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Forced responses: Feb 2020

Filed under: — group @ 8 February 2020

This month’s open thread on climate solutions.

527 Responses to “Forced responses: Feb 2020”

  1. 451
    zebra says:

    Inverters—Demonic Devices Destroying The Proper Order Of Things

    This is from the reference Michael Sweet gave. EE’s who are not stuck in the past know this stuff, but this is pretty clear for laypersons. (My bolds):

    “The inverters of wind, solar and batteries already provide reactive power for voltage control and can provide the other ancillary services, including virtual or synthetic inertia, by programming the functionality into the inverter software.

    Inverters are much more flexible than mechanics-bound synchronous generators and can change their output with high accuracy within milliseconds. The reason that wind and solar plants have only recently been providing these services is that before (i.e. at lower renewable penetration) there was no need, and no system operators required it. Now that more ancillary services are being written into grid codes [148], manufacturers are providing such capabilities in their equipment.

    Frequency control concepts for inverters that follow a stiff external grid frequency and adjust their active power output to compensate for any frequency deviations are already offered by manufacturers [149]. Next generation ‘grid-forming’ inverters will also be able to work in weak grids without a stiff frequency, albeit at the cost of increasing the inverter current rating (e.g. by 20–50%).

    A survey of different frequency-response technologies in the Irish context can be found in [150]. Recent work for National Grid [151], [152] shows that with 25% of inverters operating as Virtual Synchronous Machines (VSM), the system can survive the most severe faults even when approaching 100% non-synchronous penetration.

    The literature in the control theory community on the design and stability of grid-forming inverters in power systems is substantial and growing, and includes both extensive simulations and tests in the field.”

    Gosh, daddy, does this mean the grid isn’t going to explode if we install solar panels?

  2. 452
    Al Bundy says:

    Michael S,

    Why are you inserting facts when EP knows that nuclear has magical powers? Per EP, nuclear and nuclear alone and only, can load follow perfectly and with zero cost. Just ask him and he’ll sooth your soul.
    Isn’t it strange that the biggest brains make the biggest morons?

  3. 453
    Al Bundy says:

    You will be required to support your wild claims with references,

    LOL.as if references or logic matters at all.

  4. 454
    Michael Sweet says:

    David Benson at 442:
    I am glad that we agree that spinning reserve can easily be provided by completely renewable systems. In the end utilities will use the most cost effective method of providing needed spinning reserve. In addition to your battery suggestion, Al Bundy at 444 suggests having a large user who can absorb instant cutoff from electricity (presumably in exchange for lower electricity rates). Once unreliable fossil and nuclear generators are removed from the system much less spinning reserve will be required.

    Currently solar (and wind) power are not used for spinning reserve because it is not economic. Solar and wind power are the cheapest form of electricity so they are used as the source of power. A more expensive source of power (for example gas turbines) is then used for spinning reserve. Once we reach 100% renewable energy engineers will have to decide what is the most economic way to provide needed spinning reserve from the multiple choices of cheap renewable energy sources.

  5. 455
    Al Bundy says:

    Michael S: It is a waste of my time to

    AB: online life is all about wasting time. It is tremendously valuable to waste time online instead of burning carbon by living a non-virtual life.

    And yes, folks like EP, Killian, and even I will virtually scream and pound sand. But at least I understand that it is all just pissing in the wind.

    As a group we WILL destroy the biosphere as we knew it. Whining and moaning is cathartic but won’t change diddly squat.

    And I salute you for showing that EP’s nuclear emporer is naked. He screams about how other power supplies are less than 100% reliable while ignoring the fact that nuclear is less than 100% reliable.

    He’s way smart and idiotic. That’s the point, the reason we’re toast.

  6. 456
    David B. Benson says:

    Although often called spinning reserve, the better term is ready reserve. Ordinarily the ready reserve requirement is enough generation to quickly make up for the largest single generator tripping off. Quickly is usually stated as within a few seconds, how few depending upon the grid. This means that the electric consumers need to be able to tolerate a short period of frequency below the standard of either 60 or 50 hertz.

    However, sometimes two generators trip within a few minutes of each other. Then the only option is rolling blackouts. This has happened twice this century in the ERCOT Texas grid and once quite recently to the Victoria state grid in Australia. For the later, see the relevant posts in
    https://bravenewclimate.proboards.com/thread/678/australian-grid

    A separate issue in ancillary services is providing the balancing agents for wind farms. The wind doesn’t grow in intensity as smoothly as the grids require so something has to provide the smoothing. Spain does this with two control centers which throttle the wind turbines to below maximum power as required. In the USA the FERC has ruled that throttling requires paying the wind farmers as if full generation had occurred. Therefore BPA, Bonneville Power Administration, the balancing agent does this by adjusting the flow through the hydro generators. This is easy.

    Increasingly solar farms, maybe also wind farms, are bid to include a nominal one hour duration battery to provide the balancing.

  7. 457
    nigelj says:

    Zebra and MS cant see the wood for the trees at times.

    Storage costs for renewables have to fall a huge amount to make a fully scaled up system cost competitive. Nobody knows if they will, because nobody has a crystal ball. Or you massively overbuild wind and solar power but that comes at a cost (ditto if they are used for non spinning reserves). That said, imho renewables are 100% preferable to fossil fuels even if they cost a bit more.

