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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. 201
    David B. Benson says:

    This ingenious invention
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doubly-fed_electric_machine#Brushless_wound-rotor_doubly_fed_electric_machine
    enhances controlability in
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_turbine_design
    while lowering costs of the power electronics compared to using a rectifier from the hub motor followed by an inverter to match the grid frequency.

  2. 202
    zebra says:

    #193 Kevin McKinney,

    “If I understand you correctly, your contention is that all of that can be efficiently substituted by the ‘z-grid.’”

    Absolutely wrong understanding, Kevin. Perhaps if you would address my actual words– ask about what I actually said if it isn’t clear– it would improve communication for all concerned; I could figure out how to say it better or what background you are lacking.

    The z-grid is the wires, as I’ve said over and over, and the ‘meters’ or interface at source and load. That’s it. The operator sets the specifications, and if some source fails to meet those specs, the source and its load are disconnected.

    That’s it. It prevents any given source from interfering with the functioning of all the others. It prevents transformers from exploding, and so on, because all inputs are in spec.

    I (believe) I coined the term “virtual microgrids” to describe that. If you don’t understand, please say so.

    But then we have the bilateral arrangement between sources and loads. If we have a virtual microgrid, that doesn’t function in any way differently from an isolated microgrid with actual physical wires. Now think about this carefully:

    The operator of the source is who is responsible for all the functions you list above. I think I already said that…”keeping its customers happy”; perhaps you missed it. The source operator has every incentive to avoid going out of spec, because if it happens its customers will eventually switch to a more reliable source.

    Within the virtual microgrid, the smart meters are there in addition to all the other stuff like storage and backup and so on. They make it easier to maintain reliability. This is a completely separate function from the purpose they serve for the z-grid.

    OK, if you have any questions about this, please ask. But if you now understand the nuts and bolts, please articulate your understanding, and the discussion can move on to the pros and cons relative to the traditional monopolistic paradigm.

  3. 203

    Al Bundy writes @191:

    So current turbine designs use blade pitch to keep their frequency in sync with the grid?

    The blades are fixed.  The turbines have throttle valves at the inlets, though.

    Or do they ramp their amperage up and down via electrical engineering voodoo?

    Yes, AAMOF.  The real power is varied by controlling the steam supply, and the reactive power is varied via the excitation of the alternator field.

    So, EP, is the z-grid’s brutally enforced curtailment coupled with finding consumers willing to go dark when supply is insufficient sufficient?

    If you can find enough such consumers, I suppose.  This leaves you with the “potline problem”, but what are cold showers and un-frozen freezers full of rotting food worth?

    EP has clarified, but I’ve not seen diddly that suggests that he’s changed his tune.

    What Sour says is definitely more about him than about me.

    You can whine and moan, but he’s got more spare neurons than your total number of neurons and he’s 100% truthful and open. He says what he thinks regardless of whether it brings gentle showers or devastating hail.

    Literally LMAO here.  Looks like you CAN get people to take you seriously by being frank, open and sincere, even if you are a curmudgeon!

    Comes with his non-typical brain structure.

    It comes from NGAF; my goal has been to have people hate me for 15 years and counting.  Yes, still LMAO.

  4. 204

    #191, Al–

    EP: The turbine is on the same shaft as the alternator, which cannot generate power unless it is synced to the grid; it cannot slow down without going off-line.

    AB: So current turbine designs use blade pitch to keep their frequency in sync with the grid? Or do they ramp their amperage up and down via electrical engineering voodoo?

    Not a big deal, but while there are some wind turbines that are ‘direct drive’, it’s more common that there is a gearbox. (90:1 is apparently a common ratio.)

    https://www.windpowerengineering.com/gears-gearboxes-101/

    Says here–an old source but maybe still valid–that:

    The frequency of the generator output varies with wind speed. So rather than being connected directly to the grid, the generator output gets rectified to dc. The dc then is converted to ac synchronized to the grid frequency.

    Then there’s this:

    All grid-connected wind turbines, from the first one in 1939 until the development of variable-speed grid-connected wind turbines in the 1970s, were fixed-speed wind turbines. As recently as 2003, nearly all grid-connected wind turbines operated at exactly constant speed (synchronous generators) or within a few percent of constant speed (induction generators). As of 2011, many operational wind turbines used fixed speed induction generators (FSIG). As of 2011, most new grid-connected wind turbines are variable speed wind turbines—they are in some variable speed configuration.

    Moreover:

    The generator in a wind turbine produces alternating current (AC) electricity. Some turbines drive an AC/AC converter—which converts the AC to direct current (DC) with a rectifier and then back to AC with an inverter—in order to match the frequency and phase of the grid. However, the most common method in large modern turbines is to instead use a doubly fed induction generator directly connected to the electricity grid.

    A useful technique to connect a permanent magnet synchronous generator to the grid is by using a back-to-back converter. Also, we can have control schemes so as to achieve unity power factor in the connection to the grid. In that way the wind turbine will not consume reactive power, which is the most common problem with wind turbines that use induction machines. This leads to a more stable power system. Moreover, with different control schemes a wind turbine with a permanent magnet synchronous generator can provide or consume reactive power. So, it can work as a dynamic capacitor/inductor bank so as to help with the power systems’ stability.

    That’s all from here:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_turbine_design#Connection_to_the_electric_grid

  5. 205
    David B. Benson says:

    nigelj @198 — As far as I know the government of Texas has no so-called global warming plan.

