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Forced responses: Oct 2019

Filed under: — group @ 1 October 2019

Bi-monthly open thread on climate solutions. Please try to be civil. Remember, climate science questions can be discussed on the Unforced Variations thread.

325 Responses to “Forced responses: Oct 2019”

  1. 151
    Adam Lea says:

    119: The Green ideologues are insisting that everyone has to walk, bike or use “public transit” (which many people avoid because it is dangerous due to the criminal element having free rein). The ideologues say you have to accept a smaller, colder place in a city instead of a suburban house with a yard.”

    That is something that needs to be rebuked, that travelling anywhere is dangerous unless you put yourself in a steel cage (car). If it is genuinely true in your country, then there are serious problems with your society that need addressing – now.

    I strongly suspect the real truth is people use cars because it is the easiest option, not because of safety issues (which is an excuse attempting to justify their transport choice). In other words, a natural tendency to take the path of least resistance/energy expenditure.

  2. 152
    David B. Benson says:

    BPL @133 — Yes, you do power your car on dense energy. But not your bicycle.

  3. 153
    Mr. Know It All says:

    151 – Adam L.
    “I strongly suspect the real truth is people use cars because it is the easiest option, not because of safety issues (which is an excuse attempting to justify their transport choice).”

    In the USA it’s both – easiest and safest. A 30 minute commute by car can become a 2+ hour commute if you have to take buses with transfers, etc. Existing light rail doesn’t have the capacity to move all those who drive. On mass transit safety in the USA, you’re probably fairly safe during rush hour when there are a lot of people around, but if you have to stay late or work a swing or night shift, the clientele on public transportation can be scary, and no, it’s not because of race as suggested by BPL; not to mention the safety of the walk to/from your home to public transportation.

    148 – Mal Adapted
    “To be fair to Engineer-Poet, he’s given us “build more nukes” with some numbers. I’m skeptical he’s honestly accounted for all costs as well as perceived benefits,….”

    You mean benefits like not spewing CO2 into the atmosphere? Nuclear could at least replace FF electrical power generation, if not transportation power. With wind and solar, electrical power storage at the capacities required is not available for a reasonable cost at this time.

    150 – David B. Benson
    “Yes, there are suitable sites in the USA, but there is no one willing to fund new pumped hydro in the USA.”

    If new dams would be needed, good luck getting environmentalists to allow it to happen.

    146 – E-P
    Excellent comments!

    137 – mike
    “…BBC Chief Environmental Correspondent Justin Rowlatt sees things a little differently. I guess Justin is the ideologue and EP is the voice of reason?…”

    That was a good BBC article by Justin but he appears to be a mere journalist – not well known for their science/engineering expertise. I don’t know the qualifications of EP, but since EP appears to have a considerable understanding of the electrical power industry and is comfortable with numbers, I’m placing my money on EP.

  4. 154
    nigelj says:

    Mr. Know It All @140

    “1 – It can get A LOT worse. It has in the past – see 1861-1865.”

    Let’s hope things don’t come to civil war. Bear in mind all political parties have party philosophies and general policy frameworks. The Democrats GND appears to be such a thing. In fact given America’s aversion to taxes a government funded climate programme might be a practical solution. The problem is the Democrats have gone a step further and put this entire thing up as a big legislative package that makes for a huge pill for people to swallow in one go. But many of the ideas are ok and I hope plenty survive.

    “2 – Some US states have enacted carbon taxes.”

    Ok but ‘some’ is a weak response. A federal level scheme would clearly be preferable and stronger.

    “3 – So, AOC’s $93 trillion is what you refer to as “a bit of money”? Got it.”

    This is an estimate by a think tank and includes everything so the complete climate action plan, and all the socio – economic provisions. What amazes me is how you swallow this stuff whole and uncritically. It’s been widely disputed as basically completely flawed, and I can see why.

    But lets use the number as a starting point for the sake of argument. Leave out the socio- economic stuff for now or to be funded in more conventional ways. It’s a huge part of the $93 trillion dollars. Address only the climate provisions, and spread the costs over 30 years to suit the Paris Accord timeframe, and you are down to what? About 1 trillion dollars a year in government spending maximum. So this would be less than 5% of current GDP per annum.

    Printing money becomes quite a viable solution to this. For example The Fed spent about $4.5 trillion dollars on quantitative easing over about 8 years as below so half a trillion dollars per year. And inflation remained very low as you probably know. In fact the current worry is deflation. So its worth taking seriously as an idea. America’s QE programme data:

    https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/24/the-fed-launched-qe-nine-years-ago–these-four-charts-show-its-impact.html

  5. 155
    nigelj says:

    Nemesis @144, I don’t know where you get the idea I think technology is bad. I think just the opposite. Technology is great.

    However I agree totally that it’s how we use technology. For example whether we do good things like promote peace and exploration, and fullfil real genuine needs, or squander it on war, frivolities and frigging things like leaf blowers, and where we let materialism becomes like a drug, and our greed deprives others of the basics of life, and as you say materialism becomes a substitute for inner growth and community involvement. I think it’s really a case of the well known saying “moderation in all things” at least mostly anyway. But this website is not human development and ethics 101, so let’s not digress too far.

    My point was that a technology based society at current trajectories will leave future generations with resource shortages, and so it becomes a question of what if anything this generation should start doing about this. Some people suggest we make huge reductions in our use of technology. However this can have obvious negative consequences for a limited gain for future generations and is obviously not going to be an idea that will be embraced easily if at all. But we can do a lot of things by wasting less resources, recycling, pricing non renewable resources properly, getting size of population down and so on. Hope that clarifies it, if not let me know.

  6. 156
    nigelj says:

    Engineer-Poet @146 , yes actually all the social provisions should have been kept out of the GND. This is the case given the GND is being treated as a legislative package, because such a mixture of so many things makes it a hard pill to swallow in one go. The Dems may have been better to keep this huge mixture of things as a more general party philosophy.

    Don’t be too much of a Scrooge McDuck over taxation. There will always be some silly programmes, but overall a lot of things that make sense can only really be done by government’s, NASA being an obvious example.

    Printing money isn’t a problem when inflation is low and theres some under investment and spare capacity, and the global system has this presently. This is why America’s QE caused no inflation at all. So its fatuous to compare the issue to Zimbabwe, which has no real productive capacity to meet the increase in the money supply.

  7. 157
    nigelj says:

    Rex Tasha @147 “Please watch your language many alarmists (not just Greta) have minds of children.” At least they have minds. You have an empty vacuous space between your ears that adds nothing constructive to discussion, and your comments belong in the borehole, or better still I suggest a new repository called the a***hole.

  8. 158
    Brian Dodge says:

    Whoever is getting just 18% wind turbine capacity factor is doing it wrong.
    “The average 2017 capacity factor among projects built from 2014 to 2016 was 42.0%, compared to an average of 31.5% among projects built from 2004 to 2011 and just 23.5% among projects built from 1998 to 2001.”
    https://www.energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2018/08/f54/2017_wind_technologies_market_report_8.15.18.v2.pdf

    Nuclear has ridiculous up front costs, and nuclear waste disposal/proliferation prevention costs are externalized and uncertain.
    “Work on Vogtle Units 3 and 4 began in 2009 and costs have ballooned to $25 billion.”
    https://www.power-eng.com/2018/08/09/vogtle-cost-upgrade-causes-rethinking-of-nuclear-plant-s-future/

    “Not only has the project taken almost three times as long to build, but it has also seen costs balloon. In 2012 the project was already expected to cost about €8.5 billion ($9.8 billion at today’s exchange rate), nearly three times the reactor’s original €3 billion ($3.5 billion) price tag…Areva’s second EPR, being built at the Flamanville Nuclear Power Plant in France, has not fared much better. Construction started at the end of 2007 and was slated to end in 2012, at a cost of €3.3 billion ($3.8 billion). On current estimates it will cost €10.9 billion ($12.6 billion).”
    https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/epr-nuclear-reactor-model-may-finally-go-live-europe-2019