    In comparison nuclear power has already been proven by experience and is reasonably cost effective. The article MS quoted said extracting uranium from sea water is difficult, but has plenty of promise. This is no more or less speculative than speculation about storage costs falling a lot.

    That said, I support renewables in NZ. Nuclear power is not a great option for us until smaller modular reactors become the norm, plus we have very low cost wind power because we are a very windy place, so even with storage its looking quite good. In other words, there are so many variables in comparing renewables and nuclear power that the ultimate decision of whats best could be somewhat regional in nature.

  8. 458

    Some very rough calculations on the olivine enhanced weathering solution to excess atmospheric CO2:

    ~500 billion tons CO2 removal required to return to 350 ppm.

    1.25 tons CO2 removed per ton olivine weathered:
    https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Oliver_Tickell/publication/48321940_Enhanced_weathering_of_olivine_to_capture_CO2/links/5694e75a08ae820ff0747619/Enhanced-weathering-of-olivine-to-capture-CO2.pdf

    ~400 billion tons dunite required

    $15/ton dunite = $6 trillion total material cost

    Assuming all cost is for electric power @ $0.05/kWh (very rough estimate):
    300 kWh/ton dunite, 1.2e14 kWh total energy required

    Spread over 20 years, that’s 684.5 GW average power.

    This number could be high by a factor of 2; if energy at the reference mine costs $0.10/kWh instead of $0.05, the power requirement would fall to 342 GW average.  Or there could be other costs which increase it somewhat.  I’d bank on the number being within a factor of 2.

    Another thing:  A 60% efficient combined cycle plant burns 6 MJ of gas per kWh.  At 50 MJ/kg LHV, that’s 0.12 kg of gas which burns to 0.330 kg of CO2.  Producing 300 kWh in such a plant generates 99 kgCO2 (call it 100).

    If it takes 300 kWh to mine and crush 1 ton dunite and it removes 1.25 tCO2 from the atmosphere, we can burn fossil fuel to power our CO2 removal systems and barely dent the positive effect.

    This would be a big job, requiring the mining of literally cubic kilometers of ultramafic rock and distributing it as fine particles so they would weather quickly.  But it’s doable.  We CAN save the planet from our fossil fuel habit.

    But will we?

  9. 459

    David B. Benson forces me to pick a nit @446:

    Spinning reserve refers to synchronous generators which are kept rotating but are not energized.

    Not quite.  Spinning reserve has to be synced and connected to the grid, but not producing its full rated output; the margin between actual generation and the maximum is the reserve (and it has to be able to respond at a certain rate too).  Generally a plant will have a non-zero minimum output level so you can’t keep things de-energized while waiting for a contingency event.  For example, the GE LMS100 gas turbine’s advertised output curve cuts off at 50 MW; it is apparently not rated to operate at any less output power than that on a sustained basis.  But you could run it at 50 MW and have the 50 MW difference between that and its 100 MW rated output as spinning reserve, available about as fast as you can throw in more fuel.

    A steam turbine is even more so; open that throttle to the HP turbine and so long as the boiler can feed it, your output increases immediately.

  10. 460
    Michael Sweet says:

    David Benson at 446:
    If you are not current on ways to supply spinning reserve that is not my problem. Wikipedia states

    “The operating reserve is the generating capacity available to the system operator within a short interval of time to meet demand in case a generator goes down or there is another disruption to the supply. Most power systems are designed so that, under normal conditions, the operating reserve is always at least the capacity of the largest supplier [an unreliable nuclear or fossil fuel station] plus a fraction of the peak load”

    If a solar farm is put on reserve it can be connected to the grid in milliseconds at full power. It is not necessary for the modules to spin to produce electricity. (wind generators can also be put on spinning reserve, they do spin). This response is faster than spinning turbines can react because turbines have to develop torque while the solar panels generate electricity almost instantly. Currently this is not done because it is not economic. I realize that you do not consider economic operation important but grid operators try to be most economic.

    The Prism modular reactor design has not been submitted to the NRC for approval. It is not clear that Hitachi has finished their work on the design and they appear to have moved on to boiling water modular reactors. Hardly a commercial proposal.

    The Russians have had many sodium fires at their BN600 reactor. Since we do not care about safety that is not a problem. Apparently they have multiple cooling loops so that one can be repaired while the other is being used. That grossly excessive maintenance will never be economic. Nuclear plants already cost more to run than the total costs of building and running a renewable energy plant. They recently postponed building their BN1200 from 2027 to 2036. Sounds to me like they have quit.

    I find no references for fuel reprocessing plants being built for either of these reactor designs. Without reprocessing the burn rate is much faster than what you claim.

    As I said: “No design exists for a commercial fast neutron reactor (ie breeder reactor).” Your fantasy reactors do not exist and are not currently projected to exist before a complete renewable system will be in place.

  11. 461
    Michael Sweet says:

    Nigelj:

    You continue to refuse to read the peer reviewed references I have given you that thoroughly document that storage costs are reasonable. The Smart Energy Europe group suggest that no storage at all is needed if the system is well designed. You have gone so far as to state that you refuse to read any references because you do not have the time.

