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Forced variations: Apr 2020

Filed under: — group @ 1 April 2020

Open thread for climate solutions.

669 Responses to “Forced variations: Apr 2020”

  1. 1
    Russell says:

    Climate activists clamoring for more pro-active Covid interventions than behavioral change shoud be careful what they wish for, lest they give Wired ideas:

    https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?tab=km#inbox/FMfcgxwHMZQrGJBdCZwMSsdkWFKVBmZB?projector=1

  2. 2

    Al Bundy quibbles @520 in the old thread:

    You KNOW that posting something puts it in the public domain.

    Doesn’t stop you from naming the problem.  You haven’t stated what it is.  You can keep your solution (invention) private.  If you’re worried about even naming the problem in public, my e-mail is on my blog sidebar.

    Why is “massively overbuilt” a feature in a nuclear-only system and an insurmountable bug in a mixed nuclear and renewables system?

    There is no “massive overbuild” in an all-nuclear system.  It is sized to meet peak loads plus whatever extra DSM load is required for things like electrofuels.  Ruinables require vast overbuilds; if Germany tried to run on PV (11% capacity factor) it would require building out nameplate capacity to 20-25x average load to handle losses in storage, and that’s just to repower the electric sector.  My numbers suggest that an all-nuclear system with district heat would handle loads like urban space heat pretty much as an incidental.  The USA currently consumes about 3.3 TW of primary energy; an all-nuclear system would likely run out of loads to serve before getting there.

    Nuclear-only requires sharing nukes with everyone

    Everyone who wants 24/7 electricity without hydro or paying to offset their emissions, you mean.  Some lifestyles, e.g. Sentinel islanders, don’t require it or necessarily even want it.  The industrial societies are generally nuclear powers already and can build their own.  Everyone else can pay either in cash or in kind to offsetting sequestration efforts.  Some countries might make bank by hosting those sequestration efforts; there are quite a few dunite intrusions in Africa, though I’d put my money on the Aussies and Kiwis to be more efficient.

    (Mellowing out here.  I recovered my music collection as part of a computer rebuild and decided to listen to the whole kit and kaboodle, all 549 hours of it.  I’m down to Kitaro, a bit more than 17 days through.  I had no idea I had so much Gershwin.  You can only listen to Rhapsody in Blue so many times in one day.)

  3. 3

    BPL wrote @524 in the old thread:

    German emissions were down last year.

    So were US emissions, and in December and January electric generation from nuclear exceeded generation from coal.  (That should have happened by 1990, but over-regulation and anti-nukes got in the way.)

    Want to bet on whether that will continue or not?

    I’ll bet you that Germany does not meet its old 2020 targets by 2025 UNLESS it gives up its nuclear phaseout.

  4. 4

    mike wrote @527 in the old thread:

    Energy storage? It’s coming: https://www.inverse.com/innovation/tesla-plans-to-build-one-of-the-biggest-batteries-in-the-world

    Let’s see.  810 MWh of storage.  That would hold up the US grid’s average load for…

    (digging up numbers)

    (dividing 0.810 GWh by (4,118,051 GWh/8760 hr))

    about 6.3 seconds.

    So install about 570 such batteries and you’ll get roughly an hour of backup for the US grid; 14000 will get you about a day.  Does it begin to get clear just how massive a task a “renewable” grid would be?

  5. 5
    mike says:

    Noisy and ugly:

    Last Week

    March 22 – 28, 2020 415.52 ppm
    March 22 – 28, 2019 411.24 ppm

    co2.earth

  6. 6

    BPL: Want to bet on whether that will continue or not?

    E-P: I’ll bet you that Germany does not meet its old 2020 targets by 2025 UNLESS it gives up its nuclear phaseout.

    BPL: When you know you’re going to lose the bet, change the terms of the bet.

  7. 7

    E-P 4: Let’s see. 810 MWh of storage. That would hold up the US grid’s average load for…
    (digging up numbers)
    (dividing 0.810 GWh by (4,118,051 GWh/8760 hr))
    about 6.3 seconds.
    So install about 570 such batteries and you’ll get roughly an hour of backup for the US grid; 14000 will get you about a day. Does it begin to get clear just how massive a task a “renewable” grid would be?

    BPL: And in 1910 there were only two cars in Kansas City. And they collided! Clearly, automobiles will never replace the tried and trusty horse.

  8. 8
    Al Bundy says:

    EP: Doesn’t stop you from naming the problem. You haven’t stated what it is

    AB: I have no clue what you are talking about. The problem is excessive CO2 in the atmosphere and the ocean. But since you insist, I’ll name it “Fred”.

    I have managed to get in contact with ScientistsWarning.org and shared my “use kids to develop herd immunity” thoughts with them. They were impressed and asked for more so I described my solution to flooding, which happens to provide a way to utilize olivine’s hunger for CO2. Again, they were impressed and invited me to engage with them in various discussions. Hopefully I’ve found a way to gain traction.

