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Forced Responses: Dec 2019

Filed under: — group @ 6 December 2019

Open thread for climate solution discussion. Climate science discussions should remain on the Unforced Variations thread.

854 Responses to “Forced Responses: Dec 2019”

  1. 101
    Al Bundy says:

    nigelj: But I agree forget about BECCS because it’s fantasy land stuff
    And sucking CO2 out of the air with fans is a promising technology option,with working prototypes,

    AB: Flue gas is perhaps 20% CO2. Lots easier to harvest from that than 410ppm. Flue gas also gives a low-grade heat source. A heat exchanger to get the heat to where it needs to be in the process and?

    But vehicles are the natural liquid fuel users and they’re generally lousy BECCSers.

  2. 102
    nigelj says:

    Making the electricity grid 100% renewable means the planet would need a lot of pumped hydro storage (or batteries). Pumped hydro is good, but has considerable ecological impacts. Consider that wind power averages $40 mwhr , and my non- expert boe calc suggests that to provide three weeks storage so it is fully resilient this would increase this by a factor of 7, so wind power at $280 mwhr compared to coal fired power at $100 mwhr and nuclear power @$150 mwhr ( all prices according to Lazard) so a 100% renewable grid has bad economics at current storage prices.

    BUT having some nuclear power (or geothermal power) in combination with renewables and less storage makes the economics really good, and you still get a zero carbon grid. Looks like EP is winning this debate to some extent. Nuclear plant appears to be capable of changing output quickly to suit reliability issues with renewables:

    https://www.powermag.com/flexible-operation-of-nuclear-power-plants-ramps-up/

  3. 103
    Al Bundy says:

    hmm, my snip of nigelj’s comment isn’t showing. Looks like I came across a dedicated usage of the less-than or greater-than symbol. The two lines in his comment as I copied them had lots of words between them as he typed them.

  4. 104

    KIA 67: For the $1,000,000 prize, is “Easily done” your final answer? :)

    BPL: I was being sarcastic. E-P always exaggerates how much is needed. We don’t need three weeks of storage for the entire world all at once. His proof is rather like the proof that airplanes can’t possibly take off because the engines would weigh too much. All the math is correct–it’s the premises that are wrong.

  5. 105
    Carbomontanus says:

    Ladies and Gentlemen

    @ 2 Nigelj

    “When generating companies add renewables, they must be prepared to add storage.”

    But, why necessarlily in the form of Li- ion batteries?

    It is an old problem, that was solved by the steam engine and by very huge hydroelectric dam arrangements. In agriculture, it was rather solved by the much easier and cheaper ottomotor and the hot bulb oil engine.

    I have convinced myself of that in the museums.

    Wind and hydropower were not stable, thus ox- power and even human power for the large mills.

    But in any case, they often had to wait both for the wind and the water and even for the season, and when it came, it was rock around the clock, seasonal work sawing and milling and grinding day and night.

    Electricity, and luckily also that damned alarm clock was not yet invented.

    I have often thought of it in Norway, when… or if… the Herrings or the codfish comes or when the macrels occasionally rush into the bay, the Dog barks and tells! Wherefore you must be ready and prepared at any time to rush out and take it.

    So why those huge dams, why not enough turbine capacity ready to take the springfloods when it comes and the autumn floods if it comes, and produce and store aluminium or ferrosilicium or Salpeter? Then you must be ready and prepared also for rock around the clock at unpredictable events, but then you can relax also for the rest of the time and ignore that hot steam pressure and that devlish alarmclock, that alarms you of the heated political and heathen barbarian situation every morning all around the year, and especially at any time when you rather ougth to sleep, relax, and dream.

    What is the more comfortable, healthy, and sustainable lifestyle?

    Why those holy litium batteries everywhere, why not the cocks cry and the natural sunrise in the morning, where you can gladly sleep on with good conscience?

    Those batteries are mostly demanded in order to take over from and to replace that holy main boiler pressure from classic, pre- electric technology.

    Rather store variable and unpredictable electric energy in wares and materials that must be produced in any case, but can easily be stored, and production of it quickly be turned on an off..

  6. 106

    E-P, #59–

    Lengthy, and much of it rather irrelevant (such as the ranting about immigration) or misleading (such as the record of renewables in lowering Danish emissions).

    But a couple of points:

    1)

    You didn’t claim it, but you DO need it. The cost ceiling for your storage runs as the inverse of the duration you have to cover. Current Li-ion cells are running OTOO $150/kWh, but to cover a 2-week lull needs something well under $10.

    Thanks for elaborating the basis for the claim. That makes relatively more sense now. However, I don’t accept the premise that storage needs to cover a “2-week lull.” First, as I keep insisting, apparently to no effect, we’re not going to see a 100% renewable grid any more than we’re going to see a 100% nuclear one. Second, dispersion and interconnection will also be part of the equation. There’s been a *lot* of modeling around this, and it’s been cited repeatedly.

    2) I’m amazed that Fermi 1 is cited as solution. I mean, it’s not as if its brief career were exactly glorious. Here’s part of the summary linked:

    The reactor was tested at low power in its first couple years of operation. Power ascension testing above 1 Mwt commenced in December 1965, immediately following receipt of the high power operating license. In October 1966, during a power ascension, a zirconium plate at the bottom of the reactor vessel became loose and blocked sodium coolant flow to some fuel subassemblies. Two subassemblies started to melt. Radiation monitors alarmed and the operators manually shut down the reactor. No abnormal releases to the environment occurred. Three years and nine months later, the cause had been determined, cleanup completed, fuel replaced, and Fermi 1 was restarted.

    That little incident was treated at book length in a little volume called “We Almost Lost Detroit.” Well, perhaps that’s alarmist, but IIRC it’s a quote from one of the personnel at the time.

