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Forced responses: Aug 2019

Filed under: — group @ 31 July 2019

Bi-monthly thread on climate solutions and responses.

243 Responses to “Forced responses: Aug 2019”

  1. 101

    @AB again:  I am betting that the Chinese are going to change the game in the West, leading by example.  The first swimming-pool heating system is going to be touted domestically as a dramatic strike against air pollution—and there will be pictures and testimonials to prove it.  Locals will tout how great it all is on Chinese social media.

    Now mix in Google Translate and international social media.  It won’t be possible for the fear-mongers to maintain their party line when millions of Chinese are clamoring for Yanlongs to clean up the air they breathe.  The Greens and other anti-nuke groups will go from respected to ridiculous.  I expect that process to take perhaps a year from the first Yanlong going on-line.

  2. 102
    patrick027 says:

    I’ve read that HVAC lines’ right of way is significantly wider than HVDC. Could HVDC be placed within HVAC’s right of way without either interfering with the other? Would workers be able to do the work there safely (would they need to wear protective suits?)?

  3. 103
    nigelj says:

    I cant get comments to post reliably on this page, they don’t appear in the waiting for moderation window. Can you please fix the problem.

  4. 104
    nigelj says:

    Engineer Poet @94

    “There’s a vast effort in the propaganda industry to promote “renewables”, without ONE SINGLE EXAMPLE of a “renewable” grid providing sufficient reliable power to produce more “renewable” generation. The “renewable” generation coming out of China is manufactured with COAL!I’m from Missouri. If this is the future, SHOW ME WHERE IT IS WORKING! You CANNOT do it.”

    Of course there isn’t an example. Obviously we are reliant on the power of the fossil fuel grid to construct a renewable grid. We cant put the cart before the horse. Having said that New Zealand would come close because we are 80% renewable (granted it’s mostly hydro power). Your argument is plainly weak.

    I suspect there will be a need for both renewables and nuclear power. Both will have supply bottlenecks if scaled up at an accelerated pace. And it’s notable that India has cancelled much of its nuclear programme due to supply bottlenecks in both componentry and skilled staff.

    https://energypost.eu/17408-2/

  5. 105
    John says:

    Nigel. Sorry. I’m not well versed enough on the specifics to answer. I’m waiting to see what the science says different, if anything. That said, I don’t think Trump’s or the industry’s strategy to force through change to their liking, legislate truth by fiat executive order, which is clearly what they are trying to do here, will go down in history as particularly honest or in the public interest.

    Some will say that yes, n-plants do emit both into water and the air, but it’s in infinitesimally small amounts, so nothing to worry about. Yes, it’s supposed to be low, and possibly most of the time it is. But that’s ideally speaking. Shit happens, and I’d wager that we don’t even know the half of it.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2017/02/08/japanese-nuclear-plant-just-recorded-an-astronomical-radiation-level-should-we-be-worried/?noredirect=on

    To err is human.

    I’ve lived long enough to have witnessed many, many a serious scandal. The pharmaceutical industry also comes to mind here. Just Google those two words together, “pharmaceutical” and “scandal” for a primer. In a business with as much potential profit riding on it as nuclear, the aim has obviously been to minimize the risks, make light of the serious downsides, to paint as rosy a picture as possible to sell, the actual truth of the matter be damned. And we are even exhorted to lighten the regulations, cut the build time. Allow some pollution. John McCain proposed building something like 8 or 9,000 n-plants around the US. That’s a lot of risk.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_nuclear_power_accidents_by_country#United_States

    Can’t people learn from the history of human nature? Coverups happen in the corporate world all the time. Cynical, I’m sorry to say, but true. They usually involve money. The seriousness of Chernobyl and Fukushima were covered up until they couldn’t be denied. There have been plenty of coverups of smaller n-accidents in the western world too. Do we want to leave something as potentially hazardous as nuclear, which cannot be detected by the senses, to the industry to report honestly given their track record? Given that that they are SO invested in it that they rubbish even clean alternatives? That is actually trying to sell us hormesis because then they could pollute with impunity? Is that a business we can trust?

    Trying to contain nuclear energy is hard, kind of like trying to catch water that’s coming out of a faucet in your hands Oh they can build walls, and walls around walls, and walls around walls around walls etc., they can prettify it on the outside, but its one serious accident away from catastrophe. That’s too close for my liking. Am I just an uneducated luddite? Maybe so. But I’m smart enough to know that nuclear is dangerous by nature, and that, given the option, people will always choose the path of least resistance. In other words, people with vested interests can’t be trusted with something as potentially hazardous as nuclear.

    In the meantime we’ve got a fantastic alternative! Clean, free once paid for, alternatives. I visualize a future where everyone has their own. Decentralized. No bills. Simplifying. Ever improving. Options ever increasing. No horrendous risk.

    Nuclear is old technology. Let’s leave it for space travel.

    Sorry for the length. With this, I’ve exhausted my interest in the subject.

  6. 106
  7. 107
    Al Bundy says:

    E-P: You have the general seasonal imbalance of the generating peak at the summer solstice in late June, while the thermal peak is generally in August when you’re well on the way to the autumnal equinox. Meeting this with PV requires up-sizing your PV array again, and paying for it.

    AB: Only if you don’t build it right. You see, ice is way cheap to make in winter and holds tons of “cold”. An above-the-attic (for silent running) exhaust fan for when outdoor temps are comfy paired with a buried insulated +-10′ cube of water/ice will keep you cool in the summer and passive solar heat will keep you warm in winter. Buildings are pretty easy to make nearly carbon neutral. Just insulate well and add access to lots of thermal/phase-changing mass and a few different inputs to the system. Your comments are, it seems, deliberately narrowed down to the optimal way to make the system unworkable. Is that how you approach your projects?

    By the way, what are your patents for?

    E-P: By my 2004 estimate, full electrification of ground transport would increase net electric demand by about 40%

    AB: Uh, EVs generally have plenty of excess capacity. Biofuel hybrids have tremendous excess capacity. Weather reports exist. Yep, lots of folks will choose to telecommute on days where electricity is pricey. Why not earn a few bucks supporting the grid with your biofuel hybrid vehicle, eh? Where you see catastrophe I don’t see a problem. Perhaps it’s because I’m looking at it with a positive intent instead of a murderous one (like the regular crowd here treats nuclear power).

    By the way, molten salt thorium reactors are hot enough that they make good synfuel generators by skipping the conversion to electricity entirely. The politics is unfortunate because solar, wind, hydro, storage, nuclear, synfuel, and biofuel would combine into a seriously solid system.

    As you noted, China doesn’t have the nuclear politics problem that paralyzes the west. So, the work IS getting done and nuclear WILL have access to the world market. This means that lots of nuclear patents and expertise will be Chinese and Indian instead of western. Of course, it doesn’t really matter where the work is being done, eh? (Good thing I’m not a bigot or that might bother me.)