  6. 206
    nigelj says:

    Zebras z grid should be called the dumb grid, or the rotten meat grid. Surely the z grid is all some sort of sick joke?

  7. 207

    #202, zebra–

    The z-grid is the wires, as I’ve said over and over, and the ‘meters’ or interface at source and load. That’s it. The operator sets the specifications, and if some source fails to meet those specs, the source and its load are disconnected.

    Still sounds like a recipe for low reliability to me, as previously discussed. Or at least mentioned by everyone except you. (And now apparently you are tacitly agreeing, because apparently the z-grid can’t efficiently substitute for the ancillary services now on offer from the grid.)

    The operator of the source is who is responsible for all the functions you list above. I think I already said that…”keeping its customers happy”; perhaps you missed it. The source operator has every incentive to avoid going out of spec, because if it happens its customers will eventually switch to a more reliable source. …the smart meters are there in addition to all the other stuff like storage and backup and so on.

    So, now every generator is responsible for the delivery of the electricity, too? How can that work when they don’t have operational control, let alone ownership, of the transmission apparatus? (And they don’t, otherwise the customer would not have the ability to shift providers without connecting to a different physical grid.)

    This is making less and less sense. And I didn’t even want to have this conversation in the first place.

  8. 208

    E-P 203: my goal has been to have people hate me for 15 years and counting.

    BPL: Congratulations! You have succeeded. You’re one of the most hateful people I’ve ever encountered on the internet. Way to communicate your message!

  9. 209
    zebra says:

    #207 Kevin McKinney

    It’s hard to believe that you are being serious here, Kevin.

    I did not say “.. every generator is responsible for ‘the delivery’ of the electricity”

    I said the source operator was responsible for maintaining the specifications required by the z-grid operator, so that it and its customers would not be disconnected. Did you not understand the term “virtual microgrid”? If you didn’t, you should have asked for an explanation.

    If you really are serious, you will answer this question and not evade it:

    There are two towns, A and B, and each is served by its own utility grid operating various generators…wind, gas, nuclear, whatever… using completely separate wires for the two towns. The utilities maintain the frequency and voltage for their customers using various techniques. They each have a level of “reliability”, by some metric.

    Now we connect the two sets of wires to the z-grid, and all the customers get z-meters. So we have source A and source B, with all the same equipment and control systems as before, feeding the z-grid. Maybe some customers in town A will contract with source B, and some in town B with source A, for whatever reason.

    Please explain why the reliability changes. If utility A occasionally couldn’t balance its system before, and the system crashed sometimes when it operated in isolation from utility B, why would there be more instances of imbalance now?

    I see no reason for less reliability; as I explained several times, the z-meters allow for better control of what source A and source B are feeding to the z-grid. So far I’ve heard nothing to contradict that.

  10. 210
    Mal Adapted says:

    nigelj:

    Research study: Why carbon pricing is not sufficient to mitigate climate change—and how “sustainability transition policy” can help. Daniel Rosenblooma,1, Jochen Markardb, Frank W. Geelsc, and Lea Fuenfschillingd.

    https://www.pnas.org/content/pnas/early/2020/04/07/2004093117.full.pdf

    Thanks, that’s an interesting article, especially for carbon-fee-and-dividend proponents like myself. The authors’ affiliations are in economics, political science and business management. It’s amply referenced, but labeled “Opinion” rather than “Research”. Maybe that’s stategic, given the somewhat squishy status of those academic disciplines? As opinion, I haven’t found anything in it to argue against. I’m not really prepared to credibly challenge their facts or analysis, either. Regardless, I’m not opposed in principle to targeted subsidies, command-and-control regulations, or well-thought-out direct actions at the grass roots. And while I’m of the opinion that the US economy, specifically, can be decarbonized without doing away with capitalism altogether, I know that won’t make it sustainable over the longer term. Decarbonization is merely a proximate goal of democratic collective action, with systemic change the more ultimate one. It’s simply that we can’t wait for the slow, hard fight for systemic change, before taking the easier steps of carbon taxes or Clean Power Plans. We just have to reserve the right to take additional measures later.

    AFAICT, the first hurdle is to assemble a governing plurality of US voters for climate realism, to evict climate-science deniers from office. Then, we have to hold their successors to their climate-friendly words (go, Greta). Of course, a genuine political-science expert might say “I think you’ll find it’s a bit more complicated than that.” Meh, let’s just get started. Vote Blue in November!

  11. 211

    DBB writes @201:

    This ingenious invention enhances controlability in while lowering costs of the power electronics compared to using a rectifier from the hub motor followed by an inverter to match the grid frequency.

    (NB:  I thought Al was asking about steam turbines.)  The double-wound alternator is essentially a wound-rotor induction motor with the rotor windings connected to a frequency converter rather than a resistor bank (the external resistor bank is used to remove most of the heat generation from the rotor itself, and also control the “slip”).  By driving the rotor at a low frequency through the frequency converter, the slip can also be varied and power can be generated from it without having to put the full machine’s power through electronics, allowing a smaller and cheaper converter.  As power electronics continue to get cheaper, this appears to be losing favor to machines which can generate reactive power (my understanding is that most double-wound machines cannot generate reactive power, perhaps because their grid-side electronics are grid-commutated).  Green Mountain Power had issues with a major wind farm being forced to curtail output because it demanded a lot of reactive power and the statewide grid could not supply it; this was eventually solved with the installation of a synchronous condenser at the wind farm.

