Open Thread 24

The last Open Thread has screamed past 1000 comments, so time for a new one… (And for those who are wondering why there have been so few posts on BNC recently, well… there are reasons. I will post again soon[ish] to explain more, and discuss the future directions of this blog/website. Meanwhile, on with the productive discussion!)

The Open Thread is a general discussion forum, where you can talk about whatever you like — there is nothing ‘off topic’ here — within reason. So get up on your soap box! The standard commenting rules of courtesy apply, and at the very least your chat should relate to the general content of this blog.

The sort of things that belong on this thread include general enquiries, soapbox philosophy, meandering trains of argument that move dynamically from one point of contention to another, and so on — as long as the comments adhere to the broad BNC themes of sustainable energy, climate change mitigation and policy, energy security, climate impacts, etc.

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1,057 Comments

  1. I’ll subscribe to this Open Thread by asking my usual: how are we going to share our message with the lay person? Do we need to dumb it down a bit for the average Aussie?

    PS: Edward, back off man! ;-) Australians are not all rushing out to get maths and physics degrees, OK? PR solutions in the real world here, thanks.

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  2. Eclipse Now: Yes, I know that Australians and other people from everywhere are not all rushing out to get maths and physics degrees. That is why we are about to experience the 200,000 year tragedy.

    As for PR, the other side has all the power. We have no means, such as money, with which to “share our message with the lay person.” We need at least several billion dollars per year to do as you wish. The only alternative that I know of is education in math and science. If there is another option, please tell us what it is.

    I disagree with Craig Dilworth, who wrote the book: “Too Smart for our Own Good.” We are not too smart. We are too stupid. Dilworth says we increase technology only after being pressured to do so by a high death rate; and that the most primitive hunter-gatherers are the best off and the happiest. That would mean that we will do something about GW after the population has begun to crash. Dilworth’s prognosis seems accurate. The problem is that we have no such luxury of waiting this time. We must do the jump to the next higher level before the crash or it is all over.

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  3. It looks as though CO2 emissions may cause some problems which have barely been addressed. I’m referring to a reduction of the percentage of O2 in the atmosphere.

    CO2 results in ocean acidification which could kill off many of the microorganisms which inhale CO2 and exhale O2. We may be able to deal with global warming but if atmospheric O2 dropped very much we’d have problems with which we would be unable to deal. More research should be done on this.

    Also, we need a better way to deal with the position that renewables can promptly solve all our CO2 emissions problems. As I see it, there should at least be a “plan B” position to fall back upon if we find, as I suspect, that renewables are useful only in special circumstances. The “plan B” should include rapidly building more of our most advanced current design nuclear power plants while doing more R & D to develop a better nuclear technology. Then, if renewables are demonstrated capable of doing the job, we can halt the nuclear projects and go exclusively with renewables. If, as I suspect, it is found that renewables cannot do the job, we will have a fall back position, i.e., nuclear.

    It has been wisely stated that we should not count our chickens before they hatch and that we should not put all of our eggs into one basket, yet that seems to be what we are unwisely doing.

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  4. Barry I think the problem we are having with the nuclear issue is people are still more worried about an nuclear accident than the effects of climate change on the planet. Somehow people have to get over their fear of nuclear power. I just watched this video on the NY governor’s wanting to close Indian Plant. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=te44TuIqGKk
    fear still rules anti nuclear decisions. Somehow we have to show everyone that nuclear in the future is not going to be an option but is a requirement.

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  5. Regarding “climate change mitigation and policy“, carbon pricing is the wrong approach and almost certainly will fail: “Why carbon pricing will not succeedhttp://anglejournal.com/article/2015-11-why-carbon-pricing-will-not-succeed/

    In fact, any ‘command and control’ policies that would increase the cost of energy almost certainly are not sustainable. Therefore, they are highly unlikely to succeed in delivering the hypothesized benefits of reduced climate damages. If carbon pricing is the least cost way to reduce global emissions, as is often claimed, then any other command and control policy will be more expensive. ‘Command and control’ policies are the wrong approach. The alternative that will almost certainly succeed – has been succeeding since humans first began to communicate and trade – is to remove the impediments to low emissions electricity generation technologies. The impediments have been blocking progress for 50 years: here’s evidence to support that statement: ‘Nuclear power learning rates: policy implicationshttps://judithcurry.com/2016/03/13/nuclear-power-learning-rates-policy-implications/

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  6. We can prove that wind and solar (the only renewables that are scalable, thus the only ones that count) cannot solve our CO2 problems.  Neither Germany nor Denmark, the self-appointed leaders of the movement, have been able to get their grid-related emissions even as low as 350 gCO2/kWh.  Sweden, France and Ontario are comfortably below 100 grams.  Joe Wheatley and Argonne National Lab have done some good work showing that the intrinsic unreliability of wind and solar makes them unable to slash CO2 emissions, as the need to follow their surges and dips requires the expenditure of fuel that otherwise wouldn’t be needed.  This leads to a situation of rapidly diminishing returns as the fraction of wind and solar increases.

    The problem is to get this into a sound-bite form that the public can digest.

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  7. @freggersjr

    Also, we need a better way to deal with the position that renewables can promptly solve all our CO2 emissions problems. As I see it, there should at least be a “plan B” position to fall back upon if we find, as I suspect, that renewables are useful only in special circumstances. The “plan B” should include rapidly building more of our most advanced current design nuclear power plants while doing more R & D to develop a better nuclear technology.

    Surely it’s rather the other way around.

    Take California for instance. They have a target of 55% reduction of CO2 emissions from electricity generation by 2030, though maybe it would be better to hit this figure sooner. 55% can be achieved fastest with a mixture of local solar PV (cheap enough now and much cheaper by 2025) and wind in Wyoming (capacity factor estimated at 46% by NREL) with 800 mile transmission lines back to California.

    With a 20 year lifetime the wind and solar replacements will be required starting 2030 or even earlier as some California renewables were installated some time ago. Nuclear can then be installed starting 2030 to eliminate the last 45% of emissions by replacing most wind and solar. If there is a cheap enough renewables + storage solution before 2045 then complete the nuclear under construction at that point and see what you end up with.

    Alternatively, see China’s strategy which is to install all forms of low-carbon generation (hydro, wind, nuclear, solar) as fast as possible. In China’s case the total demand is still growing significantly though, so they really have very little choice.

    The clear losing strategy on global warming is to do nothing until new nuclear is ready to generate starting in 2025.

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  8. Nuclear power is the cheapest way for GB to decarbonise its electricity system https://judithcurry.com/2016/01/19/is-nuclear-the-cheapest-way-to-decarbonize-electricity/. This result is probably broadly applicable. And it could be very much cheaper if we remove the world, led by the US, removes the impediments that have been holding back nuclear progress for 50 years.

    The results presented in the ERP analysis http://erpuk.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/ERP-Flex-Man-Full-Report.pdf show all or mostly new nuclear capacity is likely to be the cheapest way to decarbonise the GB electricity system to meet the recommended 50 g CO2/kWh target. The ERP analysis used the central estimates from the DECC commissioned Parsons and Brinkerhoff reports (17 July, 2013) here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/energy-generation-cost-projections.

    The most significant points I draw from the ERP report with respect to the least cost technology mix to reduce CO2 emissions are:

    Weather-dependent renewables alone cannot achieve the UK’s targets for decarbonisation of the GB electricity system.

    All or mostly nuclear power gives the lowest CO2 emissions intensity for lowest total system cost.

    Hydro (if suitable sites were available) would be the most cost effective at reducing emissions. Since additional hydro capacity is very limited, adding nuclear is the cheapest way to achieve large CO2 emissions reductions.

    31 GW of new nuclear and no weather-dependent renewables or CCS would achieve the recommended 50 g/kWh target at lowest total system cost.

    32 GW of new nuclear and no weather dependent renewables or CCS would achieve the same CO2 emissions intensity of electricity as France achieved in 2014, i.e. 42 g/kWh.

    Wind, marine, and CCS are expensive and ineffective.

    Pumped hydro is very expensive and ineffective. Any other type of energy storage would be more expensive.

    The worst option of all is to close old nuclear plants; doing so would increase emissions and total system costs. Their life should be extended if practicable.

    To achieve the same CO2 emissions intensity as France in 2014 would require a £70/t CO2 carbon price plus ~4% increase in total system cost.

    A £70/t CO2 carbon price alone would not be sufficient to drive the required changes in the electricity system to achieve the government’s target.

    https://judithcurry.com/2016/01/19/is-nuclear-the-cheapest-way-to-decarbonize-electricity/

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  9. One of the arguments that is used to oppose nuclear power is that it is too expensive. However, I suspect that it has intentionally been made to expensive to expedite opposing it.

    On the site 2greenenergy.com I have made many posts supporting nuclear power and repeatedly pointed out that intermittent sources of power cannot provide adequate reliable power for most large countries without huge amounts of energy storage capability which with current technology simply is not practical. The wishful thinking response is that it will surely become available. Most of the posts on that site are unrealistic. However, to their credit, they will post comments which disagree with their position.

    Another site which opposes nuclear power is http://www.interfaithpowerandlight.org.

    I suggest that people here make posts on those two sites to support nuclear power and explain that the limitations of wind and solar power are such that they are suitable only in certain rather limited situations.

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  10. For 2green energy, goto the following:

    2greenenergy.com

    Then click on Blog

    Scroll down to “Clean Energy Topics” under which is a list.

    Clicking on anything in the list will bring up related subjects.

    From the chosen subject it will be possible to select an article on which it is possible to comment.

    Also, from the home page you can subscribe to the newsletter by clicking on “Subscribe to our Newsletter”.

    For interfaith power and light, goto the following:

    http://www.interfaithpowerandlight.org

    From there one can do several things. I suggest clicking the pull-down menu “Get Involved” then navigating to “Public Policy” and “Policy Positions”.

    Or, you can go directly to a page on which you can find statements opposing nuclear power:

    http://www.interfaithpowerandlight.org/?s=nuclear+power

    On that page, you can do a search on “nuclear power”.

    For making comments, it is necessary to click on “Contact Us” on the home page. From there one can send an email. I suggest sending an email to The Rev. Canon Sally G. Bingham, the president and founder. She is a priest in the Episcopal Church. The Episcopal Church emphasizes open discussion, considering all positions, and reasoning clearly. In IPL she doesn’t seem to be following that tradition, a fact that should be pointed out to her.

    I hope that this helps.

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  11. Here is a clue: Reference book: “The Rise of Nuclear Fear” by Spencer Weart. The fear started thousands or millions of years ago with the fear of witches, wizardry, magic etc. The design of the human brain is very bad. See “Religion Explained” by Pascal Boyer.

    “The Rise of Nuclear Fear” by Spencer Weart needs “Religion Explained” as background. A lot of modern first world people do magical thinking rather than logical or scientific thinking [not all logical thinking is scientific]. That is, they think of technology and things they don’t understand as magic. That is especially true of anything “nuclear.”

    That is one reason why I say that education is the answer. You have to teach everybody that truth comes from experiments, not ancient books.

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  12. It is encouraging that the churches are posing climate change as an issue for people with conscience. They may be able to guide the broad mass of public opinion as storms gather.

    This site shows no intellectual basis more modern than Amory Lovins, so they have a ways to go yet. They do offer a “free download” by way of explanation, but it requires you to surrender your emaddress to a marketing organisation, so I didn’t. Developing their position requires dialogue, but as DBB implies, it is not evident yet.

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  13. 2greenenergy does permit making posts in support of nuclear power. It also permits posts which point out the limitations of renewable systems. In fact, there are several of us who often make such posts.

    When I telephoned IPL I was told that they were too busy to take time to study nuclear power. My response was that they darn well better take the time to study nuclear power from all viewpoints else it made no sense for anyone to take them seriously.

    It is not a good idea to ignore anti-nuclear organizations. They have considerable influence which must be opposed.

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  14. Much research is focussing on grid level storage of electricity as chemical energy a.k.a. batteries. Many different battery designs are being proposed and tested. It is difficult to make a case against wind and solar in the realm of public opinion because most people believe that eventually we will develop grid level storage technology.

    I think that those who have faith in battery technology have not considered how much storage is required. I believe we need to look at each emergent battery technology and determine just how much of the elements that compose the anodes and cathodes we need to extract from the earth’s crust in order to make the batteries we would need to make wind and solar viable.

    My gut tells me that there isn’t enough recoverable lead or lithium or vanadium etc. to make enough batteries to make wind and solar viable.

    I would ask that anyone with expertise in this area catalogue the different competing emerging battery technologies, list the elements associated with each battery design and determine the amount of each element that would be required to produce enough batteries to provide us with “X” number of days of storage given our current levels of energy consumption.

    I have read that there isn’t enough recoverable lead in the earth’s crust to produce enough lead acid batteries to meet the needs of the US alone.

    Such a reality check might serve to dampen enthusiasm for wind and solar power.

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  15. @Edward,

    Peter Davies: Why don’t I put you on ignore? Factory built nuclear can be installed much faster than that. China can build a nuclear power plant in under 4 years.

    China can install a wind farm in less than a year.

    The fastest way to reduce Chinese CO2 emissions is to install three of wind, solar and nuclear as fast as possible. But there are practical limits to how fast they can be deployed.

    In the windiest provinces of Gansu and Inner Mongolia (North and North West) they are waiting for the completion of further HVDC lines to carry the power to the population centres in the North East. 154GW will be completed in the next few years and 26GW of these are expected to provide additional wind transmission capability in 2016 and 2017. In the meantime wind installations continue at a furious pace where the transmission networks can cope.

    After the inevitable post-Fukushima Chinese re-appraisal of nuclear power safety, nuclear reactors will only be installed on the coast, at least for a while. For a totalitarian country which censors opinions there has been a very heated public debate about and demonstrations against the expansion of nuclear energy. The anti-nuclear movement viw is that nuclear is safe enough on the coast where water supplies are not in danger, but says that inland nuclear is too risky.

    Although we on this site generally believe that the risk from properly-constructed nuclear is minimal, the perception of some Chinese is understandably different – and not because of the technology itself. China has notable examples of corruption where infrastructure should have been constructed to be earthquake-proof, but government officials decided to build to a lower standard of construction and pocket the difference instead. The Banquio Dam collapse and numerous schools collapses in the 2008 Earthquake are two good examples where many thousands of people lost their lives as a result of government corruption. Nuclear is only safe when built properly.

    Many corrupt officials have been sacked and imprisoned in the few years since Xi Jinping took over. However, with that historical context, many Chinese may still see quick four year builds as something to worry about, rather than a cause for optimism. Hopefully, the “wait and see” attitude to inland nuclear will change to approval in a year or two once it is proven that coastal nuclear systems have indeed all been built to the correct rigorous standards.

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  16. “How cheap can energy storage get? Pretty darn cheap.”
    Ramez Naam

    offers a sensible discussion of batteries, indicating there is enough lithium for some time to come. Note well how inexpensive batteries have to become before one can store even a day’s worth.

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  17. Batteries give you 1 to 3 volts.

    Take a look at the Li-ion batteries in your cell phone or house phone if you can (some are sealed). Note they all say 3.7V.

    I would ask that anyone with expertise in this area catalogue the different competing emerging battery technologies, list the elements associated with each battery design and determine the amount of each element that would be required to produce enough batteries to provide us with “X” number of days of storage given our current levels of energy consumption.

    I have read that there isn’t enough recoverable lead in the earth’s crust to produce enough lead acid batteries to meet the needs of the US alone.

    There is a lot of research in different battery active materials. One of these is sodium instead of lithium. Both sodium and lithium are present in sea water in quantities beyond anything we might require. However, sodium is dirt cheap to extract – you flood a shallow area with sea water then let the sun evaporate the water and you get large quantities of not-that-pure sodium chloride (otherwise known as sea salt if you are putting it on food).

    Sodium batteries have a lower specific energy than lithium, so are too heavy for electric vehicles. But as grid storage batteries there is no penalty for weight and they would be fine.

    However, batteries are really only cost-effective for up to a day of grid storage. Beyond that tiers of cheaper, technologies should be used to cover different periods of storage.

    Storage of the hot salt used in most solar tower thermal generation in the sub-tropics. With a heat loss of 0.5 degrees C per day from the Solar Reserve tanks this is suitable for only a few days. More time than that you have to double the solar thermal heat capture capacity (not generation) just to keep the hot salt hot enough all the time.
    Pumped storage hydro – great for any period of time if you have the geography for it, and even more so if you can convert existing extensive hydro behind dams to pumped hydro without having to build more dams (e.g. Norway).
    Storage of renewable hydrogen produced from electrolysis from cheap wind or solar power – suitable for weeks or months of storage. Generation uses modified CCGT (cheap) or fuel cells (currently expensive). But because round trip efficiency is a maximum of 43% you don’t want to be generating more than 10% of your power this way. That’s why you need tiers of different types of storage to keep storage costs of renewable energy to a minimum by balancing the costs of the different storage media with the costs of round-trip inefficiencies of less than 100%.

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  18. You may think energy storage is getting cheap but when you design the huge amount of storage needed to cover periods of low renewables power, the total cost of storage is still very high.

    I hope those Chinese nuclear plants are high enough to not be flooded by ocean rises.

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  19. New Dubai auction solar PV prices for 800MW

    The bid of …….(unsubsidised) beats all available fossil fuel options in Dubai, and astonishingly, is one half of the cost of a similar auction a year ago, when a winning bid of 5.84c/kWh by Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power stunned the industry.

    Last week, Harvard researcher David Keith, a long-time critic of renewable energy and an avowed sceptic of solar who disbelieved the solar cost-curves, wrote a mea-culpa titled “I was wrong about the economic limitations of solar power”.

    “I was wrong,” Keith said. “Facts have changed …. solar energy is very cheap and it can change the future of the global energy supply within a decade.”

    And the bid? 2.99 US cents/kWh (unsubsidised).

    Dubai has very cheap labour available and the price would not be quite this low in USA, Europe or Australia.

    Another quote from the top link :

    ….wind energy also breaking below 3c/kWh in an auction of wind energy capacity in Morocco earlier this year.

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  20. And what does natural gas, of which Dubai is a major world exporter, cost them per kWh?

    Dubai’s NG infrastructure, which is required to back up their flaky PV, remains in place.  They will have to keep paying to maintain it in working order, ready to go.  The PV won’t and cannot replace it no matter how cheap it is; you have completely missed the point.

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  21. @ Edward Kreisch (& others)

    Regarding Interfaith Power and Light and religious dogma, you may be interested to know that the previous Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Katherine Shori, had a Bachelor of Science in biology and a PhD in oceanography. I’m quite certain that she would understand the nuclear imperative but unfortunately she has no relationship to IPL.

    IPL was founded by the rev. Sally Bingham, a priest in the Episcopal Church. However, as near as I can tell, she does not have a background in science and had no degree until she was past 40. Whether she is capable of understanding the nuclear imperative I don’t know. She seems to get much of her information (disinformation?) from the Union of Concerned Scientists the objectivity of which I seriously question.

    In any case, IPL does have some influence and if its personnel can be persuaded that nuclear power is essential, it could make a difference.

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  22. Here is a link to the web page of 2greenenergy.com where I have made a post:

    http://www.2greenenergy.com/2016/05/03/the-race-for-clean-energy-has-several-entrants/#comments

    Here is the post which I have made there:

    “I see it as an exceedingly serious mistake to rely on renewable sources of power to reduce CO2 emissions to an acceptable level. As I have previously stated, even if renewable sources of power were totally free, without an adequate energy storage technology, which does not currently exist, renewables would be incapable of solving the problem. They would depend on backup sources of power which use fossil fuels and emit CO2. That problem would become inescapably apparent as the percentage of renewables increased by which time it would most likely be much too late to expand nuclear power to do the job.

    “I suggest checking out the following website:

    bravenewclimate.com.

    “It has considerable information on both renewables and nuclear power.”

    I hope others will make similar posts to that site.

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  23. So if you are in a the broad band either side of the equator with modest seasonal variation in solar availability, solar is the way to satisfy the daytime peak demand. Is there anyone frequenting this blog who didn’t think that might at least become possible?

    What people here have been arguing against is excluding nuclear from providing the baseload when the sun isn’t shining.

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  24. Look more carefully at the containment building.

    American containment buildings are a minimum of 1 meter [about 39 inches] thick and HEAVILY reinforced with steel. There is so much steel reinforcing rod that when you look at one under construction, you wonder where there will be any room for concrete. The containment building also has a ½ inch thick steel liner. The San Onofre reactor in California has a containment building with 6 foot thick walls, ceiling and floor.

    There are no holes for water to get in on the lowest level. There is a way for the robot to remove and replace fuel bundles above the reactor level.

    Sea level will not rise fast enough to do anything to a reactor. The tsunami failed to destroy the containment buildings in Fukushima.

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  25. Problem 1: Have you ever tried storing hydrogen? Storing hydrogen in tanks won’t work well because hydrogen is too “leaky”. Tanks meant for methane are even leakier.

    The army used to use tritium lamps as calibration lights for the sight systems for cannons. The tritium lights would be mounted at the muzzle end for the sight system to aim at. A tritium lamp is a glass capsule filled with heavy hydrogen, tritium. Sometimes the capsule breaks and must be replaced. A person at one of our repair facilities had a bucket full of broken tritium lamps beside his desk. Panic ensued when the NRC [Nuclear Regulatory Commission] found out about it because the tritium was not gone.

    Glass is a sponge, not a container, for hydrogen. The person near the bucket of broken tritium lamps absorbed tritium. We had to design an alternative sighting lamp very quickly. TACOM’s license to own tritium was revoked.

    When hydrogen gas touches a solid surface, it sticks. The single electrons leave the gas molecule, leaving only protons. A proton is 1/1000 the size of an atom, so the proton easily wanders through any material. If the material is a conductor, of course the electron wanders as well. The proton can exit the material at any place where it can get an electron, which is any place.

    The natural gas pipelines and tanks are not perfect at containing methane. They typically leak at valves, but some natural gas tanks also expand and contract.

    Problem 2: Hydrogen causes steel to become brittle. People have shipped hydrogen through pipelines for more than a century. But we don’t do it a lot because steel is a sponge for hydrogen. Besides loosing hydrogen out the sides of the pipe, you also get an easily broken pipe and lots of maintenance.

    Problem 3: Hydrogen fires are invisible. You could walk into a hydrogen fire because you don’t know it is there. It has happened.

    “renewable hydrogen from electrolysis”
    As long as you remember:
    Hydrogen leaks out of any container
    Any material is a sponge rather than a wall for hydrogen
    hydrogen causes steel to become brittle
    hydrogen flame is invisible
    the fuel tank would have to be enormous
    To keep hydrogen a liquid requires expenditure of a lot of energy to run the refrigerator
    There are so many practical difficulties that hydrogen is really not a good way to store energy.

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  26. Its not as much that renewables are not affordable. Some renewable energy is affordable. What is not affordable is the energy storage capacity. Grids have no way to pay for the storage which is very expensive if it contains many hours of storage. Without storage we cannot transition off fossil fuels. Thus we are at a dead end with renewables, storage is necessary, but we can’t fund the storage. There is a case for storage at homes however.

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  27. Carleton College in Northfield, MN, greatly favors renewable energy. They even have at least one wind generator. They seem to think that the problem of global warming can be solved with renewable energy. Considering the excellent rating of Carleton College, I find that astonishing. For more information, do a google search on “Carleton College renewable”.

    When presumably well educated academics are unable to see the fallacy of relying on renewable energy, except in limited circumstances, I think that we’re in real trouble.

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  28. Here’s the 330 MW Genex Kidston project in QLD, which will provide up to 1,650 MWh of daytime power (after storing it off-peak at night), eventually alongside 150 MW of solar capacity.

    http://www.genexpower.com.au/projects/The_Kidston_Project

    The storage will cost $300 million, mostly Chinese investment.

    Here’s 1.1 MWh of lithium battery storage in Perth.

    https://www.synergy.net.au/About-us/News-and-announcements/Media-releases/Synergy-appoint-EMC-for-Alkimos-Beach-energy-storage

    It cost $6.7 million.

    Simply scaling up lithium at the moment would mean equivalent battery storage would be $10. 05 billion worth. More than 33 times more expensive. Will the Chinese be keen?

    Some folks may want to wait for the “plunging costs” of batteries to make them affordable, and they are welcome to try to convince me of their expected timeframe.

    To pick one alternative from among many, I think it would be worth asking KAERI from South Korea for a quote on a couple of SMART 100 MW units and associated help with formulating power reactor regulations and training institutions. They are ready to build and export now, plus 60 year design life, continuous (and load following) supply, passive safety and rock-bottom emissions intensity.

    Considering that we have safely operated small reactors on the fringe of Sydney for decades, I can’t help but wonder how much more complex and stringent the licencing and regulations for passively safe SMRs really need to be.

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  29. Edward, you wrote of the process of hydrogen diffusion and embrittlement of metals. By coincidence a recent WNA article describes hydrogen attacking zirconium, where a surface pattern of electrons impedes penetration by hydrogen. So it is more than a tiny proton trying to sneak through.

    I think that near an electron sea, the proton readily attracts two electrons into the 1s1 and 1s2 orbitals. Bound in a potential well of only one partially shielded +1 charge, the resulting H- ion is unusually large. As its mass is still only 1 amu, it is still very diffusive, but the recurring appearance of a fat ion pushes defects into the crystal lattice, thus embrittling the metal.

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  30. Renewable intermittent energy cannot be the major source but can fill important niche with appropriate technology.
    Wind should be used for producing compressed air at a much lower cost. It can be mainly used as such using the towers, suitably modified, as storage.
    Sunny side of these towers can supplement the rooftops for photovoltaic panels.
    Flow batteries with low cost organic fluids can be used for storage.
    Still they will only serve outlying rural areas only.
    You have to sell nuclear energy to urban and industrial, the majors, only.

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  31. Jagdish, your homework is to calculate the energy/volume of compressed air, then the volume of the typical wind-turbine tower.  Divide the nominal output of the turbine by this to get a storage duration.  Share your results with us.

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  32. Two recent news items – one each pro and con nuclear

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/may/03/idea-of-renewables-powering-uk-is-an-appalling-delusion-david-mackay

    David Mackay died last week. This is an interview recorded a few days before he died in which he says the UK solution has to be nuclear + CCS. He is famous for his online book Sustainable Energy Without the Hot Air, though it is criticised as fiddling the calculations so the UK answer comes out as nuclear.

    https://nuclear-news.net/2016/05/04/400-irregularities-in-nuclear-power-plant-parts-admits-frances-nuclear-firm-areva/

    Not only are certain parts in Areva reactors believed to be faulty, but it looks like an enterprising employee falsified the testing records for them.

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  33. Looking back in my studies I see that in addition to a zero CO2 plan for ERCOT http://ercot.com of 144,000 MW renewables plus a 50,000 MW battery with 330 hours of storage, I see there is another alternative plan I had developed that works for near 100% CO2 reduction. It is a 35,000 MW of new base loaded nuclear (IFR?) and 12,000 MW of Per Peterson’s nuclear plant with GT peaking. This is for a system peak demand of 71,000 MW.

    So let’s assume the renewables costs $4/watt (some external costs such as transmission are included) for 144,000 MW which is 576 billion dollars plus 6.6 trillion for the storage (400 $/kWh) for a total of about 7 trillion dollars.

    Compare that with the highest cost nuclear of $10/w for 47,000 MW of new nuclear (has GT peaking built in) capacity is about 500 billion dollars. The nuclear could cost a lot less and not likely cost more than this.

    You can see that storage cost is a fatal flaw of the renewables plan. To be economic we need the storage cost to be no more than about 200 billion for 50,000,000 kW times 330 hours or 16.5 billion kWh of storage. This is a storage cost of about $12 per kWh. Elon would need to drop his promised $100 per kWh battery cost by a factor of 8. Also the batteries need to last at least 20 years. This probably eliminates Li Ion batteries. Only flow batteries can last that long and no one has any real plans for them at less than $400 per kWh. There might be a breakthrough on flow battery cost. Until there is a flow battery storage technology that costs a lot less than $100 per kWh, wind and solar are not going to eliminate the need for nuclear power to solve the CO2 emissions problem.

    Gene Preston
    http://egpreston.com

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  34. @Greg Preston,

    Batteries are the renewable energy storage solution only for windless, sunless gaps of up to a day. For the longer gaps it will be power to gas for those locations not close enough to sufficient pumped hydro storage.

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  35. I’ve studied that scenario of only 8 hours storage. That gets you to the 50% of the energy from renewables and then you hit a brick wall and fall back on running gas generation. However a microgrid homeowner might be willing to ‘conserve’ (i.e. cut way back) when their solar and wind power does not pan out for several days of cloudy windless weather when it happens. I was talking about grid level storage to ride through most of those periods. Pumped hydro is not an option in most parts of the US. Even where there is a lot of hydro such as the pacific NW the available hydro is already tied up.

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  36. Barbour, et al., 2016, make the point that under current market schemes, bulk electrical energy storage schemes are unattractive to private investors. This includes pumped hydro storage where, as best as I can determine, there are only 2 projects under construction in the USA, both in California.

    The proposed pumped hydro schemes in Oregon, Washington state and Montana appear to be in environmental review limbo. None of the 3 are very large.

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  37. @Gene Preston (apologies for the wrong name above),

    Battery prices will be $100 / kWh in 2022 according to GM, which already has a contract with LG Chem for $145 / kWh for delivery with the Bolt EV later this year.

    On these prices electric cars are likely to take off big time by 2020.
    That means from 2030 around 1 TWh / year of battery storage would start to become available from used electric vehicle batteries, and this could be re-used for grid storage. What else would you use them for?

    See http://bravenewclimate.proboards.com/thread/386/utility-scale-batteries?page=3 (first post by me) for my (hopefully conservative) estimate of 1.6 cents / kWh / cycle for the added costs of 24 hours (4 TWh) of USA grid second-hand battery storage.

    In other words, because drivers will be prepared to spend far more money in total than the grid could afford, they will end up giving the grid huge quantities of cheap storage for what we would regard today as next to nothing.

    The vast majority of time when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing occurs in gaps of less than 24 hours. With 24 hours of grid storage available you could expect to cover 90 – 95% of demand from either direct or stored renewables generation. Since the latest lowest unsubsidised bid prices for this in favouble locations are now around the 3 US cents mark this means you can get very cheaply to very high renewables penetration.

    Power to gas and hydro then only has to cope with the remaining 5-10%. There still isn’t enough hydro capacity because of the maximum size of the remaining gaps of multiple days. Although the power to gas round trip back to electricity is very inefficient (say 40%), that doesn’t matter too much because it doesn’t represent that big a fraction of generation.

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  38. Although the power to gas round trip back to electricity is very inefficient (say 40%), that doesn’t matter too much because it doesn’t represent that big a fraction of generation.

    Aside from the carrying cost of the hardware (per-watt, not per-kWh) and what it adds to your overhead, your total physical plant and total embodied energy, you mean.

    Anything that needs a large fraction of backup (any combination of wind + solar needs 100%) is going to have the same issues.  Past a certain point you are going to be better off making and storing biogas and burning it in cheap gas turbines than anything involving hydrogen.

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  39. @Engineer-Poet

    For the hydrogen storage you certainly need enough CCGT generation capacity to meet a little more than your average load, or less than this if there are industrial processes you can curtail (industrial demand response). It is the average load and not the peak load because you have 24 hours of battery storage available to do daily smoothing.

    As Edward and others have pointed out this CCGT needs to be hydrogen-compatible. The US DoE are paying towards development of this and working with at least Siements and General Electric to develop such gas turbines. They will also be capable of running on natural gas. At some point it will be clear that new CCGT generation must all be hydrogen-capable.

    The cost of this hydrogen-capable CCGT may be slightly more than current natural-gas only CCGT, but this is not necessarily the case if it achieves a higher efficiency as well. For the approximate costs take the US DoE LCOE costings for current CCGT. Capital cost plus fixed O&M cost is less than $20 / MWh. The best way to account for the low utilisation is just to add this amount to the average LCOE figure for the rest of the solution (since it can be configured to meet average demand not peak demand).

    Hydrogen fuel cells are a second option for this long-period backup but seem to be much more expensive at present, and not as efficient. Doubtless these will get cheaper but my money is on hydrogen-compatible CCGT winning. The USA DoE will doubtless continue to back development of both options.

    Fueling with biogas may also be a solution, particularly if it only needs to fuel 10% of total generation (after direct renewables and battery storage has covered most time periods). If so, well and good, but the energy return on such solutions has often been questioned. However, you still need the same capacity of CCGT as you do in the renewable hydrogen (power to gas) long-period backup solution.

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  40. @Engineer Poet

    The point about the fraction of generation from power to gas is key to the cost of this long-period gap backup. The round-trip efficiency of power to gas storage is slightly above 40%. That means you need to cost in 2.5 times as much wind or solar PV generation (energy not power so measured in MWh) as you need energy out.

