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Published on December 22nd, 2012 | by Jake Richardson

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25 Nuclear Power Plants Could Be Replaced By Geothermal In Japan

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December 22nd, 2012 by  

 
Stefan Larus Stefansson, Iceland’s ambassador to Japan, recently gave a lecture in Tokyo about the very high geothermal potential in Japan. He said that if Japan were to invest in fully realizing its geothermal potential, the country could replace 25 nuclear reactors.

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He used his home country as an example of geothermal success because about two-thirds of the country’s energy comes from this renewable, stable source. Japan has the world’s third-highest geothermal potential but has not been pursuing its development nearly as much as it could be.

Ironically, it was the nation’s focus on nuclear power that caused this lack of attention for geothermal development. It isn’t as if Japan is missing the technical knowledge required for geothermal installations either. They actually make the turbines Iceland uses for its geothermal plants. As a percentage of total power, developing countries like Kenya and El Salvador have more geothermal power than Japan.

In the colder areas of Japan, where there is also good geothermal potential, residents typically heat their homes with kerosene. In Iceland, heat for
over 90% of the homes comes from geothermal sources. Switching to geothermal in Japan is technically feasible and the nation has the natural resources available to do so. It could generate clean energy, create jobs, and reduce carbon emissions in the process. Also, because it produces geothermal turbines, it could grow this production and become one of the world’s top exporters.

One concern with geothermal has been disruption of natural habitats when the site is located within a national park. A large hot springs in Iceland called the Blue Lagoon, however, has shown it is possible to have many visitors and retain respect for the environment. It has been reported Iceland has saved about $7.2 billion since 1970 by its use of geothermal power. One of its first geothermal pioneers was a farmer who used it to help run his farm beginning in 1908.

 Image Credit: 663highland, Wiki Commons

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Hello, I have been writing online for some time, and enjoy the outdoors. If you like, you can follow me on Google Plus.



  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bruce-Miller/100000952005408 Bruce Miller

    ALL: based on the amazing American “cashes-toute” term “nuclear” to misguide, misdirect misinform, distort, re-route, logic dis-locator, misnomer, obfuscate, and generally deflect blame!
    Nuclear Term
    “Nuclear” does not mean the same thing as “primitive, 1950′s American enriched Uranium fissioning designs”. Fact is, China has already vastly improved designs. Google Tsinghua University China, Pebble Bed Gas Reactors – to see some of what little they are willing to reveal to the West. Google CANDU reactors – found now in China operating on Thorium fuel. See wwwtheoildrum.com/node/4971 for a peak into Thorium LFTR-reactors successful in U.S. long ago. Understand that “nuclear” is a sweeping collective and near meaningless term.
    We certainly see the end of inefficient, poorly thought out, humanocidal waste producing, enriched Uranium fueled, plutonium producing, American, pressure pot, reactor designs.(Stolen, replicated by Russians) We hardly explain just what type of reactor Bill Gates and his company are developing outside the ‘American Nuclear Establishment Umbrella’, in China! Western World hubris would paint a picture of ‘White Western Science Supremacy’ here, and falsely so. Beware: the Pan Eurasian reality closes in quickly on Western technologies, science, and will soon exceed the Western idioms. Nuclear – a generic term, not applicable only to enriched uranium ‘pressure pot’ fission?
    Thorium Facts:
    (See:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5UT2yYs5YJs)
    (See:http://www.investmentu.com/2011/September/thorium-the-future-of-nuclear-power.html)
    (www.theoildrum.com/node/4971)
    http://singularityhub.com/2012/12/11/norway-begins-four-year-test-of-thorium-nuclear-reactor/
    http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/bulletin/son-of-chinas-ex-president-thorium-will-help-shape-countrys-energy-future/7269?tag=search-river
    Expect Japan to opt for Chinese Thorium reactors very soon. Expect the Pan Eurasian Alli9ances to follow suit, binding them economically and forming even Empire status this 21st Century.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Bruce, please save me some time and energy.

      Where, exactly, is the Chinese reactor running on thorium?

      What do we know about construction and operating costs?

      And please save us the YouTube “proof”. As well as all the other unproven ideas. Let’s stick with what is proven. OK?

  • http://www.facebook.com/GreenSpiralDragon Jamie Clemons

    Great idea use that geothermal energy and prevent more Fukushima s.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bruce-Miller/100000952005408 Bruce Miller

    Offshore Wind? Tidal? Wave? Solar? Geothermal? even just Tokyo’s sewage, humanure, anaerobically digested for methane? Fertilizer sales from processed urine? Chinese/Norwegian/Indian Thorium LFTR reactors? love Japanese products, Hondas, electronics, will certainly miss you if you can’t resolve this soon. Chinese stuff looking better every day in Canada? The day the Walkman died, a prelude to more bad news? I hope not.

  • http://www.biodiversivist.com Russ Finley

    He used his home country as an example of geothermal success because about two-thirds of the country’s energy comes from …geothermal

    The city of Honolulu has a larger population that the country of Iceland.

    Population Iceland =319 thousand, Japan = 128 million

    One concern with geothermal has been disruption of natural habitats when the site is located within a national park

    Real environmentalists know that you can’t allow the gradual encroachment on what remains of natural ecosystems. That is why we have to continue to hold the line on the Arctic national wildlife refuge, why we can’t allow anymore windmill farms in raptor or bat migration corridors, solar power plants in desert tortoise habitat, biofuel plantations and on and on. Nature is being destroyed by millions of small cuts like these. The pressure to go after resources that are found in natural ecosystems is on-going and will never end. It should be resisted, not promoted.

    • Bob_Wallace

      The choices are not that clear cut, Russ.

      If we do not get fossil fuels out of our energy mix then we will wipe out the vast majority of existing desert tortoise habitat.

      We need to site wind/solar/geothermal/hydro/tidal generation in ways to cause as little damage as possible. But we almost certainly are going to have to use some of our deserts and range lands for clean energy.

    • http://www.biodiversivist.com Russ Finley

      Bob Wallace said:

      The choices are not that clear cut, Russ.

      Actually, they are that clear cut, Bob. You missed the point entirely. Your stance is exactly the same as those who want to degrade the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to get the energy there, or those promoting Pebble Mine for the gold and copper.

      The only difference is what you want to extract.

      If we do not get fossil fuels out of our energy mix then we will wipe out the vast majority of existing desert tortoise habitat.

      We don’t need to destroy anymore of what remains of our ecosystems to wean ourselves off of fossil fuels.

      We need to site wind/solar/geothermal/hydro/tidal generation oil wells, gas wells, palm oil plantations, dams, in ways to cause as little damage as possible

      That is the same argument used by palm oil purveyors and those who are building dams all through the Amazon basin. Usurping what remains of our ecosystems to wean ourselves off fossil fuels is a cure worse than the disease.

      But we almost certainly are going to have to use some of our deserts and range lands for clean energy

      The article is promoting the degradation of nature preserves for energy production, not renting denuded and degraded cow pasture for solar and wind farms. I will pass your support on to those wanting to drill in the ANWR, dam the Amazon basin …

      Photo by http://www.flickr.com/photos/geothermalresourcescouncil/

      • Bob_Wallace

        Now here’s some more about the amount of wind generation on line in Europe and how fast it is being installed…

        “n September 2012, the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA)
        announced that the EU had reached an important milestone in wind energy development, passing the 100 GW mark for installed wind power capacity. According to the organization, 100 GW of wind power can generate electricity over a year to meet the total consumption of 57 million households, equivalent to the power production of 39 nuclear power plants.

        It took the European wind energy sector twenty years to get the first 10 GW grid connected but in only 13 years it added the additional 90 GW, with 45 GW of the total European wind power capacity having been installed over the past six years.

        EWEA explained that 100 GW of wind power can produce the same amount of electricity over a year as:

        • 62 coal power plants, or
        • 39 nuclear power plants, or
        • 52 gas power plants.”
        http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2012/12/wind-in-2012-booming-in-north-america-tops-100-gw-in-europe

        Please notice that the comparison at the end is based on produced power and not nameplate capacity.

      • Bob_Wallace

        Bogus, Russ.

        There is no perfectly clean, non-destructive way to get ourselves off fossil fuels.

        Please do not misrepresent my position.

        • http://www.biodiversivist.com Russ Finley

          Bogus, Bob

          Because there is no perfectly clean non-destructive way to get ourselves off fossil fuels …they are all equal? It’s a matter of degree. We have to weigh the pros and the cons. What would be the point of debate if corn ethanol = dams in Amazon = geothermal …

          As an example, corn ethanol is worse in the aggregate than gasoline.

          Your position wasn’t misrepresented. I was using hyperbole, and you know it.

          • Bob_Wallace

            No, they are not all equal.

            You can start with availability, not all resources are available in all places. Nevada has a lot of geothermal and zero tidal.

            Solar is better matched to demand than is wind and can be installed closer to point of use, both of which make it cheaper to integrate even though its LCOE might be higher than wind.

            We are doing tremendous damage to the planet right now with coal, from the mining with mountain top removal and stream destruction through the toxic substances and CO2 emissions. Wind turbine foundations mess up some land but pale in comparison to coal.

            The task ahead is to find the fastest, cheapest and least destructive/hazardous ways to replace fossil fuel. We will break some eggs….

      • http://www.biodiversivist.com Russ Finley

        Bob Wallace said:

        No, they are not all equal.

        My response addressing your remark “There is
        no perfectly clean, non-destructive way to get ourselves off fossil fuels.”
        was rhetorical.

        You can start with availability, not all
        resources are available in all places. Nevada has a lot of geothermal and zero tidal.

        What are we debating? I agree that solar and wind have a place in our energy mix.

        You can start with availability, not all resources are available in all places. Seattle has a lot of precipitation, rain in the lowlands and snow in the mountains. My Leaf is for the most part powered by precipitation via existing hydro. Solar makes little economic sense in Seattle. Hydro makes little sense in Phoenix.

        Seattle and parts of Germany have very similar solar irradiance.
        Solar doesn’t make much economic sense in Germany either.

        We are doing tremendous damage to the
        planet right now with coal, from the mining with mountain top removal and stream destruction through the toxic substances and CO2 emissions.

        You’re expending an inordinate amount of time stating things
        we both obviously agree on. But since you brought it up let me reiterate that Germany has opted to keep its coal while attempting to displace its zero carbon cost effective nuclear with wind and solar.

        Wind turbine foundations mess up some
        land but pale in comparison to coal.

        Again, I agree that solar and wind have a place in our
        energy mix. I’m not interested in debating the pros and cons of wind power here and I’m certainly not defending coal but why don’t you take a shot at calculating the geographical footprint of wind and coal per unit energy produced. I’m pretty sure you will find that your above statement is not accurate, not that it is particularly releveant. I suspect that wind turbines also kill a lot more birds and bats per unit energy produced that coal does.

        The task ahead is to find the fastest, cheapest and least destructive/hazardous ways to replace fossil fuel.

        Exactly. And replacing your competitively priced, amortized,
        low carbon nuclear instead of your coal with renewable energy is neither the fastest, nor the cheapest way to accomplish that goal.

        We will break some eggs….

        Translation: We should not use nuclear in our energy mix to
        help mitigate the encroachment on nature with our geothermal, biofuels, windmills, dams, and solar farms. We should break as few eggs as possible. Excluding nuclear from the mix is not the best way to accomplish that goal, assuming it can be accomplished without nuclear.

        • Bob_Wallace

          “Seattle and parts of Germany have very similar solar irradiance.”

          Go east just a bit from Settle and there is a lot of sunshine. Parts of Germany are not like Seattle.

          “Solar doesn’t make much economic sense in Germany either.”

          The relatively small amount of solar already on the German grid has pushed down their cost of electricity. On sunny days the midday price peak disappears and power costs drop to late night levels.

          ” Germany has opted to keep its coal”

          Germany is reducing the total amount of coal generation it has on its grid. It is bringing on more efficient plants and closing a larger number of less efficient plants. Germany decided that getting rid of nuclear was their foremost priority and that they would hang on to some coal a while longer than they had planned to do.

          Germany also needs some insurance against Russia cutting off their natural gas supply.

          ” replacing your competitively priced, amortized,
          low carbon nuclear instead of your coal with renewable energy is neither the fastest, nor the cheapest way to accomplish that goal”

          German citizens decided to pay something extra to get the danger of nuclear out of their neighborhoods. They are comfortable with that decision.

          That will somewhat slow German’s movement to very low CO2 levels, but they are way ahead of us so I don’t think we have a right to criticize.

          “why don’t you take a shot at calculating the geographical footprint of wind and coal per unit energy produced”

          Because I’m not interested. Coal, in the US, is a dead man walking.

          Wind has a very small geographical footprint. Some people make a misleading argument based on the area of wind farms. The actual area used for turbines is less than 2% of the typical farm area, the other 98% of the land is still available for prior use (grazing, agriculture, wildlife).
          Here’s something on bird deaths for you to read…
          http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/05/31/492467/myths-and-facts-about-wind-power-debunking-foxs-abysmal-wind-coverage/
          My stance on nuclear is that we should continue to use those existing plants which are determined to be in excellent operating condition. As long as they can be competitive. I would make an exception for Indian Point and any other reactors that are sited where we could not reasonably evacuate the area during a disaster.

          And I would also like a financial analysis of the cost of abandoning the area around existing plants. Let’s look at the gain from the reactor’s power vs. the potential loss resulting from wiping out the surrounding real estate. Building more renewable generation might be cheap insurance.

          We’re almost certainly going to see existing reactors close as some are having trouble staying in business now. Some are closing.
          *
          http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/24/business/energy-environment/economics-forcing-some-nuclear-plants-into-retirement.html?_r=1 *
          *
          *
          *If paid off reactors are struggling then it should be quite clear that a newly built reactor with loans to service can’t provide *competitively*priced electricity.
          *
          http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/24/business/energy-environment/economics-forcing-some-nuclear-plants-into-retirement.html?_r=1

        • http://www.biodiversivist.com Russ Finley

          Bob Wallace said:

          Go east just a bit from Settle and there is a lot of sunshine.

          That is irrelevant when talking about rooftop photo voltaic and Seattle is hundreds of miles away from that intermittent source of sunshine.

          Parts of Germany are not like Seattle.

          Yes, I know, which is why I said that the solar irradiance in Seattle is similar to parts of Germany. That comparison is a ubiquitous selling point with solar installers around here. From a local solar installer website:

          Germany, which actually gets less sunlight than we do here in the Northwest, has installed over 50% of the world’s solar photovoltaic panels …

          Bob Wallace said:

          The relatively small amount of solar already on the German grid has pushed down their cost of electricity.

          …on sunny days, for a handful of hours.
          I pay about 10 cents per kWh. Germans pay about 32 cents per kWh according to an article in the NYT Energy Price Increases Pose Challenge for Merkel
          You took my quote “Germany has opted to keep its coal” out of context. I’m going to put it back into context: “Germany has opted to keep its coal while attempting to displace its zero carbon cost effective nuclear with wind and solar.”

          .. and that they would hang on to some coal a while longer than they had planned to do.

          You sound like an apologist for coal. Translation: Germany kept its coal, got rid of its low carbon nuclear.

          Germany also needs some insurance against Russia cutting off their natural gas supply.

          If that’s true, it would largely be true because they have shut down nuclear, which nullifies the above as an argument in support of coal. It is an argument against shutting down nuclear.

          German citizens decided to pay something extra to get the danger of nuclear out of their neighborhoods. They are comfortable with that decision.
          You said that twice in earlier posts and thanks for highlighting the irrational aspect of that decision. Nuclear is far less dangerous than say, the 240 volt supply line to their metal conductive electric stoves and hot water heaters. Many thousands of people are electrocuted around the world annually. Or the natural gas furnaces in their homes. Many thousands around the world are killed by carbon monoxide poisoning annually.

          That will somewhat slow German’s movement to very low CO2 levels,

          France, where they get roughly 70% of their electricity from nuclear, emits half the CO2 of Germany.

          …but they are way ahead of us

          I’m stepping on my own posts but see the earlier one that talks about a recent study by the NREL in their 80% renewable scenario by 2050 suggests that only 13% of our electric energy will come from solar.

          …so I don’t think we have a right to criticize.

          Good luck with that, Bob, but as American citizens, we literally have the right to criticize.

          Coal, in the US, is a dead man walking.

          Well, let us hope but if you think that is so because wind-enhanced shale gas power and rooftop solar photo voltaic will scale to replace it, you are at odds with the NREL study.

          Wind has a very small geographical footprint.

          Maybe you should come back to this topic after calculating the footprint per unit energy produced for coal and wind.

          Some people make a misleading argument based on the area of wind farms.

