LENR vs Solar/Wind, and emerging Green Technologies.

  • Let's say I develop a car that doesn't need fuel. Its so cheap to drive you will leave your gasoline powered car in the garage and use this one, naturally. However, the caveat is that it works randomly, not when you want it. The fuel-less car turns a lot of heads as you drive and you love that you don't have to pay fuel. The price was right so the first days its so fun to drive around. Then it happens. It stops working. Luckily, you didn't yet sell your old petrol powered car. So reluctantly, you get in the old beast, fire it up and go about your business. After work that day, you have a conversation with your wife, "Honey, I think I have to keep the old car, in case the new car stops working when we need it." The wife is saying that the argument you made to buy the new car was how much money you were going to save but now you have to keep two cars, two payments instead of just one. So even you are using less fossil fuels in your transportation needs, your costs just went up by factor two as you have to pay the loan and maintain two vehicles instead of one. Predictably the wife is not happy with this new setup and starts complaining why we have to pay the loan and maintenance costs on two cars instead of one. Where are these savings every news outlet in the world is talking about? Welcome to the brave new renewable world! Germany has the highest percentage of electricity powered by renewables and they also have the highest retail cost for power in the EU. This simple story explains why. Until we find a dispatchable power source, costs will never go down. The dream of cheap renewable energy is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

  • Let's say I develop a car that doesn't need fuel. Its so cheap to drive you will leave your gasoline powered car in the garage and use this one, naturally. However, the caveat is that it works randomly, not when you want it. The fuel-less car turns a lot of heads as you drive and you love that you don't have to pay fuel. The price was right so the first days its so fun to drive around. Then it happens. It stops working. Luckily, you didn't yet sell your old petrol powered car. So reluctantly, you get in the old beast, fire it up and go about your business. After work that day, you have a conversation with your wife, "Honey, I think I have to keep the old car, in case the new car stops working when we need it." The wife is saying that the argument you made to buy the new car was how much money you were going to save but now you have to keep two cars, two payments instead of just one. So even you are using less fossil fuels in your transportation needs, your costs just went up by factor two as you have to pay the loan and maintain two vehicles instead of one. Predictably the wife is not happy with this new setup and starts complaining why we have to pay the loan and maintenance costs on two cars instead of one. Where are these savings every news outlet in the world is talking about? Welcome to the brave new renewable world! Germany has the highest percentage of electricity powered by renewables and they also have the highest retail cost for power in the EU. This simple story explains why. Until we find a dispatchable power source, costs will never go down. The dream of cheap renewable energy is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

    Lots of kinks -and politics, to work out still, but green energy is going in the right direction. May take some time, but there really is no viable alternative left for humanity IMO. That is where MTI comes in...

  • This parable applies exactly the same for a petrol car. Those can stop working too, you know? In fact, they have far more ways they can fail. So therefore everyone needs two cars. A truly specious argument!

    The metaphor is good in the sense that when you depend on sun, wind or even hydro power you lack much more control than when you have a fueled power source. Barring mechanical failures (which can always be minimized with proper maintenance) you have much more control (at least in a short term) when you depend on fuels. The critical part of the metaphor is the lack of control about availability of renewables (it works most of the times but you never know when is going to be cloudy, or no wind, or when a drought will Happen).

    I certainly Hope to see LENR helping humans to blossom, and I'm here to help it happen.

  • The metaphor is good in the sense that when you depend on sun, wind or even hydro power you lack much more control than when you have a fueled power source. Barring mechanical failures (which can always be minimized with proper maintenance) you have much more control (at least in a short term) when you depend on fuels. The critical part of the metaphor is the lack of control about availability of renewables (it works most of the times but you never know when is going to be cloudy, or no wind, or when a drought will Happen).

    Having experienced the gasoline shortages in the early 70s, I would say that the idea that you have much more control when you depend on fuels is patently false. With an electric car, unless the whole grid goes down, you can always charge somewhere. And guess what? If the entire grid goes down, gas pumps aren’t going to work either.


