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Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Discussions of conventional and alternative energy production technologies.

Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Sun 07 Jan 2018, 18:06:15

Subjectivist wrote:
KaiserJeep wrote:How about, we are running out of FF's to burn. The intermittency can be handled with distributed batteries. I'd rather pay a monthly battery lease than an electric bill myself. In fact I have been doing that with my solar panels, paying a fixed monthly lease instead of a variable rate. In the Summer the increased production allows essentially free A/C. In the Winter it offsets some portion of the increased natural gas consumption (bundled into the same PG&E bill in my case).


How about we have a million years of Uranium and Thorium that generates about a million watts per mass unit? Also there is still a lot of unexploited hydroelectric potential, hot dry rock that can be harvested for geothermal, and about 250 years of fracked natural gas and another 500 years of coal?

Just because oil is peaking doesn’t mean we lack energy. We just lack the will to exploit it. I listed those sources in order of preference, fools keep objecting to the whole top of the list.

I have to question your sources there.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby GHung » Sun 07 Jan 2018, 18:16:39

If Subjectivist said it, it has to be true,,, right?
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Sun 07 Jan 2018, 18:41:24

GHung wrote:If Subjectivist said it, it has to be true,,, right?

Everybody can be misled at times.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby Subjectivist » Sun 07 Jan 2018, 20:24:36

Well gee, the world has 6,300,000 tons of thorium and requires 1/ton per 100 MWe/year. That will provide 630,000 GWe years of electricity plus the energy that comes from the 5,700,000 tons of Uranium reserves providing another 570,000 GWe year of energy assumng you are smart enough to consume the resources in a regenerative breeding cycle.

Then there are hundreds of rivers and streams, some of which run through signficant canyons ideal for large scale hydroelectric projects not just in North America. The Hot Dry Rock is a smaller resource, but not to be casually dismissed. Then you have a good 250 years of frackable natural gas in North America, a far vaster resource than the frackable oil.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby ralfy » Mon 08 Jan 2018, 01:20:40

Subjectivist wrote:Well gee, the world has 6,300,000 tons of thorium and requires 1/ton per 100 MWe/year. That will provide 630,000 GWe years of electricity plus the energy that comes from the 5,700,000 tons of Uranium reserves providing another 570,000 GWe year of energy assumng you are smart enough to consume the resources in a regenerative breeding cycle.

Then there are hundreds of rivers and streams, some of which run through signficant canyons ideal for large scale hydroelectric projects not just in North America. The Hot Dry Rock is a smaller resource, but not to be casually dismissed. Then you have a good 250 years of frackable natural gas in North America, a far vaster resource than the frackable oil.


Hubbert himself referred to similar many decades ago. But another study states that a global transition to using less fossil fuels will span many more.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby evilgenius » Mon 08 Jan 2018, 12:44:05

It would be a whole lot faster to use wind and solar to pump water to reservoirs from which it can flow down through a series of turbines, to make electricity all the way. The downhill side can be halfway across the country, or close by. In this way you both combat the drought effects of global warming, by moving water around, but do so with an economic incentive.

I think it is fashionable to look upon the future of electricity as one of bit players leveraging technology to increase their relative position to the grid. There are efficiencies, particularly in the convergence of technologies, that favor larger structured, more complex power generators, like corporations and cooperatives. There could be efficiencies which favor a structure even more complex, that need the imprimatur of the government, to succeed. If so, we shouldn't forget about that.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby Tanada » Fri 12 Jan 2018, 22:16:34

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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby kublikhan » Fri 12 Jan 2018, 23:10:05

Molten Salt Reactors look like they need at least 2 decades of work before they are commercial ready. And they seem to have longevity issues. One reactor design was quoted as needing to replace it's reactor core every 6-10 years.

China initiated a thorium molten-salt reactor research project. It was formally announced at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) annual conference in January 2011. A 100-MW demonstrator of the solid fuel version (TMSR-SF), based on pebble bed technology, was to be ready by 2024. A 10-MW pilot and a larger demonstrator of the liquid fuel (TMSR-LF) variant are targeted for 2024 and 2035 respectively.
...
The Fuji Molten Salt Reactor is a 100 to 200 MWe LFTR, using technology similar to the Oak Ridge project. A consortium including members from Japan, the U.S. and Russia are developing the project. The project would likely take 20 years to develop a full size reactor, but the project seems to lack funding.
...
The reactor core is estimated to be replaced every 6–10 years.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby Outcast_Searcher » Sat 13 Jan 2018, 04:16:11

kublikhan wrote:Molten Salt Reactors look like they need at least 2 decades of work before they are commercial ready. And they seem to have longevity issues. One reactor design was quoted as needing to replace it's reactor core every 6-10 years.

