LENR vs Solar/Wind, and emerging Green Technologies.

  • Would you trust in perpetuum mobile, if it would make energy more expensive in all countries which adopted it?

    Reminds me of an informative Forbes article I came across a few days ago.

    The Paradox of Declining Renewable Costs and Rising Electricity Prices


    Here's an extract

    We will return to that debate in a moment, but for now let’s ask - if the cost of renewable power generation is falling, how can their use cause retail prices to rise?

    This paradox is even more striking when we consider that more renewables actually can drive down the wholesale prices that electricity generators are paid. Because variable renewable energy (VRE) resources wind and solar incur virtually all of their costs up front and incur no fuel costs to produce electricity, the average cost of VRE generation is much higher than the marginal cost, which is close to zero. Much electricity in the US is transacted in states with competitive wholesale electricity markets. Marginal costs set prices in competitive markets, which means that the penetration of VRE can push down wholesale power prices, even more so when the VRE resource is receiving a per unit subsidy, as is the case with wind. This is something that has placed financial pressure on legacy resources such as coal, nuclear and natural gas plants that do incur fuel costs and other marginal costs of generation. It would seem, then, that higher renewables should lead to lower electricity prices.

    But wholesale prices are paid to the generators; the retail prices paid by final customers reflect the full cost of delivering electricity. Generation, though the largest component, only accounts for 44 percent of the total cost. The other main costs affected by renewables integration are transmission and distribution of electricity to its point of use, reliability costs to maintain stable voltage and frequency, maintenance needed to keep the system running, depreciation and taxes.

    Unit costs, however, tell only part of the story. Individual power generators, whether conventional power plants or wind farms, seldom operate in isolation; they are each part of a larger grid-connected system that aggregates power across generators to deliver power to a region of consumers. VRE’s effect on system costs will depend in part on the cost of the electricity that it is displacing, which in turn depends on the location and timing of its deployment. Wind generation at night in the Midwest may be displacing coal, while solar generation in the afternoon in California may be displacing natural gas, each with different cost profiles. And to handle the intermittency of VRE, system operators need to activate ramping resources more frequently to meet demand. These flexible plants are typically more expensive to operate and thus higher deployment can raise total system costs even as renewable costs decline. Moreover, these resources must be kept on hand to provide reliable capacity in a market characterized by more intermittent supply and the costs of maintaining this capacity is passed along to consumers.

  • Quote

    all technologies require subsidies in the beginning

    But we aren't at the beginning - first generation of wind plants already waits for its renewal and they still didn't make enough money even for their ecological scrapping, not to say recycling.


    Reminds me of an informative Forbes article I came across a few days ago.

    I already linked this Forbes article and commented it here. The fact you're making expensive sh*t (i.e. unpredictable electricity without balancing and backup from "renewables" in this case) doesn't imply, you would be able to sell it expensively - on the contrary.

  • Didn't we talk long enough that "renewables" should generate subsidizes and profit instead of consuming it?

    Renewables were subsidized at first. That was needed for the same reasons steamships and transistors were subsidized at first. Nowadays, alternatives are cheaper than coal or nuclear power, and almost as cheap as natural gas. Cheaper in some locations.

    As noted, you do not understand that graph. It does not show what you think it shows. The high cost of energy in those countries is not because alternative energy is expensive. It is because they tax energy, and use the money for non-energy uses.

  • But we aren't at the beginning - first generation of wind plants already waits for its renewal

    15 years ago solar and wind was a joke.

    And that is when subsidies where high.

    So yes the last 20 years was the beginning.

    And now we are at the end of the beginning.

    Today subsidies are almost gone.

    I predict subsidies are totally gone within 5 years. And that is when global solar is bigger than global nuclear, which still will require large subsidies.

  • first generation of wind plants already waits for its renewal and they still didn't make enough money even for their ecological scrapping, not to say recycling.

    First generation wind plants were much more expensive and less efficient, so they did not make much money. Your statement that they did not make enough to scrap them is nonsense.

