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An Introduction to Electricity Markets

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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So many debates about our transforming electricity system surround the economics of electricity production. The solar advocates continually remind us that the price breakthrough for solar panels is just around the corner, while industry advocates insist the economy will suffer if we place any meaningful limits on carbon pollution. I find it’s often difficult to debate these positions constructively. Rather than enter the debate myself, with this post I’ll explain the fundamentals of electricity markets to illustrate how electricity is priced, and how adding or removing electricity resources might affect electricity prices and emissions.

Chile became the first country to introduce electric competition in 1987. Not long after, England, Wales, and other developed countries followed. In the United States, the Energy Policy Act of 1992 officially encouraged a transition to wholesale electricity competition.

Competitive electricity markets slice up traditional vertically integrated utilities, separating electricity generation owners from the entities responsible for electricity transmission, distribution, and retail sale. Instead of generating electricity to only cover the needs of their electricity customers, generation owners offer their power into a centralized market, where it is sold through an auction process. The unique operation of this electricity auction process is the source of my interest in electricity markets.

Each day, electric generation owners submit an “energy offer curve” to the local grid operator. An energy offer curve conveys a generator’s willingness to sell electric energy (in dollars per megawatt-hour) as a function of their level of electric generation (in megawatts). The shape of this curve reflects the individual plant’s fuel costs, efficiency, minimum electric output, maximum electric output, and other operating characteristics. For example, a nuclear power plant would offer its energy for a lower price than a coal power plant, because nuclear fuel is cheaper than coal.

Each day, the grid operator collects information from electric generators, and then uses an optimization algorithm to decide which generators should be online to minimize overall electricity costs while maintaining electric reliability. (Source: ERCOT)

After each generator has submitted an offer curve, the grid operator executes an “economic dispatch” algorithm to decide which generators should provide electricity during each hour of the next day. The algorithm combines all of the energy offer curves and solves a very large optimization problem to figure out which generators should be online, and what their power output should be to minimize the overall cost of electricity without overloading any of the grid’s transmission lines. Moreover, the algorithm considers contingencies. It schedules generation so that the system can withstand the abrupt failure of at least one transmission line, and it even schedules some generators to wait at the ready in case of an unexpected shortfall in electric supply. This economic dispatch process would not be possible without the breakthrough CPLEX algorithm, which by no coincidence was commercialized when the first electricity markets opened.

Because electric demand can vary significantly over the day, the real-time price of electricity is often volatile. This figure shows the real-time price of electricity experienced in ERCOT’s southern hub on July 19, 2011.

The result of the economic dispatch algorithm is an explicit time-varying “locational marginal price” (LMP) at each node of the power grid. Electric generators are credited for energy they sell at their local LMP, which reflects the cost of providing one additional unit of electric energy at a particular time and place. If a particular node of the grid lies in an area where transmission lines are often congested, it could experience a higher price than its neighbors. Furthermore, LMPs typically increase as the level of electric demand increases, because the most expensive generators only come online to meet peak electric demand.

By thinking about how a given energy technology or policy will affect the electricity market’s economic dispatch process, we can predict how it will affect electricity prices and emissions.

A tax on carbon emissions, for example, would increase the operating cost of coal more than it would the operating cost of natural gas. Thus, taxing carbon would provide an explicit price signal to the grid operator prompting them to prioritize natural gas generation over coal, thereby decreasing electricity emissions. This is one reason a carbon tax is touted as a method to mitigate climate change.

Regardless of the energy technology or policy considered, it’s important to understand how it fits into the wider electricity system. By modeling the grid operator’s economic dispatch process, its possible to predict how radical changes to the grid would affect electricity prices and emissions.

 

References:

Robert Fares About the Author: Robert Fares is a Mechanical Engineering Ph.D. student at the University Texas at Austin, where he studies the economic and environmental implications of emerging grid technologies. Follow on Twitter @robertfares.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





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  1. 1. SAULT18 5:15 pm 07/8/2014

    One of the benefits of renewable energy is that it has zero fuel cost and can underbid the LMP of any fossil or nuclear plant. This has led to a downward trend in wholesale electricity prices in places like Germany that have high renewable energy market penetration rates.