    EP: if Germany tried to run on PV (11% capacity factor)

    AB: 11%? No way. Besides, Germany has access to onshore and offshore wind, nukes, biofuels, thermal solar (molten salt), etc. Talking about the fact that solar PV alone won’t cut Germany’s mustard is a waste of bandwidth. Renewables require diversity.

    And yes, nukes have characteristics that renewables struggle to provide. The question is whether the hole humanity is digging is deep enough that a renewables sans nukes grid’s requirement for overbuilding can be absorbed via DAC, synfuels, etc. (though the massive overbuilding you describe is colored by your belief that the transmission of electrons via UHVDC is ruinously expensive)

    And yes, Germany’s choice to nuke their nukes is bats**t crazy. As to the future, my current belief is that excluding nukes from the zero-carbon mix makes things way difficult.

    EP: Everyone who wants 24/7 electricity without hydro or paying to offset their emissions, you mean.

    AB: I’m betting that most everyone, including Killian, wants 24/7 access to electricity. I’m also certain that insisting that poor countries pay us for their carbon emissions will fly about as well as Trump’s insistence that Mexico must pay for our wall.

    Thanks for the offer to engage. I accept and will send you my flooding thoughts. We’ll see where it goes.

    BPL, nuclear power plants generally have multiple reactors, so their production only drops by, say, 25% when a reactor goes south.

  9. 9
    zebra says:

    #525 Previous FR Kevin McKinney,

    First of all, did we change the name of this thread or is it a typo?

    So:

    It’s been abundantly shown by the preceding disucssions, IMO, that none of the following needs form some sort of prohibitive condition for the useful deployment of greatly increased amounts of RE:

    –the need for reactive power
    –the need for frequency support
    –the need for load following
    –the need for any other ancillary service
    –intermittency itself

    All of these issues are real and deserving of proper consideration, but all of them are addressable, and increasingly addressed in the real world.

    You also said you had been chasing moving goalposts in circles or something. How about we stop doing that?

    Here’s a simple question, based on existing tech not vaporware.

    1. We legislate a common carrier grid.
    2. Each house has a smart meter…for now the simplest form, but I will get into more granular concepts later.

    Say I have solar panels on the roof, maybe a small battery, and I contract with a retailer/bundler who provides from wind farms.

    If the source has a problem, and can’t produce or reduces production, a signal is sent (at the speed of light, eh) to my meter, which disconnects me from the grid. (And of course, if any source starts acting as a load, it too is disconnected.)

    So, can anyone tell me what “ancillary services” are needed? What problem is created for anyone other than those who have contracted with that specific source? Does the grid explode? How much “imbalance” happens in that tiny interval between the inverter sensing a problem and my load being dumped?

    And of course, there’s the question of how terrible things are for me. The power goes off… OMG! That’s never happened before!

    So maybe we ride it out, or maybe we tap the app and pay some supplier who is still functioning until the wind picks up…at a premium, no doubt. So, a market signal is sent, and maybe the next contract will be with a different supplier. Who knows?

    And that last point is why people who want to play your circle game don’t like the market concept… nothing to pontificate about, no recitation of non-sequitur factoids back and forth. If it’s a true market, it all works out.

  10. 10
    Patrick19940504_fixer_of_links says:

    Russell #1 Your link is bad. (Hint: You can test anything where there is reasonable doubt whether your resource is public by using incognito mode, as that way you start a separate session where you are not logged in anywhere).

  11. 11
    jgnfld says:

    “Let’s see. 810 MWh of storage. That would hold up the US grid’s average load for… …about 6.3 seconds.

    Can you specify the nature of the specific emergency which would require replacing the entire input to the entire continental grid for any long period of time? How often does the entire continent have no sun and wind from which to collect energy? What natural mechanism produces 100% cloud cover and zero wind across the entire continent?

  12. 12
    David B. Benson says:

    zebra @9 — Your micro-example is played out constantly, but between generators and retailers on the ERCOT Texas grid, except that blackouts are a no-no. Which requires ancillary services. I suggest that you study why and how your example, repeatedly over a sizable locality, does as well.

  13. 13
    David B. Benson says:

    jgnfld @11 — At night there’s no solar. Stalled atmospheric Rossby waves give rise to no wind conditions but rarely for more than, say, half the continent. So 15 seconds for the stilled half? Of course that would require prodigious transmission facilities that we don’t have.

  14. 14
    zebra says:

    #12 David Benson,

    I “suggest you study” some physics and use some common sense. What I described of course applies over an area…I’m obviously not the only customer for the source.

    And I realize that Authoritarian Personality can’t really be corrected beyond a certain age, but seriously, you should at least try to understand that in a true market people are allowed to make contracts as they choose, unless fraud or harm to others is involved.