    It does not cost money to scrap used generator equipment, for the same reason it costs nothing to scrap old cars. It does not cost anything; it pays. The equipment has "scrap value." The amount of money a machine made while in use has no bearing on the scrap value. All power plants are worth scrapping and recycling, except nuclear ones. They are difficult and expensive to scrap and clean up. The radioactive portions have be buried, not recycled. For that reason, all nuclear plant operators pay a small amount per kilowatt hour into a decommissioning fund that will hopefully cover the cost of scrapping them. As far as I know, it has covered the cost for all plants normally decommissioned so far. It did not begin to cover the cost of plants destroyed by accident at Three Mile Island, Connecticut Yankee and Fukushima.

  • The Spurious Correlation examples are hilarious. But this saying irks me: "correlation does not equal causation." It may not equal it, but it sure does imply it. David Hume said it is the only proof we have. People say you have to find a reasonable explanation to link cause and effect or it might be a coincidence. I don't buy that. As I see it, in many fields our explanations connecting cause and effect are tenuous. Sometimes more like just so stories. That's often the case in social science. Even in a rigorous subject such as physics it is sometimes true. Some aspects of biology are so complex, and so little understood, there is no way to establish causality except by statistical correlation.

    "Correlation does not equal causation" is a rule of thumb, not a law of physics. Sometimes it does equal causation, and sometimes it doesn't. That rule has been abused by opponents of cold fusion, who demand a causal explanation for events which we know must have some deep connection, but we don't know what it is yet. Such as excess heat in the absence of chemical changes, and tritium production. Both can only mean a nuclear event is occuring. Whether one causes the other, or whether something else causes both, is unclear. But the fact that they prove there is a nuclear effect is irrefutable. (People have tried to refute it, but they have failed.)

    • Official Post

    Well, Ruby at least advocates for something (nuclear power.) Technical and economic issues aside, it simply is not going to happen in today’s geopolitical environment. Argue about it all you want, but there is zero support for building more nuclear power plants anywhere. But what about advanced reactor types (thorium or pick you own favorite)? When would you say such technology will be ready for mass deployment and how long will it take to deploy it? What do you suppose the state of the world will be at that point in the distant future?

    Yes, I agree the old style nuclear power will not be built en masse. I am hoping new smaller generators for the public will be ASAP, but who knows really? This recent news story


    referenced this company going big time


    there was also this effort profiled


    and there are these companies in Canada


    These small module reactors support designs are in various stages of development and utililty, some can use old toxic nuclear fuel as material to burn. In Andrew Yang gets a role in a new US government, we could have thorium in seven years or so! (That's what her said!) Still, old fusion/LENR would be better we agree.

    If there is a major effort in new nuclear power, we have a shot at changing enough within the 10-year-limit. But solar, wind, hydro, biomass, are so far from supplying the current consumption, that is going to take a long time, too. (I make no distinction between electricity and heat, we need them both). I don't see those 4 power sources doing that, but I would love to be proved wrong.

  • I think they ought to call this the 'global air conditioning prize'. I'm sorry to say that I think this is just a sticking plaster solution. Why some finalists - big profitable companies -need innovation prize money to make better products is totally beyond me. As for the global part, AC is only used in rich parts of the world, 90% of the poor have no power to run it or money to buy it.

    Alan, I fully agree! But by any chance do you (we) know if there are other contests similiar to the "global cooling prize" out there? Would be interesting to see. Thanks

    • Official Post

    I think they ought to call this the 'global air conditioning prize'. I'm sorry to say that I think this is just a sticking plaster solution. Why some finalists - big profitable companies -need innovation prize money to make better products is totally beyond me. As for the global part, AC is only used in rich parts of the world, 90% of the poor have no power to run it or money to buy it.

    There is a large elderly population in Florida US that is going to suffer when their AC goes out. Cooling and refrigeration needs innovation too, though at the power source mostly. We'll see what comes of this effort!

  • Correlation neither equals nor implies causation. Nor does it preclude causation, of course. Correlation is most assuredly quite often associated with causation. But as the wonderful Tyler Vigen site amply demonstrates, it takes more than correlation - even striking correlation - to establish causation.

