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Published on August 16th, 2014 | by Jake Richardson


4 Nuclear Power Plants Shut Down; Wind Power Steps In

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August 16th, 2014 by
Wind power in the UK is helping to fill the void left by the shuttering of four nuclear reactors. One reactor was found with a defect on its boiler spine, so EDF Energy decided to shut it down, along with three others. It is expected they will be offline for about two months. (EDF is a French utility responsible for managing many nuclear reactors. It stands for Electricity de France.)


The reactor with the potential boiler spine issue is at Heysham-1 plant in Lancashire. Another was shut down at Heysham as well. The remaining two that were taken offline are at Hartlepool. The UK energy supply should not suffer from the nuclear shut downs.

“Demand is low at this time of year, and a lot of wind power is being generated right now,” explained National Grid. In fact, the UK just set a new summer record for wind power generation, “According to figures from trade association RenewableUK, wind reached its maximum output at 10pm on Sunday night, delivering an average of  5.0GW of power over the hour and meeting 17 per cent of national demand.”

While this reactor shut down might sound alarming, it should be stressed that no injuries or radioactive releases have been reported. The four reactors will be investigated for potential problems while they are offline. Each was commissioned in 1983, and is scheduled to be taken out of service in about five years.

Given what occurred at Fukushima, it seems prudent to address any potential problems with these older nuclear reactors.  Gen 2 reactors came online in the 1960s up until the late 1990s. This type of reactor depends upon active safety systems, but potential human and mechanical failure can result.

One of the small ironies about wind power filling in somewhat for nuclear reactors is that wind is criticized for being intermittent.

This is a very minor point, but there seems to be some slight discrepancies in the reporting about the reactor shut downs. The UK-based Financial Times reported that all four were shut down.  The UK-based Guardian say they were to be shut down. The New York Times reported that one was shut down in June, and that it had recently been decided by EDF to shut down three more.

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

  • eveee

    Is German coal use up or down? Why don’t we try a reference?

    “Coal importers lobby VDKI said that German hard coal consumption for power generation was down by 11% YoY in the Q1 of 2014 as the use of coal in electricity production gave way to higher renewable power production.”

    So German coal use is down, and the reason is renewables. Germany is on a long term trend of reduced coal consumption. There are some blips up and down. Noise.

  • eveee

    Yes, California wind
    varies seasonally. You have just repeated an experiment Milligan at NREL did
    over a decade ago. Geographic dispersal of wind in California is extremely
    poor. Over 50% of wind generation comes from a single site. Nearly 75% from a
    small region of Southern California. This is as expected.


Here is the breakdown.


-Altamont 511 MW

San Gorgonio 688

Tehachapi 3134MW

Solano 1031

Imperial 265

Shasta 101

San Diego 50

Other 31



    Total 5,812


Norcal pctng 1542/5812 =


Socal percentage = 73.77


    That is very lopsided
    towards a lack of geographic dispersal. All we are proving with these numbers
    is what we already know and has been proven in papers by Milligan from NREL.
    Wind needs geographic dispersal to reduce variation.

    Next. What do we do to
    understand how to have high renewable penetration? We find papers on high
    California renewables integration.


We google wind in

    We find the reference to
    offshore wind

    We read the last sentence
    before acknowledgments and voila, we find:

    “Unlike most of
    California land based wind farms which peak at night, the offshore winds near
    Cape Mendocino are consistently fast during day and night for all four

    Again, with only a
    little more research, we may find that someone has already gone to the
    trouble of finding out how we get renewables to serve our needs at high

  • accord1999

    Of course, using the data from gridwatch, it was really coal and gas that stepped up seeing as how wind was ineffective from August 13-15 and is again ineffective after August 19 noon with barely 1GW.

  • heinbloed
  • heinbloed

    Exploded phase shifters between France and Belgium won’t allow for atomic electricity trade to Belgium until beginning of 2015:

    The phase shifter between the Netherlands and Belgium is in need of maintenance as well says the article.
    The grid operator Elia has a theoretical import potential of 3.5 GW. But not now…..


    About the UK’s problem:

    The UK imports electricity at full capacity (2 GW+) from France since the entire summer.
    If this phase shifter between the UK and France explodes as well (these devices seem to be some type of bombs) then only Ireland is left to save the UK from black-outs.
    Ireland has a great deal of wind power in the grid with plans to export it directly to France as well.

    However the UK-electricity Mafia has recently denied that there is a need for further upgrading of the Ireland links.
    And told Scotland that they do not need the electricity from Scottish RE-power. Unless sold for market prices :)

    Like the passengers on the Titanic: we need no life rafts. Unless they’re included in the fare ……well!

  • falstaff77

    “like that of Australia have built scenarios for 100% renewable penetration, calculating the necessary despatchable backup.”

    By definition, 100% renewable penetration means no backup is required. In some place like Iceland, with 96% hydroelectric and geothermal power, that might be possible, as the power in Iceland is there year after year, winter, summer, independent of imported power, and economic. There are no bad “months” when the geothermal heat fades away. The price of electricity there is 9-10 US cents per kWh.

    But with wind and solar? There is no solar and wind example, anywhere like Iceland, not remotely. So in Australia? No. Electricity sources for 2012-13 were 82% coal, 7% gas, 10% hydro, 4% wind. In 2007-08 Australia used 77% coal.

    • mds

      Uh, do you realize you are arguing that is can’t be done because it hasn’t been done? Nothing new or different should ever be done if that is your position. This reveals the underpinning overly-conservation nature of yourself and your views. Sorry, but I’ve dealt with nay sayers for many years.

      Does the comment above claiming 50% planned renewable use on the island of Kuai mean anything to you? Your claim is renewables can only be insignificant in their contribution. This is demonstrably false. Kuai may have island economics making this more possible, but they are demonstrating it can be done. Next issue is cost competitiveness for use in other areas. 100% renewables in Australia, within the next decade or two, is not unreasonable given current cost trends. I certainly wouldn’t expect it. No large area is that homogenous in requirements and resources. That’s why their grid will remain mixed like ours. I do expect the Australian grid to be majority renewables within two decades. The economics are almost all there now and will be all there in a few short years.

      I don’t expect you to see any of that. It has not already been done. Boy have I played that game before. You are wrong. Renewables can and largely will do the job.

      • falstaff77

        Demonstrably? Then *demonstrate*. No, tallking about plans for the future demonstrates nothing.

        • Bob_Wallace

          What is it you need falstaff? Some place where renewables are already a significant portion of electrical generation?

          Texas produced 9.9% of its electricity from wind in 2013. South Dakota and Iowa are already at 25%. Would that do?

          You need some place where wind and/or solar are 100%?

          It’s a small country, but the Tokelau Islands are powered by 100% solar.

          Samsoe Island (Denmark) is 100% renewables. King Island (Australia) is also 100% renewable powered. The German village of Wildpoldsried produces over 3x as much renewable energy as it consumes.

          Will any of those do?

          • Bob_Wallace

            How about this?

            For the first five months of 2014 (latest EIA monthly report) non-hydro renewables produced 7.4% of all electricity in the US. Wind, alone, hit 5%.

            Hydro contributed 6.9%. Combined we got 14.3% of our electricity from renewable sources. Nuclear produced 19%.

          • heinbloed

            It is amazing to watch the EIA reports and compare the actual meassured numbers with the forecasts previously published by the EIA.
            Except for the IAEO there is no other ‘public’ agency getting the forecasts so wrong as the EIA continously does.

            One should print out the old EIA reports, a gist of them and present them in a little booklet next to the horrorstorys in children’s library department :)

          • eveee

            IEA competes in the laughable predictions department. You decide which is worst.
            In successive annual tries IEA consistently missed the wind and solar growth curves often with linear growth instead of exponential. How does one manage to underestimate that for a decade? EIA projected no solar growth for over a decade starting from now while ignoring the current trend of 42% annual growth.

          • heinbloed

            Ad the Carian Island of El Hierro as well:



            The Spanish Mafia wants to drill for oil in the ocean. After trying to stop the development of REs they say ‘the nation’ needs that oil:


            The islanders will sink these wells -if they ever materialise at all.

          • falstaff77

            Why can’t my post above be understood. It’s not complicated. The problem is *not* renewables when that means mostly hydro, but solar and wind. And large penetration figures driven by some very seasons of the year but collapse in others are also *not* like Iceland, not that notable, as they must pump in a lot of coal gas nuclear power from somewhere else, which is expensive.

          • Bob_Wallace

            You are making an assumption that there are seasonal collapses. Perhaps you’d like to look at a study of four years of minute to minute demand and hourly wind and solar avilability and see that the largest wholesale grid in the US would have been able to run on almost nothing but wind, solar and storage.


          • falstaff77

            Assumption? Look at the data. It’s been posted here numerous times. How are you unaware? Wind in CA is terrible in winter. Every winter.

            And storage? Why not and warp drive? There is no such storage

          • Bob_Wallace

            California is not an island standing deep in the ocean away from all other land.

            California is already connected to PNW hydro and wind, Nevada solar and geothermal, and to Mexico solar and wind (being built). And should soon be connected to Wyoming wind. Not to mention eventually to Utah geothermal if they ever get that together.

            California is also connected to New Mexico and Arizona with and probably not too far in the future to the rest of the 48 contiguous.

            Low wind in the winter in Ca isn’t necessarily a problem.

            Oh, and hydro goes up in the winter. It’s the rainy season.

            Don’t make the mistake of thinking of small isolated grids. That’s not how things are developing. Power is going to flow over much larger areas simply because the wider you cast a net for renewables the more you catch.

          • falstaff77

            I’m aware of all that . The point was the existence or non existence of seasonal wind outage. It exists.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Are you claiming there are seasons in which the wind does not blow at all?

          • falstaff77
          • Bob_Wallace


            You mean monthly totals can vary by a factor of four? If so, so what? They vary. Solar varies. Hydro varies. Demand varies.

            You take what’s available and work with it to obtain what you need. If wind or solar are low in one area then you use more from another source of from a different area.

            We’ve got plenty of long term studies that show how it’s done.

          • falstaff77

            Only ones that ignore or are unserious about cost. Backfilling dropouts in power is expensive. Saying things like “work with it” does not make it economic.

          • Bob_Wallace

            No, taking cost into account renewables work.

            Wind/solar plus storage is cheaper than nuclear or coal.

          • Mike Shurtleff

            You mean like when a large thermal plant (coal or nuk) goes down? You mean like in an ice storm or hurricane? How well did the centralized grid model work during Hurricane Sandy? Gee, they’re very interested in distributed generation now, including solar.

          • falstaff77

            How is a single large coal plant trip anything like the wind in an entire grid region like CAISO falling off to nothing for many days at a time? Hand waiving about “pumped storage” is more of the same: an unserious response about cost. Do you imagine many of the solar installations in the Sandy area were built with no grid connection? Get serious.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Would you please link to a reliable source that shows CAISO wind falling off to nothing for many days?

            Hand waving about pumped storage?

            Pointing out the fact that we already have and use large amount of pumped storage is not hand waving.

            Pointing out the fact that we can quite reasonably fill in the low spots in wind and solar supply with storage such as PuHS is not hand waving.

          • falstaff77

            ld you please link to a reliable source that shows CAISO wind falling off to nothing for many days?”

            To what end? You’ve already made clear that variability is a “so what”, and the answer is simply to “deal with it”.

            In any case, others have already posted the data data (link here). See California wind generation data, January 17- Jan 21 2014 (TWh). (example link)

            Jan 17: 1.9
            Jan 18: 0.98
            Jan 19: 0.54
            Jan 20: 1.6
            Jan 21: 1.99

            The average daily output power for the preceding year was 34.7 TWhr

            “Pointing out the fact that we can quite reasonably fill in the low spots in wind and solar supply with storage such as PuHS is not hand waving.”

            Case in point: the use of adjectives alone (large, reasonably) to assert the capabilities of pumped hydro instead of data is textbook hand waiving. We are not discussing a bit of peaking and load leveling done by existing pumped hydro. This article is about the supposed complete replacement of traditional power sources (e.g. nuclear in this case). No costs, no scale, no land usage.

            Here’s the data: until China recently jumped ahead, the US had the most pumped storage in the world at ~22 GW per the EIA, and still has the largest single pumped hydro plant by power in the world (3 GW). If all traditional sources (nuclear, fossil) were removed from the grid (including traditional imports), then all US pumped hydro together, using some theoretical future connection to California and abandoning their local responsibilities, would not supply today’s California peak demand (~35 GW) for one day in the January period I referenced. Furthermore, pumped hydro run-time is on the order of hours at full power; the largest of them in the US is around a day. This is of little help for the five day period of California wind lull this past January.

            As to cost, pumped storage has had relatively cheap construction costs so far ($1000/kW), but this has been dependent on a combination of several favorable factors: suitable, in place elevation, suitable water supply, and remote location to provide cheap land and minimal population disturbance as the area required is thousands or tens of thousands of acres. Also, existing pumped storage facilities and their transmission holds down cost per kWh by being using constantly (daily cycles) to load level. They would not be so cheap per kWh if they were sitting idle waiting to back up a couple particularly bad wind weeks per year.

            I suspect then that, for a theoretical US grid completely deprived of nuclear and fossil electric supply, something like 10-20 times the existing pumped storage supply must be built, at a couple trillion dollars, along with another trillion worth of transmission, all built around some kind of imaginary population that doesn’t mind the displacement. All that, and pumped storage still doesn’t address outages of more than a couple days.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Now show us the overall supply situation for the Western grid during those few days of not really “wind falling off to nothing”.