  8. 108

    Quoth mike:

    “Two new studies together make an eloquent case against nuclear power: that its civilian uses are inseparable from nuclear warmaking, and that it is always uneconomic and has to be subsidised by taxpayers.

    I already rebutted this in the “trillions of trees” thread.  tl;dr It’s a bunch of counter-factual and utterly a-historical nonsense from anti-nuclear ideologues.

  9. 109

    Quoth zebra:

    My question, which you keep evading, is… what’s the problem??

    According to you, options 1 and 2 are going to be expensive and unreliable, because blah blah blah… list of memorised talking points…blah blah. We’ve all heard this stuff many times.

    Fine. Then, obviously, all the smart business owners are going to choose #4, right? So, what’s the problem?

    I can tell you right off the bat that if you, the business owner, are required to pay for the “balancing” cost of the remaining load after subtracting your PV array’s output (or whatever you have in surplus to backfeed the grid), you are going to scream bloody murder about “being forced to subsidize these big corporations” which just happen to provide the essential services that keep your lights on.  The grid can do without your PV system; your PV system cannot do without the grid.  The same is true for the wind/PV farm.

    There’s another problem.  If the CO2 disincentive isn’t enough to reduce emissions to the level required, it’s going to have to be increased.  That’s going to wrong-foot everyone who assumed that their fossil backup for their wind-plus-PV would be affordable, and turn lots of the “renewable” capacity into stranded assets.  Again, political pushback will occur because legislation allowed a guaranteed-to-fail course of action to be presented as an option.

    We know WHAT we have to do.  If we are honest, we have to admit that “renewables” (wind and solar) have NEVER done it, and probably CANNOT do it because of their inherent counter-cyclic nature and unreliability.  Therefore, if we are serious about saving our hospitable climate from human disruption, we cannot put false options on the table.

  10. 110

    Quoth patrick027:

    I’ve read that HVAC lines’ right of way is significantly wider than HVDC. Could HVDC be placed within HVAC’s right of way without either interfering with the other?

    As it turns out, I have put a bit of thought into this already and can share my conclusions with you.

    The 6-wire towers you see spanning the landscape carry TWO 3-phase HVAC circuits, 3 wires per circuit.  The towers have top/bottom narrow arms and middle wide arms.  I believe you could convert those same towers to FOUR HVDC circuits as follows:

    1.  Deactivate one side during a low-demand period.  Re-open the top-most wire as an HVDC circuit, using the earth as the return conductor.

    2.  Remove the bottom wire from that side and take off the crossarm.

    3.  Deactivate the other side during another low-demand period and convert the top wire to opposite-polarity HVDC.  The earth is now a standby conductor.

    4.  Remove the bottom wire from the other side and remove the crossarm.

    5.  Re-activate the middle wires as HVDC.

    That would roughly double the power capacity of the wires over the same ROW, eliminate induced AC currents in the surrounding area and radically reduce wind and ice loads.  It would also substantially increase ground clearance, allowing higher wire temperatures without thermal expansion creating risk of arcing to objects on the ground.

    There is a problem with this, in that today’s HVDC technology operates point-to-point rather than balancing power flows as a grid.  I am certain that this can be overcome.

  11. 111
    David B. Benson says:

    James Charles @95 — I am no expert on the English grid. However, looking at the frequency graph in the link you posted, the official story for the blackout initiation appears to be correct. The article in the link is clearly not written by an electrical power expert.

    I now beg the indulgence of all to promote a local company with the expertise and equipment to fix the English grid to avoid such expensive blackouts in the future:

    Schweitzer Engineering Laboratory aka SEL:
    https://selinc.com/

    SEL has a London sales office, I believe. Encourage your grid managers to have SEL consult about a solution. They have done it for Puerto Rico and, much more spectacular, the country of Georgia.

  12. 112

    nigelj gives us a rare admission against interest:

    If this is the future, SHOW ME WHERE IT IS WORKING! You CANNOT do it.”

    Of course there isn’t an example.

    We had the Paris solar-powered printing press in 1874.  We had Lavoiseir’s solar furnace in 1770-something!  WHY, after 140+ years, IS THERE STILL NO EXAMPLE?!

    We only demonstrated controlled nuclear fission in 1942.  Since that time, France, Sweden and Ontario have almost completely decarbonized their electric grids using controlled fission.  Why are THEY not the examples to follow?!

    I’ve got an out-of-the-box thought for you.  Your geothermal reservoirs, like The Geysers in California and all others, are being drained of heat far faster than they can be replenished from below.  But molten-salt reactors like Thorcon can generate steam at considerably higher temperatures than your reservoirs produce.  Thorcon reactors near your geothermal sites could dump off-peak steam back into the ground, re-heating your geothermal rocks and turning them into long-term storage systems.  That huge buffer of heated rock would give you years of time to decide if you need to add more nuclear capacity to offset depletion.

  13. 113

    Quoth John:

    Some will say that yes, n-plants do emit both into water and the air, but it’s in infinitesimally small amounts, so nothing to worry about. Yes, it’s supposed to be low, and possibly most of the time it is. But that’s ideally speaking. Shit happens, and I’d wager that we don’t even know the half of it.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2017/02/08/japanese-nuclear-plant-just-recorded-an-astronomical-radiation-level-should-we-be-worried/?noredirect=on

    I’d say you don’t know the 1/10th of it.  Said measured 530 Sv/hr?  That’s inside a containment vessel that is DESIGNED TO CONTAIN radioactive releases from the reactor vessel.  How can you complain that it is doing its job?

    (And today is the day that I find that my own personal blog, long purged from searching by Google and Startpage, is now absent from Bing as well.  Searching for ““Hiroshima syndrome” site:ergosphere.blogspot.com” comes up blank on what was the last trustworthy major search engine.  The censorship (devaluation and discrediting) of mainstream search engines is now complete.)

    One of the facts is that Prime Minister Naoto Kan ordered venting of the containments at Fukushima Dai-ichi delayed until a 3 km evacuation was complete, despite winds being offshore at the time and venting being imperative to allow adding water to prevent fuel damage.  That delay caused fuel damage to occur.  That fuel damage caused the water-zirconium reaction which led to the hydrogen explosions inside several reactor buildings, including one which had a totally-defueled reactor inside it.

    Put bluntly, PM Naoto Kan caused the Fukushima disaster as we know it by forbidding the experts from carrying out their plans to head it off.

  14. 114
    David B. Benson says:

    https://thinkprogress.org/oil-faces-irreversible-decline-thanks-to-electric-cars-and-solar-warns-worlds-8th-largest-bank-d128101ef4a8/

    So thinking about the future of the grid in industrialized regions requires development of ways to charge the batteries. Devising market rate, rather than flat rate, pricing in the retail market ought to help. I’ll opine that this would be better for nuclear power plants, being constant producers by economic preference.