    Note, in an AC machine the power is directly proportional to the frequency.  Having 6 Hz of slip between the rotor and stator requires only 10% of the power-handling capacity of a 60 Hz drive.

  12. 212

    BPL: Congratulations! You have succeeded. You’re one of the most hateful people I’ve ever encountered on the internet.

    I am so pumped now.  (Did I mention ZFG?)

  13. 213

    Mal Adapted writes @210:

    The authors’ affiliations are in economics, political science and business management. It’s amply referenced, but labeled “Opinion” rather than “Research”. Maybe that’s stategic, given the somewhat squishy status of those academic disciplines?

    As non-scientists their views really can’t be taken as anything more than opinion.

    As opinion, I haven’t found anything in it to argue against.

    Aside from the fact that they’re wrong in several ways?  They wrote this:

    First, carbon pricing frames climate change as a market failure rather than as a fundamental system problem. Second, it places particular weight on efficiency as opposed to effectiveness. Third, it tends to stimulate the optimization of existing systems rather than transformation. Fourth, it suggests a universal instead of context-sensitive policy approach.

    Going down that list:

    1.  Climate change is most certainly both of those things.  The failure to price climate effects into fossil fuels is a market failure which is causing system problems.  A sufficiently high price will pretty much eliminate fossil fuels… but that’s not enough.

    2.  It’s unclear what this even means.

    3.  There comes a point where a sufficiently high cost leads to replacement of one system with another system.  Whale oil used to be the go-to source for lighting, until it became too costly.  This led to its replacement by “rock oil” (petroleum) and town gas.  Now we need another replacement.  Different reasons, same process.

    4.  It’s unclear what this means too.  Does “context-sensitive” mean letting China and the Third World burn fossil fuels because they are too poor to be asked to stop making the problem worse?  Does it mean letting Indonesia keep converting rainforest into palm oil plantations, because economic development?

    I distrust people who spout bafflegab.  The authors throw buzzwords around without ever daring to name the real problem:  we are going to need billions of tons per year of net CO2 removal to remediate our climate, and a mere price on carbon cannot get below zero because at that point nobody is paying any carbon taxes.  And yes, this is a HUGE political issue and will be until most of the population is convinced that we have a serious problem on our hands and have to deal with it.  The problem there is the decades of lag between dumping GHGs and realizing the bulk of their effects; by the time we experience effects bad enough to spur action, much worse is already “baked in”.  A push for “sustainability” does not address this, and humans are ill-equipped to appreciate change that occurs slowly relative to a lifetime.

  14. 214
    nigelj says:

    Zebra tells us his z grid will involve periodically cutting off peoples appliances, and now tells us that his z grid improves reliability. Somebody please get the men in white coats….

  15. 215
    James Charles says:

    “Michael Moore Presents: Planet of the Humans | Full Documentary | Directed by Jeff Gibbs”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zk11vI-7czE&emci=6002b3a0-ff83-ea11-a94c-00155d03b1e8&emdi=25426d90-0184-ea11-a94c-00155d03b1e8&ceid=8252262

    Or?

    “LONDON, 19 February, 2020 − Virtually all the world’s demand for electricity to run transport and to heat and cool homes and offices, as well as to provide the power demanded by industry, could be met by renewable energy by mid-century.
    This is the consensus of 47 peer-reviewed research papers from 13 independent groups with a total of 91 authors that have been brought together by Stanford University in California.”
    https://web.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/Articles/I/CombiningRenew/100PercentPaperAbstracts.pdf

  16. 216
    Tom Adams says:

    The new Michael Moore movie “Planet of the Humans” has not been mentioned here yet. I have not seen it yet. Seems to be based on the book “Green Illusions” which I also have not read.

    From reviews I gather that it argues that green energy is not green enough (or green at all?). I think it argues that the planet cannot support our current energy consumption rate no matter what.

  17. 217

    #209, zebra–

    OK, I am officially out of patience with being blamed for your poor communication skills.

    Congratulations, you just joined the ‘scroll past’ brigade.

  18. 218

    https://web.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/Articles/I/CombiningRenew/100PercentPaperAbstracts.pdf

    That’s just a collection of abstracts, no meat.  Jacobson has published slipshod work himself; there’s a strong likelihood that every one of the papers listed has equal or greater flaws, because the ends claimed have been nigh-impossible to achieve in practice.  Everything depends on dispatchable power, and if hydro is not sufficient and nuclear is off the table that always winds up being coal or natural gas.  France decarbonized its electricity 25 years ago, while Germany cannot even set a date when it will stop burning lignite.

  19. 219
    Al Bundy says:

    Tom Adams: From reviews I gather that it argues that green energy is not green enough (or green at all?). I think it argues that the planet cannot support our current energy consumption rate no matter what.

    AB: So they agree with EP?

  20. 220
    Mr. Know It All says:

    Good synopsis of the new Michael Moore movie “Planet of the Humans”:

    https://www.breitbart.com/environment/2020/04/22/michael-moore-backed-planet-of-the-humans-takes-apart-the-lefts-green-energy-scams/

    Sort comments by “best”.

