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Forced responses: Aug 2019

Filed under: — group @ 31 July 2019

Bi-monthly thread on climate solutions and responses.

363 Responses to “Forced responses: Aug 2019”

  1. 251
    patrick027 says:

    re 240 David B. Benson – too bad they didn’t have more solar in the mix at that time (or was it a cloudy calm heat?).

  2. 252
    MartinJB says:

    Regarding the MIT study, my understanding was that they said storage would have to be under $20 to be fully cost-competitive. I think it’s debatable whether it needs to be cost competitive if you factor in a cost of carbon. In addition, this point from the authors seems telling, suggesting that the $20 target is flexible:

    “However, and importantly, there is another factor that could raise this target considerably and allow more expensive technologies to cost-competitively store renewable energy, which is to use supplemental technologies for a small percent of the time,” Trancik says. Allowing the renewable energy system to fail to meet demand for just five percent of the hours over a twenty year period can halve the cost of renewable electricity, the researchers report.

    “The trick there is to figure out how to supply electricity for the remaining 5% hours. That’s where we need to focus our efforts. This could potentially be accomplished with supplemental generation technologies, or perhaps demand-side management,” Trancik says. Expanding the electricity transmission grid could also help mitigate renewable energy supply fluctuations, she says.

  3. 253
    Mr. Know It All says:

    240 – DB
    $9,000/MWh. Wow! Fortunately that rate only lasted a short time during the peak load! In the PNW USA we pay around $0.06/KWh or about $60/MWh.

    Interesting comment in the next article down on the same page, written 8/22/2019:

    “A number of major trends are impacting the US power sector, including lower utility load nearly across the board among electric utilities, largely because of milder temperatures this year but also in some cases because of lower industrial load. Some electric utility CEOs have also warned that global trade uncertainty is impacting industrial sales.”

    Milder temperatures. Did y’all hear that? I’d guess some of the reduced load is due to more home solar installations, although more EVs could offset that and result in a net load increase for those 2 items.

    208 – alan
    ““This conclusion was that it is possible to power countries, regions, and the world, for all energy purposes, with clean, renewable energy (without nuclear, fossil fuels with carbon capture, or biofuels) while matching power demand with supply and storage, at low cost. We ended up showing this for 20 world regions and under 3 vastly different storage situations in each region. Not only that, multiple other groups around the world have come to similar conclusions.”

    I think DB at 230 got it right. If it were possible to do this, it would be standard operating procedure for utilities. They probably looked at areas where hydro is plentiful to make their claims, but hydro is not environmentally friendly. Try putting up a dam in the USA and see what kind of backlash you get. If solar is so cheap, why aren’t more folks installing it on their homes? Answer: because it isn’t cheap to install or to maintain – batteries and electronics fail and must be replaced. If it’s so cheap, how many here have installed off-grid systems on their homes? None? One? Two? :)

  4. 254
    alan2102 says:

    #230 David B. Benson 21 Aug 2019 at 10:03 AM
    alan2102 @208

    I note that you did not address Jacobson’s remarks, i.e. the content of what I posted.

  5. 255
    alan2102 says:

    #174 zebra 17 Aug 2019 at 5:15 AM
    #173 patrick027,
    ““Population growth in poorer parts of the world still concerns me because I would like them to not be so poor.”
    But, as has been pointed out over and over and over, the population grows because they are poor, not the other way around.”

    Contrary to my bias, it IS the other way around to at least some extent. The relationship appears to be circular. Please read the whole paper:
    Revisiting demographic transition: correlation and causation in the rate of development and fertility decline.
    Jane N. O’Sullivan
    “there is overwhelming evidence that population growth hampers economic development, in advanced as well as developing countries…. Although the economic circumstances of individual nations differs greatly, the double benefit of infrastructure dividend and demographic dividend is evident in the acceleration of per capita wealth experienced by so many nations as TFR approaches two.”
    “sustained growth in per capita wealth appears to be dependent on fertility reduction to a substantial extent. Education of girls may enhance fertility reduction, but is not a substitute for family planning programs. Causation evidently runs in both directions, with a virtuous cycle of reduced birth rate and population growth enhancing prosperity and access to education and health services, in turn enhancing the reduction in family size. However, interventions to promote prosperity or for education of women are less cost-effective in priming this cycle than interventions for fertility reduction.”
    “It is concluded that fertility reduction through programs specifically aimed at reducing unwanted pregnancies and promoting smaller families have been powerful drivers of the rate of demographic transition and economic development. “Development [is] the best contraceptive” is not substantiated. This belief may indeed hinder economic development and limit its extent by ensuring a higher peak population than may have otherwise been realised. A far stronger case can be made that “Contraception as the best economic stimulus.””