    While renewables like wind and solar aren’t dispatchable in the sense that humans can’t overtly control how fast their output can ramp up or how high it will go for how long (we can only curtail renewable production downward if it is not needed), we are getting extremely adept at wind and solar output forecasting. So much so that day-ahead production forecasting is becoming very reliable for electricity distributors and sellers to depend upon. In fact, Lawrence Berkeley National Labs did astudy in 2012 showing that electric grids show little difficulty in handling 40% renewable energy supply and improvements in forecasting can push that number even higher:

    “Recent studies show that wind energy integration costs are almost always below $12/MWh—and often below $5/MWh—for wind power capacity penetrations of up to or even exceeding 40% of the peak load of the system in which the wind power is delivered. The increase in balancing reserves with increased wind penetration is projected, in most cases, to be below 15% of the nameplate capacity of wind power and typically considerably less than this figure, particularly in studies that use intra-hour scheduling. Moreover, a number of strategies that can help to ease the integration of increasing amounts of wind energy—including the use of larger balancing areas, the use of wind forecasts, and intra-hour scheduling—are being implemented by grid operators across the United States.”

    http://emp.lbl.gov/sites/all/files/lbnl-6356e.pdf

    In addition, areas with a lot of solar energy production have been able to avoid the midday spike in electricity rates shown in the ERCOT data in this article. Many anti-solar power commentors fail to recognize that solar PV generates RETAIL electricity during the time of day when some of the most expensive electricity rates are in effect. Comparing solar PV electricity prices to the “low” WHOLESALE electricity that a nuclear power plant produces (after the massive subsidies and policy supports nuclear power receives) is not an apt comparison. Likewise, comparing clean energy prices to that of dirty fossil fuels without taking into account the costs of pollution and climate change just amounts to sweeping most of their costs under the rug. If we want to make rational energy choices, we need to incorporate ALL costs and then the market can make the best decision. Until the incumbent, dirty and highly-subsidized energy sources agree to do this, all we’re doing is distorting energy markets in their favor and making sub-optimal decisions due to an inadequate price signal.

    Link to this
  2. 2. Chryses 6:14 pm 07/8/2014

    This has led to a downward trend in wholesale electricity prices in places like Germany that have high renewable energy market penetration rates.

    It is notable that Germany’s consumer electric costs are much higher than the global average.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electricity_pricing#Global_electricity_price_comparison
    http://theenergycollective.com/lindsay-wilson/279126/average-electricity-prices-around-world-kwh

    Spain also has pushed strongly for renewables.

    Link to this
  3. 3. NeonHunt 9:03 pm 07/8/2014

    Germany’s Energy Poverty: How Electricity Became a Luxury Good
    http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/high-costs-and-errors-of-german-transition-to-renewable-energy-a-920288.html

    Link to this
  4. 4. NeonHunt 9:08 pm 07/8/2014

    Germany’s energy transition is sunny, windy, costly and dirty. It’s also heavily subsidized; “the total cost of renewable subsidies in 2013 was €16 billion”
    http://www.economist.com/news/europe/21594336-germanys-new-super-minister-energy-and-economy-has-his-work-cut-out-sunny-windy-costly

    Link to this
  5. 5. NeonHunt 9:18 pm 07/8/2014

    German greenhouse gas emissions increase 2012 & 2013

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/25/germany-carbon-idUSB4E8JS03320130225

    http://www.umweltbundesamt.de/en/press/pressinformation/greenhouse-gas-emissions-rise-again-slightly-in

    Link to this
  6. 6. SAULT18 10:27 pm 07/8/2014

    LOL, “NeonHunt” is here to spread pro-pollution propaganda.

    Too bad the hullabaloo about renewable energy costs in Germany is just a bunch of hot air. First of all, electricity in Germany is now a luxury good? Gimme a break:

    “Based on 2011 rates, the largest share of income going to power bills was in Hawaii, where those charges consume 6.2% of residential customers’ disposable money. That is no surprise. Power rates in Hawaii are famously high (34.68 cents per kilowatt hour in 2011, according to Moody’s)….

    North Carolina’s average residential rate was 10.26 cents. That consumes 4.4% of customers’ disposable income, Moody’s says. States that take a larger share, after Hawaii, are South Carolina, 5.5% of disposable income; Alabama, 5.4%; Mississippi, 5.4%; Georgia, 4.9%: Tennessee, 4.7%, and Texas, 4.6%.

    Arizona ties North Carolina at 4.4% of disposable income.