    If I want to risk losing power overnight, or risk having to pay a premium to replace that function for some period, or spend money on a bigger battery, or backup generator, or any number of options, that’s my choice. There are no “no-no’s” in the situation I describe. That’s what makes it work.

  15. 15
    nigelj says:

    Zebra @9 says “If it’s a true market, it all works out.”

    Zebra should google the established and recognised concept of market failure. Electricity grids dance very closely to market failure.

  16. 16
    nigelj says:

    Barton Paul Levenson @7, yes I agree, no doubt you could have thousands of those battery farms in America and make a renewables grid work, at a price. But imagine scaling that idea up for the whole planet, especially in an ambitious time frame. Imagine the vast quantities of lithium plus specialist metals required, in addition to batteries for electric cars. Lithium mines are already struggling a bit to meet current supply.

    Not wanting to go all Killianesque and too doomy, and I admit I haven’t investigated the maths, but that sort of quantity of battery storage at global scale is obviously huge, and the pressure on the resource base looks intuitively huge.

    Nuclear power doesn’t need that degree of storage, just a bit of spinning reserves. That’s its ace card. We might be wise to at least have a mixed system like AB talks about that combines nuclear power with other options.

  17. 17
    William B Jackson says:

    #11 OH OH…Mr. Kotter Mr Kotter…I know I know Da Rapture…LOL!

  18. 18

    BPL gets hyperbolic @7:

    Clearly, automobiles will never replace the tried and trusty horse.

    You’re emoting, not thinking.

    Try thinking of something that might be a better use of 810 MWh of batteries.  Maybe something like 8100 Tesla-class EVs with SiC-based bidirectional chargers to provide spinning reserve for the grid?  What’s going to decarbonize more energy?  (At C/2 discharge rate, 810 MWh of batteries is 405 MW of power.  That much spinning reserve would have prevented the South Australia blackout by essentially nullifying the sag in output from the wind farms, and could have prevented the voltage dips in the first place.)

  19. 19

    Al Bundy’s amnesia gets worse @8:

    It’s what you were talking about when you wrote “I’ve solved the olivine issue.”  Olivine issue?

    If you’re talking about using floods to transport mineral granules, the authors beat you to it:

    Most of the new olivine mines will be in the wet tropics. This means that they will often be situated in an area rich in rivers and creeks. It may be possible, then, to load barge-type boats with olivine, mount a pump on each boat and spray the passing river banks with an olivine slurry.

    For olivine mines situated inland well above sea level, one can await a time in the wet season that the rivers are swollen and have burst their banks after heavy monsoon rains. The rivers carry heavy silt loads, up to 7 kg / m³ in the rainy season, and this is the perfect time to release large volumes of olivine particles in the river.

    Transport by ship and using the material to build up beaches, barrier islands and whatnot is another possibility, though the dissolution of the minerals make the effect temporary.

    The question is whether the hole humanity is digging is deep enough that a renewables sans nukes grid’s requirement for overbuilding can be absorbed via DAC, synfuels, etc. (though the massive overbuilding you describe is colored by your belief that the transmission of electrons via UHVDC is ruinously expensive)

    Ruinously expensive or not, if you’re going to move that much energy in real time rather than converting it to a storable form near the point of generation and shipping that, you’re going to be building out a huge infrastructure project which does not generate a single erg of energy itself; it’s an energy sink both in construction and in operation.  (If you’re shipping energy, uranium at 1000 GW-days per ton beats electrons and hydrocarbons handily.)

    That said, the legal issues of right-of-way may have a solution.  There’s a company building a HVDC line from mid-Iowa to Ill-annoy, and they are breezing through the approval process because they are running rubber-insulated cables beneath railroad ROW.  No ugly towers on people’s land, out of sight out of mind.  How they deal with heat dissipation remains to be seen; there was a major blackout in the NZ capital in ’98 when underground lines overheated and failed.

  20. 20

    jgnfld straw-mans @11:

    Can you specify the nature of the specific emergency which would require replacing the entire input to the entire continental grid for any long period of time?

    It’s a figure of merit.  If you have only a 25% deficit, then the 810 MWh would make up the difference for a whole 25.2 seconds.  I’m sure you find that MUCH more impressive.

    How often does the entire continent have no sun and wind from which to collect energy?

    There’s this thing called “night” which occurs across N. America pretty regularly, especially in winter.  Perhaps you’ve heard of it?  It takes out all your PV and seriously impairs even CSP.

    I suggest doing some research into what the Germans call “dunkelflaute”.

  21. 21
    Russell says:

    1.

    Here’s the fixed link to the Wired climate isse:

    https://www.wired.com/story/climate-issue/

    Many thanks to Patrick, the fixer of links !

  22. 22
    Dan says:

    re: 11. I will add that even on the most cloudy days my 12 solar panels still produce power, just not at full strength obviously.

  23. 23

    #9, zebra–

    You also said you had been chasing moving goalposts in circles or something. How about we stop doing that?