  15. 115
    nigelj says:

    Engineer-Poet @112

    You remind me of the energiser bunny :)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KjwcfUDnMEM

    “We had the Paris solar-powered printing press in 1874. We had Lavoiseir’s solar furnace in 1770-something! WHY, after 140+ years, IS THERE STILL NO EXAMPLE?!”

    If by example you mean a country reliant totally on solar power (plus some storage) surely it is obvious? Fossil fuels were more affordable than solar power in the very early days, and for many decades almost nobody really knew of the climate impacts of fossil fuels, so there was no reason to develop solar power other than as a curiosity and for a few specialist applications like the space station.

    To get things like solar power up to speed has required the urgency of the climate problem, and government subsidies. These have been hugely resisted by the fossil fuel lobby and various libertarian ideologues who resent government getting involved, nevertheless often quite small subsidies made solar and wind power modestly viable, and costs have since dropped dramatically such that generating companies are replacing end of life coal fired plant with renewable packages with battery storage. Yes I can anticipate your objections, and the economics of renewables are not perfect, but its preferable to burning fossil fuels and some optimism about more price drops is entirely justified.

    “We only demonstrated controlled nuclear fission in 1942. Since that time, France, Sweden and Ontario have almost completely decarbonized their electric grids using controlled fission. Why are THEY not the examples to follow?!”

    Nuclear power was developed rapidly because of the urgency of the war effort to demonstarte nuclear fission and massive government subsidies and the obvious early promise of nuclear power. However as I have said previously I have no firm objection to nuclear power, provided we have something safer than three mile island and chernobyl which should not be too difficult. The problem is the nuclear industry is full of promise but the delivery has lagged the rhetoric and the bravado.

    In reality if we get serious about the climate problem any mass rollout of nuclear, wind or solar power will all have their own unique supply bottlenecks because they use different materials to some extent, so we will probably need all three in abundance. So electricity systems will have various combinations of generation.

    “Thorcon reactors near your geothermal sites could dump off-peak steam back into the ground, re-heating your geothermal rocks and turning them into long-term storage systems. That huge buffer of heated rock would give you years of time to decide if you need to add more nuclear capacity to offset depletion.”

    You would make a good salesperson for a nuclear company if you aren’t already. Molten salt reactors do sound promising in theory. My understanding is they are still experimental and have proven slow to develop, so much for the much vaunted fast progress off nuclear power. But I think this is the sort of nuclear technology we should be looking at: it’s modular, safer than water cooled, etc. I vaguely recall reading that America’s government dont like them, because of their ability to produce weapons grade materials and this is stalling progress.

  16. 116

    EngineerPoet said:

    ” Since that time, France, Sweden and Ontario have almost completely decarbonized their electric grids using controlled fission. Why are THEY not the examples to follow?!”

    How can that happen in a country like the USA, where half the elected officials (the R’s) do not know how to govern and show no signs of wanting to?

    Being able to govern, i.e. enforcing regulations, subsidizing via taxes, etc is crucial for adopting safety-critical technology.

  17. 117
    zebra says:

    Re #109,

    Well folks, I know it isn’t PC to say these things, but it is now obvious that engineer-poet has some kind of “issue”, whether it is age-related or substance-related, I don’t know.

    Even when I say: “Ok, I’ll accept your claim that wind and solar would be more expensive and less reliable”, his response is:

    “But..but..but… wind and solar are more expensive and less reliable!”

    Sad.

    I am leaning towards age-related, because as David Benson pointed out, his technical knowledge seems dated. Maybe stuck in the 1980’s?

    Anyway, I will continue my lonely quest to get any nuclear proponent to explain why they don’t like a policy where I accept their claims, and which would obviously lead to getting their nuclear plants built.

  18. 118

    EngineerPoet said:

    “Searching for ““Hiroshima syndrome” site:ergosphere.blogspot.com” comes up blank on what was the last trustworthy major search engine. The censorship (devaluation and discrediting) of mainstream search engines is now complete.)”

    I checked and the search results do appear on Google. In any event, your argument is a hypothetical strawman. Fukushima could have tipped to a greater disaster if the tsunami was even fractionally stronger or the winds were blowing the other way, so blaming someone due to a poor decision doesn’t make the operation of a nuclear power plant any less safety-critical.

    Dodging bullets doesn’t pay-off in the long-run.

  19. 119
  20. 120

    E-P 94: I’m from Missouri. If this is the future, SHOW ME WHERE IT IS WORKING! You CANNOT do it.

    BPL: Denmark is getting 40% of its energy from wind, Iceland is getting almost all its power from geothermal, Indonesia is getting 18% of its power from geothermal, Spain and Portugal are getting 20% or so from wind and solar. It’s happening, much as you’d like to deny it. Renewables are the fastest-growing, cheapest energy sources in the world. Nuclear, on the other hand, is dying along with coal. You can produce elaborate arguments on the internet why nuclear is “better,” but that doesn’t seem to stop its decline.

  21. 121

    E-P 99: The tramp uranium and thorium from coal fly ash exposes the public to more radiation than nuclear plants do.

    BPL: Straw man argument. No one here is advocating coal.

  22. 122

    Actually, there are examples of national-level grids that are 100% renewable (or close). One is Norway:

    https://energifaktanorge.no/en/norsk-energiforsyning/kraftproduksjon/

    Uruguay isn’t far behind:

    In less than 10 years, Uruguay has slashed its carbon footprint without government subsidies or higher consumer costs, according to the country’s head of climate change policy, Ramón Méndez.

    In fact, he says that now that renewables provide 94.5% of the country’s electricity, prices are lower than in the past relative to inflation. There are also fewer power cuts because a diverse energy mix means greater resilience to droughts.

    The Canadian province of Quebec–which is about 2 1/2 times the size of Uruguay by population, and has a legislature it calls the “National Assembly” in recognition of its status as a “distinct society” within the Canadian federation–makes much more power than it uses, which it exports to both Canada and the US:

    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/electricity-in-quebec-1.1094675

    Admittedly, all three of these examples depend heavily on hydropower, good natural resources of which blessed all three. (Though one mustn’t ignore some really serious investments, which were also crucial.) But still, yes there are thoroughly RE economies today.

    It must also be admitted that this all refers to electrical generation–all three still use oil for transportation and the like (though Norway is also making good headway on that front, where EVs now make up the majority of all new-vehicle sales. (I’m curious to see some good numbers on overall vehicle fleet composition.)

  23. 123

    ep, #112–

    “France, Sweden and Ontario have almost completely decarbonized their electric grids using controlled fission.”

