[Marxism] China surges with 52 Gigs of new Solar as Trump kneecaps US sector with 30% Tariffs

DW dwaltersmia at gmail.com
Thu Jan 25 13:54:52 MST 2018

Well, this is typical of the often one sided reporting on the Chinese
energy paradigm. The article is quite misleading, perhaps through no fault
of the journalist, Juan Cole. But it is an aspect of information bias that
is ubiquitous in reporting on most energy developments.

The first sentence is key to parse out a bit "*The incredible 2017 solar
surge in China brought its total solar installed capacity up to 130
gigawatts*" But what does this actually mean? It doesn't mean at all that
the solar component of China's electrical grid will be pumping out 130
gigawatts. Not at all. If I wrote the same thing but said the "natural gas
surge", "hydro-electric surge" or the even stronger "nuclear surge", you
would then in fact be talking about an *actual* 130 GWs available to the
grid...on demand as it's needed. The reality is that the installed
"capacity" is just that: "capacity". The *ability to produce*. But the
capacity *factor*, what it actually can and does produce, is only about 18%
of that "130GWs". Much less impressive. The article would be more accurate
to say 23.4GWs.

More: The article states "*Not only has solar generation increased
enormously, but every gigawatt from that source takes coal offline and
vastly reduces carbon dioxide emissions, which produce global heating and
catastrophic climate change*." Total bullshit. NO...every GW of solar takes
*nothing* of on-demand power offline. What an utter misunderstanding of
energy systems. At best, when 1 GW is actually being produced by solar (or
wind) then coal plants can *go down on generation* but can not even be
turned off. (while still burning coal at an ever dirtier mode since all
coal plants are optimized for full load burning of their carbon rich fuel).
This is why Germany hasn't been able to shutter any coal plants and
actually had to build *more*: because solar doesn't shut down a single coal
plant as the article implies because if it is only available for about
1/5th of the day. Solar is simply *not reliable* for China's 24 hour a day
economy. Between say, the hours of 10am and 3pm it can provide, assuming no
clouds, a lot of generation. But when it IS cloudy, or before and after
those hours (peak load is usually 2 to 6 hours after "solar peak") then
it's back to any on-demand power, be it coal, hydro, gas or nuclear.

If I were to build 130 GWs of nuclear, then it could shutdown actually
*more* than the equivalent in coal (the capacity factor for nuclear is
about 15% greater for nuclear than coal). That's how France completely
ended the burning of oil for electricity.

Moreover, articles like these mislead pro-solar/wind activists. Perhaps
this is the worst sin for such a misleading article. It disarms such
activists because it makes it seem, almost explicitly, that China "is going
solar". It's is not. It is going "everything". And doing so more or less
equally (like many countries in fact). The Chinese Energy Plan is to, out
of 2000+ gigawatts by the end of this century, have around 1500 of those
GWs in nuclear, mostly using fast reactors. Not noting this makes the
article at best a half-truth. Here is the truth: China going solar? Hardly.

David Walters

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