    Many peer reviewed papers thoroughly document that storage costs are reasonable for renewable energy systems. If you do not have the time to do your homework you need to stop making deliberately false claims that storage for renewable energy systems will be too costly.

  12. 462
    David B. Benson says:

    Engineer-Poet @459 — I stand corrected. Yes, ordinarily the ready reserve requirement is provided by some generators operating at less than maximum capacity. The only exception that I know about is an open cycle gas turbine.

  13. 463

    How on earth did I miss this one?!  Sweet wrote @445:

    Abbott 2011 https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C10&q=abbott+nuclear+utopia&btnG= gives a detailed explanation why breeder reactors will never be economic even if a design is eventually produced.

    He’s apparently referring to this piece in the October 2011 Proceedings of the IEEE.  Right off the bat any on-the-ball layman finds gross errors of fact (and it’s shameful that the peer-reviewers let them pass).  The first page states that human energy consumption runs about 15 TW.  That is primary energy consumption.  But then Abbott claims that serving so much energy would require 15,000 (presumably GW-scale) reactors.  This is blatant deception, because he’s rating them by electric output, not thermal output (roughly 3x as much).  So, cut that to 5000 reactors.

    Abbott gets huge numbers of things totally backwards… way too many to be anything but deliberate deceit.  He touts solar thermal while claiming nuclear requires too much land area, failing to note that Ivanpah requires about 5.5 square miles to generate a paltry 392 MW peak (at a mere 24.1% capacity factor) while multiple reactors can be put into a single site totalling roughly 1 square mile.  Wind turbines require roughly a 1 km exclusion zone because of thrown ice or uncontained mechanical failure, and the biggest are only a few MW apiece.

    Abbott goes nuts over neutron embrittlement, which the Russians will happily fix with their handy-dandy electric annealing gadget that restores reactor vessels to like-new condition.  You’ll only have to do this once every 60-80 years anyway.  Then he goes on about entropy, which in the light of the massive entropy increases driven by “renewables” is just silly.

    The one thing Abbott gets right is the impossibility of scaling up light-water reactors to even 15 TW thermal absent other uranium reserves.  However, he incorrectly dismisses both the possibility of seawater capture (which is already within a factor of 3 of current uranium prices, IIUC, which would add but little to the total price of power) and also the massive potential of fast breeder reactors.  FBRs get RID of “the waste problem” by turning it into one stream of short-lived radioisotopes (which have their applications for things like food safety), a second stream of higher actinides (FBR fuel) and reclaimed uranium (FBR breeding feedstock).  Yes, it’s true that FBRs can only scale up by about 2-3% per year by natural growth.  Thing is, you don’t have to do things that way; you can start a FBR on high-assay enriched uranium.  Nor do you have to rely on fast breeders to scale up; you can use molten-salt thermal breeders running on a thorium-uranium cycle, which appear to have about a 1-year doubling time if you pick all the necessary optimizations.

    So Abbott was wrong about pretty much everything.  This should be no surprise, though.  Abbott outed himself as an anti-nuclear activist the next year.

    Breeder reactors will also be even more expensive than once through reactors.

    Michael Sweet is the reincarnation of Bas Gresnigt from the erstwhile Energy Collective.  To Gresnigt, nuclear power was always “too dangerous” (despite being the safest source on earth by a long shot).  To Sweet, it’s always “too expensive”.

    Reprocessed plutonium/uranium alloy might well cost $1300/kg.  But when you’re getting an average burnup of 100 MW-days per kg and 45% thermal efficiency, that fuel cost comes to a mere 0.12¢/kWh.  Isn’t it worth paying that much for a habitable planet?

  14. 464
    David B. Benson says:

    @456 — BPA is the balancing agent for the wind farms in the Pacific Northwest.

  15. 465
    Killian says:

    “Some very rough calculations on the olivine enhanced weathering solution to excess atmospheric CO2:

    ~500 billion tons CO2 removal required to return to 350 ppm.”

    Why do stupid, risky, ecosystem-destroying crap when you can just put all that into soils? And, no, there are no “scientific” studies that look at regenerative, systemic sequestration. Between soils directly and bio-char, farming alone can take us all the way below 300. If we simplify, either alone will do it.

    And before any of you respond, seek out BURN, by Albert Bates & Kathleen Draper. ‎ISBN‎: ‎9781603587839

  16. 466
    Killian says:

    Please, someone, anyone, tell me why E-P is not 100% Bore Holed? And all responses with him?

    Al, perhaps you’ll prefer my laptop-written missives better. Far fewer typos.

  17. 467
    nigelj says:

    EP 458, olivine weathering sounds quite good, but “400 billion tons dunite required” is obviously a lot. So assume you have it spread as thinly as possible at one tonne per hectare that would be 4 billion square kilometres which is just vast and more than the land area of the planet. However Project Vetsa has an interesting approach that solves that problem, if you like green beaches…..

    https://projectvesta.org/

    Does your energy calc. include transport costs?