    If wind and solar PV were still costing $100/MWh (as one blog claimed) and you needed 40% of generation to be covered by power to gas, then 40% of your demand would need to be satisfied by $250/MWh electricity. This averages $100/MWh over all generation, and you still need to add in the $20/MWh over all generation for the CCGT from my previous comment. This totals $120/MWH before you have added in the cost of direct generation from wind and solar. In other word it would have ended up far too expensive.

    But with long-term unsubsidised wind and solar lowest current bids and long-term prices now looking more like $30/MWh, and most likelyl enough used EV batteries to reduce the long-period gap to 10% then the long-period 10% gap could be satisfied by $75/MWh electricity. Spread back over 100% and add back in the $20/MWh CCGT costs across all generation and the cost of the long-period backup now adds only $27.5/MWh to all 100% of generation (to which you then add the cost of the easier 90% of generation).

    So reducing the fraction of total generation from power to gas is absolutely key to controlling the costs, as is the recent reduction in the direct cost of renewables generation. It’s dependent on a major switch to electric vehicles some time over the next 10 years, but with the recent staggering reductions in battery prices ($145/kWh for the 2016 Bolt and $100/kWh by 2022 according to General Motors) this now looks likely.

    I hope the method of doing the maths above is clear.

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  41. Peter Davies still subscribes to the myth that unreliable wind and solar, in whatever forms, are $30/MWh “unsubsidised”.

    That might or might not be true as a headline price, but it is a single outlier which certainly does not represent the average price or the additional and essential system cost for unreliables, as explained at length many, many times on this site and elsewhere.

    Technical Subsidy #1. At least 100% overbuild in the high voltage distribution system. NB HV distribution assets are typically, eg in the NEM, greater than the capital cost of generating plant. Generously, assume only 100%, thus resulting in a doubling of the raw cost of energy. This is a simplistic under-estimate, because the maintenance and operating costs of the HV distribution system will be less, as a percentage of the assets managed, due to a combination of factors such as being longer-lived and more centralised. Thus, at least double the number we started with. S1 = 2.

    Technical subsidy #2.
    Capacity factors for both wind and solar are well berlow 50%. If the argument is presented that “when the wind isn’t blowing, the sun might be shining”, then a corollary is that 100% builds of BOTH wind and solar are envisaged. So, the capital costs multiply. Again, generously apply a factor: S2 = 2.

    Technical Subsidy #3.
    The terms of the ultra-low priced contract are not stated, however, given that non-curtailment clauses are common, then it is reasonable to assume that there is a built-in non-curtailment. An allowance must be included for curtailment payments for each form of unreliable generation. I’d suggest that, at high percentages (and we are talking a 100% system here, aren’t we?) that starts at say 25% and could end up doubling the number we first thought of. We simply cannot know, but we can be sure that it is more than zero. Again, generously, S3 = 1.25.

    Technical Subsidy #4.
    This one is additive, not a multiplier. PD has allowed for a cost of hydrogen-derived electricity of say 3 times the cost of the solar energy used in its manufacture. Even overlooking the fact that the gas turbines required to burn hydrogen aren’t available yet and that when they are, they will not be at competitive prices, let’s keeep this S4 = 3.0. This applies only to portion of the electricity demand – say 33%? Thus, S4 adds 3 * 1/3 = 1.0 times the number we started with, ie the tender price of $30/MWh. (NB This accepts PD’s contention that this is possible – whether via OCGT or CCGT, isn’t stated. This isn’t trivial, because the more efficient CCGT’s cannot match the rapid response of OCGT’s.)

    Final cost = Tender price ( S1 * S2 * S3 + S4)
    = $30 ( 2 * 2 * 1.25 +1)
    = $180/MWh.

    Thus, it is reasonable to conclude that an extra low tender price of $30/MWh for wholesale unreliables still represents a cost to the system above $180/MWh.

    Besides which, where do the other system services come from: frequency control, fault response and all the rest, when there is no spinning reserve and no system inertia?

    Talk of 100% renewables, even with 100% GT or battery backup, is an unrealisable dream, technically and financially.

    Since Peter is so adamant that almost all other commentators are incorrect, I suggest that he focus his efforts on either (a) writing a paper for BNC describing his preferred system, its design and costs, complete with proper referencing, or (b) provide a reference to such a study.

    The questions are not new – five years ago, on Open Thread 16, John Newlands (26 June 2011) and others asked them in relation to BZE’s zero carbon plan. We are still waiting for a believable system description that might get us to nominally zero carbon electricity. We are still waiting.

    Here is eclipsenow’s post on the subject, complete with reference to John Newlands’s comment. https://eclipsenow.wordpress.com/2011/06/26/solar-flagships-disappoint-both-bze-and-bnc/

    Required reading: John Morgan’s article published here almost a year back.
    https://bravenewclimate.com/2015/06/05/less-than-the-sum-of-its-parts-rethinking-all-of-the-above-clean-energy/

    As far as I can tell, John Morgan’s basic analysis of practical limits to high percentage solar and wind, ie essentially the CF of the source, power remains unchallenged.

    It’s past time to move on from strings of unreferenced and unlinked “facts” and back to properly structured analysis.

    “I hope the method of doing the maths above is clear.” No, it is not – it was spin.

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  42. Singletonengineer is correct, but wind and solar are worse than that. Solar “works” 15% of the time [capacity factor] and wind “works” 20% of the time [capacity factor]. Since they overlap, you get only 30% of the time covered, not 35%. So you need to start with 3.34 times overbuild and then go through the rest of Singletonengineer’s analysis.

    Since wind and solar must be spread out over half the Earth or be multiplied by another 100 to avoid dead spots, you are out of money before you start. Wind and solar are nothing more than decorations.

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  43. Solar “works” 15% of the time [capacity factor] and wind “works” 20% of the time [capacity factor]. Since they overlap, you get only 30% of the time covered, not 35%. So you need to start with 3.34 times overbuild and then go through the rest of Singletonengineer’s analysis.

    There are two ways of configuring utility-scale quantities of solar and wind, one good and one bad.

    The bad way is to configure them to maximise the revenue or savings based on the current (defective) pricing system. That’s why Australia has mainly rooftop solar at present and wind is installed at in places where the capacity factor is so low.

    The good way to configure wind and solar is to put them in places where the value is maximised instead. The means where the capacity factors are high and in the case of wind power where the generation anti-correlates with daytime solar. So, for instance, in Southern Australia you don’t put the majority of the wind generation on the coast (where there is a positive correlation withe solar generation), but instead in the north of the interior of the region where the wind power is anti-correlated. There’s a link to a document about this in the most recent wind power thread.

    In Australia, as elsewhere, with the cost of lithium-ion batteries falling off a cliff, the electric vehicle revolution is now likely to be in full swing by 2025, maybe even by 2020, so meaningful quantities of used (and well looked after) batteries will be available for grid storage of up to 24 hours in a 2030 or 2035 timeframe.

    Then the degree of correlation or anti-correlation between wind and solar will be less relevant but most renewable resources should still be configured for value. Any overlap can be stored and used in the short-period gaps (of less than 24 hours) covered by the battery storage. There will still be long multi-day gaps but they will represent no more than around 10% of total generation and are covered in posts above. So we will be back to sums like 40% capacity factor (CF) for wind, overconfigured by 50% + 30% CF for utility-scale solar PV, + battery storage = 90% overall capacity factor. (I’m simplifying the maths here because lithium-ion batteries do have round trip efficiency losses of 10% or so).

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  44. @singletonengineer

    Let’s be clear about the scenario I am discussing. It’s not a current time scenario. It wasn’t specifically for Australia but let’s try to relate it to Australia. Since you prefer concise posts and the 10% stored generation through power to gas is covered above let’s leave it out here.

    Here is the scenario :

    Renewables are installed in the places where they add most value to the overall grid. There are such places in Australia where you would expect the capacity factor of onshore wind to be at least 40%, and solar PV to be 30%. (addresses your S2 except for correlation)
    Since the raw LCOE (no transmission charges) of both wind and solar continues to reduce, then for the high capacity factor places in (1) above, it is a reasonable best estimate that the global lowest bid LCOE prices will be reflected in the raw LCOE prices of Australian wind and solar above in a reasonable time frame. Say 2025.
    The EV revolution kick starts 2020-25 such that second-user batteries for grid storage in the time frame 2030-35 at very low costs, sufficient to provide enough capacity cheaply to cover 24 hours of generation (though less than this will suffice for this scenario).

    At this point it doesn’t matter as much what the wind/solar correlation factor is. The excess always gets stored. (addresses your S2 correlation and S3)

    Now for transmission charges. Since we will be overconfiguring wind and solar in the “value” sites, the transmission lines will be long. I haven’t worked out the lengths and am not going to, but someone else can if they want. Instead going to assume the same as the Wyoming to California line we all discussed previous – around 730 miles – to deliver wind power to Australia.

    If cheap storage is provided at each renewables generation site then this smooths the transmission load, enabling the line capacity (GW) to be minimised, so the addition to the LCOE added by the line transmission is as low as possible. Based on 46% utilisation of the Wyoming to California line the LCOE addition was $18.6 / MWh. With, say 80% average utilisation instead, the cost of power delivered down this line would increase be around £10/MWh due to transmission costs.

    (addresses your S1)

    Since we have storage at renewable generation sites smoothing the supply, we no longer need a fast response from the power to gas CCGT generation (and I did specify CCGT, not OCGT).

    When all gas turbines for generation become hydrogen-compatible, then they WILL be cost competitive. In the post above I suggest adding $20/MWh to the LCOE of all power generated everywhere (direct renewables, renewables from battery, or power to gas) to cover the cost of such turbines to generate the average load. (Addresses your S4 if I have understood it correctly).

    So for some very crude calculations (consider them only order of magnitude) :

    90% Direct and battery renewables generation $30/MWh + $10/MWh transmission costs + $16/MWh battery costs = $56/MWh

    10% Power to gas renewables input power $75/MWh (assumed sited somewhere where you don’t need extra transmission)

    Average before uplifts is less than $60/MWh.

    But we also have to provide a complete set of CCGT generation for the average load, costed at $20/MWh across all generation. Again this is assumed to be sited somewhere with an existing transmission line, either because it replaces existing generation (in which case we might need a gas network) or preferable because it is co-located with renewable generation locations.

    Total around $80/MWh.

    All very crude, so take it as an order of magnitude costing for a 100% renewable energy solution.

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  45. Sorry, forgot that this site carefully removes all the numbering at the start of sentences, rendering the formatting pretty dire. I will post it again. Meanwhile, perhaps the moderator would like to delete the version above once the new one with better formatting has been posted below. And this post.

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  46. @singletonengineer

    Let’s be clear about the scenario I am discussing. It’s not a current time scenario. It wasn’t specifically for Australia but let’s try to relate it to Australia. Since you prefer concise posts and the 10% stored generation through power to gas is covered above let’s leave it out here.

    Here is the scenario :

    A Renewables are installed in the places where they add most value to the overall grid. There are such places in Australia where you would expect the capacity factor of onshore wind to be at least 40%, and solar PV to be 30%.

    (addresses your S2 except for correlation)

    B Since the raw LCOE (no transmission charges) of both wind and solar continues to reduce, then for the high capacity factor places in (1) above, it is a reasonable best estimate that the global lowest bid LCOE prices will be reflected in the raw LCOE prices of Australian wind and solar above in a reasonable time frame. Say by 2025.

    C The EV revolution kick starts 2020-25 such that second-user batteries for grid storage in the time frame 2030-35 at very low costs, sufficient to provide enough capacity cheaply to cover 24 hours of generation (though less than this will suffice for this scenario).

    At this point it doesn’t matter as much what the wind/solar correlation factor is. All the excess gets stored and used later, either stored in batteries or in power to gas.

    (addresses your S2 correlation and S3)

    D Now for transmission charges. Since we will be overconfiguring wind and solar in the “value” sites, the transmission lines will be long. I haven’t worked out the lengths and am not going to, but someone else can if they want. Instead going to assume the same as the Wyoming to California line we all discussed previous – around 730 miles – to deliver wind power to Australia.

    If cheap storage is provided at each renewables generation site then this smooths the transmission load, enabling the line capacity (GW) to be minimised, so the addition to the LCOE added by the line transmission is as low as possible. Based on 46% utilisation of the Wyoming to California line the LCOE addition was $18.6 / MWh. With, say 80% average utilisation instead, the cost of power delivered down this line would increase be around £10/MWh due to transmission costs.

    (addresses your S1)

    E Since we have storage at renewable generation sites smoothing the supply, we no longer need a fast response from the power to gas CCGT generation (and I did specify CCGT, not OCGT).

    When all gas turbines for generation become hydrogen-compatible, then they WILL be cost competitive. In the post above I suggest adding $20/MWh to the LCOE of all power generated everywhere (direct renewables, renewables from battery, or power to gas) to cover the cost of such turbines to generate the average load.

    (Addresses your S4 if I have understood it correctly).

    So for some very crude calculations (consider them only order of magnitude) :

    90% Direct and battery renewables generation $30/MWh + $10/MWh transmission costs + $16/MWh battery costs = $56/MWh

    10% Power to gas renewables input power $75/MWh (assumed sited somewhere where you don’t need extra transmission)

    Average before uplifts is less than $60/MWh.

    But we also have to provide a complete set of CCGT generation for the average load, costed at $20/MWh across all generation. Again this is assumed to be sited somewhere with an existing transmission line, either because it replaces existing generation (in which case we might need a gas network) or preferable because it is co-located with renewable generation locations.

    Total around $80/MWh.

    All very crude, so take it as order of magnitude costing only.

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  47. “Australia becomes 14th member of Gen IV International Forum
    Australia has been unanimously accepted as the 14th member of the Generation IV International Forum (GIF). GIF is working on advanced nuclear technologies, focused on six or seven power reactor designs expected to be commercially viable from about 2030, though several precursors have already operated experimentally. The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) will be the means of contributing to the GIF’s goals. The GIF was set up in 2001, and the technical secretariat is with the OECD’s Nuclear Energy Agency in Paris, alongside two other major international programs. One of these is the International Framework for Nuclear Energy Cooperation, the predecessor of which Australia joined in 2007.”
    http://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/nuclear-fuel-cycle/nuclear-power-reactors/generation-iv-nuclear-reactors.aspx

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  48. Besides agreeing with singletonengineer, I must take on Peter Davies directly:

    The point about the fraction of generation from power to gas is key to the cost of this long-period gap backup. The round-trip efficiency of power to gas storage is slightly above 40%. That means you need to cost in 2.5 times as much wind or solar PV generation (energy not power so measured in MWh) as you need energy out.

    You’re ignoring the elephant in the room, and that’s the PTG system’s amortization and O&M.  This is more or less a flat rate per peak watt, so the per-kWh price goes UP the less you use it.

    I’m not up on the lifespan of electrolyzers and such, but given the talk about high rates of degradation of catalysts I’d guess 20 years at the outside.  I’m seeing is about $1/W, and the wattage needs to be sized for the peak power rather than average (else surpluses must be spilled).  The low capacity factor of wind and PV, plus the 2.5x multiplier due to system losses, means VERY high peak electrolyzer powers; at a guess you are talking at least 6x the average load, maybe more.  You have $6000 per average system kW, just in the electrolyzer.

    You can stop right there.  It doesn’t matter if the balance of the system and all its energy is free, nuclear power is cheaper even at today’s steep FOAK prices.

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  49. There is a thing called reserve standby that may have zero kWh usage. Its there just in case. Backup generation at a hospital is a good example. In these instances you can’t price the commodity on a cents per kwh basis. Peaking on a $/kw and base load on a $/MWh; that’s how you look at these things. Use of just one measure doesn’t tell the whole story.

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  50. @Engineer-Poet

    I’m seeing about $1/W, and the wattage needs to be sized for the peak power rather than average (else surpluses must be spilled). The low capacity factor of wind and PV, plus the 2.5x multiplier due to system losses, means VERY high peak electrolyzer powers; at a guess you are talking at least 6x the average load, maybe more. You have $6000 per average system kW, just in the electrolyzer.

    In the unlikely event that electrolyser prices stubbornly refuse to come down by 2035 despite 20 years of heavy R&D activity paid for by the US DoE) all you have to do is…

    …use a fraction of the second-hand car battery storage to smooth the electrolyser load so operation is 24 hours per day instead of just when the wind blows or the sun shines.

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  51. Entergy has stated that it will close two nuclear power plants in Illinois unless the rate mechanism is changed so that Entergy is not losing money by continuing to operate. I take this to indicate, once again, that simplistic rate setting based on other sectors of the economy does not work for the electrical power industry.

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  52. @Engineer-Poet

    Some numbers on the electrolysers. Assuming 24 hour operation through the use of battery smoothing :

    Per MWh through the electrolysers the capital cost allowance is $1,000,000/(8760 hours/year x 10 years) = $3.42 /MWh approximately. If you do a discounted cash flow it ends up being slightly cheaper for a discount rate of 6.5% and your 20 year lifetime. To this you should add O&M costs.

    For 10% of electricity generated through power to gas we also need to feed 10% x 3 = 0.3 of each MWh supplied through the electrolysers. So the capital cost of electrolyers adds $3.42 x 0.3/MWh = $1/MWh approximately to the cost of the average MWh supplied. Compare this with the $27.5/MWh (over all supply) to cover the costs of the renewable energy to generate the power for the electrolysers plus CCGT backup for the average level of demand.

    To understand that renewable energy storage is economic you need to look at what the two-level storage hierarchy buys you. If you only look at one of these at a time you must reach the wrong conclusion.

    Grid battery storage is cheap for providing power, but too expensive at storing energy for more than a day, Power to gas (electrolysis plus CCGT generation) is great at storing a lot of energy, but because of the round trip inefficiency is terrible at providing power if it has to be used for more than a small fraction of supply. So horses for courses. It is the combination of both that produces economic grid storage for renewables.

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  53. Erratum

    The first sentence of the second paragraph above should read :

    Per MWh through the electrolysers the capital cost allowance is $1,000,000/(8760 hours/year x 10 years) = $11.41 /MWh approximately.

    The rest of the numbers are right.

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  54. Second Erratum.

    No the rest of the numbers are not right. I seem to have $3.42 on the brain, maybe because it is the final answer and both numbers end xx.42. Here’s the corrected version of the two paragraphs.

    Per MWh through the electrolysers the capital cost allowance is $1,000,000/(8760 hours/year x 10 years) = $11.42 /MWh approximately. If you do a proper discounted cash flow it ends up being slightly cheaper for a discount rate of 6.5% and your 20 year lifetime. To this you should add O&M costs.

    For 10% of electricity generated through power to gas with round trip inefficiencies we need to feed 10% x 3 = 0.3 of each MWh supplied through the electrolysers. So the capital cost of electrolyers adds $11.42 x 0.3/MWh = $3.42/MWh approximately to the cost of the average MWh supplied. Compare this with the $27.5/MWh (over all supply) to cover the costs of the renewable energy to power for the electrolysers plus CCGT backup for the average level of demand.

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  55. Entergy has stated that it will close two nuclear power plants in Illinois unless the rate mechanism is changed so that Entergy is not losing money by continuing to operate.

    I have been talking to my state legislators about this. Somebody keeps wanting to add a wind and solar mandate.
    You already know what I think.

    <blockquoteEdward Greisch — I suggest working up some good talks for Rotary and other lunch groups. Multiply your influence by keeping it simple; rhetoric is one of the 7 muses, the important one here.

    Edward,

    Keeping two existing nuclear stations open is a very worthwhile aim, but the guys in Illinois are not going to be very receptive to a message which says they should not install more renewables. If you are prepared to compromise on your message you stand more chance of keeping the stations open.

    My suggestion would be to sell a “low-carbon” mandate instead of a “wind and solar” mandate. A “low carbon” mandate would include wind, solar and existing (or new) nuclear (and is there any hydro?) and thus could be higher than a pure wind and solar mandate without doing anything different. Don’t attack new wind and solar o you will lose most of the audience. Just point out that the world is warming too fast, and that shutting existing nuclear results in more greenhouse emissions than if the stations are retained.

    By limiting your ambitions you stand a much better chance of persuading everyone to keep the nuclear stations open.

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  56. Peter Davies: I am not going to tell lies. The only opinion that matters is Nature’s opinion.

    Nature does not compromise. Nature kills. We either comply with Nature or we go extinct.

    I would say: Legislators shouldn’t try to do engineering. Let the engineers do the engineering. It is government’s job to set parameters like CO2 / kilowatt hour and deaths / terawatt hour. I have said that. The truth is: Most legislators are either not college educated or they are innumerate humanitologists or innumerate fine arts types. Neither type is at all able to do engineering.

    Adding in a few lies about wind and solar is a no-go. I will stick to the truth. Wind and solar are ploys of the coal industry to destroy nuclear. Wind and solar do not work.

    Again, Nature does not compromise. Nature kills. We either comply with Nature or we go extinct. It follows that “Compromising” with people who want wind and solar would be suicide. I am not into suicide.

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  57. Some legislators are very well qualified and very well understand the nuclear imperative. However, that does not mean that they will vote in support of nuclear power or vote to support reductions of CO2 emissions instead of voting to mandate wind and solar power.

    Even well qualified legislators see even mentioning nuclear power as the kiss of death. They are more concerned with their political careers than with anything else.

    A few years ago, I had a brief meeting with Rep. Heinrich (Dem, NM), who is now a U.S. senator from NM. He had a degree in mechanical engineering. The physics required for that degree should have enabled him to understand the issue. I presented him with information on the LFTR and he seemed to understand it very well. Even so, he has been pushing for more renewables.

    During a brief encounter with NM state senator Cisco McSorley a few weeks ago, I raised the issue of nuclear power. He asserted that with thermal storage, solar systems were well able to meet all electrical needs and we had no need for nuclear power. He is an attorney and I know nothing about his technical qualifications.

    In addition to technical discussions, we need to involve experts in human behavior to help devise effective arguments, perhaps with the aid of focus groups. Simply being technically correct is insufficient.

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  58. Cisco McSorley may need to be tutored in:
    http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2011/11/pump-up-the-storage/
    http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2011/08/nation-sized-battery/

    McSorley may be another Peter Davies who has got his head stuck in the bannister. We certainly do need to involve the social scientists, but I doubt that they have a mass cure yet. The mass cure would also cure religion, all 10,000 of them, so you can see that it is not easy. The simplest cure may be another million years’ worth of evolution, or the experience of a population crash or both.

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  59. Freggersjr spoke with a US Senator: “I … LFTR … [but] he has been pushing for more renewables.” To be fair, the Senator chose to back the readily-deployable solution, RE, against the early concept, LFTR.

    When the NuScale SMR becomes readily-deployable, such lobbying will be more credible. That is several years away yet, after the demo has been built and run around the block a few times.

    Like

  60. DBB: I am not sure which thing exactly you are pointing to. On legislators, go to http://www.ilga.gov/ [for Illinois] and find either house members or senate members and read their CVs [resumes’]. After you have read a hundred or so, you will realize that they are neither scientists nor engineers, with few exceptions. Could you be more specific?

    http://www.ilga.gov/house/default.asp

    Biography: Full-time legislator; former member of Urbana City Council and Champaign County Board; volunteered at Courage Connections (A Woman’s Fund); worked at Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center, Don Moyer Boys & Girls Club, Salvation Army Food Pantry, and University YMCA; resides in Urbana; married, has three children.

    Biography: Law Enforcement Officer since 2005, born and raised in Chicago; former Kendall County Sheriff’s Deputy; Awarded “Cop of the Future” for leadership; former Champaign Police Officer; Bachelor’s Degree from Christian Bible College & Seminary, Independence, MO; Co-founded Charitable Foundation, YARN, with wife Deborah; has four children; Representative since August 2013.

    Biography: Born June 13, 1954 in Corozal, Puerto Rico; member of the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers; recipient of the American Council of Engineering Companies of Illinoisí 2011 Presidentís Legislative Man of the Year Award and the Hispanic Illinois State Law Enforcement Associationís Presidentís Award; married to Maribel, has three adult children (Luis Jr., Denise and Alberto), and four grandchildren.

    Sure, some are lawyers or whatever.

    Like

  61. Peter Lang alerted us to Australia’s acceptance into the GIF, the International Forum for Generation IV reactors. Our involvement would be ANSTO, who are the high priests in the SYNROC process for permanent disposal of radioactive elements.

    It coincides with a Russian proposal for uranium leasing, whereby one country or institution owns the fuel from cradle to grave. Industry guru, Ian Hore-Lacy points out that Australia could own the fuel from mine to ultimate disposal while its enrichment and processing etc could be done in a currently tooled up nuclear country. Encapsulation and incarceration would be done in Australia.

    Ideally, fast reactors would only leave fission products as waste to be sent for isolation. However disposal could become much more chemically interesting if re-processing techniques moved away from wet processes that fully separate the elements, to electrolytic processes that entrain some of the actinides.

    Australia has its share of fearful NIMBY‘s. However antinuclear fearmongers would have a much harder job to frighten such people about a deep geological repository in arid country, hundreds of kilometres away from any major city.

    Like

  62. Euan Mearns has a new post on Energy Matters: http://euanmearns.com/the-energy-return-of-solar-pv/

    A new study by Ferroni and Hopkirk [1] estimates the ERoEI of temperate latitude solar photovoltaic (PV) systems to be 0.83. If correct, that means more energy is used to make the PV panels than will ever be recovered from them during their 25 year lifetime. A PV panel will produce more CO2 than if coal were simply used directly to make electricity.

    Ferruccio Ferroni and Robert J. Hopkirk 2016: Energy Return on Energy Invested (ERoEI) for photovoltaic solar systems in regions of moderate insolation: Energy Policy 94 (2016) 336–344 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301421516301379

    Like

  63. I just saw this interesting statistic:

    Fatalities per TWh attributable to PM 2.5, SO2, NOx from coal fired power stations in India (All plants 2008) (does not include accident fatality rates):

    State Owned = 103
    Centre Owned = 95
    Privately owned = 82
    (Ref. Table 8)

    Average for India is 99 fatalities/TWh (Ref. Table 7)

    Cropper, M., Gamkhar, S,. Malik, K., Limonov, A., Partridge, I., 2012. The Health Effects of Coal Electricity Generation in India. Resources for the Future
    http://www.rff.org/files/sharepoint/WorkImages/Download/RFF-DP-12-25.pdf

    Privately owned is definitely best.

    Like

  64. That’s a remarkable casualty rate. 99 deaths per TWh equates to 867 deaths per GWa. A gigawatt-year is the annual output of a classic 1GW nuke, or a year’s power consumption of a million Australians.

    Like

  65. Hi Roger,

    Your are correct. To ensure your comment is not misinterpreted, the figure is consistent with other analyses for fatalities/TWh from coal, such as China 77, EU 28, US, 15, global average 60, e.g.
    Kherecha and Hansen, 2013: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/full/10.1021/es3051197#
    Wade, 2012, http://nextbigfuture.com/2012/06/deaths-by-energy-source-in-forbes.html
    Barry Brook et al. 2014, http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214993714000050?np=y

    The significance of this is that if nuclear had continued to reduce costs at the rate demonstrated up to about 1970: https://judithcurry.com/2016/03/13/nuclear-power-learning-rates-policy-implications/, and deployment continued at the rate reached by 1985, i.e. 30 GW per year, then nuclear would have avoided about 4.5 million immediate and latent fatalities between 1985 and 2015. If, however, the accelerating rate that was demonstrated from 1960 to 1976, had continued, nuclear would have replaced the equivalent of all coal and most gas by 2000.

    I assert the anti-nukes are responsible for the disruption to progress. If they were objective, rational and not in denial, they’d accept they are responsible for 4.5 million fatalities, lower standard of living, less people with electricity than would have been … and a lot more.

    The anti-nukes have a lot to answer for.

    Like

  66. Roger,

    If you notice an error in my interpretation of these numbers, could you please let me know:

    “… fatalities/TWh from coal, such as China 77, EU 28, US 15, global average 60, e.g.
    Kherecha and Hansen, 2013: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/full/10.1021/es3051197#
    Wade, 2012, http://nextbigfuture.com/2012/06/deaths-by-energy-source-in-forbes.html
    Barry Brook et al. 2014, http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214993714000050?np=y

    Also, I’d welcome an explanation of why Herschberg’s Years of Life Lost for coal is about 60 (See last row of Table 1 and add about 1 for accident fatalities in YOLL/TWh https://www.researchgate.net/publication/283239551_Health_Effects_of_Technologies_for_Power_Generation_Contributions_from_Normal_Operation_Severe_Accidents_and_Terrorist_Threat ). Year’s of life lost should be around an order of magnitude higher than fatalities. There seems to be an order of magnitude error, but more likely I am misunderstanding what his numbers mean.

    Like

  67. Eclipse Now — Every reactor produces heat. Power reactors use the heat to turn a turbine. At the end the working fluid turning the turbine, usually steam, contains excess heat, called reject heat. This is removed by passing the working fluids through a condenser. This is similar to a car radiator except that rather than air cooling always, so far, water is used. This is sometimes once through river, lake or sea water. The other alternative in use is water evaporation towers.

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  68. FireOfEnergy asks for nukes that don’t need environmental water to dump their exhaust heat. However, air can be used instead. Commercially available air-cooled condensers are installed where water is short, eg Kogan Ck PS. The fans consume about 5% of the power.

    And there’s desalination. Exhaust heat could also be released to the environment through a cascade of evaporators (MED) as has already been in the BN-350 power-and-water fast NPS in Russia. The heat would eventually escape to the air from the pipefarm. Instead of being a wicked consumer of sweet water, the nuke then becomes a producer, of “power and water”.

    Like

  69. I hear that the biosphere is continuing to warm and am suspect of RE goals meeting the challenge in time – if at all. When ever i have the time, I’ll troll on over to “the planet is warming” pages and tell em that what most people think of RE is NOT going to solve the problem. I tell them that we need a cheap and plentiful solid state battery that doesn’t freeze or fail in hot temps (and which lasts as long as the solar panels), a GLOBAL smart power grid (which would provide power to a winter’s night from a sunny day in an instant), and most importantly, that everyone concerned MUST conclude that the growing world economy will require MORE energy than what fossil fuels currently provides (despite efficiency improvements), that they must realize that hundreds of thousands of sq km of solar coverage will be needed on top of more wind and hydro.
    Or, we need to scale up nuclear in a way that is un hackable.

    I belIeve the fears of it are at least somewhat valid. Sadly, though, most people don’t want either. So my “contribution” is just trying to make aware of the vastness of the clean energy challenge, and that either path is not possible without everyone concerned doing, and stressing, the energy math.

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  70. I was disappointed to note that Senator Sean Edwards has been placed no 5 on the Liberal ticket. Unless the Liberals do rather better than last time, only 4 senators will be elected.

    I have placed a proposed below-the-line vote for anyone (like I) who would wish to support Sean whilst not otherwise voting Liberal.

    If one were to vote Liberal above the line, it would increase Sean’s chance of being elected, but most likely it wouldn’t work, and your preference will be allocated at 0.05. Doing it my way ensures that if Sean isn’t elected, your preference is distributed 100% to your next choice. You might choose to preference Bob Day (reactionary on some issues but very supportive with nuclear) or the Xenophon group.

    Like

  71. One of the realities of energy policy is that certain people become recognized experts that are sought by news organizations to communicate to the public. One of the main themes of this blog is the conflict between renewables (actually wind and solar) and nuclear, which I and I’m sure most readers and commenters here favor.

    The main expert on the renewables side is almost certainly Mark Jacobson. His studies in support of 100% wind, hydro and solar are really horrible, but he has a lot of influence and should not be underestimated. He is very charismatic and has very impressive academic credentials. He’s published a lot of papers with most being on things like aerosols, soot and atmospheric modeling. He’s made a name for himself with studies on black carbon. His energy papers are in contrast to this and need to be pointed out. He has an irrational aversion to nuclear energy and his proposal for wind and solar are fanciful, speculative and half baked. He’s been very good at wowing people, most notably actor Mark Ruffalo.

    The nuclear side needs a good communicator to counter Jacobson and I nominate Michael Shellenberger. He’s very smart, telegenic (like jacobson) and defends nuclear in a lot of videos (and does it very well). He’s known for helping found the Breakthrough Institute and helping write the Ecomodernist Manifesto. Here’s a new video where he appears on stage with Jacobson. I thought Shellenberger was very effective:

    When I posted this video in the comments of a post at the Climate Crock blog, Kevin Cowtan showed up with a tabulation of papers, citations and h values for jacobson, Shellenberger and Bjorn Lomborg:

    “Mark Jacobson: 182 publications, 9656 citations, h=46
    Bjorn Lomborg: 38 publications, 73 citations, h=3
    Michael Shellenberger: 7 publications, 23 citations, h=2”

    https://climatecrocks.com/2016/05/09/new-video-mark-jacobson-on-a-renewable-world/#comment-84159

    I’d guess that Jacobson’s numbers are so high, because his papers are mostly in the lavishly funded field of climate science.