          I’m not one of them and as I said before, I’m not interested in debating the pros and cons of wind-enhanced shale gas power here.

          Here’s something on bird deaths for you to read…

          I’ve read all there is to read on wind turbine bird and bat deaths. It isn’t something that should be trivialized.

          My stance on nuclear is that we should continue to use those existing plants which are determined to be in excellent operating condition.

          Yeah, well that would be all of them. Do you feel equally qualified to deem which airliners are fit to fly, or are you OK trusting the lives of millions of people blasting through rarified subzero air near the speed of sound in a paper thin aluminum tube operated by a corporation with razor thin profit margins to a government agency charged with their safety (the FAA)?

          As long as they can be competitive.

          If it were not for the low cost of fossil fuels relative to renewables and nuclear, all of our energy would be coming from nuclear and renewables. Renewables are even less competitive than nuclear in that regard. The cost arguments against nuclear are the same ones against renewables –competition from fossil fuels.

          I would make an exception for Indian Point and any other reactors that are sited where we could not reasonably evacuate the area during a disaster.

          As with airliner safety, I think decisions like that are best left to those charged with making them.Do you lose sleep over the potential for large dams to fail?

          And I would also like a financial analysis of the cost of abandoning the area around existing plants. Let’s look at the gain from the reactor’s power vs. the potential loss resulting from wiping out the surrounding real estate.

          Cost analysis based on potential things that could go wrong, regardless of the probability, is nonsensical.

          Building more renewable generation might be cheap insurance.

          I’m all for new renewable. Your stance against nuclear is what makes little sense.

          We’re almost certainly going to see existing reactors close as some are having trouble staying in business now. Some are closing. If paid off reactors are struggling then it should be quite clear that a newly built reactor with loans to service can’t …

          That’s the free market for you. According to your links, they are not all struggling. And according to your links, as I said before, the competition is coming from cheaper natural gas, not renewables and those cheaper fuels are also hurting renewables ability to compete.

    • http://www.biodiversivist.com Russ Finley

      Bob Wallace said:

      Germany will likely build
      more NG plants, but those are, unlike coal, dispatchable and …

      To borrow a phrase or two, Ahooga! Ahooga! Ahooga! Incorrect information alert!

      As the link provided by Energy Guy attests, coal
      power plants can be designed to be dispatchable
      . So can
      nuclear for that matter. There simply hasn’t been an economic incentive
      to design them that way until now.

      Bob Wallace said:

      German citizens want nothing more to do with nuclear.

      The vast majority of American citizens don’t buy the theory of evolution.
      Does that mean we should teach creationism in our science classes? The German people have an irrational fear, thanks to propaganda from
      anti-nuclear groups, of their low carbon nuclear energy and have chosen
      to increase CO2 emissions by shutting them down instead of coal plants.
      There isn’t anything particularly noble about ignorance and irrational
      fear.

      Bob Wallace said:

      I see nothing in it about Germany building more coal plants above the 11.3 gigawatts I reported above

      There are a lot things the article didn’t say, but it did say:

      If coal manages to replace gas as the flexible energy source which can compensate for fluctuations in the power supply, then more than one gas-fired plant may go bankrupt. Paradoxically, Germany would likely then end up emitting more CO2 overall.

      Bob Wallace said:

      We still have to develop affordable storage … Germany is also working on pump-up hydro which will help them further reduce fossil fuel use… we’re may well have affordable storage which would greatly cut the need for fossil fuel fill-in.

      May I borrow another of your phrases?

      Fail.

      Affordable storage would not necessarily reduce fossil fuel use because it would also make existing coal power plants more dispatchable (nuclear as well). Let me give you an example. If affordable storage arrived, a
      nuclear plant could store energy with it when wind and solar are strong,
      then instantly release it as peaking power to compensate for clouds and
      becalmed windmills.

      Bob Wallace said:

      …and until we do the best we can do is to use wind/solar when available and fill in with fossil fuels. It’s a heck of a lot better than using fossilfuels all the time.

      It would have been a lot more efficient for the Germans to replace their coal plants with renewable energy instead of replacing their zero carbon amortized nuclear power plants first. Read the Forbes article: “Germany– Insane Or Just Plain Stupid?”

      Bob Wallace said:

      Of course solar, wind and wave are also ways to bring safe and affordable nuclear energy to the grid. And very quick to install

      Reality check. Take a look at the picture below. That’s a very recent estimate to install solar my own home. Many things are not included in that price, like a new grid build out, expansion of peaking power plants, the shutting down of paid for nuclear power plants, the fact that my roof is oriented East West and on and on.

      • Bob_Wallace

        That’s a lot of stuff, Russ. I’ll try not to miss any.

        Yes, coal and nuclear can be load following to some extent. Calling them dispatchable it going a bit too far. But the important thing is to look at capex and time to build. Utilities are going to build NG plants to fill in for wind and solar.

        It doesn’t matter if you think the German or Swiss or Belgium or Japanese people have an irrational fear of nuclear. All of them have watched reactors melt down in their neighborhoods. They have decided to get nuclear out of their countries. The citizens of Germany took at look at the cost of getting nuclear off their grid and said “Fine, we’ll pay it. Shut the reactors down.”

        And if you want to build a new reactor in the US you will find it very difficult to find places where the community will accept them. Remember, those sites will have to have ample supplies of cooling water. Recall how the extended drought is drying up even the Mighty Mississippi? Think coastal sites willing to host nuclear reactors.

        Coal won’t end up replacing gas. It goes the other way round. Again, check overnight cost and time to bring on line. Germany is apparently allowing itself some coal since they have to depend on Russia for gas. They also started construction on those plants several years ago before new gas extraction techniques were developed. If shale gas is developed in Europe I would expect things to change.

        Coal and nuclear are simply too expensive to consider. I’m talking about new plants, not older paid off plants. Those old plants will not last forever. We cannot build new coal/nuclear generation for anything close to the price of wind + NG. Solar is quickly moving down the price of wind and NG.

        Germany is installing solar at $2/watt. I really don’t care what your personal costs might be. German prices tell us that solar is getting very cheap. $2/watt in much of the US brings the LCOE of solar under $0.10/kWh making it considerably cheaper than new coal or nuclear. The US is installing utility scale PV for $2.40/watt so we’re getting there.

      • http://www.biodiversivist.com Russ Finley

        Bob Wallace said:

        Yes, coal and nuclear can be load following to some extent.

        Let me clarify that statement. Some existing coal and nuclear plants designed primarily for baseload are capable of limited load following. That is primarily because baseload was the most economical use for them …it is what they were designed for. Using gas turbines or diesel generators for baseload is not economically competitive.

        Calling them dispatchable it going a bit too far

        Dispatchability is a matter of degree, from zero (for a large baseload coal plant) to 100% (for a diesel generator). The article in the link you posted said that the new German coal plant designs are capable of ramping all the way down to 10%. That is a significant degree of dispachability, making them comparable to many natural gas power plants. It pays to read articles you link to. You never know when your debate partner will read one.

        But the important thing is to look at capex and time to build. Utilities are going to build NG plants to fill in for wind and solar.

        That is not “the” important thing. That is just one of hundreds of variables to consider for investors. Nuclear power plants, the ones quietly humming along producing 20 percent of the electric power (and virtually all of our low carbon electricity) to the most energy hungry nation on Earth at competitive prices, tend to pay for themselves many times over, in part because they tend to have long life spans (typically two to three times that of a windmill or solar panel).

        Investors are leery of making large up-front investments that could take decades to pay off. That’s understandable in light of the low price of natural gas today, which by the way, is a non-renewable fossil fuel and major source of GHG emissions, never mind the fracking issues.

        This is why the DOE is funding the development of small modular reactors that can be dropped into the grid where it would be most cost effective, especially a grid that is attempting to maximize the use of renewables.

        It doesn’t matter if you think the German or Swiss or Belgium or Japanese people have an irrational fear of nuclear.

        It does matter because it explains why the Germans and Japanese are attempting to do it–irrational fear and ignorance. It’s important to understand that. Admittedly, irrational fear and ignorance has led many countries in modern history to do much worse things.

        All of them have watched reactors melt down in their neighborhoods. They have decided to get nuclear out of their countries.

        That’s not particularly rational when you consider that Germany remains surrounded by nuclear reactors in neighboring countries. The magnitude 9 quake induced 30 meter high tsunami meltdown didn’t kill anyone at all. By reducing their profitable export of low carbon nuclear energy to neighbors, they are forcing them to turn to dirtier sources. It’s a shell game. The Germans are less interested in global warming than they are in alleviating their irrational fears.

        The citizens of Germany took at look at the cost of getting nuclear off their grid and said “Fine, we’ll pay it. Shut the reactors down.”

        God bless Democracy but let’s hope the teaching of creationism never comes to a vote here. I’m betting they will compromise (the backbone of Democracy) on that decision over time as the costs continue to rise. Nuclear is an affordable and safe source of low carbon energy. If in the end Germany and Japan fail and continue to have the highest energy costs, with growing GHG emissions, the experiment may end up buoying nuclear energy around the world. Time will tell.

        And if you want to build a new reactor in the US you will find it very difficult to find places where the community will accept them.

        Define “very difficult.” Here’s a link to an article titled The Town That Wants America’s Worst Atomic Waste.

        And here is one titled Population rises near US reactors.

        Remember, those sites will have to have ample supplies of cooling water. Recall how the extended drought is drying up even the Mighty Mississippi? Think coastal sites willing to host nuclear reactors.

        Coastal sites are common. Certainly there is no shortage of sea water. All thermal power plants need to cool the low temperature steam that has given up most of its energy to a turbine, including biomass fired and solar thermal power plants. This can be accomplished for a price with air cooling towers, or for less cost by borrowing water from a natural source and returning most of it, losing some to steam where it joins the biosphere’s natural water cycle.

        Coal won’t end up replacing gas. It goes the other way round.

        You don’t know that. It will if it can do the same thing cheaper. Again, it was the article you linked to about the German coal plants that suggests it may win the competition.

        If shale gas is developed in Europe I would expect things to change.

        Shale gas is also a non-renewable fossil fuel and major source of GHG emissions, never mind the fracking issues.

        Coal and nuclear are simply too expensive to consider. I’m talking about new plants, not older paid off plants.

        Germany is currently constructing several new coal plants.
        Also read Coal Consumption Booms Amid Rising Climate Concerns: IEA Coal Report 2012
        See what I said earlier about the DOE funding of small modular nuclear reactors and upfront cost reductions.

        Those old plants will not last forever.

        Nuclear plants can last 60 years, three times as long as wind or solar, about as long as most hydro projects and many geothermal projects.

        We cannot build new coal/nuclear generation for anything close to the price of wind + NG. Solar is quickly moving down the price of wind and NG.

        See IEA report above about coal consumption boom.
        It’s important for readers to notice that you have joined wind and a fossil fuel (natural gas) at the hip. This is the correct way to assess it. Wind turbines should be viewed as a part of a natural gas power plant. Depending on how you look at it, the wind makes the fossil fuel power plant less carbon intensive, or the fossil fuel power plant is making the wind more carbon intensive.

        In the case of wind, the low cost of that fossil fuel is making it more economically competitive, but wind is still a fossil fuel dependent energy source.

        I really don’t care what your personal costs might be.

        I was hoping you would have a better response to the real world cost of solar in a Seattle, which has the same solar irradiance as many German cities.

        German prices tell us that solar is getting very cheap. $2/watt in much of the US brings the LCOE of solar under $0.10/kWh making it considerably cheaper than new coal or nuclear. The US is installing utility scale PV for $2.40/watt so we’re getting there.

        Your argument has a few missing links. Wind and solar can’t do the job alone. A recent study by the NREL in their 80% renewable scenario by 2050 suggests that only 13% of our electric energy will come from solar. Distributed solar enthusiasts (who favor photovoltaic solar panels on rooftops) will be further disappointed because according to that same report, half of that 13% will come from water-sucking centralized concentrated solar thermal power plants, many located in desert ecosystems, leaving only about 6% for solar panels on rooftops, of which many will probably not be on rooftops but in centralized power plants, probably displacing ecosystems or crops.

        And electricity represents only 40% of our energy needs. Nuclear is an ally of a low carbon grid, not a competitor.

        • Bob_Wallace

          That post is just a mess that I have no desire to dissect.

          If you’ve got points/questions please state them distinctly.

          Paragraph breaks. Quotation marks.

          • http://www.biodiversivist.com Russ Finley

            ???

          • Bob_Wallace

            When it showed up as email (which is how I generally respond) it was one run on block of text. The gray lines on the left are getting stripped out and everything is mashed together.

        • Bob_Wallace

          I’ll reply from the site page…

          ” Using gas turbines or diesel generators for baseload is not economically competitive.”

          Combined cycle gas turbines are one of our cheapest way to make electricity. We don’t use enough oil for electricity to even bother with that. It’s a special use fuel for remote places.

          I am totally aware that NG will run out one day.

          I’m very aware that some coal plants can be ramped down. I’m not aware that they are referred to as dispatchable. Load-following is more common. But that’s neither here nor there.

          If you would read the other posts I’ve made on this thread you wouldn’t be trying to tell me stuff I already know. And you would be dragging us over already plowed ground.

          ” Nuclear power plants, the ones quietly humming along producing 20 percent of the electric power (and virtually all of our low carbon electricity) to the most energy hungry nation on Earth at competitive prices, tend to pay for themselves many times over”

          New ones won’t. Some older, paid off reactors are struggling to avoid bankruptcy.

          http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/24/business/energy-environment/economics-forcing-some-nuclear-plants-into-retirement.html?_r=1

          If paid off reactors are struggling then there is no way for a new reactor to pay operating expenses and service loans.

          ” Admittedly, irrational fear and ignorance has led many countries in modern history to do much worse things.”

          It’s an irrational fear to you. To others is an unacceptable danger that they want no part of. They might well consider you irrationally unaware.

          Rational/irrational – it’s still a deal killer.

          The Germans may not be able to control reactors in their neighbor countries but they can in theirs. As can the Swiss and Belgiums. At the minimum they can keep one from melting in their own country.

          In the end Germans and Japanese will end up with the cheapest power of all. There is nothing cheaper than the output from a paid off solar panel or wind turbine.

          Did you not read the NYTimes link which states -

          “Even plants with no pressing repair problems are feeling the pinch, especially in places where wholesale prices are set in competitive markets. According to an internal industry document from the Electric Utility Cost Group, for the period 2008 to 2010, maintenance and fuel costs for the one-fourth of the reactor fleet with the highest costs averaged $51.42 per megawatt hour.

          That is perilously close to wholesale electricity costs these days.”

          http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/24/business/energy-environment/economics-forcing-some-nuclear-plants-into-retirement.html?_r=1

          Wind and solar prices will fall further making it even harder to operate a nuclear plant.

          I find your argument that there are ample sites to build a number of new nuclear plants unconvincing. It is not going to happen on the West coast. It is not going to happen on the Eastern Seaboard. Along the southern Atlantic and Gulf Coast, perhaps. But I really don’t think you realize the opposition to nuclear.

          And we apparently have significant problems with cooling in the interior. You hear about the mighty Mississippi going dry during our current drought? More and more thermal plants are going to get shut down during heat waves.

          But it doesn’t matter. Nuclear is too expensive to build.

          Your HuffPo article fails to mention that China has capped the annual amount of coal that can be burned starting in 2015.

          It fails to mention that Germany’s new coal burning plants are replacing (not adding to) the older plants that either have been or will soon be decommissioned. Moreover, by 2020, 18.5 gigawatts of coal power capacity will be decommissioned, whereas only 11.3 gigawatts will be newly installed.

          Furthermore those plants will be more efficient, releasing less CO2 per unit electricity produced than are the ones they are replacing.

          It’s an example why I quit reading stuff on HuffPo.

          The foggy, rainy coastal area of the PNW will export hydro and import wind and solar. Via the Pacific Intertie it is likely that solar will even flow up all the way from SoCal.

          ” Wind and solar can’t do the job alone.”

          With storage, they could.

          But that would not be the most cost effective solution.

          If you think it impossible then you should familiarize yourself with the Budischak paper.

          They ran simulations against four years of actual grid demand against the weather (availability of wind and solar). They found that we could power the grid from almost nothing other than wind, solar and storage. That “almost nothing” was using natural gas turbines for a total of 35 hours in four years (35,040 hours, 0.01%). Five times in four years it was necessary to call on NG for an average of seven hours each time.

          And the overall cost for electricity was approximately what we pay now for electricity.

          https://docs.google.com/file/d/1NrBZJejkUTRYJv5YE__kBFuecdDL2pDTvKLyBjfCPr_8yR7eCTDhLGm8oEPo/edit

          Theirs is a ‘worst case’ study to see if the job could be done with only wind and solar inputs.