    “The amount of waste is expected to increase to about 140,000 metric tons over the next several decades. However, there is still no disposal site in the United States. After spending decades and billions of dollars to research potential sites for a permanent disposal site, including at the Yucca Mountain site in Nevada that has a license application pending to authorize construction of a nuclear waste repository, the future prospects for permanent disposal remain unclear.”
    https://www.gao.gov/key_issues/disposal_of_highlevel_nuclear_waste/issue_summary
    “The Department of Energy estimated in 2008 that the project as a whole would require up to $96 billion to complete; it’s already cost taxpayers $15 billion.”
    https://www.hcn.org/articles/is-yucca-mountain-back-from-the-dead

    An example of a point-to-point (undersea) transmission line with no intermediate distribution ties is the worst possible cost scenario.
    “In the case of many shorter transmission lines, the aggregate transfer capacity may be as high as the sum of the transfer capacity on each line. For example, five lines each 100 miles long with 2 GW of incremental transfer capacity may allow 10 GW of new generation capacity additions. A single, 500 mile transmission line with a similar 2 GW of transfer capacity, on the other hand, will only allow 2 GW of generation capacity additions. The fact that many of the studies with higher estimated unit costs of transmission focus on single transmission lines that move power over long distances in the West may therefore help explain the relatively high unit cost of transmission in those studies.”
    https://emp.lbl.gov/sites/all/files/report-lbnl-1471e.pdf

  9. 159
    Cathy Jones says:

    Those who claim Greta’s parents brain washed her have little understanding of children with Asperger’s. I have first hand experience since my son was thankfully diagnosed with it when he was five years old. My guess is that Greta educated her parents about the subject of AGW.

    She says, her Asperger’s is her “super power.” I know that to be the case with my son. These special children see many things from completely different perspectives.

    When he was five years old he got interested in snakes and other reptiles. We live on a farm so he started collecting them (temporally) and began cataloging them when he was in first grade. We took weekly trips to the library where he would find books on the subject. He became totally wrapped up in science and went on to eventually get a PhD in cellular biology. From there he went to UCSF to do a post doc on researching a cell line in the lungs

    When anyone would ask me how old my son was I would say, as an example, that he was 14 going on 35. Though he struggled socially in grade school, like Greta he became one of his high school leaders in student government.

    When I hear the stupid statements about Greata being brain washed is really stirs me emotionally.

    Children like Greta are totally sincere. Some have claimed she was acting when she gave her speech before the UN. Those people are ignorant!

  10. 160
    zebra says:

    #148,149 Mal Adapted re Engineer Poet,

    On the other thread, I used the term Science Welfare Queen for various Denialists and Creationists. E-P fits the model pretty well; like our Noble Yoeman Midwest ‘Farmers’, they are against ‘Socialism’ except for when they themselves are benefiting from the government’s taxpayer-funded largess.

    As I often do when this stupid repetitive nuclear ‘debate’ comes up, I’ve presented E-P with what seems like the logical solution:

    1. As you say, put a price on CO2 emissions.
    2. Make the grid function as a common carrier… the operators are prohibited from production, and they are required to treat all generators equally, facilitating the transaction with consumers.

    So, you can buy electricity from the local (or not so local) nuclear plant, or your neighbor’s rooftop solar, or the dairy farmer who installed some wind turbines, and so on.

    Now, the advantage is two-fold:

    1. It is actually possible; the US federal government could make this happen, while the feds nationalizing the electricity sector and forcing the construction of nuclear plants wherever they choose is legally/politically very difficult. (We’re not France.)

    2. It allows for technology to continue advancing in all areas– on the consumption side as well as production, for all types of energy uses. That includes nuclear, of course.

    But, as I said, the Welfare-Queen mentality prevails with E-P; suggest that his wonderful technology should have to work and compete for it’s money, and he runs away, unable to accept an actual free-market solution.

    NOTE: As I’ve pointed out previously, you have to be careful with the term “free market”. It doesn’t mean what you say “free of collective intervention”; it means competitive and internalized, which requires more, not less, government intervention.

  11. 161
    Nemesis says:

    @119

    ” The Green ideologues are insisting that everyone has to walk, bike or use “public transit”…”

    I ride my bike because I love to ride my bike, I don’t need any gasoline, I don’t have to pay any car taxes nor any insurance nor any other shit. Driving a car costs several hundred funny dollars a month, hahaha. Guess what I have to pay for riding my beautiful bike^^ And I stay fit as hell too riding my bike. Sure, bikes are for real sportsmen and sportswomen, not for wimps, hehe. Dude, you can’t imagine the fun I have watching all these people who need 1.5+ tons of metal to move their asses :))

    Btw, I’m no “green ideologist”, just some nasty anarchist who feels like a KING riding my beautiful bike 8)

  12. 162
    nigelj says:

    David B. Benson @150 & Engineer-Poet @145

    “….leads one to an article on the controversy over Snowy 2.0 due to it’s ever growing cost estimate…”

    They are not the only people with cost overruns:

    https://thebulletin.org/2019/06/why-nuclear-power-plants-cost-so-much-and-what-can-be-done-about-it/#

    “In 2017, two South Carolina utilities abandoned two unfinished Westinghouse AP1000 reactors due to difficulties in equipment manufacturing, significant construction delays, and cost overruns—leaving just two other AP1000 reactors under construction, in the state of Georgia. These reactors have also faced delays and cost overruns. The original cost estimate of $14 billion has risen to $23 billion, but construction is proceeding, given the promise of government financial support for these reactors—the first of their kind in the United States.”

    There are a lot of cost overrun problems going around! I doubt that accurately pricing pumped hydro is any more challenging that nuclear power with its considerable complexities.

    The answer is probably hybrid systems that combine various low carbon power sources, including nuclear power in some cases. Its all too dependent on local conditions to generalise about ideal singular answers.

  13. 163

    mike wrote:

    BBC Chief Environmental Correspondent Justin Rowlatt sees things a little differently.

    Rowlatt has no clue about engineering.  He has no idea of the possibilities of combined heat and power, he does not grasp the non-linear potential of electric transportation, and even in food he is unable to comprehend how carbon-sequestering pastures mix with grazing animals to restore our carbon balance.

    Put bluntly, we probably need MORE beef not less… but grass-fed, not grain.

  14. 164

    Kevin McKinney wrote:

    If CO2 is a problem, then nuclear could save us until something better comes along.

    No, it can’t, for reasons already discussed at length–EP’s failure to accept evident reality notwithstanding.

    “Failure to accept evident reality”, is it now?  The USA could serve its current energy demand by fission of roughly 1050 tons of actinides per year.  That is PHYSICAL reality.  So what is this “evident reality” of which you speak, which differs so grossly from physical reality?

    [deleted]

  15. 165

    [edit – Not OK. Do not post anything like that again.]

  16. 166
    Killian says:

    nige, the nooge, get this through your head: Killian @96, fine you are not authoriatarian. My typo. Let me clarify what I really meant. You are bossy, and also highly personally abusive, egotistical, and have a very inflated opinion of yourself.

    None of the above is true.

    You are bossy

    How could that even apply on a forum if not the moderator? Just plain stupid.

    That said, as a:

    teacher, I facilitate.

    parent, I set options, where appropriate, accept my kid’s choices, follow through. E.g., my son chooses his hair style, clothes, friends, what he does with personal time, etc. When he makes a mistake, his “punishment” is a discussion 9/10… because consequences are already built into choices… which I started with him well before his 1st birthday.

    spouse, we do egalitarian.

    Now, stop being stupid and overgeneralizing your stupid personal opinions about people you have zero actual knowledge of.

    highly personally abusive

    You lie, you straw man (lie), you belittle others’ views w/zero analysis (bias), you misrepresent others’ views (lie), you post trite, regurgitated crap (weak, dishonestly fail to credit the sources of your changing view over time), you pretend you are not an ass even as you repeatedly do the above. There’s a reason *you* get bile: You passive-aggressively pass it out yourself, and you post endlessly and have yet to ever offer a unique analysis of anything whatsoever on these fora.

    egotistical

    Again, you have no idea what the word means. By definition, I’m not. I do not and never have cared about reputation, others’ opinions of me, money, glory, etc., etc. I want to solve problems. INTP personality. You do not. You have the weird need to feel like you contribute something, e.g. here, but cannot, so are hypersensitive to being corrected. I am not eotistical. It doesn’t even make sense in my world. It’s for you doofuses out there to worry about such crap. I *am* contemptuous of YOU, but you keep conflating that with my interactions with the world at large.

    and have a very inflated opinion of yourself.

