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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. 401
    David B. Benson says:

    nigelj @396 — Read my 399.

  2. 402
    David B. Benson says:

    Unwilling to engage after comment 400 shows a complete lack comprehension of what it takes to have a grid: without ancillary services the grid collapses.

    It might also be that comment 400 indicates igorance

  3. 403
    David B. Benson says:

    … igorance of the unfairness of net metering but certainly of the difficulty of apportioning transmission costs.

    Give it up, zebra. Learn the limits of what is possible as well as what can be shown to be fair

  4. 404
    zebra says:

    David Benson,

    You seem to be having difficulty reading here.

    1.”unfair net metering”

    This gets absurd; I don’t know how many times I’ve agreed with people about net metering and shown how to eliminate it, and then they respond with “but net metering is unfair”. It’s bizarre.

    If, as I said, I and my neighbor pay the grid operator for the connection, and I send a check to my neighbor for generation, what’s the problem??? There is no “net metering”; the price is set by the buyers and sellers of the respective services. Do you really not understand such an obvious concept?

    2. I said nothing about eliminating what are called “ancillary services”. I just said that the people who create the demand for them should pay for them. Why are you upset about the unfairness of net metering but not people paying for problems they didn’t create? Again, it’s mostly about bookkeeping, not hardware.

    If you have the expertise that you claim, you should be able to explain what the problem is with my suggestion… but not just repeat over and over “this is how we do things”. That really is an Authoritarian attitude.

    It’s 2020. There is ubiquitous technology that allows many things that were not possible in the past.

  5. 405
    MA Rodger says:

    mike @392,
    There is a number of aspects to this COVID-19 ‘event’ relevant to AGW (and now a specific thread for such blather here at RC).
    ☻ There is the sciency thing of what can be learned from this ‘event’, a situation which also arose with 9-11’s empty skies.
    ☻ There is ‘compare & contrast’, the comparison between the size of the effort put into AGW (in UK ~£120 x 28m households = £3.4B/yr although denialists manage to find far larger figures, my old chums the Gentlemen Who Prefer Fantasy making it five-times bigger in their Bare-Faced Pack of Lies No22) and that put into COVID-19 (in UK many hundreds of billions to support the economy with a “whatever it takes” guarantee, although this the limitless spending does not extend to directly tackling the infection itself) and what that says about government priorities.
    ☻ There is the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic on AGW emissions & mitigation over the long term.

    Sticking with the mitigation effect of COVID-19, the 2008 financial crash saw CO2 emissions dip [2008 8.73Gt(C), 2009 8.61Gt(C), 2010 9.05Gt(C)] which, if replaced by an even rise 2008-2010 would have seen +0.28Gt(C) higher emissions; in the grand scheme of things a pretty insignificant amount as a one-off event. That is a 3% drop in CO2 emissions for one year.
    So as a one-off event, will CORVID-19 have a bigger impact on the global economy and if so, how much bigger? And could it provide any long-term effects such that the aftermath does not see a return to the status quo?
    I think it will be bigger than 2008. Could it be more than perhaps 25% of the world economy (or at least the CO2 emitting part of it) for half a year? That would be 12% of a year, or four-times bigger than 2008.
    And any long-term effects? That is probably more difficult than predicting the direct reduction of emissions fron COVID-19’s economic impact. But there is in this some pretty powerful ‘compare & contrast’ arguments which may get complacent politicians more active. For instance, so far the global COVID-19 death toll has reached 12,000. The eventual death toll will be interesting to compare with the impact of the reduced CO2 emissions under COVID-19 of, let us say, 3 x 0.28 = 0.84Gt(C) which under Parncutt’s “1,000 Ton Rule” would reduce the AGW death toll by 840,000.

  6. 406
    nigelj says:

    “As I suggested, telling me to read the text created by the traditional electricity sector is like telling Elon Musk to read the one created by the legacy auto industry.”

    Innovation is a complex thing. No doubt you need to break with the past and think outside the box but Musk tried to automate the entire tesla manufacturing process, and it failed, so he had to revert to ‘traditional’ hand assembly of some parts of it. And I dont see how you could create an electric car without some basic engineering knowledge. I bet the man has read a few textbooks.

    People get all excited by the ‘uber’ economy, peer to peer lending, AI, the end of jobs as we know them. Some of its great. Some of it’s hype. Uber is struggling.

    I have no interest in selling and buying power from my neighbour. Sounds complicated for very little gain. Even changing banks can be a headache for minimal gain. I just want to pay a simple cost like putting petrol in the car.

    Maybe the grid operator could ensure participants provide enough ancillary services for frequency control etc, but with everyone on the grid having solar panels and being a generator its going to get more and more complicated, so more and more things could go wrong.Just because we can be clever and do things, is not always a reason to do those things. Free markets are great, but smart people understand their limits.

  7. 407

    DBB:

    Learn the limits of what is possible as well as what can be shown to be fair

    I suspect you’re wasting your time.  zebra shows every sign of being ineducable, labelling everything he doesn’t understand with terms like “obfuscatory industry jargon”.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen him write out an equation or do a calculation.

    Shaming him for being an ignoramus might get him to try some self-improvement, though.

  8. 408

    nigelj writes @406:

    Maybe the grid operator could ensure participants provide enough ancillary services for frequency control etc, but with everyone on the grid having solar panels and being a generator its going to get more and more complicated, so more and more things could go wrong.

    The problem with zebra goes much deeper.  His case of buying what a neighbor is selling in a private transaction running over the local wires is completely un-representative of even the current reality, which is the “duck curve”; it’s not a case of neighbor selling to neighbor, it’s everyone having a surplus all at the same time.  Western Australia is looking at stability problems as the plants which supply inertia, spinning reserve and reactive power come up against their minimum operating levels:

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-12-01/rise-of-rooftop-solar-power-jeopardising-wa-energy-grid/11731452

    zebra remains oblivious to these things, dismissing them as “obfuscatory industry jargon”.  The problem is that the jargon (terms of art) describes actual physical phenomena that cannot and will not be dispelled by hand-waving.