    In Germany, electricity now accounts for about 2–2.5% of a person’s budget. Hmm, unbearable, eh? Sure, that is an average, but even for the poorest 10%, the rate is just up to about 4.5%, probably less than the average American. Also, as I note in another section below, that is inevitable (no matter the power source), and the health benefits from switching to clean energy at least help to reduce sickness, early death, and healthcare bills (perhaps even having a net positive financial impact on the poor, who are disproportionately affected by such costs).

    http://cleantechnica.com/2013/09/20/new-york-times-gets-big-red-f-germanys-renewable-energy-transition/

    LOL, the Spiegel article also tracks multi-year investment money on renewable energy projects and counts it against 1-year totals of renewable energy production from the same projects. Wow, this type of reporting borders on “Fair and Balanced”! If you haven’t noticed, Spiegel is notoriously biased against renewable energy. This is just another example that uses loaded words and a lot of made-up facts along with a few nuggets of truth to present an entirely one-sided article. Seriously, there are no mentions of the costs of pollution or the dangers of climate change in this article at all. How in the world can Spiegel even THINK they’re presenting an unbiased story with this dreck.

    THEN, you link to the Economist article that’s totally full of it. It’s main attempt at presenting “facts” is:

    “An average household now pays an extra €260 ($355) a year to subsidise renewables: the total cost of renewable subsidies in 2013 was €16 billion. Costs are also going up for companies, making them less competitive…”

    First of all, the $355 figure ascribed to annual renewable energy charges to the average household is WAAAAY overblown and completely un-sourced. In the article I linked to, an expert in the German Energy Sector clearly shows how:

    “What is the impact of the cost of renewables on his power bill? Below I provide figures both for single-person households and four-person households in Germany.”

    The table provided shows that a 4-person household will use 4,000kWh per year, paying 90 Euros a month for electricity, of which 17.67 Euros goes towards supporting renewable energy. So right off the bat, the Economist is overstating the cost of renewable energy tariffs by 19%, and most households in Germany have fewer than 4 people anyway.

    Secondly, even if renewable energy supports cost LESS THAN A DOLLAR PER DAY, the Energiewende is still immensely popular with the German people:

    “A few weeks before the German parliamentary elections, a consumer advocacy group has published a survey of public opinion on the country’s energy transition. The findings are clear: Germans support the goals of the Energiewende.

    82 percent of Germans believe the goals are “absolutely right” (43%) or at least “more right than wrong” (39%)”

    http://energytransition.de/2013/08/germans-still-overwhelmingly-support-energiewende/

    The Economist article also does not mention the costs of pollution or climate change at all, ensuring that the major costs that renewable energy is designed to avoid don’t even enter the conversation. In addition, it tries to lay the blame of increasing German coal consumption on the feet of renewable energy when high prices for Russian natural gas and weak carbon trading prices are mostly to blame.

    Seriously, if you’re trying to fool people with this anti-clean energy propaganda, you’re not doing a very good job. The money the Koch Brothers pay you to post this nonsense over the internet is not well spent, apparently.

    Link to this
  7. 7. Sirkulat 3:57 pm 07/9/2014

    Cost analysis may have algorithms to calculate, but application/analysis of plug-in vehicle technology is the more productive study. Question: Which EV tech reduces fuel/energy consumption the most? PHEV, BEV or FCEV?
    If you answer PHEV, you are correct, counter-intuitively, but true. Plug-in hybrid is the better match to rooftop photovoltiac and resilent regional utility grids.
    Prove this conclusion wrong?

    Link to this
  8. 8. SAULT18 5:35 pm 07/9/2014

    Sirkulat,

    The ability of Electric Vehicles (EVs) to reduce pollution, CO2 emissions and fossil fuel consumption is indeed a big opportunity requiring in-depth study to fully exploit. However, you cannot pick out plug-in hybrids as the clear winner since there are way too many factors that go into making that determination.

    First of all, you are correct in choosing a plug-in vehicle over a fuel cell vehicle since the FCEV will use 3x as much energy as a battery-powered car to go the same distance. This is mostly a physics problem and can only be fixed at the margins and only with copious amounts of engineering effort.