  18. 468

    zebra shows he doesn’t know squat about technology or physics @451:

    Inverters are much more flexible than mechanics-bound synchronous generators and can change their output with high accuracy within milliseconds.

    Even the old-generation “double-wound” (aka double fed) wind machines were inverter-based, somewhat.  The inverters took the place of the resistor bank in a wound-rotor induction motor (which could operate as an induction generator if driven above synchronous speed).  They were (a) expensive and (b) could not generate enough reactive power to make the turbine a net producer.

    Know what is NOT the least bit surprising?  That cheapening power electronics have broken that barrier.  It was only a matter of time.  Hell, Tesla’s inverter systems have to generate near-megawatts of reactive power to excite their cars’ induction motors.  Each car.  Fractional megawatt.  It was coming.

    Know what is NEVER coming?  Violations of conservation of energy.  It’s always got to come from somewhere.

    zebra fails to link a source for this:

    “The inverters of wind, solar and batteries already provide reactive power for voltage control and can provide the other ancillary services, including virtual or synthetic inertia, by programming the functionality into the inverter software.”

    Tell us, WHERE do you program energy storage (required to provide synthetic inertia) into an inverter for a solar panel?

    I’ll give you a hint:  software can’t simulate it.  Only actual energy storage can provide it, and neither PV nor wind turbines have significant amounts of it.  Only batteries, capacitors or flywheels (literal inertia) can simulate it effectively.  To be honest, all of those can simulate massive synchronous machines… until their power and/or energy limits are reached, at which point the simulation collapses.

    Gosh, daddy, does this mean the grid isn’t going to explode if we install solar panels?

    “Let’s just replace all this tried-and-true stuff with our New Sooper Dooper Renewable thingies!  What could go wrong?”

    It looks like we’re going to find out, won’t we?

  19. 469

    #422, EP–

    He thinks I’ve missed the point. Oh, the irony.

    Let’s recap.

    1) E-P alleges that wind was responsible for a couple of blackouts. (And claims that the responsibility was directly related to the inherent nature of renewable power.)

    2) I show that a) wind was not uniquely responsible in either event, and that b) the involvement of wind was unrelated to its inherent nature, and that in fact in the UK blackout a gas-fired plant suffered the same sort of disconnect as the Hornsea One wind farm!

    3) E-P, without refuting #2, says “Wind provides no spinning reserve! Greens are all hypocrites!” apparently without noting that neither statement is directly relevant to the point he wanted to make in the first place.

    Why doesn’t renewable energy supply spinning reserve? Well, says here that “The use of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind is based on the principle of maximum power extraction.” IOW, they are normally run ‘flat out’ (subject of course to the availability of the relevant resource). Sometimes this is a matter of regulatory fiat, sometimes it is due to economics (the “merit order” effect, whereby the fact that there’s no marginal cost to putting RE capacity on the grid, since no additional expense is incurred.)

    You can frame that as a mysterious deficiency, as E-P does to suit his rhetorical purposes. Or you can take notice of the fact that RE gets first cut because it’s zero-emission power and often the cheapest power. Of course people are incentivized to use as much of it as they possibly can. And if you’re using all there is, it’s providing no reserve–or rather, no *positive* reserve. Systems require down-reserve as well as up-reserve. And RE can and does provide the latter (“curtailment” is the usual jargon). In that role, it is quite flexible.

    Let’s note a strange inconsistency here, while we’re at it. Curtailment is often framing as another flaw which renewable energy suffers from. For instance, see these discussions:

    https://blog.ucsusa.org/mark-specht/renewable-energy-curtailment-101
    https://pv-magazine-usa.com/2019/11/19/economic-curtailment-what-it-is-and-how-to-embrace-it/

    Spinning (and, for that matter, non-spinning) reserve has always been needed for the grid; it existed in mostly-thermal-powered systems, as well as in mostly-hydropower ones, and it will still be needed in the highly unlikely event that humanity embraces E-P’s Brave Nuclear World. Yet how often is the need to burn perfectly good fuel at both economic and environmental costs while producing no usable (or rather, no *utilized*) power framed as a ‘mysterious deficiency’ of thermal or nuclear generation?

    Where E-P *does* have a good idea–though it’s not just his; it’s discussed, for example, in both of the articles linked above–is in advocating for ‘dispatchable loads.’ The articles above mention EV charging, fertilizer manufacture, and water desalinization, but one could add so-called P2G (‘power to gas’) schemes to that list, not to mention DAC (Direct Air Capture) of carbon dioxide (hopefully with sequestration of some sort). When power is essentially free, use it to do any of the useful things just mentioned; when that changes, feed the power into the grid instead.

  20. 470
    nigelj says:

    This is a useful list of research on climate change mitigation I stumbled across :

    https://www.nature.com/subjects/climate-change-mitigation

  21. 471
    nigelj says:

    Michael Sweet @461

    “You continue to refuse to read the peer reviewed references I have given you that thoroughly document that storage costs are reasonable. ”

    You gave me a reference that was taken off line or something, so no I didn’t read it. It was something to do with molten salt storage or methanol or something like that. Perhaps you could give a brief summary of it, or copy and paste the crucial parts.

    Was it a study of existing plant, or was it an estimate or speculative?