    Utterly stupid. How? Where? What do I claim that is not 1. accurate, 2., about myself? Saying you are wrong when you are is not about me, idiot, it’s about you. Saying very few yet fully understand climate, energy, resources, solutions, adaptation, and mitigation is demonstrable. The climate science has evolved to match my forward=looking analyses, not the other way around.

    That I am a good analyst is backed up by a long string of publicly stated forward-looking events that have come true. Here’s one I don’t think I’ve shared: Try telling a well-known economist their model for a steady-state economy can’t possibly be correct despite not knowing even a tiny fraction of the maths involved, nor having taken any econ classes other than micro and macro (at the undergrad level), then have them state almost a decade later they had to rework their model to deal with the critique.

    Now, this is really a small thing overall. It’s possible because of how I see the world. (Which is something you will never full comprehend; you don’t have an ounce of creativity in that head of yours. You’re a human mimeograph machine. Others can, do, and will. But not you.) It’s bc I spent years absorbing a really wide range of concepts and am good at seeing how they all fit together. That’s it. There’s no magic to it, no need for an ego about it. It is what it is.

    I don’t claim any great skills or abilities beyond being a little above average teacher in overall competency; an insightful, but VERY impatient counselor (so I don’t do that anymore); a good father; a top level analyst/theorotician of regenerative systems.

    My skills WRT virtually anything else are pretty marginal if not downright shitty.

    That’s not really claiming all that much, is it?

    Again, don’t confuse my contempt for you for contempt of all.

    Buy a fucking clue. This whole shit line of diatribes started ONLY because I made a comment about you enabling denial, which you WERE.

    Rather than pull up a mirror, you started this line of crap.

    Who has the ego, you damned fool?

  17. 167
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Mr. KIA: “In the USA it’s both – easiest and safest.”

    1.25 million people die in road accidents globally every year. In the US it’s ~36000/yr, but that is still over 1 per million vehicle miles traveled. Is that your idea o safe?

  18. 168

    Brian Dodge wrote:

    Whoever is getting just 18% wind turbine capacity factor is doing it wrong.

    That was me, and that was for MY home state in a particular year, not the national average.  The figures were from Wikipedia.

    That some areas are RE-haves and others are RE-have nots needs to be pointed out because any attempt at a “Green” energy economy will require MASSIVE increases in the number and size of power transmission lines.  Right now we move energy mostly as coal, oil and natural gas, with uranium coming in fourth.  But powering New York with wind from the Texas panhandle and the Dakotas requires huge rights-of-way over farmland, mountains, forests and everything.  You not only won’t have it built by 2050, you won’t have the legal wrangling over eminent domain finished by 2050.

    “The amount of waste is expected to increase to about 140,000 metric tons over the next several decades. However, there is still no disposal site in the United States.”

    That is actually a feature, not a bug.  Precious little spent fuel has been buried, so we won’t have to go to the trouble of digging it up again.  Once we wise up we’re going to want it.

    At removal, used LWR fuel contains roughly 0.8-1% U-235, 0.8-1% of various Pu isotopes, some U-236 from non-fission neutron captures in U-235, bits of other transuranics like Np-237, americium and curium, 3-4% fission products and the rest is plain old U-238.  The newfangled method of dealing with this is called “pyroprocessing”, in which the fuel is put into a molten salt bath and teased apart electrolytically.  Uranium plates out on a solid electrode, Pu separates out into a different molten cadmium electrode as an amalgam (along with a leavening of rather “hot” fission products), and most of the fission products remain in the salt.  Once you have enough FPs in the salt it stays hot and molten all by itself.  When it gets too warm you can decant some of the salt for disposal and add new salt.

    The plutonium is the most valuable part.  It can be fabricated directly into fuel for fast-neutron breeder reactors.  You can also “burn” the other transuranics in these reactors, so they do not require disposal; they’re fuel, not waste.

    The uranium can be handled in a bunch of ways, but using it as the breeding blanket for those same fast breeders is likely the best.  It can be re-enriched but you’ll get a lot of U-236 in with your U-235 and a bit of a headache from the decay daughters of U-232.  If you start a fast-spectrum reactor on reclaimed plutonium, the uranium reclaimed along with it will keep it in business for at least a century; the “depleted uranium” left over from enriching the original fuel will keep it in business for several centuries more.  The USA has enough uranium just lying around to run the entire country for more than 500 years.

    The fission products are the only real disposal issue, because everything else can be recycled.  Many FPs are stable.  Unstable FPs divide into short-lived (half-life up to 30 years) and long-lived (HL upwards of 200,000 years).  The former group busily make themselves disappear.  If you’ve been paying attention to the Fukushima kerfuffle you know that the “marker” isotope for Fukushima fallout is cesium-134.  Cs-134 has a half-life of just over 2 years, so there’s essentially nothing left from above-ground nuclear testing anymore.  But we’re also 8+ years since the meltdowns, so there’s less than 1/16 of the Fukushima Cs-134 left either.  When 2031 rolls around you will have real trouble detecting any.

    Note:  these things disappear all by themselves.  Many are as good as gone already.  Show me ANY other inorganic waste that does that!

    The troublesome parts of the FP stream are two relatively short-lived isotopes (strontium-90, HL 28.9 years and Cs-137, HL 30.17 years) and two long-lived ones (technetium 99, HL 211,000 years and iodine-129, HL 15.7 million years).  The Sr and Cs are both thermally and radiologically “hot”.  They both have their uses but if you want to get rid of them you can encase them in glass or copper or whatever and let them sit somewhere out of the way.  Roughly 90% of them will disappear every century, so after 500 years there’s only about 0.001% left.  I am a geek so I like the idea of putting them in glass with elements that fluoresce under beta and gamma radiation.  Heap them on a concrete pad in a desert as a self-illuminating warning sign.  You can use an outer layer of lead crystal blocks as shielding and to keep the rain off.

    The long-lived stuff is “cool” in both senses.  This means it doesn’t need any attention to heat diffusion or migration of water driven by temperature gradients.  Wrap it up, stick it in a salt dome (WIPP will do) and forget about it.  And that’s the last of your radioactive waste.

    Nuclear has ridiculous up front costs

    That’s only in the West, due to our dysfunctional politics.  China already has 4 AP1000s up and running, on budget and schedule.  KEPCO is building 4 APR1400s at Barakah in the UAE, also on time and budget.

  19. 169

    zebra shows that he does not understand how electric grids work:

    I’ve presented E-P with what seems like the logical solution:

    1. As you say, put a price on CO2 emissions.
    2. Make the grid function as a common carrier… the operators are prohibited from production, and they are required to treat all generators equally, facilitating the transaction with consumers.

    So, you can buy electricity from the local (or not so local) nuclear plant, or your neighbor’s rooftop solar, or the dairy farmer who installed some wind turbines, and so on.

    The grid CANNOT function as a common carrier.  No analogy is perfect, but in important ways it is like a network of pipes.  Some pipes are fat, some are skinny.  You cannot pump large flows through small pipes; they’ll over-pressurize and burst.

    If you are going to set something up that requires a fat pipe out of a place currently served by skinny pipes or none at all, you should be the one paying to put it in.  A “common carrier” required to take everyone’s power would have to charge everyone for a pipe that benefits just that one generator:  socialized costs, privatized profits.  This is part of why “free” wind power causes electric rates to go up.  If having to pay for their own infrastructure means that a given plant wouldn’t be built, it probably shouldn’t be.

    In another way, the grid is like a spinning plate on a pole.  It requires a bunch of things like frequency control and reactive power to “keep the plate spinning” otherwise it falls down and breaks.  If your neighbor’s rooftop or the dairy farmer are not contributing their fair share of those required services (and they aren’t, they’re heavy consumers), they’re not just freeloading but contributing to the de-stabilization of the grid.  Placing those burdens on an ever-shrinking fraction of the total generating fleet will cause it to black out more and more frequently.