Or 15 years perhaps, best-ish case.

But either way, shouldn't we be beyond early experimental stage with these before declaring that they are a feasible solution, much less laying out a cost case for making it THE primary solution to run the entire US grid?

https://www.technologyreview.com/the-download/

Not to take away from the points on just how HUGE the problem is to solve 100% with renewables.

...

The more stuff like this I see, the more I think we will need ALL viable and cost effective solutions we can come up with and deciding very early on a "plan" using only a couple/few energy sources seems like a very bad idea.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby Tanada » Sat 13 Jan 2018, 11:45:26

kublikhan wrote:Molten Salt Reactors look like they need at least 2 decades of work before they are commercial ready. And they seem to have longevity issues. One reactor design was quoted as needing to replace it's reactor core every 6-10 years.

China initiated a thorium molten-salt reactor research project. It was formally announced at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) annual conference in January 2011. A 100-MW demonstrator of the solid fuel version (TMSR-SF), based on pebble bed technology, was to be ready by 2024. A 10-MW pilot and a larger demonstrator of the liquid fuel (TMSR-LF) variant are targeted for 2024 and 2035 respectively.
...
The Fuji Molten Salt Reactor is a 100 to 200 MWe LFTR, using technology similar to the Oak Ridge project. A consortium including members from Japan, the U.S. and Russia are developing the project. The project would likely take 20 years to develop a full size reactor, but the project seems to lack funding.
...
The reactor core is estimated to be replaced every 6–10 years.
Molten salt reactor


First, a lot of research has already been accomplished and China is building the first utility scale unit now.

Second the point isn't to focus strictly on molten salt nuclear reactors, it is to point out that the solartopia concept has a great many gaping holes in its capacity to deliver on the promises. We already have Gen III reactor designs on the shelf that can provide the baseload power without the need to deploy Gen IV reactors, including the molten salt reactors, they can have 10-25 more years or if the China plan works 5 years. The video in question was delivered to the thorium reactor conference and emphasized thorium molten salt reactors but they also emphasized at one point that using Gen II/III current designs solves the problem with existing technology.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby Tanada » Sat 13 Jan 2018, 11:52:14

Outcast_Searcher wrote:
kublikhan wrote:Molten Salt Reactors look like they need at least 2 decades of work before they are commercial ready. And they seem to have longevity issues. One reactor design was quoted as needing to replace it's reactor core every 6-10 years.

Or 15 years perhaps, best-ish case.

But either way, shouldn't we be beyond early experimental stage with these before declaring that they are a feasible solution, much less laying out a cost case for making it THE primary solution to run the entire US grid?

https://www.technologyreview.com/the-download/

Not to take away from the points on just how HUGE the problem is to solve 100% with renewables.

...

The more stuff like this I see, the more I think we will need ALL viable and cost effective solutions we can come up with and deciding very early on a "plan" using only a couple/few energy sources seems like a very bad idea.


All true, but in the video they also emphasize keeping and using the renewables already being used and continuing to deploy them. It isn't a one solution fits all answer so much as a 'refusing nuclear is a mistake' issue.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby GHung » Sat 13 Jan 2018, 12:03:00

The video in question was delivered to promote the idea that growth-based BAU can continue if we just adopt a lot more nuclear power and assumes that conservation and efficiency won't play a huge part of our stragedy going forward. The idea that we, especially in the US, can't reduce our energy consumption by a lot and still maintain high standards of living is unthinkable for growth-addicted pyromaniac apes.

Having ever more energy will only further enable the behaviors that will lead to our demise. We don't have energy problems as much as we have behavioral problems.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby pstarr » Sat 13 Jan 2018, 12:10:02


Watched the entire thing. Unable to dispute the numbers. Conley & Maloney's conclusion however is based on a faulty assumption (as is Jacobson's rosy premise) that we must replace the entire grid's generating/power supply capacity. That is not true.

All we need to replace (with solar power/storage) is necessary infrastructure maintenance, ie heat/cooling to maintain life and equipment during non-producing solar/wind generations gaps. Since heating and cooling only account for less than 50% (perhaps much less) we can cut the storage requirement by that much.

A system of power-company smart meters and smart controllers and smart-snoops would shut down nonessential hardware in a focused and controlled fashion. Our current lifestyle is not necessary. We don't need all our conveniences and power all the time. We do need to grow up as a people.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby Outcast_Searcher » Sat 13 Jan 2018, 12:19:49

Tanada wrote:All true, but in the video they also emphasize keeping and using the renewables already being used and continuing to deploy them. It isn't a one solution fits all answer so much as a 'refusing nuclear is a mistake' issue.