          Obviously (I hope) the most cost effective grid would also utilize hydro, tidal, wave, geothermal, biomass, and remaining nuclear. Load shifting would pull down peak demands. Power sharing with adjacent grids would lower the amount of overbuilding and storage required.

      • http://www.biodiversivist.com Russ Finley

        As is typical, you know a debate is drawing to a close when repetition sets in. That is because debate partners never convince each other of anything. We begin repeating what we said earlier because we have a natural propensity to forget the retort that refuted it, or we repeat an earlier position because our opponent refused to address it (hoping no one would notice). Nobody ever cedes a debate. Debate is to inform an audience.

        My position is that we need to include nuclear in the low carbon energy mix and that low carbon choices should not be worse than the cure (palm or soy biofuel stock displacing grasslands or forests, tree farms displacing natural forests to feed biomass thermal power plants, usurping cropland to turn food into fuel, damming of Amazonian rivers, encroachment on existing nature preserves to extract energy from them and on and on it goes).

        Combined cycle gas turbines are one of our cheapest way to make electricity.

        I said using gas turbines or diesel generators for baseload is not economically competitive. The words “combined cycle” didn’t come from me.

        Although modern combined cycle power plants can be and are being economically used for baseload thanks to the recent natural gas price free fall, the fact that only 20% of our electric power comes from natural gas (most of which is not used as baseload) is all the evidence needed that it has not been economically competitive for generating baseload.

        The low price of gas is putting pressure on all of its competitors, wind, solar, nuclear, and coal.

        We don’t use enough oil for electricity to even bother with that. It’s a special use fuel for remote places.

        I’m repeating myself, but, yah, that’s what I said. We don’t use it to make electricity because it isn’t economically competitive for that purpose.

        I’m very aware that some coal plants can be ramped down. I’m not aware that they are referred to as dispatchable. Load-following is more common. But that’s neither here nor there.

        Strawmen just don’t work in the printed word. I said that the article you linked to claimed that the new German coal plant design can drop to 10% power, making it as dispatchable as many gas fired designs …and this is the third time I’ve said that.

        If you would read the other posts I’ve made on this thread you wouldn’t be trying to tell me stuff I already know. And you would be dragging us over already plowed ground.

        I have read your other posts. We are not covering plowed ground. I’m pretty sure you don’t want me to start addressing those posts as well. I saw your appeal to authority by quoting retired energy executives who were pessimistic about nuclear power’s future cost competitiveness. You could form a line of retired energy executives that would disappear over the horizon who would say the opposite. There is also a significant and growing list of well-respected environmental leaders who have concluded that nuclear energy needs to be part of the mix.

        New ones won’t [nuclear power plants tend to pay for themselves many times over].

        The best way to counter an out of the blue unsubstantiated opinion is to simply state one of your own to neutralize it. I’ll mark each instance with a *:

        *Yes they will.

        You would have to predict the energy trends over the life of that power plant, 40-60 years into the future to know that they would not pay off.

        Some older, paid off reactors are struggling to avoid bankruptcy.

        You gave me that NYT link already (this makes the second time) and I already read it. I will cut and paste from my response to that in the previous post:

        “That’s the free market for you. According to your links, they are not all struggling. And according to your links, as I said before, the competition is coming from cheaper natural gas, not renewables and those cheaper fuels are also hurting renewables ability to compete as well.”

        It’s an irrational fear to you. To others is an unacceptable danger that they want no part of. They might well consider you irrationally unaware.

        Bob, irrational fear is not (unlike art and religious affiliation) a matter of opinion. Fear of getting on an airplane may be real, but it is also unequivocally, because of statistics, irrational …or possibly a matter of ignorance, or both. And it’s irrelevant that someone who has a fear of flying might well consider me to be irrationally unaware. However, people who don’t fear flying on airliners are not irrationally unaware. Not an opinion. That’s a fact.

        Rational/irrational – it’s still a deal killer.

        I’m pretty sure that’s the fourth time you’ve brought that up. By deal killer, you mean there is no hope of reducing their irrational fears through education in blogs and in comment fields on the internet and in the media. It was the media that created that irrational fear. I suspect it can do much to alleviate it as well.

        The Germans may not be able to control reactors in their neighbor countries but they can in theirs. As can the Swiss and Belgiums. At the minimum they can keep one from melting in their own country.

        I saw that remark coming some time ago. Analogously, by refusing to fly on an airliner, we can all, at the minimum, keep from being in an airplane that crashes, never mind that it might still land on us.

        In the end Germans and Japanese will end up with the cheapest power of all.

        *No they won’t.

        Ideology has a terrible track record when it comes to picking economic winners. The regulated free market determines energy costs, as the natural gas boom is demonstrating today

        There is nothing cheaper than the output from a paid off solar panel or wind turbine.

        *Sure there is.

        Solar on my house would never pay for itself. See screen shot below. The cost of building some kind of super grid capable of keeping the lights on from coast to coast with nothing but wind and solar would be astronomical, assuming it could be done.

        One lesson you should take home from this debate is that a wind farm is analogous to a component of a natural gas power plant linked via wires. The cost of wind is a function of the cost of natural gas, a GHG emitting fossil fuel. And yeah, I know, I’ve said that before.

        If a wind farm can’t pay for itself over its lifespan, it is an economic failure. Because they have such short life spans, they have to pay themselves off quickly and then don’t have much life left to generate profit.

        Did you not read the NYTimes link which states

        I will once again cut and paste my original response to that link (for the third time):

        “That’s the free market for you. According to your links, they are not all struggling. And according to your links, as I said before, the competition is coming from cheaper natural gas, not renewables and those cheaper fuels are also hurting renewables ability to compete as well.”

        Wind and solar prices will fall further making it even harder to operate a nuclear plant.

        *No they won’t.

        Just as the fossil fuel “oil” does not compete with the fossil fuel “natural gas,” baseload nuclear does not compete with intermittent solar and wind. It is natural gas being burned in baseload combined cycle plants that is making nuclear less competitive, just as natural gas is stunting growth of renewables. It’s cheaper than renewables and nuclear.

        I find your argument that there are ample sites to build a number of new nuclear plants unconvincing.

        Like I’ve said before, strawmen just don’t work in the printed word. Those are not my words. Let me repeat what actually transpired:

        Bob said:

        And if you want to build a new reactor in the US you will find it very difficult to find places where the community will accept them.

        Define “very difficult.” Here’s a link to an article titled The Town That Wants America’s Worst Atomic Waste.

        And here is one titled Population rises near US reactors.

        Bob said:

        Remember, those sites will have to have ample supplies of cooling water. Recall how the extended drought is drying up even the Mighty Mississippi? Think coastal sites willing to host nuclear reactors.

        Coastal sites are common. Certainly there is no shortage of sea water. All thermal power plants need to cool the low temperature steam that has given up most of its energy to a turbine, including biomass fired and solar thermal power plants. This can be accomplished for a price with air cooling towers, or for less cost by borrowing water from a natural source and returning most of it, losing some to steam where it joins the biosphere’s natural water cycle.

        It is not going to happen on the West coast. It is not going to happen on the Eastern Seaboard.

        *Yes it is.

        But to a greater extent I suspect we will eventually see the small modular reactor designs being interwoven into and increasingly lower carbon grid. There will be less need for the bigger baseload designs.

        I really don’t think you realize the opposition to nuclear.

        *Sure I do.

        For people who need a champion to follow (because they can’t decide on their own) there is James Hansen, author of Storms of My Grandchildren, George Monbiot, author of Heat, Stewart Brand, of Whole Earth fame. The list of environmental leaders who recognize the importance of nuclear is getting bigger every day

        And we apparently have significant problems with cooling in the interior. You hear about the mighty Mississippi going dry during our current drought? More and more thermal plants are going to get shut down during heat waves.

        I will cut and paste the response I gave the last time you said that below:

        “All thermal power plants need to cool the low temperature steam that has given up most of its energy to a turbine, including biomass fired and solar thermal power plants. This can be accomplished for a price with air cooling towers…”

        But it doesn’t matter..

        *Yes it does.

        Nuclear is too expensive to build

        *No it isn’t.

        Or at least, no more so than wind and solar. See previous responses why, screen shot below.

        Your HuffPo article fails to mention that China has capped the annual amount of coal that can be burned starting in 2015.

        I don’t own that article. You are referring to this one:

        Coal Consumption Booms Amid Rising Climate Concerns: IEA Coal Report 2012

        I’m sure there we lots of things it failed to mention. Like the extinction of the Chinese river dolphin thanks in large part to hydro electric. They also have more than two dozen nuclear power plants under construction, with many more about to begin construction.

        It’s an example why I quit reading stuff on HuffPo.

        We agree on that much. The HufPo is hip deep in raving ideologues. Definitely not the place you want to go for accurate information. I only linked to it because it linked to and discussed a real IEA study.

        The foggy, rainy coastal area of the PNW will export hydro and import wind and solar. Via the Pacific Intertie it is likely that solar will even flow up all the way from SoCal.

        We are currently tearing down silted in, low production dams in an attempt to restore river ecosystems and dying salmon runs, not building new ones. Southern Cal is 1,200 miles from Seattle. It might be a lot better to use their solar for peaking locally.

        With storage, they could[wind and solar could do the job alone].

        Specifically, you mean cost effective storage. Storage is easy but it can bankrupt you. Because a means of cost effective storage (and extraction) doesn’t exist in significant quantity, this is a moot point.

        My previous response to that topic is pasted below:

        “Affordable storage would not necessarily reduce fossil fuel use because it would also make existing coal power plants more dispatchable (nuclear as well). Let me give you an example. If affordable storage arrived, a nuclear plant could store energy with it when wind and solar are strong, then instantly release it as peaking power to compensate for clouds and becalmed windmills.

        A real world example of this might be a nuclear power plant located between two large water reservoirs, one of which is located hundreds of feet higher than the plant. Part of the plant output would pump water uphill into the higher reservoir. The rest of the output would serve as baseload. When wind died, or clouds arrived, valves would open sending the stored water through power turbines to meet peaking demand.

        The catch is that pump and turbine losses will consume almost all of the energy diverted to the reservoir.

        If you think it impossible then you should familiarize yourself with the Budischak paper.

        By impossible, you mean not economically viable. Reality in any market is dictated by profitability. If an idea turns a real profit, it is possible. Until it does, it is an untested hypothesis, an experiment. Only a market can flush out economic viability.

        They ran simulations against four years of actual grid demand against the weather (availability of wind and solar). They found that we could power the grid from almost nothing other than wind, solar and storage.

        Economically viable storage is the missing link. See my comment above about storage.

        Power sharing with adjacent grids would lower the amount of overbuilding and storage required.

        ? Power sharing is the definition of a grid. We already maximize the concept today in the name of profitability.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Russ, we are not going to find some sort of shared understanding unless you are willing to accept what I believe are the facts of the moment.

          Specifically:

          1) New nuclear reactors are too expensive.

          2) A very large portion of western societies do not want nuclear reactors around them.

          Those appear to me to be facts. I can again give you supporting evidence for #1 if you want.

          You should be able to look for yourself at what is happening in several parts of Europe for evidence for #2. And tell me where along the Pacific Coast of the US might you be able to build a nuclear reactor without massive resistance? Where along the Eastern Seaboard?

          (I’ll give you the Confederacy. Many of those people live in a different reality.)

          You and energyguy and all the other proponents of nuclear can describe all the wonderful technology that amazes and excites you and how some day we could have factories cranking out cheap, totally safe reactors. But the fact is – we do not now have them.

          Unless they have been produced and are up and running they are fiction. They exist only in YouTube videos, line drawings and hand-waving sessions.
          If someday someone makes one then they will become real and we can decide whether or not to include them in our energy mix.

          We can talk about the cost of electricity from already built and paid for plants. And we have. Roughly 25% of them are no longer competitive in an open market.

          We can talk about wind, solar and geothermal because we’ve built a lot recently and we have data.

          We can talk about natural gas generation, turbine or combined cycle, because we have them, they work, we know what it costs to run them.

          (BTW, don’t make the mistake of using the price of electricity from a peaking plant as the cost of running a turbine 24/365. Peaking plants run few hours so their capex and fixed opexp are recovered in larger amounts when they do run. Turbines are roughly 60% as efficient as combined cycles so you could take CCNG costs, subtract some capex and add for poorer fuel efficiency.)

          ———–

          You can argue that storage would work for nuclear. It would. We built around 20 GW of pump-up in order to shift nuclear to peak hours.

          But it comes back to cost once more. Wind costs a nickle or less. Nuclear costs somewhere upwards of 12 cents. The math is simple. 5 + storage < 12+ storage.

          Cost. Just on cost alone, nuclear is not being built and as the price of renewables continues to fall it becomes less and less probable that nuclear will be built in an open market with private money.

      • http://www.biodiversivist.com Russ Finley

        Bob said:

        Russ, we are not going to find some sort of shared understanding unless you are willing to accept what I believe are the facts of the moment.

        I would say the same to you Bob, that isn’t what debate is about. I have no illusions of convincing you of anything. From my previous comment:

        ” …debate partners never convince each other of anything. ..Debate is to inform an audience.”

        Also from my previous comment:

        ” “As is typical, you know a debate is drawing to a close when repetition sets in.”

        But that’s OK because with each iteration, I get an opportunity to reiterate my points and because in many cases I can cut and paste my previous responses, it becomes less and less time consuming. I’ve had debates that degenerate to the point where my last comment consisted entirely of remarks cut and pasted from previous responses to the same argument.

        It has become obvious to me that you aren’t reading all of my responses, which is fine …and somewhat understandable. I hope you don’t start falling back on that word believe “…to have confidence in the truth, the existence, or the reliability of something, although without absolute proof that one is right in doing so.”

        “Facts of the moment?” That insinuates that facts change with time, which is true and a good point:

        1) The construction of large, custom built, capital intensive, baseload, one of a kind nuclear facilities in this country has been on a decade’s long hiatus primarily because they couldn’t compete with coal and natural gas, which isn’t necessarily a good thing because look at all of the emissions that have resulted from that. If nuclear had managed to displace our 40% coal use, we would already be very close to a zero carbon grid. It’s remarkable that those nuclear plants are still providing 20% of the electric power for the most energy hungry nation on Earth, and almost all of our zero carbon energy.

        2) A carbon tax would make nuclear into the front runner because wind and solar need a lot of fossil fuels to smooth out their intermittentcy, unless of course you combined some of this affordable storage you keep mentioning with nuclear, in which case nuclear with storage could smooth out their intermittentcy and we would be well on our way to a zero carbon grid.

        3) The department of energy is funding the development of small modular reactors (with low upfront costs) that can be strung together and dropped into place in a low carbon grid where it would be most cost effective to shore up things like wind and solar.

        Based on all you’ve said in this exchange the only thing you have convinced me of is that a zero carbon grid isn’t really your highest priority. Hopefully, any readers who may stumble on this exchange, and actually read it will see that as well.

        New nuclear reactors are too expensive

        I’ve literally lost track of how many times you have made that declaration. Translation; like wind and (solar , nuclear is also more expensive than fossil fuel competitors.

        You’ve decided to focus on cost because you think it’s your strongest suit. You are pretending to care about cost. What evidence do I have to say that? Your response to my recent bid of $63,000, with $32,000 in government subsidies, to put solar on my modest 1,500 square foot home (see screen shot below):

        I really don’t care what your personal costs might be.

        You would be against the integration of new nuclear with wind and solar regardless of cost. Nuclear, wind, and solar share a lot more in common than just the fact that they are low carbon, they are also not as cheap as the completion, natural gas.

        A very large portion of western societies do not want nuclear reactors around them.

        From my previous response There is hope …

        …of reducing their irrational fears through education in blogs and in comment fields on the internet and in the media. It was the media that created that irrational fear. I suspect it can do much to alleviate it as well.

        The Town That Wants America’s Worst Atomic Waste. And here is one titled Population rises near US reactors.

        Bob continues:

        You should be able to look for yourself at what is happening in several parts of Europe for evidence …

        From my previous response:

        France, where they get roughly 70% of their electricity from nuclear, emits half the CO2 of Germany.

        Britain has also chosen to expand the use of nuclear in its low carbon mix.

        George Monbiot was the first to note that this isn’t the first time the United States, France, and Great Britain have been on the opposites side of Germany, Japan, and Italy. The irony.

        Those appear to me to be facts. I can again give you supporting evidence for #1[for the high cost of nuclear] if you want.