    ‘We,’ kimo sabe? You weren’t in on that conversation, and what you’re quoting was the start of my attempt to Stop The Madness.

    I really don’t want to insert myself into the conversation about whether a free market concept such as you propose can keep the grid running. But I will certainly read with interest germane exchanges on the topic.

  24. 24

    Al, I’ve been over your letter.  Here’s my take on it.

    Your basic idea dates back quite a ways albeit for a different purpose.  Look up “wing dam”.  There was talk of putting some in the Detroit river back when lake levels were low and ships couldn’t travel fully-loaded.  They appear to make flooding worse.

    Your use of olivine wouldn’t weather as fast as spreading it on land, which defeats the purpose.  It also wouldn’t remineralize soil.

  25. 25

    zebra:

    A.  wants to essentially eliminate the controlling role of system operators in keeping the grid stable and running, as if he knows better than they do.

    B.  calls other people “authoritarians”.

    That’s pretty autistic of him.  He’s going to cause a world-wide facepalm shortage all by himself.

  26. 26
    zebra says:

    #23 Kevin McKinney,

    Maybe it was a royal we?

    But my point was about the physics, and how you are going along with the confusing industry jargon.

    The technology exists to do what I said… described in the references I gave, and I assume you’ve seen the same stuff elsewhere, from your comment.

    My true free market example just illustrates that “ancillary services” is a bookkeeping term, that exists within the monopolistic utility paradigm. It’s very much like “baseload”.

    If you step outside the 100-year-old structure and technology, it becomes clear that we can do much better. (And yes, I do favor the common-carrier grid approach, because that will get us there quicker.)

  27. 27
    David B. Benson says:

    Kevin McKinney @23 — As I have previously mentioned the ERCOT Texas grid has a free market for generators:
    https://bravenewclimate.proboards.com/thread/714/pjm-style-electricity-markets

    Commenter zebra ignores this fact.

    I also mentioned that at least Austin has a dozen retail companies, so there’s plenty of competition there as well.

  28. 28
    Al Bundy says:

    EP: If you’re talking about using floods to transport mineral granules

    AB: Of course not. My stuff never does only one thong

    (eh, I like that typo)

  29. 29
    nigelj says:

    EP @20 says “There’s a company building a HVDC line from mid-Iowa to Ill-annoy, and they are breezing through the approval process because they are running rubber-insulated cables beneath railroad ROW. No ugly towers on people’s land, out of sight out of mind. How they deal with heat dissipation remains to be seen; there was a major blackout in the NZ capital in ’98 when underground lines overheated and failed.”

    The cause of the cable failure in NZ was a combination of (gas insulated) cables past their replacement date and unusually hot weather conditions.

    There was no power in the central city for days, thank the stars it wasn’t in the middle of winter. I lived in one of the outer suburbs just outside the problem area.

  30. 30
    Ray Ladbury says:

    EP: “That’s pretty autistic of him.”

    So, I guess we can add ableist to racist and sexist for EP’s lovely prejudices.

    Newsflash, asswipe: Paul Dirac was autistic. Isaac Newton was likely autistic. Greta Thunberg calls autism her superpower.

    Those of us who are neurotypical do ourselves and the world a disservice when we dismiss the abilities and contributions of those who are not. This crisis is going to take the creativity, knowledge,wisdom and abilities of all of us.

    Well, maybe except for bigots like you. I think we’ll do just fine without the likes of you.

  31. 31

    E-P 18 promotes the myth that a failure of wind power caused the Australia blackouts:

    “That much spinning reserve would have prevented the South Australia blackout by essentially nullifying the sag in output from the wind farms”

    which was due to transmission lines collapsing.

  32. 32
    zebra says:

    #27 David Benson,

    As I have previously mentioned, the world has moved on from 1970’s technology.

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

    (and other sources)

    But commenter David Benson ignores this fact.

    We have smart (and fast) meters, inverters, and even down to the household outlet level, the ability to control loads and sources.

    All the supposed issues with grid stability are reflections of the archaic technology that is being used, and the organizational structure… because, as with autos, and construction, and other industries, change threatens the comfortable and mindless plug-and-chug workers, and sunk costs and profits.

    Still waiting to hear what “ancillary services” are needed for the scenario I suggested at #9.

  33. 33
    jgnfld says:

    @20 Re. it’s a “figure of merit”.

    Nope. It’s a figure of hyperbole and your spluttering backtracking rather shows you know this. (A figure of merit fyi is: “a numerical expression representing the efficiency of a given system, material, or procedure”.) Your figure does not.

    As well, since night is fairly predictable over the long term and wind over the near/medium term “reliability” changes from protecting in the moment against random, chaotic shutdowns (part of that spinning reserve) rather than against planned ones as, for example, the shutdowns nuclear plants have at 18-24 month intervals for fuel/maintenance that you shrug off as insignificant and coolant water availabilty which you shrug off completely. The NRC reports that the capacity factor of nuclear is about 90%. (https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=1490) This would be closer to a “figure of merit”.