    So what do we need? Development AND family planning.

  6. 256

    2019, Q1 & 2, was apparently a good time for retiring coal in Europe:

    Coal generation in the European Union (EU) fell by 19% in the first half of 2019, with decreases in almost every coal-burning country. The coal collapse, long forecast, is finally beginning to take shape.

    Half of coal’s fall was replaced by wind and solar, and half was replaced by switching to fossil gas. If this trend continues for the rest of the year, it will lessen CO2 emissions by 65 million tons compared to last year and shrink EU’s greenhouse gas (GHG) by 1.5%.

    Coal generation already had declined 30% from 2012 to 2018.

    There’s mixed news as you read deeper in the report, as is not uncommon. But it’s nice to see a bit of good news here and there amidst all the bad.

  7. 257
    Al Bundy says:

    I’ve long thought that Europe and the US’s rapid gains were enabled by the pressure relief of invasion. Without colonialism and genocide perhaps they would have been trapped in the circle of poverty and population explosion you speak of.

  8. 258
    David B. Benson says:

    alan2012 @254 — Jacobson proved himself unprofessional with his lawsuit against the first author of a paper in PNAS refuting his. Such an individual has lost all respect and reputation. As such, is beneath notice.

    As for actual power engineering, note the example of ERCOT Texas that I recently posted about. Tell you anything?

  9. 259
    nigelj says:

    “Guest post: Why German coal power is falling fast in 2019”

    “Germany generated significantly less electricity from coal-fired power stations in the first half of 2019, with output down by more than a fifth compared to a year earlier…… The gap left by coal-fired electricity has been largely filled by renewables, with output from German windfarms up by 11TWh (19%) and solar up by 1TWh (6%) in the first half of 2019, while demand fell by 9TWh (3%) and gas generation only increased by 3TWh (16%). The shift means wind is on track to become the single largest source of electricity in Germany this year, overtaking lignite.”

  10. 260
    nigelj says:

    Al Bundy @248 says “An electrical backbone bypasses the majority of storage requirements, especially if it’s global.”

    Yes the wind is always blowing somewhere. The law of large numbers also starts to apply. In fact you got me curious and this is relevant. It’s more about servicing offshore wind farms, but also touches on undersea trans national transmission:

    In the German North Sea, 80 wind turbines now under construction will eventually generate enough power for some 400,000 homes. That power will travel via advanced cables buried along several miles of ocean floor, part of a growing move toward undersea transmission of electricity.

    Submarine power cables have been around since the early 1800s. But for most of their history, such cables were used primarily to transmit electricity from conventional sources such as coal plants, either between countries or out to islands or oil platforms.

    As recently as a decade ago, the submarine cable industry was in decline. That changed in the mid-2000s, as rising energy prices and concerns about climate change stimulated interest in developing offshore wind and more efficient transnational power grids.

    The worldwide market for submarine electrical cables has surged over the past decade, according to industry observers, and is set to grow even more. A report published in November 2013 by Navigant Research, a Boulder, Colorado-based firm that tracks the energy industry, predicts that global sales of high-voltage submarine power cables will nearly triple over the next decade, from $1.9 billion in 2014 to more than $5.3 billion in 2023.

  11. 261
    nigelj says:

    David Benson @258 “Jacobson proved himself unprofessional with his lawsuit against the first author of a paper in PNAS refuting his. Such an individual has lost all respect and reputation. As such, is beneath notice.”

    Your repeated tendency to play the man and not the ball (ie the substance of Jacobsons research study) probably isn’t doing much for your reputation with people. Just saying.

  12. 262
    nigelj says:

    Keven McKinney, oops I have more or less repeated your post on coal In germany. Didn’t see it at first. Sorry.

  13. 263
    zebra says:

    #255 alan2102,

    Excellent reference. I don’t agree with all the reasoning-to-conclusion, but it does clarify some issues that are often overlooked.

    I’ve argued in the past that the demographic transition should be given equal priority with the energy transition, and this I think supports that view.

    The problem with government “family planning” efforts, as the paper points out, is that they can work both ways. In addition, there are patriarchal religious and social/political entities that promote increased fertility.

