerfully resists correction of the harmful developments that have incorrectly become so popular and profitable.

    Popularity and Profitability do not, by default, mean that something is justified or correct. And failing prey to their temptations leads to the development of poor excuses for understandably incorrect beliefs and resulting harmful actions.

    The corrections of the harmful unsustainable activity that had become so popular and profitable was technologically possible to implement decades ago. The only thing stopping the reduction of rate of harm done and limiting of total harm done is the resistance to correction in the system/games of popularity and profit that insidiously and harmfully encourage people to ‘want more without regard for limiting the potential harmful consequences’.

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  14. michael # 

    you contradicted yourself "I note that the data you provide shows solar produces the most electricity during the peak consumption hours of 12-5 during the day. This leaves only 5-9 as high consumption hours that need to be supplied by other sources of power like batteries, hydro and wind. Solar covering the crucial times of peak power usage was why renewable energy saved Texas and California from blackouts this past summer."


    An understanding of the source data shows your statement is factually incorrect.  I have provided a link to EIA for your review for the CISO grid so that you can compare actual electric generation by source.  




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  15. michael # 6


    Your response is easily rebutted by simply understanding the raw data.  I have previously linked to EIA which should dispel many of the misconceptions.


    I have attached the link which shows the volitility of electric generation in the MISO grid.  The claim that increased wind and solar penetration wont increase grid instability is made by renewable advocates who dont have an understanding of the volitility of renewables.  


    I have also attached a link to a chief engineer who has considerable years of experience and knowledge of actual experience,.  Its a great column to help understand and dispel many myths.  

    Please take the time to read and understand


    Replacing conventional synchronous generating resources, which have been the foundation of the power system, with asynchronous intermittent resources will degrade the reliability of the grid and contribute to blackout risk. The power system is the largest, most complicated wonderful machine ever made. At any given time, it must deal with multiple problems and remain stable. No resources are perfect; in a large system you will regularly find numerous problems occurring across the system. Generally, a power system can handle multiple problems and continue to provide reliable service. However, when a system lacks supportive generation sources, it becomes much more likely it will not be able function reliably when problems occur.

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  16. David-acct,

    Linking to an anonymous blog post on Judith Curries' blog does not support your argument here.  here, here and here are three summaries of peer reviewed papers that document that renewable energy will work.  I note that you have linked the same blog post twice.  The last link that I posted is the most recent.  In that paper, the last group that supported using nuclear power in the future concluded that renewable energy was cheaper and the way to go.  Nuclear is too expensive.  The first two references are now old.  Their conclusions have stood the test of time although the costs of renewable energy have declined much more rapidly than expected.  That means it will be much cheaper than they estimate in these old papers.  Jacobson now uses a lot of batteries for storage since the cost of batteries has declined so much. I note that Jacobson's papers on renewable energy have been cited thousands of times by other peer reviewed sources.  Not really comparable to an anonympous blog post on a denier blog that no-one reads for content.

    The first reason the anonymous poster at Curries' blog gives for not liking renewable energy is that  "Wind and solar do not readily supply essential reliability services."  The large battery installed in Australia several years ago has proven to deliver higher quality reliability services to the grid than conventional generation at a cheaper cost.  All the storage batteries currently being built can provide these higher quality services at very low cost.  The anonyumous complaint has no merit.

    Once you see that "Planning Engineer"'s first issue has no merit it is a waste of time to discuss the rest of his anonymous post.  What are his qualifications anyway?  Almost all of his citations are to his own blog posts on Curries' blog.  He also cited a 10 year old Forbes article!

    Renewable energy is the way of the future.  All the issues listed by "Planning Engineer" have been considered in the links I have cited and cost effective ways of resolving them have been found.

    You have still not described the basic logical flaw you think Jacobson made.

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  17. David-acct @15 ,

    the article you linked at Dr Curry's "Climate Etc" blog was posted 14 days ago.  Since then, the author has made a number of replies to the 150+ response comments.  And my impression is that the author is an intelligent guy, experienced in electrical grid matters ~ and pleasantly civil, too.

    David, I hope you read through the article very carefully ~ for it is an interesting example of Motivated Reasoning.  Also interesting for what it omits, as well as for what it states.

    The author emphasizes the complexity and difficulty in managing a large AC grid.  And yet he (as Michael Sweet points out) skates over the modern role of lithium Big Batteries in providing economical & excellent load/frequency stabilization of an AC grid.

    True, the present-day batteries have minimal storage ability (where high storage capacity would require a big jump into today's nascent technology of vanadium flow batteries or other types).