    You mentioned the Jacobson study, but this has been quite heavily criticised.

    Just because someone has written a peer reviewed paper on something doesn’t make it true. Some papers turn out to be wrong, and this is particularly likely to be wrong estimating costs. I do cost estimating as part of my job and its challenging and its easy to underestimate things. This is probably why Im a bit sceptical. Only the real world experience at scale is definitive, and that is going to need a lot of storage.

    However I’m not fussed either way. Both renewables and nuclear look like good options to me.

  22. 472
    nigelj says:

    MS @ 460 “Nuclear plants already cost more to run than the total costs of building and running a renewable energy plant.’

    You really need to back that claim up with a specific link that is clear, and if its a long study you need to copy and paste the crucial parts. Especially given you keep complaining that other people dont back their claims.

    Solar and wind power are cheaper than nuclear power but only because they rely on gas fired back up for intermittency issues. Assume a country sized system with solar and wind, and substitute storage for gas fired backup and costs of renewables are no longer cheap. I stand to be corrected, but post something credible with numbers and don’t just quote some huge report, give me the relevant parts.

  23. 473
    nigelj says:

    Engineer-Poet @463 Abbot might get a lot of things wrong, but this seems a valid criticism of nuclear power: “Metals used in the nuclear vessel eventually become radioactive and, on decommissioning, those with long half-lives cannot be recycled on timescales useful to human civilization. Thus, a large-scale expansion of nuclear power would reduce “elemental diversity” by depleting the world’s supply of some elements and making them unavailable to future generations.”

  24. 474

    Michael Sweet offers a never-gonna-happen scenario @460:

    If a solar farm is put on reserve it can be connected to the grid in milliseconds at full power.

    Exactly WHO is going to put a solar farm on reserve?  They are paid for GENERATION, not spinning reserve (and they cannot provide any from sudown to sunrise in any event).  I’ve proposed that said solar (and wind) farms pay an in-kind tax of power to keep their backup plants hot (without burning fuel) and ready to generate at need, which would deal with much of the difficulty of balancing/backup power.  So far no “renewables” advocate has agreed with me that this is a good idea.  They do not want to pay any of the costs of their unreliability.

    The Prism modular reactor design has not been submitted to the NRC for approval.

    Until very recently, the NRC had no procedures for approval of a non-LWR design.  PRISM has been proposed to the UK.

    It is not clear that Hitachi has finished their work on the design and they appear to have moved on to boiling water modular reactors.

    GE-Hitachi has been building BWRs for decades.  This is not “moving on”, it’s “running in place”.

    That doesn’t make it bad, but it does mean that it isn’t exploiting anything like full potential.

    The Russians have had many sodium fires at their BN600 reactor. Since we do not care about safety that is not a problem.

    Precisely how were these fires (presumably due to leaks) unsafe to the public?  Especially in non-radioactive secondary loops?

    Apparently they have multiple cooling loops so that one can be repaired while the other is being used.

    Well ain’t that something.  The plant CONTINUES TO OPERATE while the not-unsafe leaks are repaired.  Isn’t your freaking out over this a sign of clinical paranoia?

    I find no references for fuel reprocessing plants being built for either of these reactor designs.

    Who’d build a reprocessing plant for a plant that isn’t yet built either?  HTF, do please get a sense of proportion.

    Oh, who am I kidding.

  25. 475

    Killian fumes @465:

    Why do stupid, risky, ecosystem-destroying crap when you can just put all that into soils?

    Begging the question of how CO2 capture through accelerated weathering is “stupid” or “risky”, why don’t Killian’s allies just put that all into soils and obviate the issue already… if they can?

    They aren’t doing it, so the question is:&nbsp are they UNWILLING, or UNABLE?
    Killian demands he not have to answer pointed questions @466:

    Please, someone, anyone, tell me why E-P is not 100% Bore Holed?

    Point proven.  When you’re getting flak, you’re over the target.  If you are demanding censorship, you have admitted that you have no response to the criticism of your claims and that THEY HAVE NO MERIT.  Now STFU yourself and go away.

  26. 476

    nigelj quibbles @467:

    olivine weathering sounds quite good, but “400 billion tons dunite required” is obviously a lot.

    Did I say it wasn’t?  The 680-odd GW(e) likely required to mine and crush it is roughly 1.5x average US electric consumption.  This is HUGE.  It is also obviously within human capability, because the world consumes much more power than this.

    So assume you have it spread as thinly as possible at one tonne per hectare

    Why?  Covering more area than necessary increases energy consumption.  Ten tonnes per hectare per application @ ρ=4 means 2.5 cm per application.  Applying once every 10 years is fine if it accomplishes the same end as every year.  Spraying from barges across intertidal zones is going to have minimal cost compared to land transport.  Unless there are offsetting benefits like improved soil fertility, we NEED to pursue the least-cost sequestration pathways.

    Does your energy calc. include transport costs?

    Transport costs are too dependent upon pathway to evaluate at my level of (gross top-view) precision.  Thinking bulk cargo carrier and barge at worst.