    Like

  72. Dr. Howard C. Hayden argues that there IS climate change but not because of human intervention. His book, “Solar Fraud” is pretty solid in dispelling the myths of solar and wind. But his book “A Primer on CO2 and Climate” denies that climate change is caused by humans and makes a fairly strong argument (in 2008) that there actually is no ‘consensus’ among climate scientists.

    Comments?

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  73. Serious comment: You got took bigtime. Science isn’t about good arguments.

    Nature isn’t just the final authority on truth, Nature is the Only authority. There are zero human authorities. Scientists do not vote on what is the truth. There is only one vote and Nature owns it. We find out what Nature’s vote is by doing Scientific [public and replicable] experiments. Scientific [public and replicable] experiments are the only source of truth. [To be public, it has to be visible to other people in the room. What goes on inside one person’s head isn’t public unless it can be seen on an X-ray or with another instrument.]
    We build confidence by repeating experiments.

    “Science and Immortality” by Charles B. Paul, 1980, University of California Press. In this book on the “Eloges of the Paris Academy of Sciences” (1699-1791) page 99 says: “Science is not so much a natural as a moral philosophy”. [That means drylabbing [fudging data] will get you fired.]
    Page 106 says: “Nature isn’t just the final authority, Nature is the Only authority.”

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  74. It is kinda impossible for the average person who believes that co2 is a GHG to completely discredit that fact that some 40% extra co2 in an atmosphere isn’t going to heat things up a little. Therefore, i find it useless for a scientist (or whatever this guy is) to dismiss this unless he can prove beyond a doubt that not only is surface water acidification not a concern, but that this large amount extra isn’t going to cause warming. I’ve heard people say that even a doubling of co2 won’t heat things up at all due to convection and what not, but until most the scientist sign on, i disagree.
    Therefore, he probably knows nothing about solar growth, either.
    Bty, Global solar energy capacity exponentiated from 6.5 to 227 MW during ’06 to the end of 2015. Despite the overwhelming clean energy challenge that lies ahead, that 40x growth makes me remain hopeful!

    Like

  75. David, by “hopeful” I take it that you mean 277GW nameplate, not 277MW as you wrote. That’s the first factor of 1000 error.

    The challenge is not to get renewable energy up, but to get carbon emissions down. Regardless of whatever renewables are doing, it is the CO2 that is the problem and contented smiles will achieve nothing.

    I suggest that you refer to a source such as the BP annual reivew: http://www.bp.com/en/global/corporate/energy-economics/statistical-review-of-world-energy.html

    A few figures:
    GLOBAL OIL CONSUMPTION
    2004 3870 million tonnes
    2014 4211
    Increase 0.8%

    NATURAL GAS (Billion cubic metres)
    2004 2699
    2014 3393
    Increase 25.7%

    COAL
    NB Total proven world coal resources still in the ground were reported to be 891 billion tonnes in 2014.
    2004 2836 mtoe – million tonnes oil equivalent
    2014 3934
    Increase 38.7%

    Install as much PV, wind and other unreliable so-called renewables as you like, but while these figures continue to grow each year, then we aren’t even treading water… we are all sinking together.

    Since the consumption figures have increased by up to 38% in the past decade, it should be possible to reduce consumption of fossil fuels at the same rate, 38%, across the board, in the current decade, but how?

    I don’t know how many percent annual increase in PV that target would equate to, or how many square miles of collectors in the next decade. Perhaps there is a more detailed post on BNC somewhere, but it is essential that we keep our eye on the goal, which must be lower global carbon emissions, by all means combined. Nothing else matters.

    I commend the BP review to you – it is a mine of information and is free online.

    Like

  76. SingletonEngineer reminds us that “the goal … must be lower global carbon emissions”, not increased “renewable energy”. After all, the term distracts the public to a false crisis, that the world is running out of minerals to dig up (from holes, fossa).

    We need our leaders to instead speak in terms of “non-carbon energy”. Even the Greens Party (in Oz) avoids naming carbon, saying “coal” instead, as if the greenhouse is filling up with coal dioxide, easily dismissed by using gas instead.

    Like

  77. @Peter Lang

    A new study by Ferroni and Hopkirk [1] estimates the ERoEI of temperate latitude solar photovoltaic (PV) systems to be 0.83. If correct, that means more energy is used to make the PV panels than will ever be recovered from them during their 25 year lifetime. A PV panel will produce more CO2 than if coal were simply used directly to make electricity.

    A very entertaining paper produced by two highly imaginative Swiss academics. Thanks for pointing out this one.

    Regrettably their conclusion is completely contradictory to the current minimum unsubsidised bid prices for solar PV of under 3 cents/kWh (in the places with very good sunshine). Adjusting for approximate relative insolation using the same equipment in England and Germany would give a price per kWh of 10 cents/kWh. So if the authors were right, just about every cent of this cost would have to go to the input cost of electricity. Since there are numerous other costs that single fact proves their conclusions are highly flawed.

    Clearly the authors have gone wrong big time somewhere. For the benefit of those who don’t have paywall access the main flaws in the paper are summarised below:

    A. The authors insist on copper-plated dual pumped hydro and CCGT backup for every 1MW of solar PV capacity.

    This is a nonsense because they include costs for not only pumped hydro, but also a complete set of CCGT backup too.

    So if you had another 1MW of wind installed alongside the authors would insist on both 2MW of pumped hydro and 2MW of CCGT backup. 1MW of CCGT backup would cover both sets of generation as they very rarely generate at the same time.

    Backup costs and energy input should be a characteristic of the complete system. These guys don’t understand that. And they have presumably never heard of demand response either.

    B. The authors cite a 2009 materials breakdowns document in the paper.

    It has probably escaped their attention that solar PV capital costs have decreased by 80% since 2009. To achieve such major cost savings inevitably manufacturers have had to use less material, and process the material they do use more efficiently – thus using much lower energy inputs. This process will continue into the future too.

    C. The authors attribute energy values to incoming project capital (and only incoming project capital)

    EROI is supposed to be a measure of energy input. The Bank of America, or of any other sovereign state with its own central bank, can produce capital purely by printing more dollar bills. OK that uses a little energy – even holding computerised balances in the central bank uses a little energy – but not enough to go into an EROI calculation. That is just the first mistake.

    The second mistake is that, if capital does have an energy value, then the capital eventually gets repaid – with interest. If you include this, the net energy input from capital overall would actually be negative.

    As a serious contribution to the debate on renewable energy it isn’t worth the electrons used to produce it.

    Like

  78. David,

    You are quite right and I should know better as I did actually work with the BofA in Anaheim briefly in 1991 (?) I should have said “central bank”, but was trying hard not to say Bank of England at any stage.

    Thanks for the correction.

    Like

  79. Regrettably their conclusion is completely contradictory to the current minimum unsubsidised bid prices for solar PV

    Peter Davies does not understand the difference between EROI, economic cost and prices.

    Like

  80. Minimum unsubsidised prices for solar PV?? What are they?

    Solar PV reverse auction bid price in Canberra, Australia are $183 to $186/MWh (18.6 c/kWh).

    The prices are guaranteed by government for 20 years and escalated in accordance with prescribed escalation factors. Furthermore, they do not include the grid system costs. Graham Palmer has a excellent paper quantifying some, but not, the hidden costs for residential PV. Household Solar Photovoltaics: Supplier of Marginal Abatement, or Primary Source of Low-Emission Power? http://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/5/4/1406

    One of the large hidden cost costs is the costs transferred to the back up generators that must be then be transferred to consumers as higher cost of electricity.

    Like

  81. Eclipse Now and Edward Greisch,

    EROI normally means EROEI. If you want to know the energy return of financial investment, call it E/$ (or E/£ or E/€ or E/¥ or whatever) but don’t use an acronym that’s normally taken to mean something else.

    Peter Lang,

    <

    blockquote>”Peter Davies does not understand the difference between EROI, economic cost and prices.”

    <

    blockquote>
    He seems to understand it a lot better than you do. His point was that if energy invested were still so high, those prices would be unachievable.

    Like

  82. Peter Davies says:

    Regrettably their conclusion is completely contradictory to the current minimum unsubsidised bid prices for solar PV of under 3 cents/kWh

    Here are some of the subsidies in the US:

    EIA, 2015, Direct Federal Financial Interventions and Subsidies in Energy in Fiscal Year 2013 http://www.eia.gov/analysis/requests/subsidy/

    Non-hydro Renewable electric = $12.8 billion (253.5 TWh)
    Nuclear = $1.66 billion (789 TWh)

    (Note: The Federal subsidies included here are only part of the total subsidies paid by Federal Government, State Governments, local governments, tax payers, rate payers and consumers).

    US Federal Government subsidies per MWh (approx.)
    Solar = $280
    Wind = $35
    Hydro = $1.47
    Nuclear = $2.10

    Here is a plot comparing the subsidies (with a spelling mistake in the subtitle)

    Some of the US subsidies for Solar PV amount to 28c/kWh!

    Why does the PhD student continue to post such complete and utter nonsense here? Long ago he demonstrated nothing he says can be trusted.

    Like

  83. @Peter Lang

    Solar PV reverse auction bid price in Canberra, Australia are $183 to $186/MWh (18.6 c/kWh).

    Peter, given you must know that solar PV prices have come down by more than 80% in 7 years, why do you quote a bid made in 2012 without informing us of the date? Surely you know how misleading this might be to others.

    (The AUD and USD floated around parity in 2012.)

    Minimum unsubsidised prices for solar PV?? What are they?

    The minimum unsubsidised price (in US $/MWh or US cents/kWh) for solar PV is the lowest price anywhere round the world at which solar PV power has been bid seriously so far.

    It has to be a serious bid – not just an auction tactic to slow down a decision for some reason which sometimes seems to happen in reverse auctions.

    Signature of a contract indicates a serious bid because someone is then on the hook for making a profit on the installation at that price of electricity. An alternative proof of seriousness is that bidders had to provide a deposit which they lose if they withdraw. If the second lowest bid in an auction is only a little higher than the lowest then both bids are probably real. If the bidder is a reputable company then they probably make only real bids. A proper multi-round auction involving a lot of work for the bidders also probably indicates no-one will make a bid for which they do not intend to sign a contract.

    The lowest bids and contract prices over the last couple of years for various locations can be found here. This source gives both subsidised and unsubsidised prices where relevant.

    Like

  84. Davies,

    Peter, given you must know that solar PV prices have come down by more than 80% in 7 years

    Because they are current prices. The contracts were awarded recently. The price of PV panels is irrelevant. What is relevant is the total system cost.

    You cited no evidence, let alone and authoritative, trustworthy source evidence, for your ridiculous claim:

    Regrettably their conclusion is completely contradictory to the current minimum unsubsidised bid prices for solar PV of under 3 cents/kWh

    Your comments are highly misleading and dishonest.

    Like

  85. Tower of Babel effect. Use the correct acronym or expect to not be understood. This is not English Literature where anything means just exactly whatever you want it to mean.
    If AIDAN STANGER doesn’t want to spell out the correct acronym, then AIDAN STANGER is a liar.

    Back to English Lit or some psychologists: If a word means its opposite, then word minus word = zero and you have no meaning at all. You can’t communicate.

    So in Energy Return on dollar Invested means Energy Return on Energy Invested, you have created a Tower of Babel and you can no longer communicate. So you may as well not bother to say anything more.

    Like

  86. Edward Greisch,

    I’m not the one who’s created a Tower of Babel. I’m just informing you of the fact that in common usage EROI has exactly the same meaning as EROEI. Furthermore, you and Eclipse are the only ones I’ve ever encountered using it with a different meaning.

    I have not used the acronym EROI except to inform you that its meaning is not what you thought it was. So stop trying to create a Tower of Babel by insisting your meaning is right and the rest of the world’s meaning is wrong!

    Like

  87. The contracts were awarded recently.

    What a grid decision-maker wants to know is the price he will be quoted for new generation, not the price quoted in an auction four years ago. The latest price is the price on which he will make a decision and is the price reflecting the costs which will be passed on to his customers.

    For that money ($183 to $186/MWh (18.6 c/kWh) at the Australian/US dollar parity at the time) ACT could probably now get twice as much generation and 24-hour power to boot, as Chile did for the Copiapa solar baseload project in the Atacama desert.

    Incidentally, the grid connection cost for baseload solar is around 1/3 of the cost of that for the same nameplate capacity solar PV farm in the same place with no storage as the transmission line capacity factor will be three times higher.

    The good news is that ACT will get a much better deal on solar of any type next time.

    You cited no evidence, let alone and authoritative, trustworthy source evidence, for your ridiculous claim

    Regrettably their conclusion is completely contradictory to the current minimum unsubsidised bid prices for solar PV of under 3 cents/kWh

    I read the article. You presumably have not, judging from your comments. Well here is a version not behind a paywall. Read it quick before Elsevier ask the site to remove it.

    https://collapseofindustrialcivilization.files.wordpress.com/2016/05/ferroni-y-hopkirk-2016-energy-return-on-energy-invested-eroei-for-photo.pdf

    Please read it. Then go back and read my criticisms of it. And note that the materials amounts used come from 2008 source cited in the 2009 document. So they are now EIGHT years out of date (and there is more to come from me tomorrow on future solar PV use of materials).

    Add the fact that one of the authors of the report failed to indicate that he works in the nuclear industry. Failure to come clean about such connections is often a prelude to cherry picking of dubious sources which is intended to produce a deliberately distorted conclusion.

    Like

  88. Peter Davies,

    The latest contracted prices for utility scale solar in Australia are more than 5 times the cost of coal fired electricity. It is baseload coal solar is trying to displace, so that is the proper comparison. Then you have to 6-10 times higher total system costs for solar (at 30% penetration) http://www.energyinachangingclimate.info/Counting%20the%20hidden%20costs%20of%20energy.pdf.

    It’s hopeless trying to hold a rational discussion with you. You don’t admit when you have been shown to be wrong on important relevant points and you repeatedly avoid addressing the relevant facts and continually divert to irrelevancies, such as the Atacama Desert. If you believe your cherry picked factoids are a relevant argument, then you should compare against the cost of nuclear in China, or what the cost of nuclear would be if all the impediments resulting from 50 years of anti-nuke propaganda had not occurred or are now removed.

    Solar is uneconomic and unlikely to ever be viable at the scale necessary to make a major contribution to world energy supply. It is massively incentivised by government incentives, most of which are hidden such as the “must take” provisions. You and your ilk are deniers of the relevant facts and are delaying real progress.

    Like

  89. Hi Aidan,
    moving forward please be aware that EROEI is different to EROI. EROEI discussions can also be phrased as “Energy Profit Ratio” and “Life Cycle Analysis” although there can be slightly different emphasis in these phrases. But basically, EROEI is about how much net energy you get back after building the power station or drilling the well. The lower the EROEI, the less point there is in doing something.
    Regards

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  90. Why would any rational person, who is aware of the facts or capable of objective research, advocate for solar and against nuclear power, given that, demonstrably, solar is not: cheaper, safer, better fit for purpose, faster to deploy (per energy supplied, or capable of making a substantial contribution to supplying the world’s energy needs and therefore to substantially reducing global GHG emissions)?

    Like

  91. I want to remind both Peters that the relevant measure is carbon dioxide emissions avoided in electricity grids with only modest demand management. Price is important but secondary to emissions avoidance.

    I also remind all that different regions of the globe have different resources and electricity requirements. The Atacama Desert is certainly of import to Chileans. Other deserts in other regions offer similar potential.

    Like

  92. How solar PV panel prices will come down to 30 US cents/Watt (from 60 cents/Watt)

    There are some caveats. Firstly the manufacturer’s press release makes this claim only for sunny climes, which I would interpret as places where the solar PV capacity factor would be 30% or over. USA as a whole hit this last year. California and Australia are within scope.

    Secondly, such a reduction means that the balance of system costs (up to the remote connection to the transmission line) would predominate. These are reducing also with time. In other words a halving of solar PV panel price costs is not yet the same as a halving of solar PV generation plant costs – but it doesn’t half help.

    Thirdly, the technology requires accurate tracking to the sun (1%) in one axis, though the requirement on the second axis is not so tight. Because of this the technology is suitable only for commercial or utility-scale solar PV, not domestic rooftop.

    http://www.banyanenergy.com

    Peter Lang pointed out above that the US DoE has been subsidising solar, and particularly solar PV. He will be very pleased to know that Banyan received some of this subsidy and has put it to good use to enable a large future reduction in solar PV prices.

    Banyan have designed a suitable optical concentrator which can reduce the active materials used to produce solar PV cells. Whatever the actual EROI of raw solar PV is right now in a given location, the Banyan technology has the capability to make it up to a factor of 5 higher.

    The concentrator relies on lensing and total internal reflection, rather than mirrors created by silvering with aluminium, so is less subject to long-term degradation and cleaning requirements are lower.

    As you can see, the light path is very carefully designed and is not going to work unless sunlight enters the concentrator at exactly the correct angle. Hence the requirement for accurate tracking in one direction. Fortunately Banyan has taken the trouble to solve this issue as well, offering a relevant product.

    http://www.pv-magazine.com/services/press-releases/details/beitrag/banyan-energy-lights-pathway-to-ultra-low-cost-solar-module-manufacturing_100023257/#axzz48iBpwtSW

    Since Banyan is happy to license the technology, they are also pointing out that it also enables a five-fold expansion in solar cell manufacturing capability for existing producers for very little additional cost.

    To save time and electrons, for Edward’s benefit I have no shares in or connection with Banyan Energy (or Solar Reserve or any wind turbine manufacturers).

    So guys, as far as solar PV is concerned you ain’t seen nuthin yet. The solar PV utility-scale price crash is not going to stop at the current 2.99 US cents/kWh which singletonengineer had so much difficulty in believing (find “low 3.99 price”) on Euan Mearns EROI thread. It is just the thin end of the wedge.

    And, as Joe Romm points out, second-user EV batteries can now be picked up for $100/kWh. Because EV batteries are well looked after, they may be usable for another 10 years or 3,650 cycles as grid use is very gentle compared to mobile phones. At this price the cost per cycle per kWh is around 3 cents. Combine that with the leading-edge solar PV costs we are starting to see and you may appreciate what the renewables revolution is all about. Then project forward to 2030 when both solar PV and used EV batteries will be available in massive quantities at even cheaper prices.

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  93. “what the renewables revolution is all about. ”
    It’s about shouting as loud as you can “Look, shiny promising new XYX technology combination of stuff and things over there!”
    Renewables advocates chase a mirage, and constantly rely on or just assume other things will solve the fact that solar and wind are mostly off. Look, shiny new Elon Musk toy over there! I love almost everything Elon Musk does, but his dreaming about solar is just sad. Tesla Powerwall’s have been sold as the band-aid for intermittent, unreliable renewables. But are up to the job? Eco-modernists have analysed it, and remain dismayed about the potential for intermittent, unreliable renewables because the storage would bankrupt any nation that tried to do it!
    EG: If wind and solar provided just a third of Germany’s power it would cost so much money to buy just one week of storage that you could instead nuke the entire grid. Backup a third of the grid for a week, or nuke the entire grid for 60 years! If Germany was 100% renewables, the storage would cost 3 times as much for one week. It gets worse. German winters often cut renewables for many weeks at a time. Two weeks storage is 6 times as expensive, and three weeks is 12 times as much as nuking the entire grid! Remember, that does not even include buying and maintaining the wind and solar farms in the first place! Point 2 below
    http://thebreakthrough.org/index.php/issues/renewables/the-grid-will-not-be-disrupted

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  94. Eclipse Now,

    Your argument can best be summarised as :

    If you do the wrong thing to provide long-term storage for renewables then it costs too much.

    What you should be asking is :

    What is the right way to provide cost-effective short-term and long-term storage for cheap renewable energy becoming available? What does the cost of storage depend on, and how cheap do the required technologies have to be before it is a cost-effective complete replacement for fossil fuel generation?

    The cheapest storage solution for renewables is two-level storage. Level 1 is lithium-ion batteries for up to a day, used to meet most demand from storage when renewables are not generating. Direct generation and level 1 storage would meet demand more than 90% of the time. Level 2 could be renewable hydrogen from electrolysis, stored in tanks or caverns, then used in modified CCGT. This would satisfy demand in renewables gaps more than a day long, but must not used to satisfy demand more than 10% of the total time because it is inefficient.

    Here is Joe Romm’s article on prices for renewables and lithium ion. He doesn’t mention renewable hydrogen back up.

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2016/05/12/3776728/climate-change-solutions/

    Best bid prices for renewables (onshore wind, solar PV) are around the 3 cents/kWh mark. Best lithium ion battery prices become $145/kWh later this year (when the Bolt becomes available) which means as low as 4 cents/kWh/cycle for grid storage. By 2022 this will be 3 cents/kWh/cycle if GM are right about battery prices of $100/kWh then. A few years after the big switch to electric cars takes place you will be talking about huge volumes of used EV batteries available for 1 cent/kWh/cycle. That’s based on 2015 new to used price ratios of $300/kWh to $100/kWh. On the same ratio, new prices of $100/kWh by 2022 mean used prices of $33/kWh. But it will take a few years before the EV users start scrapping these cars in large enough quantities to do much for grids. Say by 2030, maybe grid storage will be in full swing.

    The biggest cost of the renewable hydrogen solution is the cost of front-end renewable generation as the storage cycle is at best 42% efficient. But at 3 cents/kWh for solar PV this cost becomes only 7.5 cents/kWh and only to satisfy demand for 10% of the time. Electrolyser and CCGT capital costs add to that, but not enough to destroy the economics. There’s no point in installing such storage in large quantities until used lithium-ion EV batteries are available in large quantities, unless new lithium-ion batteries get very much cheaper sooner than everyone is expecting.

    So to me 100% renewable grid solutions look affordable as soon as old EV batteries start becoming available in huge quantities. Solar reducing from 3 to 2 cents/kWh in sunny places or electrolyser prices coming down would help, but probably will not change the timing.

    However you can start installing the renewable generation big time right now and save a lot of CO2 very cheaply. Just don’t expect to get to 100% zero carbon generation in most places for another 14 years.

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  95. @David Benson

    I want to remind both Peters that the relevant measure is carbon dioxide emissions avoided in electricity grids with only modest demand management. Price is important but secondary to emissions avoidance.

    EROI (ERoEI for Edward) is a weak proxy for lifecycle CO2 emissions for renewable technologies. The majority of solar panels are made in China which is 80% coal generation right now, so the EROI / ERoEI stuff is pretty important as a measure.

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  96. And you need to provide both numbers: EROI and ERoEI. I see that a paper you are reading allows the 2 to be confused. That confusion leads to lots of nonsense. I would invest neither belief nor money in people who cannot sort out that confusion.

    Since Peter Davies wants to loose money, I am perfectly willing to let Peter Davies loose his own money in such poorly managed adventures.

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  97. Look up the Arrhenius equation. The concentrated sunshine will make the solar cells hotter and the extra heat will make their life expectancy much shorter. Solar PV cells are semiconductors, and like all semiconductors, they are heat sensitive. You need to keep the junction temperature as cold as possible.

    At higher temperature below melting, the dopants will wander around in the crystal, making the diode junction into a short circuit much more quickly. You won’t get much life out of that arrangement unless you go to extreme lengths to refrigerate the solar cells.

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  98. Eclipse Now and Edward Greisch,
    I don’t need you to tell me what EROEI is. Nor how to count. And nobody needs you to shoot the messenger.

    But it appears that I again need to tell you that EROI means exactly the same thing.

    Some (including me) call it EROEI
    Others call it ERoEI
    And still others call it EROI.
    All three terms are in the first sentence of the Wikipedia article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_returned_on_energy_invested

    You can, at the expense of your own credibility, insist that EROI means something else. It would be akin to insisting that “billion” still means 10^12 and criticising those who use it to mean 10^9. Although in the case of EROI there was never another widely accepted meaning.

    Anyway, except at very low values it’s a relatively trivial measure, as cost considerations are far more important. But I’m not going to elaborate on that at this time of night beyond cautioning you to beware of assuming variables to be constants.

    BNC MODERATOR
    Please cease this circular argument which is becoming bothe tedious and rude. That applies to all contributors. Thank you.

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  99. @Edward

    Look up the Arrhenius equation. The concentrated sunshine will make the solar cells hotter and the extra heat will make their life expectancy much shorter. Solar PV cells are semiconductors, and like all semiconductors, they are heat sensitive. You need to keep the junction temperature as cold as possible.

    At higher temperature below melting, the dopants will wander around in the crystal, making the diode junction into a short circuit much more quickly. You won’t get much life out of that arrangement unless you go to extreme lengths to refrigerate the solar cells.

    The Banyan system uses x10 concentration (known as 10 suns), although the claim is only to save 80% of the active cell area. 10 suns is pretty puny as these things go. If a simple metal backplate covers the whole of the underside of the panel then it acts as a heatsink with the same area as the original active solar cells, so the temperature of the smaller active solar cell area is not significantly higher than it would have been without optical concentration.

    Speaking as a condensed matter physics PhD student, as far as I know the standard crystalline silicon solar cells have no deliberate vacancies or interstitials, just replacement of various atoms in the regular lattice. It is vacancies (missing atoms) and interstitials (extra atoms not part of the lattice and not bonded to it) which typically diffuse fastest at high temperatures and cause problems. In other words the activation energy in the Arrhenius equation would be expected to be high.

    By contrast, multi-junction solar cells often have deliberate lattice mismatches between the different layers to trap different wavelengths of light (or different band gaps if you know what that means). A lattice mismatch is equivalent to a set of dislocations, so there is more scope for high-temperatures to cause diffusion problems.

    Here’s an article about a new NREL multi-junction solar cell designed to work at 700 suns, at which point it reaches an efficiency of 43%. It’s supposed to be able to go to 1000 suns!!! Now that’s a proper level of concentration for my money.

    If you look at the chart in detail then concentrating research solar cells tend to have higher efficiency than non-concentrating ones.

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  100. Yes, I understood everything you said, but I don’t believe 1000 suns is going to lead to long lived semiconductors. Or that you have enough heat sink with a metal back unless it is an intentional heat sink. You aren’t going to get 40 years life out of it. I like my junction temperatures to be really cold, but I am a reliability nut. And yes, I know people are letting semiconductors get much hotter than they used to. I put heat sinks on them.

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  101. In the Figure above, I am delighted to see an old friend, “amorphous silicon” still being worked on. In the 70s and 80s its efficiency improved exponentially and some of us envisioned it as a film on roofing panels across every city. The substrate was to be a capacitor storage (also under study at the time) that slowly trickled current out across the un-sunny hours and days. The visionaries waited patiently as research struggled to solve amorphous silicon’s instability in sunlight.

    Perhaps some of them are still waiting, whispering a tired old promise to impress dizzy youngsters, but I think most of us have since moved on to more proven technologies.

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  102. NewsOnJapan.com
    2016 May 12
    Japan risks wasting $56 billion in new coal-fired power stations

    Japan, largely giving up on nuclear power, finds that only coal provides a low cost alternative at the needed scale. While there is a nod to so-called renewables, in Japan these cannot provide the large amount of electricity required.

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  103. Catching up on Kenya electric generation news, I noticed that Kenya is continuing to add to the geothermal capability and also some smallish, 100+ MW, wind farms to cut into the need for so much diesel generation. While the longer term plan calls for about 4 GW from South Korea provided reactors and half that rating from a new coal burner there is no mention any longer of solar power.

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  104. Let’s routinely ask the question, “why dont they say, and gas?” The article that DBB links us to, is just asking for such a pinch of salt.

    If the source of the story was sincerely concerned for Japan’s future they would be pointing out an excess inventory of coal and gas power plants. However the link reveals the source to be one Ben Caldecott, director of a UK Sustainable Finance Programme, referring the reader to “renewables”. In case you have come in late to BNC, “renewables” implies wind and gas. Such axe-grinders would have us believe that we can eliminate all coal and gas, by replacing it with 100% wind and gas. I hope you noticed that it is up to us, not them, to add those two words, and gas.

    In Japan’s current political sensitivities, it would be politic for planners to refer to all new thermal power plant as coal. However engineers would note that such plans and plants can be converted to nuclear when public fears move on, perhaps to climatic threats.

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  105. I always put the “E” in it just for this reason, and because i thought that without it, it would simply mean “energy returned on monetary invested”. In the old days, no one really cared about “on energy invested” because it was just fossil fuels and nuclear anyways. They both have “high returns” , at least until oil runs dry (nuclear fuel never would if closed cycle was used).
    I believe that renewables, too, will achieve higher eroei despite their diffuse and intermittentcy due to advanced machine automation, nano tech and AI.

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  106. I think it will be too late to put particles in the stratosphere. People will first notice a problem when they go to the grocery store and find no groceries. They will not go to work again. They will wander off looking for food, which they will never find. This will happen between 2022 and 2040.

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  107. @David Benson,

    It is indeed odd that an article on Kenyan power does not mention solar as it should be a good place to install it.

    However, it looks like Kenya has signed a $2.2bn contract for 1GW of solar PV with SkyPower for delivery over the next 5 years. This is significant compared with the grid capacity of 2.3GW in 2014.

    http://cleantechnica.com/2015/07/28/2-2-billion-1-gigawatt-solar-project-in-kenya-moves-forward/

    http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/skypower-signs-us-22-billion-agreement-to-develop-and-build-1-gw-of-solar-energy-projects-in-kenya-518647501.html

    The price looks to be rather high, but Kenya also gets 200MW (per year?) of solar PV manufacturing capability for that money so maybe it is not a rip off.

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  108. Hi Peter Davies,
    I hope you appreciate the freedom of speech you have ben granted on this forum. (As long as the correct forum rules are respected about providing links to big claims). Cleantechnica do not grant the same freedom of speech, and quickly ban any commenters that offer criticism of renewables and promote nuclear. I take anything from that site with a grain of salt as a result. They’re sunny-Nazi’s, if you ask me, simply banning any data they find inconvenient.

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  109. I just posted this on Cleantechnica, lets see if its posted.
    The renewables power can be modeled hour by hour using a program I just posted on my web page. It works for large grids. Here are the relevant links:
    Program code and output (at bottom of file) http://egpreston.com/RTS2016.txt
    Input data for the program http://egpreston.com/DATAIN.txt
    The .exe run file (change the .txt to .exe) http://egpreston.com/RTS.txt
    I’ll be adding wind to the RTS model. In the program if renewable power exceeds load the renewable power is reduced to serve 100% of the load that hour. RTS means reliable test system, an IEEE model for testing ideas.

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  110. @Gene

    Is that Fortran?

    The renewables power can be modeled hour by hour using a program I just posted on my web page. It works for large grids.

    You can simplify each wind site to a Rayleigh distribution maybe but with multiple sites over a wide area you then have to worry about the degree of output correlation between each pair of wind sites. And it’s going to get a lot more complicated when you put both wind and solar in as you need to handle the degree of correlation or anti-correlation between wind and solar. The maximum solar output can be modeled precisely by time of day (if you are good at solid geometry), multiplied by a random cloud factor based on a Gaussian distribution and local conditions.

    Good luck! You are going to need it.

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  111. @Eclipse Now

    I hope you appreciate the freedom of speech you have been granted on this forum. (As long as the correct forum rules are respected about providing links to big claims).

    My understanding was the responses to the official blog posts had to be fully linked but that the open thread was much more relaxed about links for every statement.

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  112. I remember seeing a show portraying the future where we had no other choice but sulfur. The side effects was indeed back to destroying the ozone.
    So, perhaps ceramic? or other dust would be a little more expensive but safer. I still have hoped for advanced tech building all the thin solid state batteries and solar panels for much less cost – and the same kind of automation (and/or nano technology) converting the excess co2 into limestone.
    Of course, I’m still just dreaming

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  113. Yes its Fortran 77, fastest execution language on the planet. I wrote it with only simple loops in case you want to convert it to another language, i.e. there are no GOTO statements, well except the read error branching and you could do that with a routine.

    You don’t want to be converting the wind to anything. It must be used in raw form to preserve relationships, especially when all the renewable sources have zero output at the same time.

    Many different wind farms can be correctly modeled at the same time. Their correlations are embedded in the data itself. If you try to put together different wind farms using distributions on each one you may get this kind of erroneous outcome:
    http://www.egpreston.com/winddurationcurve.pdf
    This is avoided by using the raw wind data directly. I have seen this error in nearly every study and in every region in the US. Math mistakes are rampant in the modeling of renewables.

    The nuclear plants in the RTS have high forced outage rates. You are free to take out the nuclear plants and put in renewables. See if you can add renewables to a non nuclear and non coal plan and get the LOLE back down to 0.1 days per year. You can’t do it. Its not possible without storage, a lot of storage.

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  114. Im running two versions of F77. One is Watcom and the other is Compaq. The Compaq Fortran allows me to post a stand alone .exe file whereas the watcom fortran needs its library on the pc. These fortrans run excellently on all windows platforms old an new. I am told that GNU has free fortran available. I am also told that the Intel Fortran is excellent. Big number crunch programs run best under Fortran. You could put the entire US in this model with 20 years of data and it would finish a run with exact answers in less than a minute. The RTS in the model now posted on line runs so fast the answers pop up the instant you hit the run command and that’s a 3000 MW system. The program gets ‘exact’ answers.