    This is why I’m such a strong advocate for nuclear power.  We could build a 100%-nuclear grid which handles all of those essential services with ease.  Wind and solar just plain can’t.  As one who hopes that my great-grandchildren will enjoy electric lights and running water too, I don’t want to see our society go down dead-end roads as non-solutions to our problems.  We have no more time.

    It is actually possible; the US federal government could make this happen

    The US government could order it, yes.  Then the inevitable problems would come to light, and you’d be clutching your pearls saying “who knew this could have happened?!” ignoring that you were told well before the fact but went with your politics over physics.

    the Welfare-Queen mentality prevails with E-P; suggest that his wonderful technology should have to work and compete for it’s money, and he runs away

    Tell me about “free markets”.  How many natural gas companies do you have to choose from?  How many water companies?

    Sometimes things just require large-scale decision making rather than “letting the market sort it out” on an individual basis.  In the case of decarbonization, one of the few really successful models is district heating.  But when you are talking unit sizes in the range of 500 million BTU/hr (~150 MW thermal), your smallest viable district is ten thousand homes or so.  You would not have “competition” in those districts.  It would have to be like a HOA; it comes with the deed.

    If you had a carbon tax, being part of a nuclear heat district would pay off well.  At $100/metric ton of CO2, substituting nuclear heat for 150 MW(th) of natural gas would save almost $2700 an HOUR.  Over the month of February, that’s about $1.8 million or about $120 each over 15,000 customers.  That’s in addition to the base cost of the fuel no longer consumed (which for me is about 3.5x as much).  But you wouldn’t pick and choose as individuals; you’d vote it in as an infrastructure project, like repaving all the streets.

  20. 170

    nigelj wrote:

    The answer is probably hybrid systems that combine various low carbon power sources, including nuclear power in some cases.

    We’re going to need mostly zero-carbon sources and some negative-carbon sources, or this planet is going to fry.  And yes, I have penciled out the basic numbers and they work.

    Do you remember Al Gore’s “lockbox” intro on SNL, back in the day?  Would you believe cars running on (heavily processed) trash?  The chemistry works, you just have to have enough energy to throw at the problem.  Guess what supplies huge amounts of carbon-free energy?

    I can’t say more, I still have to get my blasted patent application done.

  21. 171
    Mal Adapted says:

    Engineer-Poet:

    Citizens’ Climate Lobby is a tool of the fossil fuel interests. Nothing else explains its political orientation.

    Awesome 8^D! Now that’s what I call swivel-eyed. I hear another bird calling: cuckoo, cuckoo ;^)! Yes, yes, jokes signify, though what may not always be clear. Regardless, I’ll take them back if you document your accusations so they can be independently verified. Robert Brulle’s methods might work, even post-Citizens United. Talk to Jane Mayer, too. Failing that, who’s the tool?

    Look, I think CCL’s original CF&D/BAT proposal made a lot of sense, even if it wasn’t perfect. They’ve worked the levers of political will skillfully enough to get a bill into the US House. It ain’t perfect either. But political sausage is all our country will get without fighting in the streets, g*dd*mm*t! Having been there done that (fought the Vietnam war at home, and that was hardly serious fighting), I’d prefer working to decarbonize the US economy within the system until it’s clear to me only fighting remains, and AFAICT that’s still at least a couple of decades away. FDR’s New Deal, followed by mobilization for WWII, showed our nation can take marked turns within that amount of time, under the rule of law. Granted, our changes of direction have often been accompanied by street fighting, albeit mostly symbolic if you got no more than a faceful of pepper gas and a poke in the junk (trigger warning: ouch) with a police baton. No spoiler, however: the law has always won whether it changed direction or not; and so has the money, to the extent it had the votes. In my humble, non-authoritarian opinion, every US voter is obligated to help us collectively navigate the historic peril of AGW with the minimum net suffering. IOW, it’s a numbers game, my friends! At the least it requires enough of us to recognize the juncture we’re at. These times are surely historic enough already, so can we please postpone civil war in arms for now? Thank you.

    I’m trying to look at the big picture here. I have no other reason to defend CCL. I personally don’t care how it stands on nuclear waste (citing an exquisitely signifying comic daily strip I can’t get any closer to on the Internutz). I, for one, only care that we bring our fossil carbon emissions down as quickly as collectively feasible. So feel free to bring you own House bill. If you offer unsubstantiated conspiracy theories on this blog however, you should expect ridicule. Some conspiracies are real, but yours doesn’t pass the LOL test.

  22. 172
    nigelj says:

    Killian @166

    Needless to say I disagree with quite a few of those comments as follows:

    Nigelj : You are bossy.

    Killian: How could that even apply on a forum if not the moderator? Just plain stupid.

    Nigelj: You constantly tell people what they can say and how much they can say, and for example your comment about putting nuclear power off limits.

    Killian: I’m a teacher, I facilitate….

    All good, but not really relevant to the obvious topic at hand. Ie you are bossy on this website and it gets peoples backs up.

    Nigelj: you are highly personally abusive.

    Killian: You lie, you straw man (lie), you belittle others’ views w/zero analysis (bias), you misrepresent others’ views (lie), you post trite, regurgitated crap (weak, dishonestly fail to credit the sources of your changing view over time), you pretend you are not an ass even as you repeatedly do the above. There’s a reason *you* get bile: You passive-aggressively pass it out yourself, and you post endlessly and have yet to ever offer a unique analysis of anything whatsoever on these fora.

    Nigelj: Really? The evidence says you are personally abusive, for example with your insulting personal attacks on this page “nige the nooge”, “buy a fucking clue”, “you damned fool?”. I could do the same to you and with justification, but I control my temper (mostly) and I follow moderation policy.

    Nigelj: Show me a specific statement where you think I’ve lied.I try very hard to be fair to people and accurate.

    NigelJ: I do not simply belittle peoples views. I am critical, but I give other people plenty of positive feedback including you. So you are lying.

    Nigelj: You and Zebra have a unique analysis and that’s good in principle, but nobody has to do this. I have made plenty of unique points. I’m not interested in developing my own unique viewpoint as a whole because I subscribe to the IPCC solutions to climate change because I think they are compelling, so I don’t feel motivated to present a fundamentally different plan. Likewise I accept the mainstream view on how to address resource limits. I fill in some of the details.

    Nigelj : you are egotistical.

    Killian: I do not and never have cared about reputation, others’ opinions of me, money, glory, etc., etc. I want to solve problems.

    Fine I accept that and its is ok, but it looks like you have transferred your lack of obsession with wealth to an obsession with your intellect and ideas, which is just as egotistical. For example you constantly brag about yourself and talk about yourself and you are very thin skinned. I suggest TONE IT DOWN and things will go better for you and you will get less pushback.

    BPL is a very smart guy, and I was one of my schools top students in almost everything, but we don’t constantly brag about ourselves. I’m just as interested in your commentary as his, but your bragging turns people off. You sound insecure. You will do better by being a bit more laid back.

    Killian: You do not. You have the weird need to feel like you contribute something.

    We mostly all want to contribute. Its frigging normal.

    Nigelj : You have a very inflated opinion of yourself.

    Killian: Utterly stupid. How? Where?

    Nigelj : I’m not repeating this again. You make huge claims about your skills, but some of your commentary is just ridiculous. Not all, but quite a lot of it. Many experts have pointed this out and there’s nothing more than they can do. This is not to say your comments are without value, because some of it is quite interesting an duseful.

    Killian :”Saying very few yet fully understand climate, energy, resources, solutions, adaptation, and mitigation is demonstrable….”.

    Oh come on many people think about these things. I’ve been doing in since the 1980s when limits to growth was published but I’ve concluded our main weapon has to be smaller population and wasting less etc rather than big reductions in use of technology. But the scientists here have limited time so they concentrate on scientific specifics not the bigger picture, so its foolish to conclude they don’t think about that bigger picture. However it would be good if they did find a little time to explore the issues you raise.

    Killian: That I am a good analyst is backed up by a long string of publicly stated forward-looking events that have come true.”

    NigelJ: More bragging to prove my previous points. Maybe you are a good analyst, but I’ve read enough of your comments to know you are just not that great or any better than me or AB etc.