    The notion that a renewables-based grid will be unreliable because of intermittency is silly. No grid would be established that doesn’t incorporate storage or various green forms of baseload or an intelligent power network tapping into distant sources. Fear of intermittency is scaremongering. Any realistic future grid will be protected against it. But as Texas showed recently, conventional grids can go down too because of weather.

  • The metaphor is good in the sense that when you depend on sun, wind or even hydro power you lack much more control than when you have a fueled power source. Barring mechanical failures (which can always be minimized with proper maintenance) you have much more control (at least in a short term) when you depend on fuels.

    That is incorrect. Modern weather prediction is now so good, the wind can be predicted a week in advance better than it could be a day in advance in the 1990s. For that reason, you can now know ahead of time how much power a wind farm will produce, with considerable accuracy. You can schedule maintenance for days when there will not be much wind. Alternatively, when you know there will a lot of wind, you can schedule maintenance on a fossil fuel or a nuclear plant, knowing the wind farm will substitute for the lost power.


    Furthermore, wind farms produce power in blocks of ~1 MW each (one tower). When you do maintenance, you take one tower out of service at a time. With a coal gas fired plant, you have to take hundreds of megawatts off line for several days. To refuel a nuclear plant, you have to take a gigawatt off line. Not only that, but nuclear plants sometimes go down with an emergency SCRAM event without notice. That is not often a dire or life-threatening event. It is usually caused by a plumbing problem, such as a storm at sea that causes kelp to clog up the inlet water cooling pipe. But it brings down the whole nuclear plant. Bang, 1 gigawatt gone. That never happens with a wind farm. It goes off a little at a time, in ways you can predict a week in advance. From that point of view, it is actually more reliable and predictable than fossil fuel or a nuke.

  • Alternatively, when you know there will a lot of wind, you can schedule maintenance on a fossil fuel or a nuclear plant, knowing the wind farm will substitute for the lost power.

    The point I am trying to make is that every kind of generator has a degree of unreliability. Also, every type has to be deliberately turned off from time to time for maintenance. So, if you had nothing but coal plants, you would still need more generating capacity than the peak capacity, because coal plants must be turned off from time to time. With a 1 GW nuclear plant, you need 1 GW of other capacity on standby, ready to be deployed rapidly, because nuclear plants sometimes shut down abruptly with a SCRAM event. Even if that only happens once a year, you still need the 1 GW on standby.


    Nuclear plants have to be refuelled every 18 to 24 months. Refuelling takes about 30 days. So, every couple of years you need 1 GW of capacity for 30 days. This is not because nuclear power is "unreliable" or "unpredictable." It is just the nature of the technology. It requires 100% standby capacity. That is not to say that if you had only 10 nuclear plants, you would need 10 others on standby. I suppose you would need 1 or 2. But most states and most power companies have only 1 on their grid, so they need ~1 GW of other capacity on standby. If nuclear plants were smaller, and came in 200 MW units, a power company might have 5 scattered around the state, instead of one big 1000 MW unit. Five of them in different geographical locations would not likely SCRAM at the same time, except in an earthquake. So you would not need as much standby capacity.


    People opposed to wind power say it is not good because it needs 100% standby capacity. Actually, it doesn't, except on rare occasions, but other sources of electricity do.


    Here is a graph of nuclear plant outages and refuelling:


    https://www.eia.gov/todayinene…%20reactor%20is%20offline.


    QUOTE:


    "Electric generation capacity losses as a result of U.S. nuclear plant outages were relatively low during much of the 2018 summer, averaging 2.8 gigawatts (GW) from June through August. This year’s seasonal maintenance and refueling cycle began earlier than in recent years, and total nuclear outages averaged 14.5 GW in the last week of September. The earlier-than-expected retirement of the Oyster Creek Generating Station and a temporary plant shutdown related to Hurricane Florence also increased outages in September."

  • The metaphor is good in the sense that when you depend on sun, wind or even hydro power you lack much more control than when you have a fueled power source.