    Nukes are fine so long as they pay for themselves including insuring their actual liability privately rather than relying on the govt as a last resort. But they are simply not magic.

  34. 34

    #26 (Z) & #27 (DBB)–

    OK, now I’ve got both sides addressing me. What part of “I really don’t want to insert myself into the conversation” was obscure? (And BTW, have those words been used before on RC, ever?)

    But by what apparently is popular request, here’s the question I as reader of this subthread have. Setting it up…

    Zebra wrote:

    But my point was about the physics, and how you are going along with the confusing industry jargon.

    The technology exists to do what I said… described in the references I gave, and I assume you’ve seen the same stuff elsewhere, from your comment.

    My true free market example just illustrates that “ancillary services” is a bookkeeping term, that exists within the monopolistic utility paradigm. It’s very much like “baseload”.

    My perception is that that is incorrect. Now, I don’t know a hell of a lot about it, which is why I’m reluctant to comment on this topic. And, FWIW, I suspect that the concept of baseload is indeed becoming less and less relevant as the grid gets smarter and more nimble.

    But the grid is also essentially a machine, and like any machine it requires operation, and therefore some sort of operator(s). If you have an AC grid, then you need to match load to generation, and you need to regulate the grid frequency. That’s physics. By contrast, and since electrons are fungible, your contractual agreements seem to me to be rather the “bookkeeping terms.”

    I take it that you thought your example made clear how the grid would work in your granularized free market scheme. Such was not the case, for me at least. So, my question, finally: How would the grid operate physically in your scheme? How, specifically, would your scheme match loads and generation, and how would it regulate frequency? More generally, what would the grid ‘look like?’

    If this set of questions is frustrating, in that you think that the answers should already be clear, then I regret that. But remember, I didn’t want to jump in at all. You wanted my feedback; there it is.

  35. 35
    Al Bundy says:

    Nigelj: and unusually hot weather conditions.

    There was no power in the central city for days, thank the stars it wasn’t in the middle of winter.

    AB: “unusually hot”, which speaks to summer, and “middle of winter” are mutually exclusive.
    ______

    EP,
    Please abide by the tenets of confidentiality, be it with your family, your friends, strangers, or online.
    Thanks

  36. 36
    nigelj says:

    Zebra @26 says “My true free market example just illustrates that “ancillary services” is a bookkeeping term, that exists within the monopolistic utility paradigm. It’s very much like “baseload”.

    Pure unadulterated BS of the murkiest, smelliest kind :) Grids need a variety of ancillary services to function. That is both a physics fact and an engineering fact

    In addition, a group of home owners with solar panels operating in a pure free market wont automatically provide all the required ancillary services because solar panels on a few roofs don’t automatically do this. Instead, someone is always going to have to be in charge of the grid to make sure it functions properly and has appropriate ancillary services and organisations providing them, and obviously this should be the lines company whether central or local, or perhaps micro local.

    Essentially what you have is a “partly free market” under the umbrella control of the lines company. We tried a completely free market in NZ and it didnt work. It ended up needing regulation and some central control. It’s a very managed market and that’s ok in theory.

    This might not be incompatible with zebras ideas, but his ideas lack clarity for me.

    New Zealand’s history is enlightening and interesting. Pay attention because this is the real world not pontificating. We had an electricity system owned and controlled by central government up to 1990 and it was based on hydro, coal and geothermal and provided cheap reliable power. It was essentially a monopoly. It developed that way because the private sector and local government lacked capital.

    Around 1990 our system was broken up and mostly privatised and turned into an electricity market with about 3 competing generating companies and plenty of customer choice. The aim was to reduce prices and create innovation and it was part of the privatisation mania at the time. The trouble is power prices went up and are still going up! Reliability has been ok.

    Breaking up the old monopoly system looks like a contrived exercise to me. Its been replaced with contrived competing companies and its created a big expensive administrative structure and this might be part of the reason for increasing prices.

    I fully recognise that monopolies can be a problem, and can be avoided in many cases like car manufacture, but I question whether electricity markets are a great idea. That said, NZ probably wont be going back to centralised ownership, and so I advocate on how to make the market work better, and an open market does mean new forms of electricity generation have a better chance of getting started.

    Its really important that a electricity market is a level playing field for all forms of generation and doesn’t discriminate or subsidise one above the other. Except obviously we need to discourage fossil fuels with a carbon tax imposed onto the market or other mechanism.

    Zebra the way you disrespect engineers just makes me wonder where the hell you are coming from. I work with structural engineers and they are smart people, they are not all set in their ways.