    Killian: It’s bc I spent years absorbing a really wide range of concepts and am good at seeing how they all fit together. That’s it. There’s no magic to it, no need for an ego about it. It is what it is.

    Whatever, fine. Some other people are like that, they just don’t advertise it every five seconds. I’m a generalist, and did a huge range of subjects at university (college) and I read widely and I like to see how things fit together. Its not unique to you. Unfortunately modern society is making us very specialised, which is risky because we loose sight of connections and overall themes.

    There are probably typos and missing stuff above. Hopefully you get the general drift.Let me know if you don’t.

  23. 173

    Mal Adapted wrote:

    Yes, yes, jokes signify, though what may not always be clear. Regardless, I’ll take them back if you document your accusations so they can be independently verified.

    Now that I look at it, it’s obvious.  What is CF&D?  It’s basically a subsidy to low-income people.  It mostly hits the middle class; the rich don’t care.

    Here’s the thing:  it creates an incentive to cut carbon, without doing anything to give people the means to do so.  Suppose it passes and is signed into law.  What then?  What changes?  Nothing.  Oh, the price of gasoline goes up but you get a check every month that mostly evens it out.  Where’s the benefit to the environment?  There isn’t one.

    So far as actual change is concerned, CCL is pushing the same “renewables, Renewables, RENEWABLES!” line which has caused German progress to pretty much come to a halt.  There’s the illusion of action backed up by a big chunk of the monthly electric bill, but nothing is happening where the rubber meets the road.  The fossil energy companies just LOVE this.

    Don’t believe me?  See what Michael Schellenberger has to say about it:

    In order to build one of the biggest solar farms in California the developers hired biologists to pull threatened desert tortoises from their burrows, put them on the back of pickup trucks, transport them, and cage them in pens where many ended up dying.

    As we were learning of these impacts, it gradually dawned on me that there was no amount of technological innovation that could solve the fundamental problem with renewables.

    You can make solar panels cheaper and wind turbines bigger, but you can’t make the sun shine more regularly or the wind blow more reliably. I came to understand the environmental implications of the physics of energy. In order to produce significant amounts of electricity from weak energy flows, you just have to spread them over enormous areas. In other words, the trouble with renewables isn’t fundamentally technical—it’s natural.

    Dealing with energy sources that are inherently unreliable, and require large amounts of land, comes at a high economic cost.

    There’s been a lot of publicity about how solar panels and wind turbines have come down in cost. But those one-time cost savings from making them in big Chinese factories have been outweighed by the high cost of dealing with their unreliability.

    Consider California. Between 2011–17 the cost of solar panels declined about 75 percent, and yet our electricity prices rose five times more than they did in the rest of the U.S. It’s the same story in Germany, the world leader in solar and wind energy. Its electricity prices increased 50 percent between 2006–17, as it scaled up renewables.

    I used to think that dealing with climate change was going to be expensive. But I could no longer believe this after looking at Germany and France.

    Germany’s carbon emissions have been flat since 2009, despite an investment of $580 billion by 2025 in a renewables-heavy electrical grid, a 50 percent rise in electricity cost.

    Meanwhile, France produces one-tenth the carbon emissions per unit of electricity as Germany and pays little more than half for its electricity. How? Through nuclear power.

    Then, under pressure from Germany, France spent $33 billion on renewables, over the last decade. What was the result? A rise in the carbon intensity of its electricity supply, and higher electricity prices, too.

    What about all the headlines about expensive nuclear and cheap solar and wind? They are largely an illusion resulting from the fact that 70 to 80 percent of the costs of building nuclear plants are up-front, whereas the costs given for solar and wind don’t include the high cost of transmission lines, new dams, or other forms of battery.

    “In other words, the trouble with renewables isn’t fundamentally technical—it’s natural.”  If your organization doesn’t understand this and put it front and center in the climate debate, it is almost certainly controlled opposition.  Remember:  it doesn’t matter how much incentive you have to cut your fossil fuel use, if you don’t have the means to do it.

    Look, I think CCL’s original CF&D/BAT proposal made a lot of sense, even if it wasn’t perfect. They’ve worked the levers of political will skillfully enough to get a bill into the US House. It ain’t perfect either.

    Michigan averaged 608 MW of wind generation in the last year I could find data on.  CCL thinks this is great, while standing by and allowing Palisades’ 805 MW of 24/7 emissions-free generation to be lost.  CCL is FINE with things going backwards.  It is distracting people from another pending disaster for the climate, one of at least 5 I can name.  There’s only one explanation for this.

  24. 174
    Nemesis says:

    @nigelj, #155

    ” I don’t know where you get the idea I think technology is bad. I think just the opposite. Technology is great.”

    I didn’t say that you have the idea that technology is bad^^ I just said “technology isn’t bad per se, it’s about how to use it or abuse it.” Abuse it for making big funny money and no sustainability, abuse it just to avoid the ugly outcome of unethical behaviour, then fail will be a given 100%.

    ” However I agree totally that it’s how we use technology… But this website is not human development and ethics 101, so let’s not digress too far.”

    But how could humankind ever use technology in a sustainable way without discussing the way humankind uses and/or abuses technoloy resp human developement ?! That’s exactly the crucial point, when it comes to climate heating, overexploitation for monetary profit (the none-ethical greed factor^^), environmental polution, mass extinction ect ect ect.

    If you think that solving the climate problem ect could ever happen without discussing the ethical implications of a materialist worldview (that is making money in the first place), then you will fail for certain. I’m talking about a “Forced Reaponse” here, wich is exactly the point of this honorable threat. There won’t be any forced response nor any solution for climate heating ect at all without human ethics and developement.

    Techology is a FARCE, a tagic-comedia in the hand of monkeys. Either homo sapiens grows up from a monkey to a being who deserves the predicate “Homo Sapiens Sapiens” or he will be wiped out, with or without technology, hehe. Period.

    Now go on discussing technology and funny co2 and temperature numbers ect without discussing ethics and human developement (yes, that’s exactly what I call “BAU”). For a little while, hehe.

  25. 175
    Nemesis says:

    @Cathy, #159

    ” My guess is that Greta educated her parents about the subject of AGW.”

    That’s a fact: Greta educated her parents about the subject of AGW and she forced her parents even to change their lifestyle, that’s what Greta and her parents said in some interviews I’ve seen on youtube. Greta fell into some serious depression, when she realized the fact of AGW and the 6th global mass extinction and she came out of that depression by turning her depressing insight into serious global action.

    About her Asperger syndrome:

    Her opponents abuse any shit to discredit Greta in some rather unabashed way, instead of discussing scientific facts. This kind of dirty gamez went on for decades long before Greta appeared and I stand in aw watching how tough Greta faces these dirty gamez, wow, She got balls I’d never have.

  26. 176
    nigelj says:

    Engineer-Poet @170, yes zero carbon.

    Engineer-Poet @169. Regarding electricity supply grids. Several countries have grids hosting a variety of generation systems including fossil fuels plus quite significant wind and solar penetration and seem to be able to maintain a stable grid and the right frequencies etcetera. Sorry, I’m the first to admit I’m not an electrical engineer so I just go by observation of whats happening around the world on this one.

    But surely going a step further, and making the grid a common carrier for competing generating companies, where consumers have choice is just a logistics exercise, not an exercise in the physical engineering?

    In New Zealand we have mostly hydro and geothermal with some gas and wind, and no grid stability problems, although I admit wind penetration is less than 20% of the grid. We also have an open grid with competing energy companies and lots of consumer choice, and no problems that I’m aware of.

    I have a bit of deja vu on this.

  27. 177
    David B. Benson says:

    While there are other alternatives, the simplest way to enhance grid frequency control and related ancillary services is by attaching utility scale batteries. A modern wind farm will have one. These are of short duration, typically a nominal one hour, but just exist to stabilize the grid despite changes in both load and wind farm generation. There is one not 2 km north of me and it works great.

  28. 178
    zebra says:

    #169 engineer-poet,

    Lots and lots of words, no coherence or substance. Which seems to be your handicap, whether neuropsychological, or chemically induced. (I’m not one of those PC people you claim to disdain, so I can make that observation. And I’m sure you aren’t the sensitive snowflake type to be offended, right?)