    However, whether a pure electric (BEV) or a plug-in hybrid saves the most fuel / uses the least energy and consequently reduces emissions the most depends on the needs of the driver and where they happen to live. A PHEV can work as a drop-in replacement for almost all passenger vehicle needs to be sure, but it comes with several drawbacks. Using the Chevy Volt as an example, it can go 40 miles on electricity and then its gasoline engine kicks in. Any miles driven beyond the initial 40 are powered by gasoline and the vehicle only gets 35mpg during this time. While this may be improved, the inherent losses in transforming chemical energy in fuel to mechanical energy of a rotating crankshaft to electrical energy through a generator back to mechanical energy that an electric motor puts out to power the wheels means that the efficiency of this system will be rather low. Over the course of road trips roughly over 100 miles or so, a conventional Prius can get better fuel economy. (110 miles driven would have you using 40 miles on pure electricity and then 70 miles on gasoline afterward, netting you 55mpg total without taking into account the electricity used with the overall mpg figure decaying to 35 mpg the longer the trip). In addition, a PHEV still has all the maintenance issues that a conventional gas car has and it lugs around all that extra weight too. This is one of the reasons why the Volt is several hundred pound heavier than a Nissan LEAF while also only seating 4 people instead of the LEAF’s 5 passenger capacity. Don’t get me wrong, a PHEV makes sense if your daily driving routine involves more than 80 – 100 miles round-trip driving (and you can’t recharge at work or at other stops along the way). However, PHEVs tend to cost several thousand dollars more than comparable BEVs as well, so there is a cost premium for this capability.

    A BEV has a larger battery than a PHEV but it does not have a gasoline engine that kicks in once the battery runs down. Therefore, it’s range is limited and long recharge times are (currently) a hurdle that owners have to plan around. However, most daily commutes and errands can be handled by the LEAF’s 80 – 100 mile range and better charging infrastructure is popping up all the time. Pure EVs also require a lot less maintenance than combustion-powered cars.

    My point is that PHEVs have a narrow trade-space. They make sense when a person’s driving habits require frequently exceeding the range of today’s BEVs (although increasing opportunities for charging and larger batteries are pushing this range higher and higher) but where those trips are not so long and / or frequent as to where they would get better fuel economy (on regular unleaded instead of the premium gasoline the Volt requires no less!) driving a Prius. Again, I don’t think that window is very wide to begin with and it is closing fast unless PHEVs make some drastic improvements.

    As for grid interaction and matching solar PV output, both types of vehicles will have similar performance. Since BEVs have larger battery packs, they will show marginally less wear and tear from charging / discharging to balance renewable energy output, but this is mostly negligible for both types of vehicle anyway.

    Finally, you can’t just make a claim and then ask others to prove you wrong. You have to provide your own evidence to make your case and then others can make up their mind based upon the strength of your arguments. I am interested to see what evidence you used to determine PHEVs were the best option.

    Link to this
  9. 9. abolitionist 6:04 pm 07/9/2014

    It’s a shame that Germany, the best and brightest example of the alternative energy aspirants has shown that in real life, as a matter of fact, Germany’s GHG emissions have increased, and the cost of electricity to the average consumer has increased to the point where it is the second highest in the EU.

    Further, that has happened while Germany’s Wind and Solar generators have received large subsidies.

    Germany serves as something of a loose-loose example of how to not do it.
    http://www.dissentmagazine.org/article/green-energy-bust-in-germany

    Link to this
  10. 10. HarmlessQuestion 6:50 pm 07/9/2014

    It’ll happen, but it won’t happen overnight. It’ll happen over many years, no matter what the theorists want to happen.

    Link to this
  11. 11. HarmlessQuestion 6:53 pm 07/9/2014

    @Sirkulat

    Scientific proof requires evidence, which the theorists can’t provide.

    Link to this
  12. 12. SAULT18 8:10 pm 07/9/2014

    LOL…abolitionist…

    You need to refrain from abolishing logic from your arguments. The OPINION blog you linked to gets a bunch of facts wrong and takes others out of context. How come you completely ignored the response by Osha Gray Davidson that basically disproved everything the article you linked to was trying to prove? Seriously, look at these nuggets that were only a click away:

    “n this most critical area, Boisvert finds the Energiewende particularly lacking. The German program, he states flatly, “made no progress at all in…abating greenhouse emissions.” But, once again, his charge stems from taking a single year (2012) out of context. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the German per capita production of CO2 dropped 22.4 percent between 1990 and 2008 to 2.61 metric tons. That’s still too high, but it is progress.