  27. 477
    David B. Benson says:

    Michael Sweet — Then there are transmission line failures. The well-known total failure of the grid for South Australia was initiated by transmission towers failing in a string wind. The Pacific DC Intertie failed by a transmission tower failure at Sylmar in the Northridge earthquake. Several transmission towers in Mississippi were pushed over by debris in the storm surge during Katrina. Turned out that these were all beyond design basis, resulting in blackouts of various lengths.

    Less dramatic failures of the Pacific Intertie have been compensated by grid reserve.

  28. 478
    nigelj says:

    EP @476, I wasn’t quibbling per se, and I think the idea has a lot of potential. I was just curious what you thought of Project Vestra. It seems like a clever low cost way of making sure the material gets good exposure to the atmosphere because its constantly tumbled over by the waves according to their commentary.

  29. 479
    David B. Benson says:

    Rather than inverter, ancillary services requires a
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synchronverter
    to provide so-called synthetic inertia from DC power sources.

  30. 480

    Kevin McKinney ironies the irony @469:

    He thinks I’ve missed the point. Oh, the irony.

    Hold that thought.

    1) E-P alleges that wind was responsible for a couple of blackouts. (And claims that the responsibility was directly related to the inherent nature of renewable power.)

    You forget that your “renewable” power is inherently UNRELIABLE power, throwing the burden of its unreliability onto the traditional (and mostly uncompensated) sources.  And when those sources are unable to deal with the net load swings imposed by the new unreliable generators, you blame… the traditional sources!

    You may be fooled by your rhetoric, but we are not.

    And then McKinney cites UCS, one of the most biased organizations out there.  Just. Stop. It. Already.  They have a narrative that they will not deviate from, and have nothing of value to contribute.

    Digging back to a comment that the system failed to post, this section remains on-topic:

    Here’s the crucial bit from the official report from AEMO on the SA blackout:

    The reduction in wind farm output caused a significant increase in imported power flowing through the Heywood Interconnector. Approximately 700 milliseconds (ms) after the reduction of output from the last of the wind farms, the flow on the Victoria–SA Heywood Interconnector reached such a level that it activated a special protection scheme that tripped the interconnector offline. The SA power system then became separated (“islanded”) from the rest of the NEM. Without any substantial load shedding following the system separation, the remaining generation was much less than the connected load and unable to maintain the islanded system frequency. As a result, all supply to the SA region was lost at 4.18 pm (the Black System). AEMO’s analysis shows that following system separation, frequency collapse and the consequent Black System was inevitable.

    Know what’s missing from the paragraph you quoted, as it was missing from the S.A. grid?  “Spinning reserve”.  The wind farms provided NONE.

    The report also confirms that South Australia is not “green” so much as exporting its pollution.  It provides enough detail to vaguely understand the regional 275 kV system.  The line from Davenport through to Heywood goes past Adelaide into Victoria province more than halfway to Melbourne.  Per Wikipedia, most of Victoria’s electric generation comes from brown coal (lignite).  “Green” SA gets its spinning reserve from generators burning just about the dirtiest fuel there is… on the far end of long transmission lines to boot.  This is the sort of hypocrisy I’ve learned to expect from “greens”.  It’s the same in California, in Germany and everywhere else.  They preen and denigrate those who make their moral preening possible.

  31. 481

    nigelj writes @473:

    Abbot might get a lot of things wrong, but this seems a valid criticism of nuclear power

    It’s a naked claim without any references.  Some isotopes, like Co-60 (an activation product from neutron capture in the cobalt that’s used in the steel), have half-lives around 5 years so are effectively gone in a century.  This is the reason for the SAFESTOR option for decommissioning; leaving the unit for a few decades allows most of the Co-60 to decay and slashes the radiation exposure of the workers who take down the reactor building proper and particularly the reactor vessel.

    There’s really nothing wrong with said slightly-radioactive steel.  Had we dedicated mills and forges it could be recycled into new reactors.  We’d want robotic welders to attach the plumbing in the new plants, but those are coming.

  32. 482
    Michael Sweet says:

    Engineer poet at 463:
    Abbott 2011 was republished by invitation in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists with a few changes (Abbott 2012 does not detail why breeder reactors will never be economic). I doubt many readers will agree with you that you know more about reactors than all the editors at the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. Your objections are all just so much ignorant ranting.

    at 468: the entire post that Zebra made is a quote from the article I linked. If you are too stupid to follow a link you should learn how.

    at 474: You stated up thread that renewable energy cannot provide spinning reserve. I gave a specific example to prove that you are just spewing ignorant rants. Once all energy has been converted to renewable energy solar might be used for spinning reserve. Or it may be more economic to use another renewable source. Currently it is more economic to use renewable energy directly and use another source for the spinning reserve to back up unreliable nuclear plants.

    The spinning reserve in a renewable system is much lower that current spinning reserve because most current spinning reserve is to back up large, unreliable nuclear and fossil fuel plants. These plants often shut off instantly due to generator faults or problems with their reactors. Once there unreliable plants are removed from the system the spinning reserve will be much lower.

    As I pointed out, nuclear plants cannot provide enough spinning reserve to back up the unscheduled removal of a nuclear generator like the example I cited up thread. Nuclear requires non-nuclear spinning reserve at all times. Solar and wind can be predicted hours or days in advance so spinning reserve is not required at all times for renewable like it is for nuclear.

