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BNEF nuclear germany

Published on April 22nd, 2014 | by Zachary Shahan

519

7 Interesting Nuclear Energy Graphs

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April 22nd, 2014 by Zachary Shahan 

One of our readers recently passed along a couple of very interesting charts about nuclear energy as well as the nuclear energy report from which they came. The report, World Nuclear Report 2013, is well worth a more careful look, but for those who just love some interesting charts, here are the two that our ever-alert reader shared as well as a few more I pulled out:

nuclear germany

Data Sources: AGEB 2013

new electricity eu

Data Source: EWEA 2013

global electricity production

Data Source: BP 2013

electricity capacity world

Data Source: IAEA-PRIS, BP, 2013

renewable energy nuclear investment

Data Source: BNEF 2013 and WNISR original research, 2013

nuclear share by country

Data Sources: IAEA-PRIS, MSC, 2013

nuclear construction times

Note: The bubble size is equivalent to the number of units started up in the given year. Data Sources: MSC based on IAEA-PRIS 2013

I think the charts speak for themselves, but I’m sure they will stimulate plenty of commentary, so have at it.

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About the Author

spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as the director/chief editor. Otherwise, he's probably enthusiastically fulfilling his duties as the director/editor of Solar Love, EV Obsession, Planetsave, or Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and wind energy expert. If you would like him to speak at a related conference or event, connect with him via social media. You can connect with Zach on any popular social networking site you like. Links to all of his main social media profiles are on ZacharyShahan.com.



  • Media Mentions

    Excellent article. I sporadically check back on
    the Nuclear Power debates and have to say, this is a great time to come back at
    it. Between some new studies, anecdotal evidence and news streams (a personal
    favourite here
    http://www.pressreader.com/profile/Spotlight/bookmarks/nuclear_power), the turn
    in opinion is remarkable. I agree in that we should take all given with a touch
    of skepticism, but from 4-5 years ago, the attitude has definitely shifted to
    the less optimistic, I believe. Though I bet Japan is missing their nukes right
    about now as peak energy demand leaves many in want of cheap, reliable power.

  • eveee

    BS. MSRs are not in production because the nuclear power industry favors the AP1000. They had their chance. They chose the other one. Boy, are you grasping at straws with conspiracy theories. Its one thing not to have references for tech stuff. Its another to have no references for a conspiracy. Even so, regulation does matter. Nuclear has to live in the real world, just like all the other power sources and if it doesn’t make it, tough toenails. I mentioned breeders as an example of alternative reactor design that failed. Thats to remind you that the nuclear industry doesn’t want another reactor that failed, while youtube yo-yos are all gaga about some some mythical new age reactor design and design them in their minds. Real engineers at real companies pass real regulations that meet real goals. Not fantasy. You dismiss embrittlement, no references. Sure material science has changed. Some shlep at NukeInc has to actually solve the problem, not comment on a blog. This article is about curves related to nuclear power, not nuclear power tech, so its a little of topic, but…

    it never generated a single watt of electricity. As I’ve mentioned previously the turbo generator systems for high temperature reactors is technically challenging,

    reports of distortions in the graphite moderator

    worse inter-granular cracking

    MSRE never included the more tricky Chemical Processing Plant. One was designed by ORNL but never installed.

    Questions have also been raised by some nuclear scientists about the Thorium cycle

    I will stop there. The list goes on.
    http://daryanenergyblog.wordpress.com/ca/part-8-msr-lftr/

    • Bob_Wallace

      The Babcock & Wilcox Company (B&W) plans to restructure its mPower Small Modular Reactor program to focus on technology development. Without the ability to secure significant additional investors or customer engineering, procurement and construction contracts to provide the financial support necessary to develop and deploy mPower reactors, the current development pace will be slowed, the company said.

      http://www.greencarcongress.com/2014/04/20140414-mpower.html

      i.e., Not many people are interested in purchasing SMRs. Economy of scale would never be large enough to make these puppies affordable.

  • eveee

    “The authoritative Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has leftzero doubt that we humans are wrecking our climate.

    It also effectively says the problem can be solved, and that renewable energy is the way to do it, and that nuclear power is not.”

    http://ecowatch.com/2014/04/17/ipcc-renewables-not-nuclear-solve-climate/

    “The report includes nuclear power as a mature low-carbon option, but cautions that it has declined globally since 1993 and faces safety, financial and waste-management concerns.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/apr/13/averting-climate-change-catastrophe-is-affordable-says-ipcc-report-un

  • Bob_Wallace

    I just like to remind those who think nuclear is alive and doing well of a couple things.

    There’s a couple of new boys in town and they’re kicking butt.

    You fans of nuclear can wade as deep into the weeds as you like looking for some tidbits on which to build a comeback story but the world’s nations are moving to renewables. That’s where they are investing their money and that’s where they are creating their new electricity supply.

    Even nuclear’s favorite countries, France and China, are moving to renewables. France will be closing reactors and is installing renewables. Wind has overtaken nuclear in China and shows every sign of continued rapid growth.

    I’m actually starting to think we have a decent chance to get our CO2 emissions under control thanks to how fast wind and solar prices are falling and now rapidly installation is increasing.

    We’ll build a few more reactors. But unless there is a immense drop in cost we’ll see starts continue to taper off until nuclear goes the way of the steam engine.

    We probably won’t complete reactors as fast as we close them. In fact, that’s pretty much a given.

    Nuclear got a good ride. We spent an immense amount of money trying to make it produce cheap electricity. But we failed.

    So say hello to the Sun. That’s our nuclear reactor going forward.

  • eveee

    Maybe some are having trouble grasping these deeply difficult technical concepts.

    New-Build Nuclear Is Dead: Morningstar

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffmcmahon/2013/11/10/new-build-nuclear-is-dead-morningstar/

  • SmelltheCoffee00

    Scroll through the headlines at ENENEWS for some sober realities about nuclear energy.

    • http://batman-news.com joe

      yea thats a reputable source. Lets just ignore the World Health Organization and UN reports while we’re at it and go into a fit of hysteria. Zombie apocalypse in Japan caused by the fukushima meltdown…. birth of the ninja turtles will take place here! millions will die instantly.

      The UN, the EIA, the World Health Organization are all just in the pocket of the nuclear industry right? And the nuclear industry is just trying to make life miserable for everyone.

      • eveee

        Under the agreement, whenever either organisation wants to do anything in which the other may have an interest, it “shall consult the other with a view to adjusting the matter by mutual agreement”.

        At the conference, research was presented indicating that as many as a million children across Europe and Asia may have died in the womb as a result of radiation from Chernobyl, as well as hundreds of thousands of others exposed to radiation fallout, backing up earlier findings published by the ECRR in Chernobyl 20 Years On: Health Effects of the Chernobyl Accident. Delegates heard that the standard risk models for radiation risk published by the International Committee on Radiological Protection(ICRP), and accepted by WHO, underestimate the health impacts of low levels of internal radiation by between 100 and 1,000 times – consistent with the ECRR’s own 2003 model of radiological risk (The Health Effects of Ionising Radiation Exposure at Low Doses and Low Dose Rates for Radiation Protection Purposes: Regulators’ Edition). According to Chris Busby, the ECRR’s scientific secretary and visiting professor at the University of Ulster’s school of biomedical sciences:

        “The subordination of the WHO to IAEA is a key part of the systematic falsification of nuclear risk which has been under way ever since Hiroshima, the agreement creates an unacceptable conflict of interest in which the UN organisation concerned with promoting our health has been made subservient to those whose main interest is the expansion of nuclear power. Dissolving the WHO-IAEA agreement is a necessary first step to restoring the WHO’s independence to research the true health impacts of ionising radiation and publish its findings.”

        http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2009/may/28/who-nuclear-power-chernobyl

  • Michael Berndtson

    If you ever thought Obama was a big meanie for not helping out nuke, here’s an interesting story today from E&E Publishing (via Midwest Energy News):

    “Obama admin calculations spared developers millions in loan guarantee fees for Ga. nuclear project, documents show”

    http://www.eenews.net/stories/1059998194

    Copied from the first paragraph of the article:

    “The Obama administration finalized $6.5 billion worth of loan guarantees for the country’s first U.S. reactors in decades without requiring developers to pay a “credit subsidy fee” — money that protects taxpayers should the developers default, according to documents obtained by Greenwire.”

    I’ve been freaking out about these public/private partnerships being pushed down from on high for a while. This is just another thing for me to freak out about.

  • http://batman-news.com joe

    Hi Zach:)

    I found that the table below was quite a bit more telling than all of the tables you provided. It shows the LCOE of various technologies calculated by the EIA, and among clean technologies nuclear is very competitive with the price actually falling at a rate similar to wind and solar. Oh and this LCOE doesn’t account for the fact that nuclear has inherent storage, serves as long term volatility and inflation hedging, is capable of load following, and has the highest reliability among generation sources.
    Source data is the EIA: http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/aeo/electricity_generation.cfm

    Even more telling is that in the main battleground of GHG emissions – China – nuclear is the cheapest non-hydro fossil fuel alternative: https://www.chinadialogue.net/article/show/single/en/6215-Chinese-nuclear-versus-renewables-who-is-winning-

    Thanks for the lack of science and total bias though Zach, hopefully we can create more hysteria to shutdown nukes so that we can remain firmly committed to coal as Germany is and Japan is in process of becoming ;)

    • sault

      joe, the EIA has always had a pro-fossil / nuclear and an anti-renewable energy bias. For example, their esitmates of global oil production and prices for 2014 that they made back in 2005 are way off the mark. Their predictions about renewable eneergy production and cost from back then are just as hilariously wrong.
      Even now, they are way off-target. For instance, Lawrence Berkeley National Labs found that wind power AVERAGED 4 cents per kWh in 2012 with some contracts going as low as 2.5 cents:

      http://newscenter.lbl.gov/news-releases/2013/08/06/new-study-finds-that-the-price-of-wind-energy-in-the-united-states-is-near-an-all-time-low/

      And if you claim that this inculdes subsidies, the new nuke plants going up in the U.S. will get the same level of subsidy while wind power’s production tax credit was allowed to expire.
      Putting solar PV on this chart is disingenuous. It generates PEAK, RETAIL electricity and trying to make a direct comparison to baseload sources given this difference is highly dubious.
      Finally, their label of “Advanced” Nuclear probably allows them to cherry-pick the best plants and ignore the real big stinkers that took more than 10 years to build.
      However, I do find their HUGE (nearly 50%) cost drop in geothermal energy over the course of one year highly encouraging. Is this due to actual improvements or a small sample size that covered mostly special cases?

      • http://batman-news.com joe

        Lawrence Berkeley is correct, but that is because wind projects being developed now are at particularly high wind resource sites – its not representative of the average LCOE for wind in the country as a whole.

        Asserting that the EIA is biased against renewable energies is a pretty ridiculous statement. The EIA is an extension of the US DOE, and it is extremely difficult to claim that the DOE and the current administration have been anything but fully supportive of renewable energy technologies. The EIA LCOE report and the graph I attached were published just a few days ago.

        Solar PV does create energy during high demand, but it actually misses peak during the majority of the year as peak demand usually occurs between 5-6 PM as the workforce gets home and the sun heads toward the horizon. This creates the ‘duck curve’ shown below.

        Unlike nuclear, PV and wind are not reliable, they offer little support during extended periods of above average demand such as the Polar Vortex this winter during which the US nuclear fleet operated at around 97% capacity factor while wind output in the PJM grid was of little assistance, daily solar insolation levels were miniscule, and gas prices spiked due to lack of pipeline capacity.

        Also wind and solar assets last less than 1/2 as long as a nuclear plant.

        Also, to be scaled beyond a minority share of our electricity generation wind and solar require grid modifications including storage.

        Wind and solar are useful, but trying to say that nuclear isn’t vitally important to climate change mitigation is plainly anti-science.

        Geothermal is unfortunately growth constrained due to the difficulty in reaching vents that are not more readily accessible.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Sorry, that’s just wrong. We have enormous wind potential in the US. We haven’t even started to tap the incredible offshore resources we have.

          Solar varies between 4.2 and 5.5 average hours for most of the lower 48. That is not a large difference, it makes a couple pennies difference in cost of electricity.

          The EIA’s 2018 cost projections are a laugh. Wind and solar are already cheaper than what they predict in 2018 and are falling. They predict new nuclear at 8.5c/kWh.

          A recent analysis by Citigroup of the new Vogtle reactors finds that the cost of electricity will be 11c/kWh – if there are no further cost/timeline overruns. And that it is not reasonable to think that reactors built after Vogtle could hit the 11c price point because the incredibly low financing rate that Vogtle is enjoying is almost certainly not going to hold. A bit of inflation and the Fed will raise rates.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            “Solar varies between 4.2 and 5.5 average hours for most of the lower 48″

            Hmm perhaps you were not very experienced with solar or aware of the enormous disparity of annual solar insolation throughout the continental US. Obviosuly hours of daylight is one factor, but intensity (irradiance measured in Watts) at a given location (subject to latitude and cloud cover) is of equal importance. For instance Phoenix AZ enjoys about 7.53 kWh/m2/day in solar insolation whereas the Seattle area is closer to 2.9 kWh/m2/day. CHI and NY are around 3.8. This is around a factor of 2 in difference between major population centers which is directly reflected by the economics: http://maps.nrel.gov/prospector

            Wind resources show the same order of disparity as shown by NREL resource maps for each below.

            EIA is a governmental agency specializing in collecting energy data. Citigroup is a lender with their own agenda.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I write “most” and you cherry-pick the exceptions.

            Got it.

            Then you publish a wind resource map that leaves off off-shore wind.

            Got it.

            Let me give people some better maps so they can make informed decisions rather than intentionally misinformed decisions.

            Citygroup is a branch of Citibank. What they do is financial assessments so that investors know what are the promising investments.

            The EIA collects and publishes historical energy data. They seem to do a good job of that.

            The EIA also makes predictions about our energy future. And they have really screwed that job up over the years.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            I wouldnt call comparing major population centers “cherry picking”.

            Off-shore wind is quite expensive according to the EIA at the moment.

            better maps? The maps I provided are from NREL… and your solar insolation map….do you understand solar? How is that better than this link I provided earlier? http://maps.nrel.gov/prospector

            The EIA data I am referencing is for 2013 (last year) and 2014 (the present) not far off into the future. Here it is again just released a few days ago: http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/aeo/electricity_generation.cfm

          • Bob_Wallace

            Well, of course you wouldn’t. Doing so would prove that you are trying to be dishonest.

            Offshore is expensive at the moment. (Forget EIA, they are out to lunch.)
            Right now offshore in Germany is about the same as new nuclear in the US. Offshore cost is expected to fall by at least 30% over the next few years.

            Can’t you read? The EIA projections are for new generation coming on line in 2019. And you have already been shown that those numbers are unrealistic.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            No its not dishonest to compare the Southwest to the NE or MW. Each of these areas have large shares of the US population so it is completely relevant to compare the insolation in each to get a better picture of the average cost of solar throughout the US.

            The EIA is out to lunch…. Guess I should be following the BWMA (Bob_Wallace Misinformation Administration)

            sources for the German offshore LCOE?

          • Bob_Wallace

            Joe, you cherry-picked foggy Seattle. About the worst place in the lower 48 to install solar.

            If you are going to be dishonest in your posts you will not last long here.
            Let’s assume you turned up here with a load of pro-nuclear stuff under your belt. No harm there. But now you’re getting the rest of the story.

            This is where we discover whether you are someone capable of learning new facts or simply a true believer.

            I’m going to give you a couple of things to read so that you can start to catch up. Show us who you are.
            http://cleantechnica.com/2014/01/10/horrible-eia-forecasts-letter-cleantechnica-readers/ http://cleantechnica.com/2014/04/16/just-eias-renewable-energy-outlook-20-years/
            How about holding off on the posts until you’ve read a bit about the EIA’s predictions?

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            As you wish lets not compare the extremes and instead compare the two largest population centers in the US: LA and NY.

            according to http://maps.nrel.gov/prospector
            LA sees about 5.85 kWh/m2/day
            NY sees about 3.77 kWh/m2/day

            That’s about a 55% difference in the availability of photon energy throughout the year between these two locales, which directly effects the proportion of electricity generated by PV in each area and the subsequent economics. I believe that to be a pretty significant difference and the viability of PV to be highly dependent on location at this moment in time.

            The EIA didn’t foresee the Chinese domestic PV manufacturing subsidies that totaled more than 35 billion USD according to trade investigations by the US and EU or the EU deployment subsidies for PV that totaled over 200 billion USD over the past two decades.

            These two occurrences made the EIAs projections far too bearish on PV than what happened in reality. EU deployment subsidies have since dwindled in most regions if not tapered off completely, and trade investigations are now blocking the extreme manufacturing subsidies we saw between 2008-2012

          • Bob_Wallace

            About a 40% difference.

            With solar on its way below 5c/kWh in the SW the price in NY would be less than 6c/kWh in NYC.

            If the EIA didn’t see the oncoming price of Chinese panels then that partially explains their terrible predictions. Those of us watching the rapidly falling prices of panels and, at the time, commented on the terrible job the EIA was doing.

            The EIA continued to make high price estimates as the price of panels was plummeting.

            Currently the EIA is predicting prices for wind and solar which are higher than current production. Can you get your head around that?

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) collects, analyzes, and disseminates independent and impartial energy information to promote sound policymaking, efficient markets, and public understanding of energy and its interaction with the economy and the environment.

            Your distrust from them is yours, the scientific community at large regards them as a reputable body.

            If you care to do some substantiated research to reveal flaws in the current LCOE report than please do so. Otherwise drop the conjecture.

          • Bob_Wallace

            No one is questioning the historical data presented by the EIA. Lots of people have realized that there are significant problems with their future predictions.

            How many times will you need to be told this?

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            There future predictions are largely based on current costs. The current cost of advanced nuclear is significantly cheaper than PV in most parts of the country, and it has storage to boot. Thats a fact. Unfortunate for you delusions but nonetheless thats the truth.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Can’t be. They are too incorrect to be based in reality.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            EIA>>>>>Bob_no technical training or experience_Wallace

          • Bob_Wallace

            Can’t take on new facts, eh, Joe?

            That’s the problem climate change deniers have.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            I prefer to get my facts from reputable entities such as the EIA rather than yourself, someone with no apparent experience or training in energy or engineering related fields, and who adamantly insists that we have no use for the most energy dense elements known to man. Hmmm Im going to have to disagree on the bounds of common sense

          • Bob_Wallace

            Why don’t you look up the facts for yourself? I’ve given you the links.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            Because I know a PPA is different than LCOE.

          • sault

            How in the world does nuclear power have “storage to boot”? I get that the plants take days to ramp up and down, but that just makes them somewhat less dispatchable than solar and wind in some respects.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            No thats a myth. Some Older US plants have limited flexibility but the new ones are can ramp almost as nimbly as gas plants, approx 1MW/second. They can reduce power up to 80% very quickly as well. There are technical data sheets on the AP1000 specifically covering this. The Canadians and French have been load following with the Candus and EPRs for some time now.

            Notice how the EIA link here lists nuclear in the ‘dispatchable’ category http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/aeo/electricity_generation.cfm

          • Bob_Wallace

            You do realize that load-following with nuclear makes it even more expensive, do you not?

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            France affords it just fine

          • sault

            Only because their nuclear fleet / reprocessing industry was built by (Socialist) government fiat and was / is massively subsidized.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            Massively? depends what you compare it to, the Germans spent over 130 billion USD on a 5% penetration of PV.

            Just because something is “socialized” is not a bad thing. In fact we will likely need to socialize energy to wean off fossil fuels no matter what mix we have. Nuclear as a socialized solution spreads the benefits equally to the entire population. Wind and solar on the other hand can result in the wealthy who can afford the up front capital of PV systems, or to lease their land for turbine construction to reap the economic benefits while poorer consumers see their bills increase.

            We will have both RE and nuclear in the future mix.

          • eveee

            And as soon as the two new ones get built, and if they get built, we will have 2% load following. How many more years? When does Summer get built? What’s the new schedule?

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            2% load following? not sure what you mean here?

            Im not sure why you would hope for the failure of such large clean energy generators? Kind of mean spirited it seems.

          • eveee

            The two new plants are 2 out of 100. The rest do not load follow. Hope for the failure of … No. Stop it. Let’s be real. I didn’t shut down Kewaunee. Investors did.

          • eveee

            Ok. Show us. Give us the reference. Please don’t come on with a nuclear mfr brochure claiming 3c/kwhr for an ap1000. We have a real world example in Vogtle. It’s 11c and rising if it gets built, runs without shutdowns, and doesn’t default. That’s with huge subsidies. The nuke industry has been peddling romantic stories and shipping road apples for years. Any news of when one gets built without delays and cost over runs? That would be shocking news.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            Vogtle isn’t 11c – the EIA data shows it will be closer to 9.6c

          • Bob_Wallace

            Where do I find those calculations Joe?

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            in the recent EIA report, the LCOE for nuclear is based directly on the current projects.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Show me the information that proves it, Joe.

            No unfounded claims, please.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            I thought it was self explanatory – there are no other reactor projects for the EIA to base their estimations off of…..

          • Bob_Wallace

            In other words, you made a claim that was not backed up by anything other than your wishes.

          • eveee

            ????? Your are saying nuclear is 9.6c not 11c whatever, You do know that wind and natural gas are much cheaper? You do know that natural gas is putting nuclear out of business?

            http://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/Energy-Voices/2013/0508/Natural-gas-glut-crimps-nuclear-power

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            Natural gas is a green house gas emitting fuel with historic price volatility. Nuclear is neither of these things which is why the current administration firmly supports maintaining nuclear power in our energy mix.

          • Bob_Wallace

            The current administration is treating nuclear like an unloved step child.
            Feeding it just enough to keep it alive, but not cherishing it.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            __

          • eveee

            Its still lowering CO2 because its displacing coal. Get it?

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            The developing world needs to eliminate carbon emissions completely in the next 35 years to stabilize atmospheric CO2 levels to 450 ppm get it?

          • eveee

            And gas is doing more to reduce carbon than nuclear because it is displacing coal and nuclear power is declining. Get it? So a lot of improvements are due to the increase in natural gas. Not nuclear.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            Gas certainly better than coal but continuing to burn large amounts of gas is a sure path to undesirable climate effects in the near term.

            Need to replace it with low CO2 sources such as geothermal hydro nuclear wind solar etc

          • eveee

            The eia didn’t blow forecast one year. They did it years in a row! All the while, they never noticed exponential growth? There are other people bright enough to realize when they have the wrong math model. They chart on a log graph to see if it’s exponential. Did eia miss reading Scientific American? Was that too obscure to notice? Begs credulity. Sorry. Now you are the one posting without research and references. Educate yourself.
            http://rameznaam.com/2013/11/14/solar-power-is-dropping-faster-than-i-projected/

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            I worked in the PV manufacturing industry during the rapid price decline, our sales team was taken by complete surprise, those who say they saw it coming are simply lying. The Chinese operate in a non-transparent way, they undercut the prices of the entire market. It was so unexpected that virtually all EU and US PV manufacturers went out of business as they were over-invested in other areas and totally unprepared for the competition the Chinese were introducing.

            The EIA is completely justified for being off in their projections in these circumstances.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Joe, don’t talk bull to us. Many of us watched the falling prices of solar and watched the EIA continue to ignore what was happening.

            Not seeing the fall in advance. That is not the issue. The issue is not recognizing it long after it had begun.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            Watching prices fall and predicting them are different things altogether.

            The highly publicized trade investigations and the rampant bankruptcy/insolvency of EU and US PV manufacturers make the fact the rapid and dramatic price decline of PV modules spurred by Chinese efforts was almost completely unforeseen by even those in the industry, let alone the EIA.

            Also the such projections by the EIA take time to compile as most government activities do, so it is no wonder that they lagged behind a bit.

          • Bob_Wallace

            That’s a load, Joe.

            If one cannot adjust their predictions to reality then they’re smoking crack.

            Getting fooled the first year, OK, give them a pass.

            Getting fooled on subsequent years makes them unreliable.

          • eveee

            For five years in a row? How come they can’t read scientific American or figure out that solar was advancing exponentially?
            http://rameznaam.com/2013/11/14/solar-power-is-dropping-faster-than-i-projected/

        • Bob_Wallace

          “Unlike nuclear, PV and wind are not reliable, they offer little support during extended periods of above average demand such as the Polar Vortex this winter during which the US nuclear fleet operated at around 97% capacity factor”

          Solar and wind don’t have to be highly “reliable”. They, along with the fill-in supply, just have to be cheaper than nuclear in order to push nuclear off the table.

          “Also wind and solar assets last less than 1/2 as long as a nuclear plant, pushing the economic case further toward nuclear”

          Wrong again. Our nuclear plants are designed for a 40 year lifespan. We can (and have) refurbished some in order to extend them another 20 years.

          The wind turbines at Altamont Pass operated for 30 years before maintenance costs justified refurbishing the wind farm for another 30+ years of operation.

          We have 40 year old solar panels that are still producing 80% of their original power. Newer panels in places where it doesn’t snow (lower UV exposure) are degrading at only 0.2% per year. At that rate a 100 year old solar farm would still be producing 80% of new.

          “I wouldn’t put too much stock into the articles published on this site, it is highly biased with an agenda to spread misinformation in favor of its sponsors.”

          Bullshit.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            Actually AP1000 plants have a 60 year minimum operational life and we already have operating reactors licensed beyond 40 years throughout the world.

            The problem with depending on ‘fill in supply’ is that its mostly of the fossil category which means its both polluting and subject to performance and supply constraints during heat waves and cold snaps. Nuclear power is highly reliable in these instances as demonstrated in the polar vortex and heat waves of July and August 2013 when the entire US fleet operated near capacity factor as needed for extended periods of time.

            As a top commentator you seem to demonstrate the brand of misinformation that I was talking about.

          • Bob_Wallace

            We have no AP1000 plants in operation in the US. The 60 year stuff is unproven.

            Nuclear reactors are being closed down during heat waves and floods.

            You seem to be either very poorly informed or highly biased.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            The US nuclear fleet performed really well during heat waves last summer http://www.nei.org/CorporateSite/media/filefolder/Nuclear_Performance_July_2013.pdf?ext=.pdf

            The US NRC upon licensing the AP1000 design determined that the 60 year life touted by Westinghouse was in line with findings from expert review of the design.

            I guess you don’t trust the EIA, NRC, DOE, or NREL maps…..You’re more of a national enquirer type of guy?

          • Bob_Wallace

            The CF for US nuclear in 2011 was 84.3%. In 2012 nuclear’s CF was 81.4%.

            Below is a chart of US nuclear CF. The EIA and NEI numbers differ some. Perhaps the NEI removed reactors
            that were offline in those years and never came back on line from their nameplate capacity numbers. The EIA does not remove reactors until they are officially declared closed.

            Both the US and France have closed down reactors during heat waves. As global temperature rise that will become a more common event.

            Stow the insults. You won’t win friends and influence readers that way.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            Yep and the reactors are more than capable of running at a higher CF if HVDC networks, storage capacities, or load shifting would provide sinks for them to displace power during periods of lower demand. As these things evolve we can shrink our overall capacity including the baseload contingent, and utilize nuclear plants at a higher capacity factor to decrease/stabilize the overall cost of electricity throughout various tiers.

          • Bob_Wallace

            “Yep and the reactors are more than capable of running at a higher CF if HVDC networks, storage capacities, or load shifting would allow them to do so”

            Oh, horse poop. Do you not know how much time US reactors are down for repairs? I’m not talking about expected/scheduled refueling and maintenance (about 10% of the time), but about the other outages.

            Let me give you a sample:

            These are unplanned shutdowns starting in September, 2013. Routine refueling and maintenance shutdowns are not included.

            9/03/13

            An unusual event was declared Sept. 2 at the Palo Verde nuclear power plant in Arizonaafter workers found a fire in a main feed pump for Unit 2. A security officer first noticed smoke y the “A” train main feed pump. A worker found a fire on lagging behind the main standard pump. The fire was put out about 30 minutes later, but re-flashed twice during removal of the lagging.

            9/06/13

            The Unit 2 reactor at Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant in Maryland was shut down around 5 p.m. Thursday after a control rod dropped into the reactor core during electrical testing, according to a report from The Calvert Recorder.

            10/25/13

            A nuclear power plant in Oconee County had to shut down one of its three reactors after a problem in the water system that helps generate electricity, according to a release from the Associated Press.

            11/07/13

            Unit 1 at the Beaver Valley nuclear power plantin Pennsylvania remains offline after a small electrical wiring fire was detected.

            12/01/13 and Second Offline

            Hope Creek, a single unit boiling water reactorconsisting of 1,210 MW in generating capacity, put their nuclear
            reactor back onlineafter high moisture in the main turbine forced the reactor to be taken offline twice, according to a report on NewJersey.com. Hope Creek originally was taken offline Dec. 1 when high moisture in the steam tripped the main turbine, then taken offline again on Thursday for the same issue. (Back 12/10/13)

            12/09/13

            Arkansas Nuclear One Unit 2 is offline after a transformer fire was found.
            According to Northwest Arkansas Online, a fault in the transformerled to the early morning fire. Entergy said through its Twitter account that the fire has been contained with no injuries or threats of safety.

            12/11/13

            An Unusual Event was declared at Arkansas’ Nuclear One power plant Tuesday after the transformer to Unit 2 experienced an electrical explosion in the switchyard, causing the unit to shut down. An Unusual Event is declared when an event indicates a potential degradation of the level of safety.

            12/14/13

            The plant was shut down Dec. 14 for the repairs. Workers with Exelon (NYSE: EXC) completed maintenance on a system that regulates pressure to the steam turbinesalong with other work. The work could not be completed while the plant was running. (12/20/13)

            1/6/14

            Unit 1 at the Beaver Valley nuclear power plantin Pennsylvania automatically tripped around 5 p.m. EST, according to an event report with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

            Workers with FirstEnergy (NYSE: FE) said a main transformer differential trip caused the reactor to shut down. The transformer converts power generated from the plant to the appropriate voltage for distribution throughout the transmission system, according to Jennifer young, spokesperson with FirstEnergy. It is located on the generation side of the plant.

            1/6/14

            Unit 3 at the Indian Point n the plant deployed as designed and the unit was safely shut down. (Back on 1/8/14)

            1/9/14

            Pilgrim was already under additional NRC oversight due to the plant automatically shutting down October 2013 for a week due to the loss of a 345 kV power line that provided offsite power to the plant. It was the second time the plant shut down last year. That incident led to the plant having a “white” performance indicator last year.

            1/10/14

            A buildup of ice caused the Fort Calhoun nuclear power plantto temporarily shut down just weeks after it restarted.

            Workers with the Omaha Public Power District were making routine inspections at Unit 1 when they noticed a block of ice had formed on the shaft and the top of one of six sluice gates that control the flow of water into the plant on Jan. 8. The ice also bent the sluice gate operating shaft, which caused the gate to not close and made all four raw water pumps inoperable.

            A nuclear power plant in New York automatically tripped due to “33 Steam Generator Steam flow/Feed flow Mismatch,” the NRC said. Plant operator Entergy (NYSE: ETR) said in a release that a controller device failed to regulate the flow of water into one of the plant’s four steam generators, which led to lowered water levels

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            This is funny, because nonetheless the prevailing fact is that nuclear energy is more reliable than any other form of energy generation. We have 100 reactors in the US alone, pointing out a handful of instances where plants were shutdown for precautionary reasons doesn’t change this.

          • Bob_Wallace

            No, nuclear gets a clear track on the grid because it is too hard to shut down and restart. More dispatchable generators are turned off first.