    So, the empowerment of women through education and (women’s) economic advancement is necessary to counteract those forces. We see that effect in Japan and China, for example.

  14. 264

    DBB 258: Jacobson proved himself unprofessional with his lawsuit against the first author of a paper in PNAS refuting his. Such an individual has lost all respect and reputation. As such, is beneath notice.

    BPL: Ad hominem. Your remarks do nothing to address his arguments.

  15. 265
    zebra says:

    #252 MartinJB,

    “failure to meet demand 5% of the hours” + “demand-side management”

    Yes, the question is what does the “demand” they are working with consist of.

    As I suggested to David Benson, with reference to the Ercot numbers he cited, why can’t every consumer have a “smart meter” that allows them to be rewarded for constricting their grid demand, as with industrial customers?

    Why can’t there be a true market system that determines the mix of generating modalities based on the actual needs of consumers, so that all possible technologies (supply and consumption) are given an opportunity to develop?

    Nuclear plants would have an equal opportunity to offer their product, at an appropriate price, to those buyers who need the particular characteristics (consistent, 24/7) that they have to offer.

    I don’t see that 5% as all that difficult, really.

  16. 266

    #253, KIA–

    Where I live–South Carolina–home solar is indeed a growing industry. Typical installations will set you back less than a moderately ambitious kitchen remodel.

    However, you should be aware that *utility*-scale solar is considerably cheaper and inherently more efficient. Note that residential coal combustion has been almost completely extinct purely on economic grounds for a couple of generations now.

  17. 267
    zebra says:

    #257 Al Bundy,

    I think you can also attribute the advances in Europe to a population control policy called “the Plague”, which got things rolling in terms of population-to-resource ratio, and changes in the hierarchical structures.

    By the way, Al, I was disappointed that you didn’t respond to my “by George” comment; I thought you were one of the few people who might get it!

  18. 268

    #258, DB–

    Jacobson proved himself unprofessional with his lawsuit against the first author of a paper in PNAS refuting his. Such an individual has lost all respect and reputation. As such, is beneath notice.

    Without knowing the inside details of the whole incident, I’m rather inclined to agree that Jacobson’s suit was inappropriate, unwarranted, and unfortunate.

    However, the judgment you’re making is entirely moralistic in its basis, and in fact a pretty textbook example of the true ad hominem: “I don’t need to consider Jacobson’s arguments because he is “beneath notice.””

    In fact, I think you do need to consider them on their merits, whether you like it or not. (Doing so won’t water down your moral disapprobation, if that makes you feel any better.)

  19. 269
    Killian says:

    Re #266 Kevin McKinney said Where I live–South Carolina–home solar is indeed a growing industry… be aware that *utility*-scale solar is considerably cheaper and inherently more efficient.

    And inherently more fragile, less just, considerably less resilient. Efficiency is a byword of the failed system you currently partake in. Regenerative efficiency is found in closing loops.

  20. 270
    patrick027 says:

    re 255 alan 2102, 257 Al Bundy, 263 & 267 zebra – thanks for the interesting info.

    regarding Europe specifically, I saw a history show (summary of history of … universe, but focus on Earth, then humans) which if I recall correctly attributed a doubling of Europe’s population to the Columbian exchange – New world crops – I recall an emphasis on the potato, which had the advantage of forming underground, hence less easily destroyed by rampaging armies – but some would not eat them for religious reasons, as I understand it.

  21. 271
    Mr. Know It All says:

    266 – Kevin

    Yes, even here in the cloudy and moldy Pacific Northwest, home solar is popular. I think some companies will install it for free or low cost. Those are grid-tied systems mostly. Not sure what the cost of a kitchen remodel is, but that’s just the first cost – for off grid you have to replace batteries, failed electronics, etc – BUT a low or no power bill (or a check!) would be nice each month.

    Don’t know the details of utility-scale versus residential efficiency. Off-grid residential would have almost no transmission losses. Utility scale usually requires new transmission lines to the new solar plant. Utility scale solar probably not viable yet for 24/7 operation – large-scale storage for night time likely too spendy.

    Would be interesting to see how big the solar plant would need to be to run a power hungry industrial facility like a big wafer fab 24/7/365 – and what the cost would be.

  22. 272
    zebra says:

    #271 KIA, Kevin M,

    Or, you could let the market decide, for different end users, in different parts of the country, what makes the most sense.