    Numbers aside, Boisvert’s command of energy fundamentals is shaky. For example, in discussing the need for dispatchable electrical generators “that can ramp up and down on command to match their power output with current electricity demand,” he cites nuclear power, which is actually the least flexible major power source. Nuclear power plants take as much as five days to reach full capacity from start-up. Second on his list of dispatchable power generators is coal, but only a few of the newest coal power plants can ramp up or down quickly.

    Throughout the article, Boisvert characterizes the performance of wind and solar power as variously “terrible,” “unreliable,” and, in case you weren’t adequately alarmed, “of catastrophic unreliability.”

    In fact, the amount of solar irradiance and wind energy for a given date and location are fairly predictable. Boisvert bases his claim that solar power “varies wildly” largely on the uncontested fact that the sun sets at night. But this is why engineers use the adjective “intermittent” to describe solar (and wind) power, not “unreliable.” What Boisvert ignores is that peak power use occurs in the middle of the day, precisely when solar power is at its greatest.

    From this doom-and-gloom perspective, Boisvert asks, “how will a Germany run largely on wind and solar generators survive the long periods when they shut down completely in the dead of winter?” Part of the answer is that wind power actually peaks in “the dead of winter”—not in the summer as Boisvert apparently believes.”

    http://www.dissentmagazine.org/article/green-energy-bust-response-to-will-boisvert

    Seriously, you’ve got to try harder than that to fool us. And what’s with all the Germany-bashing on this board? Do you paid fossil fuel shills all have the same search alerts in an effort to swarm the comments on a given article or something?

    Link to this
  13. 13. abolitionist 10:03 pm 07/9/2014

    SAULT18, if you are correct that the ‘OPINION blog you linked to gets a bunch of facts wrong and takes others out of context’, it would follow that Germany doesn’t subsidize the AE generated power, that Germany’s residential electricity rates haven’t increased until they’re the second highest in the EU, and that Germany’s GHG emissions have not increased.
    Check out the facts.
    Subsidies
    http://dailycaller.com/2014/06/16/what-germany-can-teach-us-about-subsidies-for-renewable-energy/
    Reducing those subsidies
    http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304632204579336220103661350
    Electricity rates
    http://instituteforenergyresearch.org/analysis/germanys-energy-policy-man-made-crisis-now-costing-billions/
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/williampentland/2013/10/27/berlins-ballooning-electricity-rates-become-highest-in-europe/
    http://www.economist.com/news/europe/21594336-germanys-new-super-minister-energy-and-economy-has-his-work-cut-out-sunny-windy-costly
    Germany’s GHG emissions rose
    http://phys.org/news/2013-02-german-greenhouse-gas-emissions-rose.html
    and again
    http://www.umweltbundesamt.de/en/press/pressinformation/greenhouse-gas-emissions-rise-again-slightly-in

    Now, as a matter of fact, since it is true that Germany does subsidize the AE generated power, that Germany’s residential electricity rates have increased until they’re the second highest in the EU, and that Germany’s GHG emissions have increased …

    … you’re wrong.

    Link to this
  14. 14. abolitionist 10:05 pm 07/9/2014

    Still, if you prefer to adopt the position that the ‘OPINION blog you linked to gets a bunch of facts wrong and takes others out of context’, instead of facing the facts of the German experiment, feel free to believe whatever you please.

    Link to this
  15. 15. SAULT18 12:22 am 07/10/2014

    And you feel free to believe whatever you please even though I provided links that show you are wrong. De-nial is not just a river in Egypt, I guess.

    Link to this
  16. 16. Chryses 6:03 am 07/10/2014

    abolitionist,

    The only posters here in denial are those who deny that German green house gas emissions have not gone up (they have), or that German wind and solar generated electricity is not subsidized (they are), or that German electric rates have gone up until they are second only to Denmark in the EU (they are).

    Neonhunt’s second post documents all of that. Your posts in the “Clean Energy to Stave Off Catastrophic Climate Change Possible by 2050, Barely” thread restate the reasons why Germany’s energy policies have failed that nation.

    Here’s another: during the ten year interval between 2012 & 2022,Germany will, due to it’s energy policies, fail to contribute to reducing global carbon dioxide. Why? Germany will fail to contribute because as it’s renewables (zero CO2) increase, the nuclear (zero CO2) will go down. Yet another fail for German energy policies.