            Middle of winter. Hydro is flowing. Sun is shinning in the SW corner. Geothermal cooks along. Wind is likely blowing nicely in other parts of the grid.

            Some people try to make much of a localized drop in output from a single source.

            As for PuHS, we have thousands of existing dams, rock quarries, open pit mines and subsurface mines which can be utilized for storage. PuHS has the advantage of being frequently cycled while being able to store large amounts of additional energy in relatively inexpensive reservoirs.

            We might have to spend a trillion dollars, or a few trillion dollars, on transmission and storage. But we’re going to spend a heck of a lot of money replacing worn out coal and nuclear plants over the next couple of decades. Why not spend our money on technology that brings us the cheapest and cleanest electricity?

            Thermal generation is so last century….

          • falstaff77

            “Now show us …”

            Look for yourself. It’s there for all CAISO in the data sheet I linked.

            “winter … Hydro is flowing…”

            Nope. Hydro peaked out at ~2.5GW, easily the largest single renewable source. The drought I suspect.

            “Sun is shinning in the SW corner …”

            Peak demand is ~7pm January, so solar was zero when needed most, and wind close to the same.

            “Geothermal cooks along …”

            Indeed. Clean, dispatchable, reliable, if expensive, power, and in all of CAISO totals 0.8 GW.

            Wind is likely blowing nicely in other parts of the grid. .

            Maybe in the North Sea off England?

            “…Some people try to make much of a localized drop in output from a single source”

            Some people? Again with the strawmen. Why don’t you look at the data instead of hand waiving it away? This data collection is for CAISO, all of it, not a suburb of Sacramento. Following the wind performance even casually in various regions will show you that most all of the Pacific coast wind capacity frequently sees very similar wind conditions, especially on the low side, when the giant Pacific high does this or that. Bonneville reported many hours of not just low but *zero* wind production on the 19th.

            “from a single source”

            As the data show, come the 7 pm peak, wind is the *only* non-traditional source capable of directly powering more than 10% of California load, now, or in the near future.

            You know all this, so what are you talking about?

            “Why not spend our money on technology that brings us the cheapest and cleanest electricity?”

            As the Frank study shows, wind and solar remain more expensive than gas and nuclear.

            “Thermal generation is so last century….”

            Graph stacking 92% capacity factor nuclear along with 33% CF wind, which varies 5% to 70% by week, and 15% CF solar as if they were 100% is so disingenuous.

            The lull in building more new traditional electric power sources in the US is largely due to a halt in demand growth, now replaced with a slow decline, brought on by efficiency improvements. Consequently, that spike in gas fired electric construction in the last decade, coupled with the five nuclear plants coming online in the next five years is sufficient to maintain the US for some time.

          • eveee

            Using todays California wind as an example of variability is a straw man argument. There has been no meaningful attempt to make California wind output steady and none has been warranted so far based on economics and the still relatively low penetration, coupled with abundant reserves. At low penetrations very little reserves are needed and wind is operated primarily and profitably as a fuel saver. Over 50% of California capacity and generation is at a single site, Tehachapi. That is hardly the recipe of geographic dispersal recommended for steady output. Still, it has a distinct summer diurnal pattern and high winds that complements solar nicely and in combination prevents blackouts in California due to high summer loads, which were a problem at the millennium.

            For a real example of a plan for high renewables penetration and for further information see the aptly named google searched reference,

            wind power in california

            The first google response is a Wikipedia entry.

            In it we find a reference to a paper by Dvorak, et al. that refers to prospects for high renewables penetration in California.

            Reference 18

            The very last sentence before Acknowlegements says:

            “Unlike most of California land based wind farms which peak at night, the offshore winds at Cape Mendocino are consistently fast during day and night for all four seasons.”

            There are may papers about many regions that discuss high renewables penetrations. Those show what we may do to supply the grid at high renewables penetrations over large areas in the future.

          • eveee

            Yes, California wind varies seasonally. You have just repeated an experiment NREL did over a decade ago. Geographic dispersal of wind in California is extremely poor. Over 50% of wind generation comes from a single site. Nearly 75% from a small region of Southern California. The results are what one would expect given this.

            Here is the breakdown.

            Altamont 511 MW Norcal
            San Gorgonio 688 MW Socal
            Tehachapi 3134MW Socal
            Solano 1031 Norcal
            Imperial 265 Socal
            Shasta 101 Norcal
            San Diego 50 Socal
            Other 31 xxxxx


            Total 5,812

            Norcal pctng 1542/5812 = 26.22%

            Socal percentage = 73.77 %


            That is very lopsided towards a lack of geographic dispersal. All we are proving with these numbers is what we already know and has been proven in papers by Milligan from NREL. Wind needs geographic dispersal to reduce variation.

            Next. What do we do to understand how to have high renewable penetration? We find papers on high California renewables integration.

            We google wind in California


            We find the reference to offshore wind 18


            We read the last sentence before acknowledgments and voila, we find:

            “Unlike most of California land based wind farms which peak at night, the offshore winds near Cape Mendocino are consistently fast during day and night for all four seasons.”

            Again, with only a little more research, we may find that someone has already gone to the trouble of finding out how we get renewables to serve our needs at high penetrations.

            Lets move on to a discussion about that.

          • falstaff77

            “Yes, California wind varies seasonally. “

            And in Texas, and everywhere else on the planet. In Texas see August-Sept.

            “That is very lopsided towards a lack of geographic dispersal.”

            Yes, though I’m curious as to why you are not more curious as to why that is? No the particular wind patterns don’t matter much at the level of penetration extent when Tehachapi became populated. You’ll quickly find wind power is more expensive elsewhere either due to inferior wind resource or more expensive land or prohibitive NIMBY zoning.

            “the offshore winds near Cape Mendocino are” … better. Yes of course, offshore wind is better nearly everywhere. Yet not a single commercial wind turbine has been erected in US waters, despite the PTC and renewable standards. Not one. Why is that? Offshore wind is extraordinarily expensive in the best of conditions, and US waters have the worst conditions. In the east, a middling Atlantic hurricane would destroy most of the towers and all the blades (see the PNAS study or typhoon Maemi on Miyakojima), and the west coast does not enjoy the wide continental shelf that graces the east, forcing the use of floating towers, off the charts expensive.

            Consider that if one ignores cost then dispersion is hardly necessary. In the cost-is-no-object case, the wind resource in just a couple onshore sites would sufficient, even in winter or the 3% wind week. Simply overbuild wind turbines by a factor of a couple hundred or so, similarly overbuild transmission, and wind (plus a little hydro, geothermal) can do the job. The consequent rise in electric rates like Germany-on-steroids will drive off business (as in Germany) and population, reducing demand, problem solved (if cost is no object).

          • eveee

            Have you even read the Dvorak paper? You don’t seem to be aware of it until I pointed it out. At least you never read the last sentence before. You made many naive statements until I pointed out that California has made no attempt to geographically disperse its wind resource. You asked the question why. Do I have to spell it out for you? You don’t need to mock me by asking why I was not curious. Its a false assumption on your part. I have already figured out why. Its so simple its laughable. Its what I have been saying all along. Renewables can be implemented at these levels of penetration easily and economically without much reserves. At low penetrations its just more efficient to just add them without any consideration for steadiness. Its just not needed. Renewables are making the grid more stable and preventing blackouts. You made many, many comments over and over describing only one renewable variability, wind, ignoring the rest, ignoring synergies, ignoring renewable that are steady, making a case for how it could never be done based on the present state, while completely ignoring whether any attempt had been made to create a high renewables system. There has not been. Now you ask why not and imply that I never thought of that. Seems to me I am the one who keeps thinking ahead, and throws a bread crumb trail for you to learn, not the other way around. I don’t want to be too high minded, but show some respect.

            Now lets talk about why offshore wind has not already been implemented. Well it has. Just not in California, Yet. The US has such an abundance of wind and solar that even geothermal and CST are pushed to the side, even though they compete well with some other forms of generation. Additionally, there is just not much room for base load in the US with conservation lowering demand, and wind and solar being dominant players in the new generation business. You will see more base load plants shut down and we have already seen many. Whats interesting is that peak demand and generation may finally be understood to be important. Thats what determines electric rates and the ability to power the grid. Peak generation sources have always garnered highest rates paid. System operators would never consider ridding themselves of reserves and peak generation. Why is that? Because they are indispensable to follow demand variation and keep the grid stable. Its part of the myth of base load power that people don’t understand. So we willingly and gladly pay high rates for peak generators to do that.
            The system is a mix. Has been. Always will be. Thats how it works. So why would it be any different in the future? It won’t. So solar, which only operates during the day unless it has thermal storage, will be welcome here, because it has peak characteristics. But isn’t it expensive because it only happens during part of the day? Not more expensive than the peak generators of today. And likewise, offshore wind, which is more expensive, is more steady and will be used in the future to round out the mix and make the generation steady and will justify its expense. And so even now, there is really nowhere in the world where we are encountering high renewables penetration without hydro or geothermal. As opposed to all the sqwauk about renewables being intermittent and needing storage, the reality is that at these levels of penetration, not only is none needed, renewables, especially solar, kill the market for storage, because they kill the number of hours of daytime peak demand and crowd out both base load and peak generation. I documented this previously for you in South Australia where it was expected that wind and solar would push natural gas use down, but it didn’t. Instead base load coal went away. If you are really curious, try to figure out why that is, instead of implying that I am not curious and have never thought of these things. I could tell you, but there is no point. You need to figure it out for yourself.

            Instead of asking me why, you need to answer your own questions with an open mind and discover for yourself what is happening.

          • eveee

            Mint – You are thoughtful, I might add, and that is good. To be balanced, I must credit you with having a more open mind and a better one than many others, so don’t take my complaints too much as a personal complaint. If I become cranky, I apologize. I am human, too. And I am annoyingly picky and nerdy sometimes.

            I didn’t even respond to your comment about wind turbines being destroyed by storms. I have done research there, too. Balance man. You must look at all the infrastructure and look in context. Don’t be like the commenter that said
            renewables could not survive a super volcano. Well you a re a lot better than that. ;)




            Lest you think that I am not curious and only read those articles about hurricanes, I would like to point out that I have extensively studies storms and their effects on wind turbines in other locations as well. But go ahead, make a comment on other locations, I am nerdy. I love detail.

          • Mike Shurtleff

            Pumped hydro.

          • Mike Shurtleff

            “And large penetration figures driven by some very seasons of the year but collapse in others”
            False reasoning. The seasonality of solar is not a problem in all areas. Most of the Southern US sees some drop in Solar output, but not a large amount. Again, example of Mohave Desert. Lower latitudes is where the bulk of human population lives.

          • Mike Shurtleff

            “And large penetration figures driven by some very seasons of the year but collapse in others”
            You mean like when a large thermal plant (coal or nuk) goes down? It happens. Yes, that’s expensive. Wind and Solar PV are Distributed. Large sudden failures with no planned backup are actually less likely.

        • Mike Shurtleff

          You’re clueless. Levels of achieved penetration demonstrate this already. That was my point. See me comment above for some references. …and I’m being nice. Maybe I should reference record percentages of instantaneous Wind and Solar PV contributions to the grid achieved in Germany, Australia, and a few other places. In all three they are already shifting the peak summertime AC and other electrical load …to great benefit of customers (comfort & cost) and to grid stability. Probably I shouldn’t bother.

          • falstaff77

            Why do you believe “instantaneous” power output numbers are useful? Is that how electricity is consumed? Big production on Monday but Wednesday it’s lights out, tough luck?

          • Bob_Wallace

            We’ll need enough storage, load-shifting and dispatchable generation to carry us through the periods of low wind and solar.

            Is that put clearly enough for you to grasp?

          • falstaff77

            True.If you mean it, the place to make that statement was in a response to the 100 percent renewables claims above by wimberly

          • Bob_Wallace

            You mean James’s comment in which he says -

            “Other professionally administered grids like that of Australia have built scenarios for 100% renewable penetration, calculating the necessary despatchable backup.”

          • falstaff77


          • Bob_Wallace

            Why would it have been needed there? James had already said the same in the sentence I copied for you.

          • falstaff77

            100 percent solar wind means no dispatchable power required.

          • Bob_Wallace

            “By definition, 100% renewable penetration means no backup is required.”

            “100 percent solar wind means no dispatchable power required.”

            Neither of those statements is true.

            We could have grids that were mostly wind and solar but backed up by other dispatchable renewables such as hydro and biomass/gas.

            We could have grids that were 100% solar/wind with stored solar/wind for fill in. All the energy stored would come from solar/wind.

          • falstaff77

            Eh? Mostly” means *not* 100 percent. Stored power is, by definition , dispatchable.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I’m sorry, you’ve wandered off into silly-land.

            We could build 100% wind/solar grids. In general we won’t because it makes more sense to bring in more sources.

            How about we spend our time on something meaningful?

          • falstaff77

            No, you mean something in line with your agenda, not meaningful.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Well, if you’re not interested in clean energy perhaps you should spend your time on a dirty energy site.

            Google “I love coal” and see if that gets you a lead….

          • Mike Shurtleff

            OK fine, it’s not 100% renewable. It’s mostly renewable, mostly Solar PV and WInd, and it’s more economical.
            Also, you’re wrong. Pumped hydro and batteries can help achieve 100% renewables now.

          • Mike Shurtleff

            Lights out on Wednesday? Dang did a major thermal plant go down again? Oh, that’s right, the paradigm thing for you. It never happens in your mind’s eye. Nice to have such clear vision.