    Big industrial 24/7 user could contract with a nuclear plant if fossil fuels are dis-incentivized.

    Homeowners could opt for grid-connected or not rooftop solar; more or less in some areas than others.

    And all the combinations of sources, and storage, and usage modifications, in between. Buyers and sellers would set the price points for each option.

    All you need is a rule that makes the grid independent from generation and completely neutral in getting producers and consumers together.

    But then, what would there be to talk about, eh.

  23. 273

    #271, KIA–

    Not sure what the cost of a kitchen remodel is…

    Ask and ye shall be answered:

    On average, a kitchen remodel costs $23,830 or $150 per square foot. Most homeowners spend between $12,601 and $35,059 or $75 to $250 per square foot.

    A typical residential solar project is probably a bit lower, around $15k, though that obviously has a wide variance depending on a lot of things, starting with house size. And yes, adding storage adds quite a bit of cost to that. That’s why most residential PV setups are grid-tied. It makes a lot more sense to use the grid as your battery, in pure economic terms.

    “Don’t know the details of utility-scale versus residential efficiency.”

    And I don’t know what specific sort of “efficiency” you have in mind. Yes, residential avoids transmission loss almost entirely. But installation is much more complicated (in most cases) and more expensive even when it isn’t, because of scale.

    But the latest Lazard analysis is pretty revealing on cost:

    –Residential solar PV: $160-267/MWh (Slightly more expensive than new gas peaking capacity)

    –Rooftop commercial & industrial PV: $81-170/MWh (Slightly less expensive than new nuclear capacity, slightly more than new coal)

    –Utility PV: $36-44/MWh (Cheaper than gas combined cycle)

    As you can see, utility is half the cost of C & I or less, while C & I can make the same claim WRT residential.

    Utility scale solar probably not viable yet for 24/7 operation – large-scale storage for night time likely too spendy.

    That is correct–and most folks think that we’re going to have a short-term–meaning probably a decade or less–bottleneck in battery capacity, which may prolong that state of affairs. (Although storage costs have been falling at pretty good clip in recent years, and I think that that we have not yet seen flow battery tech really take off. Should storage be supply-constrained as things evolve, I would expect flow batteries and other alternatives to start achieving economies of scale, too.)

    Overnight demand tends to be pretty low in most use cases, anyway:

    So, on a system-wide basis, it’s not a huge drawback to have a significant portion of your capacity inherently inactive during times of low demand. An issue is the so-called “duck curve”–referring to the fact that usage peaks in the early evening, as a large chunk of the population goes home, turns on their TVs, game stations, computers and who knows what else, ramps up the residential temperature compensation appropriate to season and location, takes showers requiring heated water, and cooks dinner. And all this happens just as the sun is setting and PV power is starting to tail off. Adding 2-4 hours worth of storage capacity to extend solar farm output makes a lot of sense in this situation.

    Would be interesting to see how big the solar plant would need to be to run a power hungry industrial facility like a big wafer fab 24/7/365 – and what the cost would be.

    Indeed it would. But it’s not all hypotheticals at this point, although the detailed information may be buried deep in various corporate reports. For one outstanding instance:

    General Motors leads all U.S carmakers in solar panel deployment. The company has pledged to go 100-percent renewable by 2050, with solar and wind power sharing most of the load… Overall, GM has installed 11 megawatts worth of solar panels at 16 U.S. manufacturing facilities. This includes a massive 850-kilowatt ground-mounted solar system at its Chevrolet Corvette plant in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

    But there’s quite a bit more:

  24. 274
    Deb O'Dell says:

    The following includes an op-ed by and 2 interviews with author, Christopher Leonard, about his book, Kochland: The Secret History of Koch Industries and Corporate Power in America

    The op-ed, “David Koch Was the Ultimate Climate Change Denier, How a playboy billionaire built a political army to defend his fossil fuel empire” is at:

    NPR Fresh Air interview with author Christopher Leonard is at:

    And Amy Goodman of Democracy Now interviewed Christopher Leonard which can be heard at:

    This put a lot in perspective for me.

  25. 275
    patrick says:

    G. Thunberg arriving New York 27 Aug. See posts on tracker.

  26. 276

    zebra, #272–

    All you need is a rule that makes the grid independent from generation and completely neutral in getting producers and consumers together.

    A reality in a fair few places (though not here in SC, where we still adhere to a regulated model.) And the market is ‘deciding.’