        I’m pretty sure I already have whatever studies you want to proffer stored on my hard drive. I can also provide supporting evidence if you want. Sometimes that’s referred to as a link war. You send a supporting link gleaned off the internet that nobody reads, I send ten back that nobody reads. The internet is a wondrous thing, but because anyone can find many links to support anything they want to believe (and I do mean anything), the fact that a debate partner can produce supporting links does not mean much anymore.

        And tell me where along the Pacific Coast of the US might you be able to build a nuclear reactor without massive resistance? Where along the Eastern Seaboard?

        And tell me where along the Pacific Coast of the US might you “not” be able to build a nuclear reactor without massive resistance? Where along the Eastern Seaboard?

        I’ll give you the Confederacy.

        Well, that’s a start. But nuclear power does not have to be located adjacent to a coast line:

        Due to its location in the Arizona desert, Palo Verde is the only nuclear generating facility in the world that is not located adjacent to a large body of above-ground water. The facility evaporates water from the treated sewage of several nearby municipalities to meet its cooling needs. 20billion US gallons (76,000,000m³) of treated water are evaporated each year. This water represents about 25% of the annual overdraft of the Arizona Department of Water Resources Phoenix Active Management Area. At the nuclear plant site, the waste water is further treated and stored in an 80 acre (324,000m²) reservoir for use in the plant’s cooling towers.

        You just cannot hardly get more environmentally friendly than that.

        You and energyguy and all the other proponents of nuclear can describe all the wonderful technology that amazes and excites you and how some day we could have factories cranking out cheap, totally safe reactors. But the fact is – we do not now have them. Unless they have been produced and are up and running they are fiction. They exist only in YouTube videos, line drawings and hand-waving sessions. If someday someone makes one then they will become real and we can decide whether or not to include them in our energy mix.

        Maybe we are on different planets and just don’t realize it? Totally safe reactors are in our mix already and more are being built.

        Like I said before, nuclear power plants are quietly humming along producing 20 percent of the electric power (and virtually all of our low carbon electricity) to the most energy hungry nation on Earth at competitive prices.

        You and all the other nuclear energy detractors can describe all the wonderful affordable storage technology that amazes and excites you and how some day wind and solar will stand alone without help from nuclear, but the fact is – we do not now have that. Unless it has been produced and up and running it is fiction. It only exists in YouTube videos, line drawings and hand-waving sessions. If someday someone makes affordable storage, then wind and solar will be able to stand alone and we can decide whether or not to exclude nuclear from our mix.

        Roughly 25% of them [ existing nuclear power plants] are no longer competitive in an open market.

        …says the guy who said “I really don’t care what your personal costs might be.” See see screen shot below.

        Is it the less than half of one percent of the energy we are getting from solar, or the less than three percent that we get from wind that has purportedly made all of these paid for nuclear plants “no longer competitive in an open market?”

        As I have already said literally five times now, the competition is with fossil fuels, not between nuclear wind and solar.

        We can talk about wind, solar and geothermal because we’ve built a lot recently and we have data.

        I am a big fan of solar but see see screen shot below.

        We can talk about natural gas generation, turbine or combined cycle, because we have them, they work, we know what it costs to run them.

        Ah, we also have nuclear, it works, and we know what it costs to run them. Your fear and loathing of nuclear has forced you to become a bit of a fossil fuel apologist (natural gas here, coal in Germany).

        You can argue that storage would work for nuclear. It would. We built around 20 GW of pump-up in order to shift nuclear to peak hours.

        I didn’t argue that but I see you are learning something from this exchange, either that or you have called in back up and I’m now debating a team. See this EIA link and note the Pumped Storage column.

        But it comes back to cost once more.

        It amuses me the way you ignore so many of my comments and in some cases, even send them back to me as it they were your own insights. From my previous response:

        A real world example of this might be a nuclear power plant located between two large water reservoirs, one of which is located hundreds of feet higher than the plant. Part of the plant output would pump water uphill into the higher reservoir. The rest of the output would serve as baseload. When wind died, or clouds arrived, valves would open sending the stored water through power turbines to meet peaking demand.

        The catch is that pump and turbine losses will consume almost all of the energy diverted to the reservoir.

        Wind costs a nickle or less. Nuclear costs somewhere upwards of 12 cents. The math is simple. 5 + storage < 12+ storage.

        The math is right but garbage in = garbage out. As I said four or five times before, wind and solar can’t do the job alone. Wind turbines are a component of a combined cycle natural gas power plant, connected via wires. No gas, no wind turbine. The wind turbine enhanced combined cycle power plant is a fossil fuel power plant.

        Cost. Just on cost alone, nuclear is not being built and as the price of renewables continues to fall it becomes less and less probable that nuclear will be built in an open market with private money.

        Bob, you’ve shown your hand already. Fight repetition with repetition I always say:

        Your response to my recent bid of $63,000, with $32,000 in government subsidies, to put solar on my modest 1,500 square foot home (see screen shot below):

        I really don’t care what your personal costs might be.

        An energy grid is made of many components where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Some components of a grid will cost more than others. Gran Coulee cost a great deal more than any combined cycle natural gas power plant. Any power plant will cost more than any substation and on it goes.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Russ, you are right. I don’t read all your comments carefully. I simply find you too verbose and misinformed.

          $63k for a residential solar system? The average cost for a residential grid tie system is $5.21/watt. Your’re putting in 12 kW system for a small house? Are you powering a lot of grow lights?

          I know that you love nuclear, but nuclear is simply too expensive despite your claims to the contrary. The utility industry is telling you that if you would care to listen.

          Will England build a lot of new nuclear? That is not settled and as the cost is made clearer to the public resistance is growing. We’ll see how that one plays out.

          Will France continue to be heavily nuclear powered? Possibly not. The current government intends to lower nuclear’s contribution from 75% to 50% over the next few years. You do know that France is having problems with reactor cooling during the more frequent European heat waves, do you not?

          If you think communities along the Pacific Coast or Eastern Seaboard would welcome a new nuclear plant then you are God’s own fool.

          Nuclear in the US has not grown in many years. It’s role in the energy mix has sagged a bit. We’ve got two plants closing and a couple more that are down and may not come back up. Two plants are being constructed in Georgia and an unfinished one in Tennessee is being finished. That’s not going to lead to an increased role for nuclear.

          Wind contributed 3.5% of our total electricity during the first half of 2012. That percentage will continue to increase and with the very steep drop in solar prices we will see solar start to contribute at larger rates.
          I don’t think you understand the problems that nuclear has in an open market. I gave you the GMT link, did I not? The US does not need off-peak power which means that new nuclear would lose money and have to raise its price during peak. And have that eaten away by solar.

          I suppose you haven’t read me carefully. I want a clean grid. But I know that without enormous public pressure we will not go directly to a clean grid, we will take the intermittent step of using natural gas. That’s just an economic reality.

          The best, most likely solution I see is to keep building more wind and solar (along with other renewables). Let NG push coal off the grid, we get a 50% cut in CO2 that way. Let fuel-free renewables curtail NG. Down the road finish off NG with cheap storage.

          “As I said four or five times before, wind and solar can’t do the job alone.”

          That tells me that you didn’t bother to read the Budischak paper either.
          BTW, first half of 2013 we got 19% of our electricity from nuclear and 13% from hydro and non-hydro renewables. That claim about getting “virtually all of our low carbon electricity” is erroneous.

          Now I’ve run out of steam. I know that you think you’ve taught be something, but I’ll be damned if I can think of a single thing. I’ve simply spend a lot of time playing whack-a-mole with another nuclear true believer who doesn’t seem to be able to take on new facts.

          So, you have a nice day.

        • http://www.biodiversivist.com Russ Finley

          I simply find you too verbose and misinformed

          It pays to resist the urge to go ad hom on your debate partner because that gives him/her the go ahead to retaliate, which often leads to escalation. At times I feared I might be debating a badly misinformed parrot.

          Russ, you are right. I don’t read all your comments carefully.

          A half truth is better than no truth.

          $63k for a residential solar system? The average cost for a residential grid tie system is $5.21/watt. Your’re putting in 12 kW system for a small house? Are you powering a lot of grow lights?

          According to the EIA, US average = 920 kWh per month, ours 823 kWh. Not grow lights …Nissan Leaf, which I mentioned previously, and is another example of why it pays to read your opponents comments. Think …boxing match with blinders on. Coincidentally, marijuana use is now legal in this state.

          I know that you love nuclear, but nuclear is simply too expensive despite your claims to the contrary.

          Love is not the appropriate word to describe why I support its use along with wind and solar in a low carbon grid, but the word hate certainly fits your feeling toward nuclear energy, and nuclear is no more expensive than wind and solar, despite your claims to the contrary.

          The utility industry is telling you that if you would care to listen.

          Addressed by previous sourced responses, if you would care to listen.

          Will England build a lot of new nuclear? That is not settled and as the cost is made clearer to the public resistance is growing. We’ll see how that one plays out.

          Exactly how much is “a lot?” Will Japan and Germany really abandon all of their nuclear? That is not settled and as the cost is made clearer to the public acceptance will grow. We’ll see how that one plays out.

          Will France continue to be heavily nuclear powered? Possibly not. The current government intends to lower nuclear’s contribution from 75% to 50% over the next few years.

          It’s unlikely they will go to 50% but even that sounds heavily nuclear powered to me. Did I tell you

          France emits half the CO2 of Germany

          ? And that was before Germany started phasing out its nuclear.

          France may actually be the first to do it right with a mix of nuclear and low carbon renewables. Although Japan got only 10% from nuclear, shutting it down has helped to make an unprecedented trade deficit of $32billion in the just the first half of 2012, which is five times more than it was the prior year. Never mind the significant increase in GHG emissions.

          You do know that France is having problems with reactor cooling during the more frequent European heat waves, do you not?

          You’ve mentioned the impact of cooling by drought about half a dozen times (literally). I’ve always responded. Thermal power plants (be they solar thermal, natural gas, coal, biomass, or nuclear) have to throttle back or go off line for short periods when cooling water levels are low or too warm. It is and expense but it isn’t a concern. The shutdowns are planned, safe, and grid operators simply adjust. Much easier to do than to respond to clouds or wind speeds. You think it is a problem because almost everything you know comes from our sensationalist driven by profit lay media. Solar panels are also less efficient at high temperatures, which I admit is just as irrelevant as your first point.

          If you think communities along the Pacific Coast or Eastern Seaboard would welcome a new nuclear plant then you are God’s own fool.

          “Accept” might be more appropriate than “welcome,” but I could be wrong. Some communities would definitely welcome one:

          The Town That Wants America’s Worst Atomic Waste.

          And here is one titled Population rises near US reactors.

          You need to come up with a better insult than God’s own fool. I’m atheistic. If you think the world is going to achieve zero carbon energy with just wind and solar nuclear you are ah, …Satan’s sock puppet.

          Nuclear in the US has not grown in many years

          .

          Decades in fact, and thanks to competition from fossil fuels, not because of renewables. I pointed that out to you and gave the reasons why.

          Wind contributed 3.5% of our total electricity during the first half of 2012. That percentage will continue to increase and with the very steep drop in solar prices we will see solar start to contribute at larger rates.

          I pointed wind’s contribution out earlier as well. As I’ve said many times before, when you say “wind” you are inadvertently referring to wind-enhanced combined gas cycle power plants, of which wind is one source of energy, natural gas is the other. Wind farms without gas backup are as worthless as a home with solar panels that isn’t connected to the grid.

          And as I’ve said many times before, I’m not arguing against wind and solar as being part of a low carbon grid.

          I don’t think you understand the problems that nuclear has in an open market

          .

          Nuclear power plants are quietly humming along producing 20 percent of the electric power to the most energy hungry nation on Earth at competitive prices. You didn’t see that coming for the fifth time?

          The US does not need off-peak power which means that new nuclear would lose money and have to raise its price during peak. And have that eaten away by solar.

          An energy source that provides less than half of one percent of U.S. energy (solar) can’t eat anything away. The fossil fuel called natural gas can. Translation; several studies have shown that intermittent wind and solar can only scale to roughly 30 % of total electrical energy output. Which is fine, the rest can be filled in with other low carbons sources including nuclear.

          I suppose you haven’t read me carefully

          .

          You can’t be serious …I’ve quoted and addressed everything you’ve said.

          …we will take the intermittent step of using natural gas. That’s just an economic reality.

          I think you meant to say intermediate, and economic reality are two words I would not use to describe your position.

          The best, most likely solution I see is to keep building more wind and solar (along with other renewables

          ).

          The best, most likely solution I see is to keep building more wind and solar until they max out in economic scale, keep nuclear in the low carbon energy mix, and make sure that other low carbon choices are not worse than the cure (palm or soy biofuel stock displacing grasslands or forests, tree farms displacing natural forests to feed biomass thermal power plants, usurping cropland to turn food into fuel, damming of Amazonian rivers, encroachment on existing nature preserves to extract energy from them and on and on it goes).

          Let NG push coal off the grid,

          NG is a fossil fuel. There isn’t enough of it to push coal and nuclear off the grid, heat homes, displace gasoline and diesel in bus, cab, and garbage truck fleets.

          Let fuel-free renewables curtail NG

          .

          Free renewables? Wind needs NG to operate. See screenshot below.

          Down the road finish off NG with cheap storage

          .

          ….finish off with something that does not exist–cheap storage. Your grand scheme has a few missing links. Nuclear energy is real, proven, economical, and zero carbon. It will be used as an adjunct to other low carbon sources.

          That tells me [wind and solar can't do the job alone] that you didn’t bother to read the Budischak paper either

          .

          What? You didn’t bother to read it either? I suspected as much. Seriously, you mentioned solar 6 times alone in your last comment, yet according to a report on the paper:

          …it wasn’t until the researchers asked for a scenario in which energy supply met demand 99.9 percent of the time that solar was brought into the picture.”

          You have talked a great deal about the importance of storage, “Down the road finish off NG with cheap storage,” yet according to the paper:

          …scaling up renewable generation capacity to seemingly excessive levels — more than three times the needed load, in some instances — proved more cost-effective than scaling up storage capacity, due to the high systems costs associated with storage technology.

          Three times the needed load …see screenshot below and picture me buying three times as many panels.

          Another highlight from the study:

          In the four years simulated, “a handful” of days would not have enough power. The answer? Have “a few” coal or gas plants sitting around doing nothing until needed for those “handful” of days.

          I suspect the critics will have a heyday with this one. Nuclear will remain as part of the mix.

          You are asking us to bet our children’s futures on a single paper. There have been numerous studies showing that wind and solar can do it all. Given time, those studies were eventually critiqued. The critiques are the most important thing to read, the assumptions made are always the missing links. We will have to wait to see the critiques of this latest study.

          BTW, first half of 2013 we got 19% of our electricity from nuclear

          Oh, my bad, did I say 20%? …first half of 2013?

          and 13% from hydro and non-hydro renewables. That claim about getting “virtually all of our low carbon electricity” is erroneous.

          Good thing I said virtually instead of literally, huh? Let me rephrase that:

          Nuclear power plants are quietly humming along producing 20 percent of the electric power (and 75% of our low carbon non-hydro electricity) to the most energy hungry nation on Earth at competitive prices. From a global warming perspective, it’s a tragedy, really, that it was not able to displace coal and natural gas all of those decades.

          Little late in the game to discover that. Obviously you didn’t follow this link the first few times I offered it: US electricity generation by source.

          Hydro, as it turns out, isn’t any more renewable than nuclear, and new hydro is probably one of the most destructive sources of low GHG energy, assuming it is low GHG. Studies suggest that the methane that will be released by damming the Amazon basin is going to be very significant.

          Now I’ve run out of steam.

          Was that an intended pun?

          I know that you think you’ve taught be something, but I’ll be damned if I can think of a single thing.

          As an experienced mechanical engineer, and having written over a thousand articles on energy and the environment, I’ve certainly learned some things. Your claim that you haven’t learned a thing means one of three things:

          1) You are not being honest
          2) You know too little to know how little you know
          3) Your mind is welded shut like a steel drum.

          I’ve simply spend a lot of time playing whack-a-mole with another nuclear true believer who doesn’t seem to be able to take on new facts.

          …says the nuclear energy denier to the kettle. Like I said several times before, debate is for the audience.

          It’s a crazy mixed up world. Global warming deniers, meet nuclear energy deniers. You have a lot more in common than you realize.

          More food for thought:

          The unpalatable truth is that the anti-nuclear lobby has misled us all

          The double standards of green anti-nuclear opponents

          http://www.consumerenergyreport.com/ticker/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/solarcost.jpg

        • http://www.biodiversivist.com Russ Finley

          Part 2

          and 13% from hydro and non-hydro renewables. That claim about getting “virtually all of our low carbon electricity” is erroneous.