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  115. Gene,

    Actual data is great for working out what would have happened historically with particular despatching etc, and you can obviously change the capacities of resources, but it won’t tell you about wind and solar farms not yet constructed using new technology with different capacity factors and in different places geographically separated so that there are low correlations between them. For that you either have to use the meteorological records and model how the output relates to the weather or model everything using distributions.

    See if you can add renewables to a non nuclear and non coal plan and get the LOLE back down to 0.1 days per year. You can’t do it. Its not possible without storage, a lot of storage.

    Do you really mean to claim that more CCGT generation than peak demand, plus plenty of renewables would fail in providing a reliable grid? CCGT is generally more flexible and ramps faster than either coal or nuclear. Does it have a hugely bigger failure rate or something? (I’ve never heard that).

    It is obvious that you need storage to get to 100% renewables, or to avoid shortages when you have less despatchable capability than peak demand. You don’t need a model for that – just common sense.

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  116. Hi Fireofenergy,
    Yes, I’ve heard it might be bad on ozone, but given the

    However, the side-effects of the decreased Ozone layer cannot be too bad when one considers who is pushing this idea:

    “Professor Paul Crutzen, winner of the 1995 Nobel Prize for his work on the Antarctic ozone hole, has proposed an emergency geoengineering solution to cool off the planet: dump huge quantities of sulfur particles into the stratosphere to reflect sunlight. His paper, “Albedo Enhancement by Stratospheric Sulfur Injections: A Contribution to Resolve a Policy Dilemma?” was published in the August 2006 issue of the journal Climatic Change. A recent editorial in the New York Times by Ken Caldeira called for more research into geoengineering schemes like this to cool the planet, proposing that 1% of the $3 billion federal Climate Change Technology Program should be spent thusly.”
    http://classic.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=907

    Now, dust absorbing CO2. Were you thinking of the olivine? Shuiling’s PDF says it could be about $200 billion annually.
    https://eclipsenow.wordpress.com/olivine/let_the_earth_help_us_to_save_the_earth-schuiling_june2008/
    This of course would be better invested in nukes and be about half the way to Dr James Hansen’s 115 GW nukes per year.
    http://goo.gl/Xx61xU

    But with a global economy of $70 TRILLION, a stable world governance system would surely be able to afford both fast tracking nukes and olivine and biochar and New Urbanism and walkable cities and rail and EV’s etc.

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  117. The intermittentcy problem will be solved long before the fear of the nuclear problem – but i agree, it might be too late by that time.

    Speaking of caves, Technology will surely surpass current tech and therefore make it easier to build ocean crossing HVDC, solid state batteries printed like thin film and, of course, cheaper and more efficient panels. NASA’s triple junction style is in the 40% efficient range and so all it takes is some way to make the single junction GaAs cells cheaper in order to almost double today’s efficiency (they’d probably last longer, too).

    The main problem is that environmentalists and most all the non nuclear crowd don’t know the energy math. They don’t agree with the HVDC “bring solar from summer into winter” concept. They think a single panel on a roof and a few wind spinners (sarcasm) will power all sectors.

    If RE can’t be really BIG, then there’s no sense in it. So, yes, i live in a cave where there’s too many numbers, but at least i see science progress happening at some slow pace. What I’m saying is that everyone will give up on solar by the time it’s sufficiently devEloped – just like they’ll find something wrong with fusion (once it ever gets cheaper than solar).

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  118. My reply – The objective is not to create the explicit past. The objective is to use actual historical wind data to create a future scenario using new wind generators and new solar panels. Use several years of historical wind and solar data to cover all possible patterns.

    Your question – Do you really mean to claim that more CCGT generation than peak demand, plus plenty of renewables would fail in providing a reliable grid? CCGT is generally more flexible and ramps faster than either coal or nuclear. Does it have a hugely bigger failure rate or something? (I’ve never heard that).

    My reply – It would be reliable but its not our plan because it burns far too much fossil fuel. That’s what is wrong with renewables, causing to much fossil fuel to be burned.

    Your statement – It is obvious that you need storage to get to 100% renewables, or to avoid shortages when you have less despatchable capability than peak demand. You don’t need a model for that � just common sense.

    My reply – I agree with you that a lot of storage would be needed. The cost of that storage cannot be finances. Who will pay for it and why will they pay for it? Storage doesn’t produce any energy so it has no way to market it in the grid. ERCOT and CAISO will probably be able to ferret out of the market some fast response storage, but that still remains to be seen.

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  119. @Gene

    http://www.egpreston.com/winddurationcurve.pdf

    It’s pretty certain that F1 (the straight line) is not the right power versus time curve either – not for any type of wind speed distribution I have ever seen.

    Treating individual turbines in a single wind farm (or in sets of wind farms close to each other) as uncorrelated with each other is a very elementary error, and it would be surprising if any research paper intended for publication in a peer reviewed journal which did this got through peer review.

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  120. Just a digression on CCGT CFs. CFs for CCGT or GT with HRZG is irrelevant, in case anyone was wondering. Yes, they do fail, quite often, almost exclusively on light off not after they have been on line, though trips occur during ramp up as well. I make no distinction here between simple cycle and combined cycle GTs.

    We are now getting into the realm of what the ISO cares about, which is, honestly, never about CF. CF is for planning (kind of what we do here), but it has operationally little significance. The only term applicable operationally is “availability”. That is what most you know here as “dispatchable power”.

    All GT tech is highly mature. It’s cheap to build and if there are two things near by, or close enough: a gas pipeline and a transmission line, it’s pretty much good to go.

    In my opinion, being from the US, is that CCGTs will be the last fossil generators to be phased out, and this only if real load following SMRs of the GenIV variety pan out. Then they may be as flexibel as CCGTs.

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  121. Gene, FORTRAN is NOT the fastest executing language. Assembler is.

    Frank R. Eggers Albuquerque, NM U.S.A.

    On Mon, May 16, 2016 at 5:35 PM, Brave New Climate wrote:

    > Jim Baerg commented: “Regarding geoengineering if necessary. Has this’ > https://bravenewclimate.com/2011/10/08/low-intensity-geoengineering-microbubbles-and-microspheres/ > been shown to have more problems than the sulfate in the stratosphere > solution?” >

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  122. F1 is actual ERCOT wind data, sorted. Coastal wind is nearly a straight line, west texas wind is nearly a straight line, and when you add them together hourly and sort the data that is also nearly a straight line. Putting in individual wind farms and giving them an EFOR rate produces F2, a totally wrong result.

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  123. We can assume the wind generators on a single farm are fully correlated. But when you try to combine wind farms over a wide area you will find they are partially correlated but in odd ways not described by a simple correlation. Develop a Markov model of all the wind farms and calculate the transitions and you still have the wrong answer because you have omitted correlation of each of those states with load. The wind modeling becomes so complex its easier to just use the raw data and forget the wind models altogether.

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  124. Gene,

    A skilled programmer can write assembler code that executes faster than executable code generated by a compiler.

    Before I retired, I worked as a computer programmer / analyst and used several computer languages, including various versions of FORTRAN, COBOL, BASIC, C, and assembler languages for several different computers. However, I’ll have to acknowledge that modern compilers generate executable code that is almost as efficient as assembler code written by a skilled programmer, especially if the programmer understands how the compiler works. And, unless there is some reason for writing code in assembler, the extra time required to write the code usually cannot be justified.

    Frank R. Eggers Albuquerque, NM U.S.A.

    On Mon, May 16, 2016 at 6:03 PM, Brave New Climate wrote:

    > Gene Preston commented: “I’m sorry to inform you that the Fortran I posted > is already in binary which is faster executing than assembler. Its the > number crunch that takes time, not the compiling. Fortran binary is > optimized to maximize numerical speeds. What do you think the w” >

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  125. No, Gene, I don’t have the equipment to do it.

    Where speed is critical, a common approach is to figure out where a program is spending most of its time and write only those portions in assembler language.

    Frank R. Eggers Albuquerque, NM U.S.A.

    On Mon, May 16, 2016 at 7:13 PM, Brave New Climate wrote:

    > Gene Preston commented: “You can write my program in assembler and speed > test it against what I have posted. Let us know if your program produces > the same results and runs faster. You have to rove your claims.” >

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  126. freggersjr,

    Have you heard “Turn on you brain before you turn on your computer”?

    I’d value anything from someone with Gene Preston’s life time of experience in the industry, over some computer jock who hasn’t a clue what he’s coding.

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  127. A skilled programmer can write assembler code that executes faster than executable code generated by a compiler.

    A sensible user will download the Perl version and take 60 seconds to run it rather than taking the time to download and install the Gnu version of the FORTRAN compiler so they can do a run in 1 second.

    I’ve done my share of hand-tuning of assembly code.  It’s scarcely worth it any more.

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  128. The other problem with wind and solar: Reference:
    “SPP WITF Wind Integration Study” Prepared By:
    Charles River Associates [CRA], 200 Clarendon Street T-33 Boston, Massachusetts 02116
    Date: January 4, 2010 CRA Project No. D14422

    http://www.uwig.org/CRA_SPP_WITF_Wind_Integration_Study_Final_Report.pdf

    Since wind and solar are intermittent, wind and solar cause overloads, which means:

    Your multi-million dollar transformer is a giant inductance, so when you try to change the current out of tune, you get a big voltage spike. The big voltage spike breaks the insulation somewhere, causing an electric arc. The huge power available in the circuit maintains the electric arc. Something starts a fire or otherwise burns out.

    You just bought a new multi-million dollar transformer or high voltage transmission line or both. Since it will take 2 years to get a new transformer, you are going to have some very unhappy customers.

    The bad thing about gas turbines: Being big and heavy, they are designed for continuous operation. If you try to heat and cool them fast or often, they will develop cracks due to heat cycling. They were plenty reliable when you used them properly, but switching on and off to match wind and solar is abuse.

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  129. David Walters is absolutely correct. He’s clearly got real world experience. When people with real world experience. like David Walters and Gene Preston, other’s here would be well advised to ask genuine questions so they can learn, instead of making baseless assertions from ignorance.

    I’d like to David Walters to consider this thought regarding load following SMRs. Nuclear plants have been capable of load following for over 60 years. For example, nuclear powered submarines and ships stop, start, lay quiet for as long as they want, then quickly accelerate to full speed or any speed they want. And they can sustain any speed they want. The issue for electricity generation plants is not capability; it is about the economics and the cost of electricity. Cost of electricity is higher if the nuclear plant is designed to follow load and operated as a load follower (i.e. at reduced capacity factor therefore higher LCOE). It’s cheaper to use fossil fuels, or hydro when available, to follow load. There is no justification for load following nuclear until it is supplying nearly all baseload – e.g. approaching 75% of electricity.

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  130. Having written in about 20 different languages, including assembler, potentially the most efficient is Java. Java uses a two-stage compile – Java to bytecode (machine independent) and bytecode to machine code (machine dependent)

    Generally Java execution uses a JIT (Just in Time) compiler to convert the byte code. But it doesn’t bother to do this until it has run through any particular set of code a few times interpretively. The net effect is that it knows the typical execution path through a loop better than any Fortran compiler would do, so can perform a better optimisation to machine code. In principle this can be matched by an assembler programmer, but it has to be a project really worthwhile before the assembler programmer provides the best optimisation, because it is hardware specific.

    Java’s automatic storage allocation (object management) usually slows it down unless you are really careful so it only rarely beats Fortran and C++ for scientific work.

    In practice all complex scientific programs use library routines to do common tasks such as matrix and vector-related processing. They are often written in Fortran, but the best are in assembler and different versions are provided for different hardware. The Intel MKL (Maths Kernel Libraries) are a good case in point.

    For large and complex vector and matrix algorithms the best library routines are optimised for processor level cache hardware operation, minimising main memory accesses. That means they rarely execute multiple loops in the natural order (i.e. not a single row first then the row in the next column). Instead they will work on a small part of a matrix at once using locality of reference e.g. the bottom left hand corner. Obviously such techniques take a long time to code up compared with a couple of do/for loops, so tend to be restricted to library routines. And if you look in the literature you can find matrix multiplication routines which use on N to the power 2.3 multiplications, instead of N cubed. Some of the library routines such as BLAS now do some of this.

    All in all, if you use optimised libraries whenever you can, it’s better to write in a high-level language such as Fortran, C++ or Java and leave the assembler to the writers of hardware-specific libraries.

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  131. Well the fortran should be optimizing the math routine that eats up time. You would have to be a real expert at assembly language to beat the machine coding the creators of the language produce. You would also have to know some math trick the fortran and C language folks did not know. A lot of time can be eaten up in lookup pointers to the locations in the ram. Fortran optimizes this process. There is even an option in the Fortran compile for the compilation to produce code that runs faster, at the expense of more compile time. I did not do this with my compiled version because the program runs in a flash anyway.

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  132. Paywalled? You mean I am posting garbage being paid off. ha ha what a crock. Let me tell you the grid operators who are making mistakes in over stating renewable’s capacity values because of simple spreadsheet calculations would probably like to pay me to stop talking about their math mistakes ha ha. No Im afraid Im on the bleeding edge. Nearly everyone I talk to is rather mystified with my statements about math errors. Im not getting any money from anyone on this research. Hopefully it will lead to better more accurate modeling of large grids integrating renewables into their grids. Here is an example of a mistake. Suppose you averaged the wind MW on the 20 peak demand days of the year and used that average wind MW in a calculation of the capacity value of wind. Sounds reasonable doesn’t it. Well it can produce totally wrong capacity values. There are two reasons. One reason is that half of those 20 days can be zero wind and the other half double the average. If you run those hours through my program I posted on line the LOLE picks up those days of near zero output and has a high LOLP. Then calculate the ELCC of wind and you get a near zero value because of those ten days of zero output. When you use the simple averaging process you get the wrong answer. Another problem with the averaging process is the assumption that the highest LOLP (loss of load probability) occurs at the peak demand. With renewables in the system, especially solar, the highest LOLP is more likely to be at sundown. Again the spreadsheet averaging process produces an incorrect capacity credit.

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  133. Thank you Peter for the ‘shout out’.

    Yes, I’ve used the load following issue and metaphor with submarines also, extensively, as a ‘proof’. Also, the ability of the French, by arranging their fuel rods in particular ways, can also do a limited amount of load following.

    The problem with nuclear subs is that they are packed with plus-90% HEU. Their ability to control Xenon and other neutron poisons is actually “classified” but most under stand it to be a form of temperature control in their steam-generators that allow to the control of it.

    Current Gen II reactors can load follow, but not well, and not fast. You need an intermixing of some percentage of hyrdo/GT/spinning reserve (conventional thermal plants -oil/gas/coal) that are on line and ready to move.

    Here is a dirty little secret: GTs are are great on moving load around quickly while they are online. But the 10 to 20 minutes it takes GT from cold-standby to paralleling with the system to getting to the load desired is very, very long. A new Gen III nuclear power plant running at 75% load can raise or drop 400MWs much faster than a 100MW or 250MW GT can from cold standby can get to full load. Something to think about when people talk about “load following”.

    Gen III nukes are more load following tolerant. They can change load much faster than the old conventional gas plant I worked at for 20 years. With SMRs mixed in, as noted earlier, it makes it even easier.

    However, what’s needed, is that all new nukes should be financed as load following. Load following is an ancillary service that should be paid for. It show go into the rate base exactly as GTs are.

    Lastly, between baseloaded plants and load following are a host of other loading capabilities we haven’t talked about. Such as frequency control (a form of ‘load following’), speed control, and, above all…dispatchablility. Being able to dispatch a load is not the same as load following. At least not from the point of view of operatability.

    The basic difference is that real load following is when the turbine governor is allowed on it’s own to respond to drops and increases in the system voltage/speed, that is is senses the load on the system, and opens or closes the governor/throttle valves to keep the voltage/speed at a set load. The turbine raises or lowers torque accordingly. This might involve dozens of minor adjustments per minute. Dispatching simply means the ISO is anticipating load over the next arbitrary time frame (1 minute/10 min/1 hr “a head”) and wants there at that time. Also, costs and prices for power bids into the deregulated market are often based on these different time periods.

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  134. @Gene

    I agree with you that a lot of storage would be needed. The cost of that storage cannot be financed. Who will pay for it and why will they pay for it? Storage doesn’t produce any energy so it has no way to market it in the grid. ERCOT and CAISO will probably be able to ferret out of the market some fast response storage, but that still remains to be seen.

    There’s one crucial question you have not asked, which is :

    What regulatory environment would best suit a scenario of 100% renewables generation plus required storage?

    The answer is usually that it is not the current regulations which are very much geared towards optimising the lowest wholesale price for an existing set of despatchable generation. On the current regulations storage is usually “self-cannibalising”. You would want to install enough so that the wholesale price when wind and sun power are not available is close to the price when they are available. But in this case storage cannot make a profit from buying power cheaply and selling it at a much higher price, so can never be a good investment.

    The solution is to treat storage like you do the rest of the network – add it in to the overhead of transformers and transmission lines and charge it across all power delivered. You can do this with specific grid storage capacity and hours payments, or some other solution someone can think up.

    As for the cost of storage, there are two phases.

    To get to 90% renewables by 2030 you need somewhat less than a grid demand day of lithium-ion battery storage capacity. By 2022, General Motors are expecting new EV batteries to be $100/kWh. The implication is that used EV batteries (which will start to become available in huge quantities after a few years), are likely to be available at $30/kWh or less by 2030 (when the initial large volume of EV’s starts to be scrapped). If you provide storage for 70% of daily generation and it last more than 10 years on average then you add no more than 3,000 * 0.7 / (10 x 365) = 0.6 cents/kWh to the price of all renewable grid power, which, by then, will surely be supplied by wind and solar at less than 5 cents/kWh.

    Total 5.6 cents/kWh plus extra transmission costs for a 90% renewables scenario by 2030. So no problem with the storage for the 90% renewables solution by 2030.

    That leaves renewables gaps of a few days at a time totalling no more than 10% of the time.

    Power to renewable hydrogen gas storage feeding CCGT generation (or pumped hydro etc. etc. if available locally) at 42% efficiency can then handle the 10% of time when wind and solar are not generating for days on end. Assume solar PV is down to 3 cents/kWh by 2040. You must generate 2.5 units of solar PV to power the electrolysers producing hydrogen for each unit of storage output, so the inefficiency costs you 1.5 units. The input power costs you 4.5 cents/kWh extra from storage for 10% of the demand, or 0.45 cents/kWh across all demand. The hydrogen electrolysers at current prices add 1 cent/kWh across all demand (daylight robbery right now and will surely come down dramatically over 30 years) and you need another 30% of batteries to smooth the power going in to the electrolysers which adds another 0.3 cents across all demand. The CCGT fed by hydrogen at current capital costs would add another 1.2 cents/kWh, and maybe fuel cells will be cheap enough by then to compete.

    Raw power 3 c/kWh, extra for Power2Gas 0.5 c/kWh, electrolysers 1 c/kWh, batteries 0.6+0.3 c/kWh, CCGT standby 1.2 c/kWh. All per kWh across total demand. Total 6.6 cents/kWh plus extra transmission lines for a 100% renewable solution.

    In short, on a reasonable set of assumptions (A. EV’s take off big time in the 2022 timeframe because battery prices get down to $100/kWhB. Solar PV in most places gets down to <5 cents/kWh by 2030 and 3 cents/kWh by 2050), storage for renewables is likely to be cheap enough for a 100% renewable solution to be seriously considered for the time it is actually needed.

    Not today though. Current batteries are too expensive right now. But not too expensive by 2030 to start installing the wind and solar now in preparation for when the storage is likely to become available. And saving money in the meantime.

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  135. If in ERCOT we added storage to transformers and other delivery investments, the process is socialized, not market based, and all bills are charged this cost in a flat uniform cents per kwh charge, what would happen is this adder cost would skyrocket to astronomical levels. We funded 9 billion dollars in new transmission lines to west texas and the panhandle to pick up more wind energy. Storage costs could easily be 100 times the cost of the CREZ lines for a relatively small amount benefit. This is just not going to happen – anywhere – I mean the cost of storage being socialized. Its not affordable in the market either. There is no way to finance the storage that is needed.

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  136. @Gene

    GM will be getting its EV batteries at $145/kWh later this year. If that were the only cost, then 70% of a day of storage for the full ERCOT demand add 3 cents/kWh to all units, plus something for invertors. 2 cents/kWh by 2022, and 0.6 cents/kWh by 2030.

    So did the CREZ lines add only 0.03 cents/kWh to everybodies’ electricity?

    Storage is too expensive at the moment but just watch the price drop by 2030. And wind and solar are dropping like a stone too.

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  137. Peter,

    I would agree that in most cases there is not enough to be gained by using assembler code instead of high level code to make the additional effort worthwhile. However, I really wonder whether you know what compilers do. Actually, most accountants, engineers, scientists, etc. don’t need to know what a compiler does and probably most don’t know; that’s OK. They can get by just fine if they know how to use FORTRAN, BASIC, or whatever computer language they are using.

    For each high level statement, a compiler will generate multiple machine-level instructions. The instructions generated depend on how the compiler was designed. By contrast, an assembler generates one machine level statement for each assembler level statement.

    In general, a compiler can be instructed to print in the listing the assembler equivalent of what it is generating. By examining that, one can find ways to make the program run faster, generally by figuring out where it is spending most of its time and optimizing those small portions for speed. Doing that is worth the effort only in certain special situations, but such situations do exist.

    There have been changes in technology. The amount of computer memory available now would have been unbelievable only a few years ago. We used to have to choose between optimizing code for speed or using as little memory as possible; it is impossible to optimize for both at the same time. But with gobs of memory available, there would now rarely be any reason to optimize for using as little memory as possible. Computers are faster now so the need to optimize for speed is less common.

    It would be impossible to do a really good job of programming without having a good understanding of the application. The idea that there are super programmers who know nothing about applications is nonsense.

    Frank R. Eggers Albuquerque, NM U.S.A.

    On Tue, May 17, 2016 at 10:53 AM, Brave New Climate wrote:

    > Peter Davies commented: “@Gene GM will be getting its EV batteries at > $145/kWh later this year. If that were the only cost, then 70% of a day of > storage for the full ERCOT demand add 3 cents/kWh to all units, plus > something for invertors. 2 cents/kWh by 2022, and 0.6 cents/kWh” >

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  138. The price of a week’s worth of storage cannot drop far enough because there isn’t enough mineable lithium. The estimate for the US battery will still be a quadrillion dollars, give or take a few hundred trillion.
    Do the Math
    Using physics and estimation to assess energy, growth, options—by Tom Murphy [physics professor, University of California]
    http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2011/08/nation-sized-battery/
    A Nation-Sized Battery

    Tom Murphy got it right.

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  139. @Edward,

    New energy storage technology will not appear by magic.

    $145/kWh batteries are not magic. $145/kWh is the price LG Chem are offering current-technology lithium-ion batteries to General Motors for the Bolt, due to appear later this year. LG Chem and GM have signed a contract at this price.

    No further technical breakthroughs are needed to supply grid storage batteries at this price – just increased production.

    The price of a week’s worth of storage cannot drop far enough because there isn’t enough mineable lithium. The estimate for the US battery will still be a quadrillion dollars, give or take a few hundred trillion. Do the Maths.

    I have done the maths above. Several times now.

    Do I have to describe the full two-level storage hierarchiy (lithium-ion for up to 24 hours of storage and renewable hydrogen for a couple of further months after that), every single time we talk about grid batteries? It is getting very tedious, not least for those here that got it first time.

    You do not need a week of lithium ion batteries. You only need a day.

    One 2011 estimate of lithium reserves was 39 million tons. Lithium is very light so that is enough to provide 1 billion 40 kWh batteries for use in EVs several times over. It can then be recycled from those batteries after they have also been used as grid storage.

    Lithium is present in sea water too, with various techniques showing promise for extracting it cheaply (same link).

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  140. @Gene

    Well lets just say that if we are really concerned about CO2 emissions we should not be removing the nuclear option from the table.

    Absolutely we should not.

    But we should not be removing the renewables + storage option from the table either.

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  141. The bad news is: You have to make a choice. It is a forced choice. You can’t choose both [wind & solar] and nuclear.

    Wind and solar destroy nuclear.

    Wind and solar may as well be and are a fiendish plot by the fossil fuel industry to destroy nuclear power. Why? Because Generation 2 nuclear, as installed, cannot ramp up and down fast enough to match the intermittent nature of wind and solar.

    So when wind and solar are installed, the power company automatically also builds a gas turbine fueled by natural gas. They have no other choice right now. Since they will have the gas turbine, they will have no use for the nuclear.

    And then your electric bill multiplies itself by 4 or 5 times, to pay for all of that.

    So, Peter Davies, you are forced to choose. The electric company will not try to buy imaginary batteries or batteries that might be available in 20 years. You must choose.

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  142. Peter Davies,

    Thank you for this comment. I’ve book marked it for citing in future. I am aware the EPR is designed to ramp at 5% per minute down to 60% of rated capacity and to operate stably down to 25% of capacity. I don’t know what the other GEN III+ reactors claim regarding their load following capabilities (e.g. AP1000, APR1400, etc). Do you happen to have links to those figures?

    I also recognise that the GEN II’s had some load following capability – I frequently refer to this RTE chart of real time generation in France: http://www.rte-france.com/en/eco2mix/eco2mix-mix-energetique-en . Click on ‘nuclear in the pie chart then move mouse left and right across the area chart. I selected 17 May and Nuclear power change from 37 GW to 41 GW over about 3 hours.

    You didn’t comment in depth on my point that load following capability is no a major hurdle (as long as renewables are not mandated as ‘must take’ until the proportion of nuclear on a grid is approaching the baseload proportion of electricity supplied – i.e. around 75%.

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  143. @Edward

    The bad news is: You have to make a choice. It is a forced choice. You can’t choose both [wind & solar] and nuclear. Wind and solar destroy nuclear.

    Wrong.

    Wind and solar may as well be and are a fiendish plot by the fossil fuel industry to destroy nuclear power. Why? Because Generation 2 nuclear, as installed, cannot ramp up and down fast enough to match the intermittent nature of wind and solar.

    If you have, say, 20% nuclear you let it supply baseload power, because that is what it does efficiently. You don’t ask it to load follow, although it can do a little of this.

    You also have enough gas turbines (and other despatchable generation) to handle the other 80% of required peak demand and ramp up and down to support the renewables. Both renewables and nuclear can co-exist happily. That is the eventual plan for China, for instance. Probably UK too once we start buying nuclear from China instead of France.

    So when wind and solar are installed, the power company automatically also builds a gas turbine fueled by natural gas. They have no other choice right now. Since they will have the gas turbine, they will have no use for the nuclear.

    Wrong again.

    Some power companies have enough gas turbines already to cope with the variability of wind and solar. And if you have nuclear you can have fewer gas turbines.

    And then your electric bill multiplies itself by 4 or 5 times, to pay for all of that.

    Have you looked at the spreadsheet of nuclear, wind and solar for California?

    Although the spreadsheet is written as a comparison of renewables+backup vs nuclear (NuScale) there is nothing to stop you looking at it as having 50% renewables+backup and 50% nuclear – the prices of both are similar per kWh. No-one ends up paying 4 or 5 times more for electricity if you install some proportion of both at once.

    Renewables+gas turbine backup can coexist quite happily with nuclear with no obvious economic penalty.

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  144. Peter Davies demonstrates his bias with this comment:

    There’s one crucial question you have not asked, which is :

    “What regulatory environment would best suit a scenario of 100% renewables generation plus required storage?”

    Why would any rational person ask that question?

    If you are going to ask that why not ask:
    “What regulatory environment would best suit a scenario of 100% nuclear generation plus?”

    The question that should be asked and answered is:

    “What regulatory environment would best enable the requirements to be met at least total system cost?”

    The essential requirements are:
    1. energy security
    2. supply reliability
    3. low cost

    Secondary requirements (only applicable in systems where the three essential requirements are already met to an acceptable standard):
    4. Health and safety
    5. relatively environmental benign

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  145. Is there a way to extract lithium from the oceans? If so, just 1/10 of 1% would provide for enough battery for some 18 billion Tesla roadsters. I forget where the links are but i think the percentage in the water is what it was based on. Also, a global grid would drastically reduce storage needs provided that there is some kind of overbuild of panels.
    Of course, nuclear would be a lot easier.

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  146. Peter Davies: The requirement is to ramp much faster than either wind or solar. Solar can ramp at 100% in 10 seconds. So the “backup” must ramp 100%, either up or down, in 1 second or faster. I got that solar ramp rate from a past edition of BraveNewClimate. “Load follow” means exactly that. The gas turbine must anti-match the renewable exactly, and preferably keep the 60 Hz waveform from deforming.

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  147. Peter Davies: I am paying 7&½ cents per kilowatt hour. Danes are paying 40 cents per kilowatt hour. Case closed. Californians are paying 15 cents per kilowatt hour.

    Renewables mandates WILL cause nuclear power plants to close because they are mandates. That means that, if the wind is blowing, ANY other power source must, by law, be turned off.

    Peter Davies: What you are doing is wishful thinking. It doesn’t work in the real world. What will happen is what does happen, not what you want to happen. Real world experience: Wind and solar cause nuclear to be shut down and dismantled. Then, they can, and will, raise the price of natural gas.

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  148. Peter Davies blathers:

    @Edward

    The bad news is: You have to make a choice. It is a forced choice. You can’t choose both [wind & solar] and nuclear. Wind and solar destroy nuclear.

    Wrong.

    You assert he is wrong without showing how, just as you claim a cost figure for storage without showing your math.

    Cal Abel has shown that essentially all the daily demand curve can be handled with nuclear plus thermal storage, neatly sidestepping the cost problem (and short lifespan) of E-batteries.  A medium costing $0.50/kWh is going to beat one costing $30/kWh every time.  But given your dogmatic insistence that Renewables Are The Answer, I expect you to ignore this.

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  149. Solar thermal systems which have enough salt tank storage for 24 hours already exist. They would eliminate the need for a connected nuclear system to ramp 100% in 10 seconds.

    I am not a strong supporter of renewable systems but I think that we should at least be fair. Solar does not have to be PV.

    Frank R. Eggers Albuquerque, NM U.S.A.

    On Tue, May 17, 2016 at 4:47 PM, Brave New Climate wrote:

    > Edward Greisch commented: “Peter Davies: The requirement is to ramp much > faster than either wind or solar. Solar can ramp at 100% in 10 seconds. So > the “backup” must ramp 100%, either up or down, in 1 second or faster. I > got that solar ramp rate from a past edition of BraveNewC” >

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  150. Solar thermal systems which have enough salt tank storage for 24 hours already exist.

    And because they rely on high concentration ratios, they are effectively shut down by anything more than light haze.  In much of the north, weeks will go by in winter without more than a single hour of uninterrupted clear sun.

    Solar is not only not THE answer, it is not even AN answer.

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  151. I love how Peter Davies rescues renewables with his argument about old EV batteries being donated for free to the grid. What if they’re actually disposed of because they’re used up, not as efficient, dying: and instead of actually being ‘donated’ to the grid for free, are recycled for their materials and put into the next car? To attempt to save ‘unreliables’ you are willing to go so far out on a limb it cracks and breaks off. “Look, bright shiny thing over there” doesn’t even begin to cover it.

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  152. Engineer-

    Yes, it is true that concentrating solar systems are more affected by clouds than non-concentrating PV systems. However, there are places where clouds are rare. Even so, I am not supporting renewable systems; I’m just pointing out that concentrating solar systems with heat storage do not suddenly change output such as PV systems which can go from 100% to 0% in seconds.

    Frank R. Eggers Albuquerque, NM U.S.A.

    On Tue, May 17, 2016 at 6:37 PM, Brave New Climate wrote:

    > Eclipse Now commented: “I love how Peter Davies rescues renewables with > his argument about old EV batteries being donated for free to the grid. > What if they’re actually disposed of because they’re used up, not as > efficient, dying: and instead of actually being ‘donated’ to the g” >

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  153. FREGGERSJR: If you are talking about making steam, the problem is the steam. It takes too long to heat water, boil water, move the steam through pipes, etcetera. That is why coal won’t work either. It has to be combustion inside the engine. You need the heat to be there instantly.

    Also, as I said before, the need is for a whole week of energy storage. Engineer-Poet is correct on that.

    There is a saving grace to generators that are, in effect, huge flywheels. Energy can be taken out of the angular momentum for a fraction of a second. That isn’t long enough to get steam up.

    Gen 2 nuclear takes 40 hours to turn off and a week to do a cold shutdown. Coal is faster, but not fast enough. Heat stored in molten salt is like coal but with the disadvantage of not restarting on command.

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  154. PETER DAVIES: You are living in an ideal world. In the real world, Californians, Germans and Danes have outlawed nuclear. Why? It wasn’t because they looked at spreadsheets. Maybe it was because of some song some musicians sang. Maybe it was because of some wrong belief.