    Nope. Not so much anymore. Modern weather forecasting does not give you control, but it does tell you what is coming far enough in advance to plan for it. Furthermore, even with fuel there are unanticipated interruptions, and fully anticipated, unavoidable ones such as maintenance. Further furthermore, customer demand cannot be anticipated or controlled. Hot weather will increase the demand for air conditioning. In that sense, weather affects coal fired electricity in ways the power company cannot control, albeit only on the demand side, not in both supply and demand.


    It happens that in many parts of the U.S., such as the southwest, solar power increases just when you need it most, for air conditioning. It automatically adjusts to demand. Wind, coal and nuclear power do not.


    Most of the control problems with wind and solar can be ameliorated with massive battery storage. The problem is, that costs a ton of money. Also, it should be noted that massive battery storage also improves the performance of fossil fuel systems, but evening out demand and cutting peak demand.

  • ost of the control problems with wind and solar can be ameliorated with massive battery storage. The problem is, that costs a ton of money. Also, it should be noted that massive battery storage also improves the performance of fossil fuel systems, but evening out demand and cutting peak demand


    A more modern DC supergrid would also help. The wind is always blowing and the sun always shining somewhere in the Americas.

  • Solar Screw Piles.


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    Off Topic but interesting Video on

    the history of the Alberta Oil Sands.

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  • A more modern DC supergrid would also help. The wind is always blowing and the sun always shining somewhere in the Americas.

    A DC supergrid, OR superconducting cables!


    Indeed the wind is always blowing somewhere. The warm air has to go somewhere. North American wind farms are spread out far enough apart that some of them will produce electricity.


    The wind is always blowing somewhere around Hawaii or Japan as well, but it might be out to sea, whereas North America is so big it will be somewhere on land. In fact, it is a sure thing it will be somewhere in the middle of the continent between Texas and northern Canada. Wind distribution is not uniform. There are natural rivers of wind. See the purple areas in the map here:


    https://www.eia.gov/energyexpl…nd-power-is-harnessed.php


    Many years ago, when wind power was beginning to expand, I read a critique by a know-it-all physicist who said "the average wind speed is so low wind can never produce significant amounts of electricity at a reasonable cost." He did not realize that wind does blow on average the same everywhere. On a continental scale, it blows a great deal in some places, and hardly at all in other places. More locally, it is channeled by geographic features such as mountain ranges. There is a great deal more wind at sea than on land, which is why all ocean transportation up to around 1840 was wind powered, with sailing ships. It was powerful enough to move millions of tons of people and goods across every ocean, and to move a significant fraction of the European population to the Americas. We sometimes forget that we are now living through the second global-scale wind energy era.


    The total energy in wind is the same as the total energy of solar heat that does not immediately reflect back into space. All solar heat eventually dissipates as moving air molecules. That's a lotta energy!

  • Many years ago, when wind power was beginning to expand, I read a critique by a know-it-all physicist who said "the average wind speed is so low wind can never produce significant amounts of electricity at a reasonable cost.

    Similar statement:


    “There is not the slightest indication that [nuclear energy] will ever be obtainable. It would mean that the atom would have to be shattered at will,” Einstein told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on December 29, 1934.

  • From a think-tank I follow...


    SPOTLIGHT: NEW FROM RETHINKX

    New Report: The Great Stranding: How Inaccurate Mainstream LCOE Estimates are Creating a Trillion-Dollar Bubble in Conventional Energy Assets


    For at least a decade, mainstream energy analysts have ignored real market data, just as the credit rating agencies ignored real housing market data. As a result, over $2.2 trillion has been invested in conventional power plants worldwide based in part on erroneous assumptions about future output and therefore the cost of electricity and that number is growing. This new research reveals prospective conventional electricity power plants have become overly inflated in value likely because virtually all mainstream analysts calculate the “Levelized Cost of Energy” (LCOE) on which investors, policymakers, regulators and civic leaders make decisions based on the false assumption that any newly-built power plant will be utilized at a high and constant rate year after year, and, in the case of coal, natural gas and hydro, at much higher rates than what historical market data shows. As a result, when corrected for the real output, the real levelized costs of electricity from these conventional power plants are much higher than these agencies have projected. For instance, the EIA and others have assumed and continue to assume that coal power plants will have an unrealistically high and constant capacity factor of 85% for the entire 40-year technical life of the facility, through 2060. In fact, the average capacity factor for coal power plants in the U.S. has declined dramatically, from 67% in 2010 to just above 40% in 2020. The same is true for gas and hydro.