    But if you put the whole timeline together, here’s what it looks like:

    1956: construction starts
    1960: primary coolant system filled
    1963: criticality achieved
    1965: power ascension starts
    1966: coolant system failure
    1970(ish): reactor restarted
    1972: decision to decommision
    1973: fuel and blanket assemblies shipped offsite
    1984: primary (radioactive) sodium shipped offsite
    2019: “The facility is in safe storage. There is no spent fuel onsite. Bulk sodium has been removed from the site, and the reactor vessel, primary system piping and major components have been removed.”
    2032: “Projected closure”

    Wow. A project life of 76 years, of which it achieved rated power output for no more than 3 years, and *any* output at all for no more than 5 or 6.

    Hell of a success story.

  7. 107
    zebra says:

    #82 Al Bundy,

    The thing E-P suggests is borderline-perpetual-motion, and certainly not patentable, but from that quote you gave I was wondering if he even has a clue how generators work– it sounds like he has a bunch of stuff all jumbled up in his mind.

    That’s why I asked him to explain about the physics in a simple case where we have a load and two sources, each of which has the rated capacity to serve the load. Solar when the sun is shining, say 8 hours a day, and the steam plant when the sun is down.

    Why don’t you make like that good student that is now working for you and do the exercise yourself. It’s interesting.

  8. 108

    I meant to note the record on Danish emissions. Data availability isn’t what I’d like it to be, but per this, 2018 emissions were down ~42% from 2006. Wind has been the primary tool in the kit. Of course, Denmark does trade energy with other Scandinavian countries, including both Norway (mainstay: hydropower) and Finland (33% nuclear).

  9. 109
    nigelj says:

    Mal Adapted @100

    “Wonder why it is that the US has far lower electric power rates than a nation like NZ with all that hydro?…..Why, I wonder if it’s related to the total amount in subsidies the US federal government hands out for energy production and/or consumption, with fossil and nuclear leading the list (state and local programs not counted). Perhaps nigelj can give us figures for New Zealand?”

    No government subsidies in NZ for any form of electricity generation, and associated technology like the lines networks. We have had a lot of electricity system reforms, and I’ve followed it quite closely. The market structure is administratively heavy given we are a small country, and this might be another factor in higher electricity prices than the USA. But mostly its probably an economies of scale sort of thing.

  10. 110
    nigelj says:

    Mal Adapted @100, ditto there are no government subsides in NZ for electricity consumption either. The country had a huge number of subsidies in the 1980’s on all sorts off things, including electricity consumption and production, but they all got deleted by free market neoliberal styled reforms around 1990. About the only government assistance thing we still have are tax breaks for R&D, but they are modest and none apply to the electricity sector as far as I’m aware.

  11. 111
    Michael Sweet says:

    Nigelj,

    The longer you read here on an unmoderated forum, the less you will know about future energy systems. Accepting at face value data or systems design from nuclear supporters makes you less and less informed.

    Several years ago Jacobson suggested two small dams in Alaska be added to the power system for the entire USA. He was hammered for such an unenvironmental proposal. It is virtually impossible to get permission to build large, new pumped storage anywhere in the world due to its bad environmental effects. Pumped storage is also the most expensive storage there is. Most of existing pumped storage was built to store nuclear power overages generated at night to sell when people needed power during the day. People who say nuclear does not need storage are simply lying. Jacobson’s most recent plan for ALL POWER for North America includes exactly zero (0) new pumped storage. Nuclear supporters refer to pumped storage because its very high cost makes nuclear seem economical. Actual energy researchers do not use pumped storage.

    According to this reference (written by people who actually research future energy systems): Energy Storage and Smart Energy Systems Lund et al 2016 (with 115 citations), it is about 10,000 times more expensive to build pumped storage than to build storage for liquid materials. It will be much, much more economic to make methane and diesel fuel from electricity and carbon dioxide and store them in existing storage tanks than it would be to build pumped storage. The aviation and ship industries will use the diesel fuel so no energy will be wasted. The volume of storage is realistic, unlike the pumped storage nuclear supporters advocate.
    Carbomontanus is on the right track.

    Abbott 2011 showed that it is impossible to mine uranium from the ocean, for many reasons. Several research groups have tried and have succeeded only in obtaining a few grams of material at great cost. Anyone who suggests that this will be possible in any reasonable time frame if trying to pull the wool over your eyes.

    I suggest you find a few good articles on renewable energy and then look at the citing articles in Google Scholar. You will learn what actual scientists think and not pick up the disinformation so thick here.

    I recommend Smart Energy Europe: The technical and economic impact of one potential 100% renewable energy scenario for the European Union by Connelly et al (2016) (cited by 268 since 2016) or any of Jacobson’s articles (Jacobson et al 2018 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0960148118301526) is his last (Google his web page at Stanford for free copies). If you click on the citing articles at Google Scholar you will get a list of articles on similar topics, including several on Australia.

    The “three weeks of storage worldwide” is very old, fake data from nuclear supporters. The reality is much more subtle, but AP’s simplistic explanations are completely off base.

  12. 112

    nigel, #102–

    …my non- expert boe calc suggests that to provide three weeks storage so it is fully resilient this would increase this by a factor of 7, so wind power at $280 mwhr compared to coal fired power at $100 mwhr and nuclear power @$150 mwhr ( all prices according to Lazard) so a 100% renewable grid has bad economics at current storage prices.

    And where is the evidence that we need anything like 3 weeks worth? Particularly as we are going to have *both* wind and solar as mainstays in most places, not just wind, and as we’ll have at least as much hydropower as now, plus geothermal in some places, plus some nuclear?

    Again, we’ve had a fair amount of modeling around this question, and such inflated amounts of storage were not found to be necessary, as I understand it.

  13. 113
    nigelj says:

    Al Bundy @79, I thought you had some tasty inside information on Rands sadomasochism from reading something. Her heroes were certainly self punishing puritanical workaholics determined to live in self imposed crazy ideological straight jackets. She would probably have liked 50 shades of grey.