            You need to learn a bit more about how the grid operates.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            no I don’t, research generator reliability, since half of nuclear power generation is solid state it maintains high reliability, statistically and mechanically higher than any other form of generation.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Exelon has six paid off reactors that have been losing money for the last five years. If they operated in a free market and were dispatchable they would be forced off the grid a significant amount of time.

            But since they can’t be turned on and off quickly Exelon has been eating the loss. Rumors are that three will announce their closure this year. Exelon is begging for subsidies in terms of capacity payments in order to keep them on line.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            They should get subsidies to stay online, it is in the best interest of the environment to do so.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I assume you got the point before you started your tap dance….

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            They should get subsidies to stay online, it is in the best interest of the environment to do so

          • sault

            Why subsidize uneconomic plants when you can foster the growth of promising technologies like wind and solar instead?

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            becuase the amount of subsidies needed to keep a few of the unprofitable nukes on line would be rather small compared to bringing new clean capacity of any type on line. It is an optimal means of continued carbon abatement per dollar invested, unquestionably the right move.

          • JamesWimberley

            Joe: “nuclear energy is more reliable than any other form of energy generation ..” Wrong. Geothermal plants typically run at over 90% availability. They can be pushed higher (97%) but it’s not worth it because maintenance costs go up. Source : another DoE agency. (http://energy.gov/eere/geothermal/geothermal-faqs) A working hydrothermal geothermal plant is basically a pipe sticking out of the ground connected to a simple steam turbine; there is very little to go wrong, An EGS plant also has a down pump. All the high technology and risk in geothermal is in the drilling and reservoir development.

            I don’t have numbers for hydro but they are surely higher than nuclear. Tidal, though variable, is also highly reliable, and predictable at a scale of centuries. And what about biomass? There’s no reason burning wood chips or bagasse should be less reliable than gas, which would make it better than nuclear.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            You have a point with Geothermal, but hydro capacity factors are much lower than nuclear. Hydro may be reliable to run at lower capacity factors but I think reliability at high capacity factor is a key to meeting demand throughout a year.

            While both hydro and geothermal are going to be important, both are highly constrained when it comes to scaling to global energy needs. Current LWRs along with SMRs and FNRs are completely scalable to meet global needs.

            Biomass is not currently a good option for environmental
            preservation:
            http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/study-questions-environmental-benefits-biofuels/

            I believe in a diverse mix, but the attitude of this site that the scientific phenomenon of nuclear fission is not usable for large scale energy production is completely erroneous. It is uniquely fit to create a good share of energy for human needs due to its density, scalability, and inherent storage and controllability.

          • Bob_Wallace

            US hydro runs just under 50%. Two reasons.

            First, it’s used as dispatchable fill-in.

            Second, many of our reservoirs don’t have constant year around inflow. During the spring rains/melt off flow can be very high and turbines run close to nameplate. Late in the summer and into the fall water levels are often low which means that hydro is mostly used for peak demand. And heads are lower which also pulls down performance.

          • A Real Libertarian

            Bob, links.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Thanks

          • sault

            “if HVDC networks, storage capacities, or load shifting…” get deployed in a big way, renewable energy will benefit even more so. Nuclear plants are baseload and always will be due to their technical fundamentals. If you shrink baseload demand, nuclear power makes even less sense than it already does right now.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            You seem to make assertions without researching or looking at the science behind the matter. Modern Nuclear plants are in fact flexible, capable of ramping up and down as quickly as 1MW/second

            As peices of expensive infrastructure HVDC lines and storage technologies need to see high utilization in order to cover ammortization costs and provide a low per kWh rate. Since nuclear plants are capable of operating at high capacity as needed they can fully utilize both storage and transmission assets. Renewable generators are intermittent and can only make use of storage or transmission as the weather permits. Nuclear plants would necessitate less storage to accomplish the same goals as renewables.

            Load shifting/demand side management is unquestionably better accomodated by nuclear plants, which can reliably ramp up power to meet shifted load. Wind and solar offer no such reliability to meet shifted load.

          • Bob_Wallace

            “Load shifting/demand side management is unquestionably better accomodated by nuclear plants, which can reliably ramp up power to meet shifted load. Wind and solar offer no such reliability to meet shifted load.”

            Load-following with nuclear makes its electricity even more expensive.
            Wind and solar can’t be shifted. But they do provide electricity at less than half the cost of nuclear. And they can be stored for less than the price of nuclear.

            I did that math for you already.

          • sault

            I’m pretty sure the NRC thought San Onofre or Crystal River were going to last a lot longer than they actually did too.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            We have 100 plants operating…. those are two.

            many plants already licensed beyond 40 years throughout the world. American Physical Society, the largest professional group of physicists in the world recommends extending licenses of most current reactors up to 80 years and possibly beyond… you can google it.

            Again wind and solar have a place but lets be scientific. It is unscientific to believe that the most energy dense material known to man, a material with a million times the energy density of coal and in a stored form which occurs abundantly throughout the crust of the planet and in seawater, is not usable to the benefit of mankind….. of course it is, thats why our governments and universities and finest scientists strongly believe it is an important part of the future.

            too much polarization not enough calm-headedness and honesty.

          • sault

            “…the most energy dense material known to man…”
            Nope, Uranium is not even close. Antimatter is way more energy dense. You need to brush up on the facts before making such sweeping statements.
            And while it may be theoretically desirable for reactor fuel, it also makes bombs, so it could actually have a gravely negative impact on the future of mankind.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            antimatter is not an elemental material, nor is it immediately accessible on earth or abundant.

            Uranium is plentiful in the earths crust and in seawater, as such there will unfortunately be proliferation threats whether we use it for energy or not, and the process of using it for energy creates it to a form that is not usable for weapons.

          • eveee

            What’s unscientific is relating energy density to economics simplistically, without any references, slinging logical fallacy with relish, and expecting intelligent, educated people incapable of detecting error.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            stored energy and dense energy are unquestionably important to delivering energy to industrialized populations throughout the world because a) populations require energy according to a schedule out of tune with the ebbs and flows of insolation and wind, b) Population densities in Europe and Asia are quite high in many parts

            My references are the IPCC which calls for a tripling to quadrupling of RE, CCS, and Nuclear in their most recent report, as well as the EIA

          • eveee

            You have no logical basis connecting density to renewable economics or feasibility. You need to reference your statements with relevant facts. Irrelevant facts won’t do. You made the assertion about the relevancy of density. Reference it from peer reviewed papers showing it matters economically. Or state your assertion more clearly. Saying they are unquestionably important is an obvious appeal to authority. Anyone can question. a.)Scheduling has what to do with density? That makes no sense. You have brought in a new topic. b) Population density is high somewhere. What is the connection to energy density? Do you intend to operate generators in the middle of the cities? You do realize we do not do that now, don’t you? Kind of defeats your argument before it even gets started. Please. Think first.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            I actually connected both density and storage to economics and feasibility. Here are the relevant facts:

            1) Human societies use electricity and energy in general in a manner that does not correlate with daily insolation cycles or wind; therefore stored energy is necessary.

            2) Among options to derive output from stored energy are hydro, geothermal, nuclear, biofuels, fossil fuels and charge/discharge mediums such as batteries, flywheels, compressed air, pumped hyro, and capacitors.

            3) Of the options mentioned in number two, only the first five are currently affordable on a large scale, and of those five only nuclear fission is both scalable to the needs of the globe and has a zero emission output.

            See photo below as to why biofuels are not scalable and why energy density is in fact very relevant.

            Now I am sure you will respond that pumped hydro batteries etc in combination with PV and wind are affordable – to which I will respond show me the evidence. We certainly do not see these systems in large capacities anywhere in the world. We’ve continually heard high aspirations from storage companies such as Aquion, Ambri,LightSail, EOS, Pellion, Seeo, GELI, Sakti3, Qnovo, Energy Cache, Stem, Demand Energy, and many more but none have yet been able to deliver on their assertions. I have heard no developments that would indicate they are close to doing so either.
            I will be happy to be proven wrong.

          • Bob_Wallace

            “…only nuclear fission is both scalable to the needs of the globe and has a zero emission output.”

            Wrong.

            “Now I am sure you will respond that pumped hydro batteries etc in combination with PV and wind are affordable – to which I will respond show me the evidence.”

            I’ve done the math for you. Look back up the thread if you’ve forgotten.
            “We certainly do not see these systems in large capacities anywhere in the world.”

            The US has 25 GW of PuHS spread over 150 sites. Japan has 35.5 GW. Europe has 38.8 GW. There was 104 GW globally in 2009 and more has been added since.

            To put that in perspective 104 GW of PuHS is more nuclear capacity than the US has at this time and equals about one third of all nuclear capacity in the world.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            Use of ‘GW’ as a metric to quantify storage capacity does not tell us much about the storage capabilities.

            We must know the duration for which the storage can deliver such power, and also whether there are limits to charge/discharge rates (as is usually the case with charge-discharge mediums).

            Also important is the utilization factor of said storage. If not heavily utilized it is difficult to justify the economics of such capacity.

          • Bob_Wallace

            GW tells you what you need to know.

            Around the world we already have a significant amount of storage. It was largely built to time-shift nuclear.

            And going forward it will serve to time-shift renewables.

            And while storage was cycled only once per day with nuclear to bring off-peak gen to peak demand storage going forward will get closer to two cycles per day. One to bring off-peak wind forward into the morning peak and a second to bring midday solar into the late afternoon peak.

            That makes storage cheaper.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            No storage capacities are measured in energy content, not power. If they can only deliver 25 GW for one hour it’s of limited importance to global demand.

            Also important is the utilization factor of said storage. If not heavily utilized it is difficult to justify the economics of such capacity.

            In fact power sector associations in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland (D–A–CH) have announced a joint program to support an increase in hydro power generation via
            pumped power and reservoir installations.The initiative has produced an initial document addressing specific obstacles to hydro expansion such as unreasonable grid tariffs and sub-optimal decarbonization efforts: “Subsidies for solar and wind make pumped storage uneconomic in Germany,” Gruber said, “although pumped power is basically cheaper than the subsidized technologies.”

            http://www.platts.com/IM.Platt

            This is because the pumped hydro stations want to benefit from high utilization that heavy capacities of wind and solar impede…. conventional generators on the other hand allow for heavy utilization of smaller required capacities of pumped hydro ;)

          • Bob_Wallace

            Joe, I’ve had enough of your bullshit.

            You are dishonest and refuse to learn.

            Goodbye.

          • eveee

            Way to have a nebulous answer. You could refer instead to the many papers that show renewables can be integrated at high penetrations economically. Read the rest of the comments and references that explain why storage is not the only option and not really necessary. Nobody brought up biofuels. You are expanding the conversation. Limit it to comments made until they are resolved. Don’t just change or expand subject when challenged, please

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            Storage is actually absolutely necessary. Geothermal hydro nuclear and biofuels are forms of stored energy as well as batteries and the like.

            Geothermal is actually a form of nuclear power.

            I will do whatever I want thank you very much Mrs dictator.

          • eveee

            So demand management, spinning reserves, etc. are all meaningless because you made the statement,

            “Storage is actually absolutely necessary.”

            Now what were you saying…. something related to autocratic, I think,…..

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            Spinning reserves are a formed of stored energy. Demand side management of great importance don’t recall saying otherwise.

            Stored forms of energy are necessary to power industrialized nations. That’s a reality, not a point of contention.

          • eveee

            You have a very thick skull. You just got contradicted for your rash autocratic statement,

            “Storage is actually absolutely necessary”

            To back it up, you just authoritatively declare, sans any references,

            “Stored forms of energy are necessary to power industrialized nations. That’s a reality, not a point of contention.”

            and bolster it with the contentious and specious statement

            “Spinning reserves are a formed of stored energy.”

            I guess by making the ludicrously broad statement that spinning reserves are a form of stored energy, instead of the traditional definition of grid storage, you think you can sliiiiide your way through that nonsense.

            Unfortunately for you, there are many papers showing that large amounts of renewables can be integrated into the grid with no appreciable economic impact. For a reality test, try Germany. I don’t remember Germany becoming a third world country as they have expanded their renewables to a large part of their generation. Or Denmark. Or Spain, Or Portugal…..

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            Which country is using non stored energy forms of spinning reserve? Please share said Papers.

            The supposedly rapid expansion of solar power in Germany gets a lot of attention. The even more rapid expansion of biomass however has received absolutely no attention. Final energy consumption from biomass grew by 16 million tonnes of oil equivalent between 2000 and 2011, while wind and solar grew by 3.4 and 2.1 million toe respectively. Absolute growth of biomass in Germany has therefore been three times higher than for wind and solar combined.

            The increase in bio-energy in Germany has taken many forms. For example wood-chip heating systems have grown massively since 2000. In a decade Germany went from burning almost no wood-chips for heating to burning 1.2 million tonnes each year.

            Germany also now gets a significant portion of its electricity from bio-energy. In 2013 bio-energy was used for almost 7% of its electricity production, higher than that from solar PV and just short of that from wind power. Electricity generation from bio-energy receives approximately 4.5 billion Euros in subsidies each year, 30% more than is received by onshore wind in Germany.

            The production of bio-energy is also now a significant form of land-use in Germany. According to official statistics a total of 2 million hectares is devoted to crop-based biofuels. This is 17% of arable land and approximately 6% of total land in Germany. Yet it only produces around 2% of Germany’s total energy consumption, a remarkably inefficient use of land

            .

            However wood, not crop-based biofuels, is the biggest source of bio-energy in Germany. A total of 53 million cubic metres of wood is used each year for energy generation, which is 41% of the total annual German wood harvest. This corresponds to approximately 4% of Germany’s total energy consumption, a figure that has more than doubled in the last decade.

            This is then a different renewable energy revolution happening in Germany than commonly thought.

          • eveee

            Nuclear and hot weather, not so cool….
            When it gets hot.. or cold.. nuclear gets knocked out.

            In 2007, the Brown’s Ferry Nuclear plant, part of the TVA system, was forced to shut down due to cooling water issues, and authorities in the southeastfaced difficult choices during that historic drought and heat wave – balancing the water needs of Atlanta, the cooling needs of the JP Farley Nuclear Plant on the Chatahootchie River, and the needs of the fishing industry and endangered mussels downstream.
            http://climatecrocks.com/2012/07/17/the-knock-on-effects-of-global-warming-too-darn-hot-for-nuclear-power/

            Complicating the picture was the outage of two reactors at the Calvert Cliffs nuclear power plant near Lusby, Md., due to malfunctioning electrical equipment.

            Plants in Texas operated at reduced power.

            http://www.eenews.net/stories/1059993365

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            That’s not the whole story, cold weather is of little consequence

            http://www.power-eng.com/blogs/nuclear-matters/2014/january/us-nuclear-weathers-the-polar-vortex/2014/01/u_s_nuclear_powerp.html

            Hot weather performance not always down
            http://theenergycollective.com/rodadams/278376/us-nuclear-power-plant-performance-august-2013

            Coal and natural gas plants face same weather related challenges. Small modular reactors being funded by the US DOE use contained water cooling rather than rivers, they will not be subject to the same problems.

            Nonetheless we see that nuclear power plants still achieve yearly capacity factors around 85-95% depending on circumstance. This is unmatched by anything outside of geothermal, so saying that nuclear is unreliable makes little sense

          • eveee

            Quit backsliding and equivocating. You said,

            “The US nuclear fleet performed really well during heat waves last summer http://www.nei.org/CorporateSi…

            and put mustard on your comments with scorn.

            Now you say,

            “That’s not the whole story, cold weather is of little consequence”

            which was already proven wrong with references.

            Then,

            “Coal and natural gas plants face same weather related challenges.”

            Now you get caught and you want to backslide without anyone taking notice? Now you change your tune and start shifting to excuses because other sources fail, too? Yes, We know that. We also know your tune. Slide, shift. Slide, shift. You could be a regular old fashioned typewriter.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            Nuclear plants around the country performed exceptionally well during the polar vortex and during August 2013.

            The data on plant outputs is open source, the majority of our nuclear plants are above an 85% CF for the year, so I’d say they are highly reliable.

            Being able to site isolated instances where a few plants out of 100 go temporarily out of service doesn’t mean they are unreliable. Every generation source experiences some type of outages, nuclear just experiences less than the rest.

          • A Real Libertarian

            Prove it with data.

            Data for the polar vortex, not the whole year, just during the polar vortex.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            During the polar vortex the US nuclear fleet operated at a 95% capacity factor! and at a 97% CF during the height of the cold weather.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            Graphs here go along with response and links below

          • A Real Libertarian

            Where is December?

            Or February?

            Or the rest of January?

        • sault

          The LBNL study looked at the AVERAGE for wind power contracts over the whole country. The best wind sites in the Midwest are actually signing contracts for 2.5 cents / kWh. This study also determined that integration costs for wind power are only 0.5 cents per kWh for grids that are 40% powered by wind or more, so your claims about storage and other costs are moot for the next decade or so in most places.
          If you want to talk about subsidies, the nuclear industry would never have gotten off the ground if the federal government hadn’t developed the core technology in the Manhattan Project, supported the expansion of nuclear power because it was a great way to make plutonium, and picked up the industry’s liability insurance bills via the Price Anderson Act. We also have put a lot of taxpayer dollars on the line through recent loan guarantees to the industry as well. To top things off, state regulators have allowed utilities building reactors to charge their customers for them for years before they are completed (or whether they are ever completed at all). This is a stealth “feed-in tariff” on electricity that may or may not ever get produced. If renewables had this kind of protectionism, we would have seen enormous growth over the decades instead of plowing taxpayer money into risky nuclear investments. When Forbes Magazine calls nuclear power the “Greatest Managerial Disaster of the 20th Century” you know something is amiss.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Real world data – $0.0005/kWh for wind integration. About the same for solar.

            “In ERCOT’s calculations for 2011, Goggin said, “the total cost for integrating wind came out at about $0.50 per megawatt-hour.” And, he added, without 2011’s anomalies in July and August that accounted for 80 percent percent of all costs, the total costs in 2012 for the necessary balancing reserves and other expenses associated with the integration of large amounts of wind are expected to be even lower.”

            Studies show nuclear and large fossil plants actually have “far higher integration costs than renewables,” Goggin said. “Contingency reserves, the super-fast acting energy reserve supply required of grid operators in case a large power plant shuts down unexpectedly, are a major cost. Comparing the incremental cost of wind to those costs that ratepayers have always paid, the wind cost looks even more trivial.”

            http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/Grid-Integration-of-Wind-and-Solar-is-Chea

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            Yes nuclear power has had a history of subsidy as well. The history is longer though due simply to the fact that for 50+ years nuclear power has been commercially viable, it has only been about 2 decades since wind and solar have approached commercial viability.

            Bottom line is that this issue is about the climate, and extending the production tax credit equally to all generation soources based on amount of carbon abatement would result in a faster reduction of emissions. Since nuclear power has inherent storage and a controllable and highly reliable output, it should be part of the mix along with solar wind geothermal and hydro. Without including nuclear it becomes much more difficult and costly to replace large shares of fossil fuels.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Over the first 15 years of these energy sources nuclear energy got 10 times as much in subsidies as much as renewables. (Most of the renewable subsidies went to corn farms for ethanol, not wind, solar and other renewable electricity technologies.)

            Between 1947 and 1999 nuclear received average annual subsidies of $3.50 billion. (53 x $3.50 billion = $185.6 billion)

            Between 1980 and 2009 biofuel received average annual subsidies of $1.08 billion. (29 x $1.08 billion = $31 billion)

            Between 1994 and 2009 renewables received average annual subsidies of $0.37 billion. (15 x $0.37 = $5.6 billion)
            http://www.dblinvestors.com/documents/What-Would-Jefferson-Do-Final-Version.pdf
            Renewables received 89% less per year than nuclear. And for many fewer years.

            How have those subsidies paid off? In the last 30 or so years the cost of wind-electricity has dropped from $0.38/kWh to $0.04/kWh. More than a 6x drop. The price of solar panels has fallen from around $100/watt to just above $0.50/watt. Almost a 200x drop.

            As we all know the price of nuclear just keeps going up.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            Actually important to note that from the graph below nuclear appears to be going down even in the US, and of course we know it is going down significantly in China.

            and actually from 1950 to 2010 Nuclear has benefited from $74 billion in federal deployed energy subsidies, or 9% of the total. Nuclear power has also accounted for around 1/5 of US electricity for several decades, roughly about 15% of total kWhs produced over the time period mentioned.

            http://www.misi-net.com/publications/NEI-1011.pdf

            Renewables and energy efficiency have accounted for a small share of US electricity outside of the past 5 years, due to the reluctance of free markets to adopt them despite the 30% government tax credit for investing in them. This doesn’t mention the various state or municipal subsidies or the renewable portfolio mandates.

            Historical subsidies are of little relevance, if we offer subsidy according to rate of carbon abatement, or if we instead tax for carbon emission, we will level the playing field and reduce emissions much more quickly.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Are you oblivious to what has happened to the price of wind and solar in the last five years?

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            __

          • Bob_Wallace

            Non-responsive.

            Are you oblivious to what has happened to the price of wind and solar in the last five years?

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            It went down, provide hundreds of billions of international subsidies to anything over a short period of time and its price will plummet.

            The poignant question is whether this is sustainable or how much these technologies can contribute to an energy mix. Most studies indicate that without very low cost storage their is no economic case to build out intermittent capacities past their own capacity factor due to the periodic production curtailment that this would cause.

            Nuclear is an essential near term response to climate change, it is part of the mix along with renewables.

          • Bob_Wallace

            “It went down, provide hundreds of billions of international subsidies to anything over a short period of time and its price will plummet.”

            Joe, the world has spent many, many times more on nuclear and the price has only gone up.

            Why should we install generation that is more expensive, takes longer to bring on line, and creates dangers unlike any other source of energy?

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            looks like the price is going down there Bob.

            And to answer your question – because nuclear is cheaper than PV in most parts of the country, cheaper than wind at higher penetrations, because historically France, Sweden, and the US deployed nuclear energy at a faster rate than any other clean technology transition in history.

            because we need controllable power. because nuclear has inherent storage. because nuclear plants last 6 decades or more in which they are not subject to appreciable levels of fuel volatility or inflation. Because nuclear power plants are highly reliable economic engines that can power industrial economies.

          • Bob_Wallace

            The price is going down where, Joe?

            Vogtle? It’s now up to 11c/kWh and will likely rise some more with additional cost/time overruns.

            ” nuclear is cheaper than PV in most parts of the country”

            No it isn’t Joe. Unless you’re going to try to use the dishonest comparison of paid off nuclear and new solar. New:new nuclear loses. Paid off:paid off nuclear loses.

            Nuclear, at high penetration, becomes even more expensive because it either has to load follow or a lot of storage has to be brought on line.

            ” because historically France, Sweden, and the US deployed nuclear energy at a faster rate than any other clean technology transition in history.”

            Well, bless your heart. You’ve got a crystal ball and it works. You already know how fast wind and solar will deploy.

            Let’s take a look and see how nuclear and wind are deploying in China… (We look at the graph below.)

            Oh, look at that. Wind started 20 years later and has blown past nuclear over only a 8-9 year time span. (And those are production, not nameplate, numbers.)

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            graph clearly shows the price is going down.
            reports from China corroborate

          • Bob_Wallace

            We’ve shown you multiple times that the EIA is no good at estimating the cost of electricity.

            The best current data we have right now is Vogtle which is running 11c and likely to rise. And that is with unusually low interest rate financing.

          • eveee

            “because historically France, Sweden, and the US deployed nuclear energy at a faster rate than any other clean technology transition in history.”

            References please. Show nuclear power deployment at rates greater than 30% annual growth rate for more than a decade. Show it doubling every 2 years for more than a decade. You can’t. Because its false.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            http://books.google.com/books/about/Energy_Transitions.html?id=vLuT4BS_25MC

            Sweden achieved 50% contribution from nuclear in a very short time frame. France built the majority of their nuclear fleet within 15 years of each other.

            In Germany wind and solar combined account for 12% of electricity and deployment rates have greatly slowed in the past year as funding cuts were made.

            In the US we have 19% electricity from nuclear power! most of these plants were built within 20 years of each other. After about two decades of federal tax credits covering 30% of the cost of wind and solar! the two combine to account for about 4.7% of US electricity.

          • eveee

            Answer the question. What was the growth rate for over a decade? Was it doubling every two years for a decade. I have researched US nuclear growth. Nothing like that. Thats 30% or more per year, for decades. Nuclear did nothing like that in the US. Quit dodging the question. Nuclear was 20%. Now its 19%…. Its going,… going,,,, down.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            Rate of growth in Sweden US and France obviously was faster than PV and wind have been – they went from 0 nuclear or 1 plant to 50% or more in 15 or so years.

            #math

          • eveee

            everybody gets it Joe. You get paid by the word. You never answer a question. How much. Forget it. I don’t think Bob is responding anymore. I don’t think Zach was impressed by your impudence and immaturity, either. Bye.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            No worries :)

            Hard to calculate the growth rate of anything when you start at zero. I can report the growth rate in GWs, TWhs, or % of elec demand if that suits you :)))

          • A Real Libertarian

            Hard to calculate the growth rate of anything when you start at zero. I can report the growth rate in GWs, TWhs, or % of elec demand if that suits you :)))

            All three.

          • sault

            First of all, comparing kWh / $ invested in an energy source is hugely skewed towards older energy sources since they have had more time for those investments to pay off and are more mature technologies. In 30 years, you MIGHT be able to do a somewhat better comparison for dollars invested in renewables vs. nuclear, but doing that comparison right now means you aren’t allowing the dollars recently investend in renewables to fully play out, a classic mark of a cherry-pick.
            Secondly, claiming that the “market” didn’t take up renewables en masse because of some inherent failing in the technology is hopelessly naive. Fossil fuels and nuclear received the lions share of subsidies for much longer and have benefitted immensely from large-scale government intervention into the energy sector. (The TVA, Price Anderson Act, the USGS serveying fossil fuel reserves, etc. come to mind). In addition, traditional energy sources have gotten off scot free for the damages their pollution causes. Allowing fossil fuels to ignore these “external costs” is a huge subsidy that tilts markets even further in their favor. If you think renewables took a long time to get started because of their own merits, you are blind to the unfair advantages traditional ennergy sources benefitted from.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            not hugely naive, functional terrestrial solar panels scarcely existed before the mid 70s and were 100x the cost of what we have today. Many cases of catastrophic failures with early wind, PV, and concentrated PV companies. The prices only came down astronomically in the past two decades. Large government sponsorship wasn’t even on the table in the 70s or before then due to the high cost. in contrast many earlier Nuclear plants were economic, we built nearly 100 in the span of 15 years, we will still be reaping the economic benefit of the majority of these for another 30 years. You should be less biased, solar and wind are good but so is nuclear power, its actually pretty amazing how much energy a pellet of nuclear fuel contains.

            Of course I agree, fossil fuels get a free pass to pollute. So why don’t we charge them for their pollution and allow a level playing field for clean energy generators? Good idea huh?

          • Bob_Wallace

            “Many cases of catastrophic failures with early wind, PV, and concentrated PV companies.”

            Are you unaware of all the nuclear starts that failed for financial reasons?
            I’m starting to believe that you know next to nothing. Why don’t you start asking questions rather than making statements of fact which are almost universally incorrect? We’ll be glad to answer your questions and show you where you can get more information.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            Most pioneering nuclear plants actually ended up being successful, the same cant be said of early wind turbines, the vestiges of many which sit idle on the california interstate. Early CPV companies and demonstration projects had even greater problems. Obviously both industries overcame these problems with time but if you are arguing that they were ready for primetime pre 1990 you are just going to find yourself arguing against history.

            Nuclear isnt immune to early problems, its had some widely publicized issues for sure. But the reason it was funded earlier than solar or PV is cheifly because we were able to utilize for large applications it earlier on. Its not any more complicated than that. We could power submarines and cities with nuclear, PV cells proved to be really good for satellites. with time, advances in material science, and international involvement PV is now viable as a commercial energy source.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Time for you to get some education, Joe.

            Slow down the posting and read some history.

            http://www.vermontlaw.edu/Documents/Cooper%20Report%20on%20Nuclear%20Economics%20FINAL%5B1%5D.pdf

          • sault

            Early nukes were “successful” because we weren’t fully aware of the dangers inherent to the technology before the disasters at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl. Fukushima provided another devastating reminder that nuclear plants must be designed to withstand the unthinkable, otherwise we pay a much higher price. After we realized the level of safety necessary to build a nuclear plant right, costs and time required to build them necessarily skyrocketed and would be totally uneconomic if it weren’t for the favorable treatment that nuclear power receives (loan guarantees and “cost recovery” i.e. being able to charge people billions of dollars for years for nuclear plants under construction even though they may never get completed).
            If Reagan hadn’t gutted out renewable energy programs in the 1980’s, we would be 20 years further along in the development of renewable energy and all these discussions we’re having would be moot anyway.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            yea I just don’t agree whatsoever, neither does the Obama administration, the IPCC, four of the leading climatologists in the world, Bill Gates, The current and former secretaries of the US DOE, or even the Dalai Lama for that matter.

            You are underestimating what it takes to power industrialized nations with billions of inhabitants solely by variable wind and solar power, and also severely underestimating the value of energy density, stored energy, and controllable energy. Probably also underestimating the urgency with which we need to respond to the climate crisis.

            Why don’t we just agree to disagree and call it a day, I prefer to converse with those who prescribe to the merits of science.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I wouldn’t be at all upset were you to go away.

            You have proven yourself to be a nuclear zealot, incapable of taking on new facts and reforming your opinion.

          • sault

            LOL…the old appeal to authority fallacy strikes again

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            So you are saying the latest report by the intergovernmental panel on climate change is a fallacy?

            Should we ignore scientific authority and appeal instead to wishful thinking that the wind will blow and the sun will shine precisely as our industries need them too?

          • sault

            Are you saying that the only way you know how to argue a point is to put words into other people’s mouths? (aside from all the fallacies, that is…)

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            No no I don’t believe I am saying that.

            you said my appeal to authority was a fallacy. i reminded you the authority I am appealing to is the IPCC.

            So it seems by connection you may be saying that the latest IPCC report is a fallacy.

          • A Real Libertarian

            yea I just don’t agree whatsoever, neither does the Obama administration, the IPCC, four of the leading climatologists in the world, Bill Gates, The current and former secretaries of the US DOE, or even the Dalai Lama for that matter.

            So?

            They’ve got no credibility.

            1. Obama administration?

            Political, not experts on energy, invalid.

            2. IPCC?

            Expertise is in climate change, not energy, invalid.

            3. James Hansen and co.?

            Again, expertise is in climate change, not energy, invalid.

            4. Bill Gates?

            Expertise is in programing/business management, not energy, invalid.

            5. The DOE?

            We’ve shown you that their projections are about as reliable as The Best Korea Propaganda and Agitation Department reporting of Dear Leader’s latest golf score.

            6. The Dalai Lama?

            OK, now you’re being stupid for stupids sake.

            Appeals to authority are worthless.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            The Obama administration does include advising members that are indeed experts on energy.

            The most recent draft of the IPCC which walks through how we can both mitigate and cope with climate change also does include heavy input from authors who are energy experts, as well as experts who have assessed climate damages and means of adaptation.

            Hansen, Wigley, Caldiera, and Emmanuel are accomplished scientists well versed in the basic sciences relevant to large scale energy generation. Each have put a tremendous effort into studying energy as they felt socially responsible to do so in light of the climate problem which they helped the world understand, this much they have said in interviews. You can brush their scientific evaluations aside if you like but it does not seem very wise to bluntly ignore the opinions of such individuals. Instead you should study their assertions and vet them yourself instead of plainly disregarding them in blind faith for your preferred solution.