    Just because we can be clever and do things, is not always a reason to do those things.

    More to the point, in zebra’s world there will be times when you look for a seller for electric power and there may not be one.  When you throw the light switch, can you buy the wattage to power the light?  Will you even be able to buy the wattage to run your demand-control computer and its comm links?

    zebra isn’t bright enough to anticipate these problems, and when the prospect is raised he dismisses it with words like “the world is changing”.  He thinks problems can be eliminated by wishing hard enough.

  9. 409
    David B. Benson says:

    Engineer-Poet @407 — I have provided links to zebra to learn some of it. So far he shows no sign of having attempted it. So I give up.

  10. 410
    nigelj says:

    Regarding covid-19 and CO2 emissions. Just reading the latest edition of The Economist and industrial output in China in Jan and Feb was down by 13.5% on the year earlier, retail sales down 20.5% and infrastructure investment down 25%. This was also about 4 times what economists predicted (sigh, so typical). And of course only one province was badly affected yet it had that effect on China as a whole.

    So it looks to me like other countries will potentially end up with similar containment policies to China, some are getting close, so we could be looking at a 25% drop in economic activity at least, so perhaps at least a 25% drop in emissions particularly if non essential businesses are required to close.

  11. 411
    zebra says:

    David Benson,

    “I give up.”

    Yes, you should.

    -You should give up trying to convince people that installing renewables will make the grid explode. Nobody here believes you.

    -You should give up the fantasy that the future needs the moribund ideas of old farts with obsolete engineering degrees. Everyone understands that it is the Elon Musks of the world, and the kind of people who work for him, who are going to produce viable solutions. (Speaking as an old fart myself.)

    -You should give up the idea of a top-down, monopolistic, one-size-fits-all electricity sector for a country as diverse as the USA, especially because it is obvious to all here that a distributed system will be much more robust as more crises arise.

    I’m offering up some ideas for the future, and the only objections I’ve heard so far are from people stuck in the past… so stuck they can only talk about “how we’ve always done it”… which is not at all relevant. It’s 2020, and the times have changed, and are a-changing.

  12. 412
    nigelj says:

    Engineer Poet @408, I did mention something similar @ 396, where everyone has a power surplus so no buyers. I was trying to think why anyone would want to buy and sell power from the neighbours. Its not clear because local areas have the same weather conditions so everyone would have a deficit or surplus at the same time so no buyers or sellers. You would need wide area grids for it to work, which adds costs.

    It would make sense if some people had large arrays of solar panels so sold to people who couldn’t afford large arrays, but its a bit hard to see why anyone would want to make money that way, because its so complicated.

    I mean I have nothing against Zebras idea in the sense that it looks technically feasible and is part of the “uber economy” thinking. And I have nothing against more conventional solar panel micro grid ideas, such things suit places like Africa. But the buying and selling component triggers my inner sceptic. The grid operator would need some complex software to make it all work, so more things to go wrong. The electricity and water systems are two thinks you don’t want to go badly wrong. Peoples lives depend on this stuff.

    However residential solar with just a few panels and a bit of storage does have some resilience. If the backbone grid fails you will have enough power for important basics for low wattage stuff like a fridge, a couple of led lights, and medical equipment.

    In a free market ideas like Zebras will develop naturally and may or may not gain traction. Thats ok, experiments are good, but the idea just looks like a solution looking for a problem to me.

  13. 413
    David B. Benson says:

    In designing the bidding on electrical power, possibly
    https://www.quantamagazine.org/in-game-theory-no-clear-path-to-equilibrium-20170718/
    needs to be taken into consideration. As far as I know, no one has done so yet.

  14. 414
    David B. Benson says:

    About as distributed as it could possibly be, still there was the
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northeast_blackout_of_2003
    which, incidentally, caused a spike in the New York birth rate 9 months later.

  15. 415
    David B. Benson says:

    Mistakes in data reporting lead to excess generator profits in the ERCOT Texas wholesale market:
    https://bravenewclimate.proboards.com/thread/714/pjm-style-electricity-markets?page=1#post-6446

  16. 416
    David B. Benson says:

    Here you go, zebra! Become a Retail Electricity Provider and buy wholesale in ERCOT Texas:
    https://www.puc.texas.gov/industry/electric/business/rep/Rep.aspx

    I don’t know about Texas, but the mid-Columbia hub trading unit appears to be 5 MWh.

    Luck with that…

  17. 417

    zebra makes an admission against interest @411 (appropriate number):

    You should give up trying to convince people that installing renewables will make the grid explode.

    There have been a number of blackouts and near-blackout crises in places where “renewables” have been heavily adopted.  South Australia had one in 2016, and the wind farm owners were taken to court over it.  England and Wales had a blackout last year due to insufficient spinning reserve… and the inability of wind farms to provide spinning reserve definitely had a lot to do with that.

    Yes, you can patch these problems with things like Tesla batteries.  That works until the problem grows bigger than the ability of the patch to cover, and you get blackouts again.

    You should give up the fantasy that the future needs the moribund ideas of old farts with obsolete engineering degrees. Everyone understands that it is the Elon Musks of the world, and the kind of people who work for him, who are going to produce viable solutions.

    Elon Musk, whose Powerwall is just 13.5 kWh and will run the typical household for mere hours at a cost of at least $9600.  Donald Sadoway was going to give us batteries cheap as dirt because he intended to make them FROM dirt.  That hasn’t worked out either.

    Ever heard the adage “don’t count your chickens before they hatch”?

    Elon Musk promotes solar power for his cars, when nothing in his system can weather even a few cloudy days without running down.  Actual engineering does not attempt to wish such problems away; it takes them head-on.