    Here is the reality: The electric generating companies will not install either wind or any kind of solar unless forced to do so by law. States that install wind and solar also dismantle their nuclear power plants.

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  155. Per Tom Murphy, we need 336 billion kWh of storage. So LG Chem is offering that much for, according to Peter Davies, $336 million.
    No they will not. Because they will run out of lithium. You can’t keep on buying lithium after there isn’t any more.

    That is what is wrong with a lot of Peter Davies’ plans. In the real world, there is only so much mineable.

    Can you get it out of the oceans? I don’t know.

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  156. One could certainly put a thermal store on a nuclear power plant. The thermal store could then run a ready reserve generator via a turbine kept updated to speed with a little steam. If needed it would not take long for the generator to begin powering the grid. Alternatively, the thermal store is passive and just a trickle of steam from the reactor circuit keeps it ready to begin a cold start. I suppose such a thermal store to replace a week’s worth of missing wind or solar is not only possible but rather inexpensive.

    To be clear, the idea is that only a fraction of the steam in the reactor circuit goes to heating the thermal store. The majority powers a standard generator.

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  157. GENE PRESTON: What do I mean by a paywall? I mean, some journals, like Nature, want me to pay $200 to read an article. GENE PRESTON doesn’t get the money. The corporation that publishes the journal gets the money.

    Paywall
    “From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    A paywall is a system that prevents Internet users from accessing webpage content without a paid subscription.[1] There are both “hard” and “soft” paywalls in use. “Hard” paywalls allow minimal to no access to content without subscription, while “soft” paywalls allow more flexibility in what users can view without subscribing, such as selective free content and/or a limited number of articles per month, or the sampling of several pages of a book or paragraphs of an article. Newspapers have been implementing paywalls on their websites to increase their revenue, which has been diminishing due to a decline in print subscriptions and advertising revenue.[2]”

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  158. This article states that the CANDU reactors use steam bypass to rapidly reduce output when pricing goes negative (no guesses needed as to what causes this). A waste of power but the lesser of 2 evils in this case.

    http://nuclear-economics.com/12-nuclear-flexibility/

    David Benson, couldn’t a thermal reservoir also be used to allow a nuclear plant to load follow more efficiently? The heat transfer to storage could be used to dump output (either directly from steam or though electrical heating) and then the thermal store could be used to boost output when demand increased quickly or even beyond the reactor’s output

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  159. Greg Kaan — Yes, a thermal store kept on rotating standby makes a fine way to quickly increase output. For efficiency one should use a heat exchanger to heat the thermal store. If decreased output from the main generator is required, simply valve more of the steam to the thermal store heat exchanger.

    This seems so obvious that I do not understand why no operators have ever tried it.

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  160. I lost track of the question. One that I wanted to find: The textbook on how they add wind turbines over an area or distance. I read somewhere and didn’t copy the article that for continuous power, you could plant 300 wind turbines around the border of some state to get the nameplate power of one continuously.

    Eugene Preston has done some of this. I don’t mean to hire Dr. Preston. I’m not interested in computer programs and I am not a utility with money to spend.

    I am lost as to the name of the subject. I’m interested in looking for books in the library card catalog. Interlibrary loan often works. I am not going to subscribe to an IEEE journal.

    The question I asked DBB was about the cost of the heat storage at a nuclear power plant. That would be different from solar thermal because the temperature would be different and maybe other things would be different. Also, the need would be different because in the nuclear case, when the nuclear is shut down for refueling and maintenance, it is planned. When you know ahead of time, it is a different story. You can plan ahead.

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  161. The cost of accessing journal papers is a huge problem. Not even I am willing to pay the fees the IEEE wants. More and more authors are wishing to post their work on line in order to give readers better access. This is why I post my materials on my web page and there is no fee for access.

    How much diversity do we get from widely spaced wind farms? Well we certainly get some, however there seem to be periods where the wind is rather calm across wide areas, such as across all of Texas at the same time. These can occur more frequently after midnight, just when the sun is also not shining. Local heating can drive local winds such as in coastal areas, and large pressure systems sweeping across the US can drive a lot of wind generators at the same time, only to be followed by them also seeing a calm period. Because it becomes difficult to transmit 1000’s of MW of power more than hundreds of miles we really cannot expect to wire up the US so we can move enormous blocks of wind power over great distances. The transmission requirements are just too great. This is a huge problem with plans such as the Jacobson WWS plan which treats the transmission system requirements in too simple a manner.

    What about thermal storage? GE is looking at heating rocks, literally, however this only works to improve the efficiencies of more conventional gas type generators where the heat is a boost mechanism. The molten salt system for solar concentrators seems like a good idea on the surface, however when you add up all the costs of the system, and then spread the few hours of sunlight power over 24 hours, you wind up with a plant that has a high cost per kW and a relatively low MW output compared to a PV array plant. The CSP cents per kwh energy cost will be much more expensive than a PV array system. This is why only PV array systems are being looked at here in Texas for placement in West Texas and not concentrating solar thermal plants. The economics of nuclear power look better than solar thermal concentration plants provided its even possible to build either since both solar CSP and nuclear can have vocal opponents. I read a favorable review of solar thermal for South African CSP mainly because low cost natural gas is not available there. Its nearly impossible to store high temperatures for more than short periods due to losses and storing lower temperatures for is not efficient unless its at the end use such as ice storage for air conditioning. But that’s a messy system to retro install on an existing building and is hard to justify the extra cost on a new building.

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  162. Edward Greisch — The cost of a thermal store is so small compared to the cost of a nuclear power plant or even a solar thermal array that one needs not be concerned. Presumably for a nuclear power plant there would have to be an auxiliary turbine and generator which would add something to the total cost. Also a larger condenser, etc. But the additional costs are but a small fraction of the total capital costs of a new nuclear power plant.

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  163. David Benson says :

    One could certainly put a thermal store on a nuclear power plant. The thermal store could then run a ready reserve generator via a turbine kept updated to speed with a little steam. If needed it would not take long for the generator to begin powering the grid. Alternatively, the thermal store is passive and just a trickle of steam from the reactor circuit keeps it ready to begin a cold start. I suppose such a thermal store to replace a week’s worth of missing wind or solar is not only possible but rather inexpensive.

    What you suggest is an excellent way to get a nuclear reactor to follow a daily demand profile. Generation capacity has to match the peak demand but reactor thermal capacity is required only for the average demand.

    It may not be the answer to gaps in renewables of a number of days with no wind or direct sun. There would be high thermal losses from weeks of storage (as in solar thermal hot salt storage), but also you would have to grossly overconfigure the generation capacity, and this is likely to be more expensive than standby CCGT powered by hydrogen.

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  164. @David Benson

    The cost of a thermal store is so small compared to the cost of a nuclear power plant or even a solar thermal array that one needs not be concerned. Presumably for a nuclear power plant there would have to be an auxiliary turbine and generator which would add something to the total cost. Also a larger condenser, etc. But the additional costs are but a small fraction of the total capital costs of a new nuclear power plant.

    Hot salt storage losses are proportional to the storage capacity but the daily generation is fixed.

    Take the Solar Reserve figures for their solar tower thermal stations. They claim 1 degree F temperature loss per day and a temperature difference of 500 degrees F between hot and cold tanks.

    For one day of storage we need one hot tanks and the loss is 0.2% of daily generation.

    For 20 days you need 20 hot tanks, each of which will lose 1 degrees F per day. So the loss is now 2% of daily generation, which is easily affordable.

    There may not be that much room in the central island in the heliostats. But there’s no need to have fixed labels of “hot” and “cold” on tanks – you only need one empty tank for everything to work. Once you have emptied a tank containing hot salt you can use it next to hold salt cooled by being used for generation.

    Thermal storage using Solar Reserve’s tanks sounds like a workable solution for nuclear too.

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  165. David Benson says, “…a small fraction of the total capital costs of a new nuclear power plant”

    In fact, the EBR2 sat in a pool of its secondary coolant – liquid sodium, with significant thermal inertia. If such a reactor ran at less than its system’s maximum, the difference might supply the daily range of demand, without any extra capital equipment at all.

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  166. The temperature loss in a thermal store depends upon how well one bothers to insulate it. As insulation is quite inexpensive one can do quite well for little additional cost.

    A major goal is to run the nuclear power plants as close to 100% of rating as possible and not waste any more of the heat generated than is absolutely necessary.

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  167. @Gene

    The cost of accessing journal papers is a huge problem. Not even I am willing to pay the fees the IEEE wants. More and more authors are wishing to post their work on line in order to give readers better access. This is why I post my materials on my web page and there is no fee for access.

    The trend is to open access journals and to offer open access options to authors of papers.

    Basically authors want their papers to be read, so the research funders provide additional money to enable authors to pay the journals to publish their papers open access. At my college (Imperial College London) their is a pot of money college-wide to let this happen, so no researcher would feel it reduces their money for research.

    There are normally two types of paid open access. Gold says the paper is available online to all immediately it is published in the journal. Green says the publishers wait 6 months before making it available online.

    Different journals also have different policies relative to the arXiv.org (X = Greek “chi” so pronounced “archive”. An author can put a draft copy of the paper on the arXiv in advance of publication provided the journal will let them. Then it is available for everyone without journal access. There may be some rules that the paper has had to be submitted for publication before you can put it on the arXiv.

    There have been some big battles with Elsevier who seemed to think open access was some sort of blank cheque. Here’s one small skirmish – http://www.researchresearch.com/news/article/?articleId=1166883 .

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  168. You would not want to put thermal storage on a nuclear plant because the fuel is so low cost you can afford to dump the waste heat. It might be useful for the heat to be sent to a user though, such as using it for district heating in a village. But those residents would have to be willing to live close enough to the plant to use the waste heat.

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  169. On storage:
    One the biggest myths purveyed by the advocates of Big WWS is that “utility scale storage” is just around the corner. No, it’s not. And no planner, anywhere, for any System Operator, is planning on ‘cheap storage’. The actual costs of the 2 dozen or so new battery storage proposals are going to more than double the costs of what ever you use to generate power. The cost of solar thermal storage NOW is insanely high, more than nuclear. Why build it then?

    CSP is particularly pernicious since CF “increases” are actually based on lowering the nameplate capacity of the unit in question. A 500MW CSP plant all of sudden can never produced 500MW since half of the energy is drawn out to charge up molten salt, thus reducing output. The actual cost of producing around the clock to produce x amount of MWhrs goes up and the output goes down. It is, really, a fraud.

    EVERY form of energy storage, works far better with nuclear than it does with any other form of energy. It can be planned and dispatch at a far more precise rate than with the unreliable of WWS.

    GenIV load following and storage can work hand in hand nicely. Ocean based higher temperature LFTRs or IFRs can use their excess heat to desal salt water in massive amounts. But more over, heat diverter valves in the secondary heat loop (lets assume a 3 loop reactor) can be regulated by the system so that when load drops, process heat leak off can increase while the reactor runs flat out. ALL the heat then, even at night, can be diverted to process heat OR all the electricity can be diverted to process heat effectively shutting down the generator for the night.

    This is clearly at least 15 years out. But the future looks quite bright for a 100% nuclear grid and we can get rid of the fraud that is solar.

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  170. David your points are valid, especially WWS storage, but there are other problems you didn’t mention, such as the need to plan for a diminishing gas supply as fracking runs its course. We will be in big trouble here in the US when natural gas become more scarce. Did you see LAWPD issued a statement there may be power outages in LA this summer because of the broken gas line that has shut down some of their gas peaking plants? This is a foreshadowing of more bad news to come.

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  171. Maybe. Russia’s fast reactor project(s) –> BN800, BN1200 etc are not really Gen IV. They are decades old technology for fast breeders. They are not IFRs, which are Gen IV.

    China IS serious about GenIV and they have built a working GenIV PBMR reactor and are in the process of building the full 250MW (?) versions now. Also, China has partnered with a US GenIV company to build the Traveling Wave Reactor. And, they are putting hundreds of millions in to their LFTR and LFTR-like projects as well. But I think it’s still out there in terms of generalized deployment.

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  172. this is an important point which deserves it’s own thread: fracking. I’m not writing fracking off yet. We don’t know when that well will run dry either through the vacuuming of methane or through environmental reaction to damage, real or perceived caused by fracking.

    In fact, while there is a lot of excellent chatter on this thread about WWS cause to nuclear recede, really it’s cheap natural gas brought about through fracking.

    Another possible, albeit remote scenario is the LNG production facilities getting built. The one thing the National Natural Gas Association is pissed off about is not being able to participate in the world wide LNG trade since this would boost prices 200 to 300% if it happened. The only way to do that is peg US natural gas prices to European/Asian ones and the only way to do that is to be able to integrate US NG consumption and export to the world market. We’ll see how that progresses. But…I agree, it should be talked about.

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  173. I think it would be wise to allow gas prices to rise so we could participate in the world wide gas market. We should have LNG as a backup for reliability reasons. This would help sustain our gas production jobs, slow down wasteful burning of our natural gas resource, as well as prevent nuclear plants from being shut down because of overly low gas prices. This is probably a big mistake by the Ob administration.

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  174. @David Walters

    CSP is particularly pernicious since CF “increases” are actually based on lowering the nameplate capacity of the unit in question. A 500MW CSP plant all of sudden can never produced 500MW since half of the energy is drawn out to charge up molten salt, thus reducing output. The actual cost of producing around the clock to produce x amount of MWhrs goes up and the output goes down. It is, really, a fraud.

    Your maths is wrong. If you keep all other CSP components the same (heliostats, tower, hot salt storage), but reduce the generation capacity then you produce the same quantity of energy per day (in MWh/day), but the cost per MWh comes down.

    You can see this clearly because it is the heat collection equipment which sets the energy captured and therefore number of MWh generated and that remains the same. But the total capital cost is less because of the reduced generation capacity, so the cost per MWh produced must be lower.

    David Benson and I had a discussion on this on open thread 23 and I was surprised at the conclusion at first.

    The best way to get cheap power out of CSP is to install solar PV alongside it. You feed direct solar PV power when available and reserve the CSP power for times the sun isn’t shining. Because solar PV is half the price you get a significant price reduction compared with CSP for 24 hours.

    Nowadays you could even afford a modest cheap battery at $145/kWh to keep the ramp rate for solar PV low enough so that the CSP can handle it.

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  175. @Gene Preston

    Because it becomes difficult to transmit 1000’s of MW of power more than hundreds of miles we really cannot expect to wire up the US so we can move enormous blocks of wind power over great distances. The transmission requirements are just too great.

    Go look at what the Chinese are doing. They think nothing of transmitting 12GW of power 3,300 km from one side of China to the other using a 1.1MV UHVDC line. Further, over a five year period 2011 to 2015 the Chinese put in place additions to their HV network only a bit smaller than that of the complete USA HV network, with much more to come.

    https://curryja.files.wordpress.com/2016/04/slide7.png?w=750&h=563

    And the USA can’t match this? Compared with China it is pretty easy in the USA. The wind comes from the Great Plains belt which is down the centre of the USA. On a plate!!

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  176. It is not about technology in this case, it’s about having an actual energy policy…the US doesn’t have one. It has ‘guidelines’ and mandates. No investor owned utility would ever put that much into HVDC, let alone the 1millonKV UHVDC (and UHVAC as well) when the return would be decades away (which is why many companies are abandoning nuclear, it simply not “profitable” enough).

    The Chinese are still planning be about 75% nuclear by the end of the century, so that hasn’t changed.

    The Chinese are not doing this for wind and solar but for the need to wheel power back and forth to avoid building, and phasing out eventually, coal power in the south. Fully 50% of all rail transport in China is for hauling coal north to south. this has to end. Their rail system is breaking down and they need to stop moving that much coal. They want to build a truly national grid to wheel massive amounts of power where and when it’s need. This is why they are building everything to generate power while de-emphisizing coal.

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  177. You would not want to put thermal storage on a nuclear plant because the fuel is so low cost you can afford to dump the waste heat.

    It depends where your costs are.  Cal Abel suggests that directing all reactor output through the storage system might make the balance of plant irrelevant to the reactor operating conditions, and thus remove the BOP from NRC oversight requirements.  This would make it vastly cheaper to design, build and operate.  Allowing the nuclear plant to run its peak output much higher than its average captures price peaks that normally go to peaking generators.  Read the paper, it’s fascinating.

    This concept uses a LMFBR as the heat source, but Cal Abel also suggests that LWRs can use steam compression to increase the temperature of the heat-to-be-stored to a level suitable for molten salts.  I’ve run the numbers on this myself and very much liked what I got.

    If the USA had a sane energy policy, coal would be gone and gas would be in intensive care.

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  178. Peter CSP is a fraud, IMO.

    At least in the way it’s billed. Your savings on generator equipment is at best incremental. You are trying to show a savings essentially on the turbine/generator/storage train.

    The problem is that in every single case bare none, what is sold to the public is that you have this “100MW” solar plant being built for x dollars. It’s usually left at that. 100MWs are seen as power 100,000 homes. Both sold and, soft-journalists pumping that in the press. It’s a lie. It can’t do that as most people are beginning to wise up to this.

    A 100MW nuclear plant can out 2400MWhrs a day. A CSP plant? Not so much. A lot less. But a costs is given for this plant. A billion dollars?

    The Ivanpah Solar Power Facility is one the largest CSP plants in the country. It cost $2.2 billion to build. It’s nameplate capacity is 392 MWs. Is that $5k KW installed? Why yes, I think it is. Already around the cost of a nuclear plant. This is totally mature technology, Peter. There is no ‘prices dropping here’ since we are talking about standard industrial production of concrete, steel and aluminum.

    The capacity factor? 1/5 of the day or 20%. Now do the math against the $7 billion reactor(s) [at 1150MWs net] that Southern is building in Georgia at an expected 90+ CF. What’s cheaper and provides far more power reliably?

    Oh…Ivanpah, it burns natural gas well, in 2014, around 800 million cu ft. Literally, gas and solar married at the lips, hips and feet.

    But you say, excluding natural gas “back up”, that CSP with thermal storage is doable. You have to add the costs of this and that drives up the price of storage that would cancel out saving achieved but using smaller turbines since half the energy would be stored for later use. Take the recently opened (2013/2014) Solana Generator Station. Far more expensive than the Ivnapha plant. I’ts a 280 gross (250 net) plant that costs also $2 billion. That’s over $7,000KWhr installed. Now we are passed the cost of the Vogtle reactors. And for this we get with a CF of 20% and “increase” in “CF” to “38% of nameplate capacity” because it can produce some power around the clock! This is not a serious proposal. And for this we haven’t included transmission costs (building 150kv/350kv lines from the plant…I assume that they at least chose a site closer to the big transmission lines from Palos Verde nuclear plant).

    I suspect the reasons the costs of the plant per KW is greater than Ivanpah is that the cost of the salt inventory is quite high, something to think about with regards to increasing the same inventory for the same reasons for a future LFTR project with storage or process heat.

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  179. Just as a thought experiment, it might be interesting to consider an all GenIII electrical grid at 100%. Here the plants run flat out at on average, 90% of the time, and over produce at night.

    Planners would build, for the 7am to 7pm period, under capacity at around 70% of what is need. The load goes down at night by 2/3 and that is stored in whatever expensive combination of pumped storage/thermal storage solutions, and given back during the day when the load goes up. So, a 100,000MW grid would have 70,000 of MWs of nuclear installed only with the balance provided by evening/morning storage.

    I kid, I kid, that would outlandish. :)

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  180. @David Walters

    Forget Ivanpah. Use Crescent Dunes and Copiapa as cheaper and better CSP examples which support 24 hour operation (though not 365 days per year).

    Using Ivanpah would be the equivalent of citing Hinkley C as the best nuclear technology can do – now £21 for 3GW and delivery slipped to 2027. We know China could do better than the French.

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  181. Yes I agree and perhaps using Ivanpah is bad because it was overpriced to start with. LIke anti-nukes using 30 year old pricing for modularly built Gen III nukes or only use EPRs (HInkley) as a baseline. In fact many pro-nukes, such as my self, have come out against the current Hinkley nuclear project. But I digress…

    Peter, please check my numbers.

    The Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project nets out at 110MWs for a cost of $975,000,000. This is $8800 per KW installed. The Copiapó Solar Project nets out at 265MWs. That is slightly better than a nuke at 7600 per KW installed, respectively. (again, seriously, please check my numbers).

    If one adjusts this for the CF, you are talking about the Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project being able to produce, maybe, 100MW for a billion bucks. This is why the cost per KWhr charged at the bus-bar is going to be something like $.13 1/2. How is this a good thing exactly?

    Obviously, as in nuclear, we are talking about non-externalities (like grid hook up, maintenance, waste, water use, etc etc.) But based on this I can’t see how these are worthwhile projects, at least not as compared to nuclear energy.

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  182. Ambient temperature super conductors would probably only work with DC lines. DC lines and wind generators is a technology that has never been tested. I doubt you could get it to work smoothly. Transmission losses are not a big problem. The investment cost would be huge for the DC lines and terminal equipment.

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  183. There are many areas of the world that need water. Wouldn’t it be wise to use nuclear at full bore and then dump the waste heat into desalination? I hear aquifers are drying up and so this would be a way to recharge them at less cost than a total RE storage and HVDC distribution system.
    I like RE but it seems this, water (and reliable power) would be a better place to put the subsidy (for pipes and desalination).

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  184. Yes you could collect all the remote wind power and pump it on a single DC line. There is just this kind of DC line that will be constructed from the Texas panhandle to Arkansas. It is designed to carry 4000 MW. However there are problems with this concept. What if the dc line fails, then you get a 4000 MW surge that can cause the underlying systems to break up on both the sending end and the receiving end. Another problem is that whoever controls the power flow on that line can break the market, bankrupting companies. This might be a subtle way our government is trying to drive ANO Arkansas Nuclear One off line. In any event when this line is installed, it will require rebuilding the underlying systems on both the sending and receiving ends. Transmission adequacy is my specialty. see http://egpreston.com

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  185. Hi Peter, let me help in this regard…
    The problem of a large HV line (AC or DC) going down is a “regular” occurrence. That is, it can happen and designers have asked the same questions you have they have a work around. You might ask what happens now when a major transmission line goes down? The voltage on producing end goes up, the voltage on the load side of the line goes down. Left alone, this would result in black outs on both ends of the line. But that’s not the usual situation. Why?

    Because the planners get this, they have allowed for other forms of transmission should a large line go down. It happens through the ‘original Smart Metering’ called SCADA (stands for: “Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition”). SCADA will deal with this: No whole area, say, Arkansas is going to totally rely on ONE line! This will never happen. The network is like a spiderweb of transmission and distribution lines and substations. SCADA will instantaneously shift power around the transmission system to protect both ends of line…the generation side and the transmission side.

    So in your scenario this wouldn’t likely happen. But even if it did…it’ designed to ‘island’ areas of generation to protect the generators: nuclear plants, wind farms whatever.

    Control over that line is ISO usually, a highly regulated hopefully not-for-profit grouping that would be required to serve the public first and not simply control who gets what when.

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  186. Crescent Dunes produces 500 GWh per year which is comparable to 70 MW of nuclear plant at an annual capacity factor of 82%. The Dunes plant cost was 1 billion dollars which would be equivalent to $14 per watt. The most expensive nuclear plants today are coming in at $10 per watt. Rooftop PV may be only $3 per watt unsubsidized, but the low capacity factor of 15% makes that low rooftop cost equivalent to about 3/.15 = $20 per watt for comparable energy production. No matter how you cut it the solar energy costs are somewhat more expensive than the nuclear option, even in today’s highly anti nuclear environment. However solar at home can offer the homeowner some unique advantages see http://egpreston.com/PrestonFeb2016.pdf if they also have an EV and a home microgrid so I’m not anti solar. The solar just has to be engineered for specialized applications like home microgrids that want stand by power when the grid power goes off line. But solar is just not going to ever be able to replace a nuclear plant in base load mode. We haven’t even talked about the cost of backup power for the solar plant when the sun isn’t shining for days on end….

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  187. @ David Walters

    The Chinese are still planning be about 75% nuclear by the end of the century, so that hasn’t changed.

    In your dreams maybe.

    China’s generation from wind overtook that from nuclear in 2013 and there is no plan to reverse that by 2030. Solar PV is also planned to increase hugely by 2030 though not to overtake wind or nuclear.

    An end of century prediction is pretty worthless, but it would be very interesting for you to give us a link to the Chinese web site saying this.

    The only possibility for 75% Chinese nuclear I can think of is that nuclear fusion turns out to be dirt cheap by 2100. But it’ll be difficult to beat even current wind and solar prices.

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  188. @ David Walters, Gene Preston

    13-14 cents/kWh is indeed about right for Crescent Dunes. But maybe you haven’t worked out the bigger picture here.

    Crescent Dunes is a first of a kind installation. You would expect subsequent installations to be 25-30% cheaper.

    Secondly you have to wonder why the Las Vegas casinos want it at all! The reason is that they wish to appear green to induce more people to come and spend big money gambling with them. Price of power is not so much of an issue as getting the people in. That’s why they are prepared to pay the premium on power from the Solar Reserve CSP installation.

    Why would 10 hours of CSP make them appear green?

    Because they already have masses of commercial rooftop (and maybe ground mounted) solar installed on the casinos. Depending on when they installed it, the power from this might be between 4 and 5 cents/kWh.

    Crescent Dunes is to fill in the gaps when solar PV cannot generate, not to provide prime daytime power. Without knowing their load profile (and Las Vegas is a really weird place) it is difficult to say what their average kWh price is, but it may be no higher than 9 or 10 cents/kWh.

    What about availability and CF?

    Around Las Vegas the ratio of direct sunlight hours to daylight hours is 87%. If you think about it, if Crescent Dunes is configured for the shortest day, then it should provide availability of at least 87% (less the odd mechanical breakdown). Still needs some fossil fuel backup at times, but not much.

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  189. Wouldn’t it be wise to use nuclear at full bore and then dump the waste heat into desalination?

    It depends how you’re going about it.  Reverse osmosis takes pure mechanical work for the pumps, but flash distillation requires fairly low-grade heat and you will have extracted the bulk of the available work output of the steam before it’s cool enough for the flash evaporators.  Which one is best?  I’m sure it depends on the specifics of what you’re trying to do.

    I hear aquifers are drying up

    Back of the envelope here:

    Assume 80% of 3400 MW(t) used in a 3-stage multiple-effect flash distillation system, 540 cal/g heat of evaporation.  I get 3.6 cubic meters per second of fresh water, the equivalent of a rather small river.  You will not solve droughts this way.

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  190. Engineer poet, from the World Nuclear Society’s China page:

    “By around 2040, PWRs are expected to level off at 200 GWe and fast reactors progressively increase from 2020 to at least 200 GWe by 2050 and 1400 GWe by 2100.”

    They are expected to be around 2000GWs by 2100. Not my dream, Chinese energy planners dream.
    http://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/country-profiles/countries-a-f/china-nuclear-power.aspx

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  191. Nuclear IS the planned backbone of China’s future energy needs and expect it to be a majority of generation there. Vast quantities of renewables and hydro, also, of course. The big questions: will they ever stop getting rid of coal?

    On the goals, Chinese energy planners are quite good at their job and, in the last 10 years since I’ve been following them, and consulting a bit, they change their goals, up and down, within each 5 year plan. I expect all these numbers to go and down and back up again depending on human and component resource manufacturing.

    In fact, at Chinese energy conferences, the big discussions around the Chinese nuclear capacity for 2050. In the WNA, which gets all it’s information from within the nuclear ministries there pressure to get that number by 2040, not 2050. Oddly this is dependent on the relationship between how many exported models of the CAP1400 and other smaller models and how many can be built in China given the limited component manufacturing abilities. The more exported, the less, in theory, can be built in China. If the Chinese are willing to invest in non-Chinese heavy manufacturing, then this alleviates the problem.

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  192. I like your calculation. Rephrasing…

    If each of us consumes 1 kW(e) then our exhaust heat of ~3 kW is the LHV of
    3 kW / (2.26 MJ/kg) = 1.33 g/s or 42 kL/a for each stage of MED.

    Three stages would make that 125 kL/a, the annual per capita consumption of fresh water in UK or Denmark. Others of us use more.

    Can the MED plant be tweaked to 4 stages? After all, We do have copious electricity during the off-peak time, available to pump low-grade back up hill again. At 167 kL/a, that’s closer to the ballpark of supplying all our freshwater needs, using little more than “waste” heat. That’s from seawater.

    Recycling our grey water could and perhaps should be done with reverse osmosis (RO) which is more energy-efficient but more electricity-consumptive. For that reason it would only be during during off-peak, unlike MED.

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  193. David Walters, re Solana Generator Station
    “I suspect the reasons the costs of the plant per KW is greater than Ivanpah is that the cost of the salt inventory is quite high”

    The more likely reason is the overbuild on the collection side (mirrors and towers) needed so there is energy to store on top of generation during the day. This the issue with Crescent Dunes as well – if you want storage, then the generation output is reduced since the capacity factor on the collection side is constant.

    Peter Davies, you argue about Crescent Dunes being first of its kind with costs going down as deployment increases. Do you see the 25-30% decrease in cost coming from the molten salt storage side? Because everything else is mature technology that was already used at Ivanpah and other tower CSP plants. And molten salt storage has been used in Spain at Gemsolar and other installations so again, I don’t see where such large cost reductions will come from.

    As for the Las Vegas wish to “appear green”, how many communities can afford this level of extravagance?

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  194. Gene Preston: Yes, thanks. DC lines were what I had in mind. If you make the wind turbines all make one voltage or one maximum voltage, then when there isn’t enough load to soak up the power, you have an automatic curtailment. Current flows from wherever there is power to wherever there is not.

    I was thinking of something like a switcher power supply in which the line is something like the capacitor when I started to think about this. Of course the line is not a capacitor. The line is an inductor and that means voltage spikes whenever there is a change in anything.

    I have no idea what the superconductor would cost because we don’t have one that doesn’t require [last I heard, if I remember correctly] something like 120 degrees Kelvin. On the terminal equipment, you have to absorb the spikes, then convert from DC to AC. The ancient motor-generator comes to mind because the DC line could be at only a few volts. I think you are right that the terminal equipment price would be high because there would be such enormous current. I’m thinking of a homopolar motor operating at a low voltage.

    If a point on the line goes out of superconducting, the energy gets dumped at that point.

    So I think this isn’t going to happen any time soon. Research on superconductors has been going on for a century or so and we are still at least 200 degrees Kelvin from the required temperature.

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  195. Yes, I agree. See    http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/new-reactors/design-cert.html

    The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission has certified 6 reactors for factory production.  More certifications for factory production are on the way.

    “Design Certification Applications for New Reactors”
    copied from:
    http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/new-reactors/design-cert.html

    “By issuing a design certification, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) approves a nuclear power plant design, independent of an application to construct or operate a plant. A design certification is valid for 15 years from the date of issuance, but can be renewed for an additional 10 to 15 years.

    The links below provide information on the design certifications that the NRC has issued to date, as well as the applications that are currently under review. 

    Issued Design Certifications
    The NRC staff has issued the following design certifications:
    Design Applicant
    Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR) General Electric (GE) 
    System 80+ Westinghouse Electric Company
    Advanced Passive 600 (AP600) Westinghouse Electric Company
    Advanced Passive 1000 (AP1000) Westinghouse Electric Company”
    ABWR Design Certification Rule (DCR) Amendment
    South Texas Project Nuclear Operating Company

    Which means:  If you want a nuclear power plant in a short time, like under 3 years from signing to turn on, the US is open for business.  Since these are factory built, turning on the factory means getting a lot of reactors, not just one. True that the production lines are not set up to operate as high volume production lines yet.
    5 more Design Certification Applications are Currently Under Review.

    I am well aware that the fossil fuel lobby has made nuclear power pointlessly expensive by adding needless safety nonsense. For example, soldiers guarding reactors. Terrorists should give up on reactors. There is no real opportunity for terrorists.

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  196. I agree with Gene Preston. My [Chinese] wife grew up during the Cultural Revolution. What happens in China doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with “rational.” Having worked for the US federal government, when you work there, you don’t ask whether a policy or regulation makes sense. You just do whatever Congress and the president say to do.

    On the other hand, what corporations do doesn’t have anything to do with the public good.

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  197. “The thing wrong with that forecast is that there is no reason to believe that the species Homo Sapiens will still exist by that time. ”
    That’s a bit grim. No matter how hard global warming hits, I’m sure some humans will be around somewhere, even if water wars or food wars escalate out of control and someone hits the big red button! In worse case scenarios, there will be Dyson like biodomes or underground cities with big climate controlled tents for crops, and who knows what other radical adjustments.