          • eveee

            Hold on cowboy. You are slinging with both hands.
            Of the 253 nuclear power reactors originally ordered in the United States from 1953 to 2008, 48 percent were canceled, 11 percent were prematurely shut down, 14 percent experienced at least a one-year-or-more outage, and 27 percent are operating without having a year-plus outage. Thus, only about one fourth of those ordered, or about half of those completed, are still operating and have proved relatively reliable.[3]

            Most early NPP were successful? When did they start canceling them to get a rate of 48%?

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            Energy projects of all sorts are cancelled all of the time. This isn’t a metric indicating failure – building something that doesn’t work is.

          • eveee

            If the default rate is not a metric indicating failure, what is? A default rate in excess of 50% was reported by the CBO. I hope you are not confused about what a default rate means to the ability to get a loan at all, or at high interest rates, or what that means to the cost of borrowed money.
            http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2010/02/chu-not-aware-nuclear-default-rates

            More on nuclear fallacy.
            http://www.forbes.com/sites/energysource/2014/02/20/why-the-economics-dont-favor-nuclear-power-in-america/

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            A default is when a loan is issued and not repaid. You are confusing cancellation ( a circumstance where full funds are not disbursed ) with a default.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Read Cooper and quit acting like a petulant child.

          • eveee

            No, I am not confused. You are. The quote on defaults is from the CBO. Don’t feel bad. You are not the only one that does not know that nuclear has in excess of 50% default rate.

            http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2010/02/chu-not-aware-nuclear-default-rates

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            That is a false claim.

            A default is when a loan is issued and not repaid. You are confusing cancellation ( a circumstance where full funds are not disbursed ) with a default.

          • eveee

            So when the EIA says it, you believe it. But when the CBO says it, you don’t. I thought they were all established government sources. Or is it that CBO says what you don’t want to hear, and EIA says what you like.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            The congressional budget office as a group made no such official statement that “50% of all nuclear plants defaulted on their disbursed loans”

            That is a complete fabrication by you.

          • eveee

            Read em and weep. This is a direct quote from a CBO document. Don’t give me your fabrication BS. Man up. Don’t tell me the CBO doesn’t know how to do finance.
            And learn how to quote correctly.

            I said,
            “default rate in excess of 50% ”

            CBO says
            “CBO considers the risk of default on such a loan guarantee to be very high-well above 50 percent.”

            “The ability to recover a significant portion of the initial construction loan would offset the high subsidy cost of a federal loan guarantee.

            CBO considers the risk of default on such a loan guarantee to be very high-well above 50 percent.”

            http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/ftpdocs/42xx/doc4206/s14.pdf

            “Assuming the nuclear plant is completed, we expect it would financially default soon after beginning operations,”

            The CBO assessment of default is based on the high cost of nuclear relative to its competitors. However, CBO assumed costs that are nowhere near the present cost over runs of Vogtle for example. CBO assumes

            “a new nuclear power plant starting construction in 2011 would have a construction cost of about $2,300 per kilowatt of capacity.”

            But Vogtle is at 14 billion and counting.

            Based on Southern’s 47.5 percent share of the two 1,100-megawatt (MW) Westinghouse AP1000 reactors, the total cost of the project could exceed $14 billion.

            http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/04/utilities-southern-vogtle-idUSL1N0BWHQF20130304

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            “Considers the risk”

            Nuclear plants have not defaulted on 50% of disbursed loans in the US, the CBO (or a faction therein) at one point “considered the risk” of defaulting on loans to be 50%.

            Nonetheless the loan approvals went through:) guess the president was feelin like gambling a bit ;)

            We’ve had a republican controlled Congress for some time right? Aren’t republicans broadly against funding for energy sources that compete with fossil fuels? Could there be a connection here maybe? It is my opinion that that is most certainly the case.

            Please just allow me to have an opinion this one time.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I gave you the link to Mark Cooper’s paper that lays out the history of US nuclear.

            You didn’t read it. That tells me that you don’t want to learn anything that might shake your belief system.

          • eveee

            Most pioneering nuclear plants were successful.. Does that include the ones that were cancelled, shut down early, or had outages of a year or more over their lifetime?

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_canceled_nuclear_plants_in_the_United_States

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            Just the ones that were built.

            Most

          • sault

            “So why don’t we charge them for their pollution and allow a level playing field for clean energy generators? Good idea huh?”
            Agreed. This would mean getting rid of the Price Anderson Act as well, and the nuclear industry CANNOT survive withoput it.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            No it wouldn’t, the price anderson act doesn’t actually cost taxpayers anything. It is theoretical liability, has never been used and will never need to be used as the NRC already collects 12bn in an insurance pool for the industry.

            reactors being currently constructed are passively safe with gravity fed cooling reservoirs located directly above reactor core for emergency purposes with additional backup. Next gen reactors will be completely incapable of meltdown altogether.

            Seeing as how you are completely against nuclear wiithout knowing much about it I wouldnt expect yuou to know these things.

          • Bob_Wallace

            TEPCO has already admitted that Fukushima will cost at least $138 billion. Independent estimates range upwards of $500 billion.

            Japanese taxpayers are on the hook for those costs.

            If, for example, Indian Point blows the cost to US taxpayers would be even higher. There is no possible way to evacuate the population living in the danger zone. The costs would be enormous.

          • sault

            It doesn’t matter if the PA Act has never forced the government to pay out since it is pure government favoritism on a specific industry that tilts the market in favor of a chosen technology, plain and simple. BTW, renewable energy still has to pay liability insurance premiums, and even though the impacts of a wind turbine failing are orders of magnitude smaller than if a nuclear reactor fails, it still costs the industry money while the nuclear industry get the government to pick up its tab. If you think 12B is anough to cover a meltdown you are hopelessly niave.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            Nuclear is among many activities and circumstances for which we (Developed countries) have established liability limits. Others include plane crashes, oil spills, product liability, and medical malpractice. The largest renewable energy project, hydroelectric dams, has limited liability too. Societies frequently cap or socialize liabilities for events when costs are difficult to predict, quantify, or bound, and where responsibility is difficult to apportion. These are highly uncertain, infrequent, and high consequence events. Even so, nuclear operators still have to buy an enormous amount of liability insurance. That risk is pooled, with current pooled insurance for the US nuclear industry amounting to $12.6 billion.

          • sault

            Sure, and that liability cap worked wonders during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster too, right? Look, nuclear power presents a hazard that is orders of magnitude greater than any other energy source. You’re comparing apples to MOLECULES of orange juice here, joe.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            Not true. In 1975 the Banqiao Dam burst in China. According to the Hydrology Department of Henan Province, in the province, approximately 26,000 people died[14] from flooding and another 145,000 died during subsequent epidemics and famine.
            In addition, about 5,960,000 buildings collapsed, and 11 million
            residents were affected. Unofficial estimates of the number of people
            killed by the disaster have run as high as 230,000 people.[15] The death toll of this disaster was declassified in 2005

            The impacts of this accident are in a class of their own. Chernobyl (an uncontained and unconventional), and Fukushima withstanding, Nuclear power actually has the lowest fatalaties/kWh produced of any major energy generation source besides wind power.

            New reactors are an order of magnitude safer than those of the past due to incorporation of passive safety features, such as gravity fed cooling water from a reservoir above in the event of an emergency like Fukushima, along with better sited and more redundant and robust additional backup power systems to maintain emergency cooling.

            All major commercial nuclear power incidences have been caused by cooling problems, solving these problems is something that we humans are absolutely capable of.

            SMRs and Generation IV reactors are incapable of melting down altogether.

            Knowledge is power.

          • A Real Libertarian

            Chernobyl (an uncontained and unconventional), and Fukushima withstanding, Nuclear power actually has the lowest fatalaties/kWh produced of any major energy generation source besides wind power.

            So nuclear is the second least deadly source of electricity as long as you ignore the incidents that required exclusion zones to “solve”?

            Russian roulette is perfectly harmless, with an exception or two…

            New reactors are an order of magnitude safer than those of the past due to incorporation of passive safety features, such as gravity fed cooling water from a reservoir above in the event of an emergency like Fukushima, along with better sited and more redundant and robust additional backup power systems to maintain emergency cooling.

            Why are these necessary?

            Fukushima has backup generators that always work perfectly.

            Anything else is simply anti-scientific Radiophobia.

            Knowledge is power.

            If you don’t got it, but you think you got it, you’re in for a world of hurt.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            “So nuclear is the second least deadly source of electricity as long as you ignore the incidents that required exclusion zones to “solve”?”

            No conversely I am including Fukushima and Chernobyl impacts in that assertion – that is what ‘withstanding’ implies. If I were trying to exclude those impacts from the assessment I would have used the word ‘withholding’ etc.

            ‘Fukushima has backup generators that always work perfectly’

            Fukushima reactors were protected by a 5.7 meter seawall when the operator was well aware that 20 meter surges were possible. The backup generators for the emergency cooling were located at the lowest point on the complex making them especially prone to flooding. Spent fuel was stored high up in the facility making it especially prone to leaks. Obviously all of these things are correctable, and if they were corrected the reactor would have endured the extreme weather that killed 16,000 without issue. We know this because the Onagawa reactor just south of Fukushima survived the brunt of the quake and tsunami just fine.

          • A Real Libertarian

            Fukushima reactors were protected by a 5.7 meter seawall when the operator was well aware that 20 meter surges were possible. The backup generators for the emergency cooling were located at the lowest point on the complex making them especially prone to flooding and loss of functionality. Spent fuel was stored high up in the facility making it especially prone to leaks. Obviously all of these things are correctable, and if they were corrected the reactor would have endured the extreme weather that killed 16,000 without issue. We know this because the Onagawa reactor just south of Fukushima survived the brunt of the quake and tsunami just fine.

            Why are you claiming Fukushima’s backup generators can fail?

            They are perfect and can’t fail.

            Anything else is simply anti-scientific Radiophobia from fossil fuels and their renewable energy lackeys.

            That is the story, isn’t it?

            All nuclear power is safe and the previous incidents were one-of-a-kind flukes that have been fixed so they can’t ever happen again.

            And when it happens again… well, one-of-a-kind fluke, fixed now, can’t happen again, yadda yadda yadda.

            And you wonder why people trust you as much on safety as we do on costs?

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            So based on your logic do you suggest we stop building hydroelectric Dams and shut all existing ones down?

            As a result of the Banqiao Hydro-electric Dam failure approximately 26,000 people died[14] from flooding and another 145,000 died during subsequent epidemics and famine. In addition, about 5,960,000 buildings collapsed, and 11 million residents were affected. Unofficial estimates of the number of people killed by the disaster have run as high as 230,000 people.

            The official estimates (171,000 fatalities) for this dam accident is more than 42x the estimates by the World Health Organization for deaths as an immediate and latent result of the Chernobyl radiation release (4,000 fatalities). The Dam failure is obviously much greater consequence then the Fukushima radiation release which has no attributable deaths yet and is predicted by the World Health Organization to have an undetectable impact on cancer rates going forward.

            Natural Gas explosions in North America have caused over a dozen deaths in the last year and a half alone.

            Coal combustion is estimated to cause 10,000 premature deaths annually in the US alone per year, and this is without any accidents occurring.

            So should we ban the construction of hydroelectric dams as well? What say ye?

          • eveee

            Knowledge is power? In that case you are weak. You are drinking the nuke koolaid if you think there are no extra deaths from Releases like Chernobyl or Fukushima. And what about the 137 billion expense so far in Japan? What about the loss of vast tracts and the displacement of thousands of nuclear refugees? How many injuries compared to other sources?

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            Fukushima was a terrible and preventable accident, but when compared to other tragedies like the Banqiao dam burst mentioned above, the millions that coal kills through pollution, the gas explosions in the US that have claimed over a dozen lives in the past year alone – nuclear isn’t so exceptional or terrible.

            The World Health Organization and United Nations have investigated the Fukushima radiation release and determined that future contractions of cancer due to the accident will be undetectable compared to societal norms.

            We can certainly do better than Fukushima, but it is hard to posit it as a reason to abandon the only scalable and affordable form of stored and controllable clean energy we have.

          • Bob_Wallace

            ” as a reason to abandon the only scalable and affordable form of stored and controllable clean energy we have.”

            False claim.

          • eveee

            IAEA, an atomic biased group has the right to unix any report from WHO. Some have left WHO to get the word out. Meanwhile, you quote as if it were a relevant and credible source. Its not. Get over it.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            The World Health Organization is a United Nations program.

            So youre is asserting that the United Nations, whose third highest economic contributor is Germany, is in on a conspiracy to cover up nuclear accidents.

            Im fairly certain that this is a baseless claim. Thanks though.

          • eveee

            Where was the word conspiracy used? Not by me. I just stated a fact. IAEA is having a damping effect on WHO.

            “Under the agreement, whenever either organisation wants to do anything in which the other may have an interest, it “shall consult the other with a view to adjusting the matter by mutual agreement”. The two agencies must “keep each other fully informed concerning all projected activities and all programs of work which may be of interest to both parties”. And in the realm of statistics – a key area in the epidemiology of nuclear risk – the two undertake “to consult with each other on the most efficient use of information, resources, and technical personnel in the field of statistics and in regard to all statistical projects dealing with matters of common interest”.

            The language appears to be evenhanded, but the effect has been one-sided.”

            Since the 21st anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster in April 2007, a daily “Hippocratic vigil” has taken place at the WHO’s offices in Geneva, organised by Independent WHO to persuade the WHO to abandon its the WHO-IAEA Agreement. The protest has continued through the WHO’s 62nd World Health Assembly, which ended yesterday, and will endure through the executive board meeting that begins today. The group has struggled to win support from WHO’s member states. But the scientific case against the agreement is building up, most recently when the European Committee on Radiation Risk (ECRR) called for its abandonment at its conference earlier this month in Lesvos, Greece.

            According to Chris Busby, the ECRR’s scientific secretary and visiting professor at the University of Ulster’s school of biomedical sciences:

            “The subordination of the WHO to IAEA is a key part of the systematic falsification of nuclear risk which has been under way ever since Hiroshima, the agreement creates an unacceptable conflict of interest in which the UN organisation concerned with promoting our health has been made subservient to those whose main interest is the expansion of nuclear power. Dissolving the WHO-IAEA agreement is a necessary first step to restoring the WHO’s independence to research the true health impacts of ionising radiation and publish its findings.”

            http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2009/may/28/who-nuclear-power-chernobyl

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            The World Health Organization is a United Nations program.

            So youre is asserting that the United Nations, whose third highest economic contributor is Germany, is in on a conspiracy to cover up nuclear accidents.

            Im fairly certain that this is a baseless claim. Thanks though.

          • eveee

            Liability limit. Thats another way of saying, no insurance.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            No its not, its a federal liability limit similar to that which a hydroelectric project is granted.

          • eveee

            You are arguing that if I don’t buy auto insurance it doesn’t cost anything. You need to take some courses in economics. I think any decent economist would cringe. I don’t have time to explain rudimentary economics. See here. Fundamentally your problem is that you are unable to conceive of the possibility of your own ignorance. Ironically, that keeps you ignorant. And you argue because you are convinced you already know, sans outside critique, references, and on. When that happens, you cannot learn.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            Nuclear is among many activities and circumstances for which we have established liability limits. Others include plane crashes, oil spills, product liability, and medical malpractice. The largest renewable energy project, hydroelectric dams, has limited liability too. Societies frequently cap or socialize liabilities for events when costs are difficult to predict, quantify, or bound, and where responsibility is difficult to apportion. These are highly uncertain, infrequent, and high consequence events. Even so, nuclear operators still have to buy an enormous amount of liability insurance. That risk is pooled, with current pooled insurance for the US nuclear industry amounting to $12.6 billion

          • eveee

            Does your car insurance cost anything? Does driving without insurance cost anything? You might think so. Economists not so much.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            Nuclear is among many activities and circumstances for which we have established liability limits. Others include plane crashes, oil spills, product liability, and medical malpractice. The largest renewable energy project, hydroelectric dams, has limited liability too. Societies frequently cap or socialize liabilities for events when costs are difficult to predict, quantify, or bound, and where responsibility is difficult to apportion. These are highly uncertain, infrequent, and high consequence events. Even so, nuclear operators still have to buy an enormous amount of liability insurance. That risk is pooled, with current pooled insurance for the US nuclear industry amounting to $12.6 billion

          • eveee

            Great. Another uninsured motorist. Who doesn’t think it costs anything. Remind me not to have you run for finance director.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            Guess I won’t be needing these “joe for finance director” banners signs and bumper stickers :/

          • eveee

            Well at least your humor is intact. ;)

          • eveee

            OK. Look at this curve and tell me the cost of solar only came down astronomically in the last two decades. I see the same exponential change one the whole curve. Sorry. Wrong.

            http://rameznaam.com/2013/11/14/solar-power-is-dropping-faster-than-i-projected/

          • eveee

            Free markets reluctant to adopt conservation? Oooo You really stepped in that one. Its not a universal truth. California has definitely been big in conservation for decades. Texas not so much.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            Perhaps not but the assessment is about the US as a whole. CA per capita energy usage still higher than many parts of europe despite a more moderate climate.

          • eveee

            Tap dancing? Again? You made a sweeping generalization. No reference. Just opinion. Just checking. Should we just bow to your authority on the subject? Or … oops … did we just change subject and dodge this

            Free markets reluctant to adopt conservation

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            __

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            You’re claiming that between 1994 and 2009 renewables only recieved $5.6 billion in subsidies, which is totally untrue for wind power alone let alone all RE sources. We have to consider avoided tax benefits (the PTC ITC) when analyzing subsidies.

            For instance, 13,000 MW of wind capacity were installed in the US in 2012 alone. Under the conditions of the PTC the investors of this capacity are subject to earnings of 2.3c/kWh produced from said capacity for ten years:

            13 GW x 31% CF x 24 hr x 365 days x 10 years x $22,000/GWh = $7.85 billion

            or $0.785 billion per year for the next 10 years. Of course this can’t be considered in isolation, as we also have to consider the avoided taxes for those who invested in wind 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2 and 1 years ago.

            We now have over 61 GW of wind power in the US, the vast majority of which was subject to earnings from the PTC for a ten year period. There were some lapses in the PTC availability, but the total invested for this capacity in avoided taxes alone will be around 35 billion by the time we are ten years removed from the current PTC expiration period -the start of 2015.

            When looked at as earnings these tax credits are worth closer to 3.2c/kWh since obvioulsy the are after tax and not subject to additional taxation themselves.

            Thats quite a bargain for an energy source that already has state mandates for capacity, and routinely benefits from state and municpal incentives and rebates, state and federal land grants, and utility transmission concessions.

            I think you may want to find a different source for your information.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Yes, going forward (until the time the federal subsidy program goes away) wind and solar will be earning far more PTC money than will nuclear. For one very simple reason.

            Wind and solar are producing new generation. Nuclear is not.

            Nuclear is entitled to the very same PTC payments that wind and solar get. When/if new nuclear comes on line.

            Now what you’re trying to cover over is the fact that we spent well over $100 billion subsidizing nuclear and its cost keeps rising. We spent less than $10 billion on wind and solar and their costs have dropped by more than 8x and 100x.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            Vogtle and Summer are getting PTC benefits, but they are not the same as the wind PTC. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists (of all sources ;)) the Vogtle PTC is capped at $125 million per GW per year and is only available for 8 years as opposed to 10.

            http://www.ucsusa.org/assets/documents/nuclear_power/Georgia-nuclear-fact-sheet.pdf

            Given an 87% capacity factor per GW (likely will be higher) this cap amounts to a 1.6c/kWh tax credit for 8 years for the new nuclear plants compared to a 2.3c/kWh tax credit for 10 years for the investors of wind projects.

            Also it is very important to note that the PTC extended to Vogtle and Summer is a special case, this same concession is not extended to every prospective nuclear build as their is no policy or budget associated with such a program at the current time.

            and actually from 1950 to 2010 Nuclear has benefited from $74 billion in
            federal deployed energy subsidies, or 9% of the total. Nuclear power
            has also accounted for around 1/5 of US electricity for several decades,
            roughly about 15% of total kWhs produced over the time period
            mentioned:

            http://www.misi-net.com/publications/NEI-1011.pdf

          • eveee

            Not the same as wind? They are both about 2c/kwhr. Except wind does not have a PTC right now. Oh, that must be what you mean.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            Vogtle and Summer are getting PTC benefits, but they are not the same as the wind PTC. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists (of all sources ;)) the Vogtle PTC is capped at $125 million per GW per year and is only available for 8 years as opposed to 10.

            http://www.ucsusa.org/assets/d

            Given an 87% capacity factor per GW (likely will be higher) this cap amounts to a 1.6c/kWh tax credit for 8 years for the new nuclear plants compared to a 2.3c/kWh tax credit for 10 years for the investors of wind projects.

            Also it is very important to note that the PTC extended to Vogtle and Summer is a special case, this same concession is not extended to every prospective nuclear build as their is no policy or budget associated with such a program at the current time.

            and actually from 1950 to 2010 Nuclear has benefited from $74 billion in federal deployed energy subsidies, or 9% of the total. Nuclear power has also accounted for around 1/5 of US electricity for several decades, roughly about 15% of total kWhs produced over the time period mentioned:

          • eveee

            So drop all the subsidies for nuclear. It doesn’t need any. Right? Right now there are none for commercial wind. Tell you what. Give wind the PTC nuclear has.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            Wind PTC doesn’t actually expire until December 31st 2014.

            Clean energy sources should all be incentivized according to their carbon abatement attributes.

          • eveee

            “Wind PTC still in effect for projects under construction this year permitted last year.”

            Do you write disclaimers for a living? Good Grief, man. This is starting to get…. ughyly.

            http://cleantechnica.com/2011/06/20/wind-power-subsidies-dont-compare-to-fossil-fuel-nuclear-subsidies/

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            Yes actually I do

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            For males, in the very unlikely event you have a painful or prolonged erection lasting 4 or more hours, stop using this drug and seek immediate medical attention, or permanent problems could occur.

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            This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

          • eveee

            NIce to know what biz your in. At least you didn’t equivocate on that.

          • eveee

            And if we just adjust our blinders…. like this…. we don’t see the nuclear subsides…. and the renewable subsidies look bigger! Oh boy.

          • eveee

            Nuclear has inherent storage? You mean nuclear has no unplanned outages? What about downtime for maintenance and refueling, repairs? I think not.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            The vast majority of outages are planned. Unplanned outages are covered by capacity such as spinning reserve required by regulation.

            Nuclear fuel is a stored form of energy. It has inherent storage.

          • eveee

            OK, so I guess we need storage equal to the amount of nuclear capacity for whenever its down due to unplanned outage. After all, something has to replace it.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            That is why we have grid regulations. Spinning reserve must be equal to the largest single generator in the system + a certain percentage depending on jurisdiction.

        • eveee

          Nothing ridiculous about eia bias. Explain this from eia, maybe you can help Moniz write a reply. Eia forecast?

          Construction of wind farms ceases in 2016 and does not resume for almost 20 years.

          Read more at http://cleantechnica.com/2014/01/10/horrible-eia-forecasts-letter-cleantechnica-readers/#5LgCp6qmyxkbmVKR.99

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            The EIA did not foresee events such as the domestic manufacturing subsidies PV received in China (many of which were later deemed illegal). Said subsidies totaled over 35 billion USD in a 4 year span.

            Nor did the EIA predict the enormous deployment subsidies enacted by the EU in form of FiTs. The total spent here was well over 200 billion for PV alone in the last decade.

            The EIA was not alone in lacking foresight into these activities, and as a result made erroneous predictions about the deployment of PV.

            The level of such deployment subsidies has since been proven unsustainable in EU with almost all involved countries making significant cuts to their programs. Trade organizations in the EU and US investigated the Chinese manufacturing subsidies and enforced trade tarrifs, and much of the Chinese industry contracted as a result of over-supply and weaker than expected markets.

            I’m sure you disagree, but having a keen understanding of PV module construction i do not believe the prices of PV will fall as dramatically as it has in the past, and at current price points adoption of PV is still slow outside of California where municipal, state, and federal incentives are a boon to its growth along with a favorable solar resource. As a result I believe the EIA projection will prove to be fairly accurate, though it is always difficult to predict the future.

            Suffice to say the current LCOE of an advanced nuclear power plant is indeed currently lower than for solar PV in most of the continental US before even considering the value implications of dispatchable vs intermittent output.

          • eveee

            Bs. You tap danced right around a glaring outrageous EIA inaccuracy. If you were honest, you would just admit it was wrong. It’s not the only one. Every single renewable projection was absurd, predicting a sudden halt to all growth despite current rapid growth.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            I have no explanation for the wind graph. Most expect to see stunted growth for wind in the US due to the expiration of the PTC, but I can’t explain the ‘no growth’ chart.

            The solar discrepancy is easily explainable though, very few people in the industry even forecast the price reduction and subsequent deployment growth, and since the EIA is a government entity they are of course lagging.

            PV prices have now stabilized, and I believe the most recent EIA LCOE figures are reasonably accurate for the average value throughout the country.

          • eveee

            No. Get real. There is no explanation for any of the ridiculous projections made by the EIA. You are willfully ignoring the fact that they made similar faulty projections for years in a row. Stop the tap dancing.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            No you can be more polite. When someone disagrees with you it does not necessitate insult.

            I have no explanation for the wind chart. The solar PV predictions have been completely understandable in context.

          • Bob_Wallace

            eveee is being incredibly polite with you.

            You continue to make disproven claims. You refuse to read sources which would help you understand the issues.

            You continue to pleasure a long dead chicken.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            Rather than resort to name-calling how about we settle this debate according to methods and data provided by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to compare their derived LCOE to that being asserted by the
            US Energy Information Administration.

            Here is the ‘Simplified’ NREL LCOE calculator
            http://www.nrel.gov/analysis/tech_lcoe.html

            Here are reasonably up to date (2012) input capacity factors and costs from the transparent cost database NREL endorses, and provides links to on the calculator site:

            http://en.openei.org/wiki/Transparent_Cost_Database

            For background information, this is how the simplified NREL LCOE is calculated: http://www.nrel.gov/analysis/tech_lcoe_documentation.html

            So here we go:

            According to the NREL here http://en.openei.org/wiki/Transparent_Cost_Database the minimum overnight capital cost of installed commercial PV is $2500/kilowatt (the median is $5200, max $6.80), The minimum fixed O&M cost in 2012 was $19.93/kW/yr , no variable O&M cost, the capacity factor potential ranged between 16% and 28%.

            Input these values in to the calculator here along with a favorable 22% capacity factor:
            http://www.nrel.gov/analysis/tech_lcoe.html
            (heat rate and fuel costs set to zero)

            The result using these miniumum values is a ‘Simple Levelized Cost of Renewable Energy (cents per kWh)’ at 9.7 cents.

            This is very close to the non-simplified minimum PV LCOE value the EIA provides, 10.1 cents/ kWh before subsidies – given here:

            http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/aeo/electricity_generation.cfm

            If we were to perform separate calculations using the median costs and lower capacity factors (22% is higher than most of the country will experience in AC production), we will find that the unsubsidized cost of PV on average does not at all resemble the reported PPA prices for the Southwest United States. The explanation is obviously a combination of favorable solar resource, and capital/financing concessions made for particular projects.Furthermore we can clearly see here http://en.openei.org/apps/TCDB… show clearly that the median PV LCOE REPORTED (not estimated) by NREL in 2012 is upwards of 29c/kWh (see screenshot below)

          • eveee

            No. You read the NREL and other peer reviewed papers that show renewables can be integrated at high penetration economically. Then tell us why they are wrong.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            Thats not what the conversation is about. We were discussing the Levelized Cost of Electricity.

          • A Real Libertarian

            So when people point out renewables can be easily integrated into the power gird, that’s irrelevant because we’re discussing the Levelized Cost of Electricity?

            And when people point out wind is cheaper then nuclear, that’s irrelevant because we’re discussing how renewables can’t be integrated into the power gird?

            And around and around we go…

            P.S. Don’t bother claiming wind isn’t at $0.04/KWh right now:

            http://newscenter.lbl.gov/news-releases/2013/08/06/new-study-finds-that-the-price-of-wind-energy-in-the-united-states-is-near-an-all-time-low/

            Or that “projections say”, those projections are worthless:

            http://cleantechnica.com/2014/01/10/horrible-eia-forecasts-letter-cleantechnica-readers/

            http://cleantechnica.com/2014/04/16/just-eias-renewable-energy-outlook-20-years/

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            Of course renewables can be integrated into the grid. On average wind power is indeed cheaper than new nuclear.

            However we need to replace almost all fossil fuel consumption in the next 35 years in order to stabilize atmospheric CO2 levels to 450 ppm according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This threshold is a benchmark to mitigate climate change.

            To accomplish that (replacing fossil fuels) we need energy generation sources which are dispatchable or in other words contain stored energy that can be used on demand. This is an unarguable fact. Among those options of clean stored energy geothermal, hydropower, and nuclear power are by far the most economic, several times more economic than adding standalone charge/discharge storage mediums (such as batteries) to intermittent generation sources. So it makes sense to focus on funding and deploying projects for hydro geothermal and nuclear in addition to solar and wind.

          • Bob_Wallace

            “Among those options of clean stored energy geothermal, hydropower, and nuclear power are by far the most economic, several times more economic than adding standalone charge/discharge storage mediums (such as batteries) to intermittent generation sources.”

            The error you make is ignoring what you’ve been told multiple times.

            A mix of wind, solar and storage is cheaper than new nuclear.

            I assume this is an intentional error. That you do not want to admit the obvious.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            The claim you are making is refuted by all reputable real world cost data we have.

            I challenge you to find a single case where a large intermittent generation source (100 MW +) is coupled with a standalone storage medium (pumped hydro, batteries, CAES etc) and delivers as a system at a per kWh cost remotely competitive with typical hydro, geothermal, or nuclear costs.

            In fact, since such intermittent+storage systems are so comparatively expensive, I challenge you to find examples where large ones are even in grid connected use throughout the globe.
            And remember to use a valid source.

          • eveee

            And right now nuclear is in decline, no private money is willing to invest, the few that are under construction are doing delays and cost over runs and taking ten years to build. And they are not replacing the old reactors taken off line at the same rate. Now. How is that reducing carbon. It isn’t. Face it.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            71 reactors currently under construction, China just announced plans to build 8 more. I’d say there is a fair amount of activity though it’s not nearly enough to address the climate issue.

          • eveee

            Aaaannd the papers say we can replace all or nearly all FF with renewables economically by 2050… Oh but I forgot, you want to talk about LCOE… but you… just … brought up….
            Do you know nuclear is not dispatch able? Do you know that the whole concept of base load is not to be dispatch able? Do you know you are arguing a logical fallacy? Right out in the open? Oh, sorry, we are tailing about LCOE.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            What papers?

            Nuclear is defined as dispatchable by the EIA. It is capable of fluctuating output in response to demand at a rate of 1MW per second.

          • eveee

            Oh boy. Not the EIA again. I got news. Nuclear may be defined as dispatchable by them, but it just isn’t used that way in the US as of now. It has crude and limited so called dispatchable capability. Its too slow and it ruins nuclear economics. It certainly is not going to displace gas peakers anytime soon.

          • eveee

            You mean there are no papers that show the LCOE of wind at say 5c/kwhr, and none that show nuclear over 10c/kwhr? Is that what you are trying to say? Why are you attempting to calculate it instead of looking up a paper? What do you expect to find? Do you expect to find sources contradicting those numbers? If so, forget it. And if you calculate different from that, what will you do? Will you argue with the authors? How daft is that? So many references from so many sources saying those numbers, but you, you, you, and only you know what the real numbers are. Right.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            Wind power LCOE is indeed lower than nuclear. But Since load must be balanced on a continuous basis, units whose output can be varied to follow demand (dispatchable technologies) generally have more value to a system than less flexible units (non-dispatchable technologies), or those whose operation is tied to the availability of an intermittent resource. The LCOE values for dispatchable and nondispatchable technologies are listed separately in the tables, because caution should be used when comparing them to one another.