    But I don’t know about “all.” There are still questions of appropriate market scale and of market externalities which must be dealt with ‘upstream’ of the market system. But perhaps you are presupposing such?

  27. 277
    O. says:

    @Deb O’Dell, #274:
    Many thanks for these interesting links!

  28. 278
    zebra says:

    #276 Kevin McKinney,

    “appropriate market scale”


    As I’ve explained multiple times now, this is a federal policy for the US. All grid operators are subject to the same rules. The system would be highly regulated and/or operated by public entities.

    As I explained to David Benson, retailers (“bundlers”, in effect) could still operate but subject to strict oversight with respect to anti-competitive practices. But direct producer-to-consumer sales would work fine in many cases.

    “externalities”…??? Like what? I mentioned carbon dis-incentives, and obviously all the usual pollution rules would apply. (Hopefully expanded from the usual, of course.)

    I still can’t explain why this concept is so difficult to accept, on both sides, except, as I said, that it spoils the fun of bashing the other.

  29. 279
    nigelj says:

    The book “Dark Money” discusses the Koch brothers in depth. The following is 397 key quotes from the book:

  30. 280
    patrick027 says:

    Some load profiles and related, projections: – see
    vol 1 – pp. 38,109,132,143-144
    vol 3 – pp. 34 (19-1),36 , 82 (I-8), 84, 119-125, PEVs: 99, 101, also: 76

  31. 281
    zebra says:

    #280 patrick027,

    Thanks for the reference.

    What this kind of study illustrates is exactly how many possible variations there are in possible future electricity/energy paradigms.

    That’s why I keep suggesting that, since the US is not going to go to a Socialist Nationalization of the electricity sector, the federal government should make sure that there is real competition in generation/consumption modalities.

    Making the grid(s) operate as a neutral common carrier at all levels is legally and practically appropriate because transmission is a natural monopoly and interstate in nature.

    It is pointless to argue about whether the “missing” 20% in their scenario ‘should’ be made up by new nuclear, or some breakthrough in batteries, or whatever, because there isn’t going to be some Energy Czar dictating the final result.

    So the best that can be done is to make the market as efficient as possible in arriving at that decision.

  32. 282
    Mal Adapted says:


    The book “Dark Money” discusses the Koch brothers in depth.

    Thanks, nigelj. I also recommend Inside The Koch Empire: How The Brothers Plan To Reshape America, which appeared on shortly after the Presidential election of 2012. Note the presumably sympathetic venue. Choice quote:

    The November elections–which David, in a separate interview shortly after the results were finalized, termed “bitterly disappointing”–seem to confirm Charles’ last point. Not even the Koch brothers, who spent tens of millions of dollars during this election cycle (they won’t disclose the exact amount) funding direct political contributions and issue-driven “nonprofits,” could coerce voters to back their candidates. Mitt Romney’s loss was a huge blow to them, both in terms of likely policy outcomes and personal reputation.

    But those who think the brothers, older and chastened, will now fade away don’t understand the Kochs. Not a bit. Obama’s victory was just a blip on a master plan measured in decades, not election cycles. “We raised a lot of money and mobilized an awful lot of people, and we lost, plain and simple,” says David. “We’re going to study what worked, what didn’t work, and improve our efforts in the future. We’re not going to roll over and play dead.”

    By the evidence, they did not roll over and play dead. Tens of millions of dollars wasn’t enough to buy the US presidency in 2012? So what’s an few hundred million more, when the payoff is in the hundreds of billions annually?

  33. 283

    zebra, #279 & 281–

    “appropriate market scale”


    “Scale” here is jargon for “scale of the economy relative to the scale of the (national) environment.” There’s nothing in the dynamics of a free market that tend toward an optimal scaling the economy to the environment–this is a point that Herman Daly, among others, has made.

    “externalities”…??? Like what? I mentioned carbon dis-incentives, and obviously all the usual pollution rules would apply. (Hopefully expanded from the usual, of course.)

    “Externalities” means the usual stuff that we’ve often discussed here, frequently under the well-known “tragedy of the commons” paradigm. I meant to point out that current provisions for compensating for the external harms imposed by carbon emissions are clearly insufficient–and it would seem you agree, per the “hopefully expanded” bit. But you hadn’t said that yet when I commented.

    Basically, I’m not really arguing against what you said, so much as providing a supplementary note. Certainly it isn’t my intent to “bash” anybody. (Well, except occasionally Victor or KIA.)