    When we look at facts, and stop pretending, we all know whose feet are wet and is looking at the Pyramids of Giza.

    Link to this
  17. 17. MapelLeafGal 6:43 am 07/10/2014

    ‘paid fossil fuel shills’

    You have no reason, non whatsoever, to believe that anyone here is a ‘shill’. Why do you feel comfortable posting abuse? Is it because you cannot accept that other people have different opinions than yours, and you cannot show they are wrong?

    Link to this
  18. 18. HarmlessQuestion 7:08 am 07/10/2014

    ‘Part of the answer is that wind power actually peaks in “the dead of winter”—not in the summer as Boisvert apparently believes.’
    That’s a Straw Man argument. The particular period or periods of low wind is irrelevant, such episodic events are normal, and have a direct impact on wind generation capacity. Just stick to the facts, don’t try to hide awkward ones with rhetoric.

    As for ‘swarm the comments’, I don’t know about you, but I work for a living, and don’t have the luxury of surfing the web while earning my keep, so my posting occurs before or after. How about you?

    ‘shills’? Name calling? Really?

    Link to this
  19. 19. HarmlessQuestion 9:07 pm 07/10/2014

    I hadn’t heard of the German functional withdrawal from the global CO2 reduction effort. The other disappointments are well known, but the law of unintended consequences has caught up with them on this account also!

    Link to this
  20. 20. SAULT18 5:33 pm 07/11/2014

    Chryses,

    Are you blind? Germany’s CO2 emissions may have increased in ONE year (2012), but did you even read the article I linked to written by Osha Gray Davidson? Do you not realize that Germany’s energy transition has been going on for over 20 years and over that time, CO2 emissions HAVE come down substantially? How come you want to cherry-pick 2012′s emissions and take it out of context? Do you have any interest in the truth or are you merely trying to forward your own agenda without regard to the facts?

    And as far as subsidies, are you so misguided by your agenda that you don’t realize fossil fuels and nuclear power have been and continue to be hugely subsidized as well, and much more than renewable energy? Do you have selective memory or do you just don’t care?

    Then you jump to the premature conclusion that the German Energy Transition has “failed” without providing any evidence even though renewable energy development is progressing just fine and the program is very popular among Germans. Getting ahead of yourself there.

    And sure, if you use insanely pessimistic assumptions about renewable energy development, you can paint German clean energy in a bad light. And sure, if you then use those bad assumptions while cherry-picking a SINGLE ten-year period (2012 – 2022), of course you can get a silly, little “kick” out of confirming your agenda by concluding (with no calculations or sources to back you up) that Germany’s energy transition is a “failure”. What you don’t realize is that, even if your bad assumptions hold, time doesn’t stop in 2022, I hope you know. Germany will continue to clean up it’s electricity grid and make progress. Their long-term goals lie in the 2050′s, so your ridiculous cherry-picking of dates is meaningless.

    Please try to come to the debate with REAL facts next time instead of just regurgitating fossil fuel company propaganda.

    Link to this
  21. 21. SAULT18 5:47 pm 07/11/2014

    Re HarmlessQuestion,

    “That’s a Straw Man argument.”

    Do you even know what a Straw Man Argument is? If you were paying attention, I didn’t state the fact that German wind energy generation peaks in the winter and was merely quoting from an article written by Osha Grey Davidson. A statement of fact that you can verify is in no way a “Straw Man Argument”. Here, have a look:

    http://www.wind-energy-the-facts.org/images/2-7.jpg

    Care to offer any evidence on your part or will you just stick to mis-identifying what a Straw Man Argument actually is?

    Link to this
  22. 22. SAULT18 6:05 pm 07/11/2014

    MapleLeafGal,

    We used to have a few fossil industry shills that posted on SciAm regularly. No amount of logic, evidence or reason would get to them. I’m making sure they don’t come back, or if they do, people at least know what they’re trying to do.

    Link to this
  23. 23. MapelLeafGal 6:58 pm 07/11/2014

    ‘We used to have a few fossil industry shills that posted on SciAm regularly.’
    Do you have any evidence for your claim? A shill is paid. Can you show the payments made to the people who didn’t agree with you? Of course you can’t. You just like to be abusive.

    ‘No amount of logic, evidence or reason would get to them.’
    That doesn’t make them shills, and you know it. And I’ve read some of what you consider logic, evidence or reason, and name-calling seems to fit right in.