          • eveee

            You are totally confused about LCOE. LCOE is an abstract metric, that has some usefulness, but it must be handled intelligently. A gas plant can run as base load. Strange? Yes. But they do in California. At least partly. Because California has so much gas generation. In other parts of the country, little or no gas base load. So how do we compute the cost of gas plants? You noticed that if a plant gets used less often, it costs more. Well, duh. Does that mean its a characteristic of the source? Not exactly. See why LCOE is abstract? The same gas plant could have a much different LCOE operated as peaker rather than base load. Wind operated as peaker, we call “overcapacity” Same with any source that can do peak. Conversely, as generators are used less, they not only cost more, (pay attention closely)
            they are worth more. Why? Because they do something that has value. Load following. But if you naively do LCOE and assume the lowest LCOE is best, … well you completely miss that. Then you start talking nonsense about how this source or that source will cost more because its used less often…. You might note that nuclear in France does do load following, and so by some metric is more expensive than nuclear in the US that does not load follow. But that is not the point. Its lowest system cost. Thats why LCOE is … well…. just an interesting metric… and a bit of distraction in blogs.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            You are right that LCOE in itself is not an absolute metric, we must also consider the load profile and existent capacity.

            The EIA actually has a way to accomplish this using the Levelized Avoided Cost of Electricity metric – basically subtracting the LACE from the LCOE for a given region tells you whether or not a capacity is worth building (+ value means it is).

            You might be pleased to know that PV has better future LCOE -LACE values then nuclear in the near future, although the large assumption is that we will continue using existing coal plants for baseload. Or in other words, if we assume that we don’t take recommended action on climate change, then opportunities to build new nuclear plants are limited in the US.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            Continue using existing coal AND gas plants* for baseload

          • eveee

            You do know that nuclear in the US basically does not load follow, right? So it has no load following value. Gas peakers are used for that in the US. You just shot your point in the foot. Even the best load following nuclear in France has its limits. France uses hydro and import/export to balance its demand. Even the best nuclear load following has its limitations and is nowhere near as good at load following as a gas plant or hydro. Therefore, it has little load following premium. See thats the point you keep dodging. While flitting about on this and that, you ignore that the renewables integration studies show favorable economics. Now if you are capable of reading and understanding the concepts in power systems and renewables integration, you can evaluate the LCOEs and make some sense of them, The papers add up all the factors and the LCOEs and guess what. Renewables work as a solution. They are much cheaper than nuclear.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            Baseload has capacity value as well. N plants geothermal used as baseload because they have minimal operating costs. Nat gas capacity cheap but fuel costs higher. Right now it’s so cheap that gas works as baseload too, but historically prices have been highly volatile.

            The US would be better off in terms of climate and possibly economics to use Mor NG to fuel freight trucks and to export to countries currently using coal. Better off leaving baseload to nuclear enhanced geothermal. But capitalistic forces only think short term gains, no long term planning.

          • eveee

            So when your are done, like, can you please explain what that has to do with the price of beans and how that has anything to do with a future that reduces carbon using renewables (not too expensive nuclear) as the papers say?

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            It is important to note that, while LCOE is a convenient summary measure of the overall competiveness of different generating technologies, actual plant investment decisions are affected by the specific technological and regional characteristics of a project, which involve numerous other factors. The projected utilization rate, which depends on the load shape and the existing resource mix in an area where additional capacity is needed, is one such factor. The existing resource mix in a region can directly impact the economic viability of a new investment through its effect on the economics surrounding the displacement of existing resources. For example, a wind resource that would primarily displace existing natural gas generation will usually have a different economic value than one that would displace existing coal generation.

            A related factor is the capacity value, which depends on both the existing capacity mix and load characteristics in a region. Since load must be balanced on a continuous basis, units whose output can be varied to follow demand (dispatchable technologies) generally have more value to a system than less flexible units (non-dispatchable technologies), or those whose operation is tied to the availability of an intermittent resource. The LCOE values for dispatchable and nondispatchable technologies are listed separately in the tables, because caution should be used when comparing them to one another.

          • A Real Libertarian

            No you can be more polite. When someone disagrees with you it does not necessitate insult.

            When their disagreement consists of ignoring the evidence and demanding politeness, it’s best to call a spade an

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            Rather than resort to name-calling how about we settle this debate according to methods and data provided by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to compare their derived LCOE to that being asserted by the US Energy Information Administration.

            Here is the ‘Simplified’ NREL LCOE calculator
            http://www.nrel.gov/analysis/tech_lcoe.html

            Here are up to date input capacity factors and costs from the transparent cost database NREL references, endorses, and provides links to on the calculator site:
            http://www.nrel.gov/analysis/tech_lcoe.html

            For background information, this is how the simplified NREL LCOE calculator works: http://www.nrel.gov/analysis/tech_lcoe_documentation.html

            So here we go:

            According to the NREL here http://en.openei.org/apps/TCDB/ The minimum overnight capital cost of installed PV is $2500/kilowatt (the median is $5200, max $6.80), The minimum fixed O&M cost in 2012 was $19.93/kW/yr , no variable O&M cost, the capacity factor potential ranged between 16% and 28%.

            Input these values in to the calculator here along with a favorable 22% capacity factor:
            http://www.nrel.gov/analysis/tech_lcoe.html
            (heat rate and fuel costs set to zero)

            The result using these miniumum values is a ‘Simple Levelized Cost of Renewable Energy (cents per kWh)’ at 9.7 cents.

            This is very close to the non-simplified LCOE value the EIA gives here, which is 10.1 cents/ kWh before subsidies – given here: http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/aeo/electricity_generation.cfm

            If we do seperate calculations using the median costs and lower capacity factors (22% is higher than most of the country will experience in AC production), we will find that the unsudized cost of PV on average does not at all resemble the reported PPA prices for the Southwest United States. The explanation is obviously favorable solar resource, and capital/financing concessions made for particular projects.

            Good day sir.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            oops heres the screenshot

          • eveee

            Sorry. I get complaints, but it keeps getting worse. When you are corrected and keep coming back with same…. I lose patience. And what bothers me is your equivocation. No. There is no excuse for the EIA solar projections. Wrong. Horribly so.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            Actually they are in line with the NREL values for LCOE using NRELs calculator and open and transparent cost database. Thanks though

          • Bob_Wallace

            Do you believe that the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is lying?

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            I believe LBN to be a reputable research body reporting on contract prices. We in the energy industry understand PPA contract prices are in fact different than costs for a litany of reasons.

            Nonetheless it is encouraging that the rate of PV deployments is becoming measurable on a national scale.

          • Bob_Wallace

            No, Joe, solar prices have not stabilized. Solar prices (installed systems – residential, commercial, and utility) dropped 16% in 2013.

    • sault

      Another point. Nuclear power in China is only 1% of its supply and they’re struggling to get it to 5% by 2020. Meanwhile, wind power alone has already surpassed nuclear power in total electricity production and its exponential growth curve means that it’ll keep going and never look back to the slow pace of nuclear power expansion. Finally, China is not known for their financial transparency. From currency manipulation to the showering of subsidies and favorable treatment on to prefered state-owned “enterprises”, you should take any cost figures from the PRC with a grain of salt.

      • http://batman-news.com joe

        The cost figures come from Toshiba-Westinghouse, they are closing on a sale of 8 more reactors, with 28 already under construction. http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-04-21/energy-hungry-china-plans-to-accelerate-approvals-for-new-nuclear-reactors

        You are right though, the amount of wind China has deployed and is deploying is massive, and when adjusted for capacity factor it will be a bit ahead of the nuclear capacity in terms of annual TWh generation.

        However, it is important to understand the scale at which intermittent sources can be incorporated before they become unviable economically. That point is essentially the capacity factor of said technology. Surpassing the capacity factor value in annual penetration percentage for a given technology will result in periods of oversupply and electricity being curtailed, ie wasted/thrown away. In basic terms the growth rate of wind cannot far surpass the growth rate of overall electricity demand due to this constraint, it will be limited to a minority share of overall electricity generation. Nuclear has inherent storage and therefore no such constraint. https://mitei.mit.edu/publications/reports-studies/managing-large-scale-penetration-intermittent-renewables

        • sault

          Wind and other renewables can grow faster than overall electricity demand. Wherever wind and solar have been deployed in significant amounts (and in properly regulated electricity markets) it has led to crashing wholesale electricity prices since renewables have zero fuel costs and extremely small O&M costs. This makes marginal electricity producers like peaking gas plants and older / inefficient coal plants less economic. Therefore, renewable energy takes over for those plants while also satisfying growing electricity demand. Lower wholesale prices can also lead to the retirement of some plants as they become economic too, taking them out of the source pool and expanding the space for renewables to grow into.
          What you said about capacity factor doesn’t even make sense, though. If a wind farm has a 50% capacity factor, it can make up more than 50% of the power on a grid at any one time. While a higher capacity factor is preferable, this figure is not directly related to the maximum market penetration and energy source can achieve. Whether electricity is wasted, production curtailed or whether other power plants need to be brought on-line is dependent upon the supply and demand situation at any given moment. In France for example, their nuclear plants make up a large share of the country’s energy supply but their capacity factors are curtailed to lower than their total grid market share so these plants can operate in “load following” mode. The inflexibility of their nuclear plants (and all nuclear plants, really so your “inherent storage claim is bunk too) would cause too much electricity production during certain times of the year. The difficulty and cost of building new plants has meant that German renewables have had to bail out France during cold winter months several times. So yes, while capacity factor is important, it does not put an upper limit on grid penetration.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            Making backup plants you mentioned less economic only makes the price at the outlet higher as these plants now have to charge more per kWh due to their lowered utilization rates and they are in fact essential to keeping the lights on. We see this in Germany where wholesale prices are down but the cost at the outlet is up due to the energiewende surcharge, the industrial energy subsidy, and now the subsidies given to EON to keep necessary unprofitable dispatchable fossil plants online.

            You can’t bite the hand that feeds you, and without cheap storage fossil backup is the enabler for wind and solar.

            Let me explain what I said about capacity factor:
            -Germany has a 5% solar penetration based on average annual production of overall electrcity.
            -The German PV fleet has a capacity factor around 11%.
            -During periods of peak output during the summer the PV output approaches 60% of overall demand
            -THEREFORE building the PV capacity to around 11% of average annual electricity production for the overall country would result in a large excess of energy during peak periods.

            This would be fine if Germany could simply find takers for the exported energy, but due to the fact that such output is hard to predict and unplanned other neighboring countries such as the Czech Republic and Poland have actually devised ways to block German exporting production surges onto their grids. Combine this output with wind and you can see how there is a real potential to waste large amounts of energy and subsequently money.

          • Bob_Wallace

            German retail electricity purchasers are paying 5.3 cents per kWh to cover the FiT. They pay 8.5 cents per kWh in non-FiT taxes.

            Using NG plants less does drive up their cost, but not much. The major cost for NG is fuel, not its capex and finex costs.

            You seem to think that nuclear is affordable. What sort of number do you put on the electricity from a newly built nuclear reactor? (Reminder, Citigroup just used the Vogtle costs to date and found that number to be 11c/kWh.)

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            Germany uses more coal than gas.

            Reminder, the US Energy Information Administration just used Vogtle and Summer costs to date and found that number to be 9.6c/kWh, 8.6c/kWh with subsidy: http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/aeo/electricity_generation.cfm

          • Bob_Wallace

            Germany does use more coal than gas. So what?

            Take a look at Germany’s per capita use of coal over the years. Then look at Germany’s use of fossil fuels since 2007.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            Per capita consumption reduction coincided with large national efficiency improvements…. not a direct result of wind and solar.

            Coal usage has increased slightly in each of the two past years and the construction of several new plants all but solidifies a long term commitment to it.

            A large share of Germans renewables are woody biomass – not so green. About 12% of their electricity comes from wind and solar, more still comes from nuclear.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Actually coal use was down in 2013. That ‘up a bit in 2013′ came from a reporter who took the numbers through November and made a projection. Turned out he was wrong.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            Your graph appears to be contradicting you, black and brown indicates coal, blue indicates wind and solar

          • Bob_Wallace

            Sorry, that’s the pre-December estimates.

          • Bob_Wallace

            You comfortable with 9.6c/kWh (without subsidies)?

            OK. Let’s look at “baseload” – the annual minimum demand – and see what it would cost to cover it with nuclear and wind/solar.

            Wind in 2011 and 2012 sold at an average price of 4c/kWh in 20 year PPAs. Since wind gets a 2.3c/kWh PTC for the first ten years let’s add in 1.15c/kWh to remove the subsidy. 5.15c/kWh

            Solar is now selling for 5c/kWh in the SW in 20 year PPAs. Solar also gets the PTC, so add in 1.15c to get 6.15c/kWh in the SW. Installed at the same cost in the NE would mean about 2 cents more, so 8.15c for a median price of 7.15c/kWh.

            Now, we should be able to get 40% of our baseload direct from wind. 30% direct from solar. The other 30% from stored wind and solar.

            Pump-up hydro storage runs about 5c/kWh. We’ll use that number for both W/S and nuclear.

            (0.4 * 5.15 (W)) + (0.3 * 7.15 (S)) + (0.3 * (6.15 + 5 (median W/S plus storage) = 7.55c/kWh.

            (0.85 * 9.6) + (0.15 * 14.6 (stored nuclear) = 10.35c/kWh.

            10.35c for nuclear is 37% higher than 7.55c.

            Capish?

          • Bob_Wallace

            BTW, can you show me where the “US Energy Information Administration just used Vogtle and Summer costs to date”?

            Or is that something you just made up?

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            Those numbers don’t appear to be accurate whatsoever. Also storage costs are dependent on utilization.

            Counting on wind and solar to provide baseload makes no sense whatsoever…. I have better things to do

          • Bob_Wallace

            Which numbers do you think inaccurate?

            Wind at 4c?
            http://newscenter.lbl.gov/news-releases/2013/08/06/new-study-finds-that-the-price-of-wind-energy-in-the-united-states-is-near-an-all-time-low/
            Solar at 5c?

            http://reneweconomy.com.au/2013/big-solar-now-competing-with-wind-energy-on-costs-75962
            Yes, the price of storage does depend on rate of cycling. Which makes things much, much worse for nuclear. Nuclear tends to go down and stay down for extended periods. That means less frequent cycling and higher storage prices. (I tried to be overly kind to nuclear. I even used your unlikely low price.)

            ” I have better things to do”

            Time to tuck tail and slink away? Closed-minded puppy are we?

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            solar at 5c is most definitely inaccurate for GW scale projects, especially outside the desert southwest.

            Insisting that bipartisan government data from an entity that lobbies for extensive funding of renewable energy is biased against renewable energy is not only closed minded but also delusional.

          • Bob_Wallace

            The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory tells you that contracts have been signed for utility scale solar in the SW and you claim they haven’t?
            Please provide your evidence.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            Im sure they have but contracts are complicated things with solar, there are a littany of things to consider -municipal, state, federal subsidies, land grants, transmission grants, utility grants….

            frankly I don’t care. I think solar will grow to possibly contribute to the climate solution, but we will obviously need nuclear as well, and probably carbon sequestration too. I believe the IPCC and the EIA. I believe James Hansen. I trust my own judgement. I don’t trust you or anyone who claims that the most energy dense and naturally occurring materials known to man are useless when it comes to generating energy for billions of people. That is non-sense to the highest degree.

          • sault

            Oh, so you only doubt experts when they don’t agree with your preexisting beliefs…okay, that clears things up…

            And Bob SPECIFICALLY MENTIONED that those solar contracts were being written in the desert SW. So what? After 10 or 15 years, solar power prices in the rest of the country will catch up. Meanwhile, the cost of nuclear power will keep increasing as construction costs and delays get curiouser and curiouser the farther we go down that nuclear rabbit hole.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            which experts am I doubting? Bob is not an expert.

            Assuming that PV costs will fall to 5c all over the country in 10 years is just that – an assumption and one that most people that understand PV module construction and supply stream don’t at all agree with – Such as myself ;)

            Oh and according to the EIA, the cost of nuclear is going down.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Bob has spent a lot of time today slapping you with facts. One does not need to be an expert to understand the basics. And you don’t know the basics.

            You don’t even know what the people in the solar business are predicting.

          • A Real Libertarian

            Oh and according to the EIA, the cost of nuclear is going down.

            No, according to the EIA, the cost of nuclear is going to go down.

            They’ve being saying that for years, the costs keep going up.

          • eveee

            According to the EIA no new wind turbines are installed for 16 years. So much for EIA projections. You have yet to explain Oilkuoto, Summer, and Vogtle They are all behind schedule and cost over runs. The industry is still making unbelievable claims and delivering cost over runs. On the other hand…

            http://rameznaam.com/2013/11/14/solar-power-is-dropping-faster-than-i-projected/

          • Bob_Wallace

            “I don’t care”

            Translation: “I’m in a corner and not a big enough person to admit that I could be wrong”.

          • A Real Libertarian

            Insisting that bipartisan government data from an entity that lobbies for extensive funding of renewable energy is biased against renewable energy is not only closed minded but also delusional.

            Nope, it’s being logical.

            Insisting that measured data is unreliable because it contradicts the projections made on the other hand…

            P.S. You’re apparently getting your definition of science from Jack Chick, stop that.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            What measured data contradicts the latest EIA report?

            A PPA price for solar in the SW is a different thing than the average LCOE of solar throughout the country.

          • A Real Libertarian
          • http://batman-news.com joe

            The prices offered by wind projects to utility purchasers are in fact different than the LCOE.

            The wind resources being exploited by projects at the current time are not representative of the mean wind resource of the United States as a whole.

          • Bob_Wallace

            “The prices offered by wind projects to utility purchasers are in fact different than the LCOE”

            Yes, they are. The PPA price is lowered by a 1.15c PTC subsidy.

            But the PPA price also includes land prices, transmission costs and owner profits which are not included in LCOE calculations.

            “Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory also has a high level nuclear science division, and UC Berkeley has among the highest ranked nuclear engineering and nuclear physics departments in the world.”

            And all of those very intelligent people have not been able to make nuclear affordable over the 60+ years they’ve been working on it.

            Learn from that.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            That would be incorrect Bob.

            How about we settle this debate according to methods and data provided by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to compare their derived LCOE to that being asserted by the US Energy Information Administration.

            Here is the ‘Simplified’ NREL LCOE calculator:
            http://www.nrel.gov/analysis/tech_lcoe.html

            Here are reasonably up to date (2012) input capacity factors and costs from the transparent cost database NREL endorses, and provides links to on the calculator site:

            http://en.openei.org/wiki/Transparent_Cost_Database

            For background information, this is how the simplified NREL LCOE is calculated:

            http://www.nrel.gov/analysis/tech_lcoe_documentation.html

            So here we go:

            According to the NREL here http://en.openei.org/wiki/Transparent_Cost_Database
            the minimum overnight capital cost of installed commercial PV is $2500/kilowatt (the median is $5200, max $6800), The minimum fixed O&M cost in 2012 was $19.93/kW/yr, no variable O&M cost, the capacity factor potential ranged between 16% and 28% (median 19.53%).

            Input these values in to the calculator here along with a favorable 22% capacity factor:
            http://www.nrel.gov/analysis/tech_lcoe.html
            (heat rate and fuel costs set to zero)

            The result using these miniumum values is a ‘Simple Levelized Cost of Renewable Energy (cents per kWh)’ at 9.7 cents.

            This is very close to the non-simplified minimum PV LCOE value the EIA provides, 10.1 cents/ kWh before subsidies – given here:

            http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/aeo/electricity_generation.cfm

            If we were to perform separate calculations using the median costs and lower capacity factors (22% is higher than most of the country will experience in AC production), we will find that the unsubsidized cost of
            PV on average does not at all resemble the reported PPA prices for the Southwest United States. The explanation is obviously a combination of favorable solar resource, and capital/financing concessions made for particular projects.

            Furthermore we can clearly see here http://en.openei.org/wiki/Transparent_Cost_Database that the median PV LCOE REPORTED (not estimated) by NREL in 2012 is upwards of 29c/kWh (see screenshot below)

            So it seems that the NREL data and the EIA data do indeed corroborate.

          • Bob_Wallace

            How about we don’t?

            “The cost of large-scale solar projects has fallen by one third in the last five years and big solar now competes with wind energy in the solar-rich south-west of the United States, according to new research.

            The study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory entitled “Utility-Scale Solar 2012: An Empirical Analysis of Project Cost, Performance, and Pricing Trends in the United States” – says the cost of solar is still falling and contracts for some solar projects are being struck as low as $50/MWh (including a 30 percent federal tax credit).”

            “Another interesting observation from LBNL is that most of the contracts written in recent years do not escalate in nominal dollars over the life of the contract. This means that in real dollar terms, the pricing of the contract actually declines.

            This means that towards the end of their contracts, the solar plants (including PV, CSP and CPV) contracted in 2013 will on average will be delivering electricity at less than $40/MWh. This is likely to be considerably less than fossil fuel plants at the same time, given the expected cost of fuels and any environmental regulations.”

            http://reneweconomy.com.au/2013/big-solar-now-competing-with-wind-energy-on-costs-75962

            “Utility-Scale Solar 2012: An Empirical Analysis of Project Cost, Performance, and Pricing Trends in the United States”

            http://emp.lbl.gov/sites/all/files/lbnl-6408e-ppt.pdf

            Now, the solar prices are ‘best found’, not average. Using best found tells us where the industry is headed. And we can see further evidence of that in more recent sales.

            “City-owned utility Austin Energy is about to sign a 25-year PPA (power purchase agreement) with Sun Edison for 150 megawatts of solar power at “just below” 5 cents per kilowatt-hour. The power will come from two West Texas solar facilities, according to reports in the Austin American-Statesman. According to reports, around 30 proposals were at prices near SunEdison’s. Austin Energy has suggested that the PV deal will slightly lower rates for customers.”

            The 5-cent price falls below Austin Energy’s estimates for natural gas at 7 cents, coal at 10 cents and nuclear at 13 cents.

            If you look at the price graph in the annual report you will see multiple contracts closing around 5c/kWh. And, obviously, these prices are continuing.
            http://reneweconomy.com.au/2014/cheapest-solar-sunedison-sells-solar-pv-output-at-5ckwh-25296

            “The prices offered by wind projects to utility purchasers averaged $40/MWh for projects negotiating contracts 2011 and 2012, spurring demand for wind energy.”

            http://newscenter.lbl.gov/news-releases/2013/08/06/new-study-finds-that-the-price-of-wind-energy-in-the-united-states-is-near-an-all-time-low/

            “2012 Wind Technologies Market Report”

            http://www1.eere.energy.gov/wind/pdfs/2012_wind_technologies_market_report.pdf

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            Contract price and cost are not the same thing, contract price can be affected by concessions, many of which are available by federal, state, municipal, and utility entities for PV.

            The only way a PV project can truly cost 5c/kWh is if a) the installed cost dips far below the NREL documented mininun of $2.50/watt trough subsidy or industry improvement b) the financing cost or cost of capital falls far below the NREL documented average of 9.2%, or c) the average capacity factor goes far above the mean value of 19.53%.

            Which of these is being changed Bob? And is it by merit of subsidy or by some large but unreported improvement in industry cost/performance? If there has been such large improvement perhaps we should document it and report it to the NREL and EIA.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Do you know how to compute a LCOE, Joe?

            Here’s some help – the NREL calculation page.

            http://www.nrel.gov/analysis/tech_lcoe.html

            Take the 5c/kWh PPA for solar in the SW. Add in the 1.15 PCT to make it 6.15c. That’s a real world, non-subsidized, transmission included, land costs included, profits included price. It’s LCOE plus.

            Use a 23% CF for the SW. Set everything from “Fixed” through “Fuel” to 0.

            Adjust the Capital Cost until you get 6.15.

            Replace the SW CF with 17.5%, the NE CF.

            See what the LCOE rises to. It will be less than 2c more.

            Now, take the median between 6.15 and 8.15. It’s 7.15 which is a very reasonable estimate of what utility scale solar would cost on average in the lower 48 if installed at the SW cost.

            7,15 cents per kWh.

            OK, now look at the EIA estimate for 2019.

            13 cents per kWh.

            13 cents per kWh 5 years from now with rapidly falling installed prices.

            Can you understand why we are telling you that the EIA predictions are beyond laughable? They’re sad.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            That would be incorrect Bob, but how about we settle this debate as you suggested – according to methods and data provided by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to compare their derived LCOE to that being asserted by the US Energy Information Administration.

            Here is the ‘Simplified’ NREL LCOE calculator:

            http://www.nrel.gov/analysis/tech_lcoe.html

            Here are reasonably up to date (2012) input capacity factors and costs from the transparent cost database NREL endorses, and provides links to on the calculator site:

            http://en.openei.org/wiki/Transparent_Cost_Database

            For background information, this is how the simplified NREL LCOE is calculated:

            http://www.nrel.gov/analysis/tech_lcoe_documentation.html

            So here we go:

            According to the NREL here http://en.openei.org/wiki/Transparent_Cost_Database
            the minimum overnight capital cost of installed commercial PV is $2500/kilowatt (the median is $5200, max $6800), The minimum fixed O&M cost in 2012 was $19.93/kW/yr, no variable O&M cost, the capacity factor potential ranged between 16% and 28% (median 19.53%).

            Input these values in to the calculator here along with a favorable 22% capacity factor:
            http://www.nrel.gov/analysis/tech_lcoe.html
            (heat rate and fuel costs set to zero)

            The result using these miniumum best case values is a ‘Simple Levelized Cost of Renewable Energy (cents per kWh)’ at 9.7 cents.

            This is very close to the NON-SIMPLIFIED minimum PV LCOE calculation the EIA provides, 10.1 cents/ kWh before subsidies – given here:

            http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/aeo/electricity_generation.cfm

            If we were to perform separate calculations using the median costs and lower capacity factors (22% is higher than most of the country will experience in AC production), we will find that the unsubsidized cost of
            PV on average does not at all resemble the reported PPA prices for the Southwest United States. The explanation for this discrepancy is obviously a combination of favorable solar resource, and capital/financing concessions made for particular projects. In other words, because PPA terms are subject to many different policies and interacting entities, and are a large majority of the time non-transparent, assuming they are at all representative of the LCOE is an incorrect assumption to make.

            Furthermore we can clearly see here http://en.openei.org/wiki/Transparent_Cost_Database that the median PV LCOE REPORTED (not estimated) by NREL in 2012 is upwards of 29c/kWh (see screenshot below)

            So it seems that the NREL data and the EIA data do indeed corroborate.

          • eveee

            Hate to say it, but when you use 2012 costs to estimate a source that doubles every 2 years, and its now 2014….. Well you can be off quite a bit….

          • sault

            That peak 60% for solar comes during the hottest part of the year and they get close to that figure for a few hours each day over the course of the summer. Therefore, it is a special case but only represents around 1% of the year. Again, you are cherry-picking special cases to make general points. And just because inefficient fossil fuel plants can’t compete with the low wholesale prices renewables can provide , it is silly to think this is a shortcoming of renewable energy. This is just like blaming kale for all the diabetes and heart disease cases that corn syrup causes…
            And please post proof that the Czech Republic and Poland are blocking German electricity exports. this sounds fishier than an aquarium.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            http://www.ceskapozice.cz/en/news/czech-numbers/czech-electricity-grid-company-ready-block-german-wind-power

            http://notrickszone.com/2012/12/30/poland-czech-republic-to-block-out-germanys-unstable-green-electricity-coal-to-play-a-major-role/

            So say you triple or quadruple solar output in Germany – then that will certainly lead to an appreaciable amount of energy being thrown away – and what about during the winter when PV is producing very little, then you require usage of fossil generators that have very low utilization and resultant ‘peaker’ like pricing….

            listen, I don’t have the time or really the motivation to explain this to you. Obviously wind and solar have worked well in various situations (well mostly wind) but never to a majority extent of generation in a given region, never even approaching it…. and we have global problem to solve. The IPCC states that to stabilize CO2 levels at 450 ppm and avoid major warming impacts we need to triple to quadruple RE (not just wind and solar, geothermal and hydro too) Carbon capture AND nuclear capacities.

            If you want to insist that nuclear is not necessary to avoid climate problems you are simply pushing against the position of the scientific community at large.

          • Bob_Wallace

            “So say you triple or quadruple solar output – then that will certainly lead to an appreaciable amount of energy being thrown away”

            That’s whacko. We’re currently at about 0.25% solar. We can increase by at least 20x before we need to make any grid adjustments.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            The conversation was about Germany

          • sault

            LOL…and you link to a climate denier website to make your points too…isn’t that cute. It’s paid shills like you that make me think this whole nuclear power canard is just a trick to disrupt the dialogue so people can’t build a strong consensus for renewables and energy efficiency.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            which site is a climate denier site? The same story was published by multiple outlets you can google it yourself to verify accuracy. I just picked the top two results in my search for the story.

            An Ad Hominem is a general category of fallacies in which a claim or argument is rejected on the basis of some irrelevant fact about the author of or the person presenting the claim or argument.

          • A Real Libertarian

            An Ad Hominem is a general category of fallacies in which a claim or argument is rejected on the basis of some irrelevant fact about the author of or the person presenting the claim or argument.

            i.e. “that source is completely unreliable due to X” doesn’t qualify.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            Indeed it does qualify by definition given above.

    • http://electrobatics.wordpress.com/ arne-nl

      Joe, please ignore the ivory tower ‘analysts’ from the EIA, famous for consistently underpredicting renewable energy by a factor of 10, give or take. That ‘advanced nuclear’ bar in the middle, didn’t no one tell you what it means? It stands for ‘our scifi dream technology’. It is obvious that their fantasy ‘scenarios’ have no relation whatsoever to reality.

      In the mean time… in the real world…

      Try to explain this away: http://cleantechnica.com/2013/10/30/hinkley-c-nuclear-power-plant-get-twice-rate-solar-pv-uk-government/

      Good day.

      • http://batman-news.com joe

        Advanced nuclear refers to reactors currently under construction in the US, completed in other parts of the world.

        The report was issued a this week, and is on the current LCOE in 2014, not a prediction into the future.

        The EIA is a government agency and an extension of the US DOE, and therefore claiming that they hold some sort of bias against renewables makes no sense.

        In regards to Hinkley C, it was factually cheaper than solar or wind options, though it was offered a longer incentive period due to the fact that its operational life is at minimum 2x as long as wind or solar. See picture below for UK strike prices for various energy sources.

        • Bob_Wallace

          “The EIA is a government agency and an extension of the US DOE, and therefore claiming that they hold some sort of bias against renewables makes no sense.”

          Excuse me?

          The data that shows you that the EIA is making bogus predictions is staring you in the face.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            You are excused.

          • Bob_Wallace

            You aren’t.

            Step up your game. Quit cherry-picking and using discredited sources.

          • http://batman-news.com joe

            Which sources were discredited? The EIA? NREL?

          • Bob_Wallace

            EIA predictions of future prices and electricity sources.

            They are junk.

  • Cosette

    Electricity production in Germany (2000-2013) :

    http://energeia.voila.net/electri2/allemagne_nucle_charbon.htm [in french]

    Statistics … and coal-fired power plant construction.

    And the decline of the nuclear power production

    http://energeia.voila.net/electri/electri_nucle_declin.htm

    [in french]

  • JamesWimberley

    The German chart doesn’t say much other than the country took a political decision to shut down its nukes early. The damning charts in the WNR are those that show nuclear is just about managing to stay level: new plants (say in China) compensate shutdowns (in Germany and elsewhere).