    Nevertheless, as you see there - and especially toward the end of his article - the author has not only a "rear-view" mindset, but he is motivating himself to regard the introduction of renewable/green electricity as being a 100% or zero% proposition.   That's not a logical position to take, regarding AGW.   Clearly, he has an emotional bias in favor of only small "penetration" by renewables.

    Overall, I would class the article as poor quality.

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  18. I have never heard an engineer refer to themselves as a "planning engineer".  At best it's redundant, as in "they engineered a plan". That's essentially  why one hires an engineer.  A project engineer would be the typical title used.  Perhaps planning engineers are used to devise a plan to subvert useful new technologies such as renewable energy.

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  19. Planning enginer does appear to be a thing. I hadn't heard the term so I looked it up:

    "Planning engineers determine and develop the most suitable and economically viable construction and engineering methods for projects. They are involved throughout the development stages, and are present on site during the build to oversee procedures. It is the responsibility of the planning engineer to estimate a timescale for a project and to ensure that the outlined deadlines are met. They work closely with site managers and other engineers to ensure a project runs on schedule and that material supplies are sufficient.",the%20build%20to%20oversee%20procedures.

    However that sort of backgrond doesn't really include expertise on how to evaluate renewables in the ways he is attempting to do. And we dont know his / her actual name and extent of experience, so its all not very credible. 



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  20. nigelj @19,

    That job description seems too generalized.

    As an experienced engineer of many design projects I am aware of planners as Schedulers and Cost Estimators. The scheduleres need to understand the inter-linking and phasing of work activities. And the cost estimators understand the ways of forecasting the costs of the project. The design development team interacts with the scheduleres and the planners to develop the project plan (I guess that entire team coudl be called the planners).

    Management of the project involves all the participants to monitor the actual project development against the schedule and cost plans, identifying departures from the plan as early as possible so that appropraite action can be taken sooner rather than later (accept the revised plan or try to get closer to either the budget or schedule, but you can't have both if things are not happening as planned, or if the plan was flawed).

    But none of that changes the fact that a 'planning engineer' does not sound like an expert on renewable electric system development and operation.

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  21. In response to criticism of "planning engineer" .  - Try reading his articles. 

    You will find he has considerable experience maintaining, operating and designing grids including intergration of asynchronous renewables electric generation into a synchronous grid and the issues associated with the intermitentcy and volitility of the asynchronous renewables.  


    You will also find that the authors of those renewable studies do not have any actual experience in maintaining , operating or designing a grid.  So who should you rely on for information? the indiividual with no actual experience and expertise or the individual with 30+ years of actual experience.




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  22. As previously mentioned multiple times, the EIA . gov website has a wealth of information. 

    For those responding, please take the time to review Electric generation by source.  Once you familiar with the seasonal nature of solar and wind electric generation, it will become rather obvious how electric generation is poorly addressed in those renewable studies.  

    For example, Jacobson's study forcasts approx 12-15% generation of name plate capacity for solar when the real number is approx 9% and much less north of 42-43rd parallel during the winter months.  Similar overestimate  of electric generation from wind during the winter months.  There is very little electric generation from wind or solar during the those winter months between the hours of 4am and 9am. which during the winter is the peak daily demand period.  Jacobson generally relies 4 hours of back up power, though their is insufficient electric generation in his model to cover the daily demand.




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  23. The have been several responses to renewables do not increase the instability of the grid.  I will note that renewables are asynchronous electric generation with is both intermitent and with high volitility in timing with wide swings in generation .  


    A good understanding of the volitity can be obtained by viewing the "electric generation by source" chart at the EIA . gov website ( previously linked).  The MISO grid shows massive hourly swings in electric generation for wind, often 30-40% changes in a single hour.  Does any serious engineer believe that will not cause grid reliability issues.  

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  24. David-acct,

    I agree that, when it comes to the presentation of increased awareness and improved understanding, the Title a person uses or the Biography of the person presenting the information does not determine the validity of the presented evidence and related understanding. Claiming that the title used or a person’s apparent history of experience validates (or invalidates) their presentation of information ‘by default’ is incorrect.

    The most prominent information presentation you appear to have to support your belief is an anonymous presentation posted on the website of an individual with undeniably questionable motives.

    Accepting all the other points I made, only hanging on to this one remaining minor thread, is an expected result of pursuing as much personal benefit as soon as possible as easily as possible. That type of harmful selfish pursuit is the reason the marketplace competition for superiority based on popularity and profit has developed such ‘amazing’ but unsustainable and harmful electrical system. And it is why there can be such passionate persistence defending and excusing the harmful unsustainable developments of the marketplace.