  33. 483
    Michael Sweet says:

    Nigelj:

    The nuclear thread at Skeptical Science at post 67 (since you read SkS you should have read this post) has a copy of the Lazard graph showing that the cost to run most nuclear plants is greater than the cost to build and run a new renewable plant https://skepticalscience.com/news.php?p=2&t=145&&n=4483#131912. The post contains a link to the original Lazard report (a link is also in the OP there). If you cannot be bothered to read posts that summarize the data you ask for you should not continue to post on the topic.

    In this post from SkS https://skepticalscience.com/news.php?p=3&t=145&&n=4483#133832 I gave you a list of many papers that discuss renewable energy systems. The paper Energy Storage and Smart Energy Systems, linked in my post to you, is free and gives all the information on storage that you ask for. They like electrofuels.

    At this post at SkS https://skepticalscience.com/news.php?p=3&t=145&&n=4483#134309
    I told you:

    “electrofuels are methane (natural gas), gasoline and diesel fuel. The fossil fuel industry has built out storage for terrawatts of storage of all these materials. I have referred you to Connelly et al Smart Energy Europe many times but you have chosen not to read it. It costs out a system for All Power (not just electricity as nuclear supporters talk about) using electromethane (natural gas) for storage. It is a little (10%) more costly than BAU for power but has many benefits. Unfortunately, it is now paywalled. Ask your local librarian to get you a copy. You could read some of the papers that cited Smart Energy Europe and get all the information. The first paper, Energy Storage and Smart Energy Systems discusses cost of storage and is free.”

    I had already linked a free copy of Energy Storage and Smart Energy Europe as described above. As I have explained to you repeatedly, these authors propose making electro fuels from renewable electricity and carbon dioxide from the air (alcohols, methane, gasoline and diesel). These can be stored in existing storage for approximately 1000 times less than the pumped storage nuclear proponents suggest here. If properly designed the electrofuels can be used for airlines, ships and other difficult to electrify parts of the economy. In that case, they can be used to even out demand throughout the year so that storage of electricity is not needed at all. Already existing storage can hold more than a terrawatt of energy.

    Jacobson 2015 has been cited 278 times, that is not “quite heavily criticized”. You put too much faith in the nuclear losers here at RealClimate. The Clack et al 2017 paper written to criticize Jacobson primarily argues Jacobson did not use hydropower properly. Jacobson 2018 does a new analysis without issues with hydro and shows that there are many solutions to using renewable energy that are cost effective (the conclusion of Jacobson 2015). No-one has criticized Jacobson 2018. Clack 2017 has been heavily criticized for their criticism of Jacobson being deliberately inaccurate. https://www.hi-izuru.org/wp_blog/2017/11/lying-is-not-okay/

  34. 484

    nigelj clarifies @478:

    I was just curious what you thought of Project Vestra.

    Oh, THAT!  Juggling too much and lost track of things there.

    It seems like a clever low cost way of making sure the material gets good exposure to the atmosphere because its constantly tumbled over by the waves

    That notion is suggested in the 2011 olivine paper I keep linking to, and it looks like it has huge potential.  Said paper notes that the silica-carrying potential of rivers is insufficient to take full advantage of the accelerated weathering process, and that wave action in intertidal zones can likely add far more alkalinity (directly removing CO2 as bicarbonate) and phytoplankton nutrients (adding silica which advantages diatoms, and iron which feeds all phytoplankton) than any land-based measure.  However, improved productivity of croplands from re-mineralization of soils is one way to make the scheme pay.  The one thing I would worry about is that unique ecosystems may exist on nutrient-poor lands and fertilizing them may wind up destroying them as other species take over.

    Killian keeps going on about the carbon-sequestering potential of soils.  Well, man, MAKE IT HAPPEN!  It’s not like nuclear power keeps you from rebuilding soils, and neither does any accelerated weathering scheme; accelerated weathering may even help your soil-building by promoting fungal growth.  These things can all be done in parallel, and all but certainly should be (I reserve some space for discovery of unknown adverse effects).  Dare I say “faster, please?”

  35. 485
    David B. Benson says:

    Michael Sweet @482 — Wrong again! The exemplar is France.

    However, both solar and wind require so-called backup because the transmission lines may fail.
    There are plenty of examples.

  36. 486

    DBB writes @479:

    Rather than inverter, ancillary services requires a [Synchronverter]

    See the symbols with the unequal horizontal lines at the left side of the schematic, connected opposite to ground?  Those represent batteries, aka energy storage.  So does the capacitor (element with the equal horizontal lines) connected between the batteries, albeit one typically good for only a fraction of a cycle and theoretically not required for a 3-φ system (there’s always going to be a bit of load imbalance between phases in a realistic grid).

    You can simulate inertia.  You cannot simulate energy storage (which is one property of inertia); you either have it or you don’t.

  37. 487
    nigelj says:

    MS @482, I can see straight through your ‘spin’ :) Nuclear plant might need some spinning reserves for down time or problems or whatever but this falls well short of the vast amount of storage or overbuild a stand alone renewables system at scale needs, because of considerable intermittency issues.