    Awful woman, died on an invalids benefit bludging off the state she despised, and once suggested its ok to invade third world countries and take their resources, because they have no real “property law”. It’s all this fanatically libertarian thinking that has killed ideas like carbon taxes and so on, so to hell with her. Ok enough factoids.

  14. 114
    nigelj says:

    Mal Adapted @100, oh curses. Before someone makes me look foolish, NZ does have a very recent scheme where elderly people can apply to get cheaper state subsidised electricity, but it wouldn’t show up in actual power prices as such. Politicians keep changing things.

  15. 115
    nigelj says:

    Zebra @107 “That’s why I asked him (EP) to explain about the physics in a simple case where we have a load and two sources, each of which has the rated capacity to serve the load. Solar when the sun is shining, say 8 hours a day, and the steam plant when the sun is down.”

    Why does anyone have to do that? Its obvious you can have different sources of power but solar power lacks reactance so you need a whole lot of additional generation or technology to achieve that. And remewables need a lot of storage. I dont agree with some of EP’s crazy views on things, but thats ALL EP has been saying.

    You are getting the wrong end of the stick, and you are making it personal. EP says some crazy stuff, but has the guts to post numbers and calcs. Can’t say that I see you doing the same, despite the fact you claim to have the expertise. Squabble squabble little children.

    Remember electricity generation traditionally tends towards being a monopoly. Generally local state or city governments or private companies provide generation to local areas, usually run by technocrats and elected boards sometimes. This is an ok model.

    An electricity market is a good idea, and we have one in NZ, but to make a grid with renewables work it needs a hell of a lot of rules to ensure theres enough storage and reactive power. The market model is quite contrived to force competition. This adds complexity.

  16. 116
    nigelj says:

    Engineer-Poet @97 regarding misquoting people I looked at post 451. I do remember that quote now, because of “ok boomer” at the end, which is a term used by one our Green Politicians, that went viral globally. But yeah AB is putting words in your mouth at 451. This is not characteristic of AB, and is clearly meant very tongue in cheek with dollops of sarcasm and is very funny, but is asking for trouble. But you then did the same so poured petrol on the issue!

    Forget it guys, move on.

  17. 117
    nigelj says:

    Electricity grids can be organised in different ways and they all work. A traditional local monopoly system run by technocrats, or an electricity market. The main thing is to keep politicians away from running things, and choosing generation options, because that mostly wont end well.

  18. 118
    Al Bundy says:

    Carbomontanus,

    Yeah. Seriously, if a two-week doldrums occurred, who wouldn’t relish two weeks of down time? There are lots of high-energy-use things that aren’t time-critical, or at least don’t have to be. And with offshore wind’s 60+% capacity factor (for NEW stuff and who other than those who argue for “wins” instead of growth cares about obsolete stuff that will never be built again?) coupled with UHVDC transmission, bio/synfuel, batteries, flywheels, hydro, pumped storage, nuclear, geothermal, and the required overcapacity for CO2 drawdown it is difficult to imagine a week of serious energy shortage. And a week off once every few years is to be viewed like kids view snow days.

  19. 119
    Al Bundy says:

    Ray,

    Your point is well taken. Note that the person was described first as dominant. Merely the person’s economic conclusions, which were bat**** crazy were dissed. And the comment was explicitly bi-directional. Duct tape goes both ways. And the “target” was an older and very powerful person, not a younger one (I was punching up, not down). So it was the opposite of sexist and ad hom and predatory…

    …but you’re right. We live in the times we live in. In that vein, note that (valid) comments like yours gather votes for Trump.

    And, of course, my comment stretched the mods’ tolerance beyond what would be reasonable…

    …except in these times. (And you can rest assured that I had to debate myself about whether to press “Submit Comment”.)

    And to bring this around to current climate science, Natalia Shakhova (Russian researcher with the University of Alaska Fairbanks) recently exclaimed about some male scientists she says made mistakes, “Why haven’t they been beaten yet?”

  20. 120
    Al Bundy says:

    nigelj,

    That killer vacation destination volcano? What’s the scoop from ground close-to-zero?

  21. 121

    #105, carbomontanus–

    Good point. LI batteries are going to be seeing wide use for energy storage, I’m quite sure, and good thing, too.

    Yet we are in a different reality now than we have been, and the accustomed patterns of life will have to change. We will have to build for durability, not convenience, and have to learn again to think ahead in our personal lives–because we cannot afford the coddling to which we have been accustomed. Perhaps that will also be the case in some aspects of our ‘energy lives.’

  22. 122
  23. 123
    nigelj says:

    https://thewire.in/environment/the-idea-that-green-technology-can-help-save-the-environment-is-dangerous

    The article claims ominously that :”The Idea That ‘Green Technology’ Can Help Save the Environment Is Dangerous” and “Industrialists around the world have been extracting a wide array of minerals and metals to build electric vehicles and ‘cleaner’ batteries, simply replacing one injustice with another.”

    The article means well, and some minerals are in limited supply obviously, but the article is just so badly informed and one sided for example:

    “The Republic of Guinea in equatorial Africa hosts 30% of the world’s bauxite reserves as well as large quantities of iron ore. Some 98% of the country is also covered by forests. Aluminium from bauxite is required to make electric cars and high-capacity electric cables. Steel is the most commonly used metal and is used to make windmills and for structural use in urban infrastructure. Imagine the plight of Guinea’s forests in the face of rising demand for both these materials.”

    We don’t have to rely on this source of aluminium. There are billions of tons of aluminium minerals dissolved in sea water, and several alternative minerals to bauxite that are rich in aluminium:

    https://geology.com/minerals/bauxite.shtml

    And aluminium and steel is used to make ICE cars and infrastructure as well, and if we don’t build EVs we will still be building ICE cars. This is a case of the writer not thinking things through a bit before putting pen to paper.