  21. 221
    nigelj says:

    Mal Adapted @210, makes sense to me. My take. I think a carbon tax has the merit of giving everything a push towards lower carbon without needing a complex web of issue specific government regulations and subsidies. However a very strong carbon tax might cause inflation, might not be acceptable to the public, and like EP says carbon taxes dont get net removal of carbon, so I also think we need a carbon tax plus at least some other rules and subsidies etc to push things along from a pragmatic sort of view.

    You mentioned capitalism possibly being unsustainable long term. It is certainly looking like it needs a serious overhaul. I agree with you this is a longer term project and climate change and carbon taxes etc should be the immediate main priority. If we try to radically change the economic system before we address climate issues, we will probably still be debating how to radically change the economic system in 50 years time and will probably come up with the wrong formula anyway!

    Alternatives to capitalism have been tried including communism and self sufficient communal lifestyle communities, and shared ownership of industry etc, but many of these systems have failed. I have lost faith in idealistic planned alternatives like this, and too much shared ownership, and revolutions, and think we have to promote things that gradually push capitalism to evolve to something more sensible perhaps with less focus just on the profit motive and more focus on social and environmental values. This might all lead to capitalism changing quite fundamentally anyway, and capitalism might reach a tipping point where its forced to change, but like I say I’m cautious about “grand idealistic plans” given the history of such things, and human fallibilities.

  22. 222

    Mr. Know It All writes @220:

    Good synopsis of the new Michael Moore movie “Planet of the Humans”:

    https://www.breitbart.com/environment/2020/04/22/michael-moore-backed-planet-of-the-humans-takes-apart-the-lefts-green-energy-scams/

    Sort comments by “best”.

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAhahahaha!

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHOHOHOHOHOhohohoo…….

    The hypocrisy of the “environmentalist” left is so blatant, MICHAEL FUCKING MOORE AGREES WITH ME NOW!!!!

    HOW FUCKING GREAT IS THAT?!

    Money quotes:

    Many green efforts, the film notes, are simply façades. Twice during the film, Gibbs goes backstage at concerts purporting to be powered by solar energy to find they are, in fact, reliant on backup fuel generators or the municipal electrical grid.

    Gibbs warns that many “green” energy projects are merely the tools of wealthy billionaires and corporations, who have bought off the environmental movement — including groups like the Sierra Club and activists like Bill McKibben.

    Been saying this for a while.

    Planet of the Humans makes the “Green New Deal,” beloved by the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, seem all but impossible. The solar and wind energy prescribed by the plan cannot be produced without the continuous use of fossil fuels.

    One might expect these critiques from a conservative filmmaker. For that reason, the left may be reluctant to embrace this film, as it has Moore’s other, more election-friendly projects.

    But Gibbs and Moore are firmly on the left. The film argues that the only real way to save the planet is to control population and consumption — not to invest in “green” capitalism.

    WAY too funny.

    Nuclear energy enthusiast Mike Shellenberger, reviewing the film, noted in Forbes: “There has always been enough fossil fuels to power human civilization for hundreds and perhaps thousands of years, and nuclear energy is effectively infinite.” But he credited Moore and Gibbs for exposing the “green” claims of companies like Apple as a sham, noting that no company can rely 100% on renewable energy alone.

    Planet of the Humans asks the left to take a hard look at its own hypocrisy, and how easily its utopian visions have been exploited by self-dealers and rent-seekers. And perhaps it will open a productive conservation with conservatives as well.

    Maybe the left could go back to “Atoms Not Dams”, where we were about half a century ago.  And just FIX THE DAMN PROBLEM ALREADY.

    I’ve argued nuclear power to my local chapter of Citizens Climate Lobby.  I was rejected and shut out.  I wonder if this will open them up, finally.

    If I die tonight, I would die fulfilled.  Seriously.  This is wonderful stuff.  Still LMAO.

  23. 223
    Mr. Know It All says:

    221 – nigelj
    “…However a very strong carbon tax might cause inflation, might not be acceptable to the public, and like EP says carbon taxes dont get net removal of carbon, so I also think we need a carbon tax plus at least some other rules and subsidies etc to push things along from a pragmatic sort of view.”

    May have inflation someday, but likely a depressionary collapse first and that has already started thanks to the virus.

    221 – nigelj
    “…If we try to radically change the economic system before we address climate issues, we will probably still be debating how to radically change the economic system in 50 years time and will probably come up with the wrong formula anyway!”

    Why wait 50 years? Why not address CC and the economic system this month? Did you not notice that CO2 emissions have been cut drastically? How long do you think this economic shutdown can continue before the entire economic system collapses? Do you think any of this is a coincidence? I don’t.

  24. 224
    Killian says:

    Michael Moore should have talked to me ten years ago. Better late than never… until it’s *too* late…

    https://variety.com/2020/film/reviews/planet-of-the-humans-film-review-1234586660/amp/

  25. 225
  26. 226
    Dan says:

    re:220. KIA continues to show he has not learned a darn thing about science. He actually flaunts his scientific ignorance by linking to a Breitbart review. Seriously? The fact of the matter is that KIA does not have a clue about science or how it is conducted (the scientific method). By posting pure political agenda crap it reflects his constant need for affirmation of his ignorance/beliefs which have little to do with science. His insecurity is such that he can not admit to being wrong, thus he seeks affirmation from right wing extremist conspiracy pages which have little to no validity. And by posting them he feels “right” because facts do no matter to him. What an incredibly weak, insecure man. Just like his anti-science messiah in the WH.