            Instantaneous power numbers demonstrate the level of renewable energy generation that can be reached without the grid exploding. You and others would have us believe such large levels are not possible. They are. They have been achieved. Most often there are no ill effects.

          • falstaff77

            “You and others would have us believe such large levels are not possible.”

            Straw man. Discussion is more productive if you deal with what is actually said rather than with what you imagine is said.

            The problem has *never* been how much wind or solar could be generated at a given favorable more moment. The problem is what to do in the next moment when conditions are not favorable. No, yelling pumped storage or warp drive is not a serious response.

        • Mike Shurtleff

          …and I forgot to mention… with this large percentage of Wind and Solar PV the grid hasn’t collapsed or exploded …as I said before. You and other flat-earth-society members don’t seem to agree. I just saw Bob’s examples below. I’d forgotten about those two islands. What about that? Is 100% renewables possible after all in your opinion?

          • falstaff77

            Sure, see Iceland, 96 percent hydro and geo, 24/7. But with wind and solar alone? No, forget it unless and until a suitably cheap storage method appears.

          • Mike Shurtleff

            Wind and Solar PV alone? No, how did I get pushed into this position. You made this up. When I say 100% renewable, then I understand storage is included, as any sensible person should. I don’t expect to see this, but 100% renewables is very possible with pumped hydo storage in the USA. The geography is there to do that. You might have to create reservoirs in some areas. Saw some of that a while back in Scotland. Guess what? There’s a lot of Wind and Solar in Scotland.

            Some backup power is not unreasonable, but I agree that would no longer be 100% renewable. Still it might enable a higher percentage of renewables penetration. In some cases, this might even be possible at a lower cost. (eg Hawaiian diesel – the less diesel you have to use the lower your electricity costs will be there)

  • falstaff77

    “Wind power covers the failure of Doel4 (Belgium) as well.”

    Though Europe has substantial wind resource, those references do not say “wind power covers” anything, as you know. What they do say is the like of “electricity shortage threatens”.

  • mds

    “the greater absolute size of reserves needed is more than outweighed by the lower need for high-cost spinning reserves.”
    Good quote!
    Storage has always been needed on the grid because loads have always been variable. The decades old technique of using “spinning reserves” is not economically efficient and still does not adequately deal with sudden large dropouts that cause most large scale grid blackouts.
    The old grid model is almost always given more credit for grid stability than it deserves. The new grid model of widely integrated Wind and/or Solar PV is most often given less credit than it deserves.

  • heinbloed

    Intermittent atomic power causing high demand for Diesel and petrol generators

    A first report from Antwerpen is in,the demand for industrial emergency power generators has 10-folded:

  • peter d. mare

    Again, the bravado posturing that drive people away from listening to you guys. Okay, enjoy your ego trips! Alpha males, environmentalists, and extremists. You are all the same. You cannot debate with someone without making them feel as total idiots (when they are trying to get to the bottom of things and try to offer a moderate view of change) and you are surprised some people don’t like you? Jeesh! I wonder why?

    • falstaff77

      “Alpha males, environmentalists, and extremists. “

      Incidental, not fundamental. Fundamentally, these folks are embracing a dogmatic religion, one that gives no moral instruction for behavior but demands only that members stay on message. As such, failure to pay homage to the like of solar or wind is akin to calling Mohammed a pervert in a mosque.

      • Bob_Wallace

        If you would like to participate in discussions on this site avoid personal attacks and stay on topic.

        Post your best argument with the facts you have and be ready to back up those facts with reliable sources if challenged.

        • Dr.K.SParthasarathy

          I am very happy that you cautioned every one to avoid personal attacks and stay on topic

          Using strong words such as “lying” ” stupidest” etc is not conducive to fruitful discourse. I am not a Ph D in power engineering but medical physics. I have interest in all modes of power production including nuclear energy.. I am keen on developments in renewable energy. I learnt a lot from the discussion. Freelance science journalism is my hobby. I am registered with the EurekAlert! news agency of AAAS. I ma sorry I went off topic!

          May be if time permits, I shall come again

          • Bob_Wallace

            Are you the Dr.K.S Parthasarathy former secretary, Atomic Energy Regulatory Board,India and a former Raja Ramanna Fellow, Department of Atomic Energy,India?

          • Dr.K.SParthasarathy

            Yes I am. I wore many hats in my career. I saw the development of PHWR technology in India from its infancy.

      • mds

        “Fundamentally, these folks are embracing a dogmatic religion”
        Same comment as to peter d. mare. Fail.

        Your religiously dogmatic view of nuclear being the only energy source that can save us offends me. Nuclear is not growing in the market or in power generated. Why not? I don’t care if you build’em, but I sure don’t see the logic of your argument for them. Insult solar and wind all you want. Of course, I’ll defend them, but I’ve read it all before, …many, many times …and I’m not going to be personally offended.

        What do you guys expect at cleantechnica? Grow a backbone.

      • mds

        Just in case you didn’t get it. I’m not really offended by your strong point of view. I form strong opinions myself. I do think it’s funny both you and peter d. mare are so miffed to have your views challenged. Sorry, that there are several people who disagree with you here. Better luck at another site.

        One more point for yourself Falstaff:
        Capacity factor comparison is one the common drum beating points for old dogs for the grid. Sorry, it is not particularly important. To be more exact, it is only one factor in determining cost and it is cost that is king. This is why Wind, Solar PV, and Storage are being to outpace Nuclear. If you are going to argue for the importance of Nuclear power [as representing the side of truth, justice, and the American way] then you need to understand this. You need understand and address that from a big picture point of view. Cost and cost of risk is what is killing the nuclear industry today. That’s a fact, not a zealous opinion.

        One more point for peter d. mare if he comes back:
        Peter D Mare stated: “I wish people were a bit more moderate in their statements. Some of you make it sounds as if it is sooooooooooooo easy.”
        No, it is not easy. Many are working their tails off to accomplish a renewables energy revolution. Many are laboring so that nuclear can play a part in that. My hat is off to all of them, although I openly question the nuclear part, as is my freedom of speech right.
        Do not confuse this with another thing:
        It is in fact sooooooooooooo simple to figure out how to do this and make it happen. That is my opinion. It ain’t rocket science. We can solve this CO2 problem. We can do it in a way that saves money and provides lower cost power than we have ever had before. (There is no such thing as “free power” or “too cheap to meter”. I think we all really know that.) That much has become clear to me, and some others, in the last few decades. Wind, Solar PV, Storage, and EVs/PHEVs are going to do that. Maybe nuclear will be a part of this, I don’t know.

        • eveee

          Yep. I commented on CF above. Nuke fans want it both ways. High CF and load following. Not possible mathematically.

    • mds

      “You are all the same.”
      You are doing the same as you are accusing everyone else of doing. In the meantime you are failing at defending your point. Fail.

  • heinbloed

    2 articles from today covering the issue of intermittent atomic power:

    An 85% availability/capacity usage as frequently cited was never achieved in Europe.

    All centralised (atomic) thermal power plants in Europe face the same destony: they are not worth any money in the free market.

    These dangerous and fickle gimmicks fill the pockets of Mafiosis.
    Mafiosis create the legal and economical environment they prefer.

    Once left to market forces they go down as historically proven in the UK,a nation which sees no problems building atomic bombs in sheds and barns after all.

    The last atom bomb factory in the UK was closed by the local building authorities because the foundations crumbled away, it’s structrural stability being in immediate danger.
    No way the UK’s atomic power plants are faced with a tight safety regime, they are as lax as those in a rugby stadion. And so are Belgium’s atomic power plants, the French, Swiss, German, Spanish,Dutch etc…..

    • falstaff77

      ‘An 85% availability/capacity usage as frequently cited was never achieved in Europe.”

      That curious. The entire US reactor fleet averages over 90%.

      • Bob_Wallace

        Actually, just under 90%.

        2006 89.6%
        2007 91.8%
        2008 91.1%
        2009 90.3%
        2010 90.9%
        2011 88.9%
        2012 86.4%
        Avg 89.86%

        • falstaff77
          • Bob_Wallace

            No, would you like us to average US reactor CF from 1980 to 2013? My eye says it will be under 80%. But if that makes you happy….

            And adding in 2013 CF of 90.9% to the “sweet range” of 2006 through 2013 yields an average of 89.99%. That’s below “over 90%”.

          • falstaff77

            ‘would you like us”

            I responded to you, not “us”.

          • Bob_Wallace

            OK, would you like me to average US reactor CF from 1980 to 2013? My eye says it will be under 80%..

            And when I average in 2013 CF numbers I get 89.99%. That’s below “over 90%”.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Now, do you realize that nuclear’s CF is only as high as it is because it is so difficult to turn off and back on?

            Were nuclear even as responsive as coal then nuclear’s CF would be significantly lower (coal turned in CFs of 57.6% in 2011 and 51.4% in 2012). Coal plants can be turned off and back on much faster than can nuclear. When demand exceeds supply then nuclear is forced to sell at a loss in order to get wind, solar, hydro, coal and natural gas to curtail.

            Nuclear is pretty much a lumbering beast that shoves less expensive generation out of its way. Nuclear hurts its bottom line in doing so. That’s why we have several nuclear reactors in the US verging on bankruptcy. Exelon has six in Illinois that have lost money for over five years running.

            Kewaunee, which was in good working condition and licensed for several more years, closed last year because it could not continue to absorb losses from selling below cost of production.

        • eveee

          Actually, you are too kind. The us nuke industry has been playing fast and loose with the numbers for years. Cooper noted that if you include reactors down for more than a year, CF is 84% if memory serves. It’s from nuclear renaissance in reverse. Just cited above.

          • just_jim

            And what is CF of all the nuclear plants that were abandoned before they were completed because they were uneconomical? And does permanent shutdown because it isn’t economical to make repairs to continue operation count in the capacity factor?

          • Bob_Wallace

            “And what is CF of all the nuclear plants that were abandoned before they were completed”

            Zero percent. 0%. Never were completed. Never generated a kWh.

            Best I can tell as soon as a plant is closed the calculations for its CF are stopped.

            If a plant like the two SONGs reactors are down for repair for several months and then the decision to permanently close them is made I don’t know if the folks doing the calculations go back and remove them from the active database starting with their last productive day.

            Crystal River went down for repairs in September 2009 and it wasn’t until February 2013 that the announcement of permanent closure was made.

          • eveee

            Take the data and mull it over. The 90% load factor is only lately and does not include reactors that are retired early or off line for over a year? That would include Fort Calhoun. Funny way to do math. A reactor is only off line when you choose to count it by that math. Not the way I figure it. When taken into account, the load factor is 70%, US. See Cooper paper for more details.
            Even if you only include extended outages, load factor is less than 90%. It’s nuclear math that makes load factor so high.
            Pp. 31-32.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Here’s the telling graph from page 31.

      • globi

        Not that it has a high degree of relevance, but the nuclear capacity factor is only 72% worldwide.

        • eveee

          Yep. Including France where reactors do crude load following lowers CF. But nuclear fanboys want both sides of every argument even when they are mutually exclusive.

  • NRG4All

    Yes, wind power is intermittent, but we must recognize that it does have some latitude in generating power. As more and more wind towers are built, then the operators have some control by “feathering” the blades on certain towers when the power is not needed. Many times when I’ve traveled to L.A. and gone through Palm Springs I’ve seen only a portion of the wind farm in operation. In many places we still are at the stage where every wind tower must operate 100% of the time when there is wind. Hopefully, as the technology is adopted further, we will see a graph of output that isn’t so filled with hills and valleys.

  • Dr.K.SParthasarathy

    Some how or other in reports about windpower, the intermittency of this source is seldom referred to if the discussion is initiated by a pro-wind power agency. Wind power can certainly play a useful role in the energy mix of any country. When the commissioning of the 1000MW VVER reactor, the first of its kind in India was delayed, wind power kicked in. But the deficiencies of this fickle minded source are obvious for every one

    • Bob_Wallace

      “Some how or other in reports about windpower, the intermittency of this source is seldom referred to if the discussion is initiated by a pro-wind power agency.”

      Oh, come on. That’s one of the stupidest starts I’ve seen yet.

      Please, go peddle your misinformation campaign to the rubes.

      • Bob_Wallace

        Next brilliant thing you’re going to say, most likely, is that the Sun does not shine 24 hours a day.

        And then you’ll follow up with the wonders of nuclear energy.

        Will you start with “too cheap to meter”?

        Or “don’t worry, it won’t melt down again”?

        How about “we’ll soon have a solution for radioactive waste”?

        • Dr.K.SParthasarathy

          The intermittency of solar and wind power is a fact generally ignored by pro wind/solar lobby. It is a fact. That has nothing to do with nuclear power. This comment is simply an observation based on reading articles after articles. May be a factual statement is not palatable. You know that all modes of power generation have unpalatable issues. Let us accept it gracefully.

          Since you brought the phrase “too cheap to meter”, I have another ” stupidest” observation. If you use google search with the phrase “too cheap to meter” and the name of any individual, you can count how often he or she must have used the phrase. Anti nuclear activists will have used the phrase more often than others. I have explained the idea in one of my my articles. You can access it at:

          I did the test at 3:51 PM just now using Bob Wallace and the phrase as key words. The score was 33,500!

          The test convinced me that some of my “stupidest” actions give hilarious results!