    “The Congo, its neighbour, is home to 60% of the world’s cobalt. This metal is a critical component of batteries that power smartphones and electric vehicles. Contractors are thought to employ some 35,000 children, forced to work in pitiable conditions, to extract this metal…. The mines have destroyed large tracts of savannah…. etcetera.”

    Child labour is utterly repugnant, but there are other sources of cobalt, and batteries don’t need cobalt:

    https://www.wired.com/story/alternatives-to-cobalt-the-blood-diamond-of-batteries/

    https://www.machinedesign.com/materials/article/21838129/new-lithium-battery-design-eliminates-costly-cobalt-and-nickel

    And don’t stop mining. Solve the child labour problem.

    “For example, salt flats 3,600 meters above sea-level in Bolivia and Chile hold nearly half of all the lithium in the world….But the rush to control Bolivia’s resources quickly destabilised the local socialist government, which had intended to regulate mining and distribute profits among the population. The right-wing government in place now is likely to reopen negotiations with foreign mining companies that its predecessor had nixed.”

    This is a terrible injustice, but its a POLITICAL problem. Again you don’t stop mining because of a POLITICAL problem – you solve the political problem.

    “According to one estimate, one wind turbine requires 900 tonnes of steel, 2,500 tonnes of concrete and 45 tonnes of plastic. For every tonne of steel produced, 780 kg of coal is used during the extraction phase. The production of every tonne of concrete emits 1.25 tonnes of carbon dioxide.”

    Wind power is still zero carbon in the longer term, and totally zero carbon when its manufactured using zero carbon electricity.

    “In the same vein, conventional methods of solar panel manufacturing release nitrogen trifluoride, a greenhouse gas …..High-voltage power generation and transmission requires the use of sulphur hexafluoride, which is 23,500-times more potent than carbon dioxide…”

    There are viable alternatives to nitrogen triflouride and sulphur hexachloride:

    https://cen.acs.org/articles/86/i29/Offers-Alternative-NF3.html

    https://www.ee.co.za/article/alternative-sf6-electrical-switchgear-2.html

    “Recycling is also energy-intensive and can often salvage only a fraction of spent resources..For example, the world produces about 360 million tonnes of plastic a year but only about 9% of all plastic waste is recycled..”

    Total BS. Recycling can salvage most of the resource. Cherrypicking plastic is just the worst example.

    “Instead of resorting to industrial or, more broadly, techno-optimistic alternatives, we need to immediately reduce our industrial footprint by more than half and adopt alternative ways of living and working. This is also possible and will likely benefit Earth more than everything else we seem to be trying.”

    Totally unrealistic numbers. People are very unlikely to be going to go without basic technology that is taken for granted these days. Instead you will get some change around the edges of the problem, and less waste and more recycling.

    Yes obviously some minerals are in limited supply and we have some big challenges, but I have just demolished the whole screed in a few minutes.

  24. 124
    nigelj says:

    While I mentioned above that New Zealand’s government doesn’t subsidise the production and consumption of fossil fuels, and while this is strictly true to the best of my knowledge, I just came across this tax exemption. Its just so hard to keep up with the fine print and compromises made by governments, and kept as hidden as possible.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/taranaki-daily-news/news/117969794/government-should-stop-all-financial-support-to-oil-and-gas-industry-mori-party-candidate-says

  25. 125
    Al Bundy says:

    nigelj: This is a terrible injustice, but its a POLITICAL problem. Again you don’t stop mining because of a POLITICAL problem – you solve the political problem.

    AB: 100% right and completely impossible. AS IF political problems are solvable.

    Political “problems” have perhaps a 10000:1 return on investment.

  26. 126
    Al Bundy says:

    nigelj,

    in other words, as long as you focus on rational as opposed to return you lose.

  27. 127
    Al Bundy says:

    Ya wanna know what you’re fighting?

    NYTimes: Facebook reaches about one-third of humanity. It is more powerful than any political party — and it’s full of untruths, bigotry and nonsense. As Sacha Baron Cohen, the British actor, said last month of the social media behemoths: “The truth is that these companies won’t fundamentally change because their entire business model relies on generating more engagement, and nothing generates more engagement than lies, fear and outrage.”

    That’s the story of Brexit, a national tragedy. That’s the story of Johnson, the man of no convictions. That’s the story of Trump, who makes puppets of people through manipulation of outrage and disregard for truth. That’s the story of our times. Johnson gets and fits those times better than most. He’s a natural.

    ******

    As if you have a chance.

  28. 128
    Al Bundy says:

    Me: as if you have a chance

    AB: unless you change

  29. 129
    Al Bundy says:

    nigelj,

    You guys have difficulty in going from one-dimensional to two. Imagine how hard it is to go from multidimensional to one.

    I’m doing my best. And yeah, being different is not being superior. It’s just having a disjoint skill set

  30. 130
    nigelj says:

    Kevin McKinney @112

    “And where is the evidence that we need anything like 3 weeks worth (of storage for a 100% renewables grid) ? ”

    I’ve already posted this on last months FR as below. This was an exercise assuming just renewables plus storage, with no smart grids or other forms of generation.So its the most challenging case scenario.

    https://pv-magazine-usa.com/2018/03/01/12-hours-energy-storage-80-percent-wind-solar/

    “Particularly as we are going to have *both* wind and solar as mainstays in most places, not just wind, and as we’ll have at least as much hydropower as now, plus geothermal in some places, plus some nuclear?”

    Yes but I said that in the next paragraph! Doh! Wake up Kevin!

  31. 131
    nigelj says:

    Al Bundy @20

    “That killer vacation destination volcano? What’s the scoop from ground close-to-zero?”

    Bit of background: White Island been an active volcano for ages, regularly blowing its stack typically steam and gas clouds a few small rocks and ash, but its well monitored with seismic sensors on the general level of subsurface activity. When this tour group went over there was a level two alert – a danger sign of heightened activity.