          Good thing I said virtually instead of literally, huh? Let me rephrase that:

          Nuclear power plants are quietly humming along producing 20 percent of the electric power (and 75% of our low carbon non-hydro electricity) to the most energy hungry nation on Earth at competitive prices. From a global warming perspective, it’s a tragedy, really, that it was not able to displace coal and natural gas all of those decades.

          Little late in the game to discover that. Maybe you should have followed this link the first few times I offered it: US electricity generation by source.

          Hydro, as it turns out, isn’t any more renewable than nuclear, and new hydro is probably one of the most destructive sources of low GHG energy, assuming it is low GHG. Studies suggest that the methane that will be released by damming the Amazon basin is going to be very significant.

          Now I’ve run out of steam.

          Was that an intended pun?

          I know that you think you’ve taught be something, but I’ll be damned if I can think of a single thing.

          As an experienced mechanical engineer, and having written over a thousand articles on energy and the environment, I’ve certainly learned some things. Your claim that you haven’t learned a thing means one of two things:

          1) You are not being honest
          2) Your mind is welded shut like a steel drum.

          Not good in either case.

          I’ve simply spend a lot of time playing whack-a-mole with another nuclear true believer who doesn’t seem to be able to take on new facts.

          …says the nuclear energy denier to the kettle. Like I said several times before, debate is for the audience. That, and a lot of other things didn’t sink in. I.e., I haven’t been “debating” you. And you guys always say that, and you always come back for the last word. See you when that happens.

          It’s a crazy mixed up world. Global warming deniers, meet nuclear energy deniers. You have a lot more in common than you realize.

          More food for thought:

          The unpalatable truth is that the anti-nuclear lobby has misled us all

          The double standards of green anti-nuclear opponents

  • GuestPost3333

    Two highly recommended sites are covering the news on how dangerous nuclear energy can be, as seen with what’s occurring in Japan!
    www dot enenews dot com
    www enformable dot com

    • energy_guy

      Those are echo chambers for anti nuclear zealots. Why not say billions of people will die from radiation, its everywhere already. Everything is a catastrophe there, the world is ending tomorrow.

      So shut all the crappy nukes down and replace them with good old coal and gas plants just like Germany does, about 20GW of new fossil power planned, some have started up. Europe is now increasing CO2 emissions, not reducing, thanks to unintended consequences.

      You do know that Hydro power actually really did kill 170,000 people in China, the Banqiao dam failure, lets shut down all hydro too.

      So how come Hiroshima and Nagasaki have populations of millions living right on top of where 200,000 people died from atomic blasts yet nobody died from Fukushima so far and somehow its worse than two atom bombs.

      • Bob_Wallace

        “replace them with good old coal and gas plants just like Germany does,”
        Ahooga! Ahooga! Ahooga!

        Incorrect information alert!!!

        *Germany’s new coal burning plants are replacing (not adding to) the older plants that either have been or will soon be decommissioned. Moreover, by 2020, 18.5 gigawatts of coal power capacity will be decommissioned, whereas only 11.3 gigawatts will be newly installed.

        *
        *Furthermore those plants will be more efficient, releasing less CO2 per unit electricity produced than are the ones they are replacing.*

        • energy_guy

          Well “Germany turns to coal power” gives lots of articles on 20 planned new fossil plants to offset the 8 or so nuclear plants already shut down and to cover the remainder that will go down in the next decade as well as replace older coal plants.

          Yes the first big new coal plant emits about 2/15 less CO2 than the old one it replaces, but that is hardly any better, more efficiency through newer technology. Wonder why newer nuclear couldn’t get to replace some of the really old plants too.

          Clearly the 20GW capacity of the old nuclear is not met by the REs, so it must be matched with new fossil plants.

          • Bob_Wallace

            How many of those articles talk about the number of coal plants closing and fail to mention the net decrease in coal use?

            Germany will likely build more NG plants, but those are, unlike coal, dispatchable and will generally serve as fill-in for renewables. Plus NG produces considerably less CO2 per unit electricity generated compared to coal.

            German citizens want nothing more to do with nuclear.

          • energy_guy

            German coal, gas and therefore CO2 is increasing, that is in every single article and gov report I have seen.

            I would think Der Spiegal knows whats going on in Germany, see “Germany builds new coal plants”.

            It says the new coal plants can basically follow load, ie go down to 10% of max output completely different than old coal which couldn’t vary so much. Coal now competes with gas for variable output, these new plants can ramp at 100MW/min between 100MW to 1000MW.

            Looks like they choose the new brown wonder fuel for its flexibility, this is all pretty new to me too.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Here is the article I found searching for “Germany builds new coal plants Der Spiegal”.

            http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/new-coal-fired-plants-could-be-key-to-german-energy-revolution-a-854335.html

            I see nothing in it about Germany building more coal plants above the 11.3 gigawatts I reported above.

            Because Germany is moving very rapidly with wind and solar installations they are going to need load following/dispatchable generation. We still have to develop affordable storage and until we do the best we can do is to use wind/solar when available and fill in with fossil fuels. It’s a heck of a lot better than using fossil fuels all the time.

            Germany is also working on pump-up hydro which will help them further reduce fossil fuel use.

          • energy_guy

            The point of the Der Spiegal article is that all those new coal plants will be load following too just like nat gas only 2x the CO2 output plus all the other toxic outputs in flyash. If you don’t care about that, then you don’t have to buy gas from Gazprom.

            So coal could follow the grid power curve completely with wind and solar kicking in when available. But the vast majority of the TWh will be based on coal/gas so that makes all RE power production have most of 960g CO2/kWh. So whats the bloody point.

            The German avg solar capacity only matches 3GW, the peak is about 28GW. The avg for wind is several times solar.

            You could look at several of the other articles too.

            The Bloomberg article clearly states more coal for Germany, coal is cheaper than gas, and the new coal can now be dispatched..

            The Ammoland article give 23 new coal plants for Germany under construction. It also says Germany only get 16% capacity factor from wind, not the 30%.

            The Washington post gives a world map and how many per country. Germany get 12GW new capacity, Poland 14GW new capacity, etc etc. 1200 on the world drawing board.

            see “germany builds new coal plants”

          • Bob_Wallace

            As of 31st on October 2012, there were 31.62 GW of PV solar on Germany’s grid. At the end of 2011 Germany had 29 GW of wind on line. They are getting close to obtaining 10% of their total electricity from wind and 6% from solar.

            Germany is aiming for getting 35% of its electricity from renewables by 2020 and 80% by 2050.

            It’s probably more useful to look at the fact that wind and solar do not have fuel costs and are going to be first to be used. They are going to need fill-in generation. Relying on NG puts them at risk of getting jerked around by Russia so having a certain amount of coal may be a political necessity.

            The way installation rates are accelerating I suspect they will have no problems reaching the 2020 goal. And I don’t think it makes sense to speculate too much about the mix of generation going past 2020, we’re may well have affordable storage which would greatly cut the need for fossil fuel fill-in.

            It should be noted that Germany has done a lot of work developing biogas so that makes their CO2 output levels a bit better. Biogas is recycled carbon as opposed to de-sequestered carbon.

            If Germany has to use some coal to get to their 35%/80% goals based on the technology we have available today I’m not going to get concerned.

          • energy_guy

            The trouble win greens like you is that you keep quoting misleading peak capacity of solar and wind instead of the TWh they actually produce, that’s your agenda isn’t it.

            Energy is measured and sold as a quantity, not by peak rates of power output. The cost of the plant follows the peak ability, and that factors into the final output price.

            For the solar take 11% of 31.6GW and you get 3.5GW avg. The TWh will match the avg power *24*365 (8760).

            For wind take only 16% of 29GW and you get 4.6GW avg

            Total German electricity for 2010 is about 590TWh or about 67GW avg. So avg solar+wind is about 8.1/67 or 12% of the whole. Hydro and some biomass adds a few more RE%. I’m sure you can find more accurate TWh pie graph.

            By stating only peak capacity factor the greens have deluded themselves into thinking they were winning since peak solar+wind is 60/(67+more) of total capacity plus you can see solar and wind everywhere in Germany. But greens never look at the far bigger primary energy which includes oil and gas for industry, transport and heating.

            That wind should have been at 30% but never was, even the EU RE 2011 report says as much, (it didn’t but it gave the peaks for yr10 to yr11 and the final TWh). The entire EU has wind of 21% capacity factor and German wind is worse than Danish.

            You should only be looking for TWh produced for each RE and it is easily available but you don’t want to see the fine print.

            see “German electricity output ” in Wikipedia
            see “EU27 renewables.pdf eurobserv”

            So now with this wonderful new load following coal plant technology that can fill in for solar and wind, it can all be made to work. So take the more eff CO2 for coal at say 800g of CO2/kWh and take 12%+few% for other REs off and you have maybe 700gkWh overall. But this new tech hasn’t yet replaced the old dirty coal+gas+nuclear mix.

            It isn’t some coal to make it work, its mostly coal and gas plus the remaining nuclear that makes REs work.

            You also completely ignore the fact of primary energy which includes electricity generation. The non electrical is mostly oil and gas.

            German primary energy use is about 80M*6kWt or about 480GWt worth the same as 200GWe. If the actual electrical is about 70GWe on the grid, the missing 130Ge is what industry, transport, and heating uses as thermal and its all oil, and gas. It could mostly be electrified, so the grid will get bigger to handle EVs etc.

            If you take a look at the “LLNL energy flow graph” for the US and adjust the solar 10x and wind ?x, that is roughly what Germany will look like, about 85% carbon just like the rest of the world. The change in solar and wind offsets half the nuclear.

            So you have half won your stupid war on nuclear but lost on carbon. Since solar+wind avg now offsets 8GW of nuclear plants, the carbon picture is about the same as before.

          • Bob_Wallace

            “The trouble win greens like you is that you keep quoting misleading peak capacity of solar and wind instead of the TWh they actually produce, that’s your agenda isn’t it.”

            Fail.

            Here’s what I gave you – “They are getting close to obtaining 10% of their total electricity from wind and 6% from solar.”

            Now, if you would like to reel it back in and have a civil discussion we can. If you want to call names you can go away.

          • energy_guy

            I apologize.

            While Wind at 10% and Solar at 6% sounds half plausible, what is your source. Are you including solar thermal with solar?

            see “German electricity production by source 2011″
            src “The Energiewende Germany’s gamble” p14

            There are two pie graphs, the REs are at 20% of total electrical power of 614.5TWh (or avg 70GWe power).

            Wind is 8%, PV is 3%, Hydro is 3%, Biomass+waste 6%.

            I’ll set aside 2012 data until all the TWh data is in, there will be an increase in PV.

            The problem is the big picture of primary energy, if we use 80M*5.4kWt*8760 that gives 3784TWh thermal, vs Wikipedia 3807TWh for 2010, I’ll take 3800TWh.

            Multiply by 0.4 to convert all thermal to electrical gives about 1500TWh e.

            For German 2011 wind+solar is 11% of electrical, or 4.5% of all primary energy.

            For US 2011 wind+solar is 3.4% of electrical, or 1.36% of all primary energy.

            The greens do not seem to appreciate the big energy density of fossil and the much larger density of nuclear all of which they want to replace.

            see “LLNL energy flowgraph”
            see “German primary energy production”

          • Bob_Wallace

            I pulled those numbers off the German wind/solar Wiki pages. I think it was PV solar, I’m not aware of Germany having any thermal solar producing electricity.

            You can go there and follow the data links back to see if they are reporting from actual numbers.

            I suspect you aren’t aware how much “the greens” know. Let me copy over a couple of things that I have at hand to get you caught up a bit…

            *

            We need to quit burning fossil fuels. That means we need alternative energy sources and the options seem to be renewable energy (wind, solar, tidal, etc.) or nuclear. If we wish to avoid the multiple problems of a nuclear future then we have to make sure that four important concerns about renewable energy are answered.

            1. Is there enough non-fossil fuel, non-nuclear energy available to provide all the energy desired worldwide?

            2. Do we have the technology necessary to turn that energy into useful forms?

            3. Can we deal with the variable supply nature of some forms of renewable energy?

            4. Can we afford to operate our economies using nothing but renewable energy?

            Jacobson and Delucchi (2009) answers questions 1 and 2 in the affirmative.
            They surveyed the most abundant renewable energy sources (wind, solar, tidal, hydro, etc.) and found we had far more than enough. They calculated the number of solar panels, wind turbines, etc. we would need to install to produce all the energy we would need in 2030 and found that current (2009) technology could do the job.

            Budischak, et al. (2013) answers questions 3 and 4 in the affirmative.
            They ran simulations against four years of actual grid demand against the weather (availability of wind and solar). They found that we could power the grid from almost nothing other than wind, solar and storage. That “almost nothing” was using natural gas turbines for a total of 35 hours in four years. Five times in four years it was necessary to call on NG for an average of seven hours each time.

            And the overall cost for electricity was approximately what we pay now for electricity.

            These two studies show us the route forward. ‘Worst case’ is that we can power ourselves with renewables plus insignificant amounts of gas. All the improvements we make to our generation and storage systems over the next two decades simply make the job easier and cheaper.

            Jacobson and Delucchi http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=a-path-to-sustainable-energy-by-2030 Budischak, et al. https://docs.google.com/file/d/1NrBZJejkUTRYJv5YE__kBFuecdDL2pDTvKLyBjfCPr_8yR7eCTDhLGm8oEPo/edit
            *

          • energy_guy

            Right off the bat I generally don’t take much notice of incomplete year data, and it often takes many months for the reports to get done and made consistent, so I wait.

            The US “LLNL 2011 energy flow graph” only came out in Aug 2012, no new surprises at all. That graph is surprisingly similar to every developed country’s graph you could find with some adjustments to each input. Somebody should really redo that graph for every big country.

            This wiki page has problems because it mixes various years with fast changing events some data is more updated than others and it goes on about employment, that is another whole story.

            It states 2011 PV was 3%, agreed, and 2010 wind was 9%. The pie chart I gave gives 8% in 2011 so wind either fell a little or somebody has mixed data.

            I only said solar thermal in case you were including solar thermal water heating (you weren’t), but that belongs in the primary energy accounting, and you are looking ahead to the middle of an unfinished year.

            I will tell you exactly where I stand. After having twice read the free book by David MacKay “without the hot air”. I am pretty much in agreement with everything he says. He is a physicist, I am an electrical engineer, and I can follow most of his math. This 2007 book needs some updating year on year but he offers 5 plans for fixing up the UK to make it almost free of fossil power. He doesn’t bless any one but explains the issues for each.

            Some people will take the solar option, some the wind, and some the nuclear or various mixes of these. I’m in the nuclear camp, because it is as he says the economic path forward and I am not scared by the anti nuclear propaganda, and I understand basic nuclear physics.

            In the nuclear plan he puts up about 80% as base load from nuclear with some REs, heat pumps, savings, EVs and electrification, insulation, reductions, tidal, biomass, making up the rest. He gives real physics to cover what the limits are to all of these. For all the REs wind, solar, biomass, biogas, algae, hydro, wave, tidal those are limited to the diffuse nature of solar power from which they all come and the cost of the materials for extracting that energy.

            If you haven’t read the book, then you won’t know what I am talking about, so I strongly advise all to do so, but most won’t.

            I am well aware of what many greens think that post only short comments with out any analysis, usually build baby build what ever their ideal solution is and it often contains all manner of political tones, the man, getting off the grid, survivalism.

            On to your four points. I don’t buy into any of them and nor does MacKay unless you have vastly more money than most countries do. All solutions have to be reproduced every few decades.

            As an EE in semiconductors, I know what the limits of PV are, materials, rare elements needed to wire them (indium etc), carbon nanotubes etc, I follow all the energy tech news.

            I can also see what the current production of PV panels are, as of 2011, top 10 producers combined only built 17GW of peak capacity solar enough to offset 2.5GW of avg power. Indium is a rare element, I’v been wondering when that one would hit the fan.

            Wind turbines probably can be made at 5x the rate of solar, maybe more. I have no idea what kind of storage could possibly be scaled, batteries, hydrogen, pumped hydro, air, all have terrible limits.

            The entire world primary energy use is 15TWt equiv to about 5TWe and it must grow a few times for the entire human race. We are not going to be able to stop China and India from reaching 5kWt or near EU levels of income. They will take their share of CO2 whether we like it or not till its all done damn the consequences.

            If you have no place for nuclear then you are wasting my time. Perhaps if you read the MacKay you will understand why.

            The Jacobson and Delucci paper is unfortunately a pure fantasy, those two gentlemen should have read the MacKay book before writing this study. Yes I have heard of the idea of overbuilding all solar and wind, but that requires lala land math and economics. I don’t know anyone in energy that can take that idea seriously. To believe in it is to set aside normal economics and resource limitations.