          • Matt

            Yes both wind and solar are have intermittency, and both are easy to predict and therefor easy to plan form. Even a large 2MW turbine being hit by a plane is a small blip compare to when a 1-3GWs Nuc has a unplanned outage. Same for scheduled down time. Again 2MW is easier to plan and adjust for than 2GWs. I was in a large coal plant once (doing vibration testing) in Michigan when a large electric struck took them off line. For 30-45 minute the control room was pure madness while the worked to get back on line. Yes that was in 78 and I’m sure they handle it much better now. But no, not one, power source runs 24/7/365. And the bigger they are the harder to respond when they fall. Look at the real world data when wind is play a large role, and it has not been a issue. Has not require more running back up.

          • Dr.K.SParthasarathy

            India does not have the luxury to choose any particular mode of power generation. Placed as it ts, solar power has greater role to play. Government of India is investing in solar power as well. By 2020, India may have 20,000 MWe solar. Compared to Germany, the capacity factor for solar in India will be over 20%

            Wind power also is getting a great deal of encouragement.
            From the inputs I got from the present discussion, I realize the advantages of the grids of various countries in the region stabilizing the system. Presently, India does not have such a stable grid system, though it is many times better now compared to the 70s

            When India’s 200 MW PHWR started operating in Rajasthan, it was a major fraction of the power in the regional grid. A major nightmare then was grid stability. Recently- installed reactors took measures such as islanding so that grid disturbance may not snow ball into a crisis.
            I got the impression that grid stability is not an issue in Europe. Though I hear different views on it. In Hawaii USA it became a serious issue. Licensing of more and more distributed solar panel generators had to be regulated because of the copious solar generation.

            The industry level power storage for use during night is making progress. It is an encouraging factor. I am keen to know how it is getting done now.In fact a review article, I wrote a few weeks ago, I have highlighted India’s interest
            in this field. I have also emphasized the need for constructing pumped up storage.

            Let me reiterate that I do not favor any one mode of generation over the other. Indian industry is making rapid progress. The average per capita power consumption in India now is less than 700kwh ! The per capita Power distribution is highly heterogeneous. With State of Bihar 133.6 kwh and and Dadra & Nagar Haveli 13766 kwh


          • heinbloed

            Your informations are outdated.

            Germany is building a sustainable power grid for India, the usual Mafiosis there couldn’t manage this job.
            It wasn’t in their interest to put it bluntly.


            Of course there is little room and demand for centralised power in a sustainable grid.

          • Bob_Wallace

            “India does not have the luxury to choose any particular mode of power generation.”

            India has several options. It would seem that the wise path would be to choose technologies which are the least expensive, fastest to bring on line, and create the fewest problems for following generations. Would you not agree?

          • mds

            “In Hawaii USA it became a serious issue.”
            No, that is not correct! It is too simplistic. They have a problem in localized areas with too much residential solar coming on the grid. They could fix this in a snap by simply requiring the use of inverters that block energy from going to the grid when the voltage is too high. Sheesh! They should do even more. They should be do a phased change of their grid, one local area at a time, as becomes necessary, to a bi-directional grid. In this way HECO and other Hawaiian utilities could become solar power redistributors. Now… change the regulated economics so the utility only has to pay a reasonable wholesale price, and only when they have another customer for the power, and both residential and utilities could be profiting. This ain’t rocket science doc. I can get my GPS position on a chart in my fishing boat five miles out off the coast using only my iphone. Power demand has always been intermittent. There should be no problem integrating a power source with a predictable intermittancy like Solar PV, …in Hawaii, or in India, or anywhere in the US.

            Grid stability in Hawaii is simply a political problem. It is not a technical problem.

            Hawaiian and many remote areas in India share a common problem, Diesel generators are used to produce electricity at a very high cost of about 50c/kWh. Much of India has a very good solar resource so you should tune in to this. Hawaii can reduce their use of diesel simply be integrating solar PV when it is available. Run the diesel generators only when needed at night. The very same is true in many areas in India. Going forward, low-cost battery (and other) storage for solar is becoming available. It is clear that a few of those storage approaches will lead to costs (including deep-cycle lives) that will allow Solar PV + Storage to easily undercut the cost of diesel electricity generation on a 24 hour basis. You will only need the diesel generators during periods of adverse weather. Since most of the cost of Diesel generated electricity is from the fuel cost, this means very significant cost savings will be available. As already explained, some of those cost savings are available during the day while the sun shines now.

            “The industry level power storage for use during night is making
            progress. It is an encouraging factor. I am keen to know how it is
            getting done now.”
            Ah, now we’re talking doc! This is evolving right now. I think Bob Wallace will back me up when I say: Storage is going to be useful on both sides of the meter. As I said elsewhere many solar installers in the US and other places have been purchasing battery storage companies, or making other technology alliances, so they can offer Solar PV with Storage to home and to business owners. In some cases, they will just sell the Solar PV and customers will rely on the grid for the rest of their power. In other cases, they will sell just the storage to business owners that want to reduce their time-of-use costs (i.e. they want to level their own load to reduce tiered electricity costs). There are also storage only companies that will be selling to the same two markets and/or selling larger storage units to the Power Utilities for frequency regulation and load leveling. I don’t mean to try and sound like I think I’m an expert on this. I certainly am not. I’m just interested in the problem, like you.
            Google: EOS, Aquion, and Ambri. You should be interested in the low-cost utility storage tech they are trying to bring to the market. At least one is claiming they can reach 5c/kWh. We’ll see.
            Here is a good talk by the senior tech guy at Tesla:
            “Video: Tesla’s Tech Officer Talks Battery Advances”
            It gets into plans for the lithium battery storage tech they use in their cars and are going to be selling to home owners and businesses through SolarCity. They will be selling larger units to Utilities and are using the larger units themselves. Gets into larger production opportunities for cost reduction, as well, including some comments on materials. Very interesting stuff.

            I know from talking to people who have traveled there, and from reading, that the electrical power supplied is typically very interrmittent in India. Probably everyone has seen the pictures of the rats-nests of wires in some places from the unsanctioned tapping-off of the power distribution lines. It is not hard to see why stable delivery of power might be difficult to maintain. Wealthy homes and businesses often use backup fuel powered generators. Solar PV + Storage requires less maintenance and has lower fuel costs. That is an obvious market in sunny areas in India.

            Hope some of that is helpful to you. mike

          • Dr.K.SParthasarathy

            Thank you very much for your analysis. Many private businesses are depending on captive diesel power generators as they are not able to get supply from the main grid. Certainly it may be eating into their profits.

            Frequency variations in Indian power grid is a very disturbing feature.

            I studied in UK during the 70s, worked for some time in US during the 80s. In both countries the frequency stability is so good, I recall that inexpensive clocks are run on the system

            I was talking about the solar power travails in Havaii based on the following Huffington Post news report:


            The issue does not appear to be political. Admittedly this report is old. May be they got over it.

            Another interesting point is the fact that reduction in the cost of solar panels may help but ultimately, the cost also depends on other hardware to integrate the system with the grid. I am not sure that inexpensive regulating and stabilizing system is available yet.

            Also in India which is blessed with copious solar energy, it must be made a crime to use electricity to warm water. This attitude is slowly and steadily developing. Some States have made solar passive heaters very attractive. Central Government is offering loans at low interest for people to erect passive solar heaters. This programme is progressing well in many States

          • Mike Shurtleff

            “The issue does not appear to be political. Admittedly this report is old. May be they got over it.”
            I think you misunderstand. I’m saying the issue is political in the sense that HECO is losing electricity sales to residential solar systems. They are not really motivated to solve their problem so more solar can be added …so they are not really trying to come up with a solution quickly. That is the politics here.
            “Maybe they got over it.” Nope, still going on …and there is no reason for that. Their high voltage problem is easy to solve and they should have had a solution in hand before it became a problem.

            “Another interesting point is the fact that reduction in the cost of solar panels may help but ultimately, the cost also depends on other hardware to integrate the system with the grid.”
            The Solar PV panels are going to be the lions share of the cost. I’m no expert here, but I think the inverter is used to integrate to the household AC and this connects to the grid. I don’t think inverters are as expensive as the panels. There is also wiring and racks that are hardware. There are other Balance of System (BOS) costs that amount to more, at least in the US. Permitting costs are still much higher than they should be. Labor to install the system. The installation companies will have some profit and need to cover their customer acquisition costs. Somebody who does this for a living could give you a better accounting. The US is still a few years behind Germany and Australia for residential installation costs. These costs drop as residential installation becomes more wide spread. Germany and Australia have installation costs close to $2/W including panel costs. I think we may still be up near $4/W as an average for the US, I’m not sure.

            Yes, I think it’s generally more efficient and cost effective to heat water directly using solar, than to heat it using solar electricity. Great to hear India is using a lot of solar water heating, lower-cost than PV and sensible. I’ve seen the same in sunny Mexico City.

          • Dr.K.SParthasarathy

            Thank you very much Mike.
            India is planning to go solar voltaic in a big way. Many State governments have started the project. The officials in the State electricity boards believe that they may find maintaining the stability a very challenging job. This discussion is going on. I hope that they will come round finally.

          • Bob_Wallace

            India has a significant amount of wind on their grid. And the state of Gujarat has a significant amount of solar on line. Someone has figured out how to incorporate renewables.

            State electricity boards may have trouble figuring out solutions, but let me suggest that if they do it is because they have come to the task with a bad attitude. The answers are readily available for system operator who wants to know them. But if approached with an “only large central electricity plants really work” attitude then there will be problems.

            Utility companies in many parts of the world are slow to realize that with a new century we are entering a new era of electricity production. Wind and solar have become our least expensive ways to generate electricity. We can no longer afford to use fossil fuels for climatic reasons. And nuclear, after 60 years of work, has not become affordable, nor have we solved the problem of radioactive waste.

            Change is hard for some people. But change is inevitable. Those who realize that change is coming need to get out front and help with the planning. Look to places where the process is further along and learn from them.

          • just_jim

            In Hawaii HELCO has limited solar installations. Kauai Island Utility Cooperative on the Hawaiian Island of Kauai, hasn’t that I’m aware of, and is planning to meet 50% of daytime electric needs with solar by 2015.

            Maybe investor owned electric companies can’t handle renewables, but cooperatives and municipal utilities seem to be able to.

          • Wayne Williamson

            wow, mine shows up with 29 thousand. Any one else want to try.

          • eveee

            Show off. :)

          • Bob_Wallace

            “The intermittency of solar and wind power is a fact generally ignored by pro wind/solar lobby. ”

            K.S., you are either ignorant or lying. The “pro wind/solar lobby” continuously discusses issues involving the variability of wind and solar inputs. The literature is full of studies on how best to integrate these variable sources.

            Let’s assume you are simply ignorant. Let me suggest that you give this research paper a read. It takes the question whether we could operate a real world grid with only wind, solar and storage. It uses four years of demand from the largest wholesale grid in the US and NOAA weather data for the area in its calculation.


          • Bob_Wallace

            Now, your “Bob Wallace” and “too cheap to meter”.

            Perhaps you don’t know how to use Google?

            First, there are many Bob Wallace’s in this old world. I’m just one.

            Second, 33,500 hits is a meaningless statistic. When I run the search the fourth hit is a Wiki page about Lewis Strauss, I can assure you that I’m not on that page.

            The sixth hit is a page that contains multiple articles. One of the articles is written by “Bob Wallace, Senior Editor”, clearly someone not me. The phrase “too cheap to meter” appears in a different article written by someone different.

            By the second page the hits are looking like this -

            ” Posted by Bob Wallace , who is still trying to build one in his garage. …. It’s too insulting to most people. …. of using bioluminescent foxfire to provide illumination for the compass and depth meter . …. I used to sell Grit magazine as a kid, which at that time was a magazine that looked like a cheap newspaper.”

            (I’m not that Bob Wallace.)

            Some of the first two page hits are comments made by someone else, including you. If fact, your comment is the number two hit on my Google search….

            ” Since you brought the phrase “too cheap to meter”, I have another … I did the test at 3:51 PM just now using Bob Wallace and the phrase as key …”

            Now, if you wish to discuss renewable energy here you are welcome. But bring your A game and not nonsense.

          • globi

            “Texas grid operator data show that the integration costs for conventional power plants are far larger than the integration costs for
            wind generation. Because changes in wind output occur gradually over
            many hours and can be predicted, while failures at conventional power
            plants occur instantly and without warning, more reserves and more
            expensive reserves are required to reliably integrate conventional power
            plants. For example, the Texas grid operator ERCOT holds 2800 MW of
            fast-acting reserves 24/7/365 to keep the lights on in case one of the
            state’s large fossil or nuclear power plants experiences an unexpected
            failure, as all power plants do from time to time.”

          • Larry

            Pro nuclear junkies always dodge the big elephant in the room. You should all be blessed with having a portion of the mounting pile of nuclear waste material politely encased in a mausoleum in your personal backyard.

          • Bob_Wallace

            They should pay off a fund that will finance the replacement encapsulation of nuclear waste for the next, what, 250,000 years? Let’s add that into the cost of nuclear energy.

            A new set of coffins every 100 years….

          • mds

            “The intermittency of solar and wind power is a fact generally ignored by pro wind/solar lobby.”
            Any idea how many solar installation companies have recently purchased battery storage companies, or made supply alliances for the same? Wake up doc.

            “Anti nuclear activists will have used the phrase more often than others.”
            OK children, it is still stupid for any of you to use the phrase “too cheap to meter”. Dr of what? Not power engineering I hope.