    (Speaking as an old fart myself.)

    I’m likely younger than you, as I’m retired much earlier than usual (and much earlier than I expected).  I’ve been making a study of energy issues for about 5 decades now (I started really young).

    You run away from pointed questions like “why can’t you show any examples of this Great New Scheme you claim we’re all going to have?” and “why not copy the PROVEN success stories out there?”  You drop names like Elon Musk, but he has no example of his Great New Scheme either.

    Run, zebra, run.  The lions in the tall grass are ready to pounce.

    You should give up the idea of a top-down, monopolistic, one-size-fits-all electricity sector for a country as diverse as the USA, especially because it is obvious to all here that a distributed system will be much more robust as more crises arise.

    You throw around buzzwords like “distributed”, when a workable system is described in terms like “reliable”.  China has built 2 AP1000 reactors at Haiyang and is now building out a pipeline network to distribute nuclear heat for space heating.  This energy is both clean and reliable.  Elon Musk got nothin’ on that.

    I’m offering up some ideas for the future, and the only objections I’ve heard so far are from people stuck in the past… so stuck they can only talk about “how we’ve always done it”… which is not at all relevant.

    It is to laugh.  What I propose is NOTHING like “how [the USA] has always done it.”  It does take some elements from Edison’s original concept of local powerplants providing both heat and power, but we haven’t done things that way for ages in most places.  And I’d integrate energy systems to gain synergies currently being wasted.

    You show no sign of being able to understand what’s necessary to fully decarbonize, let alone remediate.  You think you are “offering up some ideas for the future”, but they are so vague and limited as to be useless.  It’s time for you to get out of the way, old fart.

  18. 418

    nigelj writes @412:

    I mean I have nothing against Zebras idea in the sense that it looks technically feasible and is part of the “uber economy” thinking.

    The “Uber economy” is a problem in itself.  It is symptomatic of permanent life insecurity, of a society that expects people to hang on day-to-day with nothing to invest for the future.  That society HAS no future, and neither does one stupid enough to try to rely on PV panels producing power at an average of 15% of their rated output.

    The electricity and water systems are two thinks you don’t want to go badly wrong. Peoples lives depend on this stuff.

    Everyone’s job needs to be put on the same level of reliability as the lights and water:  the unreliability needs to be replaceable people, not irreplaceable energy.  And that is where zebra has gone utterly, totally and irretreivably wrong.  Worse, he’s so invested in it he can’t get back.

    residential solar with just a few panels and a bit of storage does have some resilience. If the backbone grid fails you will have enough power for important basics for low wattage stuff like a fridge, a couple of led lights, and medical equipment.

    TBH I am thinking of doing something like this, but I have to think of the larger issue.  If the grid is that flaky, what happens to the jobs of everyone I depend on for everything else I depend on?  I can power my own fridge, but if the freezers shut down at the grocery everything in them has to be thrown out.  If the local plant can’t get power the people who work there don’t get paid.  What do they eat?  Do they come marauding homes for canned and dry goods?

    zebra’s scenario is very ill-considered and gets ugly in a hurry.  He’s neither bright nor wise.

  19. 419

    #417, E-P–

    Once again, a bait-and-switch scheme. He cites two blackouts in which wind power was involved as “proof” that wind is unreliable, the South Australian blackout of 2016 and an event in the UK last summer.

    Trouble is, neither one has much to do with wind’s capacity to deliver power. Here’s the crucial bit from the official report from AEMO on the SA blackout:

    On Wednesday 28 September 2016, tornadoes with wind speeds in the range of 190–260 km/h occurred in areas of South Australia. Two tornadoes almost simultaneously damaged a single circuit 275 kilovolt (kV) transmission line and a double circuit 275 kV transmission line, some 170 km apart.The damage to these three transmission lines caused them to trip, and a sequence of faults in quick succession resulted in six voltage dips on the SA grid over a two-minute period at around 4.16 pm. As the number of faults on the transmission network grew, nine wind farms in the mid-north of SA exhibited a sustained reduction in power as a protection feature activated. For eight of these wind farms, the protection settings of their wind turbines allowed them to withstand a pre-set number of voltage dips within a two-minute period. Activation of this protection feature resulted in a significant sustained power reduction for these wind farms. A sustained generation reduction of 456 megawatts (MW) occurred over a period of less than seven seconds. 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.

    While the reduction of generation by windfarms was part of a complex cascade of events:

    Wind turbines successfully rode through grid disturbances. It was the action of a control setting responding to multiple disturbances that led to the Black System. Changes made to turbine control settings shortly after the event has removed the risk of recurrence given the same number of disturbances.

    IOW, the fix was simple. The part of wind power in the blackout had nothing to do with its essential nature. And of course, the initiating cause was the simultaneous failure of three transmissions lines–not wind power.

    Yes, there is now a law suit against the operators of the wind farms. One that has been branded a “witch hunt” undertaken for political gain by the virulently anti-renewable federal government.

    “Ageing coal-fired power stations are regularly failing in the heat and they get off scot-free, but wind farms get taken to court by the very same body that investigated and cleared them just a few months ago,” Bandt said.

    “According to The Australia Institute, Australia has experienced 195 coal and gas breakdowns since December 2017, but the Minister and his regulators turn a blind eye to fossil fuel failures.”

    AFAIK, the UK blackout hasn’t had a comparably thorough post-mortem yet, but the sequence of events is somewhat reminiscent of the SA event:

    Duncan Burt told the BBC that its systems “worked well” after the “incredibly rare event” of two power stations disconnecting. He said he did not believe that a cyber-attack or unpredictable wind power generation was to blame…

    Industry experts said a gas-fired power station at Little Barford, Bedfordshire, failed at 16:58 followed, two minutes later, by the Hornsea offshore wind farm disconnecting from the grid.

    https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-49302996

  20. 420

    Had to dump out of my previous comment due to some household exigencies before I was quite finished–as you can probably tell by the double provision of the last link.