    Personally I dont have a general problem with people taking some risks to look at active volcanoes, like in Hawaii but it seems like asking for trouble to go out there during a level 2 alert. No finger pointing yet in the media, but its probably coming.

    End result: About 15 people dead, most survivors with horrific burns, hospitals at the limits, not good. Not sure Im telling you anything not already in the media. Never been to White Island myself but was once tempted.

  32. 132
    nigelj says:

    Michael Sweet @111

    “Accepting at face value data or systems design from nuclear supporters makes you less and less informed.”

    Correct in general terms, but I can’t recall doing that. Where have I done that specifically? I’ve posted quite a few comments on the FR thread questioning the validity of claims by these nuclear proponents.

    “It is virtually impossible to get permission to build large, new pumped storage anywhere in the world due to its bad environmental effects. Pumped storage is also the most expensive storage there is. Most of existing pumped storage was built to store nuclear power overages generated at night to sell when people needed power during the day. People who say nuclear does not need storage are simply lying. Jacobson’s most recent plan for ALL POWER for North America includes exactly zero (0) new pumped storage. Nuclear supporters refer to pumped storage because its very high cost makes nuclear seem economical. Actual energy researchers do not use pumped storage.”

    Yes there are problems consenting pumped hydro and ecological impacts, but Australia does have plenty of pumped storage planned or consented:

    https://www.pv-magazine.com/2019/03/26/pumped-hydro-to-triple-australias-storage-capacity/

    Pumped hydro storage appears to be lower cost than lithium batteries as below, but granted it probably won’t maintain that advantage given falling prices of lithium batteries and other options you mention. These articles do not appear to be written by the nuclear industry:

    http://www.dispatchablerenewables.entura.com/batteries-vs-pumped-hydro-a-place-for-both/

    https://www.ecogeneration.com.au/why-pumped-hydro-beats-batteries-as-a-storage-solution/

    I haven’t really promoted pumped storage as some sort of magical answer. For example I said at 105 “Pumped hydro is good, but has considerable ecological impacts. ” It would be one of those things that has applications in certain regions but not others and depends a lot on local geography.

    “According to this reference (written by people who actually research future energy systems): Energy Storage and Smart Energy Systems Lund et al 2016 (with 115 citations), it is about 10,000 times more expensive to build pumped storage than to build storage for liquid materials…”

    Sounds good in principle, although the cost claims sound exaggerated to me. Listen, I mentioned pumped storage simply because its one storage option. I never promoted it as the best option.

    “Carbomontanus is on the right track.”

    But he appears to be promoting pumped hydro storage!

    “Abbott 2011 showed that it is impossible to mine uranium from the ocean, for many reasons. Several research groups have tried and have succeeded only in obtaining a few grams of material at great cost. Anyone who suggests that this will be possible in any reasonable time frame if trying to pull the wool over your eyes.”

    Ok, but I have NEVER promoted the adoption of nuclear power as a stand alone or wide scale solution to climate change, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t got some place in the mix. Consider that a 100% renewables grid needs 3 weeks of storage as below and this is OBVIOUSLY expensive regardless of the options used, at least currently.

    https://pv-magazine-usa.com/2018/03/01/12-hours-energy-storage-80-percent-wind-solar/

    If you read the article (which is not written by the nuclear power industry) you will see it mentions that an 80% renewables grid only needs 12 hours storage. This is very economic. My boe calc suggests it would increase the price of a wind farm from $40 mwhr to about $ 100 mwhr so is still cheaper than nuclear power at $150 per mwhr and at parity with coal at $100 mwhr (costs from Lazard). The remaining 20% gap could be filled with nuclear power or geothermal and be zero carbon.

    “I suggest you find a few good articles on renewable energy and then look at the citing articles in Google Scholar. You will learn what actual scientists think and not pick up the disinformation so thick here.”

    I agree people should read widely but I don’t think you can simply dismiss what commentators say here. Some look like retired engineers, they are not stupid people.

    “The “three weeks of storage worldwide” is very old, fake data from nuclear supporters. The reality is much more subtle, but AP’s simplistic explanations are completely off base.”

    This article below talks about 3 weeks storage as I mentioned and doesn’t appear to be connected to the nuclear industry.

    https://pv-magazine-usa.com/2018/03/01/12-hours-energy-storage-80-percent-wind-solar/

    It’s commonsense anyway because sometimes wind farms have long periods of very sub optimal wind and solar farms can occasionally get extended cloudy periods. But smart grids that borrow power regionally can also help a great deal, and a little bit of nuclear power or geothermal power means a lot less storage might be needed as already mentioned. Time will tell anyway so its a bit academic. Are you sure you aren’t waving your arms a bit and being totally anti nuclear power for whatever reason?

  33. 133
    Erik Lindeberg says:

    @101 Al Bundy wrote:
    “Flue gas is perhaps 20% CO2. Lots easier to harvest from that than 410 ppm. Flue gas also gives a low-grade heat source. A heat exchanger to get the heat to where it needs to be in the process and?”

    BECCS may have different sources. BECCS fram air with 410 ppm CO2 is certainly one of the most capital intensive. BECCS from power production using waste or other biofuels is less expensive because the exhaust from these plants may have a concentration of more than 10% CO2. Fossil fuel power plants generally has an exhaust between 3.5% CO2 (gas) and 14% CO2(coal). Steel mills, ammonia plants, and cement plants may have even higher concentration of CO2 in the exhaust gas. There are approximately 10 000 of these unabated CO2 sources all over the world. The only rational option from an economic point of view is to clean up these point sources now for a much smaller cost than to to BECCS in a future when we are desperate. Then we may just need a minimum of BECCS or, hopefully, not at all. BTW, not “we”, but BECCS will be the burden of our children and grandchildren.