        • Offgridman

          This is off subject for this string but it seems the easiest way to tell you about a new generator for offgrid use that may interest you, it sure does me.
          Don’t have an easy way to include the web link right now, but check out Uniflow Power Systems out of Australia.
          Not sure just when it will come to market, or be available in the US, but they say patents are taken care of and it sounds like distributors will be available fairly soon.
          I certainly hope so, have been considering a outdoor wood fired boiler for hot water and in floor or radiant heat that can utilize all the surplus pine on my place and cut out the mess of the wood stove inside. With this having the addition of electricity generation and a mechanical PTO it seems perfect for me to cut the gasoline and LPG expenses, maybe for you too.

          • Vensonata

            The Victoria gasworks has had a wood fired gasification electricity producing boiler for sale out of Washington state for several years now. It certainly provides abundant electricity. 30 grand if I remember correctly. Looks nice and closer to home. By the way I’ve gone from High end wood gasification boiler and in floor radiant heat back to two indoor wood stoves, no electric required , no pumps, 100% reliable, nice ambience….spend your money on better insulation, in the end it is much, much better. Been there, done that. Now gentleman, back to nukes vs renewables

          • Offgridman

            Thanks for the suggestion, but the Uniflow appears to use forced ventilation (like used in the new small campstoves that burn all types of junk wood) for the burn that would let me use the green, sappy softwood that I have in abundance on my property. It is a replanted area from 40-45 years back that is still 90-95% of assorted Pines. So I can get out of having to buy or work at getting hardwood for use.
            The house is in the process of going underground with a living roof so the insulation aspect is going to be covered.
            The Uniflow is talking about having models as small as 2 Kw of electric output which will be plenty for my minimal use, and the in floor heat is going to be run off from a giant reserve tank (minimum thousand gallons) that for the most part is going to be heated by solar with the boiler just as backup for the very occasional stretch of colder weather we get here in the Southeast.
            I am hoping that with the avoidance of the complication of the gasification, and the smaller size one of these boilers will be priced much better than the one you referenced, and will get me off of buying any type of fuel, either wood, gas, or LPG. So just be even more self reliant and protected from any of the vagaries of future price increases. And really need to get the fire out of the house except for the occasional one for mood or atmosphere due to my asthma and my boys allergies.
            But everything is still in the transition process on the house so we have a couple years before needing to make a choice on the boiler, but the idea of getting rid of the gas generator with its very occasional need is very interesting.
            Thanks again and have a good day

    • mds

      Not obvious in the US mid-west. Grid there is now more reliable. Electricity interconnects seems to be compensating very nicely for Wind variability.
      Same now for the small country of Texas.
      Maybe you should invest in better power interconnects in India.

  • heinbloed

    If the wind stops blowing and it becomes hot for the grid operators one could distribute these devices:

    Marking the end of centralised power.

  • heinbloed

    Speculating on guaranteed delivery of ‘green power’ could fill pocckets in Belgium:

    Whilest negative electricity prices are available in Europe those economies on the atomic leash have no lines to hold to:

    Belgium isn’t connected to the German grid yet, it was easier for the atomic Mafia this way.

    Those who come to late will be punished by history.

  • heinbloed


    The latest news on the brown-outs which Belgium is preparing for thanks to the impotence/intermittance of the atomic industry:

    They would be imposed for 3-4 hours in the evenings and be staged in 6 national zones.
    No community is informed so far.

    • Ronald Brakels

      Maybe they should ask Japan for some advice on how to handle this?

      • heinbloed

        In Japan the atomic reactor fleet isn’t providing enough electricity to supply the atomic industry.
        It is depending on RE (and fossile E) to keep the cooling-down pools and the reactors under control.
        And to run the offices of the atomic control authorities.
        And the electric gates and the metal detectors, the electric fences, the anti-terror units of the special forces, the air defense …

        Sure Belgium could ask – but what would be the question?

        • Ronald Brakels

          I was more referring to their ability to shut down their reactor fleet without having to resort to using rolling blackouts.

          • heinbloed

            Well, I really don’t know. Maybe they should.

            Reducing el. demand during winter time is easy, Belgium is the brightest spot in Europe seen from space. The Autobahn is illuminated all night long.
            Japan demanded after 11/3 the industry to save power, the private consumers were politely asked to do so.
            And a lot of power wasn’t asked for anymore anyhow in Japan after the quake and the tsunami wiped out entire cities.

          • AltairIV

            Actually, here in Osaka the utility did have a rolling blackout schedule during the summer months of 2012. It was only on an as-needed basis however, and I don’t know how often they had to actually resort to them. My apartment wasn’t included in the targeted area for some reason.

            The ramp-up of gas imports and the restart of a couple of reactors appears to have made it unecessary since then, and now the FIT-induced growth of renewables is starting to have effect too. But rates have gone up and conservation efforts are still being pushed fairly heavily.

          • Ronald Brakels

            In Australia we used to have rolling blackouts in summer without any disaster being required other than hot weather, but fortunately our rooftop solar capacity now prevents that. So from our point of view Japan did extremely well with minimal interruption in the supply of electricity.

          • AltairIV

            I agree with you absolutely. There has been some inconvenience, certainly, but nothing that can’t be lived with. At worst it puts most people back to what they had to deal with a few decades ago (and many other countries still deal with worse on a daily basis). I’m a bit disappointed in the jump in oil and gas imports, and I think the government is a bit backward in its thinking in some areas, but overall we’re back to moving forward again.

          • Ronald Brakels

            While some of the decisons made have been a little surprising to me, I would say that by world standards Japan is doing an excellent job and has a strong renewables program. (Full Disclosure: I am in Australia and just any government action to protect the environment looks good to me at the moment.)

          • heinbloed

            Yes, I think there there is still no grid power available within the evacuation zones. Even the public gas grid is switched off.

            The planned steps for RE should be taken in a stride, the UK and Belgium both have a huge agenda on green power.


            It is wind power in Belgium which is progressing fastest, the others have little to show.
            In the UK it is propably the same story.Plenty of wind power in progress, bio-fuel power plants are ready to start as well.
            No need for the atom.

          • Ronald Brakels

            There’s no power in the evacuation zones for two reasons. Safety, and to stop people going back.

          • heinbloed

            You mean they would take the tram?

          • Ronald Brakels

            Maybe. But I think it’s more that houses without electricity are less comfortable to squat in than those with electricity.

  • spec9

    But I hear that nuke plants are up 95% of the time. This can’t happen.

    • heinbloed

      That’s what the willys claim :)

    • Ronald Brakels

      World nuclear capacity is about 82% and that’s if no Fukushimas are resulting in extra safety checks. And we probably won’t get up to 82% again as the world reactor fleet ages. The United States did get up to 90% and thats a figure that gets thrown around a lot as if it applies to all nuclear. It is an impressive figure, but it is a bit of a worry when one looks at the state of US reactors and their claims of not requiring post Fukushima safety upgrades. If they are not willing to spend money on vents to prevent hydrogen explosions, what else aren’t they willing to spend money on? I’m very concerned. One more big nuclear accident and I’ll have no one left to sell uranium to.

      • peter d. mare

        What an over reaction, Fukushima was! The reactors are in one of the most earthquake-prone region in the world and sitting by the ocean and as bad luck would have a tsunami (of all things) affected the electrical safety equipment! The chance of this event happening again is next to ZERO and to happen elsewhere in non-earthquake zones, in land, close to ZERO as well! While nuclear is not clean, mining rare-earth material for solar and wind isn’t either.

        • Bob_Wallace

          “Next to zero”. Well, the probability of a nuclear meltdown is low. We’ve always known that. But the low probability is offset by the high event cost.

          BTW, do you know that we built Humboldt Bay on top of an active fault and in a tsunami zone? Luckily that reactor is now gone, but its fuel remains in the tsunami zone, right where the plants stood.

          And do you realize that TMI, Chernobyl, Chalk River, Santa Susana, Saint-Laurent, SL-1, and other significant nuclear incidents happened for a variety of reasons? Just getting reactors out of tsunami zones does not make them safe.

          Homer finds a way.

          • peter d. mare

            Okay, let’s try another more balanced approach. Old nuclear reactors are going to have issues, but the newer ones are much more safe and virtually unable to have an armageddon type of accident that you are describing. Yes, errors in choice of locations were made, but we can learn from those mistakes. In the MEANtime, new nuclear is much safer with new plants than oil, coal, or gas and we need nuclear, unless you prefer dams. You did not address my point about rare earth mining? Is everything you say and environmentalists always white and everyone else’s critical point of view, always so black? Balance and moderation are key! Extremism is usually wrong.

          • Bob_Wallace

            No, Peter. We do not need nuclear.

            What we need is electricity when we want it. We can provide that electricity with a mix of renewables and storage.

            New nuclear is simply too expensive. And we have not solved the radioactive waste problem.

            We don’t need new dams. We will likely convert some of our existing 77,500 non-producing dams to electricity producers. And we’ll probably install some run of river hydro. But we “need” neither. It will simply be a decision of what works best in specific locales.

            I didn’t address your point about rare earth mining because it is not an issue. We can mine for REMs without causing significant environmental problems. The fact that China has done “dirty” mining does not mean that’s how it must be done.

          • peter d. mare

            We,… You in the West, don’t, but in the East:

            “As of April 2014, the People’s Republic of China has 21 nuclear power reactors operating on 6 separate sites and 28 under construction.[1][2][3] Additional reactors are planned, providing 58 GWe of capacity by 2020.[1] China’s National Development and Reform Commission has indicated the intention to raise the percentage of China’s electricity produced by nuclear power from the current 2% to 6% by 2020 (compared to 20% in the USA and 74% inFrance).[4][not in citation given] However, rapid nuclear expansion may lead to a shortfall of fuel, equipment, qualified plant workers, and safety inspectors.[5][6]

            Due to increasing concerns about air quality, climate change and fossil fuel shortages, nuclear power has been looked into as an alternative to coal power in China.[7][8] China has two major nuclear power companies, the China National Nuclear Corporation operating mainly in north-east China, and the China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group operating mainly in south-east China.[9] The People’s Republic of China is also involved in the development of nuclear fusion reactors through its participation in the ITER project, having constructed an experimental nuclear fusion reactor known as EAST located in Hefei,[10]as well as research and development into the thorium fuel cycle as a potential alternative means of nuclear fission.[11]”

            How many windmill a day would they need to erect to displace ALL of those nuclear plants? How much mining of rare-earth will that be? How long are windmill and solar good for until they need to be “replaced” or “recycled”, if that is in the plan? Landfill anyone?

            Yes, I know you dream of the windmill and solar being everywhere. I do too. But, one has to be realistic.

          • globi

            Nuclear power plant cannot run without uranium:

            On the other hand the majority of wind turbines don’t use permanent magnets and thus no rare earths (besides permanent magnets can be made without rare earths anyway).
            In fact even the largest manufacturer of direct drive wind turbines ‘Enercon’ is not using any permanent magnets:

            So far China hasn’t had any new nuclear power plant construction starts in 2014:

            On the other hand China installed 19 GW of wind power in 2010 already:

          • peter d. mare

            Good info. Thanks. Let’s hope the Chinese go for the cleaner windmills then. Solar: clean and effective? I guess you need lithium battery storage for night-time use. That will demand lots of mining and lots of lithium, especially if you also want electric vehicles. All that lithium better be close to the battery manufacturing and the trucks better be all electric, which would mean even more lithium.

            You make as if it is an easy dunk. I know it is important in debates to show confidence, but grey matters!

          • mds

            Global use of cell phones was not an “easy dunk”. I happened. Solar PV, Wind, Storage, and EVs/PHEVs are increasingly acheiving the economic high ground. This means they are going to take over. It is already happening …from a small base …all are growing exponentially (with the possible exception of wind reaching linear growth phase).

            “We choose to do this not because it is easy, but because it is hard.” Just kidding. Really the world is choosing to do this because it is more economical. I’ve been waiting for 25 years in hopes Solar PV would achieve this. It’s here now and the costs of Solar PV, Wind, Storage, and EVs/PHEVs continue to fall. …meaning the obvious…

          • globi

            Daytime power use is higher anyway.
            France, for instance, runs electric water heaters at night, to use surplus nuclear power.
            The same can be done with surplus solar power during day time (and save natural gas for flexible power plants).

            Storage is overrated: VDE calculated that Germany won’t need any
            substantial storage before reaching 80% renewables in the grid:
            hat is if Germany decided to rely on its own storage. However, Norway
            alone has already over 3 times more hydro storage capacity than
            what Germany would need with a 100% renewable grid.
            Which means if
            Europe decided to improve the grid and increase the power of existing
            hydro power plants (not storage capacity), it could rely on already
            existing hydro power lakes. Keep also in mind that interconnected
            German, Spanish and British wind farms as well as PV provide baseload.

          • mds

            “In fact even the largest manufacturer of direct drive wind turbines ‘Enercon’ is not using any permanent magnets”
            I did not know that. Thank you.

          • eveee

            Most of the turbine generators requiring rare earth magnets are in China. Not a coincidence.

          • mds

            Also good information. Thanks.

          • Bob_Wallace

            China is already making more electricity with wind than nuclear. In both 2012 and 2013.

            Our first generation of wind turbines (you telegraph your bias by using “mills”) are now being replaced at Altamont Pass after 30 years. With three decades of learning it is not unreasonable to think current technology will last considerably longer.

            Studies have shown that when worn out turbines and towers can be almost 100% recycled and the value from the recovered materials covers the cost of returning the site to original condition.

            Reactors, on the other hand, have to be left to “rot in place” for 60 years or so before they can be disassembled and hauled off to hazardous waste facilities. Then there’s the fuel waste….

            US reactors built prior to 1970 lasted, on average, only 14.2 years. Much less than first generation wind turbines.