    However, though I haven’t found really comprehensive reports on the 8/9/19 UK outage, I did find this summary, the relevant bit of which is this:

    An offshore wind farm operated by Hornsea One Ltd and a gas power station operated by RWE [and (sic)] both stopped generating on 9 August shortly after a lightning strike. These technical issues were unforeseen and quickly resolved although they did contribute to the power cut.

    IOW, the fault at Hornsea had nothing to do with E-P’s alleged causal “inability of wind farms to provide spinning reserve.” It was a connection fault, of the sort that can–and did!–affect other forms of generation just as well.

    I’d also note that, far from the Powerwall failing to “work out”, as E-P alleges, five years after its introduction it’s still being sold as fast as Tesla can produce them–with the caveat that they could produce a hell of a lot more if they weren’t ramping up their automotive business so fast. (Musk has repeatedly said the auto side is “starving” Powerwall production for battery cells.) Absent hard numbers, I can’t say definitely that it’s a business success, but “supply-limited” sure sounds like a good start to me.

  21. 421
    zebra says:

    Business As Usual

    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/23/business/energy-environment/pge-camp-fire-manslaughter.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage#commentsContainer

    Yes, David, we really shouldn’t make it so difficult for these wise Authority figures to build nuclear plants. After all, they only care about the well-being of their customers. And gosh, they’re forking over a bit under $50K for each life they destroyed.

    Why are all those people from California whining in the comments section?

  22. 422

    Kevin McKinney misses the point @419-420: (I’ve had to re-arrange this because the damn filter swallowed it because I left the page too long without reloading):

    I’d also note that, far from the Powerwall failing to “work out”, as E-P alleges, five years after its introduction it’s still being sold as fast as Tesla can produce them–with the caveat that they could produce a hell of a lot more if they weren’t ramping up their automotive business so fast.

    They’re a personal “I got mine”, no more.  One Gigafactory can assemble 50 GWh of battery packs per year (producing 30 GWh of cells and buying the rest).  US electric consumption for 2018 was 4,174,398 million MWh or an average of 476.5 GW.  If you made all 50 GWh into Powerwalls, it would serve 476.5 GW of demand for a whole 6.3 minutes.  This won’t go very far.  If you have an extra $10,000-$15,000 lying around you can get yourself a Powerwall and have juice as your neigbors go into sweltering darkness.  For a while.  It’s not going to do anyone else any good.

    That 50 GWh of cells would do a lot more good in vehicles with V2G chargers.  Even charging at only 1 C, you could have up to ±50 GW of load for each year of production.  This would allow things like leaving gas plants on cold standby until needed and substituting for other spinning reserve.  I can’t find cumulative Tesla sales for California, but in 4Q 2018 and 4Q 2019 they totalled about 39,000.  At even 10 kW per vehicle that’s a potential of 390 MW for V2G; at 60 kW each that’s 2.34 GW.  That is enough to go a long, long way.  THAT is where to get the bang for the buck, not Powerwalls.

    neither one has much to do with wind’s capacity to deliver power. Here’s the crucial bit from the official report from AEMO on the SA blackout

    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 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.

  23. 423

    Will someone PLEASE rescue my laboriously-written comment that was just eaten (twice, even after a rewrite) by the damned filter?

  24. 424
    David B. Benson says:

    By all means electric cars and heat pumps:
    https://m.techxplore.com/news/2020-03-electric-cars-climate-world.html

  25. 425
    Al Bundy says:

    Kevin McKinney: Once again, a bait-and-switch scheme. He cites two blackouts in which wind power was involved as “proof” that wind is unreliable

    AB: Well, wind WAS unreliable and most folks quote WAS when describing systems they don’t prefer. The current cutting edge of off-shore wind turbines provide 65% capacity factor. That’s closing in on “base load” and tomorrow the capacity factor will significantly improve as turbines get larger. That FACT can’t be integrated into EP’s vision and so must be ignored because “Nuclear WILL” and “Wind WAS” is the only rational way to analyze the situation.

  26. 426
    Al Bundy says:

    EP whines: Will someone PLEASE rescue my laboriously-written comment that was just eaten (twice, even after a rewrite) by the damned filter?

    AB: As you knew decades ago, the writer is responsible for backing up his/her work.

    That said, I feel your pain and yeah, committing to exercise, eating right, and backing up often crashes into the immovable reality of being human.

  27. 427

    Al Bundy wishes in one hand @425 (but fails to you-know-what in the other):

    wind WAS unreliable and most folks quote WAS when describing systems they don’t prefer. The current cutting edge of off-shore wind turbines provide 65% capacity factor. That’s closing in on “base load”

    Wrong.  “Base load” requires service 24/7/365.  You need 99.99% for this, and the leftover 0.1% is still a problem; 65% is off the target by 3.5 orders of magnitude.  Unless you are willing to have sewage backing up into basements and municipal water contamination to the point of boil-orders, that is.  I’m not.

    As you knew decades ago, the writer is responsible for backing up his/her work.

    I very much DID back up my work.  That doesn’t mean that I could get it past the filters, even rewritten (which I thank the moderator for rescuing @422).  This auto-deletion of comments to pages which were loaded “too long ago” and auto-censoring of reposts of auto-deletes really needs to be fixed.

  28. 428
    Al Bundy says:

    EP: Base load” requires service 24/7/365. You need 99.99% for this, and the leftover 0.1% is still a problem; 65% is off the target by 3.5 orders of magnitude

    AB: “Closing in” has meaning, especially when one includes diversity (sorry for using a dirty word) in location and type. 65% offshore and 50% onshore and 60% solar thermal and 95% nuclear and 99.99% hydro and 100% direct air capture shedding and 35% solar PV and 99.99% geothermal, and 95% EV and hybrid vehicle, and 99% pumped hydro, and 99% grid scale batteries, and…, all duplicated via transmission…

    (Above numbers are for illustration only)

    Remember, we’re shooting for “as much capacity as EP feels necessary”, with excess dumped to direct air capture, washing machines, and whatever else could use seriously cheap but highly variable electricity. “Spinning reserves” are no better than “sheddable demand”.