    You can take Ontario off that list. While Ontario does have 35% nuclear power, she also has 28% natgas.

    http://www.ieso.ca/learn/ontario-supply-mix/ontario-energy-capacity

    And it’s primarily natgas and wind that enabled the cessation of coal generation, which is what you are likely thinking of; the CANDU reactors were in place long before that.

  24. 124
    Al Bundy says:

    E-P: You’ve got this fear of the word “critical”, but no knowledge whatsoever of things like delayed neutrons and negative temperature coefficients… …It is very much a reactor, and it will indeed be critical when it is in operation. You’re saying I should lie to cater to propaganda-induced paranoia?

    AB: I said that words like “reactor” and “critical” have been made toxic and it is unwise to continue using them when speaking to laypeople with the goal of promoting nuclear power (think about how “theory” has be abused by deniers with regard to climate science). To warp that into me not knowing the physics and being afraid is (deliberately?) stupid and flags you as a mere 3SD (or below).

    E-P: Most of Fukushima is effectively clear of contamination after only 8 years, and that’s after the worst NPP accident in history.

    AB: Wrong. Fukushima is located on an island off the eastern coast of Asia. One of the world’s strongest currents sweeps past the shore. Fukushima’s geographic location drastically minimized the probability of precipitation washing radioisotopes out of the atmosphere onto populated land in significant concentrations. Fukushima was a nothing burger compared to the landlocked Chernobyl. Again (since you have shown no desire to learn anything that doesn’t support your prejudices) it is NOT the “per person” dose that matters. The key is “doses per group of cells”. Consider asbestos. It causes cancer because it has a hook-like shape that injures and re-injures the same group of cells repeatedly. So, since Fukushima’s fallout dispersed in the Pacific instead of concentrating in a group of cells in the intestines of a person who ate something, of course the financial disaster wasn’t a serious health problem. The biggest issue is that Japan has chosen to try to store the radioactive water and block it from dispersing in the Pacific. Lots of talent and time wasted making things worse and more dangerous.

    By the way, those circular exclusion zones are dorky. Instead of drawing a brain-dead circle ask, “Where did the cloud go and where did it rain?” Exclusion zones should be spotty and jagged. During Chernobyl the Ruskies used their military to seed clouds so that it rained over Belarus instead of Russia. Moscow was saved but the Belorussians didn’t appreciate their toxic present.

  25. 125
    Al Bundy says:

    E-P: As it turns out, I have put a bit of thought into this already and can share my conclusions with you.

    The 6-wire towers you see spanning the landscape…

    AB: Interesting post. Please expound. Why deactivate a circuit? Is the base energy cost of maintaining a circuit so high that it overwhelms the decrease in resistance gained by using twice the conductor?

    And why not go with 6 HVDC circuits? You’ve got 6 wires.

    Thanks in advance for edumacating me about something I’ve never studied.

  26. 126
    David B. Benson says:

    Barton Paul Levenson @121 — There are an ever growing number of coal ash dumps. Sometimes these spill into rivers.

  27. 127
    Al Bundy says:

    mike: nuclear power: that its civilian uses are inseparable from nuclear warmaking, and that it is always uneconomic and has to be subsidised by taxpayers.

    AB: Actually, it was the other way around. Nuclear warmaking ability was needed to satisfy the pain of testosterone poisoning so only reactor types that would be amiable to helping make bombs were considered. Note the experimental molten salt reactor at Oak Ridge that first went critical in 1965. I’ve never heard anything bad about it except that it couldn’t produce bombs (Thorium converts to U233, not Plutonium). And the U235/8 bomb-building reactors they designed so as to satisfy the warmongers were way expensive and of questionable safety. For comparison, there’s no enrichment involved with Thorium and it’s not only free but actually a waste product from the mining of rare earths (so if ya want renewables you gots to do something with the resulting Thorium). MSRs don’t need to stop for refueling (just add some more Thorium to the tank) and don’t produce high level waste (but they can burn it up by adding the waste into the soup). MSRs operate near atmospheric pressure (safe and cheap) instead of wickedly high pressure (OMG levels of cost and danger). Instead of the complex redundancies of the current fleet of U235/8s, MSRs do their emergency shutdowns automatically via the melting of a freeze plug that would melt during normal operation except that it is actively cooled. So if the reactor heats up OR electrical supplies are interrupted OR a choice is made to turn off the cooling fan the plug melts and the salt drains into containers that spread stuff out enough so that the residual radiation won’t heat things enough to cause damage. Fix whatever scrammed the reactor and start-er-up. The only subsidy truly needed is insurance. Because of, as E-P calls it, “radiophobia”, you’re probably not gonna find an insurance company that will cover your nuke for the way small chance that it will erase a city (even though the chance that gravity will turn off is below 0.00000000000000000000000000001%).

    Personally, I think that those who refuse to accept Thorium as a possibility are as 3SD as E-P displays when he disses wind and solar.

    Which reminds me. E-P, as someone noted above renewables can easily be used to supply grid stability: just curtail (or use to charge batteries) a bit of whatever is currently producible. Either you’re confusing a management decision (politics) with engineering facts or you’re about to teach me something (I’m taking the other commenter’s word, though with…

    …wait for it….

    …a grain of salt).

    And note that an MSR can use a secondary loop of molten salt (instead of water or steam) so it can easily keep a HUGE vat of non-radioactive molten salt nice and toasty. Add concentrated solar, some simultaneous combined cycle engines, and a synfuel generator and you’ve got a tribrid plant that produces both electricity and vehicle fuel and pretty much disconnects load and supply (because of the immense thermal mass involved). Kind of Holy Grailish, eh?

  28. 128

    Quoth Al Bundy:

    You see, ice is way cheap to make in winter and holds tons of “cold”.

    You are more than 40 years behind the times.  Annual Cycle Energy Systems (winter ice storage) were already old news in 1979.  I have some notions about how to build a modern version thereof, but do you know ANYONE who has anything of the sort?  I don’t, even by reputation.  I’d love to have one, but I don’t know who would install one for me.

    I read an article about an office building (Minnesota?) which was experimentally cooled using a snow-maker spray gun to create a snow-pile which was covered with an insulating blanket and used to provide cold water to fan-coils in the building during the summer.  Somehow this article has been placed outside of search-engine reach by (what I would consider) normal search terms; I know it was published but I can’t find it.  Now why would that be?

  29. 129
    Al Bundy says:

    Kevin (and others),

    I got back the peer review on the simultaneous combined cycle engine. The Big Issue was that it uses tech that isn’t off-the-shelf, which means that it would take serious bucks to bring to market, and given the fact that engine development is fading as electricity rises the odds of getting it done are low.