            MacKay puts nos on the energy and CO2 footprint of most materials, to build every 20 years new systems for low density energy systems staggers the mind.

            But for nuclear, example France would only have to double up its current plants to replace fossil power and it built the first lot in 20 years, then stay on a renewal path. We also have much better and safer reactor designs available now and would eventually go to thorium to solve the waste problem once and for all. From a physics point of view, thorium breeders are very interesting and are as safe as chemical plants with stable hot salts.

            So what is your profession?

          • Bob_Wallace

            I have 0 interest in discussing weather Germany’s input from wind in a given year was 6% or 8% or whatever.

            “On to your four points. I don’t buy into any of them and nor does MacKay unless you have vastly more money than most countries do. ”

            Fine. And I don’t find MacKay convincing. Nuclear is too expensive. Nuclear is priced off the table. Nuclear has other problems including time to construct and difficulties in siting. The world is moving away from nuclear, plants are closing faster than new plants are coming on line and that trend looks to be accelerating.

            Current times, wind and natural gas are the low cost new energy providers. Solar will be joining them. Hopefully NG will be replaced with storage as time goes along.

            You might want to read the Budischak, et al. paper.

            When you dismiss Jacobson and Delucchi as ” a pure fantasy” you label yourself as a non-objective partisan for nuclear.

            Thorium reactors are a hypothesis. There are no working thorium reactors producing affordable electricity. If anyone manages to build one and solves what appears to be a *proliferation threat* problem we can discuss them.

            Sorry to waste your time, but I’m interested in solutions which get us off fossil fuels the fastest, costs the least, and brings the least possible amount of hazards to our environment.

          • energy_guy

            MacKay isn’t even proposing nuclear, he goes to great pains to cover the issues involved trying to be as neutral as possible, the nuclear section is just 1 or 2 pages. He didn’t even write the book by himself, he had hundreds of other top scientists help with sources.

            You don’t find MacKay convincing, goodness gracious the guy is the best damned physicist to have ever presented the material on energy to the lay public. Which part of his physics do you disagree with, he deserves the highest respect for his thoroughness. You don’t argue with physics esp when it is fundamental physics known for 200 years.

            As for Jacobson and Delucchito, I will take another look at it later.

            China builds its AP1000s in 5 years and ahead of schedule for about $5B for 1.15GW or about $4.5/W. It is in the middle of 20 builds. While the US is only building 2 reactors now and may not build more for a long time, China, India and other countries will build them, few here and there. You can’t just wave your hand and say it doesn’t exist.

            Thorium physics is pretty straightforward. A reactor doesn’t need to create any electricity to prove itself. The one that was built at ORNL ran for many years with out a generator, it only had to produce a few MW of heat to demonstrate what it could do. Adding a generator requires engineering to add a heat exchanger to pass heat to a helium or CO2 Brayton cycle turbine and generator, all of this is well understood by gas and nuclear plant engineers.

            All of the work that China is doing on their version of the LFTR is for thermal plants for process heat that would be used to extract shale oil and turn coal into synfuels. No generators needed at all. They have 350 or more scientists from Academy of Science working on it. They also want the technology of molten salts for stored heat for possible use in you guessed it, concentrated solar heat systems.

            They are also getting help from the US DOE, various US nuclear labs and Westinghouse.

            There is no thorium proliferation problem at all. The recent reports of such from the UK that was all over the web make statements that are misleading, they were funded by the uranium industry which does not want thorium to take off. If you want a detailed note on it I’ll post it.

            There are 2 REs you might be open to that dramatically change everything, one is storage by pumped heat, Isentropic, and the other is controlled vortex tornadoes. That one will probably scare you as much as nuclear.

          • Bob_Wallace

            It’s a little hard to take the Chinese model and use it in other parts of the world in which the government cannot simply command things to happen. In the rest of the world we have regulations, public input, private contractors, etc.

            Take a look at how well the new European nuclear plants are going if you want something to work from. Olkiluoto is years and billions over deadline and budget. The major player in the next reactor that was to be built in Finland just walked out of the deal. European nuclear seems to be crumbling.

            BTW, last I heard Southern Company was behind schedule and over budget with their new plants in Georgia. They were talking about adding a night shift in an attempt to catch up.

            And that price you used for China’s costs. That’s an overnight number. Double it to get an estimate for what a funded plant would cost. And check that number against the Ontario and San Antonio submitted bids for conformation.

            I really don’t think you realize how expensive nuclear energy is these days.
            Perhaps you didn’t hear. China has cut the number of reactors they are going to build. They’ve tossed the idea of building any inland plants. They are only going to build in more remote coastal areas where there will be a smaller problem of evacuating residences and no fresh water supplies would be damaged if they wipe one out.

            China has increased it’s target for installed PV solar from 5 GW to 40 GW by 2015.

            Do read the Jacobson and Delucchi paper. Check their data sources. Consider the fact that our technology has improved during the years that have passed.

            There are papers furnished since theirs which confirm their findings for specific regions.

            Again. There are no operating thorium plants. Something that does not exist cannot be use for practical planning.

            Just because something that sounds like it would does not mean that it will. Remember pebble bed reactors? The Chinese couldn’t get theirs to reliably produce electricity. I think they’re looking for something they can do with the hard to control heat it produces. And didn’t South Africa fail in their attempt as well?

            I am quite aware of Isentropic storage and, conceptually it sounds great. I expected them to announce some results this summer. Since they didn’t I have a feeling that things did not work out so well. They’ve been silent for quite a long time.

            Since there is not a working prototype, I think we can put it in the thorium reactor category. Unproven. No cost analysis.

            Controlled vortex tornadoes, even further into idea land. It might be a way to pull a little extra energy out of waste heat from thermal plants, but some people are getting all excited as if it could create energy on its own.

          • energy_guy

            China’s funding of nuclear will be the same for solar, wind, or hydro, funded at low rates by the central gov.

            By western standards, 5 years is practically overnight, but pick any interest rate, and you can do the math, it goes up some. Apply the same math to solar or wind or hydro. The difference is that some power comes on sooner for wind or solar, about half way through you might have half your power on so that helps some, but its only a few percent difference in overall project cost.

            Its not difficult to figure out why something that happens quickly in China takes so much more time in the US, massive opposition, red tape etc to all projects, not just nuclear, all large projects, NIMBY.

            I really don’t think you realize how expensive solar + wind + storage -fossil backup is either.

            All those PV quotes are nameplate, / by about 7.

            As of 2011, according to Wikipedia, China’s top ten made 17GW of nameplate per year, enough to offset about 2.5GW of base load.

            And the panels are the result of massive gov support for that industry. We will see if the PV industry continues at its current rate or goes up or down.

            The JD paper comes later.

            Glad to hear you heard of Isentropic, and Vortex Engines tornadoes. Just because they haven’t been funded doesn’t mean they are flakey,

            In all these cases the funding community is risk averse to all things it doesn’t understand esp if its never been done before or even seems too good to be true. Only gov or angels will fund the more interesting projects to an early stage.

            Here is a thought experiment based on a CSP you must be very familiar with in Spain, see wiki Gemasolar CSP. I picked it because it uses molten salt for storage and it is commercially productive and has produced power through the entire day. At this point I don’t care about costs, just the technology, and there are some nos to look at.

            Gemasolar can supply 110GWh/yr so it compares to a 12.5MWe base load plant and it uses about 2sq km of heliostats.

            Lets scale this puppy up to produce 1GWe baseload, it would need 160 sq km of tracking mirrors to produce about daily avg heat to 2.5GWt.

            The molten salt plumbing would be interesting to look into, it runs up to 500c, it already drives a steam turbine in a Rankine cycle. If the temps were a bit higher it could be used for process heat too, no generator needed.

            So make 3 changes to the molten salt. Every hour add about 115g of thorium into the molten salt, nothing will happen.

            Then add some fission material as kindling, still nothing happens.

            Finally include a graphite core in the molten salt flow and fission starts to occur. After a while the U233 that will be bred up will produce the same amount of daily heat as the 160 sq km of heliostats, that is energy density at work.

            So a LFTR is somewhat similar to a huge CSP system but swapping the 160 sq km of heliostats for a continuous chemical reprocessing stage.

            Which one is cheaper. That is why China is so interested in molten salts, applications in CSP, LFTR, Pebble bed and others all for industrial processes.

            The problem with CSP systems is that they keep getting done over by cheap PV without storage, that can’t go on. If you want storage, CSP is the way to go.

          • Bob_Wallace

            We do not build nuclear plants in five years in the West. Our governments do not, for example, tell a building construction project to cease operations and send all the concrete to a reactor site. If extra manpower is needed we do not send in the military to push wheelbarrows.

            Five years of financing at 14.5% would double the cost of a project. Take a more reasonable ‘best case’ completion for a US built reactor – 8 years. A 9% financing rate doubles the overnight cost. Private money won’t loan out at 9% for nuclear build.

            Wind farms get built in less than two years, sometimes in less than one. Sometimes the first installed turbines go on line before the project is completed. This begins a cash flow which services interest and prevents compounding. It’s those long years of compounding that kills nuclear.
            Solar systems are installed much faster. Residential in a day or two. Large commercial rooftop systems in a week or two. Utility scale in less than a year. Again, cash flow starts quickly and interest does not compound into a problem.

            Time to bring on line and produce revenue is a massive problem for nuclear and coal.

            I’m pretty sure Isentropic got funding for a prototype many months ago.

            Thermal solar with storage is interesting because it can sell product into peak hours after PV is not producing. We’ll see how it actually works out financially. There are other technologies which could undercut it. In particular cheap battery storage – liquid metal batteries. And imported Wyoming wind.

            All cheaper than nuclear by a large margin.

            You can go on and on about speculating about thorium. We see people here on a regular basis would are true believers that there is a nuclear solution ahead. But believing does not make it true. When/if someone actually creates affordable then we can consider building some.

            The nuclear industry, the parts of it that actually finance and own nuclear plants, does not consider nuclear an option for financial reasons.

          • energy_guy

            You are comparing the builds of projects 3 orders of magnitude different in scale. Most of the solar news is about 1..30MW nameplate parks compared to nuclear 1..2GW base load plants.

            Lets see a 1GWe nuclear plant costs say $5B cash, but doubles over the project build with the high rates mentioned.

            Now build a 1GWe avg or 8760GWh solar park at state level, that won’t be a quick and easy project either. You will need 7GW of nameplate panel, about 30M panels and half of all China’s annual output. Try doing this several times around the world and China will have to get busy building more capacity.

            Just for fun I used a solar calculator to build a giant 10kWe avg or 87.6MWh rooftop system. Gross costs about $378k, after spreading charges onto other tax payers, its falls to $263k.

            Now try this 100k times and the price with an empty rebate pot is $37.8B. How on earth can you say $37.8B is less than $5B doubled up. And you have doubts about MacKay.

            We see people here on a regular basis here touting this new math for solar.

            Utilities like TVA operate power plants across coal, gas, nuclear, hydro and others. Of course they favor gas right now but maybe they are aware that gas prices will likely go up so keep a hand in some nuclear build, not keeping all their eggs in one basket.

            see “solar-estimate.org” using default values

          • Bob_Wallace

            When I compare the cost of electricity from various sources I generally use LCOE prices. That way output capacity is not part of the picture. If people want to be picky then I use total LCOE.

            There are other factors such as time of production and dispatchability that come into play after LCOE is calculated.

            Nameplate costs are not useful except for comparing like-source projects.
            Comparing German’s blended solar price of $2/watt to the US blend which is (without checking) over $4/watt is a useful comparison. Installed price of solar vs. installed price of wind is meaningless.

            The problem that solar has right now is that manufacturing capacity greatly exceeds capacity. New solar plants are quick to construct when we do get to the point where we are installing what current capacity can produce.

            TVA, like other utility companies will keep using their nuclear plants as long as they make economic sense. They have calculated that it makes sense for them to complete the unfinished Watts Bar (?) plant that they abandoned about 20 years ago.

            TVA is also building HVDC transmission to bring Oklahoma wind electricity to East Tennessee.

            Do keep in mind the sword hanging over the head of nuclear. If we melt one down in the US there will be enormous pressure to close them all, even if the meltdown is contained as was TMI.

            A meltdown in Europe might cause all US plants to be shuttered.

            Even if we don’t actually melt one down but only have to evacuate a major metropolitan area in the US my guess is that nuclear reactors will be put on a fast track to oblivion.

          • energy_guy

            I Iooked up “LCOE” on Wikipedia, quite interesting but nothing really surprising.

            It quotes the NREL which projects wind power will fall in cost by 25% from 2012 to 2030, what I’d expect.

            See table “esti.. levelized cost of new gen ..2017″
            The table taken from the EIA gives total levelized costs all mostly near 100+- with some exceptions.

            Plain old coal 100
            Advanced coal with CCS 140
            Gas conventional about 67
            Gas with CCS 93
            Nuclear 112
            Geothermal 100
            Wind non dispatchable 97
            Wind offshore 330
            Solar PV 160
            Solar thermal 251
            Hydro 90

            So what about CCS whats your take. I thinks its baloney, there are a couple of trial CCS plants around the world, but I don’t believe this will ever come to market. But if it did, Gas with CCS would then be interesting for a stretch.

            Further down French 2011 costs in Euros/MWh
            Hydro 20
            Nuclear 50 (8c kWh)
            Plain Gas 61
            Wind 69
            Solar farms 293

            California 2007 $/MWh
            Nuclear 67 (includes 14% subsidy)
            Coal about 80
            Gas 87-346
            Hydro 48-86
            Wind 60
            Solar 116-312 (includes over 100% subsidy)

            Japan Yen/kWh
            Solar 49
            Wind 10-14
            Nuclear 5-6

            The Solar color table gives about 30-35c/kWh for $4200/kWp

          • Bob_Wallace

            My take is that wind is now producing at $0.05/kWh, NG at a penny or so higher, and nuclear cannot compete with those prices. Read the GMT article I linked if you don’t understand why.

            We’re fairly certain that offshore wind will drop significantly in price as we get infrastructure and experience in place.

            Solar, at current German prices, would be well under $0.10/kWh in most of the US.

            Geothermal is already under a dime. Tidal should come in at under a dime.
            Nuclear cannot compete with those prices.

            There are no thorium reactors running so we have no idea what the cost would be.

            SMRs are another hypothetical. Some argue that they would be cheaper, some argue that they would be more expensive. Remember, it takes a lot of production volume before economies of scale kick in. We don’t have all that many places where SMRs would be allowed.

            In places where citizens have control over governmental decisions nuclear is failing.

          • ThomasGerke

            $4200/KWp do you live in 2008 and in tiny solar market?

            Today the most expensive Solar (tiny residential) is at $2200/kWp and the cheapest comes for $1500/kWp in Germany… that translates into generation costs of $0.10-0.14 per kWh in German solar conditions.

          • energy_guy

            If I put x kWp into a typical solar calculator, yes it does come to about $4/Wp. After 7x for NE US insolation that is about $28/We avg power.

            Good luck if you can get them half price, I’d like to see some commercial links if you care.

          • ThomasGerke

            Could you consider the fact that you live in a still tiny, overregulated and underdeveloped solar market that is several years behind what is currently possible?

          • energy_guy

            Don’t bother, mrsolar-com also has $15,625 for 10.56kWp or about $1.48/Wp grid tie, pretty neat if you can DIY or have open land.

            It doesn’t include racking or labor or replacement of inverters every decade though. Pity most of us can’t actually use it, no land or suitable roof, too many trees.

            Last time I had my roof redone, the materials was only 1/3 of the total install package, so it will be the same with solar.

            The $4/W would almost certainly include full install and the missing rack hardware. If I lived in a sunnier state with low flatter roof, I might DIY too, but it wouldn’t be any cheaper than the grid although it would be far better on CO2.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Just a couple of quick things….

            That ten year inverter thing might be an urban myth. I know a lot of people who have been off the grid for 20 – 30 years. I know of no one who has had to replace an inverter. Some of us went from modified square wave to sine wave inverters 10 – 15 years back but only to get a more efficient unit and better formed power.

            There’s at least one article on the site that breaks down the cost of installed solar into components. Labor is a surprisingly small portion.
            Germany is installing at an average of $2/watt. That includes a lot of residential roof solar. We’ll get there. While we do they will be heading toward $1/watt.

          • Bob_Wallace

            *And let me go on and deal with the cost issue which will likely come up…* *

            “Let me state unequivocably that I’ve never met a nuclear plant I didn’t like,” said John Rowe, who retired 17 days ago as chairman and CEO of ExelonCorporation, which operates 22 nuclear power plants, more than any other
            utility in the United States.