            Most of the reactors built after 1970 are lasting over 40 years (some have already been shut down before they reached 40), none have made it to 50 years. Some may be refurbished in order to extend their lives to 60 years but the cost may be prohibitive in many cases.

            We don’t know how long solar panels will last. Our oldest continuously installed array is now 40 years old. At age 35 the panels were taken down and individually tested. At that point they had declined in output by 3.88%, total. That’s an average of 0.11% per year.

          • peter d. mare

            Please, don’t judge a person by the use of ONE word (mill). It does not look good.

            However, this is good and positive info. I could ask to substantiate your statements with sources, but I will take your word for it.

            It remains that the “world” would have to build a lot of mills and panels to remove all of the risks and the costs that are associated with carbon-based energies. Add the cost of displaced workers.

            I don’t have an issue of not using nuclear, but realistically you cannot possibly make up for all the energy created by those bad energy systems.

            However, if governments and YOU were to emphasize conservation of energy by consumers: high efficiency houses,… Then we could get closer to realizing that goal. Tomorrow? I don’t think so. 10 or 20 years. Possible to have enough factories building non-rare-earth mills. It would help if that company would make their technologies available to other major manufacturers like Vestas for a price. Governments should help in that regard.

          • mds

            “I don’t have an issue of not using nuclear, but realistically you cannot
            possibly make up for all the energy created by those bad energy
            That is simply false, an uninformed assumption. Our
            electrical system will probably always have mix of energy sources, but
            wind or solar could provide all the power needed on their own.
            The relative totals of different power resources are shown here: – December 2012
            “Solar Power Abundance!”
            Note that annual amounts are being shown for solar and wind, compared to total available for oil, coal, and nuclear. You are so wrong it is laughable.

            The issue has been technology to do it and the cost effectiveness of the power generated. The technology to reliably convert Wind and Solar to electricity is here and is still improving. In some areas we already have the cost advantage over incumbent power resources and cost is rapidly dropping, as well. This why I keep repeating that the measureable trends are very, very clear.

            So yes we can replace all fossil fuels being used for energy generation using Wind and Solar. Our electrical grid will no doubt remain a mix of sources, but the lions share of electrical power will be coming from Wind and Solar PV within the next few decades. The economics are increasingly there, the trends are clear. You might as well pretend the tide isn’t coming in on schedule.

          • falstaff77

            “However, this is good and positive info. I could ask to substantiate your statements with sources, …”

            You should have. Most of it is wrong.

          • falstaff77

            Yes its wind power to the rescue in China, because only wind and solar grow exponentially.


          • mds

            I’ve done the research and the math and the “small starting base” argument is wrong:
            “The Continuing Exponential Growth Of Global Solar PV Production & Installation”

            Also seen here:

            and explained in the short video here:

          • Dr.K.SParthasarathy

            Some facts on solar and wind power in India
            ( Wikipedia)
            As on March 31, 2014 India’s installed capacity of wind mill power is 21136.3 MW. It is 8.5% of total installed power capacity and produced 1.6% of the total power.

            Solar power is modest at 1442 MW.From August 2011 to July 2012, India went from 2.5 MW of grid connected photovoltaics to over 1,000 MW. India plans to have 20,000MW by 2020.

            India is planning to install the World’s largest Solar Power Plant with 4,000 MW Capacity.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I’m surprised you’re getting only 18.8% CF for solar in India. I suspect there is something wrong somewhere.

            As I pointed out to you earlier, and as you must know, CF is not an important number overall. It’s part of the calculation of price – and price is the important number when it comes to how a nation spends its money.

            BTW, we aren’t talking about India grinding grain. We’re talking about producing electricity so the correct term is “turbine”, not “mill”.

          • Dr.K.SParthasarathy

            Thank you very much for correcting my humongous error .Use of “mill ” instead of “turbine”. I understand that wind mill was not popularly used to grind grain in India!
            India is not all that sunny.
            We get sun 7-8hrs per day for 250 days in a year

            Thus the annual plant load factor would be (7 × 250/8760) = 0.2

          • Bob_Wallace

            Correct, oxen driven and water mills are what I’ve more often seen in that part of the world. Then there’s the family yard mortar and pestle,

            .I do wonder about your claim that India is not all that sunny. Have you actually spent time there? My experience is that India has sunshine in much abundance. Perhaps not if you’re thinking of some place such as Darjeeling or rainy Assam.

            But that aside, checking solar irradiance numbers for a couple of places I find Amritsar has a solar CF of 25.7% and Hyderabad runs 23.4%. Moving out into Rajasthan there’s Jaipur at 23.6%.Your 0.2 (20%) may be off a bit.

            CF numbers up in the 20% range are very sweet. Look at what Germany has been able to do with solar while having vastly less sunshine.

          • Larry

            Air Quality in China is among the worst in the world. Coal and other fossil fueled power plants have been the largest contributor to that disgusting air qquality. Chinese citizens are unwilling to tolerate this kind of health destroying abuse. They are demanding power be produced from anything but fossil fuels.

          • eveee

            Wind already outpaced nuclear in China. Been there, done that. And climbing faster leaving nuclear in the dust.

            One not only has to be realistic, one has to be informed.

          • Dr.K.SParthasarathy

            India’s nuclear ambition is similar but modest; uranium shortage is a factor.

            Reactors under operation

            Two BWRs (160 MWe each) ; one PHWR of 200 MWe; 14 PHWRs of 220 MWe; two PHWRs of 540 MWe One VVER 1000MWe

            Reactors under construction

            One VVER 1000MWe

            4 x 700 MWe PHWRs

            One 500 MWe Fast Breeder

            Planned projects

            2X500 MWe Fast Breeder

            10X 700 MWe PHWR

            6X 1650 MWe EPR

            6X1594 ESBWR

            6X1100 MWe AP1000

            One of the PHWRs, Unit 5 of the Rajasthan Artomic Power Station completed over 740 days of continuous operation and is continuing to operate as on today. It will be shut down on Sept 6. The longest operating nuclear power reactor in US operated for 739 days LaSalle 1 (Illinois) as on Feb 2006

            US reactors in 2013 registered a capacity factor of 90.9% with 19 reactors over 100%; ONE REACTOR 100%


            Since I learnt many new facts about solar and wind from comments of readers, I thought I should convey some facts about nuclear power in India and USA

          • Bob_Wallace

            We don’t use all caps to shout at each other on this site.

            32.3% CF for wind is an average and not representative of what newer wind farms are reporting. Newer farms are above 40%.

            When solar is installed in large quantities over the US the CF for solar will be closer to 20%, perhaps just under. The number is now elevated by where most of the solar installation are taking place.

            But, as you should know, it’s not CF that matters. It’s cost and time of delivery. Solar has a lower CF than nuclear but its LCOE is also much lower. And solar delivers during hours of high demand.

            Part of nuclear’s (expensive) output is during low demand hours. And that means that with only modest penetration storage is needed to move nuclear output to hours of higher demand.

          • Dr.K.SParthasarathy

            Use of uppercase in my comment was incidental. It was certainly not intended to highlight any point of view. Please note that caps started with “ONE REACTOR 100%”, senior citizen carrying out one finger typing creates such problems

          • Bob_Wallace

            My fingers are in their eighth decade and they can locate the Caps Lock key.

            We frown on all caps because we have ‘foaming at the mouth right wingers’ show up from time to time and requiring them to moderate their “tone” seems to make them forget the talking points they were attempting to post.

          • falstaff77

            “We can provide that electricity with a mix of renewables and storage.”

            If “renewables” means hydroelectric and geothermal, then we know that yes this has already taken place. Iceland produces some 96% of its electricity from the two, all year, year after year, winter, summer, and cost effectively. Canada, Sweden also half or more their power also from hydro.

            But from solar and wind? There are no such examples, not even for small fractions. No I do not mean some large output in good wind seasons averaged together with lousy wind seasons later. This is not how the 96% figure is obtained in Iceland.

            So why would you imagine people would accept your assertion about electricity supply? Is it by ignoring cost? Then solar by itself can do the job: simply over build solar by a factor of twenty or thirty that of load, do similarly with transmission, add in millions of tons of batteries, and even in the worst winters solar can power the most developed economies. Or do the same with overbuilding wind.

          • mds

            “But from solar and wind? There are no such examples, not even for small fractions”
            This is my problem those who believe nuclear is necessary for most of our clean electricity generation. They do not believe that Solar and Wind can do the job. It used to be well accepted Wind and Solar could not get past less than 1%. Whoops that happened. Then it was 5%. Limited to there by law in Hawaii for a long time. Whoops that happened without visitation by evil spirits. Then it was 10%. Oh no that has happened too in some places. What is that foreign land where things are strange? I think the last I read their Wind use was up from 20% a few years ago to 25% or their electricity production. Their grid was more stable than ever and they were shooting for 30% or 40% wind power, I can’t remember which.
            Go to the Palm Desert area near the Mohave Desert and tell me they won’t be able to generate over 90% of their power using Solar PV and Battery Storage at night within the next decade. The cost of both those is going to drop by at least half in that time and probably more …and nobody has come up with a limit to that cost drop yet as time continues on. (No, it will not be too cheap to meter. Oh my gosh, I’ve been saying “not too cheap to meter”. I’m going to be slaughtered on a search for “too cheap to meter”, I’m going to have to tell my mommy or something. ;-P )
            Australia is now generating a large percentage of their power from Wind and Solar PV. The percentage of their output will continue to increase, inspite of a very hostile national government, because the economics favor it. They are saving money. They are closing coal plants without replacing them. (as are we) They are no longer having power delivery problems, short falls, during the high demand for AC during their intense summer heat ….because …wait for it ….Solar matches that load requirement rather nicely …and in the Southern half of the US …think about it …yes! AC is our biggest grid electricity requirement …and ….yes! the sun also shines during the day in our Southern States. Sorry, having fun because this should be obvious and the falseness of the assumption renewables can only meet a small fraction of our power needs should also be obvious.
            Now, what about the neck of the duck curve (look it up if you don’t know and understand it)? Our largest electrical demand is AC in the Southern US and people still need to use their AC units in the evening after the sun goes down. Pretty tough situation for solar, but not really. That’s what “Ice Bear” units do. They make ice from solar power when sun is out, then they just run a fan blowing air across the ice using very little electricity when the sun has gone down. Of course SolarCity is now selling Tesla Lithium ion battery technology, so you can do this all with electrical storage …and defeat the neck-of-the-duck for any evening load requirement that way if you like. …and there are other low-cost storage products on the market already or headed that way.

            The market opportunity for storage is huge, with some rather high margin niches too. As a result, the competition for this market is huge and a number of good products are going to be offered. There are several different chemistries and technologies. If even one of these is successful, then this is going to make it very economical to store Solar power for use at night. Rainy-day or seasonal storage is going to be a different problem, but regular night-time use of Solar PV power is going take Solar PV from the ability to provide significant power during the day to the ability to provide most of our power in the Southern Half of the US. This is a huge market. The scale of the market will help make that happen and help drive down costs.

            Conclusion: WInd and Solar are already demonstrating the ability to provide a very significant portion of our electricity now. The continuing drop in their cost together with the advent of low-cost storage means they will be able to deliver even more. The cost trajectory of all of these means they will become the largest sources of our electricity within a few decades.

            You, Mr Falstaff assume this will not be the case based on what? Religious beliefs? Strong opinions and what has gone before?

          • falstaff77

            ‘It used to be well accepted … Whoops that happened. Then it was ..Whoops that happened without visitation by evil spirits. Then it was 10%.”

            Why do you imagine I’m interested in hand waiving histories attributed to vague, unspoken sources.

            “Australia is now generating a large percentage of their power from Wind and Solar PV.”

            82% coal, 7% gas, 10% hydro, 4% wind, solar is far less than 1%. Is that a “large percentage”?

            “I think the last I read their Wind use was up from 20% a few years ago to 25% or their electricity”

            Where did you get that? Cleantechnica poster number 12?

            “I’m going to have to tell my mommy or something. ;-P )”

            Not necessary. Go to a green protest, chant no-justice-no-peace for an hour, march for two hours, say three Hail RenewablePowers, Amen. You’ll be fine.

          • heinbloed

            ” Not necessary. Go to a green protest, chant no-justice-no-peace for an
            hour, march for two hours, say three Hail RenewablePowers, Amen. You’ll
            be fine.”

            You must be drunk. Thrown out of the pub?

          • Mike Shurtleff

            No, he’s just clueless.

          • Mike Shurtleff

   – July 2013
            “Could Solar And Wind Replace Fossil Fuels In Australia By 2014 2041?”
            “Australia was sitting at around 10 per cent renewables in 2010″
            “ ‘Blakersnotes that SouthAustralia already gets 29% of its electricity from wind and PV’ ”

   – July 2013
            “Renewables rise to 15% in Australia as demand and emissions fall”

   “South Australia Solar Shifted The Peak During The Heat Wave” – February 2014
            “The biggest change identified by AEMO was how rooftop solar has shifted the peak in South Australia. That shouldn’t be surprising, given there is 450MW of rooftop solar PV in a part of the grid that gets maximum demand of just over 3,000MW.”

   – February 2014
            “AGL Energy Wind Farms Operating At Nearly A 50% Capacity Factor!”

   “Rooftop Solar = 2% Of
            Electricity Generation In Australia” – June 2014

            Residential Solar PV alone is now at 2% in Australia, not the 1% you have for Residential and Utility Solar PV. …and it is still growing fast inspite of the idiot Abbott government. The resource there is excellent and the economics greatly favor a large percentage DG Solar PV.