    ‘ I’m making sure they don’t come back, or if they do, people at least know what they’re trying to do.’
    Posting abuse on these blogs is a juvenile act of verbal vandalism which will do nothing to prevent anyone from posting. Your nastiness is an example of misuse of these forums.

    Link to this
  24. 24. HarmlessQuestion 8:14 pm 07/11/2014

    ‘Do you even know what a Straw Man Argument is? ‘
    Yep, and I caught you trying to slip one in; misrepresenting someone’s argument to make it easier to attack. The misrepresentation was to focus on the season, which is irrelevant, in an attempt to discount the fact that wind powered electrical generation suffers from episodic diminution. That was clear.

    Oh, and the implication that it wasn’t a Straw Man Argument due to my purported (by you) ignorance is an ad hominem argument (a category of fallacies in which a claim or argument is rejected on the basis of some irrelevant ‘fact’ [your unfounded insinuation of my purported ignorance] about the person presenting the claim or argument).

    ‘If you were paying attention [implying that I wasn’t, another ad hominem], I didn’t state the fact that German wind energy generation peaks in the winter and was merely quoting from an article’
    You presented the Straw Man Argument as if it were factual as part of your derisory response to another poster, as if it were yet another reason to laugh his criticisms (remember your ‘LOL’?) off. You presented the Straw man argument as if it were true. You took ownership of the Straw Man fallacy when you presented it as if it were relevant, which it is not.

    ‘A statement of fact that you can verify is in no way a “Straw Man Argument”.’
    Not so. This sort of ‘reasoning’ you employed by presenting the Straw Man is fallacious because attacking a distorted version of a position does not constitute an attack on the position itself.

    Your link provides more evidence for my claim that your quoted argument is a Straw Man. The fact of episodic wind diminution went unchallenged, while you and the author you quoted emphasized the irrelevant.

    ‘Care to offer any evidence on your part ‘
    Sure. I’ve already provided the evidence above. Here is a warrant for the Straw Man as a Logical Fallacy: http://www.fallacyfiles.org/strawman.html

    Link to this
  25. 25. Chryses 9:29 pm 07/11/2014

    Please try to come to the debate with REAL facts next time instead of just regurgitating fossil fuel company propaganda.
    ‘REAL facts’ would, I presume, distinguish one group of facts from another group of facts. If facts are true and indisputable (American Heritage & the OED), then suggesting that your facts are real and that others’ are not is meaningless, so for the sake of intelligibility, will just dispense with that nonsense.

    As for regular old facts:

    You said, ‘ Germany’s CO2 emissions may have increased in ONE year (2012)’
    Fact: Germany’s CO2 emissions increased in both 2012 and 2013. http://www.thegwpf.org/german-co2-emissions-rise-year-row/
    You said, ‘Do you not realize that Germany’s energy transition has been going on for over 20 years and over that time’
    Fact: The German Government policies being criticized were published in 2010, and legislated in 2011. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_transition_in_Germany#Status
    You said, ‘Do you have any interest in the truth …’
    Fact: I’m the one who has reminded all who read this thread that German Government policies have resulted in increased GHG production for the last two years, have caused the residential electricity rates to increase until they are #2 in the EU, and that this energy production was subsidized just as others are. As these are facts, I would have thought you would have welcomed these true statements.
    You said, ‘… or are you merely trying to forward your own agenda without regard to the facts?’
    Fact: I’ve warranted my statements as facts with the links I’ve provided. This implies that I, unlike some, hold facts in high regard. While I doubt you’ll try, I invite you to articulate what agenda you think I am trying to forward. I suspect it would make for entertaining reading.
    You said, ‘And as far as subsidies, are you so misguided …”
    Fact: Unlike some posters, I don’t pretend that my favorite energy source is not subsidized, nor do I become upset when someone else points out that fact.
    You said, ‘Germany will continue to clean up it’s electricity grid and make progress.’
    Fact: World War I was, at that time, called ‘The war to End all Wars’. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_war_to_end_war
    Oh, how wrong they were.
    You said, ‘your ridiculous cherry-picking of dates is meaningless.’
    Fact: Unlike your claim that Germany’s GHG emissions have gone up in only one year (which is wrong), my claim is that Germany’s GHG emissions have gone up in both 2012 and 2013 (which is correct). You neglected to include both years. Was your omission of the second year accidental?