Absolutely, and they also have a backup $6.7ish trillion (as I recall) plan of using other reactors if necessary, to their credit.

I just see so many articles / scientists claiming that we can solve problem X using technology that isn't well proven yet, that it ends up grating on me. Like the over-hype that so many of the green sites do -- I'm pulling for the tech, but would strongly prefer a much more realistic picture on what's happening and what's coming -- to help inform the voting public.

In my mind, people remember huge over-promises, and that erodes trust over time.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby Outcast_Searcher » Sat 13 Jan 2018, 12:28:30

pstarr wrote:A system of power-company smart meters and smart controllers and smart-snoops would shut down nonessential hardware in a focused and controlled fashion. Our current lifestyle is not necessary. We don't need all our conveniences and power all the time. We do need to grow up as a people.

That's an excellent point. A benefit of a connected society is that such information could also be shared with people who need to know. So today, just as people can check on traffic via their NAV system (by paying for a traffic app), people could check on the power system.

Perhaps a power forecast for the next hour, day, etc. could be available to help people plan for things, just like they plan around weather forecasts today. So doing it right could lower our energy profile could be done without MASSIVE inconvenience. (Example: if entertainment venues will be shut down to conserve energy).

Now, getting people to accept less stuff, less mobility, etc. -- that might be tougher, but that's part of the function of markets, if politicians will just let them work instead of wildly distorting things to try and buy votes in the short term. People can and will adapt, if they're sent signals reflecting the real world that tell them they NEED to adapt. (Higher fuel prices being a prime example).
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby GHung » Sat 13 Jan 2018, 12:29:19

pstarr wrote:

Watched the entire thing. Unable to dispute the numbers. Conley & Maloney's conclusion however is based on a faulty assumption (as is Jacobson's rosy premise) that we must replace the entire grid's generating/power supply capacity. That is not true.

All we need to replace (with solar power/storage) is necessary infrastructure maintenance, ie heat/cooling to maintain life and equipment during non-producing solar/wind generations gaps. Since heating and cooling only account for less than 50% (perhaps much less) we can cut the storage requirement by that much.

A system of power-company smart meters and smart controllers and smart-snoops would shut down nonessential hardware in a focused and controlled fashion. Our current lifestyle is not necessary. We don't need all our conveniences and power all the time. We do need to grow up as a people.


I'm mainly driven by what I see NOW, and that my family has adapted to solar intermittency over the last 20 years with no big hits on lifestyle. Meanwhile, the people trying to build the first four new reactors in decades in the US are losing their asses, and it looks like a couple of those reactors will not be finished after $billions being spent. During that same period, two farmers I know who were beef producers, but getting too old to manage their farms, have put several acres each into grid-tied solar, and are laughing all the way to the bank. Hard-core Republicans, both.

How many new reactors in the US are now feeding the grid, vs. how many wind and solar installations, over the last 20 years? Just asking. Meanwhile:

Renewable energy will be consistently cheaper than fossil fuels by 2020, claims new report

The cost of renewable energy is now falling so fast that it should be a consistently cheaper source of electricity generation than traditional fossil fuels within just a few years, according to a new report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

The organisation – which has more than 150 member countries – says the cost of generating power from onshore wind has fallen by around 23% since 2010 while the cost of solar photovoltaic (PV) electricity has fallen by 73% in that time. With further price falls expected for these and other green energy options, IRENA says all renewable energy technologies should be competitive on price with fossil fuels by 2020.

Globally, onshore wind schemes are now costing an average of $0.06 per kilowatt hour (kWh), although some schemes are coming in at $0.04 per KwH, while the cost of solar PV is down to $0.10 per KwH. In comparison, the cost of electricity generation based on fossil fuels typically falls in a range of $0.05 to $0.17 per KwH. ....

https://www.forbes.com/sites/dominicdud ... 8abcfb4ff2
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby GHung » Sat 13 Jan 2018, 12:44:03

Outcast_Searcher wrote: ......

Now, getting people to accept less stuff, less mobility, etc. -- that might be tougher, but that's part of the function of markets, if politicians will just let them work instead of wildly distorting things to try and buy votes in the short term. People can and will adapt, if they're sent signals reflecting the real world that tell them they NEED to adapt. (Higher fuel prices being a prime example).


I think a floating carbon tax would provide an incentive to adapt. Let people know that their energy is going to be cheaper or more expensive in the coming days so they can adapt to using more energy when it is cheaper. I do that with weather reports to keep my battery happy. The last few days have been mostly cloudy, but we are going into several sunny days during which all the laundry will get done, dishwasher run, water heated with that surplus being stored in our warm floors, etc... Some of this is automatic using simple temperature and voltage switches (no complex digital controls required,, mainly simple, cheap and reliable analog stuff.