   – July 2014
            “Utilities face new challenge in rush for home storage”

            I notice you criticize my lack of references, but again provide none of your own. I’m guessing you are using old data not appropriate to seeing the effect of an exponentially increasing source. Data from the Abbott crowd maybe?


            WIND IN IOWA:

   “Iowa Eyes Concrete to Blow Past 27% Wind Power Mark” – March 2014
            “We were just talking about GE’s new taller wind turbine tower, which will hit the market next week at a whopping
            139 meters, when along comes the latest American Wind Energy Association wind power report showing that the great state of Iowa now gets about 27 percent of
            its electricity from wind. With the tallest turbine in Iowa reaching only 94 meters, imagine what’s going to happen to Iowa wind power production when taller wind turbine towers get into the ground.”

            Yes, from Cleantechnica, but references back to the AWEA. I do not have reason to suspect they are dishonest in their numbers. A quick check:

            You are looking at data that is no-doubt a few years old and you are looking at averages over the entire country. For Australia and more so for the US this a good trick (or blunder) to show Solar PV and Wind are making much less of an impact than they really are in some areas, some States. The higher penetration in some areas of the countries is a far better indicator of what levels of penetration are possible …and a better predictor of what levels of penetration are coming. Amen. I am fine. You however have a problem.

          • falstaff77

            You are confusing peak production of solar or wind with annual average production. You are confusing “renewables” with solar and wind, as hydro production in Australia dwarf wind both in annual production and consistency.

            There is already ample evidence that renewables in the form of hydro and geothermal can consistently power nations, but there are no such examples for solar and wind. Not yet.

          • AltairIV

            I suppose the German state of Schleswig-Holstein doesn’t count as an example?


            I see too that you don’t seem to understand the power of distributed systems. The more, and more varied the inputs you add to the grid (read thousands of wind turbines and solar panels spread out over a large area), the more robust and stable its output gets. It’s a simple matter of redundancy.

            Yes, some overbuilding and storage will be needed to level out the supply and demand, but the amount needed is nowhere near what you imagine it to be. Overbuild by “a factor of twenty to thirty”, indeed. Twenty to thirty percent is probably more in the ball park.

          • falstaff77

            “doesn’t count…”

            Did you look at the poor wind months as I said? Answer the proposal for yourself. Does this German state generate wind power like Iceland’s hydro-geo, all year round, 96 percent?

            “Twenty to thirty percent …”

            Do the math yourself for say German solar. Consider the case of an attempt at all solar output. First, to cover the 24 hrs cycle a multiple of 5 or 6 is required over peak output rating. Then annual data in Germany already shows that daily output falls in the winter by 20 or 30 over that of the summer. This is data for solar dispersed throughout the country. Distributed generation will not bring more hrs of sunlight to G in winter. So immediately an all solar plan requires maybe 80 times overbuild along with whatever storage system is used.

            Now of course a realistic system would mix in existing hydro, reducing the overbuild multiple, some. Same for wind, though with has its own seasons where wind is poor or non-existent. The result of the mix, with no other dispatchable sources like nuclear, means an overbuild by an order of magnitude, not ten percent

          • Bob_Wallace

            A 100% renewable (or close to 100% renewable) grid would likely mean a lot of overbuilding.

            Just like we overbuilt our fossil fuel grid in the previous century.

            The CF (capacity factor) for coal in 2011 was 57.6%. In 2012 it was 51.4%

            The CF for natural gas was 24.2% in 2011, 28.8% in 2012.

            The CF for nuclear was 84.3% in 2011, 81.4% in 2012.

            That’s a lot of capacity sitting idle a lot of the time. A lot over overbuilding. Coal plants are “overbuilt” by 2x. Natural gas plants are “overbuilt” by 4x.

            (The nuclear industry reports a higher CF because they do not include reactors which are offline for extensive repairs and they subtract out non-performing reactors which are later “retired”.)

          • falstaff77

            Understand what those figures mean. Wind n solar CF figures are due to the unavailability of the resource for factors beyond the control of the owner operator. Coal, gas, nuclear go offline most often because the operator *planned* the outage. .I.e maintenance, or a cheaper resource was available like nuclear or hydro, or the load simply dropped overnight.

            In the U.S., the overbuild for the entire grid is about two I.e. roughly 1 TW capacity and half TW load.

          • Bob_Wallace

            The new grid will not be like the old grid.

            The old grid was dominated by sources hard to turn off and back on in a hurry. Large plants cranked along as long as the grid could absorb their input. When demand was low and going to stay low for a while one or more large plants would be shut down. Dispatchable generation and storage filled in the gaps.

            Because there was a large range from annual minimal demand and annual maximum demand we built to supply the max (plus additional for reliability) and let a lot of capacity sit idle a lot of the time.

            The new grid will likely be dominated by sources “out of our control”. They will produce when they produce. When they produce they will produce clean inexpensive electricity. When they don’t give us enough to meet demand we will use dispatchable generation and storage to fill the gaps.

            Because, to some extent, it will be cheaper to build wind and solar capacity than to store power we will overbuild capacity.

            The amount we overbuild will be determined by cost of generation and cost of storage. Since demand will still vary from minute to minute and season to season we will continue to overbuild the average annual demand in order to service the annual maximum demand.

            Now, I’m sure you knew all that, but I don’t think you’ve thought it through.

            It’s the same game, but new players.

          • falstaff77

            When they don’t give us enough to meet demand we will use dispatchable generation and storage to fill the gaps.”

          • Bob_Wallace

            Yep. That’s how it works now and how it will almost certainly work in the future.

            Again, the nature of the major inputs will change, but the principals of getting electricity to people when they want it will stay the same. Use the cheapest available at the moment and then go for the cheapest fill-in.

          • falstaff77

            Perhaps. I think 30 percent solar and wind with nuclear and hydro filling the balance is more likely.

          • Bob_Wallace

            That would make for some very expensive electricity and do a bunch of damage to the economy.

          • mds

            “virtually unable to have an armageddon type of accident that you are describing”
            That’s type of statement is probably the second biggest problem with the pro-nuclear view. It is a crap statement. What does “virtually unable” mean from a science and engineering view? What was the statistical probability of Fukushima? It was “virtually unable” to happen. There was no doubt a very small probability that a tsunami would occur …but it did. Whoops.

            “Yes, errors in choice of locations were made, but we can learn from those mistakes.”
            Here you have already moved on to another problem with current nuclear plants. They must be sited near water for cooling. Besides the obvious problem of evaporating fresh water in some areas (fresh clean water being a much bigger problem than energy globally), this means they are sited on ocean shores or rivers. On any ocean shore there is geo-historical risk of tidal waves. On rivers there is the risk of radiation leak into drinking and irrigation waters if there is a quake. It turns out there is a geo-historical risk of earthquakes almost anywhere on the earth.

            Maybe small modular nuclear can solve those first two problems. I personally don’t

            “You did not address my point about rare earth mining?”
            There is no real issue with rare earth minerals for renewable energy.
            Generators (wind turbines) and Motors (EVs/PHEVs) can use induction with no requirement for rare earth permanent magnet motors. Also, rare earths are not as rare as their name suggests. The largest known deposit I’ve read of lays unexploited in Greenland.
            Solar PV is currently dominated by Silicon PV and there is plenty of quartz sand. Silicon is a very common in the earth’s crust. CdTe uses Tellurium. CIGS uses indium. They’ll have to find enough of those if they are going to compete with silicon. …and then there are new possibilities like perovskites.
            There is no Lithium shortage for making lithium batteries. Go to Tesla’s site and read what they have to say. It turns out there is plenty of this. It does not need to be dug from dry lake beds in Chile and China, that’s just the cheapest source. In the US, California, we are now starting to mine lithium from brines pumped from the ground in the Salton Sea area. We used to mine lithium clays to produce lithium and could again, but this is a more expensive source. (There is not actually a very high percentage of lithium in a lithium battery, so getting it from lithium clays again would only effect the price by a small amount.) In short, the talk of lithium material problems is classic FUD. (FUD = fear uncertainty and doubt spread on the net)
            I might as well make the counter argument that the nuclear industry will run out of uranium. A more realistic concern from a global power use point of view. Look at the size of earth’s nuclear fission material resource compared to the solar resource available.

            Dams can only deliver part of our power due geological limitations. Solar, Wind, and to be fair Nuclear, could each deliver it all. They will not, others also point out, our power sources will remain a mix of sources.

            “Is everything always white and everyone else’s point of view is always so black? Balance and moderation are key! Extremism is usually wrong.”
            Sure, extremism is usually wrong, but design/cost trade-offs make sense. Your view seems to me to be pretty white&black toward nuclear. Maybe I’m wrong on that. I’m just saying Wind, Solar, and Storage are making more and more cost sense, without the same associated risks, compared to nuclear. Built more nuclear if you want. It is way better than more fossil fuels. Build no more fossil fuel plants. The technology is now here and we don’t need’em any more. Obviously we’re going to need a few decades of transition. We should still have a mix of sources. (Oil is too expensive to make any sense for electricity generation now, but we still have that in many places and it will take time to go away completely. Maybe it never will: eg portable generators.) I realize that’s a radical view to many. I don’t think it is realistic or black&white.


          • peter d. mare

            Yes, I alluded to being moderate, so, yes, you are correct at inferring that I was realistically looking at nuclear as transition energy.

          • mds

            Transition to what?

            The answer seems abundantly clear to me:
   – December 2012
            “Solar Power Abundance!”
            God’s fusion generator appears to be well sited, very safely sited, to me.

            Again, I don’t mean to be anti-nuclear. I openly admit am not pro-nuclear. I just think it’s preferable to the continued use of fossil fuels and it’s not worth my time fighting nuclear. Bring on more nuclear. The problem is no longer nuclear opposition. It is now the cost. The economics are no longer there …even in China. Don’t believe me? Got for it. Put together the investment packages and build’em.

          • peter d. mare

            I beg to differ about the Fukushima’s risk. I think it was a much higher probability and capitalism won, as usual. Nuclear in Japan is still, away from the ocean, much riskier than in a totally different and safer area.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Yes, both TEPCO and the Japanese government were aware of the possibility of a tsunami, that at least one major tsunami had hit the area previously. But they took a chance and went ahead with construction. They even cut away a natural seawall that would have mitigated some of the damage.

            Pay attention to what you wrote – ” capitalism won, as usual”.

            I think you will admit that nuclear is dangerous (some nuclear advocates won’t in spite of obvious disasters and the number of safeguards we build into our systems).

            The next thing that you should acknowledge is that capitalism/greed can cause people to take shortcuts. Remember the faked safety certificates in the South Korean reactors?

            Then the human error factor. An engineer crawling through the guts of Browns Ferry with a lit candle and setting it on fire. Someone switching off one of the automatic safety systems at Diablo and no one discovering it for a year and a half. TMI where the operators couldn’t figure out what to do in time.

            Then recognize that with all the safeguards we’ve taken there is always the possibility of the “unknown unknown.”
            Just a couple of years ago a F5 tornado hit Joplin, MO. Had it stuck a bit farther north it might have hit the Fort Calhoun reactor. The reactor would have likely held up the impact, but the local grid would have been destroyed. And the backup generator was inside a simple, non-hardened metal building. Fort Calhoun would have been without both grid and backup power and would have started on the path to a meltdown.

            We didn’t even recognize that as a problem until Fukushima happened and then required reactors to secure their backup generators.

            And, by observing Fukushima, we learned about the danger of hydrogen buildup. We have yet to deal with that in US reactors.

            There may be no further unknown unknowns, but one can never be sure. There’s no way to open the chamber and make sure there is no cartridge in the pistol before putting to temple and pulling trigger….

          • peter d. mare

            Again, the bravado posturing that drive people away from listening to you guys. Okay, enjoy your ego trips! You negate my statement about “capitalism” as the root of the problem, but then you mention it later in your post. Jeesh! Alpha males, environmentalists, and extremists. You are all the same. You cannot debate with someone without making them feel as total idiots and you are surprised some people don’t like you? Jeesh! I wonder why?

          • Bob_Wallace

            Sorry, didn’t mean to hurt your fee-fees.

            But best you don’t try to post incorrect information and then not expect some pushback.

            And read what I said about capitalism. I agreed with you.

            Had capitalism/greed not driven TEPCO and the Japanese government to take the Fukushima risk then the Fukushima disaster would not have occurred. All they had to do was to build up the hill far enough to be out of the tsunami zone or build an adequate seawall. But they cut that corner.

            That is a very important fact to realize. It leaves one holding the unavoidable fact that corners may have been cut on other reactors or corners may be cut on future reactors.

            Nuclear is dangerous. We have multiple major meltdowns and a sizable list of close calls. There’s a very simple question all nuclear advocates need to ask themselves -

            “Does it make sense to build hundreds, thousands more reactors and increase the risk of more Chernobyls and Fukushimas or does it make more sense to get rid of fossil fuels by using safer, and cheaper, renewable technologies?”

          • eveee

            Tepco is in the list of faked safety inspections. We see how that turned out.


            So guess what a Japanese official is saying post Fukushima?

            “Tokyo Electric Power Co must give a fuller account of the Fukushima disaster and address its “institutionalized lying””


          • mds

            “I think it was a much higher probability and capitalism won, as usual.”
            Ah, that is the biggest risk for nuclear. Capitalism pushes for the least cost. That’s great most of the time, but takes outside over-sight when things like safety need to be ensured. (eg car industry) The big money involved in large nuclear plants, the heavy and corrupting influence big industry has on the US government right now, makes this the biggest fatal flaw the the nuclear industry. I wince every time a pro-nuclear person says “over reaction” or “virtually unable” to have a problem. What callous unthoughtful approach to be problem. Where are the pro-nuke arguments saying: “Look this is how we can address those concerns…”?