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  198. Eclipse Now: “Six Degrees” by Mark Lynas.
    “Under a Green Sky” by Professor Peter D Ward

    KILL MECHANISMS LIST
    Mother Nature is good at killing. Here is a partial list of weapons she has in store for us:

    Famine caused by
    ….a. drought
    ….b. floods
    ….c. overpopulation
    ….d. aquifers running dry
    Dehydration caused by drought
    Drowning in floods
    Fire driven by heat and drought. Fire storms as large as the Amazon basin. Smoke.
    Heat stress
    Methane fuel-air explosions caused by
    ….a. methane hydrate melting
    ….b. tundra thawing and as powerful as nuclear bombs
    War and nuclear war.
    Genocide as in Rwanda, which ended when there were few enough people for the land to support.
    Tropical diseases and their carriers moving poleward.
    H2S bubbling out of hot oceans is [probably] the final blow. This is the same mechanism as the Great Death 251 million years ago, alias the End Permian mass extinction alias the Permian-Triassic boundary. “Under a Green Sky” by Peter D. Ward.

    The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are completely outclassed and outgunned.

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  199. LOL, would you really call that a “worst case scenario”? How about a landscape smokey with hunting fires, with a few old men and women in their late twenties running into the ground any animal that isnt too fast or too poisonous. Nature can do much more widespread damage than that red button can do, with stresses that last not for a few days, but for a thousand years.

    Truly we can say that the consequences of unchecked climate change would be far worse than any nightmares of the anti-nuclear faithful.

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  200. Eclipse Now — Those designs are not fully factory built. Those units are simply too big to complete in a factory and then transport to the site. In the case of the Westinghouse AP1000 the various parts are made in a factory and transported to the site. There a temporary structure is used to aid in combining the parts into modules which are hoisted up into the growing assembly. Some of the modules weigh many tonnes.

    Only the forthcoming SMRs are small enough to be called factory built.

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  201. @David Benson

    While in China transmission line developers quickly obtain right of way, in the USA this can take 20 to 30 years. I gather Germany is having similar difficulties.

    I bet eminent domain for a USA oil pipeline never takes that long. The delay for new transmission lines for renewable power is because half of the USA politicians are not serious about solving global warming yet.

    So new USA transmission lines take a long time….

    …except in the foremost world’s oil state of Texas where the 18GW of CREZ lines seem to be complete after around 10 years and working well (little wind curtailment, few periods of negative pricing).

    Why can’t the other US states legislate as fast as the red state of Texas?

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  202. @Greg Kaan

    Peter Davies, you argue about Crescent Dunes being first of its kind with costs going down as deployment increases. Do you see the 25-30% decrease in cost coming from the molten salt storage side? Because everything else is mature technology that was already used at Ivanpah and other tower CSP plants. And molten salt storage has been used in Spain at Gemsolar and other installations so again, I don’t see where such large cost reductions will come from.

    Crescent Dunes has a one year period in the contract to ramp up to full production after commissioning is complete. That period started in February (2016) after generating for a few days (at night). The heliostat field and solar tower have been working for over 12 months. Whether it is because of integration learning or the individual components doesn’t matter so much.

    Solar Reserve seem to have designed everything except the back end generation themselves.

    The hot salt tanks are not that straightforward as they have ceramic linings to stop corrosion.

    The the solar collector is Solar Reserve’s unique design.

    The good news is that the US DoE are giving Solar Reserve a $2.4m SunShot grant to allow operation at 1350F instead of 1050F. If you remember your thermodynamics (or even if you don’t) the increased input hot salt temperature means a significantly higher thermodynamic efficiency of generation which reduces the cost per MWh noticeably. So much for solar tower thermal CSP being mature technology!!! Keep your fingers crossed on them succeeding with this development.

    As for the Las Vegas wish to “appear green”, how many communities can afford this level of extravagance?

    Las Vegas is good match for a first installation of a new design. Subsequent bids from Solar Reserve are much lower.

    Copiapa (Chile, Atacama desert) is expected to be below 10c/kWh and cheaper than the local fossil fuel prices for a baseload system (hybrid solar PV and CSP system). And Solar Reserve haven’t had the benefit of scale to bring prices down yet. China is interested too.

    Incidentally, if you want to store 20 days of hot salt instead of 1 day then it costs you 21 hot salt tanks instead of 2, and an extra 4% heat loss per day (<1F loss per day from one tank with a hot/cold temperature difference of 500F is 0.2%. x 20 hot tanks is 4%). This would allow you to achieve maybe 98 or 99% availability if the mechanical side holds up well.

    For the sub-tropics including Australia (except Darwin up North), hybrid solar PV/CSP generation looks like the right way to go.

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  203. Edward you don’t have to design the DC transmission system in your head. All this technology is already standard stuff. The line does not need to use super conductors. The losses are pretty low with regular conductors. All the switching equipment to transform the wind generator power to the DC line is already standard equipment. We are very advanced now with high power electronics so that’s no problem. The main problem is designing the complete system to do what we want it to do. This means we have to design where the wind/solar is going to be located, and all the transmission lines and control systems and storage needed to run it. The two biggest obstacles are cost and environmental impact. People do not want to pay for this expensive system and they do not like new power lines and do not like new wind generators in their field of vision or within earshot of the noise the wind generators make.

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  204. Peter Davies — Texas is, well, Texas. All the land in most of the USA and certainly Germany is bespoke so obtaining right-of-way is difficult. It is not politicians but rather individual landowners and prior commitments for the land. Rather than taking the time for resolving this soon, some utilities just buy a natgas fired CCGT. Idaho Power did just that.
    Of course, there is no carbon dioxide emissions tax.

    I point out, again, that the utilities serving the Idaho Falls area intend to replace some coal burners with a dozen Nuscale modules, despite being fairly close to Wyoming wind. Why is that, do you suppose?

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  205. @Eclipse Now

    a hotter CSP “reduces the cost per MWh noticeably”. Um, tenfold or more? 20% or 50% or even 100% still won’t matter diddly squat.

    Why don’t you work it out? The input temperature is currently 1,050F which would go up to 1,350F if the Solar Reserve project succeeds. Assume an output temperature of, say 100F. That’s all you need to do a calculation on thermodynamic efficiency improvement. Convert to degrees C then add 273 to get into Kelvin (which has zero at absolute zero), and you can apply the formula : thermal efficiency = 1 – (output temperature in K/input temperature in K), where 1.0 would mean 100% efficient?

    I make it roughly a 10% improvement, that is each kWh would be a little less than 10% less expensive, depending on what the back-end generator cost is (unchanged) compared to the rest of the plant (reduced).

    That’s 10% in addition to all the coming improvements from NOAK (knowing what you are doing next time around), then the cost improvements from volume manufacturing (solar PV fell to 22% of its price 6 years remember, and the lowest bids seem to have halved again in one year).

    Solar CSP already extracts twice the solar energy from a given area compared with solar PV. Or put it another way in a given location to produce a given number of MWh per day, solar CSP needs half the area that solar PV does.

    By the way, a 100% cost reduction would mean you got the power for free. Hardly “diddly squat”! “Nirvana” I would say, given CSP is capable of baseload operation with sufficient storage (at the cost of 19 extra hot salt tanks and 4% more solar thermal equipment).

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  206. @David Benson

    obtaining right-of-way is difficult. It is not politicians but rather individual landowners and prior commitments for the land.

    My limited understanding of USA due process is that the state politicians can pass a bill to use “eminent domain” (UK “compulsory purchase” equivalent) to allow a utility to acquire land or rights to land for a particular purpose which benefits all. And overriding the wishes of individual landowners if necessary. This is what typically has to happen for oil pipelines such as Keystone. Is this not correct?

    Politicians unduly influenced by fossil fuel lobby reelection money may not vote to enable infrastructure for wind power, but that’s democracy for you.

    I agree that the process of planning and constructing new long-distance transmission lines in itself takes a long time, but not 20-30 years.

    Unlike Trump’s claims, USA got a very good deal out of the Paris climate agreement. It promised less than 20% carbon emission reductions compared with 1990 whereas Europe is committing to 40%. China last year installed as much renewable generation as the USA and Europe put together. Somehow the idea that the USA, the largest economy in the world and very sparsely populated compared with Germany, has to hold back because it can’t build transmission lines doesn’t sound very convincing.

    As far as the utilities go, they are bound by regulation which can be changed to make sure they do the right thing. But again you are dependent on the politicians to change the regulations.

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  207. No one said “100% nuclear” but it’s development course for China is to be majority nuclear and there is simply no reason to think the Chinese are not planning of that. You have to look the expansion of their manufacturing facilities; statements by policy makers, etc.

    I agree…actually planning the next 83 years is hard…my point though it doesn’t mean the Chinese are not serious about it. Their plans are real plans, not like the fake targets for things you get in the West. The Chinese planned for 15,000km of high speed rail, they went out and built it.

    Their mindset, absolutely NOT like it was during the Cultural Revolution, is totally science driven. They organize their industry to develop and deploy technology based on these plans. And they make adjustments; they are not dogmatic in their approach.

    Also…why wouldn’t they go for 75% of their grid to be nuclear? There is no reason they won’t.

    Chinese investment in wind & solar is large in capacity, not as large as nuclear in CF, or real power. But as I noted above someplace, the Chinese invest in everything. So, one should ask, and it’s a good question: why do the Chinese do this. Why do they massively invest in wind, for example, as well as nuclear?

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  208. The delay for new transmission lines for renewable power is because half of the USA politicians are not serious about solving global warming yet.

    Yeah, right.  Shoving massive amounts of wind power on the grid (and practically all the PV they can absorb) hasn’t kept German CO2 emissions from remaining stubbornly high.  Refusing to expedite the theft of people’s land for costly-but-unhelpful transmission lines is one of the few bits of sanity in the USA’s lack of energy policy.

    if you want to store 20 days of hot salt instead of 1 day then it costs you 21 hot salt tanks instead of 2, and an extra 4% heat loss per day (<1F loss per day from one tank with a hot/cold temperature difference of 500F is 0.2%. x 20 hot tanks is 4%). This would allow you to achieve maybe 98 or 99% availability if the mechanical side holds up well.

    Right, as if long-term direct ray deficits are just going to go away with a bigger storage system.

    Solar CSP already extracts twice the solar energy from a given area compared with solar PV.

    I don’t see CSP showing 40% thermal efficiencies, and it doesn’t work anywhere without clear skies.  You’re starting to sound like Bas Gresnigt, only with better English.

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  209. @ Engineer-Poet

    Right, as if long-term direct ray deficits are just going to go away with a bigger storage system.

    “Solar CSP already extracts twice the solar energy from a given area compared with solar PV.”
    I don’t see CSP showing 40% thermal efficiencies, and it doesn’t work anywhere without clear skies.

    Why not 40% CSP efficiency? The thermodynamic thermal efficiency given the hot salt temperatures could be up to 63%. (Say 100F cold side = 310K; 1050F hot side = 838K, efficiency = 1 – 310/838 = 1 – 0.37 = 0.63 = 63% maximum thermodynamic efficiency).

    It should be used in the sub-tropics. They have a lot of desert. Now why would that be if the skies weren’t clear a lot of the time?

    When looking at the colour banding remember that daylight hours are 4380 per year (everywhere on earth averages 12 hours daylight over the year), so divide by that to get the direct sunlight / daylight hours fraction. That gives you the minimum availability of 24 hour power = the real figure will be higher than this because the heliostats will be overconfigured to provide the correct energy on the shortest day of the year.

    Atacama desert 90% clear (best in the world), Las Vegas 87% clear, Western Australia (mid lattitudes) 70% plus.

    Then factor in that correlation of clouds between different desert areas fades to nothing after a few hundred km instead of the 1200km for wind.

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  210. Haze doesn’t affect insolation much, but it radically reduces the direct radiation required for CSP.  This renders your map totally worthless as an estimating tool (which I’m sure you knew, because your intent was to deceive).

    Correlation in sun angle and seasonal weather is very high over many hundreds of km.

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  211. Take a pinch of salt with that map. Scientists dont measure solar radiation in kWh per year. No, not even geographers. Journals require SI, so the average should be in “watts average”, or joules per year. However it is a term familiar to the easily bamboozled, and the numbers are just gobbledygook to be spoken fast while charming the idiot into reaching for his wallet. It is sales literature.

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  212. From what I’ve been able to find, the German CO2 intensity was 510 g/kWh in 2013 (http://www.renewablesinternational.net/carbon-emissions-from-german-power-sector-balanced-in-2013/150/537/77625/) whereas it’s about 40 g/kWh for France (http://www.rte-france.com/en/eco2mix/eco2mix-co2-en).

    Why aren’t those two figures discussed more? Because as far as I can tell, it shows that decarbonizing through renewables is not an effective strategy for Germany. Considering they’re above 30% renewable penetration already, you’d say that the CO2 intensity should already be far lower than it currently is. The curve of CO2 reductions also doesn’t seem to follow the much steeper curve of renewable penetration. So as far as my layman eye can tell, it doesn’t seem that German renewables are good at mitigating CO2, or in other words: a kWh of solar/wind seems to reduce CO2 emissions by far less than a kWh of French nuclear energy (around 10 times less).

    Is that a fair conclusion to draw from those numbers?

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  213. @Engineer Poet

    Haze doesn’t affect insolation much, but it radically reduces the direct radiation required for CSP. This renders your map totally worthless as an estimating tool (which I’m sure you knew, because your intent was to deceive).

    The map was deliberately of direct sunlight hours. You are confusing insolation with direct sunlight hours. The total insolation per year will let you work out the total number of MWh you can generate from a given area, but says nothing about the percentage availability of this generation.

    On the other hand direct sunlight hours does tell you about availability, but not necessarily out the output per unit area of the CSP plant. You might have high availability but need to configure more or less heliostats to get the desired nameplate capacity because of the lattitude.

    Direct sunlight hours tells you about CSP availability because of the word “direct”. So if haze transfers a proportion of insolation from direct to indirect then that proportion ceases to be included in the total hours of direct sunlight.

    You should retract and apologise for your statement that the map was an attempt to deceive as the direct sunlight hours map is precisely what is required to estimate availability. An insolation map would not be.

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  214. You are confusing insolation with direct sunlight hours.

    Caught you.  Here is the definition of direct normal irradiance:

    Direct Normal Irradiance (DNI) is the amount of solar radiation received per unit area by a surface that is always held perpendicular (or normal) to the rays that come in a straight line from the direction of the sun at its current position in the sky.

    Note, not the rays that come directly from the source, but any rays intercepted by the surface normal to the direct rays.

    You should retract and apologise for your statement that the map was an attempt to deceive

    You should apologize for having posted a single word here.  You are one of the cleverest, meaning slimiest and most dishonest, pushers of “renewables” (meaning, the non-replacements for fossil fuel) I have ever encountered.  The BNC management has every right to boot you, and I hope they do.  Dealing with your Gish gallop is a complete waste of time and energy.

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  215. “By the way, a 100% cost reduction would mean you got the power for free. Hardly “diddly squat”! “Nirvana” I would say, given CSP is capable of baseload operation with sufficient storage (at the cost of 19 extra hot salt tanks and 4% more solar thermal equipment).”
    Sorry, but my understanding is CSP is not baseload, and not anywhere near competitive with nuclear as a result, and that the cost of CSP + storage would have to come down 10 TIMES not 10%.

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  216. Peter Davies, you should also have linked to the following page
    http://solargis.info/doc/accuracy
    where the following image of the validation sites is available

    Here we can see just how sparsely the DNI map has been measured vs extrapolation. They really should combine the 2 maps but that would show how much the DNI is conjecture.

    Engineer-Poet, while I have huge sympathy for your wish to have Peter Davies banned, he and his kind are valuable here in the perverse way of demonstrating just how the renewables lobby mid set works and how they have worked their “logic” into government policies.

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  217. Peter Davies said:

    (everywhere on earth averages 12 hours daylight over the year)

    Ha ha! Love it. Typical renewable fudging of the numbers. Averages sound fine on paper, but when a nation starts to brownout and blackout, they’re going to realise that there’s a difference between ‘average annual’ and ‘average daylight in the heart of winter’.

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  218. Peter Davies — That is not how eminent domain works here in the USA. For public lands there are multiple agencies with different charges to look after one or another aspect of the environment. Some are this extends to certain private property as well. Utilities are required to hold meetings for all interested along a proposed right of way.

    I have previously written here about Idaho Power attempting to obtain a right of way from Boardman OR to Hemingway ID. Feasible routes are a bit over 500 km long and pass the multiple public and private lands. Many meetings were held over the past dozen years. Idaho Power claims to have an agreed upon route but is unable, so far, to obtain written agreement from some federal agencies for which eminent domain does not apply. Idaho Power states that all should be resolved by 2020 but they thought everything was settled twice before.

    In the meantime as more power was required Idaho Power acquired a large natgas CCGT.

    Idaho Power wants to have a transmission line from Wyoming wind to Hemingway ID. Permitting for right of way only started 3 years ago and is finished but for the final section through the more populated area near Boise. The difference is that this is almost all BLM land. Just one agency and one easily agreeing to development.

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  219. Each state is different in the US. So there are 50 states, the federal government, counties, cities and towns, and territories like Puerto Rico. Then there is the District of Columbia. That is a lot of different governments. You have to satisfy all of them and the land owners and their neighbors. Then there are protesters.

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  220. As DBB said: the factories for big nukes, like AP1000, make factory build parts. http://www.gen4energy.com is planning to build truck-deliverable reactors. But if you look at their web site, there is still some assembly required. Gen4 is working on the smallest reactors I know of that don’t belong to NASA, only 25 megawatts.

    The really big thing about pre-certified reactors is that the NRC promises to not hold up the work with more bureaucratic processes as long as the factory makes the same reactors without modification. France made reactors fast by making them all the same. It is making them all the same that allows the factory to learn how to make them faster.

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  221. About truckability…

    As planned for Galena, Alaska, the 10 MW 4S reactor by Toshiba was to be transported to site on a barge, complete with the concrete shell. Total weight 3000 t. I asked them about trucking, and was told it could break down into parts of 200 t max, without needing nuclear quality welding on site.

    NuScale (50 MW) has no major nuclear concrete, being suspended in a pool. It is barely truckable, at 600 t.

    The Gen4 in Edward’s link promises to be “transportable”, as if more than just truckable onto site, but disappoints in being unable to move to another site mid-life. Now that would find a whole new market, not least for minesites.

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  222. OK, sorry, Engineer-Poet, I posted the wrong chart. Here is the right one, from wikipedia.

    Given it is the second time around for this topic of discussion (and some of them have been around many more times than that), it is easy to make a mistake.

    Look at Open Thread 23 and find the phrase ” locations suitable for installing CSP + storage are generally the sub-tropics and tropics”. You will find it points directly to the correct map above.

    So I assure you that this was a mistake, not deliberate, as I thought I was posting the same direct sunlight map.

    And now I do wish you to apologise for accusations that I would deliberately set out to mislead.

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  223. @Engineer Poet

    You are one of the cleverest, meaning slimiest and most dishonest, pushers of “renewables” (meaning, the non-replacements for fossil fuel) I have ever encountered.

    I take “cleverest” and “pushers of renewables” as compliments. However, “cleverness” comes from being well informed and keeping up-to-date.

    Since this site is not very welcoming to those who understand that renewable energy has a major contribution to make, it’s not surprising that you don’t meet many of them.

    I am not anti-nuclear, and believe it has some role to play in addressing climate change. But, most people here are very firmly anti-renewables, and the lack of understanding of renewables is re-inforced by the “echo chamber” effect of talking exclusively to a bunch of pro-nuclear adherents. It has to be addressed.

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  224. I have learned some things from Peter Davies posts and links. He is unfailingly polite although often naively wrong about some matters. We all can learn by constructive debate if we choose to do so.

    David, the people attacking renewables here are pussycats compared to the climate denier fraternities elsewhere. It is always a pleasure to engage in intelligent debate with them.

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  225. TTIP TPP

    The TPP would take away the sovereignty of the US government, creating a world government in its place. The world government would be run by international corporations. In other words, COP21 is a dead letter and Obama’s EPA rule is repealed.

    If you want your blog to be worth anything, you have to stop the TPP and the TTIP and you have to get the previous trade deals revoked.

    “The Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Death of the Republic”

    http://www.commondreams.org/views/2015/04/24/trans-pacific-partnership-and-death-republic

     “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government.”    —Article IV, Section 4, US Constitution
     A republican form of government is one in which power resides in elected officials representing the citizens, and government leaders exercise power according to the rule of law. In The Federalist Papers, James Madison defined a republic as “a government which derives all its powers directly or indirectly from the great body of the people . . . .”
    On April 22, 2015, the Senate Finance Committee approved a bill to fast-track the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a massive trade agreement that would override our republican form of government and hand judicial and legislative authority to a foreign three-person panel of corporate lawyers.
    The secretive TPP is an agreement with Mexico, Canada, Japan, Singapore and seven other countries that affects 40% of global markets. Fast-track authority could now go to the full Senate for a vote as early as next week. Fast-track means Congress will be prohibited from amending the trade deal, which will be put to a simple up or down majority vote. Negotiating the TPP in secret and fast-tracking it through Congress is considered necessary to secure its passage, since if the public had time to review its onerous provisions, opposition would mount and defeat it.
    Abdicating the Judicial Function to Corporate Lawyers
    James Madison wrote in The Federalist Papers:
    The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, . . . may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny. . . . “Were the power of judging joined with the legislative, the life and liberty of the subject would be exposed to arbitrary control, for the judge would then be the legislator. . . .”
     And that, from what we now know of the TPP’s secret provisions, will be its dire effect.
    The most controversial provision of the TPP is the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) section, which strengthens existing ISDS  procedures. ISDS first appeared in a bilateral trade agreement in 1959. According to The Economist, ISDS gives foreign firms a special right to apply to a secretive tribunal of highly paid corporate lawyers for compensation whenever the government passes a law to do things that hurt corporate profits — such things as discouraging smoking, protecting the environment or preventing a nuclear catastrophe.
    Arbitrators are paid $600-700 an hour, giving them little incentive to dismiss cases; and the secretive nature of the arbitration process and the lack of any requirement to consider precedent gives wide scope for creative judgments.
    To date, the highest ISDS award has been for $2.3 billion to Occidental Oil Company against the government of Ecuador over its termination of an oil-concession contract, this although the termination was apparently legal. Still in arbitration is a demand by Vattenfall, a Swedish utility that operates two nuclear plants in Germany, for compensation of €3.7 billion ($4.7 billion) under the ISDS clause of a treaty on energy investments, after the German government decided to shut down its nuclear power industry following the Fukushima disaster in Japan in 2011.
    Under the TPP, however, even larger judgments can be anticipated, since the sort of “investment” it protects includes not just “the commitment of capital or other resources” but “the expectation of gain or profit.” That means the rights of corporations in other countries extend not just to their factories and other “capital” but to the profits they expect to receive there.
    In an article posted by Yves Smith, Joe Firestone poses some interesting hypotheticals:
    Under the TPP, could the US government be sued and be held liable if it decided to stop issuing Treasury debt and financed deficit spending in some other way (perhaps by quantitative easing or by issuing trillion dollar coins)? Why not, since some private companies would lose profits as a result?
    Under the TPP or the TTIP (the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership under negotiation with the European Union), would the Federal Reserve be sued if it failed to bail out banks that were too big to fail?
    Firestone notes that under the Netherlands-Czech trade agreement, the Czech Republic was sued in an investor-state dispute for failing to bail out an insolvent bank in which the complainant had an interest. The investor company was awarded $236 million in the dispute settlement. What might the damages be, asks Firestone, if the Fed decided to let the Bank of America fail, and a Saudi-based investment company decided to sue?
    Abdicating the Legislative Function to Multinational Corporations
    Just the threat of this sort of massive damage award could be enough to block prospective legislation. But the TPP goes further and takes on the legislative function directly, by forbidding specific forms of regulation.
    Public Citizen observes that the TPP would provide big banks with a backdoor means of watering down efforts to re-regulate Wall Street, after deregulation triggered the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression:
    The TPP would forbid countries from banning particularly risky financial products, such as the toxic derivatives that led to the $183 billion government bailout of AIG. It would prohibit policies to prevent banks from becoming “too big to fail,” and threaten the use of “firewalls” to prevent banks that keep our savings accounts from taking hedge-fund-style bets.
    The TPP would also restrict capital controls, an essential policy tool to counter destabilizing flows of speculative money. . . . And the deal would prohibit taxes on Wall Street speculation, such as the proposed Robin Hood Tax that would generate billions of dollars’ worth of revenue for social, health, or environmental causes.
     Clauses on dispute settlement in earlier free trade agreements have been invoked to challenge efforts to regulate big business. The fossil fuel industry is seeking to overturn Quebec’s ban on the ecologically destructive practice of fracking. Veolia, the French behemoth known for building a tram network to serve Israeli settlements in occupied East Jerusalem, is contesting increases in Egypt’s minimum wage. The tobacco maker Philip Morris is suing against anti-smoking initiatives in Uruguay and Australia.
    The TPP would empower not just foreign manufacturers but foreign financial firms to attack financial policies in foreign tribunals, demanding taxpayer compensation for regulations that they claim frustrate their expectations and inhibit their profits.
    Preempting Government Sovereignty
    What is the justification for this encroachment on the sovereign rights of government? Allegedly, ISDS is necessary in order to increase foreign investment. But as noted in The Economist, investors can protect themselves by purchasing political-risk insurance. Moreover, Brazil continues to receive sizable foreign investment despite its long-standing refusal to sign any treaty with an ISDS mechanism. Other countries are beginning to follow Brazil’s lead.
    In an April 22nd report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research, gains from multilateral trade liberalization were shown to be very small, equal to only about 0.014% of consumption, or about $.43 per person per month. And that assumes that any benefits are distributed uniformly across the economic spectrum. In fact, transnational corporations get the bulk of the benefits, at the expense of most of the world’s population.
    Something else besides attracting investment money and encouraging foreign trade seems to be going on. The TPP would destroy our republican form of government under the rule of law, by elevating the rights of investors – also called the rights of “capital” – above the rights of the citizens.
    That means that TPP is blatantly unconstitutional. But as Joe Firestone observes, neo-liberalism and corporate contributions seem to have blinded the deal’s proponents so much that they cannot see they are selling out the sovereignty of the United States to foreign and multinational corporations.
    For more information and to get involved, visit:
    Flush the TPP [http://www.flushthetpp.org]
    The Citizens Trade Campaign [http://www.citizenstrade.org/ctc/]
    Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch [http://www.citizen.org/tradewatch]
    Eyes on Trade [http://citizen.typepad.com/eyesontrade/]
    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License”

    Like

  226. Since this site is not very welcoming to those who understand that renewable energy has a major contribution to make

    The commentariat of this site is thoroughly sick and tired of ruinables being touted as panaceas that they manifestly are not.  The world leaders in installation of wind and PV are not even remotely achieving the results that Greens insist we’ll get.  This “free fuel” is accompanied by sharply rising costs to the consumer as GHG emissions hardly budge and remain at least 10x as high as the world’s leaders in the field, some of which are adjacent to these failures and sharing massive grid interconnections.

    Which brings me back to this “major contribution”.  It’s a matter of record that the Greens have declared human energy use malum in se.  They want energy priced high to cut consumption, period.  The priorities of initiatives like the Energiewende place actual environmental goals like GHG reductions a very distant third.

    If the so-called “environmentalists” were actually concerned about the environment, the failure of Germany and Denmark to reduce GHG emissions would be cause for immediate re-evaluation of the energy programs.  This has not happened.  The only conclusion I can draw is that these programs are doing exactly what they are intended to do.  They are not intended to achieve any environmental goals, they are there to drive people into energy poverty.  That is their “major contribution”.

    Since “renewables” are demonstrably intended to drive people into energy poverty, advocacy of same is malum in se.

    I am not anti-nuclear, and believe it has some role to play in addressing climate change.

    I’ve run the numbers and found that the city nearest me could have the bulk of its energy consumption fully decarbonized by a single NuScale unit.  The Greens talk exclusively about electricity, ignoring space heat and auto fuel.  They fail to plan to cut those sources, which is planning to fail.  Their goals are not environmental, they are socio-political:  universal energy poverty.

    the lack of understanding of renewables is re-inforced by the “echo chamber” effect of talking exclusively to a bunch of pro-nuclear adherents.

    Meanwhile, Bob Wallace at Cleantechica banned me from the site after a single comment.  If you want to address echo chambers, you’re wasting your time here.

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  227. Rather than asserting that wind and solar are not practical, it would be better to say that wind and solar are practical only in some limited circumstances. For example, there are people living in very remote locations where connecting to the grid would not be practical. Although wind and solar power cannot be guaranteed to be reliable, the quality of life for many people would be greatly improved if they even had enough power to operate a few low wattage LED lights and recharge cell phones. That is the situation for many people in small Pacific island countries (Fiji, Tonga, Vanuatu, etc.) and people living in remote mountainous areas here in the U.S.

    That said, I fully agree that wind and solar cannot make a major contribution to the power requirements of large countries. It may be that many people will not believe that until $trillions are wasted on something that will not work.

    Frank R. Eggers Albuquerque, NM U.S.A.

    On Fri, May 20, 2016 at 9:02 AM, Brave New Climate wrote:

    > Edward Greisch commented: “We understand renewables much better than Peter > Davies does. The word “practical” is important. Wind and solar are not > practical.” >

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  228. Portugal was powered solely by renewable energy [hydro, wind solar] for four consecutive days last week.

    In 2013, renewables powered 70 percent of Portugal’s electricity for three months, and in 2014 approximately 63 percent of its electricity for the year ultimately came from renewables. A drought in 2015 saw a decrease in Portugal’s ability to rely predominantly on clean energy.

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2016/05/20/3780189/portugal-renewable-energy-record/

    Not bad for a country which used to be one of the European Union’s top producers of CO2 emissions.

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  229. So, Mr. Davies… just how many countries in the world have enough hydro potential to be able to do what Portugal did?

    Also, you’re playing the dishonest game of including hydro in “renewables” when it comes to success stories, but leaving it out of “renewable portfolios”, incentives and everything else.

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  230. According to James Conca blogging at Forbes on 2014 Jan 18, wind energy is of no use in the Pacific Northwest. His argument is that it just displaces hydro and the water retained in the reservoirs doesn’t justify the extra stress on the turbines and generators. He also makes claims about spilling water that I doubt. However crazy the economics due to legislative meddling, the fact remains that the Midcolumbia Hub spot prices are lower since the wind turbines were constructed. And no, that’s not due to low natgas prices as there are only a few CCGTs in the region.

    Finally, he has the proportion of generation due to hydro too high. Check what BPA states.

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  231. According to the article hydro accounts for only 30% of Portugal’s generation. It’s not like Norway or Canada. And it sustained 63% renewables plus hydro for the whole of 2014.

    The article also points out that Germany got to 90% renewables the other day (at the weekend when load is a little lower). It has much less hydro than Portugal.

    By 2030, with the expected widespread availability of cheap used car batteries providing up to 24 hours of grid storage, it won’t matter how much hydro you have.

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  232. @Engineer Poet

    Even my original chart posted immediately above is no good because there is a sentence I did not previouslly spot in the wikipedia article which says ” In 2003, the sunshine duration was finally defined as the period during which direct solar irradiance exceeds a
    threshold value of 120 W/m².” This figure is a pretty low bar to meet, which means the chart is not correctly calibrated to provide CSP + 24 hour storage generation availability.

    Nevertheless my figures for the availability of CSP generation with 24 hours of storage for the Copiapa project, Atacama desert (90%) and Las Vegas (87%) are correct as they are not sourced from charts, but from direct ground-level observations.

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  233. From the planning arm of BPA, the Northwest Power & Conservation Council, CleanEnergyInfographic.pdf gives hydro at 46% with wind and nuclear both at 4%.

    Would another nuclear power plant have been a better buy than all the wind farms? Note there is just the one reactor Columbia Generating Station in the entire region.

    And finally, both Oregon and Washington state have now met the so-called renewables mandate, so no more wind farms are under construction around here.

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  234. Peter Davies wrote: “According to the article hydro accounts for only 30% of Portugal’s generation. It’s not like Norway or Canada. And it sustained 63% renewables plus hydro for the whole of 2014.”
    Source? Also, is that like Denmark’s “110% wind” when it’s only 8% of the integrated Nordic grid? In Europe, national grids are sometimes cushioned by far greater grids. My guess is some other country’s coal or nuclear is actually buffering Portugal. After 5 seconds of googling, my guess is right.

    “Portugal has extremely limited domestic energy resources, and therefore imports about 90% of its energy needs. Because of Portugal’s geographic location, bordering only Spain and the Atlantic Ocean, much of its energy imports are transported through Spain. The Iberian peninsula has an extensive natural gas network that links the two countries with Algeria via Morocco. The two Iberian countries signed an agreement in November 2001 to integrate their electricity markets completely by 2003. Both governments recently decided to extend the completion of the integrated market until 2006.”
    http://geni.org/globalenergy/library/national_energy_grid/portugal/

    You know what Peter Davies? I feel like calling Poe’s law on you! The Portugal argument is so bad that are you sure you’re not trying to undermine renewables on this blog by savagely impersonating a renewables advocate?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poe%27s_law

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  235. EP says that “These programs … are there to drive people into energy poverty”. Other people, that is, while those with land and Green foresight can withdraw behind the farm gate. The windmill is there to charge the battery and the battery is there to charge up the electic fence, which is there to keep the poor people out.