  37. 37
    David B. Benson says:

    Kevin McKinney @34 — Baseload is that portion of the total demand which is omnipresent, 24/7. Traditionally that’s about 70% of the maximum daytime load. In California with considerable home solar power it may now be less than 70%. Traditionally the utilities have used thermal generators and hydropower for this portion of the load. With coal burners reaching end of useful life alternatives are being tried. For example, ERCOT Texas now has many wind farms fully backed by natural gas burners. California is trying hard to turn off their natural gas units. For that and other examples, see
    https://bravenewclimate.proboards.com/thread/718/hydrogen-fuel

  38. 38

    Ray Ladbury gets all up in a huff @30:

    Those of us who are neurotypical

    Which I am NOT (though I am obviously good enough to fool you), so I have the right to criticize.  Now STFU.

  39. 39

    BPL missed the point @31:

    which was due to transmission lines collapsing.

    The response to which was programmed into the wind farms as a protective measure… and we still don’t have proof that it wasn’t necessary to prevent damage that takes far longer to fix than a blackout of a few minutes or hours.  We may yet find out that the “fix” was a mistake, so spare me your sanctimony.

  40. 40

    jgnfld quibbles @33:

    Nope. It’s a figure of hyperbole

    It’s as quantitative a figure as the specific impulse of a rocket motor, which is also specified in seconds.

    As well, since night is fairly predictable over the long term

    Very large correlated outages are insignificant because they are “predictable”?  What universe do you live in?  It must be much nicer than mine.

    and wind over the near/medium term

    Because insufficiencies and outages correlated over large areas at unpredictable times are somehow insignificant?  HTF, can you LISTEN to yourself?

    “reliability” changes from protecting in the moment against random, chaotic shutdowns (part of that spinning reserve)

    Chaotic attractors do not affect NPPs.  Your “renewables” can’t claim that.

    rather than against planned ones as, for example, the shutdowns nuclear plants have at 18-24 month intervals for fuel/maintenance that you shrug off as insignificant

    The correlated outages are SCHEDULED for minimum-demand periods precisely to avoid adverse impact upon consumers.  Wind often takes days off in heat waves in summer when A/C demand peaks, and solar takes months off in winter when heating demand peaks.  Yet you think NPPs are worse?

    and coolant water availabilty which you shrug off completely.

    Oh, FFS.  If that’s an issue you can do things like using cooling towers to cool the effluent to spec (a la the erstwhile Vermont Yankee) or pumping effluent into wells and replacing the injections with cool water pumped out of other wells, using the earth as a thermal battery.  Don’t argue against these things; cooling towers have been done, so it’s proven they CAN be done.

    The NRC reports that the capacity factor of nuclear is about 90%

    You link a page last updated in 2011.  The EiA page on capacity factors by energy source doesn’t even list nuclear because it’s so high.  In 2018, US nuclear plants generated 807178 MWh from 99,000 MW of capacity for a capacity factor of 93.1%, which includes outages scheduled for minimum-demand periods.  To be concise about it, GFYS.

  41. 41

    Al Bundy (Caldwell) gets huffy @35:

    EP,
    Please abide by the tenets of confidentiality, be it with your family, your friends, strangers, or online.

    “Al”,

    Quit yer whining.  I did not repeat a word of what you sent me.  My reply was in deliberate code which is only meaningful to you.  Nobody is going to reverse-engineer it to figure out what you propose, and it was still pertinent and helpful to you as it set out where I think you missed the goalposts.  That IS what you asked for; you got it (for free!), and now you’re complaining.

    I can’t work with anyone as prickly as you are.  Further mails will be charged as cyberstalking.

  42. 42
    zebra says:

    #34 Kevin McKinney,

    You are still falling into the language trap, for whatever reason. In my example, there is a source, a load, and the wires connecting them. That’s physics.

    You want there to be “a grid” in the traditional paradigm, but that language has 100 years of baggage, which is something I would expect you to understand. I’ve posed a physics question.

    -My “grid” is the wires only. We have a source, the inverter, and a load…my house when the sun isn’t shining.

    -The meter on my house, and the meter at the source, is standardized by the grid (the wires) “operator”. The meters are coupled, so that if the inverter (source) fails, my meter instantly disconnects my house (load). (And all the other loads that have contracted with that source, obviously.) And, if necessary, the meter at the source disconnects the source.

    If you really don’t understand that, you have to explain why, because it does seem pretty straightforward.

    So the question was, what “ancillary services” are needed? The grid (wires) are not affected, nor are other sources and loads… a transient blip, perhaps, but nothing meaningful.

    And, of course, as we get more granular… beyond the meter level at both ends of the wire… it only gets more stable and efficient.

    And this is not some wild fantasy; I’ve given sources that address the technology. It all exists.

    And by the way… if my house is the load, what is the “baseload” of my house?

  43. 43
    Michael Sweet says:

    Engineer Poet:

    At 481 last month you demand that Nigelj provide references to support his claims about Abbott 2012. I am gald to see that you now want to provide references to support claims. Unfortunately, at 463 where you claim Abbott has mistakes you do not provide any source of information. Everything you post is simply your unsupported opinion.