    If the developed activities/systems that helpful people are pursuing improvement of were harmless then the marketplace could be relied on to eventually transition to better harmless alternatives. Fossil fuels are non-renewable. So future generations have to transition to living without benefiting from them. But fossil fuel use is undeniably harmful in many ways. The need to limit the harm done is undeniable. That requires the most rapid correction/transition possible. The marketplace will not do that without significant external governing. And the resistance to that external governing correction of harmful popular and profitable activity is to be expected, but not justified.

    There are thousands of people involved in the activity your chosen ‘expert’ appears to have a history of activity in. Yet your chosen ‘expert’ appears to stand outside the consensus understanding of that group, just like J. Curry is outside the climate science consensus group. The consensus understanding is that renewable electricity generation systems are feasible, and could have been implemented with the technology that was developed and proven decades ago. The main thing keeping the less harmful and more sustainable ways of doing things from being implemented is ‘the popularity and profitability of the already implemented systems’. It may be harder to do, less profitable, and more expensive. But those are poor excuses to not correct the harmfully unsustainable activity and systems that have developed as quickly as possible even if the quicker implementation is harder to do, more expensive, less profitable, or less popular.

    So, you still haven’t answered michael sweet’s request for you to provide a rigorously justified criticism of specific aspects of Jacobson’s presentation. And the reason you are not doing that may be because the fatally flawed system is motivating you to resist learning that you should change your mind.

    Always keep in mind the need to limit harm done by most rapidly transitioning away from unjustified beliefs poorly excusing developed popular or profitable harmful unsustainable activities (the marketplace is undeniably biased against that).

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  25. "The have been several responses to renewables do not increase the instability of the grid."

    I think it would be more accurate to say that people challenge the idea that renewable volatility cannot be managed using a combination of existing technologies.

    "Planning engineer' makes many claims about his/her experience but while choosing to remain anomymous, none of these can be checked. The management of renewables without instability in countries with high renewable penetration would seem to contradict some of the broad assertions.


    I would note that Germany also makes good job of handling high levels of wind and solar while running one of the most reliable grids in the world.

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  26. OPOF @20

    I agree overall. I'm a retired achitect (bachelors degee) and as such my job is structured a bit like yours, including the project management phase, and I worked with numerous engineers. I've never come across any planning engineers. I suspect planning engineers are a relatively new thing and might get involved in very large projects, and I have mainly been involved in smaller to medium scale projects. Or perhaps planning engineers are a thing in just some countries.

    But I found this on their background:

    "To be a planning engineer, you must hold a bachelor's degree in civil engineering, mechanical engineering, or electrical engineering. An average planning engineer earns at least $76,539 in a year."

    So "planning engineer" writing the articles might have some clues about renewable energy if he has an electrical engineering degree, but who would know because he doesn't even give his precise qualifications or real name. I find it astounding and a rarity that someone who writes actual articles doesnt give their name, so we can check their actual qualifications. It all lacks credibility and sounds suspicious.

    While obviously articles stand on their content and merits, not the writers degree,  Im not going to waste my time on something written by a non expert in that area if its a long article. There are only so many hours in the day. 

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  27. David-acct,

    An anonymous blogger on Curries' web site carries very little weight in a scientific discussion.

    Your claim that the authors of scientific papers on future electric systems have no systems engineering experience is completely false.  There are hundreds of authors that have written papers on future renewable electric systems.  Many of them have systems engineering experience.  How much experience does "planning engineer" have?  We do not know.

    Your claim that Jacobson overestimates the elecrical production of future systems is false.  His paper has been reviewed by at least three experienced systems engineers.  In addition, his publication has been read by hundreds of outside engineers.  People like Clack et al read Jacobson's papers carefully.  If Jacobson overestimated supplu as you claim, Clack would publish a critical paper.  The fact that Clack et al have not published a critical paper tells me that your claim is false.  In any case, many other research groups reach the same conclusions as Jacobson.  Your claim that they are all wrong is completely unsupported.  I note that you have provided no peer reviewed links to support your arguments.

    Your claims that renewable energy will destabilize the grid were answered in practice 5 years ago.   They were made 10 years ago by fossil proponents. Big batteries provide better and faster grid stabilization than thermal generators and even hydro.  Your claims have no merit.  It is a waste of time to bring them up.  Try to catch up with current knowledge.  I note that you have provided no links to support your wild claims, not even to blog posts.

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