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  236. That is one of those factually accurate statements that covers up the truth. Norway gets 100% of it’s generation from “renewables”. But almost nothing from wind and solar. Renewables as a term has become somewhat ‘weasel’ like in usage. It’s never about ‘renewables’, it’s always about W&S…Wind and Solar.

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  237. According to the Wikipedia page on wind power in Portugal, 23% of electricity is from wind farms. As Portugal has quite modest hydro resources, some substantial portion of wind power generated at night is used for pumping, converting at least some of the dams into pumped hydro schemes.

    Interestingly, Portugal stopped building wind farms in 2015.

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  238. Peter Davies said: “David, the people attacking renewables here are pussycats compared to the climate denier fraternities elsewhere. It is always a pleasure to engage in intelligent debate with them.”
    I have to agree with Peter wholeheartedly here. Climate deniers can be absolutely seething with pent-up rage that suddenly boils over into all out flame wars. I’m glad Peter finds you guys polite, and I feel bad about my sometimes more heated comments. But, basically, with my humanities background, if I can spot something, it’s so bleeding-obvious that Peter should never have said it. Like Portugal’s percentage of wind or whatever. There’s no such thing as a Portugal grid, just as there’s no such thing as a Denmark grid. These are both tiny components of much larger grids. If I can spot it, then wow, Peter, what are you doing? ;-)

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  239. Eclipse Now — If by grid one means connected synchronously rotating generators then there is but one for most of Europe. But this is divided into separate balancing areas and along national lines. Each balancing authority is responsible for frequency control, voltage, etc. using local generators, exports and imports. To call this unit a grid is harmless.

    Oh yes, the balancing authority might have a different name in Europe. At least in California the ISO breaks up the California grid into such units but uses a different name. For example, my utility is its own balancing authority but the unit includes 2 smaller utilities. As another, along with all its other responsibilities Bonneville Power Administration is the balancing authority for southwest Washington. All of the American ones mentioned are part of the synchronous Western Power Grid.

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  240. How can it be harmless if it leads the public to believe ‘grids’ can easily cope with high wind, after all, look at Denmark? Look at how easily they got to 40%!
    http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/denmark-sets-world-record-for-wind-energy-production-a6818741.html

    BTW, the first comment at that article I just googled is either an amazing piece of PR, or the answer for Europe! ;-)

    “Denmark needs more energy storage to save surplus wind energy for later when the wind doesn’t blow, like my proposed pumped-storage hydro scheme in the Scottish Highlands.

    ”World’s biggest-ever pumped-storage hydro-scheme, for Scotland?”
    https://scottishscientist.wordpress.com/2015/04/15/worlds-biggest-ever-pumped-storage-hydro-scheme-for-scotland/

    ”The maximum potential energy which could be stored by such a scheme is colossal – about 6800 Gigawatt-hours – or 283 Gigawatt-days – enough capacity to balance and back-up the intermittent renewable energy generators such as wind and solar power for the whole of Europe!”

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  241. Eclipse Now — Ok, its not harmless. Read John Donne’s “No man is an island”. We will have to keep pointing out that Denmark depends upon Norway to store excess wind power and pays to do so. Also rates in Denmark are the highest in Europe along with Germany. France is near the middle and has the lowest carbon dioxide emissions per unit of electricity. Both Denmark and Germany have high carbon dioxide emissions per unit of electricity.

    As for the Scottish storage scheme, it is most unlikely ever to be built. Too costly and extremely slow response; poor efficiency.

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  242. According to the article hydro accounts for only 30% of Portugal’s generation.

    Nobody asked you that.  You cite a ThinkProgress post giving figures from “last week” (May, 2016).  What’s hydro doing in Portugal last week?  Spring is generally wet, no?

    The article also points out that Germany got to 90% renewables the other day (at the weekend when load is a little lower).

    Germany’s Sunday electric load is notoriously low, and it has major export connections through multiple other countries.  It can thus get “to 90% renewables” for brief periods, like Sunday around solar noon… while its must-run generators export their minimum power elsewhere, to other countries which couldn’t do anything like that because Germany is monopolizing the potential of noon-peaking unreliable generation.

    By 2030, with the expected widespread availability of cheap used car batteries providing up to 24 hours of grid storage

    You’ve already been called on that assumption.  You assume that (a) the batteries will have been built, and (b) they will be in grid service rather than recycled or scrapped.  This is not an honest projection.

    You know what Peter Davies? I feel like calling Poe’s law on you!

    Satirist or not, I’d be as happy to shoot him in the face as to ban him.  Dishonesty of conduct is reprehensible regardless of intent.  If deadly force is required to remove it, so be it.

    Assume I am joking if it pleases you, but do not rely on it.

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  243. Engineer-Poet –‘ According to Wikipedia Portugal obtains 27–40% of its electric power from hydro, depending upon rainfall.

    As for your distain for Peter Davies, recall that courtesy is expected on this website and you have overstepped the bounds of reasoned debate.

    Moderator, what sayest thou?

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  244. David,

    I wouldn’t bother to invoke the moderator just yet. Engineer-poet probably hasn’t ever have his beliefs challenged with so many facts before. You should expect some sort of reaction. On the other hand if you think I’m overstepping the mark at any point then point it out.

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  245. Getting the most energy out of the Pacific NW rivers and dams is not a simple task. The water flows into the lakes most of the time so it can be held for a day or so and used at the optimum time of the day. There is no such thing as long term storage. Also there is little new hydro capacity that can be added. The erratic nature of wind means it has to be used when it generates. If the transmission system is strong enough to handle both excess hydro and excess wind then the power can be sent elsewhere. However the transmission system were not justified and financed by what if the wind blows scenarios. So now when the is an over generation of wind and solar something has to be curtailed. Even if you did curtail hydro they would be forced at times to just dump the water through a floodgate to the next lake below, throwing away the energy. This is the main problem with renewables, no way to store the energy for a long time for use at a later date when you really need it.

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  246. Whether its best to put new nuclear inside the PNW or outside the PNW could have to do with which case needs the fewest transmission lines. We know that wind and water create an export problem because of limited transmission. It might not be a good idea to put new nuclear in the PNW because it might trigger the need for a lot of new transmission. However if its possible to import power into the PNW with no new transmission, then its a no brainer to site new nuclear power outside the PNW. You would probably want to review the entire WECC system and see where the best location is in the western system to accommodate new nuclear. You have this kind of flexibility with nuclear that renewables does not have. I do not know where that would be but I am guessing the best location might be on the SW side of WECC, maybe even as far south as Baja. Site it in Mexico. Use ocean water to cool it. Even this far south could be a benefit to the folks in the PNW when they have dry years, importing power from the south. The recent retirement of San Onofre left a hole in the system. Put a new nuclear plant at that location since the transmission system is already designed for the power from that location. What I cannot understand for the life of me is why the plant was retired since the cost to fix it was not all that great.

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  247. A quick search reveals that Portugal’s rainy season is October through April.  May is about the time (a) the hydro reservoirs would be full and (b) demand for winter heat would disappear, making it the seasonal equivalent of Germany’s Sunday-noon “renewable miracles”.  In other words, completely unrepresentative and highly misleading.

    No honest person would cite such an unrepresentative situation as a viable goal for the world.  Cherry-picked facts are proof of error, and evidence of malice; a half-truth is a whole lie.

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  248. The recent retirement of San Onofre left a hole in the system. Put a new nuclear plant at that location since the transmission system is already designed for the power from that location. What I cannot understand for the life of me is why the plant was retired since the cost to fix it was not all that great.

    California is politically hostile to nuclear power, and SCE didn’t think it could get enough revenue from the plant (e.g. license renewal in doubt) to pay off the cost of repairs.

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  249. Although I lived in San Diego from 1978 to 1994 I cannot answer why California is hostile to nuclear power. However, California has a very serious water shortage. The aquifers are constantly being drawn down. It may be that the situation cannot be corrected without massive seawater desalination. Probably the huge amount of power required for that would require nuclear power.

    If the water shortage becomes sufficiently worse then perhaps the hostility to nuclear power will end.

    Frank R. Eggers Albuquerque, NM U.S.A.

    On Sat, May 21, 2016 at 2:16 PM, Brave New Climate wrote:

    > Edward Greisch commented: “Why is California politically hostile to > nuclear power?” >

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  250. Maybe a more gentlemanly way to say it is the load must be served all the time. The supply side reliability standard to meet is that the sum of daily probabilities of not being able to meet the demand sums to 0.1 probability for a year. That’s the kind of power supply reliability we should be designing for. Renewables could look great and have a bad production period and the LOLP might shoot up to 1 each day if there were an over dependence on wind and solar including solar thermal. Thinking that customers are going to make a few conservation and demand management adjustments to overcome the fundamental problem with wind and solar is just not going to happen. People expect the lights to stay on and they are going to be really mad if the power goes out too often or for too long a period.

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  251. Gene Preston — The impoundments behind dams are called reservoirs despite the largest being named Lake Roosevelt. That and several others are storage reservoirs. The others are called run-of-the-river dams although even those have some storage capacity, just somewhat small. The entire river system with two exceptions is controlled by a computer program first designed by colleagues here at Washington State University and in the current version run by the Bonneville Power Administration. Increasingly over recent years little water goes over the spillways; entrained fish get the bends. Some of the dams have fish diversion structures added at great expense; water through such doesn’t go through the turbines. Without such structures the fish go through the turbines and survive unharmed, it seems. The point is that water increasingly is to go through the turbines and not be spilled at all. As the Pacific Northwest obtains but 48% of electricity from hydro there is ample opportunity to sell the generation, including the interties to British Columbia and California. With only 4% of generation from wind and essentially none from solar the so-called renewables are ordinarily easily accommodated. There has been at least one exceptional spring with an embarrassment in this regard when BPA gave away power in every direction. BPA now has the right to curtail wind by paying the wind farmers the forgone production credit so the embarrassment will not repeat.

    As for a nuclear power plant in the Pacific Northwest, Idaho Falls will obtain the first dozen Nuscale SMRs.

    Despite various claims of wheeling power from California to the Pacific Northwest, this never happens. The Pacific Northwest is power long, sort of, and California is power short, for sure.

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  252. What I read in the news is that the PUC was surprised that there was a request for closing the plant instead of a proposal to fix it. They didn’t even go through a process of review in fixing it. Shame on the utility. They dropped the ball. At the least they should have had a proposal to fix the plant and present it to the PUC and let the PUC deny that solution. Some people suspect there were closed door deals in the works. Wasn’t a utility fined in California for closed door deals? I forget the specifics. So what was the secret deal behind the plant closure?

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  253. Only if you are anti nuclear does the wikipedia description of San Onofre shutdown make sense. To me its completely illogical to waste 10 billion dollars shutting down the plant when it was estimated it would cost less than 100 million to fix the plant. How could such an illogical decision be made? It makes no sense whatsoever.

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  254. They will be tangled up in legal proceedings with Mitsubishi for decades. There is no doubt that this company is at fault for installing bad replacement steam generators.

    The larger issue points to the failure of private ownership of nuclear power plants in corporations whose only criteria for operating a plant is to provide power AND to make a profit. SoCalEd and other entities owning nuclear plants just assume that that it’s easier to invest in gas and get a better return than to have a long term outlook for cheaper reliable power. Until there is a true energy policy that can fix this, there are not going to be many nukes built in the US, Southern’s notwithstanding (and $8 billion of direct subsidies not available for other units).

    If I were an ‘investor’ in the US I wouldn’t invest in utility scale nuclear until the prices can seriously come way down.

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  255. Regarding reliable power, it’s not just a matter of lights going out. There are industrial processes where a brief power failure is exceedingly costly because restarting the machinery is not an easy thing to do. Even an interruption or voltage drop of a fraction of a second can be very costly.

    Frank R. Eggers Albuquerque, NM U.S.A.

    On Sat, May 21, 2016 at 5:07 PM, Brave New Climate wrote:

    > Gene Preston commented: “Forget Mitsubishi. Simply go out for bids on the > plant repair.” >

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  256. 3 Ways Small Modular Reactors Overcome Existing Barriers to Nuclear
    http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/plugged-in/3-ways-small-modular-reactors-overcome-existing-barriers-to-nuclear/

    The third is
    Flexible Enough to Be Friends with Renewables

    I question the economics presented in that section. The so-called fuel rods have to be replaced every other year no matter how little used so there is no saving in ramping the reactor. I’ve earlier suggested ways to use the power generated which cannot be sold due to lack of demand, possibly because so-called renewables are generating. Other comments are welcome as I could easily be overlooking something.

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  257. Sweden and France set a high bar for quickest decarbonization. France went from a fossil-fueled power system to 80 percent low-carbon electricity, the bulk of this transition occurring between 1975 and 1990. Cases like these completely upend the notion that nuclear is too slow, expensive and complex to drive rapid and significant decarbonization.

    http://ensia.com/voices/the-best-way-we-can-reduce-energys-carbon-footprint-nurture-nuclear/

    Can any of the RE advocates provide examples of large industrial nations transitioning from mostly fossil fuel electricity generation to 80% renewable energy in 15 years.

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  258. Can any of the RE advocates provide examples of large industrial nations transitioning from mostly fossil fuel electricity generation to 80% renewable energy in 15 years.

    15 years is not a magic number. Wind and solar have only just become grid competitive in a number of places without subsidy, so you would expect installations to accelerate from here on.

    <a href=”http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2016/05/20/3780189/portugal-renewable-energy-record/>Portugal is getting pretty close to your 80% target at 63% in 2014 (of which 30% is hydro including significant pumped hydro), though lower rainfall in 2015 brought this down. It’s ideal for solar power too, including CSP with storage, but has very little of this right now, so plenty of scope to increase this number to 80%. Watch this space.

    Denmark was at 42% generation from wind in 2015. It would have been 43.5% if two wind farm connections had not had a problem. Plenty more in the pipeline. Denmark is close to Norway’s hydro and Germany’s solar and ships them wind power in return, so Denmark can get to very high renewable fractions with no problem. Denmark produced 140% of its own required electricity from wind power the other day, exporting the excess 40%.

    UK in 2015 was at 25% renewable electricity, up from 10% in 2012, so adding 5% each year. Whether we can keep this up is debatable. 2016 UK will probably add another 5%, but the government will publish its new energy policy later this year which will dictate what happens from 2017 onwards and there is a slowdown for 2017 projects at the moment because of the uncertainty. If UK does keep this up, renewables are clearly growing at the rate required to get to 80% in 15 years. Above 60% (assumes widespread electric car takeup) we would need cheap storage technology such as lithium ion batteries to get that high. My estimate for this is 2030, so maybe we will not get there in 15 years – more likely 20-25. Most of the growth will have to come from offshore wind, so the price of that has to come down a little too. Dogger Bank offshore wind projects with 7.2 GW nameplate capacity and estimated 40+% CF would add 5% and there’s no shortage of other projects for the next few years. Scotland will be there well before the rest of the UK.

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  259. Wind and solar being competitively prices does not translate to them being deployed rapidly. There is that transmission bottleneck problem. You have to have enough transmission capacity to get the power out of the renewable plants and into the customer’s locations. Solar on customer’s locations can be installed up to the point that peak solar power creates new line loading problems such as in Hawaii and Australia where attractive tariffs have caused a burst in solar installations and then line overloading problems putting a grinding halt to further expansion at some locations. These transmission bottlenecks limit the total energy that can be produced by renewables. These problems are clearly seen when you run a full transmission network model, something which the WWS plan did not do but the utilities and regions must do in great detail in planning and in operations. They have to do this to keep the grid from simply breaking up and lights going out. Control rooms are like airport control towers, constantly monitoring a constantly dynamic grid from minute to minute. Computer programs are constantly running what if tests, what if on every line outage, and doing this within seconds. When a what if line outage causes an overload then corrective actions must be taken immediately because you never know when one of those what if situation will actually happen in real time. Lines are popping out of service all the time. When you have 10,000 lines in Texas and WECC and ten times that many in the eastern grid, these outages happen all the time. It’s an engineering miracle the grid is even stable.

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  260. I trust that all the readers here understand that the graph that Peter Davies posted is for nameplate rating and needs to be adjusted by availability, typically 30% for wind, 20% for solar and 92% for nuclear.

    Thanks to David Benson for pointing out that you should apply capacity factors to GWe to get average generation, in case anyone was misled.

    Annual capacity factors for new wind installations tend to be in the range of :
    30-40% (onshore wind)
    40-50% (offshore wind)
    and typically low in summer and high in winter.

    Solar PV depends heavily on the location and can be as low as 10% in Northern Europe. The average capacity factor for solar PV in the USA in 2015 was 28.6%..

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  261. David Benson says :

    The Libyan Sahara Desert has interesting pictures and of course lots of room for solar developments. However, it is a long way to load centers and the lack of stability is troublesome.

    Most of the distances to UK, Germany etc. via obvious routings from the North African Sahara (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya) are less than 3000km and the Chinese are busy installing a 1100kV line longer than that. As the Sahara is ideal for high load factor CSP, the line costs added to LCOE need not be excessive.

    As demand for oil gradually reduces, the potential income and therefore incentive to fight over it diminishes too. This may not help in Libya, but could well lead to better relations between Morocco and Algeria. They may realise that, together, the proposition for providing cheap and diversely routed power to Northern Europe is much stronger than it would be separately.

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  262. On CFs. Those numbers are for the US only. In fact in some month is solar PV is as low as 10% (Dec/Jan).

    Since the USA annual average is 28.6% utility-scale capacity factor for solar, if there are months that are much lower than this then there are also have to be months which are much higher than this.

    Fortunately wind power tends to be higher in winter and lower in summer, which is the reverse of solar PV power. A combination of the two (and later on cheap battery storage) is thus a winning combination.

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  263. Your capacity factors are way too high. It is 20% for wind and zero for solar in the 8 months of winter in my home town of Olean, New York. The clouds average 11000 feet thick.

    While there are indeed places where you would not bother to install wind power (or solar), modern 140m hub wind turbines can achieve a significantly higher than the old models you are probably considering, and 30-40% is quoted as the figures for new install. After all, that’s what you should be looking at when planning what how to meet demand for carbon-free electricity.

    And, if you want to be picky, the top of my range of 30-40% for new onshore wind it also understated. NREL’s estimate for the CF for the Wyoming wind project to be deployed with the Trans-West Express transmission line project is 46% (page viii).

    And this estimate is for class 1 wind turbines with 80m hub height. In Europe the latest hub heights are 140m which would improve the capacity factor still further, and could still be a possibility for the later stages of this wind project.

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  264. Norway has always been 98% hydro. So what?

    Norway is 98% hydro generation, but the use is now partially wind from Denmark. The extra generation goes to Denmark and elsewhere to provide low-carbon backup for some of the time when Danish wind power is low.

    There are proposals to upgrade some of Norway’s hydro capacity to pumped hydro. This would provide significant balancing power for Northern Europe, including UK and Germany, smoothing Germany’s path towards 100% renewables.

    Wind and solar will never be grid-competitive where I am nor where I grew up.

    Tough that! Better start building transmission lines to places where they are.

    Battery technology won’t change much in 25 years. In the case of batteries, “much” means a factor of a million.

    The only thing that is needed is for it to become cheaper. And it is reducing in price rapidly as a result of larger manufacturing scale. A few years ago you would have expected $400/kWh. As I keep saying, this year General Motors has a contract for $145/kWh. By 2022 they expect it to be $100/kWh. By 2030 you would guess at $30/kWh for used EV batteries.

    Battery prices are thus on the verge of becoming cheap enough to permit 90% carbon reductions from renewable solutions in regions with access to viable wind and solar power.

    Now why can’t someone implement David Benson’s suggestion of a few weeks of hot salt storage for nuclear reactors to get it all the way to 100% zero carbon with 20% nuclear and 80% renewables, which has surely got to be vying for the most economic solution?

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  265. Peter we normally have sunshine here in Texas but for the past few months this spring its been continuously cloudy and rainy. Reliance on solar power during this period would have been a huge mistake. When we take the probability of extended periods of cloudiness into account in our engineering planning studies for solar it greatly diminishes the capacity value of solar power, makes it nearly non existent, even for thermal storage plants.

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  266. And Gene, this goes to the problem of ‘costs’. Price for solar energy installations (CSP, there are none now in Texas and Wind) excludes the costs of these TWO systems when in fact one not only should include the costs of both but also the massive amount of gas “backup” (actually a majority of the generation there) for this. The whole system needs to be costed out including transmission. But it never is.

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  267. PETER DAVIES: Get a job at a molten salt storage facility. You need the practical experience. You do all that pie in the sky stuff because you have no idea what it is like on the ground.

    As I told you, batteries need to improve by a factor of a million, not by 90 %.

    PETER DAVIES spouts nonsense ad nauseam because PETER DAVIES has learned only theory. Sorry, but theory alone won’t do for engineering. You have to get your own hands dirty.

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  268. Denmark was at 42% generation from wind in 2015. It would have been 43.5% if two wind farm connections had not had a problem. Plenty more in the pipeline. Denmark is close to Norway’s hydro and Germany’s solar and ships them wind power in return, so Denmark can get to very high renewable fractions with no problem.

    That’s like saying that a wind farm gets 100% renewable fraction, and exchanges power with the fossil-fired grid so “no problem”.  But “no problem” is a lie.

    Denmark produced 140% of its own required electricity from wind power the other day, exporting the excess 40%.

    So, in Europe’s geographically-constrained grid which shares much of the same weather from end to end, what does everyone do when they ALL have 140% of their own needs met, and nowhere to export it?

    The real problems begin much sooner, with the throtting and starting and stopping of conventional powerplants.  The startup period burns fuel but produces little or no power, and throttling reduces efficiency and burns more fuel per kWh delivered.  The unreliability of the renewables requires more spinning reserve running at lower settings and lower efficiency.  The

    UK in 2015 was at 25% renewable electricity, up from 10% in 2012, so adding 5% each year. Whether we can keep this up is debatable.

    Of course, you quote the figure that does not matter.  It doesn’t matter how much electricity on the grid qualifies as “renewable”.  What matters is how much fuel is burned.  You can keep a coal-fired boiler hot and cranking out steam that you dump directly to condensers, ready to feed a turbine any time you need power… generating perhaps a paltry few MWh but burning fuel at 100% intensity all the time anyway.  The environment doesn’t care how much or little electricity comes out, it cares how much coal it burns.

    You quite deliberately try to divert attention from the ONLY thing that matters.

    If UK does keep this up, renewables are clearly growing at the rate required to get to 80% in 15 years.

    Denmark has been at it for what, 30 years? and hasn’t broken 45% yet… on a grid with fat connections to hydro-heavy Norway and Sweden.  Yet you’d have us believe that GB can reach 80%?  No thinking person can take this seriously.

    This is the current situation on growth rates.

    I notice the graph’s title is “Wind, Solar and Nuclear Grid Connections in the World”.  Not TWh generated.

    Above 60% (assumes widespread electric car takeup) we would need cheap storage technology such as lithium ion batteries to get that high.

    Denmark already has “cheap storage” via Norway and Sweden.  Despite storage cheaper than anything that even Sadoway has a prospect of delivering, Danish grid CO2 emissions are still pushing 400 grams per kWh.

    For instance he says China spent $9bn on nuclear in 2014, but $83 on wind and solar,

    So for more than 9x the expenditure, China barely got the wind fraction to exceed nuclear generation.  Nuclear is definitely the more cost-effective option.  China’s slower pace at building nuclear is, I hope, due to the CCP realizing that it has a large-scale corruption problem and that it has to purge this from its nuclear industry or it will fail domestically, let alone as the export industry it’s trying to build.

    Like

  269. The world will need about a million sq km of solar coverage plus (almost) global powerlines and the solid state battery, once developed. Currently, we are considering that the 100 nuclear power plants will have to be shut down due told age. How will we deal with sooo many panels in 25 years when they also become trash?

    Like

  270. Gene

    Peter we normally have sunshine here in Texas but for the past few months this spring its been continuously cloudy and rainy. Reliance on solar power during this period would have been a huge mistake. When we take the probability of extended periods of cloudiness into account in our engineering planning studies for solar it greatly diminishes the capacity value of solar power, makes it nearly non existent, even for thermal storage plants.

    Times of low Texas solar output will tend to coincide with times when the air conditioning demand is lower. Surely air conditioning is a very significant fraction of the total daytime load on a sunny day? Are you allowed to take that into consideration when calculating capacity values?

    Also, what’s the Texas wind been like those same few months?

    The important metric is surely the combination of wind and solar generation, not either independently. In most places wind is more reliable in winter and solar in summer. So what happens when you evaluate the capacity value of a “virtual generator” which combines wind and solar (PV and/or CSP) technologies in meaningful proportions.

    You must have certain regulatory capacity targets to meet. Are these still properly representative in the scenario when Texas will have large capacities of wind, solar PV, and maybe solar CSP installed?

    Like

  271. Wind power forecasting is reliable

    As an example, the error in wind power forecasts for 24 hours ahead average less than 8%, and this comes down the closer you get to the hour of despatch.

    The result is that dramatically increased spinning reserve is not required as wind penetration increases.

    Like

  272. Regardless…for what ever amount of solar in any form is generated, you need either 5 times that amount to supply 100% of the generation based on CF and/or you need that amount in wind (x3 based on CF) AND you need that amount of generation from real on-demand power (nuclear, hydro, gas, coal or oil) .

    There is not getting around the back up. This is the flaw in the “WWS” scenario.

    Like

  273. UK electricity rapid CO2 fall due to renewables 2012-2015

    5% increases in UK renewables power 2012-2015 have had the desired effect of reducing CO2 emissions from generation. There is no obvious effect of burning more fuel coal or gas when on standby because of the increased variable wind generation.

    Like

  274. Engineer-Poet,

    The charts are all cast-iron government department or grid operator statistics charts refuting the misunderstandings about the effect renewable generation has had on CO2 emissions in your previous post above.

    They show that the actions taken by UK and Denmark to mitigate CO2 emissions using renewables have been pretty effective in bring down these emissions, both where hydro is freely available and where it is very limited.

    Like

  275. Peter Davies wrote:

    “Since the USA annual average is 28.6% utility-scale capacity factor for solar, if there are months that are much lower than this then there are also have to be months which are much higher than this.”

    Very good. All we have to do is store excess power when we have it and use it several months later. That could be done by rolling heavily laden rail cars to a higher elevation to store power for later use. With that method, storage losses are zero. In fact, it could even be used to smooth year to year variations in available power.

    Ares North America: Electricity and Power Storage

    Frank R. Eggers Albuquerque, NM U.S.A.

    On Mon, May 23, 2016 at 1:48 PM, Brave New Climate wrote:

    > Gene Preston commented: “You can have perfect forecasting but that does > not make the wind blow all the time.” >

    Like

  276. There is overlap between wind and solar. 15% + 20% adds up to 30% because of the overlap. The capacity factor is only 30% for both wind and solar.

    Peter Davies: Quit the Gish Gallop and quit being a troll. Enroll in engineering courses and maybe even get practical. Or invest your own money and loose your shirt.

    Like

  277. @Edward,

    There is overlap between wind and solar. 15% + 20% adds up to 30% because of the overlap. The capacity factor is only 30% for both wind and solar.

    In the case of California solar plus Wyoming wind it is 28% CF (probably too low for California) + 46% CF (NREL most likely estimate for the project) = 64% CF (with -0.2 correlation coefficient between the two which seems reasonable).

    See http://bravenewclimate.proboards.com/thread/541/california-renewables-backup-nuscale-nuclear.

    In other words the numbers can be more than twice what you would like to think. That and the fact utility solar PV prices are dropping like a stone (minimum bid so far $29.9/MWh unsubsidised in Dubai) is why renewables are taking off in a crazy way worldwide. They may not yet be able to get up to 100% of generation, but you can certainly make a huge quick dent in your CO2 emissions very cheaply. Or for nothing when the renewables PPA prices come in less than the fuel cost for coal or CCGT as they do in some cases.

    Like

  278. Edward Greisch — Frank Eggers stated the matter regarding railcars as stores of potential energy correctly. Indeed, there was a serious proposal for such a project in the southern California desert and reported in some news source several years ago. As nothing further has been reported, as far as I know, I assume the project could not obtain the modest funding necessary to construct the demonstration.

    Like

  279. Peter Davies: Your thesis advisor won’t like your style. You don’t respond instantly with more internet “authorities.” You go home and take a week to re-analyze the problem.

    Wyoming is a special place for wind energy. You need the average place. That average place is neither California nor Wyoming. The sun is too bright in California and the wind blows too much in Wyoming. Neither is average. You are taking special places as average.

    Like

  280. Edward Greisch — Please stop posting silly stuff. Obviously a variety of methods will be used to continually rebuild grids as the future unfolds. Indeed, practicing senior power engineers have, several different times, told me that they want a variety of different generators.

    Like

  281. Peter Davies lied:

    The charts are all cast-iron government department or grid operator statistics charts refuting the misunderstandings about the effect renewable generation has had on CO2 emissions in your previous post above.

    But the blog post you stole the graphic from has this graphic immediately afterward:

    This graphic fully accounts for the CO2 reductions:  total energy input and the fraction of coal both declined steeply.  The slice marked “Renewables” increases slightly, but far too little to be the main cause.  IOW, you’re lying again; the evidence was right in front of you so you have no excuse for mis-attributing the cause.

    They show that the actions taken by UK and Denmark to mitigate CO2 emissions using renewables have been pretty effective

    They show that ruinables have been a minor factor at best, and most of the improvement is due to substitution and efficiency (likely CCGTs substituting for steam and OCGTs).

    Like

  282. And Frank Eggers irrupted:

    All we have to do is store excess power when we have it and use it several months later. That could be done by rolling heavily laden rail cars to a higher elevation to store power for later use. With that method, storage losses are zero.

    Please detail for us the total mass of rail cars available for this, the Δh between the high and low rail yards, and the total energy storage in the system.  Compare this to daily US electricity consumption, and thank you in advance.

    You will not store 336 billion kWh by means of rail cars.

    You know that, and I know that, but I wonder if freggers is going to go to Federal prison for securities fraud because there are investors out there who don’t know that.

    Like

  283. @Gene Preston

    Forget the capacity factors. They don’t tell you squat about the power that’s actually needed every hour of the year.

    What the capacity factors do tell you is the expected CO2 emission savings. And that is what it is all about right now, isn’t it.

    We already know the backup fossil fuel or other despatchable capacity needed – it’s the maximum demand, since there will be times when neither wind nor solar are generating. And in most cases the backup is already installed and maybe even fully depreciated. Even if it isn’t, new CCGT backup capital costs are pretty low and according to the US DoE LCOE figure would add around 1.2 cents every kWh supplied (from renewables or from backup).

    Like

  284. Sorry, WordPress stripped my image tag (how do you add images to comments?)

    In this particular case you probably just need to remove the size information from the URL after the “.png”, so that WordPress knows it really is an image.

    The slice marked “Renewables” increases slightly, but far too little to be the main cause. IOW, you’re lying again; the evidence was right in front of you so you have no excuse for mis-attributing the cause.

    In your desire to sling mud at me and accuse me of lying, you have stopped thinking logically. You tried to get the proportion of UK renewable electricity generation (of which the majority is wind and solar generation) from this chart above, which is in MTOE (million tons of oil equivalent), essentially a chart of the calorific value (heat you get out when you burn it) of various fuels.

    If you had been thinking straight you might have realised that you cannot burn wind or solar, so additional wind generation may be completely missing from that particular chart.

    The UK DUKES (DECC UK Energy Statistics) documents would have given you the renewables percentages of electricity generation up to 2014 directly.

    If your Google Fu was as good as mine, then you might also have been able to find the historical and provisional 2015 figures in https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/513244/Press_Notice_March_2016.pdf which shows that UK renewables was around 25% in 2015.

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  285. @Gene Preston

    Peter these wind and solar swings can be put in my software that is posted on my web page under RTS. You will find that the wind does not fill in as you are imagining. Its in your head but plugging in the raw wind data shows it actually is not a reliable source of power.

    I imagine a gap of around 45% after combining Texas wind (assumed 40% CF for new installations) with Texas solar PV (assumed CF 25%).

    Given that ERCOT presumably already has reliable fossil fuel generation to cope with peak demand, then this can continue to function with up to 55% of ERCOT generation coming from wind and solar PV. This retains a reliable grid. How else would any sane person do it?

    The (subsidised) cost of wind power in certain areas (2.2c/kWh) is now approaching the fuel costs and other variable O&M costs for fossil fuel generation. When that happens the ERCOT grid saves money by installing more wind power. And fossil fuel is also heavily subsidised either directly (e.g. exploration) and indirectly (BLM giving coal away for much less than it should) by not making it pay for the environmental and health damage it does.

    And that is even ignoring completely the cost to society of climate change.

    Like

  286. Peter Davies lied:

    you have stopped thinking logically. You tried to get the proportion of UK renewable electricity generation (of which the majority is wind and solar generation) from this chart above, which is in MTOE (million tons of oil equivalent), essentially a chart of the calorific value (heat you get out when you burn it) of various fuels.