            “Having said that, let me also state unequivocably that new ones don’t make any sense right now.”*

            *“I’m the nuclear guy,” Rowe said. “And you won’t get better results with nuclear. It just isn’t economic, and it’s not economic within a foreseeable time frame.”
            http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffmcmahon/2012/03/29/exelons-nuclear-guy-no-new-nukes/ **
            *
            *
            *
            *–*
            *
            *
            *”On July 30th, the Financial Times published an interview with GE’s CEOJeffrey
            Immelt on the future of various energy alternatives. For decades, GE has played a significant role in many sectors of the energy business. It makes huge electric generators for electric utilities. It sell wind turbines. It sells solar installations and it recently added oil patch activities to its roster of companies. It has also been a leading supplier of nuclear power generation equipment. So for one of the leaders in that last space to suggest that nuclear isn’t a competitive solution now or going forward is a significant statement.

            Mr. Immelt expressed his view that it is almost impossible on a cost basis to justify investing in nuclear power plants for the future. ”So I think some combination of gas, and either wind or solar … that’s where we see most countries around the world going.””
            http://www.forbes.com/sites/joanlappin/2012/07/31/ges-immelt-natural-gas-now-much-cheaper-than-nuclear/ **
            *
            *
            *
            *–*
            *
            *
            *You might note that both were published in the conservative financial journal, Forbes.*
            *
            *
            *And it’s not just new builds that are in trouble. This month **Dominion is closing its ** ** Kewaunee, Wisconsin reactor because they can no longer operate without losing money. They were unable to find a buyer. They cannot compete against cheap wind and gas generation.*
            *
            *
            *Margins are so tight for reactors that a major repair can mean that they are never brought back on line. That is happening right now with Crystal River and San Onofre. Oyster Creek will be closed in a few years because the owners can’t justify the cost of a new cooling tow*
            *”Even plants **

            with no pressing repair problems are feeling the pinch, especially in places where wholesale prices are set in competitive markets. According to an internal industry document from the Electric Utility Cost Group, for the period 2008 to 2010, maintenance and fuel costs for the one-fourth of the reactor fleet with the highest costs averaged $51.42 per megawatt hour. *
            *
            That is perilously close to wholesale electricity costs these days.”* *
            *
            *A good article, worth a read…*
            *
            *
            * http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/24/business/energy-environment/economics-forcing-some-nuclear-plants-into-retirement.html?_r=1 **
            *
            *
            *
            *And here is another article worth a few minutes…*
            *
            *
            *”**While the nation has been focused on new sources of natural gas and shale oil, few noticed the slow decline of an older energy source: nuclear power. Today, commercial nuclear power is struggling to stay in the game.* *
            The power markets are hammering the nation’s nukes”*

            A good discussion of merit order pricing and why nuclear is getting killed. * https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/the-nations-nuclear-plants-are-nuked **
            *

          • energy_guy

            Of course nuclear is getting hit hard by low gas and coal prices, those are artificially low. We all know that, don’t need to post so many articles.

            We also know that coal and gas don’t pay for their CO2 costs, factor those in and all non CO2 sources will rise dramatically. We have to wait longer for climate effects to do much more damage, but that could be another decade or more. I don’t see CO2 having a real price in my lifetime.

            From what I understand, the gas bubble will blow sooner or later too, I don’t think any of those investors are doing that well either but I don’t really follow the market news so much, I’m a techhead.

            The Gemasolar plant, $325M for avg 12.5MWe, scale to 1GWe and it goes to $26B.

            I wonder what the price would be for the molten salt plant alone at that scale plus the extra cost of the chemical reprocessing.

            Are you robertwallace.com?

          • Bob_Wallace

            Part two…

            *

            Researchers at University of Delaware used four years of weather and electricity demand/load data in one minute blocks to determine 1) if a combination of wind, solar and storage could meet 99.9% of demand and 2) the most cost effective mix of each to meet demand.

            The data for 1999 through 2002 came from the PJM Interconnection, a large regional grid that services all or part of 13 states from New Jersey to Illinois, from Pennsylvania south into Tennessee and North Carolina. This is the world’s largest competitive wholesale electricity market, serving 60 million customers, and it represents one-fifth of the United States’ total electric grid.

            They used currently available technology and its projected price in 2030. They included no subsidies for wind and solar in their calculation. They did not include hydro, nuclear, tidal or other possible inputs. They also did not include power sales to and purchases from adjacent grids.

            They found that by 2030 we could obtain 99.9% of our electricity from renewable energy/storage and the remainder 0.1% from fossil fuels for about what we currently pay “all-in” for electricity. The all-in price of electricity which includes coal and oil produced health costs currently paid via tax dollars and health insurance premiums.

            During the four year period there were five brief periods, a total of 35 hours, when renewables plus storage were insufficient to fully power the grid and natural gas plants came into play. These were summer days when wind supply was low and demand was high. The cheapest way to cover these ~7 hour events was to use existing natural gas plants rather than to build additional storage. Adding in hydro, tidal, etc. would further reduce this number.

            After 28 billion simulations using differing amount of wind, solar, storage and fossil fuels they found the best solution was to over-build wind and solar and at times simply “throw away” some of the produced power. Building “too much” wind and solar turns out to be cheaper than building more storage given the storage solutions we have at this time. Finding markets for the extra production, selling electricity to offset natural gas heating for example, further reduced costs.

            Budischak, Sewell, Thomson, Mach, Veron, and Kempton Cost-minimized combinations of wind power, solar power and electrochemical storage, powering the grid up to 99.9% of the time Journal of Power Sources 225 (2013) 60-74

            *

          • Bob_Wallace

            Now here’s some more about the amount of wind generation on line in Europe and how fast it is being installed…

            “In September 2012, the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA announced that the EU had reached an important milestone in wind energy development, passing the 100 GW mark for installed wind power capacity. According to the organization, 100 GW of wind power can generate electricity over a year to meet the total consumption of 57 million households, equivalent to the power production of 39 nuclear power plants.

            It took the European wind energy sector twenty years to get the first 10 GW grid connected but in only 13 years it added the additional 90 GW, with 45 GW of the total European wind power capacity having been installed over the past six years.

            EWEA explained that 100 GW of wind power can produce the same amount of electricity over a year as:

            • 62 coal power plants, or
            • 39 nuclear power plants, or
            • 52 gas power plants.”
            http://www.renewableenergyworl

            Please notice that the comparison at the end is based on produced power and not nameplate capacity

          • Bob_Wallace

            “As of July 2012 there is a total of 185 nuclear power plant units with an installed electric net capacity of 162 GWe in operation in Europe….”

            http://www.euronuclear.org/info/encyclopedia/n/nuclear-power-plant-europe.htm

            39/185= 21%

            Europe brought wind in the amount of 1/5th of its nuclear capacity on line in only a few years. And wind is certainly not being installed as rapidly as it could be.

          • energy_guy

            Wind actually has a CO2 footprint in energy needed to make the concrete and steel and generators. It pays back but so does nuclear but way better.

            Nuclear uses about 1/10 the concrete and steel of wind per same TWh produced assuming 30% and 95% capacity factors resp and it should be obvious why.

            Take a look at the “Toronto Pickering nuclear plant” images on google. The turbine is a 1.8MW at 18% CF, it makes about avg 300MW. The nuclear plant is 6GW, ie 20,000 times more powerful.

            So imagine 20,000 turbines replacing the nuclear plant, you can dig up the amount of concrete and steel typically used.

            Also they both use generators, only wind uses about 3-5x as many since the CF will only be 20-30%. Which uses more materials, a 1GW generator or 1000..1500 3MW generators. Me thinks the big one by far although it would probably be 4x250GW. And if you follow the overbuilding story then it gets way worse.

            Also if France can build its nuclear fleet in 20 years, then it could easily do 2x that every 40 years for ever to cover most all primary energy use. Even better, half of them wouldn’t even make electricity, just use the heat directly.

            If wind uses 10x the concrete and steel materials, it might be possible for France to build the same power as nuclear as in wind but producing 10x the concrete and steel is going to be a big part of the economy.

            From Wind groups wind turbines last 15 years rather than the 40-60 years of nuclear so that is another 3-4x killer.

            Here is yet another problem for you, solar and wind produce pure electricity and forgetting the intermittent issue.

            A 1GWe nuclear plant is really a 3GWt thermal plant with a generator unit tacked on. About 50% of all nuclear plants used would not even want a generator, they would use the heat directly for process heat for industry to make concrete, steel, fuels etc. They would make hydrogen as a precursor for syn fuels. The LFTR is much better still because it runs at the higher temps needed for heat processes.

            REs make electricity and turning that into heat means a 1Je for 1Jh (exception for low grade heat 1Je gives 3-6Jh). With nuclear you get 3x as much with half the hardware not even on the grid.

            This is why nuclear folks don’t take seriously the all solar+wind story.

            see “Metal and concrete inputs”

          • Bob_Wallace

            You need to investigate lifetime CO2 footprints for wind, solar and nuclear. Mining and refining has a large CO2 component.

            They are just now replacing the 30 year old turbines at Altamont Pass wind farm. New turbine design is expected to last far longer. Especially those turbines which do not have gear trains.

            Fact is. Nuclear lost the cost war. Even France is dialing back on nuclear. They plan to drop nuclear from 75% to 50% and replace with renewable energy.

          • energy_guy

            The CO2 footprint of concrete and various metals are well known, I gave you a link that compares wind to nuclear.

            Maybe you can just look up “Sovacol CO2″ or you already have that in mind. The paper has a table that is also on Wikipedia. The Wiki page also states clearly that the nuclear 66g CO2/kWh is contentious because one author skewed the data and it seems implausible.

            Can Sovacol really avg a dozen completely different reactor types with a single merit figure, me thinks not. From my understanding of the uranium fuel cycle, the biggest energy input is the enrichment of plain uranium up to 4% or so. That could be done with coal or nuclear electricity with a huge relative effect on CO2 value. The fellow also has a bias and believes the true cost of nuclear power is between 40-80c/kWh while France actually makes it for 6.4c/kWh. That just throws water over his 66g thesis yet 66g its still 7x lower than gas. Nuclear can never be perfect enough for some.

            The Candu reactor and the UK gas reactors don’t even enrich their fuel and get 5g/kWh. In the thorium LFTR, the input fuel is just plain thorium metal, about 1 ton produces $1B of 11c power. Compare CO2 for 1 ton of thorium metal vs a million tons of coal or equiv as nat gas, its seems pretty obvious to me.

            So 11% wind plus solar with all gas backup will give 443*.89+9*0.08+10*0.03 or about 400g Co2/kWh.

            Yet somehow even the skewed 66g isn’t low enough for opponents but 400g is good enough, I don’t get it.

            Obviously 20,000 turbines can be compared eyeball to a 6GW nuclear plant.

            The shorter life of wind was for the tower itself, but I could be wrong, but its what I remember reading a while back.

            France hasn’t done anything yet, that is just the president talking for now. You keep repeating the same talking points about nuclear, France makes power at 6.4c/KWh, that is way cheaper than the typical 30cKWh for solar, although wind in between.

          • Bob_Wallace

            You keep going on about how wonderful thorium reactors might
            be. That does not make them real.

            I will continue to reply that there are not functioning thorium reactors producing cheap electricity.

            You can talk about France producing electricity for 6.4 cents but you cannot build a new reactor and produce power for that small price. A more accurate estimate is at least 12 cents and that is an industry-friendly lowball estimate. More likely the price is from 15 cents to well above 20.

            And those estimates are pre-Fukushima which even the industry acknowledges will make nuclear more expensive.

          • Bob_Wallace

            You can check lifetime CO2 footprint for wind, solar, and nuclear here. DOE/NREL has posted numbers.

            http://en.openei.org/apps/LCA/

            “Researchers measured their findings by grams of carbon dioxide emitted per kilowatt-hour of electricity generated. For the PV projects included, the study found a median of 45 grams emitted versus a 1,001-gram median for coal. Technology specific medians for solar included 26 grams for CSP trough, 38 for CSP power towers, 20 for amorphous silicon, 14 for cadmium-telluride and 26 for copper indium gallium diselenide.

            Wind energy had a harmonized range of 3 to 45 grams with a median of 11 grams. Nuclear had a very large harmonized range of 4 to 110 grams, with a median of 12.”

            http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2012/05/study-compares-energy-sources-from-cradle-to-grave

            Note that the vast difference between coal and renewables/nuclear makes any difference between renewables/nuclear largely irrelevant.

          • energy_guy

            Those are great nos and much more in line with my expectations, thanks, and saved. Very different from the wikimedia and Sovacol values.

            “Note that the vast difference between coal and renewables/nuclear makes any difference between renewables/nuclear largely irrelevant.”

            Indeed.

          • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

            nuclear does not pay back better than wind. sorry, that has been studied: http://cleantechnica.com/2012/03/02/clean-energy-is-needed-now-climate-scientists-climate-economists-say/

          • energy_guy

            Zach

            The CO2 graph by energy source linked from Romm who also doesn’t give an obvious source otherwise you can put up the original source.

            Now search for “CO2/kWh” and Wikipedia gives a mostly reasonable table except it comes from Sovacool who biased his analysis of nuclear and probably REs too, he over weighted the worst of nuclear and the under weighted REs, he is after all anti nuclear.

            Lower down in the list is the world-nuclear article, the graph at “Comparative Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Power Generation” and you see CO2g/kWh as

            coal 815-990
            gas 650-1170 but 70% is used for heating
            gas CC 350-450 only 30% is used for power
            PV 50-60 (exclude 95 for Finland)
            wind 5.5-37, avg 20
            nuclear 6-22
            hydro 3-18

            So REs+nuclear are at least 10-100 times better than gas CC. Other sources from IEA,DOE give very similar values.

            But you conveniently ignore the little problem that intermittent REs can only offset dispatchable power. At the max offset in Germany it is about 20%. Assume REs offset a 50/50 mix of coal and gas, and avg 400g for gas with 900g for coal, then 650g for both.

            So take Wind*20% + coal_gas*80% and you get 20+520g. It would be better to burn pure gasCC than a mix of gas+coal+wind but we don’t really believe that gas is clean anyway and it has other costs too, water, dependency on other countries.

            A more detailed nuclear breakdown gives energy in PJ for inputs and outputs for a 40 year plant, all construction, fueling, decommissioning, for enrichment by centrifuge and by diffusion.

            centrifuge 52PJ for 3024PJ of output
            or 58* payback @ 60kWh/SWU

            diffusion 173PJ for 3024PJ or output
            or 17* payback @ 2400kWh/SWU

            Centrifuge is rapidly replacing diffusion because it uses 40* less kWh, it would explain much of the 6-22g range.

            The Energy_Analysis link below gives the energy return ratio for power sources. For wind and solar take the best & most recent nos, but they are probably even better now. Some gas and coal have very low EROI values considering fuel extraction & transport.

            The LLNL graph tells us that most US gas is used for heating.

            see “CO2/kWh” Wikipedia, world-nuclear-org etc

            see “Comparative Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Power Generation”
            see “Energy Analysis of Power Systems”
            see “uranium enrichment worldwide”

          • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

            wind turbines last far longer than 15 years. some of the first (least advanced) have run for over 30 years. 20-30% capacity factor is an old statistic, not what new turbines are getting, which is closer to 50%.

            i appreciate your concern and what you think you’ve learned, but you’re spreading way too many bad/wrong statistics here.

          • energy_guy

            According to the 2011 EU27 renewables.pdf, 2010 produced 149TWh from end of year 85GW capacity that gives 20% CF. Adjust for lower capacity beginning of 2010 and CF goes to 21%.

            After wind has been sited in all the best places, the CF goes lower and lower. There is no such thing as infinite amounts of best wind available unless you start going out of the box , using kites at high altitude which is an entirely different technology not much tested yet.

            see “EU27 renewables.pdf eurobserv”

          • Bob_Wallace

            I don’t know about European output capacity. Haven’t looked it up. Us, best sites and latest technology output is now over 50%.

            Wind technology has not stood still. Turbines are now being designed specifically for lower wind resource sites and are returning over 40% nameplate.

            And we’re just starting to go offshore where the best wind resources can be found.

            Of course, what really counts is price per kWh. Wind rules.

          • ThomasGerke

            Why in gods name would you go into primary energy, when a country like Germany is converting it’s energy supply & demand to utilize 100% renewable energy?
            Do you want to mine & refine the sun to get it’s primary energy? ;)

            Renewables like Wind & Solar produce final energy in the form of electricity. So to explain the simple picture that results from shifting to wind & solar as the primary energy source, here is a small calculation:

            Germany consumes approx. 14000 PJ of Primary energy… after the inefficency of the conventional energy system gets them into the form we can technologically use (final energy) only 9000 PJ are left.
            Of these 9000 PJ approx. 2500PJ or 700 TWh are used for Transportation.