  27. 227
    Ray Ladbury says:

    I probably won’t be seeing Moore’s new movie. While he can be entertaining, he’s not particularly insightful or deep. He also suffers from a malady that seems to be epidemic on the political left–rejection of the better because it isn’t the best.
    Unfortunately, Best is rarely on the menu. Every day you have a choice of making things better or making things worse. In fact, those are your only two choices. You can’t even try to leave things the same, because every day you leave them the same is a day lost to making them better. You don’t even have to try to make things worse–entropy will see to that.
    There isn’t a perfect energy infrastructure. There is no perfect economy, no perfect political system, no perfect candidate. Yes, using energy from green sources increases entropy–you’re using energy at a temperature above absolute zero. It’s physics. However, green sources of energy in general produce a whole helluvalot less environmental damage than do non-renewable sources (and that includes nukes, fusion…). This isn’t news to anyone who has read Limits to Growth or the other work by the Club of Rome.

    All we can do is try to tread a little more lightly on the planet, do a little less damage, and maybe try to make a few things better when the opportunity presents itself.

    Work to make things better or let things get worse. Choose.

  28. 228
    zebra says:

    Poor Communicators

    So, Kevin M has decided to do a flounce because he can’t answer a simple question… and blames poor communication on my part. But he refuses to help me communicate better by engaging in dialogue.

    The thing is, I provided a not-overly-technical source, published in Scientific American, written by a professional science writer, in conjunction with a high-level specialist in EE.

    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/preventing-blackouts-power-grid/

    The writer has a degree in English as well as PhD in physics.

    The engineer has an absurdly long CV, but briefly is called “the father of the smart grid”, and, incidentally,

    “from June 2010 to August 2017, was a member of the Texas Reliability Entity (as board chairman), a utility industry regional entity that oversees reliability of ERCOT region.”

    Just sayin’. But here’s what they think:

    A complete transition also requires digitization of the small, low-voltage distribution lines that feed each home and business. A key element is to replace the decades-old power meter, which relies on turning gears, with a digital meter that can not only track the current going into a building but also track current sent back out. This will allow utilities to much better assess how much power and reactive power is flowing from independent producers back into the grid. It will also allow a utility to sense very local disturbances, which can provide an earlier warning of problems that may be mounting, thereby improving look-ahead simulation. And it will allow utilities to offer customers hour-by-hour rates, including incentives to run appliances and machines during off-peak times that might vary day to day, reducing demand spikes that can destabilize a grid. Unlike a meter, this digital energy portal would allow network intelligence to flow back and forth, with consumers responding to variations in pricing. The portal is a tool for moving beyond the commodity model of electricity delivery into a new era of energy services as diverse as those in today’s dynamic telecommunications market.

    But, apparently, the opinion of the Realclimate Stable Genius Stable are more convincing… that smart meters cause blackouts instead of preventing them. Who knew?

  29. 229
    Al Bundy says:

    NigelJ: However a very strong carbon tax might cause inflation, might not be acceptable to the public, and like EP says carbon taxes dont get net removal of carbon,

    AB: I’m thinking a carbon tax and dividend’s net near-zero monetary impact is less of a concern than the ever-so-many-trillions being dumped into the system right now.

    And a carbon tax mathematically works to remove carbon. Just hit that “-” button when calculating the dollar amount.

  30. 230
    Thomas says:

    THE OLD CHESTNUT WON’T GO AWAY.

    FROM A NEW DOCO PRODUCED BY MICHAEL MOORE — PLANET OF THE HUMANS

    DOES RENEWABLE ENERGY SUPPLY ACTUALLY REDUCE FOSSIL FUEL DEMAND AND GHG EMISSIONS?

    Batteries, Ivanpah Solar and the Koch Brothers Silicon EVs and more
    https://youtu.be/Zk11vI-7czE?t=1762

  31. 231

    KIA says:

    “Good synopsis of the new Michael Moore movie “Planet of the Humans”:

    https://www.breitbart.com/environment/2020/04/22/michael-moore-backed-planet-of-the-humans-takes-apart-the-lefts-green-energy-scams/

    Not a good synopsis at all. A better synopsis is that because of the unnamed issue of massive oil depletion the world is experiencing a crisis in choosing a transitional energy. This would be happening even if climate change was not a concern. The movie thus does not present a balanced view of climate change, fossil fuel depletion, and environmental destruction.

    The Breitbart piece says this:

    “One does not have to agree with those conclusions to see the value in the film. Nuclear energy enthusiast Mike Shellenberger, reviewing the film, noted in Forbes: “There has always been enough fossil fuels to power human civilization for hundreds and perhaps thousands of years, and nuclear energy is effectively infinite.” But he credited Moore and Gibbs for exposing the “green” claims of companies like Apple as a sham, noting that no company can rely 100% on renewable energy alone.”

    There’s not a sane analysis that would show that there are enough FF for “100’s and perhaps 1000’s of years”. Note how a message can get hijacked if the underlying reality is not hammered home.

  32. 232

    People have been asking me how much my all-nuclear scheme would cost.  I now have an answer for the reprocessed fuel, at least.