    So I took the parts of my hypothesis that could be built with off-the-shelf parts and filed a patent for the “Piston engine with re-expansion”. The design solves the issues that have prevented re-expansion from taking hold. It’s way simpler than the SCCE so I’m sure most folks here could grok how and why it works (unlike the SCCE there’s nothing in the patent that’s concerned with combustion; it can be added to any traditional four-stroke engine). It won’t get to the SCCE’s 67% goal, but it will bump a 50% engine (in optimal conditions) to perhaps 60% at the shaft. Do you (or anyone else) want to see how it works?

  30. 130

    Quoth nigelj:

    You remind me of the energiser bunny :)

    And I’m running a minor sub-Reddit, commenting on r/Nuclear and the Real Climate blog a lot, dropping in on Green Car Congress fairly frequently, and managing my own personal energy supply by literally bringing in a ton of wood to split (to list some of the activities I’m willing to admit).  Having enough money to not need a day job has its advantages, though I really wish I was ten years younger.

    If by example you mean a country reliant totally on solar power (plus some storage) surely it is obvious? Fossil fuels were more affordable than solar power in the very early days, and for many decades almost nobody really knew of the climate impacts of fossil fuels

    I’m going to play dumb here for a little while, to give you an idea of what kind of willful blindness I deal with from the likes of you.

    “What do you mean, FOSSIL FUELS WERE MORE AFFORDABLE?  The wind and Sun are FREE!  How can you get more affordable than FREE?!”

    Explain to me HOW fossil fuels could be more affordable than “free” renewables.  Then explain to me why “renewables” can’t seem to do without fossil fuels, and why we should tolerate that.

    To get things like solar power up to speed has required the urgency of the climate problem, and government subsidies.

    Also explain to me how the “renewables” push which started in the 1970’s hasn’t really come up to speed yet, while the accidental successes of France, Sweden and Ontario are being excoriated as “doing it wrong”.

    generating companies are replacing end of life coal fired plant with renewable packages with battery storage.

    To put it bluntly, that is a lie.  Coal-fired plants can operate for weeks, sometimes months, on energy stockpiled on-site.  The South Australia battery “success” story (100 MW/129 MWh) can go for 1 hour 18 minutes.  They are not even comparable.

    the economics of renewables are not perfect, but its preferable to burning fossil fuels and some optimism about more price drops is entirely justified.

    Wait, isn’t this a CRISIS SITUATION?  We have not seen ONE SINGLE EXAMPLE of a “renewable” (other than hydro) system decarbonizing to the required degree.  How can you say that “renewables” are PREFERABLE to an energy supply which already proved itself adequate to the task decades ago?

    Do we not have a planet to save from our foolishness?  Are you proposing MORE foolishness?

    Nuclear power was developed rapidly because of the urgency of the war effort to demonstarte nuclear fission and massive government subsidies and the obvious early promise of nuclear power.

    WW2 was long over when Sweden and France began their nuclearization efforts.  Canada’s effort had exactly nothing to do with bombs.  Despite this, France, Sweden and Ontario have almost fossil-free electric grids.  You need to stop lying to yourself, first and foremost.  Only then will you be able to understand the truth.

    In reality if we get serious about the climate problem any mass rollout of nuclear, wind or solar power will all have their own unique supply bottlenecks because they use different materials to some extent

    The major materials being concrete, steel and aluminum.  Nuclear needs a fraction of the first two compared to “renewables” and very little of the third.

    This becomes far more obvious when you look at things as a system.  Our cheapest form of battery storage remains lead-acid.  Lead is highly recyclable but also highly toxic, and is very limited in supply.  Lithium-ion is next, and is also limited for materials like cobalt for lithium cobalt oxide electrodes.

    To make renewable-battery storage work, you need multiple days if not weeks or months of storage.  Nuclear’s “storage” is its actinide fuel; if you want to economize on the reactor part, you can use ultra-cheap molten nitrate salts to store heat for it to match daily demand cycles.  One thing you cannot say about sodium, potassium, nitrogen or oxygen is that they are scarce, and the systems do not consume them.  To the extent that molten alkali metal nitrates break down at high temperatures to oxides, you can convert them back with a bit of nitric acid.  Seriously, we got this; you don’t.

    You would make a good salesperson for a nuclear company if you aren’t already.

    Nice dig there.  I have never had anything to do with the nuclear industry.  I never studied nuclear engineering professionally, and none of my work has even come close to nuclear plants or science.  All I have ever done is admire nuclear energy as a made-to-order solution for the climate problem I have been talking about for at least four decades now.  I have literally nothing to gain from my advocacy.  Am I not pure enough for you?  If not, who possibly could be?

    Molten salt reactors do sound promising in theory.

    If you had bothered to look into the examples provided, you’d understand that they worked beautifully in practice (“fireball reactor” and “MSRE”)… and then were abandoned, perhaps because they DID work beautifully.  Whose interests were threatened by that success?  Investigate that, and you might learn something.

    Might.  My experience with you suggests that you are highly resistant to learning.

  31. 131
    David B. Benson says:

    Al Bundy @127 — Unfortunately nobody has yet built a demonstration nuclear power plant based on thorium. The Indians and the Chinese keep trying…

  32. 132

    All I have ever done is admire nuclear energy as a made-to-order solution for the climate problem I have been talking about for at least four decades now.

    Ah yes, I’m sure we can find these solutions by searching for “Engineer-Poet” on Google Scholar ;)

  33. 133
    zebra says:

    114 David Benson,

    So thinking about the future of the grid in industrialized regions requires development of ways to charge the batteries. Devising market rate, rather than flat rate, pricing in the retail market ought to help. I’ll opine that this would be better for nuclear power plants, being constant producers by economic preference.

    First, how does one “devise” market rate pricing other than by having a free market?

    Second, if it would be better for nuclear power plants, why do proponents of nuclear (e.g. engineer-poet) oppose establishing a true free market, where the grid operator is mandated to treat all consumers and generators equally, and is compensated for maintaining the grid and facilitating transactions, but excluded from being a generator or retailer?

    ‘Tis a puzzlement, indeed. Such an arrangement should please everyone who has a pet CO2 reduction modality to suggest, since, if theirs is better, it will win in the marketplace.

  34. 134
    Al Bundy says:

    E-P’s link: ACES is a heat storage system which seeks to lower energy use by balancing the building heating and cooling loads over an annual cycle. During the winter, a heat pump operates to heat the building . The heat pump’s source of heat is the water storage which is gradually turned to ice in the course of the winter. During the summer, the ice is used directly to cool the building.