    Al Bundy wrote:
    “But vehicles are the natural liquid fuel users and they’re generally lousy BECCSers.”

    Vehicles is the easiest part of it. When we have power from renewables, fossil fuels with CCS or BECCS, the battery electric vehicles (BEV) is the natural solution. BEVs will probably outperform combustion engine vehicles long before we have “solved” the climate problem, because they are more efficient and will be cheaper to produce, maintain, and run.

  34. 134
    Mr. Know It All says:

    Posting a comment so comments 106-124 will appear. :)

    71 – nigelj
    “Customer reviews ……just measure whether people enjoyed the read. Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler gets good customer reviews on the whole..”

    The excellent review ratings of “Atlas Shrugged” are not because it was a “good read”. The story isn’t bad, but the book is hard to read and at ~1,100 pages it’s waaaaay too long. The book gets high marks because of the important content – it is an exact description of liberal nut-baggery destroying the USA today.

    I read some of those Mein Kampf reviews and they were mostly given because it is important to understand how/why the author rose to power and nearly took over the world, etc.

    76 – nigelj
    “….. I don’t believe in ‘unrestricted’ immigration.”

    Joe does. Nut-baggery on steroids:

    https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2019/12/11/joe-bidens-immigration-plan-amnesty-for-illegal-aliens-free-all-border-crossers-into-u-s/

  35. 135
    Tony Weddle says:

    I’ve been looking at the Fee and Dividend scheme that James Hansen advocates. I have serious concerns that it may, if implemented, end up doing the opposite of what it intends, at least in the early years. I’ve been trying to find a serious critique of the idea (but not from climate change deniers) but, so far, have only found a brief note from Nate Hagens. Does anyone have a link to a serious discussion of the pros and cons?

  36. 136
    William Jackson says:

    Atlas Shrugged is sheer nonsense written by a sick woman that appeals to sick people. Sad but true!

  37. 137

    nigelj wrote @76: (lost my previous attempt at this when Winblows 10 locked up and refused to let me log in for 10 minutes before I gave up and rebooted. hate Hate HATE Microsloth.)

    renewables versus fermi reactors.

    The devil is in the details.  Once most of a power system is nuclear, the only remaining use for unreliable sources is to feed highly discretionary loads.  Fossil-fired plants can take excess electricity and use it in lieu of fuel; nuclear-driven systems have no use for it at all.

    The Fermi 1 design is nothing special.  It’s a proven design of SMR size that someone could start bending metal for tomorrow, and that’s it.  I wouldn’t be surprised if it took longer to get a plant together to turn weapons-grade Pu into fuel for it than it took to build several new units.

    I would very much like to see something like Elysium Industries‘ molten chloride reactor given a shot, and several other things besides.  The Elysium reactor is just a pot with self-heating liquid in it, no internal structure, so it could be much cheaper and faster to build.  It would get rid of the fuel fabrication of conventional FBRs.  But the USA hasn’t run a MSR since closing the MSRE in 1969, and has never run a molten chloride reactor at all.  It’ll take time to shake these things down.  It’s best to solve teething problems on single units rather than recalling big production runs, and time is of the essence.  We need to start building stuff we know will work, and tomorrow is already 30 years too late.

    What we probably need to do is build the initial plants to be technology-agnostic, taking a swappable module of standard dimensions and interface requirements which supplies steam.  This uncouples the first plants and their customers from dependency on any particular technology or unit.  Defective units or abandoned technology wouldn’t hold users hostage; just swap something else in.

    renewables would need a whole lot of storage

    The infuriating thing about the piece Carbon Brief did on a recent emissions study is that the energy and emissions costs of that storage are not even mentioned.  Fossil backup makes RE many times worse than nuclear; a mere 30% gas with CCS adds 24 gCO2/kWh average.  We may not be able to afford the emissions from renewables!

    fermi reactors may be more economic option.

    What’s a habitable planet worth?  We need to get to strongly negative net emissions.  It’s a historical accident that Fermi 1 is the one off-the-shelf design the US has to start (a) burning ex-weapons plutonium and (b) building up a fuel cycle which uses the centuries-worth of depleted uranium (DU) that’s currently sitting around being useless.  At least we’ve got something; we could have nothing.

    Given how much DU the USA has, we could easily keep 50 years’ worth for ourselves and share the rest.

    Say, you Kiwis use 932 PJ (0.884 quads) of primary energy per year.  That’s just under 30 GW average, all told.  About 10 tons of DU per year would do for your whole country even if you used nothing else.  Imagine bringing in your country’s entire annual energy supply in a single load of a medium-sized truck, or stashing 50 years’ worth in one small warehouse.  Total energy security.

    I wish government’s would just do something.

    Here in the USA we are still arguing whether or not anything needs to be done.  I’ve been hating it for half my life.

    However as I’ve said before, scaling up either option will hit supply bottlenecks

    Some of these things are much easier to scale than others.  Welding robots scale really well.  Skilled craft labor scales poorly.  Rare earths… fuggedaboutit.

    I don’t see light-water reactors being a big part of the solution because uranium and enrichment are both bottlenecks.  The FBR fuel cycle has a bottleneck for startup, but afterwards there are literally warehouses full of fuel sitting around.  Materials requirements are quite modest and will shrink considerably if e.g. supercritical CO2 turbines can replace steam.

    I spend some time on other blogs pushing the advantages of low carbon energy for health, information on costs

    Cleaning up particulates has immediate benefits for health, and nuclear energy generates practically none.  Since Ontario closed its last coal plant, Toronto has not had ONE air-pollution action day.  This was made possible by the restart of the CANDU reactors at Bruce Point.

    the inevitability that we will run out of fossil fuels anyway so the problem is INESCAPABLE.

    Sadly, we’re already out of carbon budget and we still have FFs.  Had FF supplies been smaller so that we were running toward empty in the 1960’s, we would have switched to nuclear energy decades ago and never had to deal with a climate crisis.