    Discovered and read:  “Costs of Reprocessing Versus Directly Disposing of Spent Nuclear Fuel”

    https://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/ftpdocs/88xx/doc8808/11-14-nuclearfuel.pdf

    Money quote from page 3:

    Two studies illustrate the range of estimates of the cost difference between reprocessing and direct disposal. A study by the Boston Consulting Group estimates that reprocessing spent nuclear fuel would cost $585 per kilogram—or about 6 percent more than direct disposal. CBO’s analysis of another study, by a group of researchers affiliated with Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, suggests that reprocessing would cost about $1,300 per kilogram—or more than twice as much as direct disposal.

    So the worst-case number is $1300/kg.  $1300/kg sounds like a lot, but based on reprocessing of 10,000 tons/year of driver fuel plus another 5,000 tpy of breeding blanket material (much of which can probably be cycled 2-3 times before reprocessing) to generate 1.3 TW(e), the cost of reprocessing would only be 1.71 mills/kWh(e).  It would be closer to 20¢/million BTU thermal; this is about 1/10 the current cost of steam coal.  At $1300/kg, reprocessing 15000 tpy is $19.5 billion per year.  Peanuts.

    Cross-checking this number with Dubberly’s burnup of ~102.71 MW-d/kg and 1.5 kg reprocessed per kg driver fuel (part of the breeding blanket as well), I get $0.232 per million BTU, 1.98 mils/kWh @ 40% thermal efficiency.

    Reprocessing metal fuel would likely be cheaper than handling spent oxide LWR fuel, because the reduction step is skipped.

    We can do this, and we ought to be able to do it for cheap.  And we can make the “waste” literally go away.

  33. 233

    Ray Ladbury writes @227:

    I probably won’t be seeing Moore’s new movie. While he can be entertaining, he’s not particularly insightful or deep.

    It’s not Moore’s film, it’s his producer Jeff Gibbs’.  Gibbs digs into the contradictions and evasions of the “Greens”, asks pointed questions they fail to answer, and finally digs into their financing.  I’ll let you watch it to find out just who a lot of this money comes from.

    However, green sources of energy in general produce a whole helluvalot less environmental damage than do non-renewable sources

    That’s one of the myths that Gibbs demolishes.  From coconut oil jet fuel to Brazilian sugar-cane ethanol to Vermont wind to California solar thermal, the “green” sources leave a trail of wreckage wherever they go.  Watch it, you’ll be glad you did.  Unless you’re wedded to the lies the billionaires have carefully crafted to deceive you, that is.  Take the red pill.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zk11vI-7czE

  34. 234

    And because I don’t believe in black-pilling and more information is usually better than less, I’m throwing this out here:

    https://www.greencarcongress.com/2020/04/20200423-faradion.html

    Faradion receives first order for sodium-ion batteries for Australian market
    23 April 2020

    UK-based Faradion Ltd., the leader in sodium-ion (Na-ion) battery technology, has received its first order from ICM Australia for high-energy sodium-ion batteries for use in the Australian market.

    Faradion’s sodium-ion technology provides similar performance to conventional chemistries, while replacing expensive materials such as cobalt and lithium with far more abundant sodium. Unlike lithium-ion batteries, Faradion’s sodium-ion batteries have exceptional thermal stability and safety. Further, they can be safely transported and maintained at zero volts.

    So this is commercial now.  Replacing rare spodumene with practically-dirt halite (or seawater) is a VERY big deal.  Doing it with high thermal stability and relatively long cycle life is a major advance.

    If these things can last under the -40/+105 C temperature range required of automotive stuff, the last argument for not requiring all new LDVs to be PHEVs may just have bitten the dust.  That will let us decarbonize vehicular travel a lot faster than BEVs.

  35. 235
    Mal Adapted says:

    nigelj:

    Alternatives to capitalism have been tried including communism and self sufficient communal lifestyle communities, and shared ownership of industry etc, but many of these systems have failed. I have I have lost faith in idealistic planned alternatives like this, and too much shared ownership, and revolutions, and think we have to promote things that gradually push capitalism to evolve to something more sensible perhaps with less focus just on the profit motive and more focus on social and environmental values.

    Well, yes. I don’t know that I’ve ever had “faith” in planned economies. Certainly, none of the historical examples I’m aware of turned out to be sustainable. OTOH, all real economies operate by a combination of market and planning mechanisms. Markets exist with or without planning, and they always socialize as much of each transaction’s cost as they can get away with. Socialized (including “environmental”) costs are negative utilities imposed on third parties, who obtain no positive utility from the transaction. They are seldom fully commensurable with the direct costs and benefits to the buyer and seller, who forgo their externalized costs between them. Inevitably, the consequences feel unjust to at least someone. And as we see with AGW, some negative utilities can accumulate without bound, leading to Tragedies of the global Commons. As we also see, innumerable market-driven tragedies are currently underway, at multiple scales. Left to themselves, they will render the Earth hellishly hot, depopulated of humans and depauperated of other species.

    Internalizing socialized costs requires collective intervention in otherwise-free markets: i.e. “planning”. Planning may mitigate some social costs of goods and services, but manifestly fail for others. I, for one, don’t know what kind of actual economy would be globally sustainable over centuries to millennia. To work, it must ultimately require consumers to pay the full costs of our private consumption one way or another, or forgo the benefits we are seeking. Caveat: in market-based systems, that will at least temporarily curtail supplies of many goods and services. Historically, fossil-fuel profits have amounted to their externalized marginal climate-change costs, plus as much as traffic would bear more. Any carbon fee or tax will raise prices for all goods and services made with fossil energy, while reducing fuel producer profits. Of course, fossil-carbon capitalists will push back hard politically.