    And virtually anyone can see nuclear power works ok in France and renewables face challenges. You can’t hide that even by by quoting speculative research papers.

    The one salient point you make is nuclear power faces supply challenges for some specialist materials applicable mostly just to nuclear power, so maybe we can’t power the entire planet for 1000 years just with nuclear power. Who really cares anyway, because you can power plenty of the planet, and we can build renewables as well, sooner or later or a combination. Renewables obviously have their merits as well.

    You are pretty good on some stuff but you come across as an anti nuclear zealot (Ive been there myself).

    —————————-

    Engineer-Poet @480

    You are right its a farce renewables companies relying on fossil fuels back up, but you cant entirely blame renewables companies and greenies for taking the easy route and relying on fossil fuels back up, because renewables companies have to make a profit and be hard headed. The real solution is politicians have to start mandating a ratio of renewables power to storage, and phasing out fossil fuels backup.

  38. 488
    Al Bundy says:

    EP: Oh, who am I kidding.

    AB: Generally, folks fool themselves first and foremost. I don’t see how you are an exception.

    The exception is the person without a life. Nemesis is a good example. I’d vote for him.

  39. 489
    Al Bundy says:

    EP,

    I’ve solved the olivine issue. It solves several other critical issues as well, all while saving lots of effort. Care to learn or are you content to spout uncreative goop?

  40. 490
    Al Bundy says:

    Michael S,

    Of course conclusions rely on bigoted axioms. Thus, every discussion devolves. EP has his axioms and will close his eyes when an alternative axiom is presented. For example, in the 100,000,000 words he has spewed exactly 0 have answered “renewables can provide spinning reserve via direct air capture curtailment”.

  41. 491
    Al Bundy says:

    David B: However, both solar and wind require so-called backup because the transmission lines may fail.

    AB: Because everyone knows that transmission lines to/from nuclear plants enjoy magical immunity from failure.

  42. 492
    Al Bundy says:

    Nigel,

    You are conflating “spinning reserve” and “intermittency”. One needs precisely zero spinning reserve to handle intermittency. Spinning reserve is all about getting cold-cocked, such as when a nuke scrams. Renewables are protected by their vast numbers. When a turbine fries the grid barely burps because 999,999 other turbines don’t care about the failure.

  43. 493
    Al Bundy says:

    Killian: Please, someone, anyone, tell me why E-P is not 100% Bore Holed?

    AB: yeah, I have a policy of ignoring you, but since you asked nicely:

    Because fairness would require that you, I, and dare I say most regulars be boreholled as well. You are advocating leaving the field to crickets.

  44. 494
    zebra says:

    Blast From The Past,

    I try to find clearly written, primary source material for my good students here… this one is a little long, but covers the relevant issues. And note, it was written in 2013, and this stuff really does move quickly in the real world. (Unlike some other technology, eh.)

    https://www.digikey.com/en/articles/smart-solar-inverters-smooth-out-voltage-fluctuations-for-grid-stability

    The particular value for me is in how it illustrates the logic of my affordable-housing/utility-scale-power concept. If you have a DC micro-grid serving the needs of the community, the “smartness” and granularity is easier and internal, while the interface to the larger grid is unitary, and can be very sophisticated as described.

  45. 495

    E-P 480: “renewable” power is inherently UNRELIABLE power

    BPL: And if he says it enough times, perhaps people will start to believe it.

  46. 496

    n 487: nuclear power works ok in France

    BPL: Nuclear generation has fallen from 80% of power in France to 75%. Ask the French why.

  47. 497

    #480, E-P–

    Repetition of debunked arguments does not constitute a refutation.

  48. 498
    Al Bundy says:

    EP: Know what’s missing from the paragraph you quoted, as it was missing from the S.A. grid? “Spinning reserve”.

    AB: Yep. Nuclear provides no spinning reserve and EP doesn’t care. Why?

    He’s definitely too smart to not be able to understand the inability of nuclear to provide spinning reserve. Thus, his screaming about spinning reserve while linking it specifically and only to renewables represents a moral failing.

    Got an answer, EP?

  49. 499
    Al Bundy says:

    EP: You may be fooled by your rhetoric, but we are not.

    AB: which begs the question: are you God or merely The Queen?

  50. 500
    David B. Benson says:

    Michael Sweet @482 — Actually, there’s a good chance that Engineer-Poet knows more about fast reactors than the editors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. I also point out that the Rosatom BN-600 provides electric power to the grid so in that sense is “commercial”.

    So-called spinning reserve is better called ready reserve. The French fleet of nuclear power plants provides ready reserve by running the reactors at less than maximum capacity. If one trips off the remainder go to full power to compensate. The ramp rate is sufficiently fast.

    With about the same ramp rate, BPA operates the hydro powered generators under its control on the Columbia and Snake rivers the same way. For these units may trip off as well. By the way, you really need to learn some power system practice rather than just Making Stuff Up.

    Ready reserve must be sufficient to compensate for the sudden loss of the largest unit on the grid. For some grid in the future that might be a 600 MW, nameplate, wind farm out where the wind blows and so at the end of a lengthy transmission line. See my earlier about transmission line failures.