    Let us examine some of your claims at 463. You say that Abbott overestimated the number of required nuclear reactors. You then calculate that nuclear plants produce three times as much thermal power. The boilers would only be 33% efficient. You plan to recover 100% of the waste heat for use. Obviously that violates the first law of thermodynamics but I will not go there now. At the end of the same post you claim that the boilers in the reactors are 45% efficient. This is much higher than your previous claim in the same post. Obviously it is deliberately dishonest to use two different numbers for the same thing. Using 45% instead of 33% increases reactors needed to 6750 from 5000.

    You only built out enough reactors to provide the average power used. Without massive storage that cannot provide peak power. To provide peak power you need at least double the number of reactors. That is 1350 reactors.

    You assume that all reactors will run 24/7/365 for 80 years. You include no time for refueling, short time maintenance, long term maintenance and upgrades. Obviously that is ignorant and impossible. I will use 90% running although a worldwide figure is closer to 70%. (The Russians claim 70% at the breeder reactor you favor). We are back to 15,000 reactors!. Unfortunately you have left off long term maintenance like repairing and upgrading the boilers. Assuming that they do not screw up and destroy the reactors like they did at San Onofre and Crystal River, at least 15% of time is spent in long term maintenance. That increases the number of reactors needed to 17,500.

    I could go on but those are the major factors you left out. Obviously Abbott was being extremely conservative. A better minimum number of reactors required to power the world would be 20,000 at least. That is if we recover 100% of the waste heat for use. Without recovering all the waste heat it would be 40,000 reactors. You will need to build out 3 reactors a day forever to have that many reactors. Please provide a reference for your extraordinarily low numbers of reactors.

    Actual research papers about energy find it most difficult to power airplanes and marine transport. You only generate enough electricity to power current domestic use and electrify transportation. Please describe how you plan to run all heavy industry, airplanes and marine transport on waste heat. Provide references. You cannot use electrofuels because you do not generate enough electricity with 5000 reactors.

    I have a much easier plan to provide all power using waste heat. Set up a large heat exchanger using hydro power (only one dam will be needed to start the cycle). Use the heat exchanger to cool a city using 1000 MW of power. Heat exchangers generate three times as much waste heat as the input electrical energy. Use the 3000 MW of waste heat to generate 3,000 MW of electricity. Use that electricity to run another heat exchanger. By building enough heat exchangers you can power the entire world on the waste heat!!!!! After the heat exchangers are built you can tear down the dam and restore the river to its natural state.

    This plan is bullet proof: all the equipment is existing. You will not have to rely on undesigned nuclear power plants.

    Now that I have posted some here I recognize your posting style. You have been banned many times from Skeptical Science since you make wild unsupported claims and constantly repeat claims that have been proven incorrect. I will leave this waste of time.

  44. 44
    Michael Sweet says:

    Nigelj:

    The link you provide is to the abstract of Smart Energy Europe. I have provided a link to that abstract at least 5 times to you. Abstracts are never paywalled. Since you do not know that abstracts are never paywalled that indicates that you never read papers. You need to do a lot more reading and less posting.

    Upthread or last month you claimed that nuclear power does not require storage. That is astonishingly ignorant and uninformed. As I say in the above post to EP, building out the minimum number of reactors, as nuclear supporters here support, would require massive storage to provide daily and seasonal peak power. You are repeating the deliberate falsehoods that EP and David Benson feed you here. A reference to support your ignorant claim cannot be provided because nuclear supporters have never published a plan to provide all world power using nuclear power. The plan has never been put forward because nuclear supporters know that it is impossible to provide all world power using nuclear power.

    Abbott has shown that it is impossible to provide more than 5% of world power using nuclear power. The paper “Response to Burden of Proof” https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1364032118303307, which I have referred you to several times but you have not read, proves that nuclear power is a waste of money in a renewable world because baseload power is too cheap for nuclear to make any money.

    Flexible peak power is the requirement in a world with a lot of wind and solar. Baseload is easy. We already see in the USA that with only 20-30% renewable energy in the mix nuclear plants to go bankrupt.

  45. 45

    #37, DBB–

    Thanks, David, for a useful explication. I suppose I was really thinking more of baseload *power*, so-called sometimes, at least–what you were referring to here:

    Traditionally the utilities have used thermal generators and hydropower for this portion of the load.

    As for options, yes, many different things are being tried–and sensibly, as conditions are not the same everywhere, of course, whether financial, economic, or metereological. Thanks for the link of links. And you’d already mentioned the increasingly numerous ‘RE plus’ projects, as (previously) have I.

  46. 46

    zebra repeats himself @32:

    the world has moved on from 1970’s technology.

    Did you notice anything about the article you cited?

    I’ll call it out for you:  MPPT.  Maximum Power Point Tracking.  This is a system which fine-tunes the panel voltages in order to get every last milliwatt they can produce and cram it through the inverter.  This is NOT being responsive to the grid.  It increases the need for regulation, aka “balancing”; a responsive system would curtail power when the grid frequency was high, or route it to storage.  It is the opposite of inertia.