    I don’t have much “faith”, i.e. confidence, in human nature either. Any optimism I might feel derives from faith’s remnant. As a US citizen, in the near term I’m focused on my country’s official climate-science denial, founded on fossil-carbon wealth, which must be overcome to make significant progress on our aggregate emissions. We can get started without all of us having to agree, or even a majority, nor do we all need the same reasons to agree: it requires only a governing plurality of voters, each with our private reasons. I hold out some hope for slowing the rise of GMST in the mid-term, 30 more years if I’m lucky. In the longer term, well, I’m just as happy I won’t live forever.

  36. 236
    Killian says:

    How about we discuss something germane for once, eh?

    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41561-020-0567-4

    Apparently the Eurasian put an AVERAGE of 4cm/year into world oceans. 4×80= 320 = 3.2 meters. In 80 years.

    Hmmm… so when I’ve said 3 meters is possible this century many times over the last ten years and caught flak for it…? Sorry, 3 meters is not an outlier.

  37. 237
    Killian says:

    I wonder if zebra is able to realize the problem with their debate technique is they debate like a 9th grade freshman who thinks they’re the team captain.

    I address only technique, not content. Because I never read what zebra posts. Because uptight debate sytle.

    Don’t really care. Don’t care at all. Offered as observation, nothing more. Feedback should be clear, useful and actionable. I think this is. If not…. carry on!

  38. 238
    Thomas says:

    fyi from the “business” pages comes this report on Moore’s new ‘not happy with pv solar and wind’ doco

    “The piece spans years, which may make for a robust collection of interviews but its that scope in part that brought out the renewables retort: the industry is getting more efficient and less costly, they say, the footage is too old.

    Moore and Gibbs argue that so-called greenwashing goes beyond a few brands attaching themselves to environmental actions to sell cars, shampoo, meat and sodas. They suggest that much of the green movement as we know it, including the banks rolling out the financing, pushes solar and wind energy components and electric cars that rely too heavily on deforestation and electricity generated from coal and natural gas to produce them.

    “What we have been calling green, renewable energy and industrial civilization are one and the same thing — desperate measures not to save the planet but to save our way of life,” Gibbs says in the film.

    A better approach would be people having fewer children. “Infinite growth on a finite planet is suicide,” Gibbs said. ”

    The piece spans years, which may make for a robust collection of interviews but its that scope in part that brought out the renewables retort: the industry is getting more efficient and less costly, they say, the footage is too old.

    Moore and Gibbs argue that so-called greenwashing goes beyond a few brands attaching themselves to environmental actions to sell cars, shampoo, meat and sodas. They suggest that much of the green movement as we know it, including the banks rolling out the financing, pushes solar and wind energy components and electric cars that rely too heavily on deforestation and electricity generated from coal and natural gas to produce them.

    “What we have been calling green, renewable energy and industrial civilization are one and the same thing — desperate measures not to save the planet but to save our way of life,” Gibbs says in the film.

    A better approach would be people having fewer children. “Infinite growth on a finite planet is suicide,” Gibbs said.

  39. 239
    Thomas says:

    NO movie could ever present a balanced view of climate change, fossil fuel depletion, and environmental destruction.

    Nor could a movie or a doco ever present a balanced view of population growth and economic growth alternatives so key to the present industrial civilisation we have come know and love and enjoy.

    Things like this only ever chip away at the predominant accepted myths in need of some correction.

  40. 240

    Per Thomas @ #238–

    A better approach would be people having fewer children. “Infinite growth on a finite planet is suicide,” Gibbs said. ”

    That’s one of the more fatuous pronouncements I’ve heard in a while.

    First, “having fewer children” has already happened over the entire developed world and large chunks of the middle and developing worlds, and it has signally failed to reduce the exponential increase in atmospheric CO2 because the decrease is outstripped by a global increase in per capita emissions.

    Second, the timescale just flat doesn’t work: if all humans stopped breeding tomorrow–or rather, nine months or so from tomorrow–the population still wouldn’t drop below 5 billion until 2054 or so, all other things being equal:

    https://www.ined.fr/en/everything_about_population/population-games/tomorrow-population/

    Clearly, that’s an unrealistic scenario, the value of which is to establish a ‘best case’ result for “having fewer children.” And the ‘best case’ isn’t nearly good enough.

    Yes, in the longer run population must come down if we are to live in a relatively sustainable way.* But absent a Holocaust on a scale never before seen in the bloody, messy chronicle that is human history, it is emphatically NOT a solution to avoiding climate catastrophe.

    Yes, “Infinite growth on a finite planet is suicide.” But so is proposing a solution to an existential crisis that can easily be seen not to work, trashing one that currently seems to be working better than anything else on offer in the process, then labeling it “better.”

    The bottom line reality is this: we need URGENTLY to reduce emissions as fast as possible. The tool that is primarily actually doing that in the real world today is renewable energy, predominantly wind and solar. Doesn’t mean we can’t use other tools, too. Ag needs reform to stop strip mining soils of carbon and start using them to draw it down instead. Consumerism as we’ve know it must end, as it is essentially wedded to unlimited economic growth–we must learn to enjoy ‘enough.’ (If we do, we’ll be the happier for it, because we’ll be living in satisfaction and gratitude, not artificially-stimulated dissatisfaction putatively to be solved by the purchase of a newer and shinier gadget.) Cycles of energy and material need to be more circular. Et cetera.