            NOW:
            When Germany & the World transforms it’s energy system to rely primarily on wind & solar, we will not fill our cars with energy in liquid form and burn it in inefficent engines… we obviously will move to electric mobility.

            So What does this mean?
            In Germany all cars combined drive approx. 860 billion kms per year. If EVs are used to drive all those kms they wouldn’t use 700 TWh but 150-215 TWh. (The differnece between a Nissan Leaf and a Tesla Roadster)

            Using only todays Wind & Solar Capacity Germany could already power 35-55% of it’s future transporation needs. Forever.

            That’s the reality of renewable power, efficency & technological progress… not silly number games to desinform an uneducated public by people like David McKay.

            Primary Energy…pfff

            BTW:
            Germany could Install up to 189 GW on just 2% of the land area producing approx. 480 TWh (using the current state of wind turbine technology- inland optimized)

          • energy_guy

            Wow, if you think that about Dr David MacKay, then there is really no point in arguing about anything at all. And your education is what may I ask.

            Go ahead and cover the country with solar and wind and don’t use any coal, gas, nuclear from Germany or elsewhere to make it work. It will make for a very interesting experiment.

            But that is not what is happening, is it, shutting down those nuclear plants means 20 more new “clean” coal plants get built, good luck with that.

            see “Germany turns to coal”

          • ThomasGerke

            Yep, That’s what I think about Mr. MacKay… because how he presents data is far below his intellect. Which is why it’s willful and misleading bullshit.

            He has basicly written a book trying to show the simple minded why renewable energy does supposedly not work. He does this by trying to supply an unrealistic amount of energy (primary energy consumption) with outdated renewable technology. is not neccessary once the energy system is adapted to run on renewable energy source.

            If his book & lectures would be a honest he would start by saying that most of the energy consumption today is an uneconomical waste of ressources (lack of efficency). Then he would calculate how applying todays technology & standards would effect future energy needs.

            After that he could try to cover those energy needs with renewable energy sources and voila…VERY different picture.

            But while he does include a chapter showing that energy needs would fall dramatically when modernizing the energy system at the end of his book, he never goes back to his earlier numbers.

            So a guy that tries to convince the public that his recommendations for the british government to build new Nuclear at all costs are wise… yet nobody really wants to build those power stations it seems.

            BTW:
            Yes, in 2010 there were 14 GW of fossil power stations under construction and most of them will propably go online… but since Wind & Solar are on course to double by 2020, nobody wants to start building new coal power stations.

            So keep quoting uneducated articles and DON’T use your own brain… Less nuclear = more coal… that’s all investors care for… they don’t give a damn about profitability of their investments or how often they can produce electricity in a market in which renewables have priority on the grid…

          • energy_guy

            Dr MacKay is not talking about consumer driven energy use. He already cut UK primary energy use down by about 1/3 by removing as much inefficiency as practical, and that was starting from half of the US primary levels. Give the man some credit, he hardly mentions nuclear at all, but he couldn’t ignore it either.

            And for the UK which is one of the more densely populated countries, a mostly solar or wind system would need about 10% of all land set aside for all primary energy production. There is no practical possibility of increasing biomass or hydro to anymore than a tiny sliver of power use. In all 5 plans there is a mix of REs. Even the mostly nuclear one is still 20% or so REs of various sorts including bits of hydro, wave, tidal, heat pumps, insulation, some wind, biomass, foreign imports etc.

            The current population of the UK is about 10 times too high to go back to the way things used to be 200 years ago where energy largely came form biomass, animals, tiny hydro etc. Once you have no fossil power and fertilizers, land productivity drops.

            The British must be quite a bit more pragmatic than the Germans it seems because they do not oppose nuclear like you think, some do, but most don’t.

            And why don’t you use your own brain to figure the cost of producing 1GWe baseload or 8.76TWh/yr for each and every power source, you might be surprised. The data is out there for you to find.

            Also consider that electrical energy only represents about 40% of all primary energy expressed in We, so fully electrifying all fossil fuel processes is going to increase electricity production 2.5 fold or so,

            You need to read the book again, you have misread the intent.

            Or you could write your own rebuttal to MacKay and publish it. But can you do the physics though, me thinks your book would be full of hand waving and BS, but the greens would love it.

          • ThomasGerke

            Is he some kind of god to you?
            Look, in my point of view his book is nice to give people who are absolutly clueless about energy a nice start in terms of what energy is and so on… but he is not an authority in the field of sustainable energy nor did he spend alot of time studying the subject. As he states in the book and his TED talk, he wrote the book because he thought the debate in the UK was redicules… I can’t judge that since I don’t follow it that closely.

            The problem with his position and yours is the implication that most “greens” are clueless.

            But wouldn’t you agree that MacKays little number games are inferiour to the actual work of people and instutions that really know what they are talking about? I mean knowledge as in decades of studies & experience.

            Of course you could also think for yourself…for example:
            On page 204 he forcasts the energy consumption of the future. In it he puts electricity for transport at 18 kWh/d/ person. In the UK (63Mil.) that would mean roughly 415 TWh of electricity just for electric transportation. (=double the current electricity consumption = NUTS!)

            In Germany 85% of the transport energy is consumed by cars. So lets asume it is the same in the UK and that the future cars would use 25kWh per 100km (high value).
            In this case 350 TWh translate to 1400 billion Km total vehicle travel… Is that realistic my friend?

            A little hint: In Germany it’s about 600 billion km…

            I guess 70TWh (20 GW of wind in the UK) to power all km driven by cars in the UK with electricity doesn’t sound too plausible if you write a book about silly greens. So a book full of BS is way better.

            At least you are happy ;)

          • energy_guy

            Lets do a reality check on MacKay’s values and compare with the US “LLNL energy graph” and see if the proportions look right. MacKay says the UK uses about 32% of primary energy for transport, the US older 2007 graph says 29%, different but not vastly so.

            The UK really does use about 5kWt or 125kWh/d as thermal per person. Germany is a little higher, the US is double.

            MacKay has 32% of the UK input converted to electricity at 45%eff giving 18kWh/d. The US is 40% converted at 32%eff from the LLNL graph. The energy flows are similar but the conversions are slightly different.

            The remainder is for future generations to add to the grid, so electricity really will increase by 2.5-3 times to be rid of most fossil power.

            So the transport 40kWh thermal gives 18kWh electric for 45% conversion eff.

            Lets use a Leaf that has a range between 73-100 miles or 84 miles avg for 24kWh. I get 3.5miles/kWh or 5.6km/kWh or 17.8kWh/100km pretty similar to your value.

            So 18kWh/d(e) gives 63 miles/d or 100km/d or 23,000 miles/yr. This is about 1.5-4 times what any UK person actually drives. The rest is for buses, trucks, trains, planes, ships etc.

            Me thinks you skimmed the book and didn’t pay attention to details.

          • ThomasGerke

            When you say “lets make a reality check” why don’t you just look at reality to check if your number games are not totally detached from reality?

            In the UK there are approximatly 31.5 million cars. The average milage per car (the thing burning fuel) was 8,430 miles* (13,560km). That makes a total of aprox. 420 billion kms traveld by cars. If these are all traveld using a Nissan Leaf the UK would need 75 TWh of final energy in the form of electricity.
            That would be 3.2 kWh per person per year.

            Of course this is just cars… but since cars are the top energy consumers when it comes to transport energy this should be considered.

            ———————-
            * http://assets.dft.gov.uk/statistics/releases/national-travel-survey-2010/nts2010-01.pdf (on Page 7)

          • energy_guy

            In the MacKay book, page 30 and note 29 he states he is not using the UK avg at that point, but a figure of 18,000km or 11000miles for an aspiring affluent person who chooses to drive as they please. So 11k/365 gives 30 miles which uses about 40kWh(th) which is about 32% of the primary energy 125kWh that he used for 2007.

            As a Leaf, 30 miles would be about 9kWh(e) or 20-25kWh(th). For a 7000 miles avg, it would be 5.5kWh(e) and including those that don’t drive it could be 3.2kWh(e) or 7-9kWh(th).

            So he starts of with 40kWh(th) for a single car user but by page 204, the five energy plans are using the 40kWh(th) box to cover all transport energy use for all people averaged out.

            See “uk primary energy mix” the decc-gov-uk report.

            This is an overall summary of the primary energy.

            Chart 1 gives 203Mtoe today, but in 2007 it was about 240Mtoe with a UK population only 61M, 1 toe is 42GJ or 11.63MWh.

            So 240Mtoe/y is 2790TWh/y and voila 125kWh/d/p (th).

            See “energy consumption in the united kingdom” gives much more detail for the various sectors.

          • ThomasGerke

            Again:
            The average driving habbit of car owners can not be used as the basis for the average milage per person as not everybody drives.

            The total km traveld by all vehicles in the UK is in the range of 400 billion km. That’s a fact…

            3.2 kWh(e) are 3.2 kWh(e). If they come from wind & solar there is no point in converting them in fictional 7-9kWh(th)… those sources don’t produce 60% waste heat…. that’s why they are underrepresented in primary energy statistics. That’s also the reason why it’s common knowledge that using primary energy consumption to describe how a renewable energy system could is silly.

            Look, your word against the word of the Fraunhofer Insititute on this…. and many other individuals & insitutions that study these things.

          • energy_guy

            When energy graphs are constructed, every PJe of all nuclear, hydro, wind, solar, is added to the left inputs as about 3PJh and that is fair since they are all equiv as PJe outputs.

            Since each 3PJh of coal, gas, oil can on avg produce 1PJe, this seems fair too, even though only 1/3 of that chemical energy is used for electrical power plants. The rest is used directly for heating, transport, and industry and the conversion losses appear later on.

            This method is used the world over, even in Germany. The purest electrical sources represent only a few % of all energy produced. The /3 conversion factor could be reduced to /2.5, even /2 in some cases, but it will never be 1.

            And if you look at all these graphs, you always see about 30% goes to transport and only a part of that is used for internal combustion engines. Presumably some is used for construction and paving of roads with oil products and for all other forms of transport.

            It simply isn’t possible to change to a world that is entirely electrical, we need heat for warmth, for industrial processes, even for making food fuel, the world will always be more chemical (life) than electrical (machina).

            Chemical or heat energy has its advantages too, it can easily be stored and used on demand and it drives all life.

            If we want to make fuels to store energy and do so without carbon fuels we can choose between nuclear or pure electrical sources. Use nuclear and you can use 3PJh directly or use 1PJe and convert to 1PJh and get far less fuels. And fuels are generally made with heat processes.

            See “German energy flow” there are 4 pics on google
            See “Energy Balance Germany 2012 in million tce”
            See “flowcharts llnl gov”

          • Bob_Wallace

            You left out geothermal, concentrated solar, biomass and biogas as heat sources.

            And, of course, electricity.

          • energy_guy

            I don’t generally mention them because they are mostly very small in the US except biomass which mostly goes to industry and transport.

            Electricity as a heat source is wasteful unless it is very high grade heat for melting metals etc. Electricity for home heating using heat pumps is very smart, since each Je turns to same Jh and borrows a few more from the environment.

            Using electricity that is made from high grade heat, to make heat is very wasteful, it would be better to use the original heat in the first place but that’s the convenience factor of electricity vs the difficulty of moving heat around.

            Even if the electricity is off peak, turning it into stored heat is still wasteful, even if it is nuclear in origin, but its probably way better than resistive heating during the peak time.

            see “flowcharts llnl gov”

          • Bob_Wallace

            Potential for concentrated solar and geothermal are not insignificant.
            Geothermal as a source of heat for space heating is immense.

          • energy_guy

            By geothermal if you mean ground source heating then absolutely otherwise only in places like Iceland and a few others where lots of geologic heat is near the surface.

            Also MacKay has a good section on ground source heating. At least in the UK with high density housing, the ground would quickly lose too much heat if entire rows of homes took it all in the colder months. It has to be replenished by putting the heat back in during cooling seasons with reverse cycle pumps or mixed with air source heating.

            On the DOE website there are some interesting advanced forms of air source heating cycles that push the COP factor up even further.

            Concentrated solar thermal would be interesting if not for the cost. The Gemasolar scaled up 80 fold would give the same output as 1GWe/yr and it can follow load since it stores heat around 20 hours. But at $325M*80 you get $26B and needs 212000 heliostats to do that on 150sq km of land. The molten salt storage look interesting, it goes up to 500c so it could be useful for industry.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I expect we’ll solve the engineering problem of drilling large bore holes which will vastly increase geothermal potential via enhanced geothermal.
            As far as “wet rock” geothermal it’s not just Iceland. Indonesia, the Western US, Japan, Hawaii, Central America, western South America, eastern Africa, north Africa, southern Europe, New Zealand – kind of a large ‘few’….
            http://www.geni.org/globalenergy/library/renewable-energy-resources/world/sources_world/geothermalregions_files/img015.jpeg

          • ThomasGerke

            (A)
            So you are completly unaware of the fact that primary energy consumption statistics (measureing the fuel input) are not suited to judge the importance of renewable energy sources in the electricity supply?

            So you tell me that you are ignorant of the fact that the 100 TWh of final energy in the electricity production from wind, solar & hydropower are displayed as 100 TWh of primary energy?

            Renewable share in the Electricity supply:
            Primary Energy = 8%
            Final Energy (what matters) = 25%

            (B)
            You do it again. You suggest that I have no idea what I am talking about. We were not discussing a realistic scenario to meet all energy demands…
            We were talking about the over simplified assumption by Mr. McKay in which he discussed the energy requirements for a

      • CaptD

        Your name calling immediately identifies you as a Pro Nuclear…

        The USA cannot afford a Trillion Dollar Eco-Disaster like Fukushima and nowhere in everybody’s discussion is anything about the RISK of a nuclear accident or worse yet a nuclear accident and what that would cost the USA or any other Country!

        The “near miss” that San Onofre just had, should be enough to convince all those that are not practicing Profitganda* that the sooner we start doing what Germany is doing, getting away from RISKY nuclear the better for our Country and the Planet.

        The wind blows for free, what does Nuclear cost US?

        Here is a great free eBook on what Germany is really doing:

        http://energytransition.de/

        + Salute to Bob Wallace for all his efforts!

        * http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Profitganda

        Profitganda is the use of phony “feel good” information to sell an idea, product or concept to the masses.

  • energy_guy

    Oh the irony, all geothermal energy is in fact of nuclear origin.

    The earth’s core contains considerable amounts of decaying uranium, thorium, and phosphorous that has been keeping the core warm for the last few billions of years and dominates over the non nuclear heat. Not only that Japanese scientists showed that there is fission going on by the presence of anti neutrinos a signature of fission events.

    If you take enough heat from the earth, you will get earthquakes. Look up what happens in the US geothermal test projects on Wikipedia.

    You could take some heat for home heating, but replacing Japans energy use by geothermal isn’t going to happen.

    Japan uses about 120M*5kWt or 600GWt power mostly from fossil fuels.

    About half of that is turned into electricity. If all thermal power process are electrified Japan would still about 240GWe. So taking care of current electricity isn’t enough, all fossil power has to eventually be replaced by non CO2 energy sources.

    • Bob_Wallace

      It’s an interesting way to look at geothermal.

      Geothermal is the quick, safe and affordable way to bring nuclear energy to the grid.

      (Of course solar, wind and wave are also ways to bring safe and affordable nuclear energy to the grid. And very quick to install.)

      Your concern about extracting enough heat from the Earth to create earthquakes – noted and dismissed. Major scaling problem.

      The minor tremor problem is due to “lubrication” that happens during fracking. A lowering of friction allows pressure already present to move stuff around. That happens when fracking for oil and natural gas. Simply drilling oil wells can trigger tremors, we’ve know that for 100 years.

      It ain’t the heat removal.

      • energy_guy

        Yes that reminds me, fracking for heat. I wonder what people will think when they hear that word fracking and then experience tremors. People already know about gas fracking and tremors.

        Any way we will see as it goes along. I’m all for experimenting and learning. Of course the US, Iceland, Japan all very different cases.

        • Bob_Wallace

          I expect we’ll do our initial enhanced geothermal (when/if we solve the large bore drilling problem) some distance from population centers. If a 3.4 like Basil is all we have do deal with it will be no big problem. 3.4 is a weekly thing in CA and NV. Basil, even though in an active fault area, is not earthquake hardened like our buildings in the West.

          If enhanced/dry rock works then we’ll include the problems of fracking tremors into the mix of inputs that determine what we install and where.

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