    Inertia is one more “ancillary service” that the grid literally cannot do without.  Large synchronous machines provide it automagically.  Electronic devices have to be specifically engineered to do it.

  47. 47
    nigelj says:

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/apr/05/climate-crisis-villains-oil-industry-big-banks-pipelines

    Big Oil is using the coronavirus pandemic to push through the Keystone XL pipeline Bill McKibben….The oil industry saw its opening and moved with breathtaking speed to take advantage of this moment…

  48. 48
    David B. Benson says:

    zebra @39 — Baseload is that portion of the total demand which is omnipresent, 24/7.

  49. 49
    nigelj says:

    Michael Sweet @49

    You repeatedly shove words in my mouth and other peoples mouths. You repeatedly make false accusations against me and other people.

    Anyone with any intelligence can see it actually doesnt matter too much whether we build renewables or nuclear power or some combination. They are both clean energy and in the long run a smart person can work out the costs won’t be too different.

    I’ve said it before the nuclear power v renewables debate seems silly to me. Different power sources suit different countries. None are 100% reliable but we get by pretty well.

    “The link you provide is to the abstract of Smart Energy Europe. I have provided a link to that abstract at least 5 times to you. Abstracts are never paywalled. Since you do not know that abstracts are never paywalled that indicates that you never read papers. You need to do a lot more reading and less posting.”

    And I have explained three times to you I didnt read the link originally because I thought you said it had been taken offline. Of course I know abstracts are not paywalled. Ive copied and pasted several on skepticalscience.com and you know that.

    Instead of your empty rhetoric, why dont you answer EPs detailed and quantified criticisms of the paper made on last months FR thread? Or dont you know how?

    “Upthread or last month you claimed that nuclear power does not require storage. That is astonishingly ignorant and uninformed.”

    You are making wild unsubstantiated and 100% false claims. This is what I said @16 ” Nuclear power doesn’t need that degree of storage, (as much as renewables need) just a bit of spinning reserves”. Spinning reserves are synonymous with storage.

    “As I say in the above post to EP, building out the minimum number of reactors, as nuclear supporters here support would require massive storage to provide daily and seasonal peak power. ”

    Rubbish. Nuclear power does not require the same level of storage as a solar / wind power grid, all other things being equal. That is well documented. Read the comments on battery farms by BPL @7 to get some idea.

    “You are repeating the deliberate falsehoods that EP and David Benson feed you here. ”

    Rubbish and slander.

    “A reference to support your ignorant claim…”

    Ad homionem and personal abuse.

    “…..cannot be provided because nuclear supporters have never published a plan to provide all world power using nuclear power. ”

    Whatever. Take the issue up with Engineer Poet. And your alleged lack of a global plan doesnt stop nuclear power being a viable solution for part of the world. I have never promoted that the whole world can or should be powered by nuclear power, so stop implying I have.

    “The plan has never been put forward because nuclear supporters know that it is impossible to provide all world power using nuclear power.”

    Whatever you say (sarc)

    “Abbott has shown that it is impossible to provide more than 5% of world power using nuclear power. The paper “Response to Burden of Proof” https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1364032118303307, which I have referred you to several times but you have not read…”

    Dont tell me what you think I have read or not read. The paper is just conjecture. You need far more scepticism of papers related to technology. They are far less reliable than papers on the science.

    “Flexible peak power is the requirement in a world with a lot of wind and solar. Baseload is easy. We already see in the USA that with only 20-30% renewable energy in the mix nuclear plants to go bankrupt.”

    So what is going to provide flexible peak power? Gas with its CO2 emissions? This is not ideal and you need a lot of it. The only reason nuclear power struggles against wind and solar is because they don’t have to provide full scale storage.

    All your numbers criticisng nuclear power can be shown to be BS because Nuclear power has worked ok in France for decades. It requires some reserve power for maintainance and problems but not that much. You are trying to spin this into a big problem when it isn’t. And I fully concede one advantage of wind power is mainating a few individual turbines is easy.

    You are so one sided in your thinking like a man posessed.

    You say to EP @40 use hydro power as a basis for providing urban heating. What about all the countries that dont have hydro power? What about its considerable environmental impacts?

    Apologies for the screed people, but when I’m viciously personally attacked and when people so blatantly put words in my mouth I tend to fight back.

  50. 50
    zebra says:

    Michael Sweet,

    #41: “baseload power is too cheap” OMG, finally someone who has a clue!

    #40: Yes, I picked up on the borderline perpetual motion thinking when EP first started here. Something about using generated electricity to generate heat for preheating the combustion air used to generate electricity… aaaahhhhh…

    Well, anyway, thanks for the reference you gave; lots of good stuff in there. I’m betting if you stop back in a month or two the same repetitive incoherent ranting will still be going on.