    It’s not that nuclear is Good or Bad. It’s a technology like others, with major advantages (high availability and low carbon) and major drawbacks. The drawbacks – safety, cost, and long and uncertain lead times – are gradually dominating. The advantages of wind and solar – cost, scalability, safety, low carbon – are gradually dominating their disadvantages – land take and intermittency. What is clear is that there is no prospect of a nuclear renaissance on a scale (say 100 GW a year) that can contribute materially to the decarbonisation of the global economy in the timescale of interest, 2030-2040. At best, in China say, nuclear will provide useful backup to mass wind and solar. It has about the same importance as pumped storage and tidal.

    The final nail in the coffin of the nuclear dream will I suspect come in the next decade from the one renewable technology that is more reliable: geothermal. EGS (“hot rocks”) geothermal is still experimental and there is therefore a significant risk it may never pan out at commercial scale. But the obstacles strike me as far less than those still keeping nuclear from unassisted competitivity. Habanero-4 and Newberry are both working. Foro Energy are making real progress with laser-assisted drilling through the hard igneous rocks required for EGS. (http://spie.org/x106865.xml)

    • Will E

      worst thing about nuclear is that it is expensive.
      even when radiation should be healthy,
      nuclear cost to many dollars, to construct, to maintain, to burn uranium.
      nuclear bombing fear in wartime , terror bombing. security costs.
      and again no word on nuclear plant decommission costs.
      google Sellafield UK.
      waiting for data on nuclear decommission costs.

    • Banned by Bob

      Any idea what the cost of production is for these EGS projects?

      • Bob_Wallace

        It’s too early to make reasonable estimates.

        Best case it’s about the same as wet rock geothermal. What is unknown is how much the cost of well drilling can be reduced.

        With the recent demonstration of rock sheering at multiple depths the cost probably took a big jump lower.

        EGS needs a larger diameter hole that oil wells, for example. Larger diameter means more friction/force and greater strain on equipment. There have been a couple of interesting ideas about how to use super hot water or flames to break up the rock at the bottom of the bore but I haven’t heard anything from either effort for quite some time.

        • JamesWimberley

          Bob: follow my link (at the end of the long comment).

    • Mint

      Nuclear doesn’t provide backup to anything. Its fuel cost is next to zero and thermal cycling is a pointless wear risk. It’s a baseload source, and always will be.

      The backup to wind will always be natural gas (generally the less efficient, but more robust variety that are made for quick ramping) and possibly newer coal plants built for cycling.

      Due to wind’s intermittency and high correlation over geographically large areas, you’re looking at 30-50% electricity from interconnected wind and the remaining 50-70% from natural gas, assuming we can’t afford to throw away much excess wind power (e.g. 3x overbuild, as suggested in Budischak et al 2013). That’s a lot of carbon, and a lot of idling from natural gas plants (increasing their cost per kWh). The alternative is nuclear with ~10% natural gas for day/evening peaks.

      Of course, cheap energy storage (amortized to <2c/kWh) changes this conclusion, but we're not remotely close to that.

      I agree that current nuclear technology is unlikely to expand, given how it was left to rot, increasing cost. But I think it's inevitable for molten salt reactors to be solved in a decade due to the desire for cheap industrial heat from the oil and gas sector. Terrestrial Energy is already on this route, designing the simplest possible reactor, and I have little reason to doubt that they'll succeed given that ORNL did it before. China is going to figure this all out as well.

      • sault

        Actually, geographically large areas supporting wind power work to average out the lulls and peaks in production. In addition, many areas are windy at night, during the winter or when cloudy weather is rolling overhead. Meanwhile, solar power produces most during sunny, calm times and during the summer. Both energy sources are very complimentary.

        • Mint

          I don’t think you understand what correlation is. There is very little averaging out, because wind in one part of the country is NOT independent of wind in another part. You often get strong wind at the same time and weak wind at the same time. Look at actual data for wind production, and stop making assumptions:
          http://science-and-energy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/11-140128_Flocard_LesHouches.pdf

          • sault

            France is not representative of the rest of the world. Since they already blew tons of cash building nuclear reactors by government fiat, CO2 reductions will be necessarily low. France also isn’t a geographically large region on the scale of wind patterns. As such, it actually illustrates my point perfectly since wind power production over a larger area like the U.S. Midwest as a whole will see a lot less severe ups and downs in wind power production. This is due to the fact that a lull in one area will have a higher chance of being cancelled out by windy conditions at another area if you cast a wide net, i.e. a wide geographical spread of wind farms. In addition, extreme wind and extreme lulls will also affect a smaller percentage of overall wind production facilities if they are widely-dispersed.
            There is correlation with wasting billions of dollars on nuclear power and having nothing to show for it, though.

          • Mint

            Why are you focusing on France? The link I gave shows output for all of Europe on page 34.

            You’re just plain wrong about less severe ups and downs. You’re all conjecture with zero data. What makes you think that if a city isn’t geographically large enough, and a state like Texas isn’t, and France isn’t, and Europe isn’t, that the US midwest magically will be? Show me proof.

            Yeah, nothing to show for nuclear. Only 1M+ lives saved and tens of billions of tons of CO2 averted versus the polluting coal plants that undoubtedly would have been built in their place if you had your way.

          • sault

            Or, if we wouldn’t have blown billions of dollars when the nuclear industry imploded due to cost bloat and schedule overruns and invested in renewable energy instead, we wouldn’t even be having this discussion.

          • Mint

            If you put the same amount of money toward renewable energy in the 70’s, 80, and 90’s, you would only have a tiny fraction of the same generation. Solar and wind are only cheap now because of general technological developments in the 2000’s and low interest rates. Money wouldn’t do jack back then.

            All the rest would be taken up by coal.

          • Larry

            Your pro nuclear stance has it’s blinders too. You conveniently ignore Chernobyl and Fukishima. You never mention the cost of decommissioning a nuclear plant (show me where the plant owner paid for all the costs of decommissioning). You made an assertion that nuclear fuel is practically free–baloney. Besides the cost and environmental destruction associated with mining uranium, there is the continuing health care costs for people who worked in the nuclear fuel production industry–a la the movie “Silkwood”and Kerr McGee’s checkered history in nuclear fuel production. Nuclear power plants (and nuclear waste repositories) built on unstable geology will provide humanity with a toxic waste legacy for the next 500 years.

          • Mint

            Those costs are orders of magnitude smaller than the social costs of coal that would have been burned without nuclear.

            Chernobyl has nothing to do with nuclear power in the rest of the world, as it was an uncontained reactor. Fukushima’s humanitarian impact is negligible compared to the rest of the earthquake and impact of coal. Hell, more people would even die from accidents installing enough rooftop solar to match half of Fukushima Daiichi’s output.

            Ooooh, a “toxic waste legacy”. One that is contained in casks, and in our control, unlike the emissions from burning hydrocarbons that we cannot take back out from the atmosphere, whose orders of magnitude more victims cannot be resurrected from the grave.

          • eveee

            Look at MISO. Surprisingly, you don’t need an area as large as the Midwest, if you are in Texas in Winter. ERCOT has archives January, 2014. I reckon easily > 30% of nameplate grater than 90% of the month. I watched MISO since end of last year. Never dropped to zero. Days of 75% nameplate 8GW continuous, and same stats as Texas. No conjecture. NREL WWITS for other details. You underestimate wind and solar. Read the studies.

          • Mint

            That’s your standard of evidence? Simply not dropping to zero for a single month? If it drops to 3% it’s okay?!?

            You don’t need to drop to zero. Check out the 300MW-6500MW range seen over an 8-day span in ERCOT here:
            http://windsystemsmag.com/media/pdfs/Articles/2012_April/0412_MDA.pdf
            http://windsystemsmag.com/media/Images/figures/2012_April/0412_MDA_Fig1.jpg

            The worst part is that when we build natural gas to fill in the gaps, we don’t use 60% efficient CCGT, because wind won’t let it run steady state, and the capital is wasted when wind takes away 40% of its business. Instead, we mostly use cheaper, faster ramping 40% efficient gas plants.

            I can’t much historical data for MISO, but if you do, l’ll gladly take a look.

          • eveee

            . Some part of nameplate is available more than 90% of the time. Annually, about 15%, but monthly, higher winter midwest. The rest of the time is a much higher percentage of nameplate. The larger the area, the greater the probability. That’s what the papers say. They also say, and you can observe that Midwest wind is highest in winter, solar highest in summer. Solar meets the yearly peak demand, and hourly peak demand. MISO historical data is hard to come by. There are MISO study papers online. WWITS and NREL have detailed analysis including combined wind solar, and large area which considerably increase probability. Some studies say overcapacity and curtailment cheaper than storage. Everything is changing. There is plenty of potential for pumped storage in unconventional ways. The market is in it’s infancy. Battery storage is nearing some milestones. Natural gas is going to run into more constraints as heating competes with electricity as it did this winter.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Now add solar and offshore wind to that mix. Then bring in some storage.

            There’s more to the energy business than wind and natural gas.

          • eveee

            Do you realize how small ERCOT is? It is not even all of Texas. You realize that ERCOT can import wind from say Oklahoma. Or Iowa, Or Minnesota? I realize that its hard to find hard archival hourly data from MISO, but look at the daily plots. There is less variation over a wider area. Just finding plots of small areas is not informative. The studies show that. Why don’t you plot the outputs from one of the NREL studies and refer to it. The come to the conclusion that high levels of renewable integration are feasible, and that renewables reduce carbon with very little secondary effects. Trying to disprove those results is not meaningful. Especially if you do not reference them. Go to NREL. Look up Western Wind and Solar Integration Study.

          • Bob_Wallace

            How about we look at four years of actual minute to minute demand along with actual wind and solar calculated from NOAA weather data for the largest wholesale grid in the US?

            Nice thing about this, we can see how storage and NG would have been needed to make the supply 99.9% wind and solar.

          • eveee

            Thanks again. While 99,9% is good, I make pains to point out that it is not necessary. Most sources have unplanned outages more frequently than that. That is what reserves are for. When we talk about renewable overcapacity, we are really talking about renewables as reserves. In that sense, its incorrect to think of them differently from reserves. We do not need to get into a discussion of only variable renewables, etc. As you pointed out in previous discussions while referencing Budischak, some of the sources could be FF used occasionally. There are many ways to achieve system goal and meaningful carbon reduction. There is no need to go to extremes of all solar, all wind, or only the solar in Seattle, etc. Or 100% carbon reduction in 20 years.

          • Mint

            Thank you for pointing me to that paper. It proves almost everything I have been saying:

            -On page xviii, you see how FF plants reduce their capacity factor to accommodate wind, but are unable to reduce capacity due to variation. That means reduced revenues, and higher prices.

            -On page xix: “Wind and solar generation displaced primarily gas generation” Coal elimination is policy driven, not cost driven.

            -I am proven wrong about ramping wear. I’ll no longer bring that point up in discussions.

            -Page 16 shows startup/ramping emissions, but I’ll admit that it’s less than I thought

            -page xii (and 15) shows 20% increased fuel use when CCGT is run at 40% capacity factor.

            -page 15 shows that NOx emissions increase 22% at 50% load

            -On page 42, you see that variation is still huge. Minimum wind power is 3%, so that means 1000MW of wind will let you shut down only 30MW of FF. 10th percentile to 90th percentile is still a range of 8GW to 38GW for the high wind scenario (still only 25% penetration). That’s roughly the same variation you see for a small area like ERCOT.

            -page xxv (and 107) shows that the only savings are fuel cost, and amount to 3c/kWh

            This last point is important, because it means wind reduces overall generation cost only if we pay less than 3c/kWh for it. This is the central point about everything I have been talking about. I love that this study frames things in terms of marginal cost.

          • Bob_Wallace

            ” *wind reduces overall generation cost only if we pay less than 3c/kWh for it.”*

            *Take that one step further. We know that we will have to replace almost every existing coal and nuclear plant over the next 20 to 30 years. That is simply a “must”.*

            *Now calculate the cost reduction for wind brought on line during that interval with what electricity would cost if we rebuilt large thermal plants.*

          • Mint

            That’s plays into my argument, not yours, because renewable needs that dispatchable power to be available and thus rebuilt.

            You can build 1000MW of wind, but you can’t let 1000MW of FF retire. You can’t even let 100MW of FF retire. Diesendorf found he needed 23GW FF capacity (plus 9.4GW dispatchable solar) for a 35GW peak load. Budischak found he needed needed 57GW of fossil capacity for a ~65GW peak load. These are both 90%+ wind/solar energy case studies.

            If it was real baseload like hydro/nuclear/geothermal, then you’d have a point. But wind/solar tie us down to keeping FF capacity alive for 3 decades.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Coal and nuclear are not dispatchable. They can be turned on and off but they can’t do so quickly. Storage, gas turbines and hydro are dispatchable.

            Now, going forward, should we build a combination of wind, solar, storage and gas which would give us 24/365 reliable power for under a dime or a combination of nuclear, storage and gas which would give us 24/365 reliable power for well over a dime?

          • Mint

            Coal and nuclear are not dispatchable. They can be turned on and off but they can’t do so quickly.

            What on earth is in my post that says I think otherwise?

            I know that. That is why renewables displace natural gas, not coal, as stated by NREL. Coal gets shut down only through policy and regulations, not economics.

            I don’t think we should rush to build anything yet beyond high efficiency CCGT to replace aging coal, and we should withdraw renewable subsidies now that the industries are rolling. When wind drops to <3c/kWh LCOE without PTC (maybe Makani power?), solar PV is economical without net metering or ITC, solar thermal gets cheaper than peakers, alternative storage solutions get explored, and molten salt nuclear is a bust, then we re-optimize our plan and proceed.

            Wholesale electricity prices are 4-5c/kWh in much of the US. There's no need to bump that up near or beyond a dime right now.

          • Bob_Wallace

            That’s how I read this phrase.

            ” because renewable needs that dispatchable power to be available and thus rebuilt.”

            Which followed my comment –

            “We know that we will have to replace almost every existing coal and nuclear plant over the next 20 to 30 years.”

            Now let’s talk replacement.

            Oxen were replaced by horses which were replaced by cars. NG started replacing coal in the late 1980s. Now renewables are starting to replace NG.

            Regulations play a role, for sure. But economics also plays a role.

            That’s nice of you to suggest we cut subsidies for renewables while ignoring subsidies for fossil fuels and nuclear. That’s about what one expects from someone who is attempting to make an argument for nuclear.

            Gotta keep a thumb on the scale in nuclear’s favor or reactors would get shut down PDQ.

            “Wholesale electricity prices are 4-5c/kWh in much of the US. There’s no need to bump that up near or beyond a dime right now.”

            Exactly. That’s why it makes absolutely no sense to build any new coal or nuclear. Keep building cheap wind and solar.

            Cut back on NG as the price rises.

            Close all the coal plants which are our most expensive suppliers.

            Let the existing nuclear plants die a natural death. And keep our fingers crossed in hopes that we don’t have an “insurance payout” for the liability we taxpayers have assumed.

          • Mint

            Yet AGAIN putting words in my mouth.

            I never said we should have subsidies for coal or nuclear. Every time I challenge you, you fail to point out where I say these things. At the moment coal/nuclear subsidies per kWh are negligible compared to the PTC/ITC, net metering, Washington’s $0.54/kWh, etc. I do favor expanded research money for both nuclear and renewables, but that’s different. I even explicitly said we should use CCGT to shut down existing coal, and not build any of today’s nuclear, and you accuse me of supporting their subsidies? Yeah, that makes sense…

            Existing nuclear plants have sunk costs. If refurbishment is cheaper than CCGT+renewables, then we should do it. Killing them achieves nothing.

            ————————————

            You know why a company like Tesla arose? Fundamentally, electric motors have high power density and efficiency, and electric energy costs a quarter as much as mechanical energy from gasoline. Same with SpaceX: Fundamentally, fuel and raw material costs were a tiny percent of launch costs.

            Nuclear power fundamentally has fuel density 4-6 orders of magnitude higher than hydrocarbons, and areal/mass density a few orders of magnitude better than wind/solar. It WILL be solved, and much sooner than you think. There hasn’t been this much activity in nuclear design for three decades.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I put no words in your mouth. Read what you wrote and then what I wrote…

            ” and we should withdraw renewable subsidies now that the industries are rolling”

            “That’s nice of you to suggest we cut subsidies for renewables while ignoring subsidies for fossil fuels and nuclear.”

            Nuclear has had many, many years of subsidy. All the reactors we use today received subsidies. Wind and solar receive subsidies for their first 10 years.

            Once they are 10 years old they, too, will not be receiving subsidies.

            However those 40+ year old reactors are still getting free liability coverage from taxpayers.

            Power density is the latest red herring thrown out by the pro-fossil fuel/nuclear groups. Power density is not the important metric. The important metric is cost of electricity produced.

            Wind and solar are “energy thin” compared to coal and uranium. But we’ve figured out to use that thin energy to produce electricity for a nickle. We’ve spent 60/100 years trying to make nuclear/coal with their dense energy fuel less costly and the best we can do is electricity for well more than a dime.

          • eveee

            You quote on page xix “displaced primarily gas generation.” Does that not reduce carbon? Does not reduced fuel use contribute to lower prices? Economic studies that compute the reduced fuel use indicate a net positive economics. As far as coal is concerned, coal plants do not follow variability as well, but they are now doing load following, not just base load. If you look at the curves, you will see coal, not just gas, is displaced. I think you understand that xix is referring to utility “codes”, and that gas is the short term variation favorite, and longer term variation is now taken up with coal. You can see quite clearly from the graph that coal is being displaced long term. All the studies show CO2 is reduced, and the economics are favorable. They come from actual data in the US and Europe.

            http://climatecrocks.com/2014/01/03/in-the-midwest-wind-up-coal-down/

            http://www.ipautah.com/data/upfiles/newsletters/CyclingArticles.pdf

          • Mint

            I’m not arguing that CO2 is not reduced by displacing gas. It’s just far less than displacing baseload coal.

            Coal use went back up last year, disappointingly. The right graph seems to show that existing generation is sticking around. No nuclear should be retired or passed over for refurbishment until coal is gone. Eliminating nuclear baseload will only help coal stick around.

          • eveee

            Wind does displace coal. Midwest coal has load following. However it is not necessary for coal to follow daily demand in order foe coal use to be reduced. Coal can be scheduled ahead. It’s doing both daily load following and scheduling in the Midwest. Wind up, coal down. It’s quite easy to see in the charts

            http://climatecrocks.com/2014/01/03/in-the-midwest-wind-up-coal-down/

          • Mint

            You don’t need to repost the link. I wrote a whole paragraph on it above, and you ignored it. The left graph is percent. The right graph is absolute, and showed a flattening out.

            I looked up the most recent data:
            http://www.eia.gov/totalenergy/data/monthly/pdf/sec7_4.pdf
            http://i.imgur.com/hCgGSRO.png

            Flat or even upward over the last 2 years. Sucks, but that’s the reality.

          • eveee

            Read Bobs reply. You seem intent on focusing on minutiae instead of the big picture. Im losing interest. Fast.

            Good ol EIA. Wrong as always. And changing their tune every year to compensate for their bad forecast…

            “Back in 2012, EIA initially predicted that 27 gigawatts of coal-fired power would close throughout the country by 2016. At the end of 2013, that prediction increased to 40 gigawatts. The agency’s latest release places the number at 60 gigawatts of retired coal power by 2020 — but with the vast majority of it closing by 2016.”

            http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/02/19/3308851/eia-coal-retirement-50-percent/

            http://www.climatecentral.org/news/flurry-of-coal-power-plant-shutdowns-expected-by-2016-17086

          • Bob_Wallace

            Coal use ticked up a small amount due to the increased price of gas. That’s just noise in the system.

            We’re in the process of closing ~200 coal plants. Coal use will drop simply because we will not have as many places to burn it. Gas will take up some of the slack with the rest filled by wind and solar.

            ” No nuclear should be retired or passed over for refurbishment until coal is gone. Eliminating nuclear baseload will only help coal stick around.”

            I agree. But since we won’t put a price on carbon we will almost certainly see existing plants closed.

            Decisions about whether to keep reactors on line is being made purely on a fiscal basis. A number of paid off reactors are not competitive. A number will likely not be refurbished because the cost is too high.

            Paying money-losing plants to stay on line doesn’t make sense. Use the money to further stimulate renewable installations.

          • Mint

            Check the graph above. Doesn’t look like a downward trend to me.

            Glad to see you agree on that point. You’re a lot more fair towards nuclear than many posters here.

            However, it makes no sense that paid off plants are losing money, though. The real reason they’re closing down is they want to get their hands on the billions in the decommissioning fund, and current profits aren’t enough to keep them away.

            e.g. 1c/kWh profit for a 1GW plant is ~$80M/yr. I wouldn’t be surprised if they made $1B profit on decommissioning.

          • eveee

            I think my post got lost. Bottom line, xix says renewables displace gas generation. That reduces CO2. Reducing fuel use is also an economic consideration. Also, in the Midwest, wind is displacing coal. Coal can be dispatched somewhat to follow varying loads. Nuclear is not doing that.

            http://climatecrocks.com/2014/01/03/in-the-midwest-wind-up-coal-down/

            “wind reduces overall generation cost only if we pay less than 3c/kWh for it.”

            Nonsense. You keep going at it. Please explain why Warren Buffett is investing in wind. Why are all these investment companies bullish on wind. Did they fail to do the math wrong, but you discovered it? Be real, man. And no, the only savings are not fuel. Even variable renewables get a capacity credit. And the financials have been done by pros.

          • Mint

            Nonsense? It’s right there in the NREL report: economic benefit of renewables is 3c/kWh displaced fuel.

            Investment in wind gets you the production tax credit. Buffett doesn’t care as long as revenue+PTC is profitable, and the grid just passes costs onto the consumer. Lots of utilities are bitching about wind making money when the wholesale price goes negative.

            Look at what’s happening with net metering: the grid buys wholesale power for 5c/kWh, but homeowners save money when installing solar for an LCOE of 10c/kWh or even 20c/kWh. System-wide generation costs goes up, but the homeowner saves money. The grid operator will eventually have to raise rates and pass costs onto those without solar.

            Renewable capacity credit is a contentious subject, as you can see here:
            http://www.nerc.com/docs/pc/ivgtf/milligan_porter_capacity_paper_2005.pdf
            Budischak showed that when you add 100GW wind and 42GW storage, FF can only be reduced by 5GW. That suggests capacity credit of 3-5% of nameplate. Some utilities give similar credit, others give more.

            Yes, I admit there there is some effect on capacity, but it’s tiny, and wouldn’t even pay for one tenth of wind’s construction cost.

          • eveee

            What is your point? The study you referenced is a 2010 study about wind power from the then extant wind generators in some of Europe over six months? You are aware that offshore wind is less correlated, yes? You are aware that there are beneficial correlations with other sources like solar, yes? This is an interesting publication, but it is not peer reviewed. The real question is not if wind or any other renewable varies, but what is the net effect of a system comprised of various sources. There is no doubt that nuclear serves some benefit. I think the point is that nuclear is supplying less energy as time goes on, and is relatively expensive. More recent experience has shown that renewables can be integrated at high penetration levels and results in favorable economics. For those studies, see NREL. There are equivalent studies for Europe. You are aware of variability vs predictability? I mean I see nothing there that precludes economic integration of 50% renewables. All peer reviewed studies refer to scenarios like this.

            http://www.wind-energy-the-facts.org/variability-versus-predictability-of-wind-power-production.html

      • Ronald Brakels

        We don’t idle gas plants on account of wind power. We get 27% or more of our electricity from wind in South Australia and we haven’t increased our ancillary services at all as a result. This is because we already needed a considerable amount of spinning reserve handy to cope if the largest power station on the grid went off line, so no extra was needed. Because each wind turbine is small and if one fails it has little effect on the aggregrate output, wind power is actually more reliable than our coal and gas plants. Our wind power is very reliable and never varies by more than 20% in a hour or 5% in 5 minutes. And there’s no particular reason why we couldn’t use wind power itself to provide ancillary services if we wanted to.

        • Mint

          First of all, if you needed spinning reserve for your other plants, why do you all of a sudden not need it for that purpose?

          20% in an hour is your standard for reliability? LOL. Go look at actual data:
          http://windfarmperformance.info/
          There’s massive variation there, even when summing all 2.7GW of Australia’s wind power from across the country. You’ve increased natural gas by way more than the added wind:
          http://www.originenergy.com.au/energymix

          And what leg do you have to stand on anyway when 74% of your country’s power is from coal and only 4% from wind/solar? No way in hell will you clean up your grid in 20 years without nuclear to replace your ultra-cheap coal.

          • Ronald Brakels

            Mint, maybe I didn’t make myself clear. South Australia hasn’t had to increase ancillary services as a result of its shift to wind power.

            And thanks for the link that shows no change in output in SA windpower of over 20% in an hour. You may want to note that page does not show all of South Australia’s wind farms.

            While we have a long way to go, from it’s peak in 2008 black coal generation in Australia has fallen by over 35 terawatt-hours. In the same time period brown coal electricity production has fallen by by 6 terawatt-hours and gas electricity production has increased by about 4 terawatt-hours.

            https://c479107.ssl.cf2.rackcdn.com/files/37643/area14mp/ktrbntfx-1386893037.jpg

            As for nuclear power replacing our ultra-cheap coal, which we are currently gradually doing with wind and solar power, could you show me one new nuclear plant in the developed world that can produce electricity at under 4.5 US cents a kilowatt-hour using a 5% discount rate? Because that’s what our new wind capacity is producing electricity for. Let’s see, Hinkley C, Olkiluoto, Flammenville, Vogtle… no, none of them seem to be able to produce electricity at anywhere near that price. Do you have some four and a half cent nuclear plants hidden up your sleeves?

          • Mint

            You’re not going to get rid of coal with 4.5 c/kWh wind. Thats the problem.

            You’ll only do it with 4.5c/kWh wind plus 10c/kWh batteries, or plus 8c/kWh natural gas (which keeps 50-70% of your electricity coming from carbon, and needs massive amounts of fracking). More importantly the developing world is going to stick with cheap coal, and adding wind won’t make sense (coal ramps slowly, and only saves fuel cost when wind takes away load).

            Nuclear is the only hope to beat coal, because it has that fundamental million-fold energy density advantage. It’s not going to be PWR nuclear, either, which I stated quite clearly but you ignored.

          • Ronald Brakels

            Mint, you forgot to appologise for getting your facts so very wrong.

            Also, if you look at the reply you made to my comment you didn’t state what type of nuclear you meant.

          • Mint

            What facts did I get wrong? 20% per hour is a useless metric, but if that’s what you want, look at April 16th 2014. Total output falls from 280MW to 120MW in 90 minutes.

            What really matters is the range between min and max, because that’s how much backup capacity you need. Right now wind is only 3% of your energy. If you multiplied that 10 fold, you’d need to deal with 15GW+ swings in output, which could only be done with natural gas, and you’d still only have 30% of your energy from wind.

            Go read this article about Australia:
            http://bravenewclimate.com/2011/09/25/coal-dependence-and-the-renewables-paradox/

            The combined total of all South Australian wind farms, which make up around half of Australian wind capacity, can be counted on to supply a mere 3% of their rated capacity during periods of peak demand. Even adding in Victoria’s substantial wind capacity does little to improve this ‘reliable minimum’.

            Does it make sense to deploy intermittent renewables, en masse, while we still remain dependent on coal, and are forced to use the least efficient peaking gas turbines to backup for intermittent renewables, rather than installing high-efficiency base-load gas turbines in the first place?

            FYI, you started this by replying to my original comment above, where I said:

            I agree that current nuclear technology is unlikely to expand, given how it was left to rot, increasing cost. But I think it’s inevitable for molten salt reactors to be solved in a decade

          • Ronald Brakels

            Mint, you might want to check out the x axis there. And note, as I mentioned, that page does not show all of South Australia’s wind power capacity.

          • Mint

            What am I missing in the x-axis? What I stated is correct: On April 16, 2014, power dropped from 280MW to 120MW in 1.5hrs. The raw data is right here:
            http://www.nemweb.com.au/REPORTS/ARCHIVE/Dispatch_SCADA/PUBLIC_DISPATCHSCADA_20140416.zip

            Show me what that page is missing that would notably change my figures.

          • Ronald Brakels

            Oh, right. Sorry, yes, I misread the x axis. You were completely right and I was completely wrong. Sorry about that. My mistake entirely. I’ll have to hunt down my orginal source for SA wind variability and check out what it says. I’ve no doubt misinterpreted what it said or otherwise got it wrong somehow.

            Thanks for sticking with this and not letting me persist in being wrong.

          • Mint

            I can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic :) Such is the world we live in…

            Maybe your source was saying 20% of total capacity? Anyway, I don’t think that’s important. I have no doubt that we can fire up simple gas turbines quickly enough to deal with wind variability.

            The key observation is that there’s little reduction in total variation, like the spread between max and min, spread between 10th and 90th percentile, etc. It’s not like averaging 1000 truly independent 0-2MW sources with sqrt(n) stddev behavior, because there’s heavy correlation.

            That means natural gas plant operators sell fewer kWh, but can’t shut down capacity, lay off workers, put plants into hibernation, etc. On the margin, they only save gas: 2.5-4c/kWh, depending on efficiency. Lost revenue is much greater than that, so they will raise average prices.

          • Ronald Brakels

            No, I’m not being sarcastic. I definitely misread the x axis on the windpower output graph you linked to and I’m sorry I did that. I suspect that it may be 20% of total capacity that SA wind power does not vary by more than in an hour, but I haven’t gone looking to find out as I have been too busy being fabulous.

            Gas generators don’t have the power to raise prices. There is a wholesale electricity market here. They can either make the most of their sunk capital to make as much money as they can or they can spit the dummy and leave the maket.

          • Mint

            You comment about sunk costs and the wholesale market is true before renewable were installed as well. It’s not like they all just say “nuts, sunk cost, have my electricity for 3c/kWh”

            If the market is competitive, generators’ annual revenue will cover cost plus a little profit. Again, true before and after renewables were installed. So my point remains.

          • Ronald Brakels

            Not sure markets work that way. Have vague suspicion unprofitable generators can be forced out of market.

          • Mint

            Of course they will, and when they do, the remaining bids aren’t competing with a suicidal bidder. Prices go up until the remaining generators profitable. Again, this is true before and after renewables are added.

          • eveee

            Actually, they do say , “nuts, sunk costs” whenever the demand drops and they have excess base load sitting idle. That happens when everyone conserves. Its happening right now. Then they try to raise the electric rate to compensate. Then users use less electricity.,,,,,

          • Mint

            Then they try to raise the electric rate to compensate

            I rest my case.

          • eveee

            Wrong. If gas replaces coal and wind is competitive with gas, wind also displaces coal. Look at the graphs.

            http://climatecrocks.com/2014/01/03/in-the-midwest-wind-up-coal-down/

          • eveee

            So why is nuclear declining? It’s not reducing carbon. It’s increasing carbon because old plants shut sown faster than new ones are built. There are no free market NPP being built without massive government support. Even then, nuclear is declining. If it ain’t happen in, it ain’t happening. Forget wild dreams about a massive build out. The nuclear renaissance is dead. Nuclear is uncompetitive, expensive, takes ten years to develop, and does not pay for its own insurance. The limit is 10 billion, and disasters cost a trillion. Cost over runs are rampant, and default rate is over 50%. It’s a boondoggle if there ever was one. Rich uncle has to pay, or nuclear doesn’t play.
            http://will.illinois.edu/nfs/RenaissanceinReverse7.18.2013.pdf

          • Mint

            As I said right from the beginning, current nuclear tech isn’t going to cut it because it was left to rot for 35 years. There’s no standardization and no expertise left. The only chance is molten salt in the next decade.

            But if you’re against nuclear, the battle against carbon is lost. Western countries will get down to 30% wind/solar, 15% hydro, and the rest natural gas/coal, depending on how much fracking we want to do. More importantly, most developing countries will go for unregulated coal (plus some off-grid solar+battery for those can afford it).