    AB: Not what I was thinking of. Compressors suck down energy like an alcoholic and the ACES system described has to shove energy from 32F to 68F or so (insanity when ground source is perhaps 55F). Instead, simply run outdoor air (or a fluid that’s been cooled by a radiator) through the tank of water when temps are significantly below freezing and indoor air (or a fluid) through the tank of ice when outdoor temperatures are too warm for ventilation to handle the cooling (heating generally should be done primarily with solar or the waste heat from a generator (you need electricity anyway)). I read about the system back around 1975 in Popular Mechanics or some such magazine (so no, I’m not 40 years behind). That’s where the 10′ cube’s dimensions came from.

    That’s the only installation I’ve come across. When I built a prototype 3000 ft2 house in Atlanta I used perimeter under-slab air-tunnels (simply arc wire mesh covered with rocks before pouring the concrete) and super efficient DC fans powered directly by a solar panel (no controls other than a seasonal on/off switch) to draw the attached greenhouse’s heat into the slab during winter. I also used a rock bed to mitigate temperature swings. The greenhouse and ventilation did the heavy lifting. I also included the smallest and most efficient gas furnace and AC I could find. It didn’t get terribly much use as long as the bedrooms (upstairs) were allowed to heat up during the day. The last bit was an itty bitty gas fake fireplace in the great room that my wife used in winter to take the chill off in the morning before the greenhouse kicked in.

    Note that the system probably wouldn’t work as well today as it did when I built it. Once the nighttime low gets too warm for comfort ventilation won’t cut it. And as for ice storage (had I gone that way), once winter doesn’t have enough freezing degree days you have to go with compressors (but unlike the described ACES system use outdoor air as the sink for ice creation).

    The sort of holistic system I built didn’t catch on because it isn’t something one can just set to 72F or whatever and it magically happens. They’re easy to live with (fun, actually) but not what USAians are used to. And since houses are built by contractors who want exact and repeatable results and consumers generally don’t care about anything except qualifying for a mortgage and banks don’t care about the total monthly cost of home ownership (just the mortgage part, which is something I’ve been whining about for years; loans for anything that uses significant energy should be qualified for using total costs, not payments) and since both contractors and banks faint when faced with a prototype the cheap, easy, and dreadfully expensive and planet-killing compressor-driven large delta T systems dominate the market.

  35. 135

    AB, #129–

    It won’t get to the SCCE’s 67% goal, but it will bump a 50% engine (in optimal conditions) to perhaps 60% at the shaft. Do you (or anyone else) want to see how it works?

    Sure. I may or may not understand it, but trying to do so ought to be good brain exercise, if nothing else. Thanks for the offer.

  36. 136

    E-P 128: I know it was published but I can’t find it. Now why would that be?

    BPL: Because THEY are concealing it from you. In fact, they’re trying to control your mind with radio signals! But you can do something to guard yourself–fashion a simple helmet out of aluminum foil.

  37. 137

    e-p, #130–

    I’m going to presume that that comment was made before the numerous counter-points preceding it cleared moderation.

    But I want to comment on one point:

    Coal-fired plants can operate for weeks, sometimes months, on energy stockpiled on-site. The South Australia battery “success” story (100 MW/129 MWh) can go for 1 hour 18 minutes. They are not even comparable

    To which one might rejoin, well, if they’re not comparable, why did you just compare them?

    It’s snarky, and hopefully in a fun way, but masks a more serious point, which is, how best to make such comparisons? At which systemic levels, and by what metrics?

    (As an aside, it’s also worth highlighting that the statement is incomplete: it should read “The South Australia battery “success” story (100 MW/129 MWh) can go for 1 hour 18 minutes while discharging at its maximum rate.” That is, of course, not how it operates normally.)

    Anyway, at the level of what one might call “drop-in equivalence”, clearly e-p is correct. A battery storage facility is not the functional equivalent of a coal plant, or any other thermal plant, for that matter. For one thing, its ability to respond to grid conditions is orders of magnitude superior–milliseconds, as opposed to tens of minutes. As such, it is extremely valuable just from the grid stability/regulation point of view.

    On the other hand, it does not actually generate power; just like it says on the label, it is *storage*. This ought to be a clue that it is intended to function together with power generation plants that, you know, generate–be they thermal, nuclear (which really ought to come under the ‘thermal’ umbrella tern but conventionally doesn’t), solar PV, wind, or, really, whatever. And sure enough, stand-alone battery storage facilities are charged from the grid, which means that they are charged by whatever happens to be powering it at the time the charging happens.

    But the obvious functional pairing is with the intermittent renewables, wind and solar, because of course the intermittency of those resources doesn’t always line up nicely with the intermittency of demand. So, for instance, a couple of hours of battery storage does wonders for solar because it addresses the so-called “duck curve” of high power demand in the early evening, just during and immediately after sunset.

    This illustrates the nature of the beast: storage, and the need therefore, needs to be considered at a systemic level. As the grid changes, it will be operated differently than in the past. The strengths of various technologies will be utilized by the intelligent adaptation of the system as a whole. Wind and solar have the strengths of low carbon emissions (limited to those emissions embodied in their manufacture and installation), and rapid and now relatively affordable deployment, which results from their modular nature and consequent mass manufacture. Hydropower, nuclear generation, geothermal energy and biomass combustion–though I have real concerns about that latter–are highly dispatchable but less flexible.

    In real-world applications, we’ll see these combined in flexible and probably novel ways that are adapted to local realities, and managed dynamically. That will also encompass demand management, for which there is already a considerable market, and will involve market structures which optimize efficiency. (I’m not going to attempt here to define “efficiency”, as I expect there will be–in fact, I think there already is–technical debate about what that means and how it should practically be defined. I will say, though, that it’s in part a values question, which means that it’s going to involve politics.)

    So, the short version is that it’s nugatory to limit one’s focus to drop-in equivalency of technologies.

    It’s also nugatory to fail to consider context. I’m beginning to suspect that this failure is what underlies some of dp’s concern–as expressed over on the “How much carbon” thread, and as Al pointed out, evolving into a discussion more suitable for this one. He’s been insisting that wind and solar “can’t possibly” be replacing existing coal plants because building new RE capacity has actual become cheaper (in a great many cases) than continuing to operate extant coal plants. Beyond simply refusing to accept multiple reports that say so quite clearly, he argues that that ‘fails to account for the necessary storage.’

    The problem with that, of course, is that the storage is not, in fact, necessary in the current context. As we all agree, in a great many places, RE penetration is still relatively low (say, sub-10% of generation). In this situation, it is now clear that RE can be accomodated quite well without any storage whatever, because there is already sufficient reserve capacity within the system. And the RE buildout is going to take decades–too many of them for climate purposes, in fact, if we don’t get a good deal more intentional and urgent about it than we have been so far. (Though the gap between current deployment rates and what we need is far smaller than it’s ever been in the past.) That’s a time scale too long to ignore present realities in order to accomodate it.