    The grid would operate physically no different from what it does now, using various sources to supply various loads.

    To increase resolution, there is no need for technological breakthroughs; I could order and have delivered tomorrow (for $50) a unit to remotely monitor and control any appliance in my home or shop. (Just checked on Amazon; quite the selection. Imagine how cheap in bulk.)

    And, as has been pointed out to you by me and others, some version of this market-based approach already is operating in various places– like Texas– at various scales.

    No need for analogies; it’s the 21st century real world. Who knows what century you are stuck in.

    So it comes back to the fact that even when people like me stipulate that nuclear is safe and waste can be dealt with, people like you don’t really have the confidence you claim that it is a superior technology.

    Set up the system as I describe it, and if nuclear is “the only way”, it will dominate the market all on its own.

  29. 179

    E-P 165: We FAILED to do this because of “NO NUKES!” activists.

    BPL: No, the real reason nuclear failed in this country is that no one was willing to invest in it after Three-Mile Island. The meltdown there cost the utility running it a billion dollars, back when 1 billion dollars was worth something. And all attempts to build nukes since have run into massive cost overruns, none of which had to do with “NO NUKES!” activists. Nuclear simply costs too much for too little return.

  30. 180

    E-P 168: The plutonium is the most valuable part. It can be fabricated directly into fuel for fast-neutron breeder reactors.

    BPL: Great! Then we can have nuclear bombs EVERYWHERE! Make it easy for the terrorists!

  31. 181
    nigelj says:

    Killian. I just don’t think that I have enabled the denialist called b1 daly. In my response to the denialist I was critical of every argument he put, and I only prefaced the statement with a simple thanks for attempting to be balanced because he had actually done this (he acknowledged both points of view) and I didn’t want to be ultra confrontational. Frigging heck if denalists get something right you want to reward that. However I will try and word it a bit differently.

    Frankly you and some others do far more to enable denialists, because of your blunt labeling of them all as idiots, crooks and liars is pretty generalised and will have only one effect: It will make them even more stubborn and fixed. It just divides people and creates a bunker mentality.

    Now I find denialists very frustrating (which should be obvious by now) and Ive done a bit of name calling I admit, and the blatantly dishonest ones can go to hell as far as I’m concerned, but you have to be a bit subtle how you deal with denialists as a general rule. People have different points of view and we don’t have to be sickeningly nice and inclusive and agree with them, but too much mud slinging is self defeating. It wont shut up determined lobby groups and certainly won’t change their minds. You did say you had studied psychology so presumably you know this.

  32. 182
    Martin Smith says:

    This article appears at CNN today: http://edition.cnn.com/2019/10/25/business/offshore-wind-energy/index.html

    It says offshore wind turbines can supply all the electricity needed to power the world. If we go this route and generate all the world’s electricity with offshore wind turbines, how will that affect global wind patterns? Will all those turbines just reduce the average wind speed a bit?

  33. 183
    Mr. Know It All says:

    179 – BPL
    “BPL: No, the real reason nuclear failed in this country is that no one was willing to invest in it after Three-Mile Island. The meltdown there cost the utility running it a billion dollars, back when 1 billion dollars was worth something. And all attempts to build nukes since have run into massive cost overruns, none of which had to do with “NO NUKES!” activists. Nuclear simply costs too much for too little return.”

    So, $billions is too much for nukes, a KNOWN reliable source of electricity to stop CO2 emissions, so instead we’ll spend many 10s of $trillions instead for solar/wind and HOPE that we can come up with a system that can provide reliable power. Brilliant!
    smh

    PS Nothing wrong with solar/wind but the intermittent output cannot provide reliable power for reasonable cost with technology currently available.

  34. 184
    Adam Lea says:

    167: Yes it is safer, for the driver, because some of the risk is externalised onto other people (in particular vulnerable road users). I think in the U.S., cycling is more dangerous than driving.

    What really matters is not whether it is or isn’t safer, but whether or not it FEELS safer (feelings trump logic). Cycling feels dangerous (it isn’t if you look at it rationally) because your fragile body is exposed to tonnes of machinery moving at moderate speed that can kill on impact, and it only takes one collision with a motor vehicle to really screw up the rest of your life, assuming you survive (I was hit and very nearly died in hospital four and a half years ago). Driving feels safe because you are surrounded by steel, have crumple zones and airbags and seatbelts, so you feel protected, which can induce risk compensation in some in the form of engaging in more risky driving, for which the danger and potential consequences are at least partially externalised onto others. A bit like anthropogenic climate change in a way, high consumption high carbon intensity comfortable Western lifestyles externalising the consequences primarily onto the less wealthy highly populated countries, whose climates are at risk of becoming unviable for permanent human habitation in the future, assuming business as usual.

  35. 185
    nigelj says:

    Killian @166 says ” I do not and never have cared about reputation, others’ opinions of me, money, glory, etc., etc. I want to solve problems.”

    If you don’t care about peoples opinions of you, why do you go to such extreme lengths on this website to respond to peoples opinions about you? And why are you so venomous in the comments you post on that issue?

  36. 186
    nigelj says:

    Engineer-Poet @173, you cannot criticise a carbon tax and dividend on the basis of Germany’s high power prices, because Germany doesn’t have a carbon tax, just the EU cap and trade mechanism.

    Also nuclear power would only solve electricity generation, leaving a need for some form of carbon tax or similar for the many other climate mitigation issues. You have provided no better alternative than carbon tax and dividend that would help and be politically viable.

    Bear in mind part of the reason for Germanys high power prices are various taxes and levies not related to the emissions issue. Spain and the state of Texas in America have significant wind power and significantly cheaper power than Germany. Picking Germany is cherry picking. And presumably prices will drop or stablise eventually because the wind and sun comes for free.

    Having said that its seems crazy that Germany shut it’s nuclear plants. I imagine they would have been among the safest in the world, given German engineering and a strongly rules based society.

  37. 187

    E-P 173: it creates an incentive to cut carbon, without doing anything to give people the means to do so. Suppose it passes and is signed into law. What then? What changes? Nothing.

    BPL: You heard it here first, folks. The elasticity of demand for fossil fuels is ZERO.

  38. 188

    zebra whines @178:

    #169 engineer-poet,

    Lots and lots of words, no coherence or substance.

    In lieu of the terms of art† and mathematics that you would not be able to understand, I did my best to put things in analogies that could be more easily grasped by non-experts… and find that you dismiss them with contempt.  “Contempt” is the operative word here.  You are not seeking understanding.  You want to “win”, even if that means ruling over a heap of once-working machinery that you can’t do anything with and have banished or killed everyone capable of fixing or even running it.

    There’s only one way to deal with people like you, and dialectic ain’t it.  You are immune to reason.  This does not stop me from detailing your un-reason, I’m just doing it for the benefit of readers who aren’t you.

    The grid would operate physically no different from what it does now, using various sources to supply various loads.

    You have no idea how the grid operates now on a physical basis.  None whatsoever.  It is heavily reliant upon the physical inertia of its rotating machinery, both generators and motors.  This inertia gives it stability.  PV panels, wind farms… they have NO inertia of use to the grid, unless it is specifically engineered in via costly add-ons like grid-scale batteries.  (Batteries which have a disconcerting tendency to catch fire.)

    To increase resolution, there is no need for technological breakthroughs; I could order and have delivered tomorrow (for $50) a unit to remotely monitor and control any appliance in my home or shop.

    So you’ve got an on/off switch with delusions of grandeur.  Wonderful!  Now, exactly how do you propose to use this to make your emissions-free, mostly wind/PV grid work?

    If it’s cloudy and windless for 2 weeks, are you going to leave your appliances off the whole time?  Including your refrigerator and freezer and furnace… whoops, your fossil-fired furnace had to go and you replaced it with an electric heat pump, so maybe no heat either.  How about all the pumps and things in the potable water and sewage systems?  No charging for all the EVs, so you just stay home?  And decide not to eat, because you can’t go shopping and there’s nothing being delivered to the stores anyway?

    As Michael Shellenberger writes (emphasis and links added):

    the trouble with renewables isn’t fundamentally technical—it’s natural.