          • Bob_Wallace

            Why in the world do you think western countries “will get down to 30% wind/solar, 15% hydro, and the rest natural gas/coal”?

            What stops western countries from going 40% wind, 30% solar, 30% hydro, geothermal, biomass and tidal? (Or some local variation on that mix.)

            Is there some rule against using storage?

          • Mint

            Of course there is: Cost.

            Electrical storage isn’t some new problem. We’ve wanted it for over a century. Gasoline via ICE costs a whopping 20c per mechanical kWh more than retail electricity, and we’re still having trouble storing the latter for less than that in EVs. We’ll get there, but the grid needs an order of magnitude lower storage cost than EVs.

            I’ve been waiting over a decade for storage breakthroughs. CAES, Isentropic’s PHES, thermal solar, ammonia, flow batteries, gravity storage, etc. Nobody is coming through at even close to predicted price, and then lifetime is another issue.

            And renewable overbuild? I don’t for a second see the free market going for that, because once you start getting into surplus generation, the marginal value of new generation goes down way down.

          • Bob_Wallace

            We’ve been building electricity storage for over a century. PuHS is a tried and true technology which offers affordable storage. We’ve been using it in order to allow high penetration of coal and nuclear generation.
            “And renewable overbuild? I don’t for a second see the free market going for that”

            The CF for natural gas is around 25%. That’s a 4x overbuild.

            The CF for coal is just over 50%. That’s a 2x overbuild.

            We’ll overbuild as long as that is cheaper than adding storage. And wind/solar + storage is cheaper than new coal or new nuclear. Even cheaper than old coal.

          • Mint

            Pumped hydro is cheap only when natural geography is there to help us out, e.g. New Zealand. We’ve known about it forever, and it’s almost all tapped out. If it was as cheap and abundant as you’re implying, then we wouldn’t have peaker plants. Day/night variation needs far, far less storage than a low FF, nuclear-free grid.

            Here I’m talking about capacity overbuild, not energy, and NG is nowhere near 4x or even 2x.

            I call BS on your claim of new storage + anything being cheaper than coal/NG. Once again, the proof is in the existence of peakers, especially in non-fracking countries.

          • Bob_Wallace

            You aren’t familiar with closed loop pump-up?

            Don’t know about installing PuHS in abandoned open pit and subsurface mines and rock quarries?

            The CF for natural gas generation in the US in 2011 was 24.2% and in 2012 it was 28.8%. That’s the total annual production / (generation capacity * 24 * 365).

            You can call BS if you like. What numbers are you using for new nuclear and new coal? Please include all subsidies and external costs.

          • Mint

            I am familiar with closed loop pump up, but I am not aware of any estimates of how much storage we can get from abandoned mines/quarries. Do you have any?

            If a 10m deep, square km of water drains down a shaft 500m deep, you only get 14 MWh of energy (The Eagle Mountain project is 24 MWh). The storage in Budischak would need 60,000 such facilities, and the US would need 10x that.

            http://www.mining-journal.com/knowledge/Mining-Explained

            However, in the US, there are some 100 metal mines, 900 mines and quarries producing industrial minerals, and 3,320 quarries are producing crushed rock

            So even if by some miracle every quarry/mine could be used this way, we’re talking about 8c/kWh without profit, not including FF backup (which is still needed, as 1 day of storage is insufficient), and assuming 100% efficient batteries (which is false). So really it’s ~11c/kWh and more than double the non-storage LCOE.

            Coal’s environmental externalities aren’t paid for anywhere. Wholesale price for the US grid is 4-6c/kWh. That’s clearing price including profit, and dominated by coal/NG. So no, wind/solar+storage isn’t close.

          • Bob_Wallace

            If you’re familiar with closed-loop then you would realize that we can build it in places other than abandoned quarries.

            Raccoon Mountain PuHS is a 1.65 GW facility and only 70 meters high. Bath County PuHS is 3 GW and 380 meters high. We can build closed loop storage on that scale.

            Moriah Hydro Corp. on Oct. 4 filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission a draft license application on the 260-MW Mineville Pumped Storage Project, which would use a shut underground mine located in the Town of Moriah, N.Y.
            http://www.power-eng.com/articles/2013/10/ferc-license-sought-for-260-mw-pumped-storage-project-in-ny.html
            Bison Peak is a purposed 1 GW PuHS plant in SoCal.
            http://www.waterpowermagazine.com/features/featurepumped-storage-peaks-in-the-us/
            We’re not talking about 14 MW “little people”.

            “Coal’s environmental externalities aren’t paid for anywhere.”

            We pay for them every single day with our tax dollars and health insurance premiums. We’re starting to pay more as we recover from increased rates of extreme weather. And we’re piling up a world of debt that is going to come due before long.

          • eveee

            Mint, you are in for a shock. Exponential change looks like nothing is happening until suddenly it races past. Do you know what a log graph is? An exponential looks like a straight line plotted on a log graph. Exponential means that if something doubles every x years. In 10 x years it’s not 10 times bigger, it’s 2 to the power of ten. Solar is doubling every 2 years. If it’s 1% now! it could be 64% in 12 years, not 12%. Stop worrying about storage advancements. Note that lithium batteries are already $200/kW, 6 years early. Look at the plots. Learn exponentials.
            http://rameznaam.com/2013/09/25/energy-storage-gets-exponentially-cheaper-too/

          • Mint

            Learn exponentials? If you’re going to keep being a condescending prick, this conversation is over.

            Lithium-ion is not going to go down in price below the cost of materials, which is where it would have to be for storage costs to be acceptable for the grid. Solar is going to slow down quickly, especially when net metering ends. Wind had “exponential” cost reduction until it didn’t:
            http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/ssuccar/wind_report_shows_costs_coming.html

          • eveee

            So explain why the exponential gains in solar and batteries are going to end when production volume increases. Explain how lithium price affects the cost of lithium batteries. There are two factors that contradict your assertion that Lithium ion will not go down in cost. One, as energy density improves, the cost per unit energy increases. Two, lithium is only 2 to 3% of the battery content. I might add, you have no real justification for claiming the log curves will change, but that is your argument. You switched subjects to wind, That argument seems to be based on the fallacy of small numbers. Pointing at a recent short lived slow down is not statistically meaningful.

            http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/17/business/energy-environment/lithium-producer-chases-teslas-bold-battery-plan.html?_r=0

            About the ad hominem.
            I get complaints. But it keeps getting worse. Glad you like it. If you know exponentials so well, explain the curves. Refer to Naam. Be my guest.

          • Mint

            Did I say lithium is the limiting factor? I know very well how little lithium is in a battery, as I’m an EV diehard. Musk said that raw materials are around $60-70 (nickel, cobalt, graphite, and electrolyte are the biggest costs), similar to what I calculated earlier, which is why he thinks the gigafactory can cut ~35% from the current $200/kWh.

            But he’s competing with 30c/kWh gasoline+ICE. Grid storage needs cycle cost to be less than 4c/kWh to take over daily peaks, and far lower to economically handle geographically large wind lulls or cloud systems of a few days (they can last weeks).

            Don’t act all innocent about the insults. You started it with your exponential crap.

          • Bob_Wallace

            “geographically large wind lulls or cloud systems of a f ew days (they can last weeks)”

            Do you intend to keep talking about 100% wind or 100% solar grids? If so, we aren’t going to get anywhere. This conversation will turn into just another session of playing whack a mole with a nuclear zealot. And we’ve already got one mole posting.

          • Mint

            Why do you think I’m talking about either? How is it that you and eveee continually stuff words into my mouth?

            Sure, wind has slightly higher average output at night, but it certainly is not exempt from dying down then. If wind is weak in the evening, when solar output is near zero and demand is highest, you got problems. Similarly, when a cloud system is reducing solar output during the day, nothing is limiting the possibility of wind dying down.

          • Bob_Wallace

            And when a couple reactors suddenly go off line there’s an input shortage.
            Grids have to be engineered to deal with problems.

            Go look at the Budischak graph. How many weeks went by without wind and solar input?

          • eveee

            Grid cycle does not need 4c/kwhr to handle peaks. Not in residential for sure. Residences get a heft 29c/kwhr premium tacked on for the 1 to 7 PM time of day in some states. Solar does not even need storage to manage that. At 4c I would take out a bank loan and hook up my neighbors. Talk about grid defection…

          • Mint

            Residential is only 40% of the market, and only a minority of that faces 29c/kWh rates and up.

            (Just to clarify, 4c/kWh is just for storage. You need the cost of energy on top of that, plus a little extra to make up for storage cycle inefficiency, which is pretty good for lithium ion but not other forms of storage).

            Grid operators pay 4-6c/kWh on average for wholesale electricity, but lose 10-30c/kWh in revenue when customers generate their own, depending on tier. That imbalance cannot last.

            That’s why net metering will disappear soon. They will change their pricing model (charging fixed grid costs) before solar residental cracks 10%.

          • eveee

            BS. Show a lull that lasts weeks on MISO.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Continuing to post the same disproven assertions becomes very frustrating for those who are trying to have a conversation with you.

            Try reading eveee’s links.

            And knock off the name calling.

          • eveee

            You are assuming the materials stay constant and the amount of scarce materials is high. However, other formulations use less scarce materials. The other way costs go down is that the same materials produce more energy.

          • Mint

            I assumed nothing of that sort, so don’t put words in my mouth. None of those materials are scarce.

            There are limitations to physics, and battery chemistries have theoretical maximums. It takes a long time for batteries to get from the lab to low cost & high reliability production.

            There’s an easy way to see that increases in battery density won’t help cost minimization for a long time. The high-end smartphone market will easily pay $2000/kWh for a double-density battery that does 500 cycles. Nothing’s in the pipeline beyond lithium sulfur, which isn’t much of a density improvement anyway over Panasonic’s 260 Wh/kg that I’m basing my cost floor on. Elon wouldn’t be planning this gigafactory if something much better was a few years away.

            $50/kWh & 5000 cycles is another ballgame entirely. So my contention is that if we get there, it’s unlikely to be via density.

            Even IF we get there, you’ll only get low cost per kWh for daily cycling, not multiple days of storage cycled much less frequently, which is needed to eliminate FF backup. Remember the context of my conversation with Bob: I’m saying fast-growing economies won’t build renewable+FF when FF alone will do, so you need to eliminate/minimize the need for FF to invalidate that claim. Even more so than Budischak did.

            Battery storage is inevitable for transportation worldwide, and hopefully EVs grab 50%+ of new car sales by 2025 (at which point they can chip away 5%/yr from the 2B gas/diesel cars on the road). Batteries will also find a role for some homes that are getting ripped off by high tier pricing.

            But for the grid? Time shifting solar to the evening, sure. Eliminating new FF capacity in the developing world, no. Here’s a recent projection for coal:
            http://www.economist.com/news/business/21600987-cheap-ubiquitous-and-flexible-fuel-just-one-problem-fuel-future

          • Bob_Wallace

            “Solar is doubling every 2 years. If it’s 1% now! it could be 64% in 12 years, not 12%.”

            There are practical limits to how long a new technology can double. Doubling is easier in the early years, harder once things have scaled up a bit.

            64% in only 12 years is a “bit” optimistic, IMHO.

          • eveee

            Thats an empty comment with no specifics. Budischak claims curtailment is cheaper than storage. The goal is a mix that achieves economic and carbon reduction goals. Even a small amount of FF, curtailment, and future storage cost reductions are viable scenarios. Whats wrong with that? Then there is NREL, and Jacobson, and other peer reviewed papers. You can’t just keep referring to non peer reviewed papers and making un cited claims.

          • eveee

            What does your reply have to do with my comment? Where is this new nuclear that you keep talking about? I am aware of the AP1000s, but they are all behind schedule, and producing cost over runs. These new reactors are just as expensive as the old ones. And they are not being built fast enough to replace the old ones. They take ten years to build. We can get 3 times as much benefit in less time with renewables. Nuclear is being priced out of the market. We can’t ignore this if the goal is carbon reduction.

          • Mint

            Why don’t you read my posts? Right from the very beginning, I have been talking about molten salt reactors that will be developed within a decade.

          • eveee

            Smell the molten salts smelling salts. Are any of them in production after decades? If one were to propose one today how long would it take to approve and then build one. No, you are way off. There are reasons the nuclear power industry is going with AP1000. Why are they not going for molten salt reactors? We have seen a record abysmal failure with reactors based on sodium. Please go ahead and cite their capacity factors and records. Please cite their history of repeated fires. Then tell us why molten sodium is not a fire hazard.

          • Mint

            Buddy, liquid sodium is not a salt.

            Molten salt is an entirely different coolant. Lithium-Fluoride is the most commonly proposed base salt, and if you didn’t flunk high-school chemistry, then you know why it’s incredibly stable. It’s less flammable than table salt.

            Like I said, it’s not ready now. It’s a technology that was developed in the 70’s and ran successfully, but abandoned for political reasons. Various people unearthed ORNL’s documents over the last decade and groups are now moving forward with prototypes.

          • Bob_Wallace

            “groups are now moving forward with prototypes.”

            Which means it’s off the table in terms of present solutions. It falls into the category of “Might work. Someday.”

            Don’t start designing our energy future around something that may not ever appear on the scene.

            Let’s get back to what we know works. We’ve got a job to do now. One that won’t hold off for 20+ years in order to see if some spiffy idea holds any promise.

          • eveee

            Dont misquote. I didn’t say molten sodium was a salt. I added a discussion of another alternative type of reactor. Sodium cooled reactors are used as breeders and are among the many proposed alternative reactors. Molten salt reactors have their problems, too. The that seems strange is why those that favor nuclear jump to more exotic reactors when there are less exotic reactors already available? What problems are solved by MSRs that are not solved by CANDU? Is it economics? Why should we believe any new reactors are better than the old ones when the industry has consistently over promised and underperformed? You have answered none of the previous post questions. You talk about future reactors. We don’t have 10 years to wait for their development and licensing and another 10 years for the first one to built. Why do the nuclear mfrs supply the AP1000 type reactors, while bloggers always talk about experimental ones? There are reasons the nuclear establishment is using the ones we have, Their engineers are not fools. MSRs have their problems. It had problems, but IMO the HTGR had better characteristics than many touted today. In the reality of today and for the foreseeable future, nuclear is expensive and slow to implement.
            http://daryanenergyblog.wordpress.com/ca/part-8-msr-lftr/

          • Mint

            If you knew the difference, then why would you mention the liquid sodium reactor or flammability?

            There’s a lot of advantages, and the reactor in the article you cite is the LFTR. I think the cheapest MSR will be the DMSR, as it’s single fluid, not a breeder, doesn’t need on-site reprocessing, uses uranium instead of thorium, doesn’t need U-233, and has higher power density. Other MSR advantages are atmospheric pressure, passive safety, much lower fuel use, and higher temperature (good for industrial heat and generator efficiency).

            I don’t know why you think it’s exotic, because it’s basically a vat of fluid. Simplicity is why I like it a lot more than LFTR and PWR. Density and especially atmospheric operating pressure reduce cost drastically from current reactors (HTGR is high pressure also). It can be made quite small (produce in a factory, ship on a truck) while having several times more output than the mPower or NuScale designs.

            Almost all the criticsms in your link (8.3, 8.4, 8.10, 8.11) don’t apply to DMSR, though I actually agree with a lot of it as it pertains to LFTR. 8.5 is a myth, 8.8 shows he’s unaware of LiF-BeF2-UF4 (he thinks pressure is what changed the working temperature, not the eutectic).

            The reason no other reactors have been tried is risk and regulation. Engineers can’t design something they’re not allowed to experiment with, or don’t have the funds to. There’s a lot more simulation tools and computation power now to partially circumvent those issues.

            If you’re interested:

          • eveee

            Don’t be specious. I explained why I mentioned breeders. Please explain why MSRs are not production today. They had problems with embrittlement, among other things.

          • eveee

            You have the wrong idea. When wind is integrated, it uses the same reserves as the capacity it displaces. All the NREL studies show additional reserves are not needed until>30% integration! and then additional reserves are very small. Wear and tear is not significant and CO2 is lowered significantly. See WWITS.

          • Mint

            Wind doesn’t displace capacity. It displaces production, and this is mentioned by the very same NREL study you cite.

            If you needed spinning reserves for FF outages before wind, you’ll need it afterwards. If you’re doing okay without adding new reserves, then that means you had too much to begin with and are comparing apples to oranges.

            Anyway, spinning reserve is a moot point. “Backup” refers to the fact that when you add 1GW of wind, your peak handling increases by only a few percent of that. If you don’t need new peak power, then you can look at it as 1GW of wind not letting you shut down 1GW of FF, or even 100MW.

          • eveee

            False. Wind does displace capacity. Its not nameplate, but it does have a capacity. I won’t even bother with a reference. You didn’t reference and you keep making false statements. You are lost in a haze of your own interior mental universe. Go outside and get some sunshine. Breath the air. Improve your perspective.

          • Mint

            All of a sudden you won’t bother with a reference?

            I’ll give you one: Go look at the same NREL study you cite so much, page 42, top graph:
            http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy13osti/55588.pdf

            64GW nameplate can output as little as ~2GW at one time, so you can’t retire any more FF capacity than that. Rare? Sure, but nobody will tolerate losing power 1% of the year.

          • eveee

            All of a sudden you read my references. I am thankful for that. Maybe the walk in the fresh air helped. :) Really. Take it easy. You say, “Nobody will tolerate losing power 1% of the year.” Think about that carefully. So if we have a 90% on time nuclear plant that goes down on average 2.5% of the year as unplanned outage, and is down 10% of the year as planned outage…. No body will tolerate that? Well they already do. See how that works? So if a wind plus solar generation network is applied over a wide area, it certainly doesn’t get nameplate, we just calculate the probabilities and come up with a 90% on time resource at some level of output and do the math. Its really rather dry. The renewable integration studies are doing this. They are already calculating the value of the fuel displaced. These are IEEE level discussions. Your discovery of the lack of the availability of one kind of renewable 1% of the year is hardly a surprise to them, nor is it any kind of impediment to the implementation of renewables on the grid. If it were, there is no way Germany, Denmark, Spain, Iowa, Texas, …. all of them would even consider implementing renewables. If you want to read references, go and read IEEE Power and Energy, 2013 November issue. You will get a sense that renewables are not some hippy craze that engineers cannot deal with. Its nuts and bolts going on ever day on a massive scale. Are there challenges? Of course. Is it impossible? No way.

          • Mint

            I read all your references the instant I see it. I explicitly thanked you for the NREL study in another post.

            The 1% remark is about system-wide outages. Let me explain again:

            You claim wind does displace capacity, but *if* you overestimate that and trim down reserves too much, crossing your fingers that wind won’t be running below 15% CF at times of high demand, only then will you have blackouts. Again, the NREL WWSIS-2 study showed system-wide wind varying from about 3% to 80% (at the extreme, so let’s call it 5-75%).

            If you don’t overly trim down reserves, then wind won’t give you any reliability issues. Germany, Spain, Denmark, etc aren’t shutting down reserves to prove the point you’re making about wind capacity displacement. They’re just charging a lot for electricity:
            http://shrinkthatfootprint.com/average-electricity-prices-kwh
            I guarantee you some of that is going towards keeping FF capacity online.

            I don’t think blackouts are a problem at all for wind integration. I simply think you need to keep FF+storage capacity online almost equal to wind capacity.

          • eveee

            Read this

            Back-up is always provided for all power plants on a system, with or without wind
            There is no need to build back-up for wind; existing power plants in any system provide the required back-up for all plants
            Wind generation displaces fossil-fuel generation and some of those plants can be taken out of operation
            As the penetration of wind increases in any power system, the volume of capacity that is operated at part load, ready to ramp up or down according to peaks in demand or unexpected generation shortfalls, increases slightly to maintain a consistent probability of security of supply
            Since the volume of extra reserve when adding wind is modest so is the additional cost. Savings from wind replacing other generation are likely to more than cover that extra cost
            The emissions saved by wind displacing fossil-fuel generation are far greater than any extra emissions from increased spinning reserve.
            http://www.windpowermonthly.com/article/1192957/power-system-reserve—no-need-build-wind-back-up

          • Bob_Wallace

            Just saw this today…

            “Public risks for nuclear power take many shapes. Another risk carried by the public is the cost for maintaining electric generation reserves for the unpredictable sudden disconnection — “trips” — of a nuclear plant. When a nuclear plant trips off-line, the entire region suffers a sudden imbalance of supply and demand for electricity. With nuclear plants of 1,000 MW dropping off in an instant, the grid suffers immediately.The costs to combat these events are just becoming clear. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, noting that Eastern U.S. ability to recover from nuclear unit trips has declined since the mid-1990’s, is beginning to ask who can provide the back-up for the largest power plants, and how should they be paid for this service. I participated in FERC’s technical conference on this very issue this week.

            For decades, the risk from a nuclear plant’s sudden drop-off was met by all the other generators, by holding a few percent of their capability in reserve. As this was unpaid, and power plants faced increasing competition, that lost revenue became important to the plant owners. Now many plant owners have withdrawn this free service. Other decisions that modernized industrial equipment, or shifted manufacturing offshore, also reduced the grid’s resilience to these sudden losses caused by the largest generators.

            http://blog.ucsusa.org/nuclear-power-cost-risk-vogtle-500

          • eveee

            Ironic isn’t it? Nuclear requires massive amounts of extremely rapid reserves in case a huge amount of power goes offline instantly. Now someone is saying we should charge for that. You think? ;)

          • Bob_Wallace

            A few people around here probably won’t get it, but I’ll bet the folks making the “What do we build?” decision will.

            Seems likely that if someone wants to bring a big thermal plant on line they better start thinking about adding a budget line item for “Purchased capacity”. Free ride might be coming to an end.

          • eveee

            Judging from his comments, he doesn’t get that demand drives the addition of new generation, and you have to add new reserves, too, no matter what the source. Its not a characteristic of the added generation. Its a characteristic of the added load, and the added demand variation. The reserves for wind and FF are not much different because of this and because sources fail, they all need reserves. This has been explained to him endlessly, but he just doesn’t get it. You know there is something wrong when a direct quote doesn’t penetrate. About four people have all tried to explain how the power system works, but he is intent on his fantasy.

          • Bob_Wallace

            There seem to be some people who believe in the magic of nuclear energy. They simply aren’t swayed by any sort of data that shows that nuclear isn’t thriving or that nuclear is expensive. That information cannot penetrate their defense shields.

          • eveee

            Like this you mean,

            JRT256 eveee • 2 hours ago

            Unbelievable!

            So, when there isn’t enough power and there are rolling blackouts, the utility should just tell the customers that there is a study that says the this can’t happen.

            That is brilliant.

            Reply

            Share ›

            eveee JRT256 • 8 minutes ago

            “So, when there isn’t enough power and there are rolling blackouts” in your mind, the rest of the world will go along smoothly. Possibly noting the quizzical look on your face. And maybe remembering the day when you were quoted a reference that mysteriously caused synapses in your brain to malfunction. Is that what happens every time a bit of reality from a peer-reveiwed paper impinges on your “cognitive dissonance” impaired occiput? Yes. We are familiar. Its all news to you and you get excited every time, but we have seen it all before. Like more than a decade ago. And oh yeah, 28% annual wind in Iowa, and a renewables peak of 59% in Germany, (peak over 100% in Denmark) and the sky is not falling. We read chicken little before. So much for rolling blackouts in Germany. Germany has the highest grid reliability of any nation in Europe. Far greater than the US.
            http://www.greentechmedia.com/

          • A Real Libertarian

            Ah, what’s the link supposed to link to?

          • eveee

            The grid does not explode when you add high amounts of renewables. Another renewable detractor that says the only way to power the grid is with nuclear.

            http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/Germany-Hits-59-Renewable-Peak-Grid-Does-Not-Explode

          • A Real Libertarian

            Sorry, I meant the link to where you’re educating JRT256.

          • eveee

            Oh, sorry. Its GTMs, by now famous, Citigroup says its the Age of Renewables article.

            It takes for ever to wade through the comments, but I think its near the beginning now. Egads that thread is immense. Have you ever seen another one that long? Its 691 comments and it began April 1.

            http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/citigroup-says-the-age-of-renewables-has-begun

          • A Real Libertarian

            Thanks.

          • Mint

            I don’t think blackouts are a problem at all for wind integration. I simply think you need to keep FF+storage capacity online

            There is no need to build back-up for wind; existing power plants in any system provide the required back-up for all plants

            You’re supporting my case without even realizing it. Your own source says we need to keep existing FF to provide backup.

          • eveee

            Excuse me. You are deluded. Now back to regular programming.

            Breaking News: Dog Bites Man, Pope Catholic, Wind Energy Saves Carbon

            http://climatecrocks.com/2013/10/18/breaking-news-dog-bites-man-pope-catholic-wind-energy-saves-carbon/

            Some day you may catch on. But its like hoping for Christmas in July.

            Having reserves is what it means. Not having FF online. Look at the caiso.com plot. Reserves are 10GW. Demand is 22G to 30G. Are those reserves using power? No. Almost no emissions. Is “backup” used all the time? No.

            So what have we learned. Wind does not require any significant additional reserves. Wind displaces carbon. Mint doesn’t know squat about power systems. Mint thinks he knows all. Mint gets corrected frequently for mistakes. Does Mint realize he is not an expert after being continually corrected? No. Pretty much sums it up.

            This is what you said.

            “I simply think you need to keep FF+storage capacity online almost equal to wind capacity”

            Someone else made your mistake years ago. Learn from it.

            “Several utilities have deemed it necessary to have excessive reserve requirements for wind(i.e., one-to-one ratio). …. Recent studies have shown this to be unnecessary. Milligan (2003) showed that reserve requirements decrease for wind generation in Iowa if the generation is spread across the state… In the situation that wind generation is spread across Iowa, 200-MW rested capacity equals 11.36% of Iowa’s peak demand and requires 4.23% of rated capacity or 8.5 MW in extra load following reserves for a 99% confidence interval.”

            http://www.undeerc.org/wind/li…

          • eveee

            Mint, here is your misunderstanding. You think existing generation has reserves. You think putting wind in requires more reserve. No. If wind displaces some other generation, it uses the same reserves as the generation it displaced. That is the fallacy of your reasoning. Its not just reasoning, its fact. Its in all the papers on renewable integration. Read Bobs quote from the UK about wind and generation. The UK guy made an explicit comment about no significant additional reserves being needed.

          • Mint

            No. I do not think that.

            Australia’s electricity generation is 75% coal (this conversation started with Ronald Brakels talking about South Australia). Coal can’t ramp coal fast enough to fill in the blanks with high wind penetration, and frequent ramping isn’t good for the plant anyway. You said it yourself.

            Remember, this started with me saying for 30%-50% wind, you need 50-70% natural gas (until cheap storage arrives). Maybe I should have clarified this as X% of load not served by hydro or nuclear, but whatever.

            Ronald Brakels claimed that they’re using existing ancillary services for this purpose in SA, which has 27% wind. Well in that case, this reserve is no longer really reserve, as it’s being used all the time alongside wind.

            Do you not agree that, without storage, the balance of load not provided by hydro, nuclear, or this 30-50% wind needs to be fulfilled by NG? And that if you didn’t have this NG capacity, then you can’t simply occupy reserves for this purpose?

          • eveee

            This is what you said.

            “I simply think you need to keep FF+storage capacity online almost equal to wind capacity”

            Someone else made your mistake years ago. Learn from it.

            “Several utilities have deemed it necessary to have excessive reserve requirements for wind(i.e., one-to-one ratio). …. Recent studies have shown this to be unnecessary. Milligan (2003) showed that reserve requirements decrease for wind generation in Iowa if the generation is spread across the state… In the situation that wind generation is spread across Iowa, 200-MW rested capacity equals 11.36% of Iowa’s peak demand and requires 4.23% of rated capacity or 8.5 MW in extra load following reserves for a 99% confidence interval.”

            http://www.undeerc.org/wind/literature/Regional_Wind.pdf

            No significant extra reserves are needed. Papers have been written more than a decade ago that recognized that only small amounts of extra reserve are required.

            “the addition of wind does not significantly affect the LFRR”

            Load Following Regulation Requirement
            p. 9
            http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy03osti/34318.pdf

            p. 13

            A common thread…. integration costs are relatively small…

      • Bob_Wallace

        The backups for wind are not only NG but also storage and load-shifting. Both should become better financial choices than NG.

        Budischak (glad you read it) found it was cheaper to overbuild wind and solar than to use NG. Might want to reread a bit more closely. With wind and solar dropping below their estimated 2030 costs overbuilding makes even more sense.

        NG plants do not need to idle in order to fill in for wind and solar. Grid managers know well in advance when wind and solar output will change. They can ramp up or ramp down gas as needed. Gas plants can sit idle for hours when the wind is steady or the Sun shining. Install 15 minutes of storage (which some wind farms are doing) and NG plants can start ramping up when the wind quits.

        ” you’re looking at 30-50% electricity from interconnected wind and the remaining 50-70% from natural gas”

        30% to 50% electricity directly from wind farms. 30% directly from solar panels. 10+% from hydro. 10% from assorted other renewables (tidal, geothermal, waste, biomass). That gets us close to 100%, eh? Even without adding in storage.

        • Mint

          I did read that from Budischak, hence my 3x overbuild comment. Maybe you need to read my post more closely. But he made some bad assumptions, like pricing fossil fuel running at 4% capacity factor (2.18GWa from 56.9GW) at only 8c/kWh.

          That’s what I mean by idling. It’s a waste of capital and labor, so the utilities raise prices to compensate. If you spend $1B on a 1GW plant, $100M/yr on O&M and sell 5B kWh/yr, then fuel+5c/kWh will pay the bills. If you only sell 3B kWh/yr because you’re backing up renewables, you’ll have to charge fuel+9c/kWh, and may need more fuel, too (steady loads are more efficient).

          My 30-50% figure was for all intermittent sources combined. That’s your limit if you don’t want to dump more than 10% of renewable electricity at times of surplus. Wasted energy obviously increases LCO(usable)E.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I’ll have to go back and read the NG price part.

            There are times when it’s going to be cheaper to dump/curtail wind or solar than to store it. Long term storage is expensive. During the spring when winds and hydro are high and demand lower it may make sense to just curtail some renewable in order to have that capacity available when demand is higher in the summer. Storing for months (except with PuHS) may not make sense.

            We “dump” coal now and France “dumps” nuclear. Plants get closed for extended periods during low demand parts of the year.

          • Mint

            I’m not arguing with any of that. Just note that LCOE figures for renewables assume there’s no overbuild, and you get paid for every kWh generated.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Sure LCOE assumes that every kWh produced is sold.

            The question of whether to overbuild renewables or to install storage starts with the LCOE, the cost of storage, and then calculates.

          • Ulenspiegel

            Mint,

            you work with very optimistic assumption in re nuclaer power:

            In France you have a capacity factor of 80% for NPPs – 90% is only possible with low percentage of nuclaer power. You have a lot of pumped hydro power there and France exports a lot of its baseload production for a low price.

            You should also take these costs into account, usually, pro nuclear guys forget them. :-)

            RE will be more expensive than conventional power plants when it comes to storage, but the difference is not that dramatic.

          • Mint

            The difference between 80% and 90% is only a factor of 1.11. People often assume 25%+ CF for solar when it’s less than 10% in Germany and the UK, i.e. a factor 2.5-3x.

            I don’t think you understand how much storage costs if it’s not a usable hydro reservoir that nature gave us for free (we’re out of those). CAES is still not solved.

            A mere 3 days of battery storage costs $18/W, not including inverters, and wind can go low for a week over huge areas (e.g. all of Europe). They have yet to make a big impact with cars, where you get a huge 20c/kWh saving by using electricity instead of gas.