    The argument would seem to me really only to make sense in the context of a grid that’s near 100% intermittent renewables. Not only is that a condition unlikely to obtain any time in the next half century or so; it’s not a condition that anyone is actually advocating. For one notable instance, the Jacobson scenarios for 100% renewable energy contain significant amounts of ‘firming’ capacity of various types, which vary by country according to the resources available. Renewables aren’t just wind and solar.

  38. 138
    zebra says:

    #129 Al Bundy,

    Of course we’d like to see it, now that you have applied for a patent and we can’t steal your design. :-)

    Is it anything like these?

    https://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/g195/5-alternative-engine-architectures/?slide=1

    And yes, using yours or some of the above for plug-in-hybrids with non-fossil fuels makes a lot of sense. But, we are still faced with the problem of the legacy car companies and their sunk costs and engineering inertia.

  39. 139
    mike says:

    Carbon Brief has a story on the cost of solar in China: https://www.carbonbrief.org/solar-now-cheaper-than-grid-electricity-in-every-chinese-city-study-finds

    Here’s a quote

    “… grid parity – the “tipping point” at which solar generation costs the same as electricity from the grid – represents a key stage in the expansion of renewable energy sources.

    While previous studies of nations such as Germany and the US have concluded that solar could achieve grid parity by 2020 in most developed countries, some have suggested China would have to wait decades.

    However, the new paper published in Nature Energy concludes a combination of technological advances, cost declines and government support has helped make grid parity a reality in Chinese today.”

    Here is the underlying study: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41560-019-0441-z

    How does nuclear energy compare, some might ask? An egghead at Stanford University published a study on nuclear power last month.

    Evaluation of Nuclear Power as a Proposed Solution to Global
    Warming, Air Pollution, and Energy Security

    Read it here, if you want:

    https://web.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/Articles/I/NuclearVsWWS.pdf

  40. 140
    Corey says:

    Maybe drop the idiotic conspiracy ideation, ePoet.

    And acknowledge that the nuclear industry has spectacularly failed time and again as regards cost and safety issues.

  41. 141
    patrick027 says:

    re 110 Engineer-Poet – um, this is awkward – I only saw a little bit of the thread up to this point, but have the strong impression we may be enemies – nonetheless, thank you; although I was aware that conversion of HVAC to HVDC was possible, I appreciate the detail. What I actually had in mind, though, was adding HVDC lines and towers in addition – I saw a diagram that left me with the impression that HVAC right of way included enough buffer space (horizontally) to fit an HVDC right-of-way, but perhaps I got the wrong impression. Although another possibility would be to add underground HVDC within the HVAC right-of-way. Anyone hear aware of the “elpipe” concept? https://elpipes.blogspot.com/ (I’m skeptical of the idea of flooding hollow pipes with molten Na, though (that’s one version); seems dangerous)

    PS both solar and wind energy and fossil fuels are free; so’s thorium. You just need to pay for harvesting and often transmitting the energy – including the cost of mining, drilling, refining, etc. And the land use and the externalities… (referring to solar and wind as free is a sort-of meaningless rhetorical device; the LCOE, EROEI, etc. are what’s important, as far as electrical generation is concerned. I would guess it comes closer to being true for passive solar (if you haven’t designed the house yet) and sailing… oops, need to pay for the sail, and invest in learning how to use it…)

  42. 142
    nigelj says:

    Engineer-Poet @130, you are ignoring the point I made, just as you have done with Zebra. So once again yes the wind and sun are free but so are seams of coal. Both require money to extract and / or make use of the resource and that is the point. Fossil fuels have been the more promising path in that regard until the climate problem came along, and meant we should reconsider solar power etc, – and perhaps also have another closer look at nuclear power, I give you that much.

    Thing’s that are happening like renewable power plus storage are not a lie. We can however debate their efficacy. It’s a strawman to claim they cannot work simply because they only currently form a small part of generating capacity. They are expanding fast over the last 15 years, exponentially in fact.

    Lying to myself? I don’t think so. I have given a very even handed account of the development of renewable energy and nuclear power, and what has driven them. I haven’t been totally anti nuclear power like some and please note that Al Bundy has been the same, open minded. Dont mistake criticisms for being closed minded.

    It’s easy to take sides, I prefer to be a bit more subtle. The lack of objectivity rests mostly with you!

    The large quantity of materials used by renewable energy compared to nuclear power does bother me to some extent, given the planet is finite. However aluminium used in wind towers can be recycled, and we are not limited to lithium batteries: many other battery technologies are under development as below:

    https://www.solarpowerworldonline.com/2019/01/10-disruptive-battery-technologies-trying-to-compete-with-lithium-ion-batteries/

    I do know that virtually all metals can be recycled including sodium but some of the specialist metals used in current reactor technology are in limited supply. For all these reasons taken together, I think debating nuclear power versus renewables can be a bit academic in one sense. I repeat the point I previously made that you ignored regarding supply bottlenecks. If we were to just build nuclear power there will be supply bottlenecks. Did you read the link I posted on India? So we will need renewables as well.

    Ditto there will be supply bottlenecks with total reliance on renewable energy, eg lithium and even aluminium perhaps, so we may need plenty of nuclear power as well! I can’t see how I can explain it more clearly. Put aside the history of these power sources and who favoured whatever source politically, and the current reality and time frames mean we almost certainly need both nuclear power AND renewables if we are to scale things up fast enough.

  43. 143

    Quoth Barton Paul Levinson (who can’t seem to figure out hyperlinks):

    Denmark is getting 40% of its energy from wind

    Denmark is supposedly the “renewable energy” leader of the world… and it is 200% shy of the GHG-emission reduction (80%) that is claimed to be the MINIMUM required to stabilize our climate at TOLERABLE levels.

    Note that this “reduction” includes the supposed “carbon-neutral” biomass it is burning, ignoring that said “neutrality” can take multiple decades for wood-chipped forests to make good.

    Iceland is getting almost all its power from geothermal, Indonesia is getting 18% of its power from geothermal

    So tell me, how do you spread these “successes” to the rest of the world?  Can you scale Iceland across the globe?

    The geological conditions of Iceland are unique, and if you think otherwise you are an idiot.  If you refuse to admit this, you truly need to be battered about the face and head until you admit that NATURAL CONDITIONS CANNOT BE REPRODUCED UPON DEMAND.  You cannot manufacture geothermal deposits.  You cannot manufacture mountains.  You cannot manufacture rainfall.

    Spain and Portugal are getting 20% or so from wind and solar.

    Spain has a population of ~47 million.We need at least 80% of total energy, not just 20% of “whatever” (that you do not specify) to be carbon-free… for the whole world population.  What have YOU got?  Portugal?  A mere 10.2 million people.  You expect to generalize their (sub-replacement fertility) statistics to the entire WORLD?  Are you INSANE?!