    Note that winter is the season where bio/synfuels shine, easily offsetting the seasonal solar issue you continually mention. Nuclear is grand for northern climes, too.

    Picking each individual component apart based on the fact that it can’t do-it-all all by itself is a silly debating style, especially since nuclear fails when things get too hot and dry.

    Providing base load doesn’t require that only a single generator supply the power. To a very large extent you’re letting last-century constructs interfere with your ability to understand a 21st century grid. “Base load” is becoming less and less important in a world where demand is significantly adjustable by choice of grid managers rather than merely “it so happens that consumers do X”.

  29. 429
    Al Bundy says:

    EP: This auto-deletion of comments to pages which were loaded “too long ago” and auto-censoring of reposts of auto-deletes really needs to be fixed.

    AB: Yep. The comments section code is way sub-par. But the consensus appears to be that living with the flaws is the bestest path possible.

    Did you change something and it still barfed “duplicate”?

  30. 430
    Al Bundy says:

    EP: This auto-deletion of comments to pages which were loaded “too long ago” and auto-censoring of reposts of auto-deletes really needs to be fixed.

    AB: Yep. The comments section code is way sub-par. But the consensus appears to be that living with the flaws is the bestest path possible.

    Did you change something and it still barfed “duplicate”?

    Hmm, it said “duplicate” so I get to run an experiment…

  31. 431
    David B. Benson says:

    Something to read while you are house-bound:
    https://atomicinsights.com/atomic-show-269-robert-bryce-a-question-of-power/

  32. 432
    David B. Benson says:

    Al Bundy @428 — On the contrary, base load remains an essential concept in grid planning. However, the base load might now be but 60% instead of the older 70%; still highly significant.

  33. 433
    Killian says:

    Re #380 Al Bundy spittled Killian: The dumbass says he this:

    AB: I have nothing to add to that erudite sentence.

    No need. Your petulance, childishness, intention to do nothing here but here yourself talk is clear in your words as stated. As a teacher, I never belittle a student for a typographical or clear missed edit. That is the realm of the child, as you ever prove yourself to be.

    Like nigel, E-P and all the denialists, you pile words up at an incredible rate, yet say nothing. All while rome burns.

    Congratulations.

    Now, let the adults solve problems. Your fiddle is over in the corner.

  34. 434
    Michael Sweet says:

    If the requirement is 99.99% running than nuclear fails completely. According to https://www.clevescene.com/scene-and-heard/archives/2019/07/31/firstenergys-perry-nuclear-reactor-had-an-emergency-shutdown-saturday-still-not-in-operation a reactor in Perry, Ohio had an emergency shutdown. These shutdowns are common for nuclear reactors. In addition, during heat waves and droughts reactors often shut down for lack of cooling water or other problems. France has to import power to make up for nuclear shortages. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-france-electricity-heatwave/hot-weather-cuts-french-german-nuclear-power-output-idUSKCN1UK0HR

    Most of spinning reserve is required to cover these types of shutdowns, according to Wikipedia. A comparable problem with renewable energy is the cutoff of a single wind generator. Transmission line failure can also cause problems but a strong grid can compensate for a line failure.

    Solar power easily provides spinning reserve with millisecond response. You just deliver less than 10)% of generated power from a solar farm and the remainder is spinning reserve. spinning reserve. Solar cells are not affected by holding back power. No other spinning reserve can respond faster than solar farms.

    By contrast, nuclear plants cannot load follow in real time and cannot provide any spinning reserve at all. They run all out all the time that they are on (they are off for maintenance 10% or more of the time, so much for 99.99% on). As pointed out above, most spinning reserve is required to back up unreliable nuclear plants.

    All regulation and ancillary services can be provided cheaply by renewable energy. In the past grid managers said they were not needed so they were not included.
    The inverters can be programmed to provide many grid services for free when they are asked for. The Australia battery provides frequency control better and cheaper than the fossil grid. Nuclear supporters claims that these cannot be provided are simply deliberate falsehoods. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1364032118303307

    Engineer Poet and David Benson post here because it is unmoderated. In a moderated forum they would be banned because their claims are all deliberate falsehoods and are contradicted by peer reviewed articles.

    In any case, there is not enough uranium to power a significant amount of nuclear power. Current nuclear power (less than 3% of all world power) will use up all known reserves in less than 70 years. There is less than 5 years supply for all power. Fantasies of obtaining uranium from the ocean are not supported by data. The Japanese gave up on that line around 2000. Repeating their work has obtained about 5 grams of uranium in the lab. The Japanese obtained about a kilogram of uranium from the ocean before giving up. Only nuclear supporters would call going from a kilogram in the ocean to 5 grams in the lab an advance.

  35. 435
    zebra says:

    It Can’t Be Done!

    https://cleantechnica.com/2020/03/24/panasonic-is-building-a-comprehensive-energy-management-system-for-homeowners/

    Time for the usual suspects here to educate those foolish young engineers about “how-things-are-done…because-that’s-what-I-learned-40-years-ago”.

    I mean, with all that talk about DC circuits they sound like crazy zebra! Next thing you know they’ll start talking about hooking up a bunch of solar-equipped houses to a local, very efficient, very smart DC grid, and selling their combined surplus generation at a profit.

    It’s crazy, I tells ya. No respect for Authority!

  36. 436
    David B. Benson says:

    Killian @434 — EdF in France load follows with their nuclear power plants. By using fast neutron reactors the supply of uranium is more than adequate. I recommend learning about the nuclear power industry from reliable sources, such as the World Nuclear Association.

    zebra @435 — Let me know about the first substantial installation; what you provided is about an as-yet untried concept. Serious electricity providers need “proven” solutions. This might be one for the well-to-do.