    But the single highest priority right now is to finish decarbonizing electric generation. The next is to decarbonize transportation–and those two projects are inherently linked.

    Are these “desperate measures not to save the planet but to save our way of life?” In some sense, yes, of course. (And is he actually suggesting that ‘desperation’ isn’t called for at this very late hour?) But people, if they are to live, need ways of life. And these are intimately linked to skill sets, social structures, technological and economic infrastructure, and on and on. Transformation can’t be easy or quick–though it’s far from impossible. Indeed, it’s inevitable–though the desirability of the particular transformative outcome we actually manifest isn’t.

    *(N.B.–Killian will no doubt object to the idea of “relatively sustainable,” having told us numerous times that there ain’t no such thing as relative sustainability. Consider that noted in advance.)

  41. 241
    jgnfld says:

    Moderators:

    It is beyond my comprehension why this site is moderated such that trolling posts like #200 are immediately boreholed if not deleted outright. What is the purpose of moderation here? It certainly doesn’t appear to promote relevant scientific/technical discussions.

  42. 242
    jgnfld says:

    That’s “…areN’T immediately boreholed…”

  43. 243
    Al Bundy says:

    Ray Ladbury: I probably won’t be seeing Moore’s new movie. While he can be entertaining, he’s not particularly insightful or deep.

    AB: You might change your mind when you learn that it is NOT a Moore movie, it’s by Jeff Gibbs. My guess is that Moore lent a hand but he appears to have not the slightest hand in the film. It’s a very good film.

    Perhaps you’d enjoy my play to move the dial. Wander over to http://the-weaver.org/. My first post is up.

  44. 244
    Al Bundy says:

    zebra’s quote of an expert: This will allow utilities to much better assess how much power and reactive power is flowing from independent producers back into the grid. It will also allow a utility to sense very local disturbances, which can provide an earlier warning of problems that may be mounting, thereby improving look-ahead simulation. And it will allow utilities to offer customers hour-by-hour rates, including incentives to run appliances and machines during off-peak times that might vary day to day, reducing demand spikes that can destabilize a grid.

    AB: appears to be totally incompatible with the z-grid. It talks about assessment and management and serious chops and effort by a centralized planner. No bilateral agreements between consumers and producers mentioned at all.

    Just saying. As is everyone else. So perhaps it ain’t us, zeb.

  45. 245
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Anyone who claims palm oil (including coconut), sugar cane, or for that matter corn ethanol are green or sustainable is either disingenuous or a fool. There isn’t much glory in demolishing a straw man.

  46. 246
    Al Bundy says:

    Paul Pukite: The Breitbart piece says

    AB: Dude. You read Breitbart?? Hope your hazmat suit didn’t dissolve
    _____

    Killian: Apparently the Eurasian put an AVERAGE of 4cm/year into world oceans. 4×80= 320 = 3.2 meters. In 80 years.

    AB: You forgot to include the surface area of the ice involved. Was it larger than the current ice sheets?

  47. 247
    Al Bundy says:

    What might be the money quote from Killian’s link: Our reconstruction of the EIS deglaciation shows that the collapse of an ice sheet, comparable in size to the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, can occur in as little as 300–500 yr.

    I assume they took into account differences in location and submergence. 16 feet / 300 * 80 = 4.2 feet. Lets just double it for Greenland and EAIS and we/re getting close to 10 feet in 80 years.

    But which 80 years? Even the most radical legitimate science, Hansen’s doubling rate hypothesis takes decades to get into fifth gear, so to speak. As much as we’d like to see the end of the show we’re all worm-food before the first intermission.

  48. 248
    Al Bundy says:

    Thomas: A better approach would be people having fewer children.

    AB: But that would require people to define “us” as “all of humanity”. Otherwise we’ll always have, as we do now, “We need more X children” where X = one of: white, Jewish, Palestinian, Christian, Liberal, Conservative, black, brown, American, Swedish, Polish…”

    And the whole One Child Rule really whacked China’s age demographics even though a 0.25 Child Rule is more planetarily appropriate. Back below a billion in 100 years or bust the planet?

    But imagine (and get wicked jealous) how grand a hundred years hence would be.

  49. 249
    Al Bundy says:

    BPL: Moore’s film is already being criticized for being biased, incomplete, and full of cherry-picking and special pleading. For instance, its conclusion that electric cars didn’t help the environment was based on one location that got 95% of its electricity from coal.

    AB: Nope. Their conclusion was based both on the fact that EVs inherit the grid’s fossil components (as you mention) and also how much fossil fuel goes into biofuel, wind, and solar facilities as an inherent component of said facilities’ construction and operation. Propagate them all you want; the fossil components’ percentage remains.

    My opinion is that the cutting edge of such facilities are significantly less fossil dependent, so for me the film fell short. It needed a “tomorrow’s tech” segment. That would modify their tune for sure.

  50. 250
    Al Bundy says:

    A tip:

    Lung damage brings about two deviations: first, CO2 buildup, which brings about notable distress, and second, reduced O2 saturation, which one generally ignores while compensating via increased breaths taken more deeply.

    “Asymptomatic” is a misnomer of sorts. If your body is able to keep flushing CO2 adequately you might not notice the fact that your breathing has changed. I suggest getting a cheap on-the-finger O2 saturation analyzer. They’re perhaps $40 and up. If your saturation drops, get tested.