    Yes.  Yes, you are.  Now enter counseling and STFU until you are cured.  “Cured” means you do not EVER contradict provable fact, anytime, anywhere, ever.  Anything else is delusion.

    It’s happening, much as you’d like to deny it. Renewables are the fastest-growing, cheapest energy sources in the world.

    That’s what happens when you subsidize things and refuse to count subsidies against costs.  In short, it’s all lies.

    Nuclear, on the other hand, is dying along with coal. You can produce elaborate arguments on the internet why nuclear is “better,” but that doesn’t seem to stop its decline.

    As Dr. James Hansen notes, the “success stories” use hydro and nuclear.  No country has done it with wind and “solar”, anytime, anyplace, EVER.  So top pretending it is possible.  Nuclear is only dying because perverse incentives allow carbon-heavy replacements to be incentivized over carbon-free nuclear.

  44. 144
    David B. Benson says:

    zebra @133 — ERCOT Texas runs an energy only market for grid electricity. Works fine and all forms of generators, including nuclear power plants, participate. If you go back to my prior comment providing a link to lecture notes for a course on power marketing and read those notes, maybe you will agree that it is not a “free market”.

  45. 145
    David B. Benson says:

    mike @139 — Your final link is to a paper by Mark Jacobson. He has ruined his reputation and is a well-known ideologue. To be ignored.

  46. 146
    Al Bundy says:

    Zebra: Of course we’d like to see it, now that you have applied for a patent and we can’t steal your design. :-)

    AB: Ahh, I figured those black and white stripes meant something. But seriously, “stealing” isn’t the problem. Trying to steal a patent buys ya the federal pen. But it is way easy to destroy intellectual property that hasn’t been filed: if anybody posts it on the internet it becomes public domain.

    zebra: Is it anything like these?

    AB: Most of those would probably work with what I filed. The invention primarily depends on there being enough energy left in the exhaust of a four-stroke (so no two-strokes) to make it worthwhile.

    Since I used standard stuff current manufacturers could start building these without having to toss out their “stuff”. Since it is an add-on it is technically possible for them to more or less slap it onto one of their existing engines.

    The current plan is to get this version off the ground, which should get me some respect and power, and then go for the SCC engine.

    I sent it to Kevin but I don’t know your email. Send an address to my first-contact address: ManyAndVaried@hotmail.com and I’ll send you the engine from my real address.

    ____________

    David Benson: nobody has yet built a demonstration nuclear power plant based on thorium. The Indians and the Chinese keep trying…

    AB: My knowledge more-or-less ends with the Oak Ridge MSR. It was small and just tossed its energy instead of generating electricity but I’d say that a demonstration Thorium reactor was built and operated for a significant period way back in 1965. It seems that the project was strangled because U235/8 was the political/military choice (the guy in charge was “resigned” and funding, which was never much, was cut off). How that story, which seems solid to me, has ended up without India or China or whomever succeeding in building a prototype puzzles me. Maybe E-P knows something.

    E-P, why have the Indians and Chinese failed so far and what’s going on with the USAians?

  47. 147
    nigelj says:

    Engineer-Poet @143

    “The geological conditions of Iceland are unique, and if you think otherwise you are an idiot. If you refuse to admit this, you truly need to be battered about the face and head until you admit that NATURAL CONDITIONS CANNOT BE REPRODUCED UPON DEMAND. You cannot manufacture geothermal deposits. You cannot manufacture mountains. You cannot manufacture rainfall.”

    Dont blow a fuse EP. The example of Iceland’s geothermal power was obviously never intened to imply that every country could be like Iceland, and if you cannot work that out you are an idiot yourself. It was intended to show geothermal power at least an alternative in some places. In fact according to geothermal power on wikipedia “As a source of renewable energy for both power and heating, geothermal has the potential to meet 3-5% of global demand by 2050. With economic incentives, it is estimated that by 2100 it will be possible to meet 10% of global demand.[4]” which is not insignificant.

    “Spain has a population of ~47 million.We need at least 80% of total energy, not just 20% of “whatever” (that you do not specify) to be carbon-free… for the whole world population. What have YOU got? Portugal? A mere 10.2 million people. You expect to generalize their (sub-replacement fertility) statistics to the entire WORLD? Are you INSANE?!”

    You are also not seeing that the relatively slow pace of renewable energy development, such as 20% in Spain and 40% in Denmark is because its primarily being implemented to only replace fossil fuel plant that is past or near its use by date, and for additional generation needs! If all plant was replaced with renewables, then progress would clearly have been faster but that will only happen with more substantial government incentives or subsidies and this becomes a political issue. The GND proposes this sort of thing. The exact same issue applies to nuclear energy if we want a rapid conversion.

    “As Dr. James Hansen notes, the “success stories” use hydro and nuclear. No country has done it with wind and “solar”, anytime, anyplace, EVER. So top pretending it is possible. Nuclear is only dying because perverse incentives allow carbon-heavy replacements to be incentivized over carbon-free nuclear.”

    Well using that logic no country could do it with nuclear or hydro because at some point only half their generation came from nuclear or hydro. However imho both renewables and nuclear power should get equal subsidies. Ie a level playing field.

  48. 148
    Al Bundy says:

    E-P: No country has done it with wind and “solar”, anytime, anyplace, EVER

    AB: As you ignore, materials and design that can build a wind turbine that isn’t a toy have only been around for about 15 years.

    http://3ohkdk3zdzcq1dul50oqjvvf.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/forecast_growth_in_us_turbine_size-berkely_lab-1024×607.jpg

    Solar was laughably expensive 20 years ago. Not anymore: https://sites.lafayette.edu/egrs352-sp14-pv/files/2014/05/chart2_solar_pv.gif

    Nobody with a 145 IQ who has an interest in this subject could possibly not have been exposed to the above. That leaves two primary possibilities.
    ______________

    My wife was a paramedic in Canada (we lived on Vancouver Island, aka Heaven). She noticed that drunk drivers always cop to exactly two drinks regardless of whether they can still stand up.

    I’ve noticed that when somebody crows about his (it’s always a guy) IQ every one brags 140-145. So I’ve coined a word, 3SD, to describe a braggart who doesn’t appear to be big enough for his hat.

  49. 149
    Al Bundy says:

    nigelj: The large quantity of materials used by renewable energy compared to nuclear power does bother me to some extent, given the planet is finite… …I do know that virtually all metals can be recycled

    AB: unless they’ve been used in or around a nuke’s core. Point, solar & wind. See? You worried the wrong way! ;-)

  50. 150
    David B. Benson says:

    Attempt at promotion:
    http://bravenewclimate.proboards.com/
    offers immediate posting of comments on Energy and Climate Change in a multi-thread environment with post-facto moderation.

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