            Storage needs an order of magnitude cost reduction to avoid being a dramatic cost.

          • eveee

            n. During times of excess renewable generation, we first fill storage, then use remaining excess electricity to displace natural gas. When load, storage and gas needs are all met, the excess electricity is “spilled” at zero value,
            This is another important new finding. That is, our cost-minimizing model of very high penetration (90% and above)dshows that the least-cost way to cover most or all hours results in producing (or being capable of producing) 2 or more the electrical energy needed. The 99.9% criterion by definition means fossil would account for no more than 0.1% of load; Table 3 shows that the actual fossil burn required was 0.05% (0.017/31.5).
            The paper does not say what you state. It does least cost system wide by spilling excess. The grid must integrate many sources always. Sources are not just evaluated on cost/energy. Peaker plants are worth more than base load because they load follow. Otherwise no one would use peakers? Not exactly. Peakers cost more per kwhr because they are used less. Less capacity factor. Simplistic notions of one source compared by cost per kwhr are just the beginning for power planners who must look at the optimum mix of sources. That is what this paper does. Pay heed not to misunderstand this.

          • Mint

            How does the paper not say what I state? I fully understand that there’s an optimal mix to achieve a certain goal.

            I’m the one arguing most against simplistic $/kWh evaluations in this entire thread. It’s the first sentence in the post you replied to. Look at other pro-renewable posters talking about 2.5-4.5c/kWh wind and ignoring the rest of the system.

            Spilling excess is merely proof that of that. If buying 57GWa of wind is the cheapest way to meet demand of 31GWa with 90% clean energy and realistic storage cost, then clearly the raw purchase price of wind contracts is misleading.

          • eveee

            First of all, one must understand what it is to isolate all the energy sources in a system and make it an LCOE context. Thats an abstract metric that while useful, needs to be viewed in the larger context of the entire system. If we only chose sources by LCOE, we would only have base load, and the system would not work. That is not what system operators and planners do. They look for the combined system that meets the combination of goals. That is why I recommended looking at the NREL papers. Their conclusions are based on interaction with system data and some of their contributions are made by people within ISOs like MISO. For an in depth look at renewables and integration from an engineering perspective, and to see how engineers are responding to the challenges, I recommend IEEE Power and Energy, November 2013.

          • Mint

            Once again, you’re just proving my point while pretending I’m claiming something else. Go look at the post above that you replied to (“Just note that…”)

            My point is quite simply that system cost is not as simple as LCOE, as cited by renewable advocates, especially for 90% penetration.

          • eveee

            So whats your point? The papers say renewables can be integrated at high penetrations economically? Then what is the point of the LCOE discussion? You are trying to make an abstract case that renewables can’t work when they are working in the real world. Im not pretending you are claiming anything, and I generally use direct quotes. In fact, I am asking you to clearly state your point which is all over the place.

          • Mint

            Are you incapable of following conversation?

            I was having a perfectly civil and rational discussion with Bob until you butted in. I clearly stated my point about the paper:

            But he made some bad assumptions, like pricing fossil fuel running at 4% capacity factor (2.18GWa from 56.9GW) at only 8c/kWh.

            When you have this massive renewable buildout and need to call upon FF very rarely but urgently, they will charge through the roof when they can. Hell, they already do that:
            http://www.eia.gov/electricity/wholesale/
            Check out PJM’s and NEPOOL’s $500/MWh earlier this year.

            Once again, simplistic LCOE is the culprit. Budischak just uses a typical FF purchase price. In his 90% and 99.9% scenarios, he assumes FF will keep 57GW and 28GW of capacity online for occasional use at $1.5B/yr and $12M/yr, respectively. It’s a bad cost model that wouldn’t be realistic even if fuel was free. NREL’s is much better, but they only did 25% wind at most.

            Where are high penetrations working economically in the real world?
            http://shrinkthatfootprint.com/average-electricity-prices-kwh

          • eveee

            Who’s butting in/
            I just reply to prompts from the system. If you make a comment on this system anyone can reply. I don’t recall it being a private line. I think you are on an old fashioned trunk line, sorry. As far as perfectly civil and rational is concerned.. there seems to be some question about that…

            Where are high penetrations working economically in the real world?

            Why Iowa. 28%. Germany. Denmark…. the list goes on. Are you really telling us you have found flaws in all those papers that say renewables can be integrated economically and all those IEEE discussions in Power and Energy, and all that European and NREL literature is wrong, but you have studies LCOE and discovered a flaw in all of that. Except you have not written any peer reviewed papers…..

      • JamesWimberley

        “I think it’s inevitable for molten salt reactors to be solved in a
        decade due to the desire for cheap industrial heat from the oil and gas
        sector.” In 20 years – about the earliest we could see any radically new nuclear technology deployed at scale – there won’t be much of an oil and gas sector left to use it.

        I accept the correction on nuclear backup. Nukes will be used in China not for cycling backup to wind and solar but to meet the small true 3 a.m. baseload demand. (Most “baseload” today means “We have this huge dumb plant we must run all the time, can you take the electricity off us at any price?”)

        • Mint

          Won’t be much of an oil and gas sector? Are you forgetting the billions in India, China, and Africa emerging from poverty and needing energy (esp. transportation fuels)? Best case scenario for EVs in 10 years is, sadly, 10% market penetration (even the famed gigafactory couldn’t convert 1% of world 2020 auto demand to EVs). So 20 years from now, the vast majority of 5-20 year old cars on the road will need oil.

          Small 3am baseload? Do you have any idea what a demand curve looks like in an manufacturing-heavy country like that? 80-90% of a country’s electricity demand can be met with baseload. Compare areas in this sample:
          http://www.aph.gov.au/~/media/05%20About%20Parliament/54%20Parliamentary%20Depts/544%20Parliamentary%20Library/Research%20Papers/2008-09/09rp09-1.jpg
          Intermediate can be done with baseload as well, and EVs will flatten the curve even more.

          • eveee

            The problem is that China started building coal before solar happened. Now they are addicted to coal and growth. Big problem with smog. India has poor grid infrastructure. Without grid, as solar gets way cheaper than coal, coal will lose, because solar can grow without infrastructure. Just like cellphones win over land lines where no previous copper infrastructure exists.

          • A Real Libertarian

            Best case scenario for EVs in 10 years is, sadly, 10% market penetration (even the famed gigafactory couldn’t convert 1% of world 2020 auto demand to EVs).

            This is why nuclear fails.

            Because its adherents can’t think in any terms beyond “big, complicated, expensive”.

            They’re completely unprepared for when small, simple, cheap comes on to the battlefield and wins.

            So they dismiss it as a fluke or a trick or something like that, anything that allows them to avoid admitting that their solution is wrong.

            So they never learn and keep losing and just retreat further and further into a fantasyland where nuclear has no serious flaws and the nuclear renaissance is just around the corner, but just keeps getting sabotaged by fossil fuels and their renewable puppets.

            I’ll let Han Solo explain:

            “What the Empire would have done was build a super-colossal Yuuzhan Vong–killing battle machine. They would have called it the Nova Colossus or the Galaxy Destructor or the Nostril of Palpatine or something equally grandiose.

            They would have spent billions of credits, employed thousands of contractors and subcontractors, and equipped it with the latest in death-dealing technology. And you know what would have happened? It wouldn’t have worked.

            They’d forget to bolt down a metal plate over an access hatch leading to the main reactors, or some other mistake, and a hotshot enemy pilot would drop a bomb down there and blow the whole thing up. Now that’s what the Empire would have done.”

          • eveee

            Take a look at a daily demand curve.

            http://energymag.net/daily-energy-demand-curve/

            That varies from about 22G to 30G daily. Over the season 2 to 1 or more. Hard for that system to operate with 80% base load. I think you are quite wrong about base load. France is 77% with special reactors with more rods, etc.

            Nuclear power in France has a totalcapacity factor of around 77%, which is low due to load following.

            Reliability: A wind farm is highly reliable (although highly intermittent). That is, the output at any given time will only vary gradually due to falling wind speeds or storms (the latter necessitating shut downs). A typical wind farm is unlikely to have to shut down in less than half an hour at the extreme, whereas an equivalent sized power station can fail totally instantaneously and without warning. The total shut down of wind turbines is predictable via weather forecasting. The average availability of a wind turbine is 98%, and when a turbine fails or is shutdown for maintenance it only affects a small percentage of the output of a large wind farm.[27]

            According to a study of wind in the United States, ten or more widely separated wind farms connected through the grid could be relied upon for from 33 to 47% of their average output (15–20% of nominal capacity) as reliable, baseload power, as long as minimum criteria are met for wind speed and turbine height.[28][29] When calculating the generating capacity available to meet summer peak demand,ERCOT (manages Texas grid) counts wind generation at 8.7% of nameplate capacity.[30]

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intermittent_energy_source

          • Mint

            Look at figure 2.1 in your link. If you had 33GW baseload, you’d have to curtail/dump about 8% of energy on a typical summer day and 2% on a typical winter day. Some days you curtail more, some days less. So you’d make use of ~95% of that baseload output (792GWh/day).

            In the summer, remaining energy to be handled by dispatchable power is ~80GWh/day, and winter it’s ~200GWh/day (just estimate the areas under the curve above 33GW). Of course these numbers will vary quite a bit from day to day, but I assume they used the word “typical” for a reason.

            So overall, that’s 15% of electricity production dispatchable, 85% from baseload. These numbers can be tweaked, of course, but my central claim stands.

            (Yes, you can pinch pennies by load following and knocking off a few tenths of a percent from your amortized cost, but why take the risk?)

            That 33-47% claim is refuted by the NREL study.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Mint – look at NG generation. It sits unused 75% of the time. Hydro goes unused about 50% of the time.

            8% and 2% curtailment is just noise in the system.

          • Mint

            Not sure if you got the point of my post. I’m just showing that real demand curves can be met with 85% energy from baseload sources and 15% from dispatchable sources. eveee disputed that claim of mine.

            It’s only going to get more uniform as EVs get popular.

            A big chunk of NG capacity is low cost combustion turbine, not CCGT, and is used for peaking. That’s what makes overall NG CF so low. When needed, they often bid 20c/kWh or more. Coal operators often build them to get the clearing price high.

          • Bob_Wallace

            If real demand varies by 2x to 3x from annual minimum to annual maximum you’re going to have to build always-on thermal (baseload is a crummy term) in sufficient quantities to meet “85%” of the annual maximum and turn a lot of it off during the lower demand parts of the year.

          • Mint

            My 85% claim is for energy, not capacity. And if the minimum occurs for only a few percent of yearly hours, then you can just dump the excess into a resistor.

            Yes, my claim is incorrect for grids with really wild swings, but it’s true for eveee’s example.

          • Bob_Wallace

            It’s not the number of minimum hours. It’s the total number of hours below the cumulative output of all thermal plants.

            If you build thermal capacity to service 85% (pick your number) then any time below 85% of annual max demand means dumping or storing.

          • Mint

            Why are you engaging in semantics? I just called them “minimum hours” for simplicity.

            This is the point: If you choose the baseload so that the dumping is only a few percent of energy produced, then even if you can’t get any revenue for that dumped energy, your LCOE only goes up by a few percent.

            Here’s eveee’s case:
            http://energymag.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/daily-demand-copyright-2011-national-grid-plc-all-rights-reserved.jpg

            I chose 33GW for always-on thermal. Max demand is 59GW. The always-on then provides 85% of the energy (a few percent gets dumped), while the dispatchable provides 15% (there’s roughly 930GWh/day avg demand). The latter will be more expensive, of course, but at least it’s only 15% of your energy.

            Now, say you put 40GW of renewables in there instead of thermal, and it has 30% capacity factor. We’ll assume excess to be dumped is negligible. 31% of your energy is renewable, and 69% of it is from dispatchable sources.

            Got it?

          • Bob_Wallace

            I’m not engaging in semantics. Perhaps I’m misunderstanding you.

            OK, you’re saying an annual maximum demand of 59 GW. And always-on generation of 33 GW. That’s 56% of max.

            You’ve got to have 44% of dispatchable to make the grid work at peak peak.
            Now you’ve got a hypothetical average minimum of 28 GW? 15% below your 33 GW of always-on.

            Are we on the same page?

            Now from there on down, I think you’re setting up a strawman argument.
            “Now, say you put 40GW of renewables in there instead of thermal, and it has 30% capacity factor. We’ll assume e xcess to be dumped is negligible. 31% of your energy is renewable, and 69% of it is from dispatchable sources.”

            You’re trying to make an argument based on nameplate, not produced electricity. That makes no sense. You’ve added only 12 GW of renewables. And if your grid does not have the flexibility it will take some storage to time-shift some of the renewable.

            One has to take CF into account. (Price does.)

          • Mint

            You’re trying to make an argument based on nameplate, not produced electricity. That makes no sense.

            That’s because you think the point of this exercise was to compare renewables to always-on thermal. It wasn’t.

            It was to prove to eveee that his UK grid sample could get >80% of energy from always-on thermal without much wastage. Only 15% had to come from pricier dispatchable power.

            So why did I throw 40GW of nameplate renewable in there? Because that precludes the grid from using cheap always-on thermal for the majority of its energy. Now, 69% has to come from dispatchable.

            One has to take CF into account. (Price does.)

            Okay, so now I’ll add even more renewables to do the comparison that you desire.

            If I instead added 33GW of renewables by your definition, i.e. 110GW nameplate, then we need storage, which vastly increases capital cost (e.g. 30 hours = $6/W).

            33GW avg renewables will produce 85% of required energy (just like 33GW of always-on thermal), and the rest will come from dispatchable.

            We can also compare to Budischak’s 90% scenario. He found that he needed 891GWh of storage and 57GW fossil fuel for 31.5GW avg demand, and this load is 20% higher. So let’s scale his numbers by 20%.

            In summary:

            A) Always on thermal is cheaper than dispatchable thermal
            B) With no renewables and 33GW always-on thermal, only 15% of energy needs to come from dispatchable
            C) With 40GW nameplate renewables, 69% of energy needs to come from dispatchable FF
            D) With 110GW nameplate renewables and maybe 1TWh of storage, 15% of energy needs to come from ~55GW (my estimate) dispatchable FF
            E) (Budischak 90% x1.2) With 168GW nameplate renewables and 1069GWh storage, 10% of energy needs to come from 68.4GW dispatchable FF

          • Bob_Wallace

            A) Always on thermal is cheaper than dispatchable thermal

            No. New nuclear and coal are more expensive than new gas unless gas is seldom used. A CCNG plant used for the 4-6 peak hours is going to come in at a reasonable cost. But in general you are correct.

            B) With no renewables and 33GW always-on thermal, only 15% of energy needs to come from dispatchable

            OK

            C) With 40GW nameplate renewables, 69% of energy needs to come from dispatchable FF

            That is a strange way to set things up. Kind of thumb on the scale.

            The wind blows well more than 50% of the time. The Sun shines close to 20%. Given the correct mix of wind and solar we should get more like 60%, 70% direct from renewables. Then we need storage for the other 30%, 40%.

            Wind and solar stored in PuHS is no more expensive than new nuclear or coal. If we’re getting >50% of our electricity from 5c/kWh wind/solar we can pay 10c for storage and still come in below the cost of nuclear at 11c.

            D) With 110GW nameplate renewables and maybe 1TWh of storage, 15% of energy needs to come from ~55GW (my estimate) dispatchable FF

            Now you’ve gone from 40 GW nameplate renewables to 110 GW nameplate. You’ve moved beyond you annual minimum.

            That means that any nuclear operating at that level needs storage in order to be incorporated.

          • eveee

            Energy? LOL. Is that what you are talking. Are you claiming the energy varies during the day? LOL. You must have a power source equal to the demand. Capacity meaning Watts. Not Watt hours. Good grief your are hopelessly lost. You can dump the excess into a resistor?
            Oh…… My…….asldkfjlk.

          • A Real Libertarian

            I think you need this picture to properly express your reaction:

          • eveee

            Really. It may take some time to recover. I remember a similar antic at Skeptical Science where this one guy went on and on… Turns out he did not understand the jargon in climatology. Physicist. Turned right instead of left in the corridor. Thought he was still in the physics department. :) You let em in and suddenly they become climatologist, drought specialists, tornado specialists…… :)

          • eveee

            I don’t know if I can post a movie here. My favorite is Super Stupid by Funkadelic. Get crazy. Utoob.

          • A Real Libertarian

            Post the link like this:

            P.S. Mint, George Takei will explain the problem

          • eveee

          • Bob_Wallace

            This is a bit out of place, but I don’t feel like spending the time looking for the right spot….

            I just took another look at the Budischak graph.

            They’ve got enough wind and solar combined to produce a bit over 200 GW of power (max). And whatever storage they used (the graph shows GWh).

            In order to make that combo work they needed about 25 GW of NG turbines. That’s about 13.5% of the wind/solar capacity.

          • Mint

            The numbers are in the table. They need 28.3GW NG turbines and 52GW peak battery (GIV) power.

            You should be comparing to demand (that’s the optimization constraint), not overbuild. Average demand is 31.5GW, and even with all that overbuild, they need 28.3GW NG on standby for when renewables are low *and* battery power has emptied out. Unfortunately, they don’t give peak demand, but we can guess ~65GW.

            I think the 90% results are more pertinent, because that’s a more realistic goal. 57GW FF needed.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Clearly, in their final model run there was no need for 100% fossil fuel backup of all wind/solar installed. Referencing the oft heard “Gotta build a GW of spinning fuel for every GW of wind/solar”.

            I have no idea what the ideal goal should be. That’s 20 to 30 years out. Who knows what various solutions will cost that far out?

            My guess is that wind and solar will be below 3c/kWh (2014 prices) and NG will be very significantly more expensive than now. But those are guesses.
            I’ll also guess that storage will be under 5c/kWh and nuclear will have continued to increase in price, if anyone is still building any.

          • Mint

            Referencing the oft heard “Gotta build a GW of spinning fuel for every GW of wind/solar”.

            You’re misunderstanding the claim. If you want to be able to handle 1GW of higher demand than you currently can, then 1GW of renewables won’t cut it.

            Alternatively, if demand is the same and you add 1GW of renewables, you cannot take away 1GW of FF. You can’t even take away 100MW.

            Compare the 30% and 90% scenarios from Budischak: 100GW of renewables and 42GW of storage added, but only 5GW of FF can be retired. That’s it.

            Contrary to your earlier claim, you need to keep almost all FF alive when you install renewables.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Are you talking about nameplate or production?

          • Mint

            Nameplate *is* peak production rate, provided you’re not being scammed.

          • eveee

            We’re off in the weeds again. Lets get the business of 22GW minimum demand 30GW max demand on a daily load curve. And understand what dispatchable means and why that means 8GW must be dispatched and no more that 22GW can be base load. Then we have to understand what reserves mean. If you get those concepts you may realize why I can add several GW of wind without much trouble. Its the reserves. Thats why. They are there in case demand varies so the same reserves can be used if generation varies. The amount of reserves is about 10G also. Ponder that. Then reframe some of your thought. Get the basic concepts and terminology definitions down first.

          • Mint

            Ugh. Off in the weeds? What’s wrong with the detailed UK graph from the same link? I have to redo everything?

            Okay, here we go.
            http://energymag.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/daily-demand-california-summer-caiso.jpg?w=960
            So we build 22GW baseload (I would actually choose 24GW baseload, since I negotiate long term deals for that at cheap rates, but whatever). It will output 528 GWh/day.

            We need 9GW dispatchable to hit the peak of 31GW. Count the area under the curve and above 22GW, and you get about 130GWh/day.

            Hard for that system to operate with 80% base load.

            Surprise! That’s 80% of electricity generated from baseload, 20% from dispatchable. Got it?

          • eveee

            What you fail to understand is that you do not understand the subject. Until you do, you will thrash about endlessly, making false statements in confusion. You claim wind needs 1:1 reserves. You state it differently, but thats what you claim.

            “I simply think you need to keep FF+storage capacity online almost equal to wind capacity”

            Instead of disregarding the conclusions of NREL and cherry picking stuff to prove your confirmation bias, why don’t you read the conclusion of those who wrote the paper?

            (and save yourself and us a lot of consternation in the process) :)

            Several utilities have deemed it necessary to have excessive reserve requirements for wind(i.e., one-to-one ratio). …. Recent studies have shown this to be unnecessary. Milligan (2003) showed that reserve requirements decrease for wind generation in Iowa if the generation is spread across the state… In the situation that wind generation is spread across Iowa, 200-MW rested capacity equals 11.36% of Iowa’s peak demand and requires 4.23% of rated capacity or 8.5 MW in extra load following reserves for a 99% confidence interval.

            Its under the heading,”Introduction”
            http://www.undeerc.org/wind/literature/Regional_Wind.pdf

            Get this one right so we don’t have to keep going over it. Then we can go on so you can understand that a daily demand with 1.5 to 1 variation cannot be met with a fixed base load at 85% of peak. Thats a doozy.

          • eveee

            You have completely botched it. Now I know why you are lost. Its going to take a lot of learning on your part to even comprehend this discussion. You need so many fundamentals, the conversation is meaningless. You need 9GW of power, not energy to fill the gap. That means one or more dispatchable (that means load following here) plants equal to a total of 9GW. Thats power. That is more than 20% greater than the base load of 22GW here. 22/31 is .709 so you cannot have any more than 70.9 % of the total demand be base load. Thats how it works.

      • RobS

        Oh the fuel cost is next to zero, well then that proves that overall nuclear is cheap too right? Thats a bit like arguing healthcare is cheap because the teabags in the staff tea room don’t cost much. Who cares that one tiny aspect is cheap when the whole thing is so ridiculously god damn expensive, The economics in the best case scenario business plans are marginal, the reality is no nuclear reactor built in the western world in the last 30 years has ever come in on budget, over runs of 50% to 100% are industry standard and then you have to spend 50-100% of the initial build cost again to decommission. The best case scenarios have nuclear costing 15-20c/kwh just to cover build costs, the reality is once over runs and decommisioning costs are factored in nuclear energy costs 40-50c/kwh compared with 6c/kwh for wind and 10c/kwh for solar.

        • Mint

          “Oh the fuel cost is next to zero, well then that proves that overall nuclear is cheap too right?”

          Obviously that point flew right over your head. I never claimed such nonsense. Tell me: if fuel costs are so low, why on earth would you taper output? Nuclear is not backup power, and never will be.

          If you’re going to use 2006 interest rates that give 15-20c/kWh to cover build costs, then solar (20% CF) and wind (30% CF) are going to come out even worse for equal amounts of CO2 displaced, especially when you consider that your gas backup won’t be running at optimally efficient steady state.

          Solar has a capacity factor that is 1/4 that of nuclear, and you’re claiming 4x the cost, i.e. you think it cost 16x as much per watt to build and decommission. Complete BS that even the most anti-nuclear tool wouldn’t claim.

          • RobS

            Somebody that is totally blind to the real world blowout in costs of every attempted nuclear project in the western world in recent years also totally clueless about the far greater value of dispatchable load following generation? I’m shocked.

            Oh and btw I understand how mathematically challenged you clearly are but 15-20 is NOT 4 times 10.

          • Mint

            also totally clueless about the far greater value of dispatchable load following generation?

            What renewables are dispatchable? Aside from absurdly expensive thermal solar (PS10, Solar One), and tapped out hydro, none. And for nuclear? There is ZERO value in load following, which by definition means running at intentionally lower capacity factor. You wear out parts from thermal cycling and amortize construction cost over fewer kWh, and for what? For marginal savings of 1c/kW in fuel? It’s complete stupidity for nuclear.

            Oh and btw I understand how mathematically challenged you clearly are but 15-20 is NOT 4 times 10.

            You said 10 for solar vs 40-50 for nuclear, not me, and got that from 20 construction and same for decommissioning. CF from solar averages 22% at best, and far worse in most of the western world (10% UK/Germany/others, <15% in many parts of the US) which is certainly NOT 1/3rd of nuclear’s ~90%. The only way you can get 4x the levelized cost of construction/decommissioning from a source with 4x the CF is with 16x the cost per watt.

            solar now below $2 per watt and nuclear build regularly coming in around $7-8 per watt with decommission costs factored in

            Using your new figures (LOL and you call me mathematically challenged? How does this jibe at all with your 4-5x $/kWh claims?), you get slightly lower cost of construction/decommissioning per kWh generated assuming equal lifetime, and lower still when using a longer lifetime for nuclear (a fact based in reality) and equal interest rate, not 4x cost.

            And you’re not including cost of storage (enormous) to go beyond 30% penetration, or backup gas, or loss of revenue when wind blows if that’s the rest of your solution (Budischak found little use for solar if you’re going to overbuild wind).

            Finally, and most importantly, you completely ignored that my very first post said “I agree that current nuclear technology is unlikely to expand”, and explicitly mentioned molten salt nuclear. That’s how we’re going to beat out coal usage beyond the western world.

            I’m done with you. You’re completely illogical and don’t know how to follow a conversation.

          • sault

            “There is ZERO value in load following…It’s complete stupidity for nuclear.”
            Well how come French nuclear reactors have to operate in “load following” mode all the time? It’s because nuclear plants aren’t very dispatchable and operate sub-optimally to match demand. This is just one of the many shortcomings of a massive nuclear buildout you fanbois seem to forget.

          • Mint

            France barely does any load following, hence their 80% capacity factor, and they only do it keep export price from being zero. The plants don’t gain any benefit. It’s nowhere near the type of load following needed to back up wind.

            You don’t need more than 20% of energy from dispatchable sources. Look at the graphs I posted above.

            Even achieving 50% nuclear in other countries needs a massive buildout, and you’d need zero load following for that. You’re bitching over a non-issue.

          • eveee

            False. French nuclear does the most load following of any country in the world.

            Drawing such a large percentage of overall electrical production from nuclear power is unique to France. This reliance has resulted in certain necessary deviations from the standard design and function of other nuclear power programs. For instance, in order to meet changing demand throughout the day, some plants must work as peaking power plant, whereas most nuclear plants in the world operate as base-load plants, and allow other fossil or hydro units to adjust to demand. Nuclear power in France has a totalcapacity factor of around 77%, which is low due to load following.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_power_in_France

          • Mint

            “Most” does not mean “lots”.

            77% CF – which would be 85-90% if it was baseload – *mathematically* implies minimal load following. It’s full blast and turned down occasionally.

          • Bob_Wallace

            That’s because France can dump huge amounts of their nuclear over supply into other countries’ grids.

            The rest of Europe serves as France’s storage system. They get away with that because they build a lot of nuclear a long time ago and now they have only operating costs.

          • eveee

            Maybe you don’t understand. French nuclear does load following. Since it provides about 80% of the electricity, hydro the rest, and some is export import, its hard to tell exactly how much, but the far that French NPP capacity factor is 77% instead of 90% shows it is dialed back. Given those numbers, and the somewhat vague statement
            “barely does any load following”, and the Wiki quote to the contrary, it questions the comment. It is generally accepted that French NPP do a lot of load following. That is why France can use so much nuclear, but US cannot. This is part of the misunderstanding you seem to have about this matter. Demand curves vary daily, monthly, and annually. Generation has to vary to match. If it has to vary, some of the sources may not be used all the time. If the demand varied 2 to 1, and there was only one source, that source could not be on all the time and must load follow. 80% of French generation is nuclear, therefore it must load follow because demand varies more than 20%. FYI, don’t misquote. My statement was France does the most (nuclear) load following of any country.. not does mostly load following.

          • Mint

            I didn’t misquote. I was pointing out that “most of any country” does not mean “all the time” (see sault’s post). I guess we have different definitions of “lots”, “barely”, etc.

            If I was driving on a road at a max of 85-90km/h (due to speed limits), and my trip computer said I averaged 77km/h, I’d say I had a mostly stop-free, traffic-free ride.

          • eveee

            Misquote means you did not copy the text exactly and put quotes around it. By that definition you misquote all the time. But no matter. If you want to quote me, do this

            “French nuclear does the most load following of any country in the world.”

            To be clear, my statement was meant to refer to nuclear load following.

            contrast to your statement

            “France barely does any load following”

            Which it appears you may be relating to the amount of load following as a percentage of the peak.

            In Conclusions
            “In France, load following is needed to balance daily and weekly variations in electricity supply and demand since nuclear energy represents a large share of the national mix.”

            https://www.oecd-nea.org/nea-news/2011/29-2/nea-news-29-2-load-following-e.pdf

            More for interest in French load following.

            http://www.iaea.org/NuclearPower/Downloadable/Meetings/2013/2013-09-04-09-06-TM-NPE/8.feutry_france.pdf

          • eveee

            You are hung up on the myth of baseload power because you do not understand how the power system works. Baseload, old meaning, means steady, non dispatchable power. Can’t change power output fast. Dispatchability has value. It’s needed to follow demand. Baseload is high initial cost, long payback. Conservation kills baseload because the high capital cost can’t be paid off in a dwindling demand market.
            http://reneweconomy.com.au/2013/baseload-power-is-a-myth-even-intermittent-renewables-will-work-92421

          • Mint

            What myth? Go look at any region’s demand curve. It can always be decomposed into a mostly flat section with 10-20% extra energy needed for daytime/evening.

            Do you not understand the concept of cost optimization? Until renewables are cheaper than the cost of fuel (~3c/kWh) in coal/CCGT, you will ALWAYS minimize LCOE for any plant – dispatchable or not – by running it at the maximum sustainable capacity factor. For nuclear, coal, natural gas, geothermal, hydro, etc that means making it baseload.

            Dispatchability is highly valuable only when near-monopolies manipulate the clearing price; otherwise, it’s only needed for a small percentage of power, and has value equal to that of simple gas turbine: ~5c/kWh fuel + profit/overhead + amortized $1/W.

            Intermittent renewables require far more dispatchable capacity to fill in the gaps between their output and demand. That’s what you don’t understand. When power is in need, NG plant operators will gouge you on price.

            As for your article, I’m going to trust Budischak et al 2013 long before I trust Diesendorf, because:
            a) Budischak showed the actual simulation output in his paper, while Diesendorf didn’t
            b) Budischak had a much more transparent cost breakdown
            c) Diesendorf is using CST for storage, which is unproven and costs $360/MWh in Spain (and expensive in Nevada, too)
            d) The results are too different

            Budischak finds that the variability of renewables requires ~2x energy overproduction to hit 90% renewable generation at the lowest possible cost. This is because storage is expensive and wind has a lot of correlation. Everyone knows storage is the key to renewable energy, and Diesendorf is just doesn’t talk enough about it.

            I understand the power system far better than you do, and more importantly I understand that developing countries have far more important things to invest in than clean energy, like food, water, vaccines, schooling, etc. They will continue to use unregulated, untaxed coal mined with cheap labor.

          • Bob_Wallace

            ” When power is in need, NG plant operators will gouge you on price.”

            Storage offers competition which will keep prices in check.

            With the Budischak paper, remember they ran a simplified model which did not include load-shifting and power trades with adjacent grids.

            ” I understand that developing countries have far more important things to invest in than clean energy, like food, water, vaccines, schooling, etc. They will continue to use unregulated, untaxed coal mined with cheap labor.”

            Might want to keep an eye on how much wind, solar and geothermal is being installed in developing countries.

            India and China, the two largest developing coal-using countries, are bumping up against water resource problems. They need to cut coal production and consumption simply to free up water for agriculture. And both are under pressure to reduce coal-produced pollution.

            About 80% of coal consumption happens in only eight countries. India and China are the only ones that fall into the developing category.

            It’s hard to see what developing country might increase coal use. The World Bank and several international investment banks won’t loan for new coal plants. (The World Bank left the door open for unusual circumstance loans.)

            My guess is that developing countries are going to leapfrog thermal generation and go straight to renewables as they did with land lines and cell phones.

            Wind and solar is extremely modular and is brought on line very rapidly. It starts paying for itself very rapidly which is important for capital starved countries.