  37. 437
    Al Bundy says:

    EP: but fails to you-know-what in the other)

    AB: interesting how you crow about how wonderful it is to crap in one’s hand.

    Perhaps you should add clapping to your gloriousness

  38. 438
    Al Bundy says:

    Zebra,

    EP’s point was about how the sun shines equally over a relatively large area. Your doofus answer answered nothing and provided nothing. Yep, a neighborhood has equal access to solar irradiation. That was his frigging point. Please say something relevant and productive next time…

    …but that would require your silence. Oops

  39. 439
    Al Bundy says:

    EP: The “Uber economy” is a problem in itself

    AB: Nothing like almost doubling the miles driven per task. The driver has to get to the customer before anything productive occurs. Duh.

  40. 440
    Al Bundy says:

    And on Uber,
    From personal experience, drivers burn huge amounts of fuel jockeying for access to pings. Driving without value so as to maximize your chance of being “given” a customer is half the job

    Uber is a climate catastrophe. Though this might change when drivers are eliminated from the equation.

  41. 441
    zebra says:

    #434 Michael Sweet,

    “Solar power easily provides spinning reserve with millisecond response.”

    But…but…but… solar panels can’t be spinning reserve; they just lie flat, right??

    Seriously, this is a good example of what I have in the past labeled obfuscatory industry jargon. When you go back to more fundamental physics language, the silly arguments you correctly describe are obviously specious.

  42. 442
    David B. Benson says:

    @434 was Michael Sweet, not Killian. My apologies.

    So-called spinning reserve is an ancillary service, for which payment is expected. See
    https://bravenewclimate.proboards.com/thread/714/pjm-style-electricity-markets

    When the sun shines solar panels could provide the ready reserve, but as far as I know, never is so used. Power providers are increasingly turning to
    https://bravenewclimate.proboards.com/thread/386/utility-scale-batteries
    which avoids burning fuel just to keep the rotating generators spinning.

  43. 443
    nigelj says:

    Zebra @435 says ” I mean, with all that talk about DC circuits they sound like crazy zebra! Next thing you know they’ll start talking about hooking up a bunch of solar-equipped houses to a local, very efficient, very smart DC grid, and selling their combined surplus generation at a profit.”

    Who are they going to sell too? People in the local area have the same weather conditions so there will be no or few buyers. They could sell to buyers in another region that has cloudy weather. But such things are all temporary and the original sellers of energy will become buyers. Nobody is going to make much money!

    The only real way to do it is to be buying newer and better solar panels all the time. Companies might do that sort of thing, ordinary people wont be interested for what should be obvious reasons.

    The uber style economy sometimes works, sometimes doesn’t. Last time I checked Uber had never, ever made a profit.

    But you can repeat this until you are black and blue, some people just don’t want to get it.

  44. 444
    Al Bundy says:

    zebra: When you go back to more fundamental physics language, the silly arguments you correctly describe are obviously specious.

    AB: Holy crap. You just proved than a zillion monkeys can write Shakespeare!

    Yep, the ONLY way to prevent solar from providing spinning reserve is to DEMAND that solar is run 100% for regular generation regardless of the situation. All ya got to do is use some solar for direct atmospheric capture and sequestration, which can be curtailed instantaneously, freeing up electrons for other usage. But that would be too logical and prevent the raping of regular folks by the “elite”, eh?

  45. 445
    Michael Sweet says:

    David Benson:
    I posted comment 434 not Killian.

    Because of their extraordinarily high costs, it is not economic to load follow using nuclear plants. EdF in France does not release the cost of their generated power. They have way too much nuclear capacity at night and on weekends so they can load follow slowly. Nuclear plants can only load follow at 2-5% per minute https://www.oecd-nea.org/nea-news/2011/29-2/nea-news-29-2-load-following-e.pdf. This allows them to ramp down at night but is not fast enough to supply spinning reserve. (It is also not economic to provide spinning reserve from nuclear plants). As I said in 434: “nuclear plants cannot load follow in real time”, they are too slow to provide spinning reserve.

    No design exists for a commercial fast neutron reactor (ie breeder reactor). Supporters of this technology claim they will have a design in 2050. After building and testing their pilot plant it will be at least 2070 before they are ready to go commercial. Breeder reactors will also be even more expensive than once through reactors. 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.

    It is a waste of my time to exchange posts on an unmoderated forum with two people who constantly make misleading, unsupported or deliberately false claims. Skeptical Science has a dedicated, moderated thread for supporters of nuclear power. You can defend your wild claims there. They generally allow nuclear supporters to make several unsupported claims before they are warned. https://skepticalscience.com/NuclearEnergy.html You will be required to support your wild claims with references, preferably peer reviewed references. I will respond to you there. I am not a moderator. If you give as a reference “go look it up yourself” as you have done at least twice to me on this forum you will be banned.

  46. 446
    David B. Benson says:

    Michael Sweet @445 — Yes, see my previous comment.

    However, you are completely misled about the meaning of spinning reserve. Reserves are required in case generators cannot meet commitments. Spinning reserve refers to synchronous generators which are kept rotating but are not energized. See any beginning power engineering text, usually written for upperclassmen. There are no requirements regarding the turbines powering the generators; might be a Pelton wheel for hydropower or a steam turbine for steam from burning fossil fuels or a nuclear reactor. Presume EdF uses this last option.

    Load following rates of the EdF nuclear power plants were adequate for the days before the advent of wind farms. I haven’t kept up with what EdF does now.

    GEH, GE-Hitachi, has on offer the S-PRISM fast reactor. There are no takers. Rosatom has the BN series of fast reactors in operation. You are simply wrong once again, I fear.