    It is pointless to argue about whether the “missing” 20% in their scenario ‘should’ be made up by new nuclear, or some breakthrough in batteries, or whatever, because there isn’t going to be some Energy Czar dictating the final result.

    Just–yes. Cf., my comment, wherever the hell it was, about even dictators not being able to dictate this with complete effect.

    So the best that can be done is to make the market as efficient as possible in arriving at that decision.

    I’m not sure whether my next comment is an argument or a supplemental–but it seems to me that there is ample scope (FWIW) for additional regulation, modifications to regulation, or market-based initiatives such as a carbon fee, some of which might co-exist with your idea, and some of which might compete with it.

  34. 284


    Yes, “Dark Money” is very much worthwhile–though I confess, a difficult read in the sense that it’s very hard to tolerate such evil being so successful in its efforts. I had to keep putting it down, and taking it up again. The long-term, strategic thinking is, in a way, admirable, even though the results are quite the reverse.

    Now there’s a new, and I’ve heard, even more voluminous tome on the topic, just out from Simon & Schuster:

    Haven’t read it yet, though I’ve heard good things.

  35. 285
    zebra says:

    #283 Kevin McKinney,

    Sounds like you just haven’t carefully read what I’ve been writing, or it is just too straightforward for you to deal with…. no opportunity to do the factoid dance.

  36. 286
  37. 287

    #285, zebra–

    If it’s so straightforward, then why do I need to read so carefully? You’re really losing me now.

    Seemed to me my responses were clear enough. You think that:

    All you need is a rule that makes the grid independent from generation and completely neutral in getting producers and consumers together.

    I pointed out–perhaps pedantically–that I think that we need a bit more than that, and (briefly) why. Not trying to ‘bash’ you, or anyone else. But you seem a tad prickly on this for some reason.

  38. 288

    #286, db–


    Context missing! BPL’s last comment on this thread had to do with Mark Jacobsen’s arguments and the propriety of addressing them (or not). Your link has to do with the commissioning of 2 new coal plants in Malaysia; the connection seems relatively tangential.

    So I don’t know if you meant to refer to another comment of BPL’s, or whether you meant to link a different story, or–?

  39. 289

    Duly noted as another ‘baby step’ in the electrification of sea transport:

    22 mile legs aren’t much compared with actual sea routes, of course, but a couple of megatons of CO2 saved each year is still a good thing.

  40. 290
    Jim Baird says:

    The integrated thermodynamic geoengineering/negative emissions OTEC model


    This paper advances the view posited in The Atlantic article
    Climate Change Can’t Be Left to the Scientists that scientists can only study climate change; they can’t solve it. Engineers, technologists, and energy-system designers will solve it and the cost of their solution should be borne by redirected fossil fuel subsidies that are tantamount to an undercharge for the social cost of fossil fuel production. Environmental remediation costs are as real as energy supply costs yet are being inadequately funded while fossil fuels are being liberally subsidized. The solution advanced in this paper is an amalgam of energy production through the conversion of the heat of global warming to productive energy, (thermodynamic geoengineering (TG)), solar radiation management (SRM) through load balancing trapped solar energy carbon-dioxide removal (CDR) thru negative-CO2-emissions ocean thermal energy conversion(NEOTEC). It addresses the sustainable development goals of the United Nations as well as the concerns of the most economically disadvantaged and advances the view that some climate modeling has set back the climate/energy cause, most is theoretical and that the historical record is a better yardstick upon which policy should be formulated.

    Full article:


  41. 291
    patrick027 says:

    re 281 zebra
    You’re welcome. My focus was on the load profiles but of course there’s a lot of other info there. I was surprised by the relatively small contribution from solar PV; I don’t know offhand if recent reductions in price have overperformed their expectations from … 2009, I think it was. But also, I’d have to look at their energy storage options, to see if they included the solar PV (and wind) -> H2 or CH4 -> backup for CSP, other plants. And if (what would otherwise be) curtailed production were converted to fuels for non-electric purposes (or used to sequester CO2, desalinate seawater…), that, along with the former option, would add a lot of flexibility, I would think (e.g. so there would be much less of a problem in solar PV’s large diurnal variations).

    reguarding actual load and generation, I found this: – you can even see the complementarity of wind and solar in the diurnal cycle – looks like hydro can cycle by about 25 GW between peak and trough, at least this time of year.