    Lately, the nuclear industry has promoted the idea that, in order to deal with climate change, “we need a mix of clean energy sources,” including solar, wind and nuclear. It was something I used to believe, and say, in part because it’s what people want to hear. The problem is that it’s not true.

    France shows that moving from mostly nuclear electricity to a mix of nuclear and renewables results in more carbon emissions, due to using more natural gas, and higher prices, to the unreliability of solar and wind.

    Oil and gas investors know this, which is why they made a political alliance with renewables companies, and why oil and gas companies have been spending millions of dollars on advertisements promoting solar, and funneling millions of dollars to said environmental groups to provide public relations cover.

    Anyone who still takes zebra seriously, go read Roadmap to Nowhere.  It demolishes the Roadmap/GND.

    some version of this market-based approach already is operating in various places– like Texas– at various scales.

    Texas is socializing the cost of distant wind farms.  Instead of making the new generators pay for transmission upgrades, they are rolled into the general rate base.  In addition, the wind farms (but not the South Texas Project) are allowed to sell “renewable energy certificates” in addition to their sales of actual power.  This is one of the things that allows wind operators to sell at negative wholesale prices and still make money.  There’s no “market” here; it is all preferences and subsidies and quotas.

    Who knows what century you are stuck in.

    You can yell “IT’S $CURRENT_YEAR!” at physics until you pass out from hyperventilation, and you won’t change a thing.  Reality is like that.

    people like you don’t really have the confidence you claim that it is a superior technology.

    Proof By Bald Assertion?  I’ve got enough confidence that I’m writing my own “roadmap” for an all-nuclear USA.  The one serious problem I’ve run into is serving needs for industrial process heat, which ranges from 30°C or so for slow-drying lumber and grain to casting and drawing tungsten and defies any simple analysis.  The EIA spreadsheet I downloaded has over 1800 different categories.  If I was a prof with a bunch of graduate students working for me I could split the job up and get it done reasonably quickly, but it’s too much for just one guy.

    Set up the system as I describe it, and if nuclear is “the only way”, it will dominate the market all on its own.

    If nuclear got the same zero-carbon payments and preferences given to wind and solar, it would ALREADY have dominated the market.  Except there is no “market”, there are preferences and mandates and oppressive regulation on which nuclear gets the short end of the stick every time.

    † If I tried to tell you about reactance, reactive power, voltage support, power factor, automatic frequency control and inertia you’d no doubt accuse me of trying to baffle you with bullshit.  But those are the actual terms used to describe the real physical things and characteristics of elements of the grid.  If you think you can merrily ignore the physical limitations they impose, you’re proposing to tear at the foundation of our civilization.  No, that is not hyperbole; it is literally true.  Bringing the grid down or even making it sufficiently unreliable to keep our systems going will lead to collapse.  We no longer have the systems in place to do without electricity; that bridge burned decades ago.

  39. 189
    Mr. Know It All says:

    Eat, drink and be merry; for tomorrow ye shall die:

    https://climatechangecountdown.com/

    :)

    Let the ice making begin. It’s warmer than normal, but cold enough to make some ice:

    https://www.wunderground.com/forecast/ca/resolute?cm_ven=localwx_10day

  40. 190
    David B. Benson says:

    How to Power the World?
    http://bravenewclimate.proboards.com/thread/697/power-world?page=3#post-6026

    So-calledrenewables don’t generate when the power is desired.

  41. 191

    Barton Paul Levinson wrote @179:

    No, the real reason nuclear failed in this country is that no one was willing to invest in it after Three-Mile Island.

    The Three Mile Island meltdown had zero casualties.  Fukushima had maybe one.

    We’ve had bunches of explosions of gas pipelines and chemical plants and all kinds of things, accidents that KILLED people.  Yet these things are quietly fixed up and go on, sometimes with legal wrangling over liability but NOBODY demands that the oil and gas industries be shut down over them.  Why does nuclear take it in the neck, while these FAR more dangerous technologies get a pass?

    The meltdown there cost the utility running it a billion dollars, back when 1 billion dollars was worth something.

    The TMI meltdown did precious little actual damage.  It wasn’t even fatal to the reactor pressure vessel; once the core material was removed (some of which was done by guys standing on a platform and chipping the re-solidified stuff into pieces underwater and loading it into buckets with long scoops) it was found that the metal was just fine.  TMI could have been reloaded and restarted.  It SHOULD have been.  As you note, it was a billion-dollar investment.  Why not?

    It was scrapped because the massive anti-nuke outrage mob that had been training for years and was fired up over a zero-casualty event made it politically impossible, and those politics were driven by anti-radiation lobbying and propaganda that had been in high gear since the Rockefeller foundation got the Nobel committee to hand a medal to Hermann Muller for fraudulent research in 1946.

    The Nuclear Regulatory Commission should have looked at the true damages, said “no harm, no foul” and declared that the protections in place were obviously sufficient for the threat.  Did it?  HAH!  It went on a rampage which forced massive redesigns of plants where work was already finished, forcing it to be torn out and redone.  Who can do business in that kind of capricious and hostile environment?  THAT is why the industry was almost killed.

    And all attempts to build nukes since have run into massive cost overruns, none of which had to do with “NO NUKES!” activists.

    “All attempts”, you say?  Funny, China has completed 4 AP1000 plants well before the USA has finished building 2.  KEPCO has not only built AP1400’s in S. Korea on time and budget, but managed the same at Barakah in UAE.  KEPCO has a negative cost learning curve… probably because KEPCO is not dealing with hostile regulators looking for any excuse to shut them down.

    While KEPCO was improving cost and schedule with every plant, Barack Obama appointed Gregory Jaczko head of the NRC… where he proceeded to single-handedly monkey-wrench the first new nuclear builds in the USA in decades by imposing a brand-new rule on plants which already had approved designs with contracts signed.  THAT is the kind of outrageously capricious environment the nuclear industry has had to deal with since about 1970.

    How did that happen?  Rabid anti-nuke Ed Markey insisted that Jaczko be appointed to the NRC in 2005 as a quid pro quo for approving other GWB appointees.  Jaczko was not qualified, but politics is politics.  Obama installed Jaczko as chair in 2009, and among other things he fucked up the US assistance with the Tohoku tsunami recovery by insisting that US forces remain an outrageous distance away from the Fukushima problem.

    You want to solve the problem, get rid of these “problematic” people.  They should be as un-personed, voiceless and powerless as David Duke.  Let Markey and Jaczko live in trailer parks.

    Nuclear simply costs too much for too little return.

    What is a habitable planet worth?  “Renewables” won’t cut it because they can’t cut it.

    BPL @180:

    Great! Then we can have nuclear bombs EVERYWHERE! Make it easy for the terrorists!

    There is no one thing called “plutonium” with identical properties.  Do you realize that Pu-238 is great for deep-space probes but literally useless for weapons, and Pu-240 made the one single test of “reactor grade” plutonium in a bomb a rather disappointing “fizzle”?  Pu-240 has a very high rate of spontaneous fission and neutron emission.  Do you understand that the high prevalence of Pu-240 in all reactor-grade plutonium means that even the best implosion-style bomb designs have only a tiny probability of operating correctly with reactor-grade material?  Neutrons appear too often and the implosion begins exploding too soon, meaning the bomb can yield as little as the equivalent of a few hundred pounds of TNT.

    What kind of a fearsome weapon is that?  Not even as destructive as a SCUD.  Properly understood, it is a weapon whose lasting threat you can sweep up with a broom and dispose of in a pit.

  42. 192

    Martin Smith wrote @182:

    This article appears at CNN today: http://edition.cnn.com/2019/10/25/business/offshore-wind-energy/index.html

    It says offshore wind turbines can supply all the electricity needed to power the world.

    Claims are not proof, and you have the added problems of shorter lifetime at sea, plus greater maintenance and transmission cost at sea.  My response to all of this:  I’m from Missouri, so SHOW ME.

    In absense of PROOF you can do it, everyone should assume you cannot.