    It’s a figure for comparison of like-to-like, based on thermal efficiencies of other energy sources.  You can’t directly compare PV output to coal input.

    If you had been thinking straight you might have realised that you cannot burn wind or solar

    If you had been the least bit knowledgeable, you would know that the US EIA does this and anyone familiar with this type of infographic would understand the convention and that “MTOE” implies it.

    additional wind generation may be completely missing from that particular chart.

    Assertion without evidence, attempting to back-pedal to cover a gross error.

    In your desire to sling mud at me and accuse me of lying

    I desire to shame you into ceasing your slinging of bovine effluent all over this forum.  Blunt instruments are crude, but they are all you seem to understand.

    the two graphs of interest are (surprise surprise!) figure 3 and figure 4.

    And right there on page 5, what does it say but this (emphasis added):

    Reduction in emissions mainly
    due to decrease in the use of
    coal for electricity generation

    Your own source proves you a liar, QED.

    Like

  287. I didn’t propose elevating heavily loaded rail cars as a practical method of storage. In fact, I doubt that it would be much more practical than using weights from grandfather clocks as a storage medium, or springs, or flywheels. However, others have given it serious consideration; I mentioned it in that context. Thus, I doubt that I am in danger of being arrested for securities fraud as someone suggested.

    At one time I greatly favored renewable energy sources. Then, on a motorcycle trip from Albuquerque NM to Savannah GA I noticed that in many wind farms the blades were stationary. That belatedly caused me to wonder whether the intermittent nature of wind and solar power had been adequately considered. After doing countless hours of reading I concluded that probably renewables could not be made practical except in limited situations where connecting to the grid would be impractical. In those situations renewables with limited battery storage would be much better than no power. I also concluded that nuclear power was probably essential and that the problems associated with it could be circumvented with better nuclear reactor technologies and better fuel cycles.

    So, I do not knock renewables. I simply see them as practical only in remote areas where grid power is not available.

    Frank R. Eggers Albuquerque, NM U.S.A.

    On Tue, May 24, 2016 at 2:52 AM, Brave New Climate wrote:

    > Eclipse Now commented: “”(how do you add images to comments?). ” Hi all, > wouldn’t some of these conversations just be easier over on the actual > forum?” >

    Like

  288. ARES North America is moving ahead with their first railcar energy storage scheme, in conjunction with a Nevada utility. They claim to have financing and are obtaining permits. Their tests near Tahachapi indicate 80% energy recovery, the same as a good pumped hydro scheme.

    They intend to use Australian ore cars filled with rocks.

    Like

  289. Gene,

    Think Texas in the description below. It would not work in the UK (solar not good enough).

    For now, until around 2030, then yes, 1 peak demand’s worth of fossil fuels capacity should be kept to backup renewables. Both solar and wind individually should be over-configured with a capacity slightly more than peak demand. In Texas this would save something like 55% of CO2 emissions compared with no wind or solar (wind 40% CF, solar 25%, total 55% CF). That would meet California’s new 2030 55% renewables mandate.

    From 2030 to 2040 grid battery storage would be cheap enough to add around 24 hours of grid storage plus more wind and solar PV (solar PV much cheaper by then) to fill it. No removal of backup fossil fuel capacity yet, but by then its utilisation should be around 10%. So 90% renewables by 2040 and CO2 emissions down to 10% (approx).

    From 2040 onwards one option is the fuel for the backup capacity becomes hydrogen from solar + electrolysis. So a third set of solar installations is needed as the round-trip storage efficiency is only 30-40% and the CCGT needs to become hydrogen-compatible somewhere along the line. An alternative is nuclear plus a few weeks of hot salt heat storage plus much more steam generation capacity than the nuclear reactor rating (must total peak load after long-term demand response flexibility is subtracted) . That’s to get to 100% zero carbon by 2050.

    There’s the question of where you put the grid storage and 2040 backup, but one solution is to put them on the solar and wind generation sites. That way the extra transmission lines are minimised

    There are options along the way – solar CSP with plenty of hot salt storage may let you get below 10% CO2 emissions before 2040 (but still after 2030). There’s also demand response (for which Texas is somewhat famous), the flexibility of EV charging, maybe vehicle to grid to grid, maybe thermal cold storage in houses (Texas houses have room) to reduce grid battery requirements earlier. They may all allow a faster reduction of CO2 emissions. Maybe nuclear fusion will be working and cheap enough by 2050.

    The plan above is good enough for to meet California’s stated aims, so it is probably good enough for Texas too. And all Obama committed USA to was 26-28% reduction compared with 2005, and the scenario above beats that hands down.

    So the plan meets requirement and doesn’t seem to cost an arm and a leg as the components are expected to be cheap when yu install them. Whether nuclear can do any better any faster and cheaper is up for grabs, but it doesn’t stand much chance if you have to wait until 2025 before you start.

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  290. David, Edward,

    The freight car storage maths goes something like this for 1 GWh = 10^9 x 3,600 Joules = 3.6 x 10^12 J of grid car storage.

    Say the vertical distance is 1km (1000m). Gravity is 10N/kg. They need to transport 3.6 x 10^12 / (1000 x 10) kg = 3.6 x 10^8 kg (360 m kg) = 3.6 x 10^5 = 360,000 metric tonnes roughly the same as 360,000 tons.

    Maybe you could get 100 ton freight cars, in which case you would need 3,600 of them. If they were 10m long each then end to end they would stretch 36,000m = 36km. So you would have to have many different sets of lines or a gradient of much less than 3% (or they are so long they can’t go anywhere).

    You have to haul them up somehow and generate when they come down. Cables may work because on a low gradient they don’t have to carry all the 360,000 ton weight.

    It may be worth a try to get a feel for it, but if you have a suitable hill it would be easier to pump water up and down it. as two static lakes for water must be cheaper than mobile freight cars, even if you need 6x the volume of water to get the same weight.

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  291. @E-poet

    This is the chart you need when looking at UK renewables growth. But you had better read the words in section 6 of the source publication below too, because DECC has two different ways of calculating renewable energy output and therefore percentage of total generation. One way (used to create the chart above) adjusts for how windy a year was. So the numbers in the document should really be used when looking at the effective carbon reduction because the carbon emissions are not going to be adjusted for windiness.

    from https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/511939/Renewables.pdf

    It is utter stupidity to try to work out changes to renewables generation from an MTOE chart when the figures you want are available in a government publication.

    Like

  292. @David Benson

    Based on your railcar storage link.

    At “a little under” $55m for 12.5MWh the storage cost is “a little under” $4,400/kWh. LG Chem will supply lithium-ion batteries to GM for $145/kWh this year and estimating $100/kWh by 2022.

    An typical rule of thumb metric for grid storage is cost per kWh per full cycle. It ignores the annualised cost of capital. Even though the railcars will last much longer and can thus do more cycles, it’s unlikely they can compete with lithium ion batteries, unless they can come down to 10% of the published project costs.

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  293. With those numbers, rail car storage doesn’t seem very practical.

    Frank R. Eggers Albuquerque, NM U.S.A.

    On Tue, May 24, 2016 at 5:33 PM, Brave New Climate wrote:

    > Peter Davies commented: “@David Benson Based on your railcar storage link. > At “a little under” $55m for 12.5MWh the storage cost is “a little under” > $4,400/kWh. LG Chem will supply lithium-ion batteries to GM for $145/kWh > this year and estimating $100/kWh by 2022. An typical ” >

    Like

  294. Peter Davies — Somehow I think the investors in ARES Nevada understand the economics far better than you do. In particular, at slightly more than one cycle per day in the 40 year life of the project there are 15,000 cycles not to mention low maintenance. How many battery replacements is that?

    Like

  295. Although Na S batteries contain molten materials and operate at high temperatures, that can be dealt with. Even without intermittent power sources, such as renewables, good energy storage systems would be helpful to maintain grid stability. They would reduce dependence on spinning reserve. Whether they can be made practical and economical is another matter.

    Frank R. Eggers Albuquerque, NM U.S.A.

    On Tue, May 24, 2016 at 11:53 PM, Brave New Climate wrote:

    > Edward Greisch commented: “How did that picture get into my comment?” >

    Like

  296. It has been asked how to add images to comments. I have an image on my desktop. I shall drag it into this messages and see whether it works. If it does, everyone will know that method to add images.

    If one wants to add an image that is not on the desktop, it may be possible to drag it from the Internet source to the desktop then drag it from the desktop to the message. [image: Inline image 1]

    Frank R. Eggers Albuquerque, NM U.S.A.

    On Tue, May 24, 2016 at 2:52 AM, Brave New Climate wrote:

    > Eclipse Now commented: “”(how do you add images to comments?). ” Hi all, > wouldn’t some of these conversations just be easier over on the actual > forum?” >

    Like

  297. You say slightly more wind and solar capacity is needed than the peak demand. I have modeled this explicitly. For ERCOT peak of 71 GW required 144 GW of wind and solar just to get the total energy production up to the annual energy consumed. That’s double the capacity of wind and solar. However the simulation also revealed that 50 GW of batteries with 14 day energy is needed. That storage is the real fatal flaw in the 100% wind and solar plan. Here is the hourly dispatch simulation for your review: http://www.egpreston.com/case6.txt scroll to the bottom for energy and reliability indices. The case meets the LOLE=0.1 d/y requirement.

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  298. @David Benson

    Somehow I think the investors in ARES Nevada understand the economics far better than you do. In particular, at slightly more than one cycle per day in the 40 year life of the project there are 15,000 cycles not to mention low maintenance. How many battery replacements is that?

    They say :

    multiple trains could be moving up or down (charging or discharging) hundreds of times a day in response to the ISO’s needs.

    Railcars are only supplying 15 minutes of storage (50MW, 12.5 MWh).

    If railcars are filling in short gaps in wind and solar generation then maybe they get up to 10x per day in combinations such as 20x at half the storage capacity. So maybe 150,000 cycles in 40 years?

    The number of cycles you would want out of lithium ion depends heavily on how much of it you have. It you have a small amount then you will also want it to cycle 10x per day. If you have a large fraction of 24 hours of storage then you will be cycling most of it only once per day.

    From http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/how_to_prolong_lithium_based_batteries

    At 100% depth of discharge you get 300-500 cycles, but at 10% depth of discharge (DoD) you get 3,750 to 4,750 cycles. It’s not explicitly stated, but this must mean 3,750 to 4,750 full cycles.

    Another way of looking at the 10% DoD is that you pay 10x as much for the batteries, but you then get 37,500 to 47,500 cycles. On this basis the batteries would be $1000 / kWh by 2022 (from $100/kWh by 2022 for batteries you may sometimes discharge fully). So for $4,400 you would get $4,400/$1,000 x 37.500 to 47,500 cycles, or 165,000 to 209,000 cycles out of 10% DoD lithium-ion. This is very simllar to the railcars if 10X per day over 40 years.

    The railcars can be made a fair bit cheaper, though there is a limit. Lithium-ion will presumably reduce faster than railcars, but $100/kWh has already forward priced by 6 years.

    So there may be a market niche for railcars if they can get prices down with quantity and can get more than 10x cycling per day. If lithium-ion maximum cycles get better the railcars need to cycle more often to be cheaper.

    Once you include interest rates batteries are going to beat railcars hands down for hours per day of grid storage.

    Someone should check the maths.

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  299. Peter, some comment to your wind and solar renewables plan for Texas.

    “Both solar and wind individually should be over-configured with a capacity slightly more than peak demand.”

    This is incorrect. More than double the peak demand is needed. see simulation http://www.egpreston.com/case6.txt

    “From 2030 to 2040 grid battery storage would be cheap enough”

    The price needs to come down to a tenth of Elon Musk’s best promises. This is just wishful thinking, faith based engineering.

    “to add around 24 hours of grid storage plus more wind and solar”

    You must have much more than 24 hours to ride though days and weeks of low production. My case 6 says you need 14 days.

    The rest of your comments were just wild speculations of what should be possible.

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  300. @Gene Preston

    http://www.egpreston.com/case6.txt

    Great stuff! Not all the output is crystal clear to me, but the key things are.

    I agree that 15 days of lithium-ion batteries would make any solution too expensive. You would have to make significant changes to your model program to handle my third phase (100% renewables including long-term storage). It might not be worth it. At the moment you are trying to model what you think the third phase looks like (lots of lithium-ion batteries). But that is not what it should be to be economic. So can we discuss the third phase (100% renewables) later?

    The peak load is 71GW and the average load is 40GW = 1036948 GWH / (3 years x 8760 hours). Is this correct?

    As a first approximation to the second phase the results are more or less in line with expectations. In particular :

    Wind 68GW x 0.4 CF = 27.2 GW average
    Solar PV 76GW x 0.25 CF = 19.0 GW average
    Combined total 46.2 GW which, given the storage, meets the average load of 40GW.

    The statement “Both solar and wind individually should be over-configured with a capacity slightly more than peak demand.” means that if the peak load is 71 GW then the system needs to have a little more than 71 GW of wind and a little more than 71 GW of solar PV for a combined total of a little more than 142 GW of renewables. So your chosen values were the right sort of figures for the first phase (55% renewables with no storage). The 71GW peak / 40GW average demand ratio was a surprise, but then Texas has a high air conditioning load. The effect of this high ratio is that the wind and solar for the first phase (55% renewables with no storage) also meets the requirement for the second phase (90% renewables with 1 day of storage). Or you can put it another way and say wind and solar would have been overconfigured for the first phase on my numbers, if you like.

    A most useful thing to know would be the storage in GWh (not GW) required to satisfy 90% of demand from renewables, leaving 10% of demand from fossil generation. My crude estimate would be that providing 1 day of average load of storage (960 GWh) would allow 90% renewables (+ 10% fossil generation).

    Could I persuade you to do a further run (or two) as follows? It might need a change to your program as it is unlikely to handle the maximum storage and start critieria for CCGT below.

    Could you :-

    1) Leave the wind and solar at 68, 76 GW
    2) Configure the storage to be 71GW, but limit it in duration to 960 GWh (which means 13.5 hours of storage of 71GW capacity if that figure is useful)
    3) Add back in fossil fuel generation (CCGT) to fill the gaps
    4) I can’t see any round trip efficiency for the battery storage – you would probably lose 10% of the input.
    5) When to start warming up CCGT? Do you need more than an hour to start the best of your CCGT from cold? Assuming not, a pessimistic assumption is to start warming up the CCGT when battery capacity gets below 1 hour of peak demand. Optimistically one would have perfect wind and solar prediction which means you start up CCGT only when you know you would otherwise definitely be short of power in the future. The truth is somewhere in between (24 hour predictions for wind and solar typically have an error of less than 10% of the capacity of that type installed). It is best to be pessimistic right now.

    With a PhD to do, there’s no time to modify your Fortran code (except make minor changes to the F90 package I am using), but there would be time for me to compile, change input parameters and rerun..

    How about it?

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  301. Hi Peter,
    The costs for this average 40GW load (and 70GW at peak) expectation in your dream situation above is amazingly expensive. Essentially you are building 3 entire generation nexises equal to the base load (and more). I’ll pass. :)

    But on CCGT. They are not designed to ‘warm up’ prior to light off (though if you could the HRZG section would begin to generate steam quicker). The only thing “on” is the turning gear(s) that turn the gas turbine/generator shaft at 3 to 6rpms.

    GTs are designed for cold light off. Always. So at least in your scenario you don’t have to wait for this. It’s possible some of the later models, like GE’s “H frame” need some sort of warm up capability but I doubt it.

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  302. The thing we are trying to do is NOT allow fossil fuels back in. This is all about CO2, not about wind and solar.

    How about Peter Davies quit being a wind turbine salesman and start working on what the rest of us are doing, which is stopping Global Warming? Stopping Global Warming means eliminating fossil fuels. The only way we have to eliminate fossil fuels right now is nuclear fission. We humans could go extinct any time between 2022 and 2040 if we continue burning fossil fuels. Fossil fuels means coal, oil and natural gas.

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  303. @ Gene Preston

    I, and perhaps you also, question whether even 50GW of storage would be sufficient to make renewables adequately reliable. That might be sufficient to ensure reliability most of the time but the weather is such that records are from time to time broken. A widespread failure of a day or more every 10 years would be a serious problem. Probably we have to define more specifically what adequate reliability is.

    The following youtube link, if it works, is to a discussion of renewable and nuclear power: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kh7aaW8Leco

    The supporters of renewables don’t seem to understand that we need more than a moderate reduction in fossil fuel use; we need to reduce fossil fuel use to perhaps 10% and global demand for power will increase by perhaps FOUR TIMES! I see no way that renewables can do that. Renewables for electricity make sense only in remote areas where connecting to the grid is impractical, but that situation should not be overlooked.

    However, it may be that solar energy would make sense for water heating and space heating. In those applications interruptions are less serious. Moreover, solar collectors for heat can be significantly more than 50% efficient. Strangely, there has been little effort to encourage solar energy for heating.

    Frank R. Eggers Albuquerque, NM U.S.A.

    On Wed, May 25, 2016 at 11:14 AM, Brave New Climate wrote:

    > Edward Greisch commented: “The thing we are trying to do is NOT allow > fossil fuels back in. This is all about CO2, not about wind and solar. How > about Peter Davies quit being a wind turbine salesman and start working on > what the rest of us are doing, which is stopping Global Warm” >

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  304. I find it very difficult to believe that you are working on a PhD in anything with all the time you spend here and your failure to correct yourself.

    I doubt that a Phd in ethnic or gender studies requires all that much in the way of time.

    You act more like someone who is on the payroll of a fossil fuel company.

    I was going to say the same thing.

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  305. The peak load is 71GW and the average load is 40GW = 1036948 GWH / (3 years x 8760 hours). Is this correct?

    me – Yes

    A most useful thing to know would be the storage in GWh (not GW)

    me – The battery GWH is 50 GW times 330 hours.

    required to satisfy 90% of demand from renewables

    me – I just calculated the LOLP every hour and did trial and error on sizing wind solar and the battery. I didn’t do your logic.

    Could I persuade you to do a further run (or two) as follows? It might need a change to your program as it is unlikely to handle the maximum storage and start critieria for CCGT below.

    me – I can handle maximum storage, CCGT is assumed to be able to do whatever is required.

    1) Leave the wind and solar at 68, 76 GW

    me – OK

    2) Configure the storage to be 71GW, but limit it in duration to 960 GWh (which means 13.5 hours of storage of 71GW capacity if that figure is useful)

    me – OK

    3) Add back in fossil fuel generation (CCGT) to fill the gaps

    me – The fossil generation is simple scaled until the LOLE is 0.1 so its the slack variable. I’ll tell you how much fast acting fossil capacity has to be left in the system.

    4) I can’t see any round trip efficiency for the battery storage � you would probably lose 10% of the input.

    me – I’ll just assume 100% battery efficiency for now. Fine tuning can some later.

    5) When to start warming up CCGT? Do you need more than an hour to start the best of your CCGT from cold? Assuming not, a pessimistic assumption is to start warming up the CCGT when battery capacity gets below 1 hour of peak demand. Optimistically one would have perfect wind and solar prediction which means you start up CCGT only when you know you would otherwise definitely be short of power in the future. The truth is somewhere in between (24 hour predictions for wind and solar typically have an error of less than 10% of the capacity of that type installed). It is best to be pessimistic right now.

    me – Its not an operations model so that more detailed analysis can come later. I am just calculating an amount of fossil fuel capacity that is needed to keep the lights on.

    me – Its an easy rerun. I’ll run it now and post the output report.

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  306. I don’t mind running Peter’s suggestion. He just wants to increase the battery capacity and reduce its energy storage. This is to save a lot of money on the battery cost. Let’s see how well it works. Remember that the case6 with 50 GW battery capacity and 330 hours did manage to go the entire period with no fossil generation. However the probabilistic analysis did show some gas capacity is needed and if the probabilistic dispatch were done, there would have been a bit of gas burned. So the no gas burned is the ideal situation with all the renewables working and the battery working as planned. But the probabilistic model has load uncertainty also which the gas capacity had to serve for higher loads that occurred probabilistically but you did not see in the output report.

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  307. Yes you are correct about the weather can be more variable than what was modeled. This would create a big problem in my renewables simulation. The problem would be like a dry year in the Pacific NW. But there is one interesting thing, when its hot and dry in Texas, the solar works great negating the effect of the hot dry weather. We have very little hydro.

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  308. Ok Peter case6a is finished. see http://egpreston.com/case6a.txt
    The battery was changed from a 50 GW 330 hour to a 71 GW 14 hour battery, 100% efficiency in both cases. Interestingly your case only had 3% of the energy from fossil fuels so in that sense it is a success at CO2 reduction. But the problem is that the fossil fuel capacity presently in ERCOT could only be reduced by 2.22% or just 1700 MW. This means that the entire fleet of fossil fuel generators must remain ready to be run during periods of insufficient renewables energy. Looking at the printout you see many many hours of zero fossil fuel output power with occasional jumps up in fossil generation. I think its not realistic to expect that 80 GW of fossil generation remain in mostly standby mode almost all of the year for a few occurrences of insufficient renewables. I guess you could implement some kind of draconian load management scheme to force a lot less power be consumed during periods of low renewable power output. This is likely to create a lot of hardships for families and for businesses however. I will give you credit for getting the CO2 low however. The fatal flaw is all that fossil generation just sitting around not being used. I’ll post this case on my web page since it is interesting.

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  309. @e-poet, Edward

    I doubt that a Phd in ethnic or gender studies requires all that much in the way of time….”You act more like someone who is on the payroll of a fossil fuel company.” I was going to say the same thing.

    The PhD is to research energy storage in nano-scale capacitors using a UK quantum mechanics package called CASTEP (lightly modified by me) which solves Schrodinger’s equation from scratch in a supercomputer to model a 2.6nm capacitor consisting of SrRuO3 (conductors) and SrTiO3 (dielectric).

    Commenting here happily fills the long hours when the college supercomputer is busy, my jobs are queuing and there is nothing else useful to do except put people straight on renewables.

    As well as not working for solar or wind company, I am not working for a fossil fuel company either, but at least it is yet another creative accusation from Edward. And anyway, who needs paid employment when IBM already pays me sufficient pension?

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  310. Peter there are times when renewable energy has to be dumped in case6a because there is not enough load and not enough storage to take the power. This is observed to be happening in Germany and the clearing price for energy sometimes goes negative. They want people to consume more power during those hours. You have to throw your conservation ideas out the window in order to maximize the use of renewable energy at those times. You have to be willing to turn on loads when there is power available and turn off loads when the renewable power is not available. Simplistic ideas like adding more insulation is going to help us cut back on fossil fuels is not always true. We are going to need a phone app to tell us to turn on more load during these periods of excess renewable power. I know its alien to think we should not conserve all the time, but this the new reality.

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  311. Gene, it needs more than a phone app; it needs the Internet Of Things! Appliances such as freezers should automatically make small adjustments to their target temperature and cycle timing to take advantage of the electricity price fluctuations.

    But it’s heavy industry that is the biggest potential beneficiary of excess renewable energy.

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  312. Peter Davies wrote:

    The PhD is to research energy storage in nano-scale capacitors using a UK quantum mechanics package called CASTEP (lightly modified by me) which solves Schrodinger’s equation from scratch in a supercomputer to model a 2.6nm capacitor consisting of SrRuO3 (conductors) and SrTiO3 (dielectric).

    In other words, you’re barking up more or less the same tree as the fraud outfit EEStor, which brought down the ZENN company when its titanate-based non-battery couldn’t be delivered.

    This rather neatly explains your motivations.  Large-scale electrical energy storage is the linchpin of any grid dominated by wind and PV.  Conversely, an economy dominated by sources with intrinsic energy stockpiles (hydro, nuclear, fossil) do not need much storage and can effectively do without any.  Without such a need, your PhD work is a curiosity with no practical draw.  Or perhaps you chose this research subject because you are a Green ideologue, recognize the practical hole in reaching the goals, and had to pick something that Donald Sadoway’s team wasn’t already doing.

    As well as not working for solar or wind company, I am not working for a fossil fuel company either

    Different causes, similar results.

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  313. Aidan Stanger wrote:

    it needs more than a phone app; it needs the Internet Of Things!

    More things that consume power even on standby?  I briefly worked on an “energy-saving” appliance which had no way to turn it completely off.  The irony appeared lost on all but me.

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  314. Gene:
    Hydro is not erratic. Geothermal is not erratic. Both are base-load generators which are quite suitable for powering heavy industry.

    For domestic supply a simple modest scale of storage at the household level plus some home generation (wind / PV) will allow load shedding over the national grid in favour of industry when its calm cool and/or dark.

    When available the grid-scale renewables of wind and solar either reduce hydro/geothermal output (which can ramp fairly fast) or are directed to re-charge domestic batteries and the storage modules in EV charging stations.

    If the utilities truly got in behind this sort of very simple ‘intelligent’ control and distribution model we would be fine. But they won’t, in time, so we are screwed. Sigh.

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  315. Engineer Poet,

    Not necessarily more things that consume power even on standby, as existing ones would be replaced.

    Couldn’t you turn it off at the wall?

    And in defence of Peter Davies, even somewhere generating 100% of its electricity from nuclear could benefit greatly from large scale electricity storage, due to variation in demand, so there’s always a practical draw for his research even in fixed applications. Plus there are potentially greater efficiency improvements it could bring to vehicles.

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  316. Gene,
    Even processes that are thought of as continuous tend to have a start and an end. Most use more power at some times than others. So when electricity prices are sometimes cheap and sometimes expensive, it makes economic sense for the heavy industry to optimise its electricity use to consume more when it’s cheap and less when it’s expensive.

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  317. Gene,

    there are times when renewable energy has to be dumped in case6a because there is not enough load and not enough storage to take the power.

    Texas used to curtail wind and have negative energy prices a few years ago, though the cause then was transmission line bottlenecks because the CREZ lines capacity was not yet high enough.

    If a cost-optimised system curtails a particular fraction of renewable energy then so be it. I have no objection at all – wind and solar energy is free and unlimited for practical purposes. You would expect some curtailment or costs in other areas will be increased.

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  318. Gene,

    Heavy industry needs continuous reliable power, the opposite of erratic renewable power.

    The aluminium smelting industry (for which power is 30-40% of all costs) is putting a lot of effort into developing equipment which can modulate its output up and down to help with grid control. It sees that as a money-earner.

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/9781119274780.ch96/summary

    A PhD student here is researching what process modifications could be made to other large industrial power uses to do something similar. People are thinking about it because everyone can see what is coming.

    I would have thought if you asked one of these large users whether they would be prepared to reduce output for a few days on end, to total no more than 3% of the year they would be very happy to start negotiations on a quite reasonable price for doing so.

    Once you get to 24 hours of storage then there’s little domestic users can do to defer using electricity because the gaps are then too big for them. Maybe the same with commercial users. I can only think of deferring electric car charging for a few days when you know for sure you will not need it fully charged until then. But heavy industry has the potential to reduce load for days at a time, provided they can make up for lost production later on. The stocks they keep can be used to smooth supply to their customers.

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  319. Gene,

    The problem is that the fossil fuel capacity presently in ERCOT could only be reduced by 2.22% or just 1700 MW. This means that the entire fleet of fossil fuel generators must remain ready to be run during periods of insufficient renewables energy. Looking at the printout you see many many hours of zero fossil fuel output power with occasional jumps up in fossil generation. I think its not realistic to expect that 80 GW of fossil generation remain in mostly standby mode almost all of the year for a few occurrences of insufficient renewables. I guess you could implement some kind of draconian load management scheme to force a lot less power be consumed during periods of low renewable power output. This is likely to create a lot of hardships for families and for businesses however. I will give you credit for getting the CO2 low however. The fatal flaw is all that fossil generation just sitting around not being used.

    ERCOT shouldn’t impose power cuts on its customers. Even for just 3% of the time.

    There’s nothing wrong with using equipment only 3% of the time, if that is the cheapest solution. My car (2001) sits on the road in front of our house for all but around 1-2% of the time (1,600 miles/year) as most of my travel around London is by tube (subway). When needed the car is very useful. Even though taxis would be cheaper they are not very convenient.

    Why not just let the fossil generation stay? If you go by the DoE LCOE figures :

    https://www.eia.gov/forecasts/aeo/electricity_generation.cfm

    then even new CCGT generation when used 3% of the time would cost only $18/MWh (capital plus fixed O&M) across all generation (ie. across the total 40GW average generation you use to recover costs). In practice most of the fossil generation retained would already be partly or fully depreciated so capacity payments to keep it might be much lower than this.

    Whether the CO2 emissions from 3% of generation is a problem in the future is difficult to say. If it is, there may be a case for just planting a lot of new trees (in Texas or elsewhere) to offset the 3% instead of spending money on some other type of generation to eliminate it. Certainly this would be a lot cheaper than 15 days of batteries.

    Lastly a thought on retained fossil generation capacity.

    Texas air conditioning represents 16% of demand according to https://www.eia.gov/consumption/residential/reports/2009/state_briefs/pdf/TX.pdf . Within a local region you might expect hotter days to always have more solar power available, and the battery storage allows this to run over into the evening peak for air conditioning.

    However solar correlation dies off after a few hundred km. Texas is pretty big and probably utility solar is located a long way from the big cities so would not correlate with air conditioning load.

    So one way of reducing the backup fossil generation capacity by up to 16% might be to get a proportionate amount of the solar power from close to the big cities, even if that doesn’t give the biggest solar output. Rooftop solar in the cities might do it. It might guarantee that air conditioning peaks could always be satisfied from solar, so the backup fossil fuel generation could subtract these off. What do you think?

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  320. I suppose you are suggesting a form of demand side management in which customers choose to cut their power when renewables plus storage cannot supply the power. I need to add some additional math to the program to calculate automatic load reduction for reduced levels of renewables power availability. This would be an additional set of calculations. So in that sense we always are reliable because we always have customers willing to cut load. Let me think about how to add that to the model. We need to know the frequency and duration of their curtailments. The program could show an amount of fossil generation that is not likely to survive if the fossil fuel CF drops too low, so we could use that to choose how much fossil fuel capacity to leave in the system. Then the rest would be demand reduction to balance the power every hour. This is going to take some time to reprogram.

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  321. Gene,

    My reply: The gas plants have to have an income. When capacity factors drop they close shop. It’s a dead end.

    The idea is to modify the regulations so you can make “capacity payments” (for having capacity available independent of any generation). This keeps generation plants profitable which you do not use very often. So they can stay in business.

    The capacity payments get added to the grid costs (because it is in everyone’s best interests to have power all the time), so get shared out among everyone.

    UK does this now, and I think Germany too. UK messed up on the first auction round rules and had to contract with a lot of small and inefficient diesel generators with high CO2 emissions. But they might get it right second time around. UK really needs a few more gas plants. But the wholesale cost of UK power is too low for a commercial company to make money building gas generation if the only income is for power supplied.

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  322. Peter the capacity payments for that much capacity and also the fixed O&M is going to be very expensive. Maybe we could support 10% reserve capacity but more than 100% of the demand reserve capacity is insane. Why more than 100%? Well when you want to start those idle plants some of them are going to barf and not start so we have to have a reserve margin for the reserve generation, what a crock!

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  323. This interesting exchange between Peter Davies and Gene Preston points up, to me, the folly of attempting to have a reliable grid using unreliable generators, i.e., so-called renewables. Yes, at the expense of much duplication one obtains the required power 97% of the time but require 100% backup for the remaining 3%. I remind the reader that peaking power sells for many thousands of dollars per megawatt-hour. Ouch!

    An alternative is 100% nuclear power, say in the form of Nuscale modules by the dozen at a time, each such plant having net generation of 540 MW, except for replenishment time. Each of the dozen modules is down for about two weeks every other year. I don’t know how to price the first alternative. This one comes in close to US$95/MWh with all reserve rolling.

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  324. I think the “6-pack” and “12-pack” NuScale configurations are a mistake.  Oh, they make a great deal of sense given the current regulatory regime… but that regime is itself an enormous mistake (or perhaps a crime).

    I crunched some numbers for the city nearest me and its municipal electric company.  Based on their reported sales (they don’t report energy sold), a single NuScale module could supply more than enough electricity for it plus probably all of its required space heat and DHW.  Steam lines would only need to go a mile or two, so the logistics of steam don’t appear impractical to me (from my admitted position of relative ignorance).  This would completely de-carbonize most of the city’s energy consumption right there.  Two units might be better to capture the more densely-occupied surrounding unincorporated areas for heat service and feed electricity to the region.

    With 2 units de-carbonizing most of the stationary energy demand of the region, the results look a lot better than if they were 1/6 of a massed assemblage generating only electricity.  You could take the other 10 units and do the same to another 5 similarly-sized population centers.

    What stops this from being done is NRC regulations.  Required staffing levels of inspectors, operators and security just don’t allow such an operation to be economic.  The solution is to get rid of the requirements and design the systems so they just don’t need so many people around all the time, but that isn’t an innovation anyone can just do; ithas to come down from Washington.