    With regard to nuclear reactor designs for the future, consider
    https://bravenewclimate.proboards.com/thread/405/smr-small-modular-reactors

  47. 447

    “Al Bundy” (something Caldwell) says @428:

    “Closing in” has meaning, especially when one includes diversity (sorry for using a dirty word) in location and type. 65% offshore and 50% onshore and 60% solar thermal and …

    (Above numbers are for illustration only)

    If you have no real numbers, why write them?  Further, why attribute high availability to sources like geothermal which can only be expanded to a few percent of load?

    My above 0.1% number should have been 0.01%.  I accept responsibility for the error (mostly a typo).  Real base load needs to be served with a maximum of 1 hour/year of outage, and some loads cannot handle interruptions longer than seconds.  Essential medical equipment like ventilators and oxygen concentrators are in that class.

    Remember, we’re shooting for “as much capacity as EP feels necessary”, with excess dumped to direct air capture, washing machines, and whatever else could use seriously cheap but highly variable electricity.

    My work-in-progress starts from 3.3 TW(th) primary energy supply and works backwards from there, because I figure it’s hard to go wrong if you over-estimate and run out of loads before reaching the quota.  The USA has enough recoverable uranium in spent fuel to run the country for decades, and enough depleted uranium in storage to literally go on for centuries without mining another gram.  All we need are the FBRs to use it.

    “Spinning reserves” are no better than “sheddable demand”.

    This is a good point, and one where the EV fleet can contribute a lot.  AFC (automatic frequency control) is a feature of power plants by which they ramp output up if the grid frequency falls below spec, and down if it goes above.  EV chargers can do AFC on the load end by ramping down when frequency is low and ramping up when it’s high.  Due to the physics of AC grids you’ll have a step-change in phase which is greatest near a plant that goes off-line, followed by a general decrease in frequency until AFC makes up the deficit.  EV chargers could be programmed to respond to that, and since the frequency signal is un-hackable the risk of cyber-attack by that route is nil.

    Note that winter is the season where bio/synfuels shine, easily offsetting the seasonal solar issue you continually mention. Nuclear is grand for northern climes, too.

    You don’t have to tell someone who’s got a few tons of biofuel stacked up about its virtues for winter heat.  What you get wrong is that it isn’t big enough to offset winter deficits in insolation.

    The thing about nuclear is that it makes CHP so easy.  There’s roughly 2x as much nuclear waste heat as there is electric generation, or about 180 GW nameplate.  If you eliminate winter heating fuel demand everywhere that’s dense enough to support a district heating network, you probably get rid of 70% of it.  Shut down the urban NG networks and you not only get rid of the CO2, you get rid of the methane leakage.  If you can switch the rest of the system to dimethyl ether or hydrogen, you eliminate the problem entirely.  DME can be compressed to a liquid much like propane, so users could have local stores of backup fuel replenished by pipeline.

    Picking each individual component apart based on the fact that it can’t do-it-all all by itself is a silly debating style, especially since nuclear fails when things get too hot and dry.

    If you’re talking about “diverse” systems you have to show that they add up to a solution.  Hand-waving about various sources is disingenuous; you need to provide tables or stacked bar graphs with cited authorities.  Those authorities often don’t look good; IIRC the NREL projection for total geothermal electric generation in the USA is just a couple tens of GW.

    Nuclear doesn’t “fall apart” at high temperature.  It would be a simple matter to remove courses of low-pressure turbine blades and increase the condenser temperature (pressure) to just about any practical figure desired, at some cost in thermal efficiency; environmental limits on e.g. coolant water discharge temperature are not features of the plant.  I’m most of the way through a rough analysis of a wet/dry cooling tower system for a next-generation plant at Palo Verde using a supercritical CO2 cycle.  I need to add a couple more cases, 30°C and 45°C ambient, and that should pretty much do it for the sketch.  Below 22°C ambient it looks like it would need no water at all, and that’s a fair amount of the time even in Phoenix.

    Interesting factoid:  Palo Verde has 3 reactors each rated at 3990 MW(t).  Keeping the same thermal power but increasing efficiency to 45% would boost net output to almost 5400 MW(e).  Dostal’s calculations show efficiencies exceeding 50% for 30 MPa compressor outlet pressure and 650°C turbine inlet temperature; achieving that would permit output to exceed 6000 MW(e), and that may well be feasible using molten-salt reactors.

  48. 448

    Michael Sweet misses the point propagandizes @434:

    If the requirement is 99.99% running than nuclear fails completely.

    That’s reliability of the system, not individual generators.

    When counting availability, only forced outages count (scheduled outages take place during low-demand periods and have no impact on grid reliability).  I had no luck finding a list of forced outages but I did find this NRC reactor status list for May 1 2018.  Only 1 reactor (Fermi 2) was in a forced-outage status (and quite a few others were refueling), compared to 100% of PV every day from dusk to dawn.

    Wind and solar are the only scalable “renewables”, and they are both subject to long-term seasonal and weather-related deficits in output.  “Storage” is the supposed solution to this, but the volume required to handle outages lasting even weeks is staggering; most people can’t even calculate numbers that large, let alone wrap their heads around them.  The cost numbers are similarly huge.

    Most of spinning reserve is required to cover these types of shutdowns, according to Wikipedia.

    Easily handled demand-side if you have enough load from plug-in vehicles.  You can defer charging for 30 seconds while AFC reacts, or a few minutes while waiting for a backup turbine to start.

    Solar power easily provides spinning reserve with millisecond response. You just deliver less than 10)% [assuming you mean 100%] of generated power from a solar farm and the remainder is spinning reserve.

    But will they, unless it’s legally mandated?  Who’d forego the production tax credits and sales of RECs for the paltry payments for spinning reserve?

    No other spinning reserve can respond faster than solar farms.

    Batteries and flywheels are equally fast.  PEV chargers can provide spinning reserve for free.