    By severely overestimating how much electricity conventional power plants will be able to sell during the 2020s and 2030s, they have drastically underestimated how much each unit of electricity will cost, and thereby misrepresented both the value and risk of conventional energy investments. Without correction, unrealistic LCOE figures will continue to drive investment into conventional power and the global financial bubble around conventional energy assets could grow by several trillion dollars more over the next decade as solar, wind and battery costs continue their dramatic decline, outcompeting conventional power plants, whose output continues to decline while their costs continue to rise. The total cost of a new solar or wind power plant is already below just the operating cost of conventional generation such as gas, coal and nuclear. That means, even if building a conventional power plant costs nothing, it is still more expensive – based on operating costs alone – than a solar or wind plant.

    Once the divergence between erroneous LCOE and real levelized costs become impossible for incumbents to deny, the stranding of assets resulting from financial market corrections will be swift, and trillions invested by pension, retirement and endowment funds could become worthless.

  • This is in great part due to the speculative nature of the investment decision making process in the energy sector, always a gamble expecting bigger returns by market volatility than by the actual production of energy. All bubbles are driven by the same spirit, all crashes could have been prevented by a dose of common sense.

    I certainly Hope to see LENR helping humans to blossom, and I'm here to help it happen.

  • No Wind Turbines.


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  • https://www.renewableenergywor…-to-zero-carbon-emissions


    The US electric power sector is halfway to zero carbon emissions


    QUOTE:


    Renewable energy’s rapid growth is accelerating a national shift to a carbon-free electric power system.


    So far 17 states plus Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico have adopted laws or executive orders setting goals for reaching 100% clean electricity by 2050 or sooner. And 46 U.S. utilities have pledged to go carbon-free. Now the Biden administration and some members of Congress are proposing to decarbonize the power sector by 2035.


    While this much change in 15 years seems ambitious, our new report, “Halfway to Zero,” looks back at the past 15 and finds that power sector emissions are half of what they were projected to be.


    We analyzed the “business as usual” projection in the 2005 Annual Energy Outlook published by the Energy Information Administration, the U.S. government’s official agency for data collection and analysis. It projected that annual carbon dioxide emissions from the electric power sector would rise from 2,400 million to 3,000 million metric tons from 2005 to 2020.


    Instead, they fell to 1,450 million metric tons – 52% below projected levels. In short, the U.S. electricity sector has managed to march halfway to zero in just 15 years. . . .



    Wind and solar power dramatically outperformed expectations, delivering 13 times more generation in 2020 than projected. Emission-free nuclear generation largely held steady. . . .



    These shifts have delivered many benefits. Total electric bills for consumers were 18% lower in 2020 than the Energy Information Administration had previously projected, saving households US$86 billion per year. . . .


    Technical report:

    Abstract

    Sharply reducing carbon emissions is imperative to prevent the worst effects of climate change. Yet even in the power sector—often viewed as the lynchpin to economy-wide decarbonization, and where low-carbon solutions are increasingly plentiful and cost-effective—the pace and scale of the required transformation can be daunting. A review of historical trends, however, shows the progress the power sector has already made in reducing emissions. Fifteen years ago, many business-as-usual projections anticipated that annual carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from power supply in the United States would reach 3,000 million metric tons (MMT) in 2020. In fact, direct power-sector CO2 emissions in 2020 were 1,450 MMT—roughly 50% below the earlier projections. By this metric, in only 15 years the country’s power sector has gone halfway to zero emissions. Other metrics also evolved differently than projected: total consumer electricity costs (i.e., bills) were 18% lower; costs to human health and the climate were 92% and 52% lower, respectively; and the number of jobs in electricity generation was 29% higher. Economic, technical, and policy factors contributed to this success, including sectoral changes, energy efficiency, wind and solar, continued operations of the nuclear fleet, and coal-to-gas fuel switching. . . .