    • Official Post

    By this September 2020, testing of finalist proto-types will begin. (that's the pre-Covid schedule)


    Have to agree with Alan S on this. Nice to have a more energy efficient ac system, but it's not going to save the planet. The award name makes it sound like a competition to cool the planet, not the inside of a home. If they really want to make a difference, there is passive technology available *NOW* that could actually get us started towards cooling the planet.

    There are all kinds of new radiant heat barrier products, cool siding paints, cool roofs, cool roof paints, cool pavements, and even cool(er) streets. Combined, they could cool down the "urban heat islands" thermostats, and have a huge overall impact on the temps across a region. Just putting reflective paint on ever rooftop alone, would make a big difference. Seems like a no-brainer...especially in warmer climates, yet most new roofs I see being installed, are still dark colored.

    Lots of off-the-shelf ideas, products available right now to start fighting back if we wanted to. Each is relatively cheap, easy to do, and better yet... it would save property owners money on their energy bills. So why have we not started doing all these things?

  • But as the wonderful Tyler Vigen site amply demonstrates, it takes more than correlation - even striking correlation - to establish causation.

    Not according to David Hume. And not in fields such as biology, where things are sometimes so complex, no one can establish causation. People can only speculate, and the speculation often turns out to be wrong. In the hot air social sciences, psychology and economics, many "explanations" turn out to be pure fantasy. Nevertheless the correlations are real, and it seems likely there is an underlying cause.

    When things are first discovered, there is never any logical causation. For example, when Pasteur discovered that bacteria causes disease and fermentation, the mechanism by which bacteria does this was a complete mystery. But no one disputed the connection. Kotch established the criteria for confirming the connection between a particular bacteria and a disease. His criteria did not include "explaining the mechanism." To take another example, when helium was discovered in the sun in 1868 (before they found it on earth!) no one could have established a causal connection to heat of the sun, and to nuclear fusion of hydrogen, because they had no idea that occurred. After Einstein they assumed that was happening, but again there was no explanation until Bethe explained it 1939. They just assumed correlation must mean causality.

    Or, take cold fusion. Do you think there is no correlation between the excess heat, the helium in the same amount as D-D fusion, and the tritium? There is, of course, no commonly agreed upon explanation for any of these three, and so there can be no logical or factual correlation. If you don't know where or why A, B or C come from, you cannot say how or why they are related. But since they all three do come from successful experiments that meet the McKubre equation parameters, I think we can say with assurance they either cause one-another or they have the same underlying cause.

    (I am assuming for the sake of argument you accept that these three are real. If you say they are experimental errors then of course there is no correlation or causation of any sort. That would be a different discussion, under the heading of "ignoring the scientific method, and pretending that widely replicated high sigma experiments have no meaning.")

  • Jed, I'm not sure what it is you are arguing about. Hume had lots of profound ideas about causality back there in the 18th century. What we call correlation he referred to as "constant conjunction" and he would have had no problem with Tyler Vigen's nonsense because he thought causation required contiguity in space and time. He wasn't into the idea of action at a distance. But indeed, it is not really possible to prove causation in the physical world. All we have are observations that whenever A happens, B ensues. If it doesn't always work that way, then probabilities come into the picture. But Hume would say that constant conjunction implies causation until and unless a different cause is identified by further observation. This is pretty much the essence of the scientific method.

    But again, I don't know what you are arguing about. You can have correlation without a causal relationship (see Vigen) so therefore correlation does not necessarily equate to causation or imply it. As Hume would agree, if two things obviously and clearly have nothing to do with one another, then one surely doesn't cause the other. Recognizing that fact has absolutely nothing to do with your various examples and does not represent a challenge either to Louis Pasteur or to whatever cold fusion experiments you are up in arms about.

    So what is it we are disagreeing about again???

  • The Kotch criteria are:

    • The bacteria must be present in every case of the disease.
    • The bacteria must be isolated from the host with the disease and grown in pure culture.
    • The specific disease must be reproduced when a pure culture of the bacteria is inoculated into a healthy susceptible host.
    • The bacteria must be recoverable from the experimentally infected host.

    In other words, correlation establishes causation. There is nothing about the mechanism here. There was no need to know how bacteria invade the body, or poison the system, or trigger a reaction.

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