Getting people to pay attention to their energy use is the hard part. Their sense of entitlement needs to have a higher price.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby pstarr » Sat 13 Jan 2018, 14:59:10

Outcast_Searcher wrote:
pstarr wrote:A system of power-company smart meters and smart controllers and smart-snoops would shut down nonessential hardware in a focused and controlled fashion. Our current lifestyle is not necessary. We don't need all our conveniences and power all the time. We do need to grow up as a people.

That's an excellent point. A benefit of a connected society is that such information could also be shared with people who need to know. So today, just as people can check on traffic via their NAV system (by paying for a traffic app), people could check on the power system.

Perhaps a power forecast for the next hour, day, etc. could be available to help people plan for things, just like they plan around weather forecasts today. So doing it right could lower our energy profile could be done without MASSIVE inconvenience. (Example: if entertainment venues will be shut down to conserve energy).

Now, getting people to accept less stuff, less mobility, etc. -- that might be tougher, but that's part of the function of markets, if politicians will just let them work instead of wildly distorting things to try and buy votes in the short term. People can and will adapt, if they're sent signals reflecting the real world that tell them they NEED to adapt. (Higher fuel prices being a prime example).

I am glad we can agree on something. :) Unfortunately the model must also apply to industry.
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That means shutting down businesses and factories when the sun isn't shining.
/sarc
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Sat 13 Jan 2018, 15:44:40

Look at total energy consumption instead of electricity consumption and industry and transport take a much bigger share. Transport by gas and diesel fuel and industry using coal and natural gas to provide heat where needed in the process.
But let fuel and electric rates rise and industry will find ways to use less and use cheap intermittent power when it is surplus. All that is needed is to let producers charge variable rates based on at the moment supply and users will become vary attuned to what that supply and price is at the moment.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Sat 13 Jan 2018, 15:48:15

I too watched the entire video. I was not unaware of the numbers before watching, although I did gain valuable detail. Thank you for the link, lady.

But I would also quibble with the conclusion, even though I m a hard-headed engineer who believes in and uses numbers. The incorrect assumption is that in a world of expensive energy, we can continue to practice our present energy-intensive American lifestyles. That cannot continue to be true as energy climbs through 10X the present cost to even higher numbers.

I have explained before that I believe that we can live MODIFIED American lifestyles, not too different from today, if in the future we renew our country's infrastructure first. In brief:

Residential buildings will be required to meet much more stringent energy standards such as the European PassivHaus standard. This is a complex standard but in the end results in a structure that consumes 10% of the average energy of today's American home, and somewhere in the neighborhood of 30-40% of the current Energy Star standard. The efficiencies are gained through a combination of superinsulation, passive solar design, air infiltration barriers, and energy-efficient HVAC and major appliances. Zoning requirements such as which way a house faces should be changed to allow for solar heat gain and PV optimization.

Additionally, we have to give up on energy-wasting practices such as street lighting and security lighting. This is not necessary or desirable:
Image
A necessary requirement to meet this standard is that NO GRANDFATHERED EXEMPTIONS ARE ALLOWED. A house cannot be resold or newly constructed without either meeting the standard or being torn down. For continuously occupied structures that get passed through inheritance, the house must be tested and pass the current standard every 50 years. Non-compliant structures must be destroyed even if it means putting old people on the street to die. Similar standards can be applied to commercial buildings and manufacturing. Again, no exceptions, no crossing-the-palm-of-a-politician, nothing. If an industrial process cannot be re-designed to use less energy, it deserves to be ended and replaced by another.

The correct question you should be asking: Can we meet 10% of the current energy consumption with renewables and storage within the next 50 years, after 100% infrastructure renewal? The answer would be, assuredly YES.

Before you quibble with my numbers, ask yourselves this: What parts of our present infrastructure are OBSOLETE and do not deserve to exist? I would include the interstate highway system, at least half the state roads, and virtually every vehicle that exists today. I would mandate EVs and charge every owner of a "historic" ICE or Hybrid vehicle (anything that burns hydrocarbon fuels) a $10,000 annual license fee. Electrified railroads and a renewed system of waterways and canals (with electric traction engines) should be used for frieght, not ICE heavy trucks.

Get the idea? It's a cliché, but you need to "think outside the box" when it comes to energy infrastructure. Renewing the country's infrastructure to use less energy is a Herculean task, but is required. Recycling of the materials in use at the present, plus 100% employment for 3 generations - including even immigrant laborers from South of the border - are elements of the solution.
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