    Link to this
  26. 26. SAULT18 12:31 am 07/12/2014

    Harmless,

    Again, you’re not even paying attention. The claim about German wind energy production being steadier and higher in the winter was not made by me but in the article I linked to written by Osha Grey Davidson. Give it a read first before getting all high and mighty and touting your Googling skills or whatnot.

    And the season is ENTIRELY important if you bothered to look into the facts because solar power generation is higher in the summer while wind power generation is higher in the winter, making them complimentary.

    In addition, you are shifting the burden of proof by claiming episodic diminution of wind power and then providing zero evidence to back this claim up. The fact that you’ve gone 2 posts without even bothering to do this is telling…

    Link to this
  27. 27. CurvyRedHead 5:50 am 07/12/2014

    @SAULT18

    Do you really believe the energy policies Germany has implemented since 2010/2011 are good ideas that should serve as example for other countries to copy?

    The policies that have hiked electricity costs to the average citizen while exempting large businesses? http://www.euractiv.com/sections/energy/germany-backs-exemptions-green-energy-rebates-301310

    The policies that have increases CO2 pollution?
    http://www.businessweek.com/news/2013-07-28/merkel-s-green-shift-backfires-as-german-pollution-jumps-energy

    Seriously now, how can you say those are Good Ideas?

    Link to this
  28. 28. MetalMarzipan 3:34 pm 07/12/2014

    CurvyRedHead,

    They’re lousy policies, spending 67452418539545426745241853954542 euros to replace zero carbon generating facilities with zero carbon generating facilities, while still building new polluting coal (using lignite, THE DIRTIEST type of coal) generating plant.

    Not only will Germany be a non-contributor to the global CO2 reduction effort, but those new pollution generators will probably be operating for the next 25-30 years.

    Way to go green Germany!

    Link to this
  29. 29. HarmlessQuestion 4:21 pm 07/12/2014

    ‘Again, you’re not even paying attention. ‘
    Nope. It’s precisely because I do pay attention to what you post that I repeatedly catch your rhetorical sleight-of-hand tricks. You’ve set the stage for another (Moving the Goalposts [link available on request, as you seem to be intimidated by my use of them, ref here ‘touting your Googling skills or whatnot’]) by suggesting the Energiewende is not a set of German government energy policies, but rather some holistic principle that ‘has been going on for over 20 years’ so that if you feel the need you can say ‘Oh, I wasn’t referring to THAT Energiewende, I was referring to the REAL Energiewende’.

    ‘The claim about German wind energy production being steadier and higher in the winter was not made by me but in the article I linked to’
    … and you quoted that excerpt from it intentionally, and presented the misrepresentation as true.

    ‘Give it a read first before getting all high and mighty’
    I did; that’s why I know it was an excerpt.

    ‘And the season is ENTIRELY important if you bothered to look into the facts because solar power generation is higher in the summer while wind power generation is higher in the winter, making them complimentary.’
    That’s why the argument you presented as true is a Straw Man, as the point Mr. Boisvert was making was about the episodic nature of wind power, not about the seasons. Ms. Davidson’s response misrepresents Mr. Boisvert’s position, and you did too when you quoted her and presented it as true.

    ‘ you are shifting the burden of proof by claiming episodic diminution of wind power and then providing zero evidence to back this claim up. ‘
    Nope. If you look back at my prior post, you’ll see that in the next to last paragraph I explicitly referred to the graph you linked to, which shows episodic diminution of wind power. I guess you weren’t paying attention.

    ‘The fact that you’ve gone 2 posts without even bothering to do this is telling…’
    Since you’ve made another mistake, it is telling, but probably not a story you want others to read.

    Link to this
  30. 30. MetalMarzipan 6:35 pm 07/13/2014

    “The cost of replacing Germany’s nuclear power generation with renewable energy has been officially estimated by the German Ministry of Economics at about €0.01/kW·h (about €55 billion for the next decade), on top of the €13 billion per year already devoted to subsidizing renewables. However, unofficial estimates of the ministry, and of the Rhenish-Westphalian Institute for Economic Research (RWI), German Energy Agency (DENA), Federation of German Consumer Organizations (VZBV), and the government-owned development bank (KfW), put the cost several times higher, at about €250 billion ($340 B) over the next decade.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_power_in_Germany#Role_for_coal_and_renewables

    Link to this

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