  42. 292
    nigelj says:

    Jim Baird @290, your links are intriguing ideas. OTEC technology certainly appears to get around several of the problems with other renewable energy sources and also nuclear power. Thank’s for posting it.

  43. 293
    David B. Benson says:

    Kevin McKinney @288 — BPL has made remarks to the effect that no one is considering coal. I thought enlightenment was in order.

  44. 294
    alan2102 says:

    #261 nigelj 26 Aug 2019:
    “David Benson @258 …. Your repeated tendency to play the man and not the ball (ie the substance of Jacobsons research study) probably isn’t doing much for your reputation with people.”

    There’s that. Plus David (and others) seem to have jumped to conclusions without bothering to read anything about the nature of the lawsuit:

    The infographic following the main presentation is revealing.

    Bottom line: Jacobson was upset at the publication of a lying and defamatory article, purportedly critiquing his paper. That’s understandable.

  45. 295
    David B. Benson says:

    alan2102 @294 — Mark Jacobson’s PNAS paper was riddled with error. The rebuttal paper merely pointed those out. I quit reading once it was clear that Mark Jacobson assumed that the Pacific Northwest could generate ten times as much hydropower as it does. A few minutes of actual study of the situation shows that this is impossible.

  46. 296

    #293, DBB–

    Thanks for elaborating.

    Yes, coal capacity is still getting built, unfortunately. I suppose we could quibble about “considering coal” versus the completion of a plant that has doubtless been in the works for years, but that would be a bit of a nit.

    Still, I think the thrust of BPL’s comments is likely correct, as with the economics shifting more and more against coal, fewer and fewer are in fact “considering” it. In fact, new coal capacity in the developed world is just about non-existent.

    A quick impression can be garnered from the map here:

    Notice how little red (under construction) or yellow (announced) capacity there is. A more quantitative–hell, an entirely quantitative–perspective can be gleaned from the tables available at the same site.

  47. 297
    zebra says:

    291 patrick027,

    Interesting info, but it reflects the system as it is, which is not a true free market. It all comes from the industry perspective, with industry jargon, so it is difficult for anyone to envision a more efficient approach.

    Instead of looking at gross numbers… for the US, or even regions… what would be useful would be to look at consumption patterns for specific different users. So, what is the pattern for my house? What about the local Walmart? A high-rise office building, a high-rise apartment building? A steel mill? A server farm?

    While there may be variations within those specific categories, they would be relatively minor. So, you could create maps based on the categories, and see how requirements are distributed geographically, and consider local generating options and regional interconnections.

    Of course, that would be how I would do it if I were working for the US Federal Socialist Electricity Czar on designing the US Federal Socialist Electricity Policy.

    Instead, I have been suggesting we set up a true free market, which would take care of all that, as long as all grid operators act as neutral common carriers, and externalities are internalized.

    Anyway, if you really want to dig up info, such finer detail… houses, buildings, specific industries… seems to me the most useful place to start.

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    DBB 293: BPL has made remarks to the effect that no one is considering coal.

    BPL: I said no one HERE was advocating coal. Read more carefully.

  49. 299

    …and speaking of the decline in coal, Moody’s piles on in this report on the situation in the good ol’ USA:

    …electricity generated in the US by coal fell by more than 13% in the first half of this year. During that same time, electricity from solar power grew by more than 10%. Natural gas also saw an increase of 6%.

    The EIA says it expects coal to generate less than one quarter of the nation’s energy this year compared with about half only a decade ago. Clearly, coal power is in decline and sinking fast.

    The original report is here, in all it’s mind-numbing and uninterpreted detail:

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    Al Bundy says:

    OTEC has engineering problems. Consider Peru and other areas where deep and surface waters mix. Life abounds. So, obviously, fouling becomes a nightmare. And storms aren’t kind to immense structures. I haven’t researched this recently or in detail so I’ll just note that tons of obvious “solutions” are actually a grand way to convert effort into scrap. Maybe OTEC is doable. Maybe.

    Nobody here advocating coal? I dunno. KIA loves CO2 emissions (plant food) and Victor thinks that something, ANYTHING except CO2 controls climate…

    Gee, isn’t the qualifications game fun? I suggest, “No informed person with a brain and a soul”.

    Many utilities give residential customers a discount to install a lockout on air conditioners and heat pumps so when that “5%” supply deficiency hits they can do rolling blackouts of conditioning equipment. The customer only loses 15 minutes or so of AC so they hardly notice.