    How much spinning reserve can your PV farm provide at night?  Zippo.

    By contrast, nuclear plants cannot load follow in real time

    France does it.  It’s not the most efficient way to use nuclear plants, but that’s an existence proof.

    and cannot provide any spinning reserve at all. They run all out all the time that they are on

    Except for the starting and planned shutdown ramps, but isn’t it best if your zero-emission generators are providing as much of the grid power as they can?

    (they are off for maintenance 10% or more of the time, so much for 99.99% on).

    US nuclear capacity factor was 93.4% in 2019.  That includes forced outages, and most of the outages were scheduled for refueling.

    most spinning reserve is required to back up unreliable nuclear plants.

    Hogwash.  Nuclear comprises about 19% of the US grid’s average load and is less than 10% of its total nameplate capacity.  It’s the “renewables” which have ever-increasing demands for “balancing”, which amounts to spinning reserve.

    All regulation and ancillary services can be provided cheaply by renewable energy.

    Riiiight.  So tell me, in episodes like the 2-week “wind drought” that hit the BPA service area in January 2014 (when it’s rather dark most of the day as well), exactly how would your “renewables” provide regulation, reactive power and such?

    The thing that scares me the most is that you might actually believe what you’re writing here.

    Engineer Poet and David Benson post here because it is unmoderated.

    A moderator approves every comment that appears.  What you mean is that this forum is not ideologically censored.  You want opposing voices shut down, because you cannot rebut the facts presented.

    In a moderated forum they would be banned because their claims are all deliberate falsehoods and are contradicted by peer reviewed articles.

    Apparently you have not heard of the replication crisis in so-called “peer-reviewed” papers.  Back when people were more conscientious peer-review might have been a good indication of reliability, but academia is now a post-truth environment.

    In any case, there is not enough uranium to power a significant amount of nuclear power.

    The USA has around 75000 tons of remnant uranium in used LWR fuel, and something like 500,000 tons of depleted uranium just lying around.  This is sufficient to power the USA for well over 400 years.

    Current nuclear power (less than 3% of all world power) will use up all known reserves in less than 70 years.

    You sound an awful lot like the Michael Dittmar character who was a guest author at The Oil Drum.  He couldn’t defend his claims either.

    There is less than 5 years supply for all power.

    Australian uranium reserves alone are 1.7 million tonnes.  That’s enough to run the world for a century-plus if fast breeder reactors are used.

    Fantasies of obtaining uranium from the ocean are not supported by data.

    Because we’re not out of cheap land-based uranium, duh.  We keep finding it as byproducts of things like phosphate refining.

    The Japanese gave up on that line around 2000.

    Funny, it looks like the Japanese were still at it in 2016.  And what do you care what uranium costs, anyway?  If you have a consumption of 800 kg per GW-yr (entirely possible with high temperature reactors and high-efficiency power conversion), 0.1¢/kWh for breeding material allows you to pay about $11000/kg.  The processes already demonstrated would cost quite a bit less than this if rolled out to produce 10,000 t/yr or so.

    Only nuclear supporters would call going from a kilogram in the ocean to 5 grams in the lab an advance.

    Proving new chemistry that makes the process cheaper is an advance, yes.

    Now where’s your proof that renewables can provide all the ancillary services you claim they can?  Let’s have places and dates, or STFU already.

  49. 449

    Michael Sweet goes off again @445:

    Because of their extraordinarily high costs, it is not economic to load follow using nuclear plants.

    Okay, fine.  Let’s run nuclear plants at 100% between shutdowns.  We can take power surplus to immediate demand and use it for:

    1.  Overnight charging of plug-in vehicles.
    2.  Plasma gasification of wastes, including garbage and scrap tires.
    3.  Production of energy-intensive materials like iron and portland cement.

    After all, nuclear fuel is changed on a schedule, not by consumption.  Energy that isn’t produced by the change-out date is lost.  Might as well make the best use of it that we can, especially by turning other problems into useful products and displacing fossil fuels (the syngas from plasma gasification makes a good gas turbine fuel, I understand).

    Nuclear plants can only load follow at 2-5% per minute

    You realize that 2%/minute goes from 30% to 100% in just 35 minutes?  The California “duck curve” is a lot slower than that.  Of course, it makes no sense to try to follow that curve with generation; demand-side measures like plug-in vehicles and power-to-fuels should be used instead.  As of 2018, California had 14.8 million registered automobiles.  At a potential 10 kWh apiece for PHEVs, that’s 148 GWh of storage capacity on vehicles.  If 50% depleted every morning and recharged during the day, that’s 7.4 GW of average load over 10 hours.  That is a lot of schedulable demand.

    No design exists for a commercial fast neutron reactor (ie breeder reactor).

    Michael Sweet, you are a liar.  Fermi 1 construction began in August 1956.  GE-Hitachi has designed the PRISM fast-breeder reactor which has entertained alternative high-burnup core designs since no later than 2003.  Your assertion is totally false, and I’m certain you knew it when you wrote it.

    After building and testing their pilot plant it will be at least 2070 before they are ready to go commercial.

    GE-Hitachi has been offering to build a pair of PRISMs for the UK to consume the UK stockpile of reprocessed plutonium for some years now.  All GE-H has asked is a guaranteed price for power.  The UK has not bitten.

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

    Which can only remain true if natural uranium remains cheap, meaning not scarce.  MAKE UP YOUR MIND.

    It is a waste of my time to exchange posts on an unmoderated forum with two people who constantly make misleading, unsupported or deliberately false claims.

    You project like an IMAX theater.  Why don’t you get lost already?

  50. 450
    Al Bundy says:

    This is so immoral that I’m on the verge of cheering for the absolute maximum death if conservatives die at slightly higher rates.

    Gee, thanks conservatives for teaching me that greed is good and life is only valuable when it consists of a clump of undifferentiated cells.