    Helping the third world helps us all ultimately by creating a bigger wealthier market, and helps them build either fermi reactors or renewable energy.

    So far it has mostly built massive overpopulation which is now spilling across the Mediterranean.

    It doesn’t need much brain power or imagination to see this, or maybe it does. Providing we target that assistance carefully, and control how its spent somehow.

    That was called “colonialism”, and it is distinctly out of fashion.  De-colonization shows just how wrong you are.  Prosperous first-world Rhodesia is now starving Zimbabwe, dependent on food aid and unable to keep the lights on even with coal plants.  These people are not going to build nukes.

    Immigration brings skills.

    It also brings ethnic nepotism, cultural balkanization, corruption and terrorism.  Besides, skills are badly needed in the countries those people come from.  How can they advance if all their human capital just up and leaves?

    I would consider myself moderately Green and presumably EP is as well

    Ecomodernist, not Green.  You don’t want to hear the rest.

    @77:

    Yeah plus reactors using all that concrete, steel and other materials. I will do the ‘numbers’ if you insist

    You could have looked this up yourself:

    The construction of existing 1970-vintage U.S. nuclear power plants required 40 metric tons (MT) of steel and 90 cubic meters (m3) of concrete per average megawatt of electricity (MW(ave)) generating capacity, when operated at a capacity factor of 0.9 MW(ave)/MW(rated) (Fig. 1). For comparison, a typical wind energy system operating with 6.5 meters per-second average wind speed requires construction inputs of 460 MT of steel and 870 m3 of concrete per average MW(ave).

    So per average megawatt, wind uses 9.7 times as much concrete and a whopping 11.5 times as much steel as nuclear.  By the numbers, “renewables” are a waste of materials we should be using to make far-more-productive nuclear plants, saving all the embodied emissions along the way.

    those nuclear power stations look huge and are built like fortresses.

    That’s just because it’s all in one place, and they put it to good use.  Being all in one place is a GOOD thing, as it affects far less of the landscape.  We should use as little from nature as we can, because there are just too many of us now.  Using things nature doesn’t have a use for should be our organizing principle.

  38. 138
    Killian says:

    Re #135 Tony Weddle said I’ve been looking at the Fee and Dividend scheme that James Hansen advocates. I have serious concerns that it may, if implemented, end up doing the opposite of what it intends, at least in the early years. I’ve been trying to find a serious critique of the idea (but not from climate change deniers) but, so far, have only found a brief note from Nate Hagens. Does anyone have a link to a serious discussion of the pros and cons?

    Bad: 1. Over-build of infrastructure.
    2. Jevons’ Paradox.
    3. Maintains status quo, #greenwashed.

    Good: 1. Not coal, oil, or gas… well, not directly.
    2. Wealth redistribution.

    If you’re gonna do it, ya gott do it like this: http://aperfectstormcometh.blogspot.com/2008/03/build-out-grid-vs-household-towards.html

  39. 139
    Mal Adapted says:

    nigelj:

    Politicians keep changing things.

    A truism, my friend: one I attest a life spent trying to comprehend, so far with less than complete success 8^(.

  40. 140
    Michael Sweet says:

    Nigelj,

    Your reference is about 5-10 years behind state of the art. Read the Smart Energy Europe article I linked. As you add more to the system it needs less storage. Electricity + transportation needs less than electricity. Electricity + transportation + heat + industry is still less. A North America grid is less storage than the USA alone.

  41. 141
    Killian says:

    You *still* don’t belong in the conversation.

    Re #123 nigelj said https://thewire.in/environment/the-idea-that-green-technology-can-help-save-the-environment-is-dangerous

    The article claims ominously that :”The Idea That ‘Green Technology’ Can Help Save the Environment Is Dangerous” and “Industrialists around the world have been extracting a wide array of minerals and metals to build electric vehicles and ‘cleaner’ batteries, simply replacing one injustice with another.”

    …and some minerals are in limited supply…

    Wrong. ALL minerals are in limited supply. On time frame T, all become critical at some future point F. Not yet critically short does not equal not limited.

    bbut the article is just so badly informed and one sided for example:

    Pot meet kettle, then please stop talking.

    “The Republic of Guinea in equatorial Africa hosts 30% of the world’s bauxite reserves as well as large quantities of iron ore. Some 98% of the country is also covered by forests. Aluminium from bauxite is required to make electric cars and high-capacity electric cables. Steel is the most commonly used metal and is used to make windmills and for structural use in urban infrastructure. Imagine the plight of Guinea’s forests in the face of rising demand for both these materials.”

    We don’t have to rely on this source of aluminium.

    No. And we don’t HAVE TO have cars. We don’t HAVE TO have a massive internet. We don’t HAVE to have political parties. We don’t HAVE TO build out ANY more energy infrastructure…

    but we ARE. And will continue to. Your point is non-responsive, deflective hamd-waving, and a STRAW MAN. Where have we seen that before?

    And aluminium and steel is used to make ICE cars and infrastructure as well

    Exactly why an ecotechnic future is bullshit, which you are pretending was not the point of the article. You ignore that no matter where you get these things from, you must destroy ecosystem to do so even though that was an explicit point made.

    and if we don’t build EVs we will still be building ICE cars. This is a case of the writer not thinking things through a bit before putting pen to paper.

    Pot to hypocritical kettle… Again, the author covered this in saying it;s just switching one resource pool for another, thus one destructive action for another.

    “The Congo, its neighbour, is home to 60% of the world’s cobalt. This metal is a critical component of batteries that power smartphones and electric vehicles. Contractors are thought to employ some 35,000 children, forced to work in pitiable conditions, to extract this metal…. The mines have destroyed large tracts of savannah…. etcetera.”

    Child labour is utterly repugnant, but there are other sources of cobalt, and batteries don’t need cobalt

    So what? See above: But we DO.

    bAnd don’t stop mining. Solve the child labour problem.