  43. 193

    nigelj wrote @186:

    Engineer-Poet @173, you cannot criticise a carbon tax and dividend on the basis of Germany’s high power prices

    Why not?  Germany IMPOSED high power prices for the avowed goal of low carbon emissions… and failed to deliver low carbon emissions.  France went for oil independence for its electric generation and delivered low carbon emissions by accident!

    Which one should be considered the success story?  If you chose Germany, put on the dunce cap and stand in the corner for the rest of the century.

    Germany doesn’t have a carbon tax, just the EU cap and trade mechanism.

    France had no carbon tax, and had no cap and trade either.  France got the job done better than Germany three decades earlier.  So, 7.4 decades on from the fall of Berlin, why are we not telling the idiot German romantics to get their heads in line with the facts and STOP BURNING CARBON FOR ENERGY?!

    It’s because you’re infected with the same romantic idiocy and are too dim to see through it.

  44. 194

    Martin Smith writes @182:

    It says offshore wind turbines can supply all the electricity needed to power the world.

    Just because it says it, doesn’t mean you should take it without a truckload of salt.  Even if it’s true that you can generate X many TWh per annum for some representative annum, it does not mean that you can get it anywhere close to where or WHEN you need it.  Shifting power in space or time is an expensive and often very lossy proposition, so your entire surplus can literally evaporate on the way along with your profits.

    Actinides do decay as well, but the ones of interest do it VERY slowly.  Th-232 in particular has a half-life longer than the age of the universe.

    Note further that electric generation is a MINORITY of primary energy consumption in the world.  To fully decarbonize you are going to need several times as much total energy, perhaps as much as 10 times.

    Finally, that CNN article quotes Fatih Birol.  If you’re taking him as an authority, you also have to accept that he has declared that nuclear is crucial for cleaning up our energy:

    “Without an important contribution from nuclear power, the global energy transition will be that much harder,” said Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA’s Executive Director.

  45. 195

    nigelj wrote @186:

    you cannot criticise a carbon tax and dividend on the basis of Germany’s high power prices, because Germany doesn’t have a carbon tax, just the EU cap and trade mechanism.

    You’re not grasping this, so let me break the issue down for you.

    1.  Germany has gone straight to “renewables, Renewables, RENEWABLES!” as a matter of policy, not incentives.
    2.  Germany has very high power prices as part and parcel of paying for the “energy transition”.
    3.  As you noted, there isn’t even a carbon tax.  If one was imposed, it would boost electric bills still higher.  It would probably not change the power mix as that’s mandated by policy.
    4.  Despite all the “green” energy, German progress toward decarbonization has stagnated.

    Objectively, using “renewables” (other than hydro) for decarbonization runs into diminishing returns almost immediately and cannot achieve the putative policy goals.  “Do it HARDER!” will not work; as Shellenberger says, “the trouble with renewables isn’t fundamentally technical—it’s natural.”

    Also nuclear power would only solve electricity generation

    There you are quite wrong.  What is now INL was both lit AND heated by EBR II from 1966 to 1996.  China is embarking on a program of swimming-pool reactors to provide district heating to replace coal stoves.  The Finnish Green party has done an about-face on nuclear power and is looking at using small modular reactors for district heat.

    My own thermodynamic analysis of a steam cycle suggests that starting at 900°F (well above LWR temperatures, granted) and using 2 reheats you could get 32% efficiency even with a condenser at 212°F.  This would be suitable for hot-water heat distribution for space heat and DHW.  On such a cycle, a 200 MW(t) SMR could generate 64 MW(e) and simultaneously generate 130 MW of heat for space heating.  Based on my own gas consumption 130 MW(t) should be enough to heat a city of some 13-15000 homes, plus businesses, in February.

    leaving a need for some form of carbon tax or similar for the many other climate mitigation issues.

    That would help get people beyond the reach of district heating systems to convert from propane or natural gas to some form of electric heat.  They could retain a propane or dimethyl ether furnace for backup in case of power shortages.  I’m not sure how much incentive you’d need to e.g. get people to switch from ICEVs to plug-in hybrids; some people love them but others may be reluctant to change.  Feebates or outright fuel-consumption ceilings may be required.

    You have provided no better alternative than carbon tax and dividend that would help and be politically viable.

    Suppose you get your tax and dividend.  Then what?  What’s your PLAN?

    The public is coming around on climate.  I’m in my 7th year of driving a PHEV and I love it.  And if Greens are reversing course on nuclear, who can say what they might go for?  The time for plans is now.

    The thing about decarbonization is that “renewables” policies are proven failures; you can carbon-tax all you like but if you do not have a PLAN for energy conversion that is based on engineering reality you will not get the job done.  If something is not available, people will not be able to buy it no matter the incentives.  Recycling monthly checks to energy bills with no end in sight is a recipe for irritation and anger, and you sure don’t want that.

    As a matter of policy we need to aim for net negative emissions.  Nothing would be better for making the case to the public than to see some moderate-sized city somewhere install a NuScale reactor as its electric generation and primary district heat source and people start keeping their entire dividend checks as the hot-water pipes reach their neighborhoods.

    Given the NRC’s insistence on huge disaster-planning boundaries and lots of per-site staffing, the first example will probably be some place like Finland.

  46. 196

    Barton Paul Levinson wrote @187:

    You heard it here first, folks. The elasticity of demand for fossil fuels is ZERO.

    Straw man much?

    Even a $100/ton CO2 tax adds only about $1/gallon to the price of gasoline and $0.20/therm of natural gas.  The USA has had considerably higher prices recently, and that was without dividend checks making them affordable.  You’re not going to drive any large or rapid changes in consumer tastes or habits that way.  The Germans are paying something like $5/gallon and still drive the Autobahn like maniacs.

    If you want people to buy something you have to make sure it’s on the market.  Consider my proposal for a liquid fuel consumption ceiling for light duty vehicles.  Make it 1 gallon for the first 50 miles on the WLTP, starting with a fully-charged traction battery.  Your Prius wouldn’t need to change, but your typical pickup would need a PHEV drivetrain with about 20 miles of electric range (allowing for efficiency improvements due to hybridization).  This would have two major effects:

    1.  It would drive consumers away from larger vehicles with bigger, more expensive batteries and from trucks back to cars.
    2.  Plug-in vehicles would proliferate rapidly.  Once people had a vehicle with a charging socket, they’d be almost certain to use it.  Eliminating the fuel consumption of the first X miles per day or per trip has a disproportionate effect, so liquid fuel consumption would be replaced by electricity at a much greater rate than the net capacity of vehicle batteries.

    And THAT is how you make liquid fuel demand much, much more elastic.  I’m not sure you could do much for natural gas consumption absent district heating, as furnaces are large investments and typically do not get replaced with e.g. heat pumps until they wear out.

  47. 197

    KIA 183: Nothing wrong with solar/wind but the intermittent output cannot provide reliable power for reasonable cost with technology currently available.

    BPL: That’s why God made pumped hydro and wide-area smart grids.

  48. 198

    E-P 191: BPL: “the real reason nuclear failed in this country is that no one was willing to invest in it after Three-Mile Island.”

    E-P: The Three Mile Island meltdown had zero casualties.

    BPL: Perhaps true, though no one knows how many excess cancers were caused. But I didn’t say it failed because of the casualties. You snipped the part where I explained why Three-Mile Island resulted in no more nuclear investment–because IT COST THE UTILITY A BILLION DOLLARS. It was a BIG LOSS. The INVESTMENT WENT DOWN THE DRAIN. Are you getting it yet?

  49. 199

    E-P 195: Despite all the “green” energy, German progress toward decarbonization has stagnated.

    BPL: Germany’s carbon emissions were down in 2018 and they were on-track to meet their 2020 goals. Don’t spread lies.

  50. 200
    Al Bundy says:

    Nigel and Ray,

    The communications issue is not about whether scientists convey the science but how well they convey the fact that they’re crapping their pants. Hiding your existential fears so as to appear professional is FAILING to convey your dread.

    Seriously, when a theater is on fire it is not a service to calmly note that “The thermal dynamics of the fourth degree of freedom leads me to conclude that in the XPR8.5 scenario….”

    Dudes, the appropriate thing to do is scream, “FIRE!”

    And Nigel, I’m hardest on those I respect the most. Ray’s among the group at the top of my list.

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