          • Mint

            You make good points, some of which I have counters to and others not.

            Storage is will protect you from gouging only if it is abundant enough to threaten cutting out NG peakers entirely (like the Budischak 99.90% case). Otherwise they will have the system at their mercy.

            India and China are under pressure, but I don’t have much faith in them going to wind+gas to displace it. South-east Asia burns a lot of coal as well, and LNG imports are much more expensive. South Africa is mainly coal, and I assume much of the continent will be similar as it develops. I don’t know if the World Bank’s policies will matter, because capital will just shuffle around (e.g. private investors do coal, and leave other stuff for the World Bank to finance).

            I see renewables displacing natural gas, but I think that’s where it ends. Natural gas isn’t cheap for them, so we’re not going to see wind+gas push out coal like it has in the US, Australia, and middle east.

            Modular wind/solar can work for small communities without a grid, but I don’t know how relevant that will be. I think most growth will be urban.

            —————————-

            The fundamental problem for renewables in growing economies is that they add very little to real capacity. If your country needs to handle 1GW more peak demand, you can’t get that with 1GW of wind or solar, or even 5GW. You need to build that *and* 1GW of natural gas. Since you can achieve the same capacity increase with the latter alone, or with just 1GW of coal, then how big is the incentive to tack on renewables? Seems minimal to me.

          • Bob_Wallace

            If NG peakers are earning $0.15/kWh (just picking a number) and storage can do the job for $0.12/kWh someone is going to build storage and capture the market away from NG.

            Where in SE Asia is a lot of coal burned? In 2012 the top 8 coal consumers burned over 80% of all coal. The largest SEA consumer I find is Bangladesh with a 0.7% share.

            And Bangladesh is installing solar like a house on fire. They’re now at 2 million solar homes and adding 80,000 more per month.

            Why would you assume African nations would build expensive coal when they can build less expensive renewables? Install renewables faster and forgo fuel purchases.

            Wind/solar/NG is going to be cheaper than coal if one is making a new:new comparison.

            Since wind and solar are pretty much the cheapest ways to bring new capacity to the grid why would urban areas turn their backs on them and install more expensive capacity?

            “Real capacity”? What is “real capacity”?

            Is real capacity, in your book, something like nuclear which runs even when demand is low and needs significant spinning reserve in case it goes off line expectantly. If so, “real capacity” = PITA for grid operators.

            ” If your country needs to handle 1GW more peak demand, you can’t get that with 1GW of wind or solar, or even 5GW.”

            No, if you foolishly attend to nameplate you’ll be disappointed. But we’re past that sort of novice mistake in this discussion, are we not?

            What you will have to do is do something like the Budischak “all wind, solar and storage” model. Remember that? You won’t have to build 1GW of NG backup. You’ll need some backup for rare events. Or as the cost of storage falls you won’t need to build any NG at all.

            Long term storage with PuHS and vanadium redox batteries is relatively cheap. The hardware gets to cycle frequently which spreads capex and the extra water/chemicals are cheap to house.

          • Mint

            -Nobody has captured the market away from peakers precisely because storage is expensive. Batteries can only amortize to 12c/kWh if they’re cycled daily for 10 years.

            -Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand all use substantial amounts of coal. South Africa is 90% coal, so why should I expect economics to be so different nearby?

            -Nuclear plants don’t go offline together like wind/solar. A few reactors worth of reserve is all you need.

            -“Real capacity” means it’s available around the clock. The poorest villages that don’t care have too small carbon footprints to matter. It’s emerging economies that matter most, and they want power to be there when they need it.

            -Budischak does indeed have NG backup. The 99.9% case is always most expensive, even in 2030. 90% is more reasonable, and there he has 57GW NG for a grid that averages 31.5GW.

            -PuHS is cheap only if you’re fortunate with geography.

            -Vanadium redox isn’t cheap. Optimistic projections are $200/kWh, and round trip efficiency is 70%. To get 1W average load, you’d need 6W solar panels and 16Wh of storage plus electronics and mounting. That’s over $15/W and you’ll lose power regularly when you don’t get enough sun to last a day. Pairing that with wind is even worse, because you need at least 3 days of storage to get some semblance of reliability (wind droughts can many days, and large areas will be impossible), and you won’t be cycling daily to amortize it.

            -Coal without emissions control and regulation is damn cheap. It’s basically half of a CC plant with a furnace, and probably $1/W in these countries. China, India, Indonesia, South Africa, etc didn’t choose it just to be dicks…

          • Bob_Wallace

            “-Nobody has captured the market away from peakers precisely because storage is expensive. Batteries can only amortize to 12c/kWh if they’re cycled daily for 10 years”.

            In March 2014, AES Energy Storage launched a new modular energy storage solution capable of cost-effectively replacing some peak power plants. Called Advancion, AES’ solution uses lithium-ion batteries.

            http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/aes-energy-storage-targets-30-billion-peak-power-substitution-market

            “-Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand all use substantial amounts of coal. South Africa is 90% coal, so why should I expect economics to be so different nearby?”

            Indonesia 6.2% of world consumption.

            Thailand 0.1% of world consumption.

            Malaysia uses too little to even get listed outside of “Other Asian Pacific” which totals 1%.

            Indonesia is talking about building more plants, but they certainly aren’t going to take up the slack created by US and Germany plant closures. The US is about to shut down 25% or so of their 13.4% share.

            “-Nuclear plants don’t go offline together like wind/solar. A few reactors worth of reserve is all you need.”

            We recognize that it takes storage to complete a wind/solar mix. That said, wind and solar inputs are easy to predict hours ahead. An abrupt nuclear outage isn’t.

            “-“Real capacity” means it’s available around the clock. The poorest villages that don’t care have too small carbon footprints to matter.”

            There are billions of “poorest village” and rural dwellers who produce far more CO2 than they should for the tiny amount of light they get. And they also produce a large amount of soot.

            You’re missing the scale.

            “Budischak does indeed have NG backup”

            Yes, it gets used 7 hours a year. The thinking here is that we’ll have all that NG capacity in place and paid off before we approach 99% renewables. So we’re talking minimal expense to keep the plants in working order and have a part time crew on call for the one summer day we need to turn them on.

            And, before you get too carried away with “99%”, remember what is left out of their simplified model – hydro, tidal, power exchanges, load shifting, biofuel and even residual nuclear.

            “-PuHS is cheap only if you’re fortunate with geography.”

            Just about everywhere is fortunate when it comes to PuHS.

            “Vanadium redox isn’t cheap. Optimistic projections are $200/kWh, and round trip efficiency is 70%.”

            With incredible cycle and calendar life. One must consider the usability in addition to capex and efficiency.

            $200/kWh with multiple cycles per day and decades of use makes for pretty cheap storage.

            And do try to treat wind and solar together, not as stand alone suppliers. No one except anti-renewable interests talks about a 100% wind or solar grid.

            “-Coal without emissions control and regulation is damn cheap”

            No, you’re making the common mistake of people who talk about nuclear being cheap. You’re using the cost from a paid off plant when the comparison must be with a newly built plant. New coal would likely be more expensive than new nuclear. Again you’ve got a big capital hungry project that takes years to bring on line, plus higher fuel costs.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Sorry, I posted some incorrect numbers in that comment. Just realized I was looking at the wrong page.

            Indonesia – 1.4% of total world coal consumption.
            Thailand – 0.4%
            Malaysia – 0.4%

            High on one, low on two.

          • Mint

            What’s AES’ market share? They’re nibbling at the most profitable fringes with a mere 4h, letting them use solar for the evening peak, for example. The theoretical cost floor of Li-ion won’t let that stretch that to 24h without doubling the cost of solar.

            Vanadium redox, as I said, is 70% efficient. That’s a 50% increase in energy cost for everything passing through it, on top of cycle costs. High frequency variation (“multiple cycles per day”) isn’t my concern, because weather doesn’t move that fast over country-sized areas. Variation on the scale of weeks or seasons is the big problem for renewables, and you only have tens to hundreds of cycles per decade to amortize costs.

            You need to stop looking at Budischak’s 99.9% scenario. That’s over 50% higher cost per kWh than the 90% case, and therefore will not be used by developing countries.

            “Just about everywhere is fortunate when it comes to PuHS.” Says who? You need high altitude lakes next to a steep elevation drop and a willingness to change the water level, which environmentalists don’t like. The reality is that only a small subset of hydro resources meet those requirements, and hydro is already limited. These studies we’ve talked about show that we need power capacity from storage on the order of half the grid’s demand.

            If you have proof of entirely manmade reservoirs being cheap, I’d like to see it.

            Can I ask why you think basic coal plants are so expensive? It’s a furnace driving a steam turbine. That’s half as complex as a combined-cycle unit, and much less complex than nuclear. I know emissions control makes it expensive in western countries, but not elsewhere. I’ve seen figures below $2/W.

          • Bob_Wallace

            “What’s AES’ market share?”

            Look, Mint, do you wish to be taken seriously or are you going to turn into a joke like Joe? AES is just entering the market. They may or may not be able to grab some share from NG. If they can it is very likely that they will be able to scale up, reduce their costs, and grab more.

            “Can I ask why you think basic coal plants are so expensive?”

            Because the people who work through the numbers for coal report that new coal, if we built any, would be expensive.

            You’ve got a large project that takes a lot of capital up front and requires years to build. Interest has to be paid on the loans and since there’s no income interest accumulates. Just like nuclear.

          • eveee

            ” do you wish to be taken seriously or are you going to turn into a joke like Joe? ”
            Too late for that.

          • eveee

            If nobody has captured the market away from peakers then explain why so much peaker turbines have gone off line in Germany? Yes. Why is that? Explain why daytime rates have plummeted. Now what could have done that? Oh yes. Solar.

          • eveee

            Exaggeration alert. “Intermittent renewables require far more dispatchable capacity to fill in the gaps between their output and ..”
            No they do not. If you would read the references you might not make such wild, incorrect statements.
            “Additional operating reserve: if additional wind does not correspond to demand patterns, additional operating reserve may be required compared to other generating types, however this does not result in higher capital costs for additional plants since this is merely existing plants running at low output – spinning reserve. Contrary to statements that all wind must be backed by an equal amount of “back-up capacity”, intermittent generators contribute to base capacity “as long as there is some probability of output during peak periods.” Back-up capacity is not attributed to individual generators, as back-up or operating reserve “only have meaning at the system level.”[69]”
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intermittent_energy_source

          • Mint

            How many times do I have to explain this to you? Using existing plants at lower capacity factor IS 100% IDENTICAL to increasing dispatchable power.

            Wild and incorrect? LOL. Intentionally reducing capacity factor is the very *definition* of dispatchable power, genius.

            Furthermore, the use of existing plants only works if you assume zero growth. You cannot increase your handling of the evening peak with PV solar, and barely so with wind.

          • eveee

            No. You have no idea what you are talking about. Sorry. You are making it painfully clear. Despite warnings to the contrary that your understanding of the power system is poor, you persist in this notion. There are no significant “extra” reserves added to the power system for wind integration at levels as high as 30% and somewhat beyond. All the papers say that and there is good justification for the fact. The system has to allow for more than 2 to 1 variation annually, and variation is also large daily. You have been shown actual daily demand curves showing this. There is a large amount of reserves for the great demand variation and for the contingency of large generator unplanned outage. This reserve is very large and you can view it on the same demand charts. That is any no significant extra reserves are required. All sources require reserves even nuclear. If you don’t understand that fact, you are uninformed. If you persist in wild fantasies, the conversation gets dull and well,,,, really boring. Hopefully its not a complete loss, because as we investigate these principles, others learn how the power system works and why we do not need 100% backup for renewables. Some might even discovery that there are “base load” renewables.

          • Mint

            Where did I use the word “reserve”? Learn how to read without injecting your own bias.

            Tell me how much dispatchable capacity you think is needed to meet 100GW peak demand for the following three scenarios:

            A) A grid with 50GW of wind capacity
            B) A grid with 200GW of wind capacity
            C) A grid with 80 x 1GW nuclear capacity

          • eveee

            See my other comments about dispatch ability and reserves for an explanation. Dispatchability is a quality of the existing system. It does not change adding renewables. What does happen is that there are reserves on standby ready to fill in if demand spikes, or if a large thermal power plant has unplanned outage. The utility definition of base load is that it never changes output. It has no dispatch ability and it is a characteristic of the generation source. Reserves cannot be base load sources, they must be dispatchable sources. Your questions could have answers, but only in the context of the whole system and the day ahead demand forecast. Beginning to understand? That is why the A, B, C is not meaningful. We could say tomorrows demand was flat as a ruler, and matched C. Then no dispatchable resources would be needed to meet demand variation. That does not eliminate the need for reserves at all. In fact, if that were the only generator, we would need a very fast dispatchable generator equal to the output of C. Try thinking of it the way system operators do. It helps.

          • Mint

            So you’re going to dodge those very simple questions?

            Most grids have a fair amount of baseload. You gave me a link showing coal does not want to cycle frequently due to wear & transient inefficiencies, and on top of that LCOE goes up with reduced CF. Between hydro, coal, and nuclear, traditional baseload is ~60% of US generation (yes, I know hydro can be curtailed, but that’s wasting marginally free electricity). The most efficient CCGT is run at high-CF as well, so I guess we can call that quasi-baseload.

            If you want 3/4 of the remaining 40% (which has an irregular required production shape to meet demand variation) to be wind, you’ll need to either waste a lot of excess energy (i.e. curtail/feather) or add gobs of storage, because you can’t squeeze that much wind into such a tight and irregular envelope. Remember, 30% wind means your nameplate capacity roughly matches your average system load, and output varies from ~5-75% CF (NREL WWSIS-2 showed 3-50GW variation for 64GW wind capacity).

            So the only economical way to go to 30% wind is to swap some cheap baseload for dispatchable power. This is my point: 30%+ wind makes a grid need more dispatchable capacity. Yes, there is a little capacity handling from wind, but only 5-10% CF.

            Now, there’s a good thing there in that it forces us to shut down pretty much all coal, but we can’t replace it with high-CF CCGT that minimizes LCOE. Instead, this new CCGT will be running as a typical dispatchable unit with reduced CF. Just to be clear, I am not claiming that 30% wind requires more reserves on standby to handle demand spike or thermal plant failures. That will remain the same.

            Got it? Anything you object to here? I’ve been thinking like a system operator all along.

            (Aside: I wholly disagree that C needs 80GW ultrafast reserve. Nuclear plant shutdowns are not correlated with each other at all, unlike renewables, and are largely scheduled. Even 5 simultaneous unexpected shutdowns would be exceedingly rare, so 10GW reserve will be plenty).

          • eveee

            Nobody is dodging your simple questions. We are waiting for the echo chamber in your mind to quiet down. Once you start getting some fundamentals, then we might have a decent intellectual conversation. Right now your mind is full of …. well its just plain a mess. Stop thinking you know how power systems work. You don’t. Then you might learn. Right now you are not learning much because your brain is blocking it all. Start by reading the quote that says wind does not require 1:1 backup. The people I quoted know more than you. They wrote peer reviewed papers going back more than a decade. Read it over and over if you have to. Until it sinks in. When it does. Come back. Then we can start the conversation. And stop trying to cherry pick small snippets of papers to argue a point that contradicts the conclusions of the authors of the paper. They know what they wrote. And they know what those pieces of information conclude. Not you.

          • eveee

            False. Look at the demand curve. Nothing like what you assert. The variation is much higher than 20%. Get your facts straight.

            http://energymag.net/daily-energy-demand-curve/

          • eveee

            I don’t know what demand curve you are looking at. See cairo.com. There I see generally about 22GW at the lowest and 30GW highest daily. That is nowhere near like your hypothetical demand curve that only varies 20% daily.

          • Mint

            I’ve done two examples for you from your own source. Go reply over there. And I said energy, not capacity.

          • eveee

            I guess the obvious is too simple for you to recognize. It doesn’t matter how much energy the source has if it does not have the power to meet the load. The result when the power does not meet demand. Blackout. If I have a 100W battery and a 60W load, no problem. Add 100W more load, need to look for more battery. Thats capacity, That varies. Thats power. Dispatchable power. Thats what base load cannot do. Vary to meet demand. If demand varies 50% and my power source cannot, bye bye. You keep talking about energy. Who cares? The system already broke if you cannot supply the power. So if you have 85% of generation as base load, power that cannot vary, there is no way you can supply a load that varies 40%. Thats because you only have 15% left over that can vary. Energy has diddly to do with it.

          • RobS

            There’s really no point trying to explain the concept of how valuable load following generators and the fact that ancillary services like load following have value and are compensated well above and beyond their /kWh rate to someone who is so clearly incapable of taking in new information that challenges the dogmatic gospel of their fixed beliefs.

          • Mint

            Since when did I deny that? You two are too dense to understand that running any plant as dispatchable amortizes the capital cost over fewer kWh. Guess what’s far and away the biggest cost of nuclear? Oh yeah.

            What’s hilarious is that you two know dispatchable power is more valuable (and thus costs more), yet are incapable of connecting the dots about intermittent power needing more dispatchable power to fill in the gaps.

            Even the paper by Diesendorf shows a need of 23GW of dispatchable gas turbine and 9.4GW of dispatchable CST for a system with a peak load of 35GW (23GW avg). That proves the intermittent renewables all go down to near zero simultaneously at some point.

          • RobS

            What’s hilarious is how you keep on saying the same thing over and over while ignoring the points being made, we know load following means fewer total kWh, you keep ignoring the point about it being compensated seperately and superiorly as an ancillary grid service. Try to stick with the full sentences before launching into a cut and paste reply.

            Diesendorf is one man’s model, it’s outcomes “prove” nothing.

          • Mint

            You obviously don’t know, or you wouldn’t be repeating the same nonsense. Who is going to pay nuclear 8x as much for running it at 10% capacity factor? Or even 4x as much at 20%?

            Dispatchable nuclear will NEVER be compensated enough, because its cost is almost all capital. A nuclear power plant is a case of use it or lose it. Whether a 1GW plant generates 8TWh or 1TWh per year, the bills are almost the same.

            Diesendorf is the best case model I’ve seen for renewables. Budischak shows just as much dispatchable power needed along with huge overbuild.

            All models based on real data show the same thing: renewables NEED dispatchable power to complement it, no matter how big the grid.

          • eveee

            How much more? All renewables go down to zero at some point? It’s getting worse. You simply have no clue what you are talking about.
            http://www.windpowermonthly.com/article/1192957/power-system-reserve—no-need-build-wind-back-up

          • Mint

            If you’re not going to pay attention to the very academic paper you originally pointed out to me, then what’s the point of this debate? What does 35-23-9.4 equal? That’s the best case minimum for Diesendorf’s dataset, and damn close to zero.

            What do you hope to achieve by pointing me to a mouthpiece for the industry? They assume zero growth in demand, pay minimal lip service to fossil fuel plant efficiency and economics, assume aggregate wind output will never drop below 1/3rd average output (which I know is false for the UK), makes no distinction between correlated outages vs uncorrelated, etc. Half of the article was about reliability, which I agree is a FUD tactic by wind opponents but not one that I used anywhere here.

            Furthermore, the master plan presented for the UK doesn’t cut fossil fuel emissions by any more than 25%.

          • eveee

            What precisely is your point? Are you trying to prove that these peer reviewed papers that show the feasibility of high levels of economically viable renewables are wrong? You have made a number of factually incorrect assertions. Until you acknowledge these, its pointless to continue. To wit, base load can be 80% of total generation mix. I showed the demand curves. Dispatchability, that is generation variation to meet demand, must be much larger than 20%.

          • Mint

            To wit? I already fit 85% baseload to the demand curves you gave me. What other challenge do you have?

          • eveee

            Lets get the terminology and concepts straight first to avoid misunderstanding. It all starts with the independent system operator, ISO, that plans and coordinates the activities, primarily on a day ahead planning basis. It takes days to start a thermal generation plant, so there is a lot of planning. The exception is the gas turbines. With some exception Nuclear and coal are base load, meaning they do not vary to follow load, (Coal does some now) The ability to vary output is called dispatchability. That means any variation in demand must be taken up by the gas turbines, or possibly hydro, demand management, and so forth. Then the operator looks at the day ahead demand forecast, and orders generators assigned according to “code”. With wind and solar, the operator has a forecast. Looking at the curves shown we can see all of that and the reserves. The demand varies from 22GW to 30GW. That means the most the base load can be is 22GW. 22GW is not 85% of the peak 30GW demand, so 85% base load cannot serve the demand. Now if you want to say that its not really base load and so on,… But in the US, nuclear is base load. Thats all. So nuclear cannot serve that demand curve in the US. In France, its a different story. French nuclear still has some load following limits, so hydro fills in the rest.

          • Mint

            Like I said, I already fit baseload+dispatchable to your demand graphs. Go look at the other post for the details.

          • eveee

            I keep telling him to read the references and that his statements are flat contradicted by multiple references.

          • eveee

            Yes. RobS. I have been patient. But the comment about using a resistor to dissipate the extra energy so a base load power plant could supply a demand curve with normal variation had my head reeling. Bob_Wallace commented asking if he wanted to be taken seriously… Sorry… Too late for that. I am having gaffs at the gaffes now. Its only an amusing comedy show anymore. Reminds me of a comedy sketch where the guy comes out of the john with tp hanging out the back. Only he’s arguing there is no tp. Every time he turns it switches to the side he’s not looking. Its hilarious.

          • RobS

            We have millions of resistors that can fill that role, they’re called water heaters and its a perfectly good solution to surplus intermittent generation. Meanwhile another report has come out showing that current new build solar and wind even with NG load following cost 21% than new build nuclear. The reality is any new nuclear proposed now won’t compete with current solar costs they will compete with solar costs in 6 years which will likely be 60-80% lower than today. http://cleantechnica.com/2014/04/26/wind-solar-can-generate-electricity-half-cost-nuclear/

          • Bob_Wallace

            Gotta count on both wind and wind being considerably cheaper before a new reactor could be started and brought on line.

            It sure feels to me like we’re at the cusp of a massive renewable roll out and legacy generation is going to get crushed.

          • eveee

            I get where you are going with this. I just saw the phrase “a resistor” and I couldn’t help cracking up. Its one thing millions of resistors and another “a resistor”. I don’t think he was envisioning doing anything useful with the excess generation. I don’t think he realized when he started talking about base load for virtually all demand, that he would get into the whole reserves and storage thing that Bob was referring to. As soon as you do that, you start to realize the value of dispatchablity and how base load does not have it. You get the concepts. What really got me was the notion that a base load at 80% could supply a demand that varied by 40%. Thats what precipitated this fiasco with dissipating the excess in “a resistor”. Thats some demand management if we put that in space heating, water heaters, etc. If we had that now we could do way more renewables immediately.

          • eveee

            When you start talkin about solar and using gas for backup I know you have not read WWITS from NREL. Look it up, read and comprehend it. First off, backup is more of a layman’s term. Pros use terms like reserves. Secondly, these studies refute the notion of significant impacts from running gas turbines at less than full capacity. In fact, NOx is reduced. There is very little loss from reducing gas turbine output. Almost the full amount of carbon is displaced by renewable inputs. This has been proved over and over in multiple studies.
            http://climatecrocks.com/2013/10/18/breaking-news-dog-bites-man-pope-catholic-wind-energy-saves-carbon/

          • Mint

            First of all, the high penetration figure of 80% is a pretty significant reduction from 100%.

            But more importantly, simple gas turbines don’t get affected much with cycling. CCGT, however, does. We could replace aging gas turbines with high efficiency CCGT if ramping up and down wasn’t cancelling much of the benefits.

            I found this giving an indication info about the prevalence of CCGT in Spain:
            http://www.gasnaturalfenosa.com/en/activities/our+energy/power+generation+technologies/1285338592301/combined+cycles.html
            It could well be that the 80% figure is due to the CCGT plants (maybe 70% of NG generation) is running at 70% of peak efficiency (e.g. 42% instead of 60%). 0.3*1.0+0.7*0.7=0.79.

            Here is a another far more detailed paper on the subject, but for Ireland:
            http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301421513007829

            0.28 kg CO2 saved per kWh of wind generated as opposed to the 0.52 expected.

          • eveee

            There you go again. Ireland. Or Spain. Looking at small regions is not meaningful for renewables that benefit from wide area effects. Can you please look at something a little larger like the US Midwest? Many other studies show much better renewable integration results. Please don’t just cherry pick small area results. Maybe this is easy enough for you to manage.

            “Contrary to claims by critics of wind power, Spanish researchers say, the turbines do reduce carbon dioxide emissions significantly even though the wind does not blow constantly.”

            http://climatecrocks.com/2013/10/18/breaking-news-dog-bites-man-pope-catholic-wind-energy-saves-carbon/

            If that were the only study, you could be excused. As it is, it is painfully clear that you are biased and picking only sources that validate your pre ordained notions.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Evidence Shows Wind Farms Don’t Need Fossil Fuel Back-up

            It has become an article of popular faith that building wind farms also involves constructing fossil-fuelled power stations for back‑up when the weather is calm. As a result, some opponents go on to say, wind turbines do little or nothing to cut carbon dioxide emissions.

            Now the National Grid has studied what actually happens in practice, with explosive, if surprising, results. Between April 2011 and September 2012 – its head of energy strategy, Richard Smith, told the Hay Festival – wind produced some 23,700 gigawatt hours (GWh) of power. Only 22GWh of power from fossil fuels was needed to fill the gaps when the wind didn’t blow. That’s less than a thousandth of the turbines’ output – and, as it happens, less than a tenth of what was needed to back up conventional power stations.
            It proved to be much the same with emissions. Wind saved nearly 11 million tonnes of carbon dioxide over that 18 months; standby burning of fossil fuels only reduced this by 8,800 tonnes, or 0.081 per cent.

            Not surprisingly, given these figures, no new fossil‑fuel power station has been built to provide back‑up for wind farms, and none is in prospect. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/wildlife/10091645/The-badger-cull-is-no-black-and-white-issue.html

          • eveee

            NIce post, Bob. Saves me the trouble. :) Its this persistent canard.

          • Mint

            Okay, I partially withdraw this claim, and will ignore the Ireland study.

            But I will still cite the results from NREL (20% higher heat rate for CCGT running at 40% CF) and the link you gave me (80% of expected CO2 reduction at high penetration). NREL in particular did a thorough job.

          • eveee

            Then read Bobs quote,

            Not surprisingly, given these figures, no new fossil‑fuel power station has been built to provide back‑up for wind farms, and none is in prospect.

          • Mint

            Bob isn’t anywhere in this sequence of replies, so I don’t know what you’re talking about.

            I never mentioned FF construction in this sequence of replies starting from RobS, so again I have no context. Reply to a post of mine where I actually talk about that.

            Let’s just end this particular discussion with the results from the NREL study that you pointed to:
            20% higher fuel use per kWh for CCGT running at 40% CF.

            Your other link with the Spain study shows almost the same result at high penetrations (renewables displace 80% of CO2 instead of 100%).

          • eveee

            To the tune of “back in the saddle again”

            I’m lost in the ozone again.

            The refinance is to Bobs quote of a UK minister that paraphrased says there is no additional reserves or as you call it layman style “back” required for renewables. You seem to keep dribbling the conversation off away from that fact while still denying it.

            Somehow, despite being called on repeated technical errors, you think that by cherry picking quotes from references that conclude

            “Contrary to claims by critics of wind power, Spanish researchers say, the turbines do reduce carbon dioxide emissions significantly even though the wind does not blow constantly.”

            that you can contradict the authors conclusions. I goes it never occurs to you that they might be right and know something you don’t.

            Ahem. So here. Get this. Read it over and over.

            You have been quoted it. But it just is not getting in through that thick shell.

            This is what you said.

            “I simply think you need to keep FF+storage capacity online almost equal to wind capacity”

            Someone else made your mistake years ago. Learn from it.

            “Several utilities have deemed it necessary to have excessive reserve requirements for wind(i.e., one-to-one ratio). …. Recent studies have shown this to be unnecessary. Milligan (2003) showed that reserve requirements decrease for wind generation in Iowa if the generation is spread across the state… In the situation that wind generation is spread across Iowa, 200-MW rested capacity equals 11.36% of Iowa’s peak demand and requires 4.23% of rated capacity or 8.5 MW in extra load following reserves for a 99% confidence interval.”

            http://www.undeerc.org/wind/li…

            Lets simplify it for you…

            Breaking News: Dog Bites Man, Pope Catholic, Wind Energy Saves Carbon

            http://climatecrocks.com/2013/10/18/breaking-news-dog-bites-man-pope-catholic-wind-energy-saves-carbon/

          • Bob_Wallace

            The first large job battery storage will do it so eliminate the frequent ramping up and down of CCNG. Batteries will seize that portion of the market, leaving CCNG to provide for the more extended periods.

  • Will E

    Easy to read. Clear article. time to divest Nuclear.

    I miss one chart.
    Is there a chart of the cost in dollars of nuclear plant decommission worldwide?
    compared to decommission Solar and Wind Energy Production Plants.

    I have still an awe and terror feeling by the decommission cost of Sellafield UK.
    google Sellafield UK
    100 billion dollars nuclear decommission cost and not done.
    What are the data in dollars of decommissioned nuclear utilities worldwide.
    and how is it paid for?

    • Mint

      The UK has far and away the highest nuclear construction and decommissioning costs in the entire world. I don’t know why, but it’s irrelevant to everyone else.

      • sault

        San Onofre is going to cost $3B to decommission and that’s only if it the best-case scenario happens and it only takes 20 years to do it. The U.K. may be paranoid about nuclear decommissionning or they may be the only ones that are doing it right, meaning that everywhere else is cutting corners and leaving a radioactive legacy for future generations to deal with. If you have evidence that the Brits are spending way too much on their decommissioning projects, I’d like to see your source.

        • Ronald Brakels

          Stellafield is a right dog’s breakfast where secret nuclear weapon research took place. So secret they neglected to write down exactly where they put all their radioactive materials and it’s too dangerous to go poking around in their radioactive ponds to try and find out. That’s why the cost of cleaning it up is so astoundingly high. Also the people doing it may be incompetent and/or bill padding, but that involves politics I don’t follow. Of course even a normal nuclear power plant is not cheap to decommission, as the example of San Onofre you gave shows.

        • Mint

          San Onofre already collected $2.7B for that cleanup, and did so by putting aside a mere 0.5c/kWh.

          My evidence is that they’re spending more with no better result. Do you have any evidence beyond conjecture that their cleanup is superior to that in the US or France? But at the time of my comment, I didn’t realize that Sellafield was the site of the UK’s nuclear weapons program.

          It’s very disingenuous to blame the cost and fallout of nuclear weapons research and production on nuclear power.

          • sault

            The Utilities that share ownership of SO probably didn’t think they would have to plunk down $671M for the failed steam generator replacement on the plant either. However, they probably just lumped this little oopsie into their customers’ bills just like all the other surprises nuclear power usually has in store for us. And considering the $3B price tag is a best-case scenario, the cost will probably be a lot higher.
            Sellafield is a different story, but it is illustrative of the fact that each decomissioning effort will have its own costs and difficulties associated with it. It is very difficult to track each and every leak from a nuke plant, so who knows how difficult the cleanup will be, both in scrapping the reactors and in dealing with any hazardous radioactivity in the foundation or underlying soil. All this will be going on right on the Pacific Coast where millions of people live, so the scrutiny and difficulty this project will endure will be immense.

          • eveee

            en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_decommissioning
            Jump to Decommissioning funds – [edit]. In Europe there is considerable concern over the funds necessary to finance final decommissioning. In many …
            You visited this page on 4/14/14.

    • Christina Macpherson

      At last!
      Will E points out something that everyone has been carefully avoiding for decades – the COST of demolishing, burying and guarding for centuries radioactive trash from the Oh so cheap nuclear industry.

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