    Brain dead.

    This is a terrible injustice, but its a POLITICAL problem. Again you don’t stop mining because of a POLITICAL problem – you solve the political problem.

    Brain dead. That is not a political problem, it is a market Capitalism problem.

    “According to one estimate, one wind turbine requires 900 tonnes of steel, 2,500 tonnes of concrete and 45 tonnes of plastic. For every tonne of steel produced, 780 kg of coal is used during the extraction phase. The production of every tonne of concrete emits 1.25 tonnes of carbon dioxide.”

    Wind power is still zero carbon in the longer term, and totally zero carbon when its manufactured using zero carbon electricity.

    Brain dead. It’s not zero carbon. What you are trying to claim is it is NET zero. Not the same.

    “In the same vein, conventional methods of solar panel manufacturing release nitrogen trifluoride, a greenhouse gas …..High-voltage power generation and transmission requires the use of sulphur hexafluoride, which is 23,500-times more potent than carbon dioxide…”

    There are viable alternatives to nitrogen triflouride and sulphur hexachloride

    Then why aren’t we using them? Why do they not replace the other? Brain dead.

    Too stupid for me to continue with.

  42. 142
    Mal Adapted says:

    Tony Weddle:

    I’ve been looking at the Fee and Dividend scheme that James Hansen advocates.

    I knew he was an early CF&D proponent, but I’d been vague on the details. Here he is in a 3-minute clip from 2016, talking about CF&D in broad terms. He mentions Citizen’s Climate Lobby toward the end. Hansen is on CCL’s Advisory Board. The closest I can come to specific language, OTOH, is the US House bill supported by CCL. I confess I’m still working my way through it. Regardless, while I’m glad to see a reasonable proposal make it this far, it’s not my job to sell the details. It’s time for RC readers to contact their Congresscritters, to demand the best legislation possible: I trust your collective judgment ;^D. At the same time, we’ve got to build a governing plurality of voters for climate-realist candidates. Stay, er, tuned!

  43. 143
    David B. Benson says:

    Gas flaring in the Permian:
    http://bravenewclimate.proboards.com/thread/671/energy-demand-2018-onwards?page=1#post-6133
    At least mostly flared.

  44. 144
    Mal Adapted says:

    Mr. Ironically Anosognosic Typist:

    The excellent review ratings of “Atlas Shrugged” are not because it was a “good read”. The story isn’t bad, but the book is hard to read and at ~1,100 pages it’s waaaaay too long. The book gets high marks because of the important content – it is an exact description of liberal nut-baggery destroying the USA today.

    Let me get this straight: Atlas Shrugged is “an exact description of liberal nut-baggery destroying the USA today”?

    I don’t think IAT read the same book I did in high school. The one I read was indeed too long (IAT’s summary suffices for Rand’s political warrant), but not difficult at that age. Anyway, some people think so-called “conservative” nut-baggery is what’s destroying the USA today. Thankfully, not all conservatives, or at least not all Republicans, are as nutty as IAT!

  45. 145

    #130 & 102, nigel–

    Nigel, you inadvertently conflated two different things: your lead sentence referred to “100% renewable” whereas your linked source referred to “100% solar and wind.” Yes, you mentioned “less storage” but that seemed to be referring to a different case than either of the preceding.

    My comments referred to the first paragraph: a “100% renewable” grid would usually be taken to include both hydropower (which you don’t even mention, and the exclusion of which renders the linked study a pure hypothetical) and geothermal.

  46. 146

    #134, KIA–

    It’s off-topic so I won’t refute all the Breitbart “nutbaggery” on immigration, except to say that it appears to be willfully misleading. In particular, it fails to count the savings the plan would achieve, starting with the obvious one that follows from Mexico’s inexplicable refusal to pay for “the wall,” and going through into the steadily escalating CBP budgets and payrolls, and continuing from there into the massive corporate welfare scam that is the prison-for-profit Immigration Detention System.

    It’s not well revealed by the rather opaque financial reporting of DHS, but have a go if you like–p. 125 says that “Custody operations” runs to $3 billion annually–but that appears only to cover salaries.

    https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/ICE%20FY18%20Budget.pdf

    There’s more, but I’ll leave it.

  47. 147
    nigelj says:

    Al Bundy @125

    nigelj: This is a terrible injustice, but its a POLITICAL problem. Again you don’t stop mining because of a POLITICAL problem – you solve the political problem.

    AB: 100% right and completely impossible. AS IF political problems are solvable.Political “problems” have perhaps a 10000:1 return on investment.

    Nigelj: Oh come on Al that’s cynical arm waving. Yes the short term profit motive gets in the way to some extent, but despite this the western world no longer uses child labour and Lincoln freed the slaves, all because sometimes simple human compassion trumps the economics. And child labour isn’t very economic long term use of resources anyway, because it denies them an education.

    We could put a bit of trade pressure on countries that use child labour. Not sure you think very three dimensionally at all at times :)

  48. 148
    nigelj says:

    Mr KIA @134 the sort of people who read Ayn Rands books mostly already believe in her message, so of course they like the books. Customer reviews of books and the arts are not an OBJECTIVE measure of anything. They are just about popularity.

    I only read them because I did a design course at university, and the fountainhead came with the territory at that time. I like the focus on individualism, but the rest is nutty stuff.

    immigration is way off topic.

  49. 149
    nigelj says:

    Al Bundy @125, oops I confused your comment relating to lithium mining in Bolivia with child labour and cobalt mining in the Congo, however I think the same principles apply. Yes the politics is hard to change in both cases, because of vested interests in making a $ from the status quo, but you are only stating the obvious, cynically. People always have to try, and sometimes the almighty $ gets beaten into submission.

  50. 150
    Al Bundy says:

    durn. My self-improvement program has hit a few bumps. Takes work.