          • Mike Shurtleff

            Correction: I don’t think it is UNrealistic or black&white.

          • Larry

            Bravo Bob! Excellent comment

          • peter d. mare

            Again, the bravado posturing that drive people away from listening to you guys. Okay, enjoy your ego trips! Bob negates my statement about “capitalism” as the root of the problem, but then he mentions it later in his post. Jeesh! Alpha males, environmentalists, and extremists. You are all the same. You cannot debate with someone without making them feel as total idiots and you are surprised some people don’t like you? Jeesh! I wonder why?

          • eveee

            Fort Calhoun flooded. It’s a contradiction to your assertion that a flood is unlikely. It happened very soon after Fukushima. There are many other close calls. These build up the probability of another disaster. Comments like yours were in vogue after Chernobyl. It was a lousy Russian reactor. The operators were no good were the excuses. It will never happen again. The chances of a multiple accident are low. Another meltdown couldn’t happen. TMI didn’t melt down. All proved wrong. Now you say fukushima is an overreaction. How many disasters do we need for an under reaction?
            Please. Stop with the indignation, displaying the same qualities you denounce. Your statements re overreaction have a casual air inappropriate to a serious disaster.

          • eveee

            Lets add Fort Calhoun flooding to that. Last heard, that inland nuclear reactor was not in danger of tsunamis. Yet it flooded?


          • Bob_Wallace

            And during hurricane Sandy -

            “The most serious event was at the Oyster Creek Generating Station located in Lacey Township, near Barnegat Bay, New Jersey, about 40 miles north of Atlantic City. Amid 75-mile-an-hour winds, power to the region was knocked out, including at the Oyster Creek plant, just before 7 p.m. The plant’s backup diesel generators kicked on to keep its crucial cooling equipment functioning. Nevertheless, by 9 p.m. the plant’s pumps were facing another danger: rising floodwaters. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) spokesperson Neil Sheehan said that Sandy brought a surge of 7.4 feet to Oyster Creek. The plant is obligated to prepare for the consequences of flooding at 8.5 feet, he said, and, at 9.0 or 9.5 feet — Sheehan wasn’t sure — the plant’s pump motors would begin to be flooded.”


            And there was this one -

            “The 1999 Blayais Nuclear Power Plant flood was a flood that took place on the evening of December 27, 1999. It was caused when a combination of the tide and high winds from the extratropical storm Martin led to the sea walls of the Blayais Nuclear Power Plant inFrance being overwhelmed”

            But I suspect it doesn’t count since it happened in France….

          • heinbloed

            We could make a long list together:

            The atomic power plant Zwentendorf in Austria which never went into operation due to people power:


            The forces of the usually small river were so strong no one was able to place an emergency dam/sand bags.

            The atomic power plant Biblis/Hesse in Germany, thanks God off-line since Fukushima:


            A few thousand sand bags filled and layed by the local voluntary fire brigade saved it.

          • eveee

            Heinbloed- excellent post. Thanks.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I copied these flood/earthquake comments over to a Google Document. Here’s the link if anyone wishes to add anything or use it for research.


          • eveee

            Thanks. I will. :)

        • globi

          Actually, there is an old Swiss nuclear power plant (same design as in Fukushima) which is located not far from a 100 year old dam. If this dam were to fail, the nuclear power plant downstream would also face a Tsunami (which it would not be prepared for):

          • peter d. mare

            I am talking about new nuclear plants. So, dams are not that safe anymore. Okay! So, all windmills and all solar and all storage with lithium and lots of lithium mining. Lots and lots of that. Ecological footprint? I wish people were a bit more moderate in their statements. Some of you make it sounds as if it is sooooooooooooo easy.

          • globi

            As I said below additional storage including lithium is not really neeeded: VDE calculated that Germany won’t need any substantial storage before reaching 80% renewables in the grid:
            And that is if Germany decided to rely on its own storage. However, Norway alone has already over 3 times more hydro storage capacity than what Germany would need with a 100% renewable grid. Which means if Europe decided to improve the grid and increase the power of existing hydro power plants (not storage capacity), it could rely on already existing hydro power lakes. Keep also in mind that interconnected German, Spanish and British wind farms as well as PV complement each other.

          • mds

            Yes, the mining is still going to be with us and mining is generally an ecological problem. That is a fair point.
            …compared with the ecological impact of fossil fuels it is a lesser evil. You, Falstaff77, and others can argue out whether mining makes renewables a lesser option compared to nuclear. I don’t care to. Build’em both. I don’t care. Market economics will have its say.

        • Ronald Brakels

          Tell you what Peter D. Mare, you get Allianz or AIG or ING, or some other big insurance company to insure nuclear for about the same cost of wind or solar and then come back and impress me with that. It shouldn’t be difficult if nuclear is safe, but at the moment they just don’t seem to realise just how safe and have an opinon that differs from yours on the matter.

          PS: I’m pretty sure uranium is a rare earth element.

        • Suman Chakraborty

          New Kudankulam Nuclear plant made in India, by Russian Tech has mechanical fail safe, in absence of any Power failure, the fuel will be cut off automatically. Plz google to get more info on this mechanism.

      • eveee

        If you are pro nuclear, Chernobyl and Fukushima don’t count in your capacity factor calculations. Yes, better sell your uranium quick. Maybe just unload it to those funny looking guys with the AK-47s.

        • Ronald Brakels

          I tried that, got a little visit from the federal police. Apparently private citizens selling uranium to other private citizens is, to use the technical term, “illegal”. That’s the trouble with this country. They’re always oppressing job creators like me with their “laws” and “basic human morality”. It’s just like that time I tried to import Vietminese headache powder. I tell you, the Australian legal system is objectively pro-headache.

      • eveee

        But chernobyl and Fukushima don’t count in capacity factor. Neither do nuclear power plants that have been offline for years. It’s called nuclear math. It’s different. See p. 32 for the real math which is closer to what you cited. Too often the mythical 90% CF is accepted without contradiction.

  • No way

    Hmmm… So wind power steps in? Wouldn’t that wind power have been generated and used anyway?
    Or do the wind power cover all of the country with everything they need right now so that there is no coal or gas plant running at all? If not then it’s fossil fuels that are stepping in.

    • Offgridman

      Such a negative way of looking at things. How about the over supply of wind is easily capable of covering the loss of nuclear so that excess fossil fuels don’t need to be used to make up that loss and cause even more harm to our world.
      Without any actual numbers either your or my statement is equally valid. However I pity you looking at the world from your glass half empty perspective and will stay with my glass half full one.

      • No way

        When the renewable part of total energy is 4,1% (2012) like in the UK it’s hard to look at it as even half empty. Green energy like nuclear and renewables barely gets the glass wet in the UK and if one of them is not producing at highest possible levels then (or god forbid both of them at the same time) then the glass will be almost all dried up.

        I wish the world fight against fossil fuels were as great as a glass half empty.

        • Offgridman

          That was 2012, over the past couple of months there have been several articles on this site on how renewables are providing a significant portion of the electric demand in both Great Britain and Scotland at some times. The glass is getting closer to half full than you realize.

          • No way

            Even if they have doubled it to 8%, which I highly doubt, would you consider that half empty or almost totally empty?

            How about for the rest of the EU which has three quarters of all energy coming from fossil fuels, would you consider that half full or half empty?

            It rather seems like you are very unaware about what the situation really looks like and how important it is for both renewables and nuclear to be working and being added all the time for us to have the slightest chance of improvement.

          • Offgridman

            I am very aware of what is going on because of watching and waiting for the past forty years for everyone else to see the sense of alternative energy and start using it. As for more nuclear no thanks I have already lived through the fear and evacuation of one plant failure and won’t wish it on anyone else. Also the long term costs are ridiculous compared to wind or solar and the fallacy of needing it for baseload has been disproven many times.
            I am not going to go through and list the thousands or millions of megawatts of alternative energy that have been added around the world over the past ten years. If you follow this site you should be well aware of them yourself or do you just show up to cheer for nuclear and mourn its quite obvious future demise.
            Alternative energy is going to rule the future a fact recognized by the financial systems, fossil fuel companies, and utilities, which will make for a much cleaner and safer world for my children. A good enough reason for a glass half full.
            Due to the recalcitrant governments of some countries, perhaps yours too, that change will be slower and more problem laden in those places, but you would have to be blind not to see the forward thinking plans and actions of more and more countries.
            The reason for the first reply to you was the negativity of your comment without any facts to back it up. While it doesn’t contribute to the discussion here which is usually about trying to find the best way forward for the worlds energy needs, the one it really hurts is yourself. I am sorry that your perspective of what is going on in the world is so negative that you can’t see any of the wonderful changes that have happened in the past twenty years. And just tried to point out that if you could look at it a little differently you will be contributing to that current and future change, instead of slowing it down as you are now doing.
            Feel free to carry on with your miserable half empty life, but understand that your negativity can’t keep me from carrying on with my hopeful half full one, and have a great day.

          • No way

            Well, wind power have killed more people in the last 20 years in Europe than nuclear power, including Chernobyl. It’s safer than both wind and solar. But does this mean we should stop wind and solar from being implemented, just because they are less safe?
            No, it doesn’t because they are relatively safe. Where nuclear, solar and wind are looking at hundreds of lifes, thousands of lifes and relatively little environmental damage during mainly the last decades and century oil coal and gas are killing people in the numbers of 100 000 and more per year and having an extreme impact on the environment.

            So far the only things that have been able to have some impact on those extremely deadly and polluting fossil fuels on a global scale of total energy have been energy efficiency, biomass, nuclear and hydro power. The portion of wind power is barely visible and for solar a microscope is still needed.

            I clearly see that most governments and countries are starting to move slowly toward reducing fossil fuels, some are working at a higher pace, some are basically standing still and some are even activly working toward more fossil fuels.
            What I don’t see is them moving nearly as fast as they could or should do. And what will definitely not help is not adding as much renewables and nuclear as possible.
            It’s ridiculous to say or think that “renewables will cover nuclear” since both nuclear and renewables almost always will be used as much as possible and the rest of the energy used will come from fossil fuels, the only question is how much the rest is.

            And we can not have that change if we don’t educate people on how the world really looks like and how much we must push peoples awareness so that they help in their everyday life, at their companies and municipals which will also affect the politicians and governments and even union of countries and global treaties.

          • mds

            ” The portion of wind power is barely visible and for solar a microscope is still needed.”
            No, that is a foolish view. Documented exponential growth of Solar PV defies that small fraction going forward. We’ve seen that happen in Germany, Australia, and Hawaii. Get a clue.

            Yes, the move to clean energy (renewable and/or nuclear) is not being driven by climate change concerns. The big money corporations (oil, coal, at least half of utilities) with the greatest financial and political control are Easter Islanders pushing only for larger cash profits. This is why it is so important to note that wind, solar pv, and now storage are dropping to such low costs. They can compete on cost in more and more areas. That is bringing real change in a growing wave. Cost is really the biggest problem for nuclear. It really is not dropping. Insurance, safety (cost of equipment that is beyond possibility of fault), and waste disposal are all cost problems for nuclear.

            “And what will definitely not help is not adding as much renewables and nuclear as possible.”

            I do agree with this statement, but I have to ask: Is it really a better use of dollars to spend them on nuclear when wind, solar pv, and storage are continuing to get cheaper? I do not want a dog in this fight, just say’in. Nuclear is far preferable to the continued high-level use of fossil fuels, as you say.

          • Bob_Wallace

            ” The portion of wind power is barely visible and for solar a microscope is still needed.”

            Let’s look at “barely visible” wind in the nuclear-hero country, China. In 2012 “barely visible” wind produced more electricity than did nuclear. In 2013 wind widened the production gap.

            Solar does play a small role on the world’s grid at the moment, but it’s growing faster than did nuclear when nuclear appeared on the scene.

          • eveee

            Let me add UK to that, since we have a UK renewables doubter. I just quoted 15% electric renewables generation. Oops. Its just went up to 20% for the first half of 2014. So much for barely wetting the glass.

            “Renewable energy technologies contributed nearly one fifth of the UK’s power mix in the first quarter of the year, as a result of high winds, rainfall, and a surge in new construction in the solar farm industry.”

            “The figures will be welcomed by the renewables industry, which was already celebrating this week after the wind industry broke its summer performance record as a result of high winds over the weekend, outstripping generation from coal in the process”



          • No way

            We are going toward much more renewables and it’s growing fast in some parts of the world. China are building basically as much new power and electricity generating capacity as possible and it’s great that they are maxing out on solar, wind, hydro and nuclear. And the reason for that is very easy, everything not produced by those (relatively) clean energy sources will be fossil fuels.
            Solar is growing at a high percentage and will be very important in the future but on a global scale it’s not enough, we need to max out on every clean source we can get our hands on.
            Sure, Germany gets 5% of their electricity from solar and somewhere between 1-2% of their total energy from solar, which is not a lot but it’s something and growing.
            But still on a global scale solar has yet to break the 1% of total energy barrier.

          • falstaff77

            “We’ve seen that happen in Germany, …”

            Recognize that coal consumption in Germany is on the increase, has increased for the last three years, despite the enormous sums spent on solar and wind.

            Germany coal consumption (mtoe)
            2011: 76.0
            2012: 80.1
            2013: 81.3

          • mds

            Sure, because they shut down nuclear. Solar and Wind are still making large energy contributions. Look at the Solar resource in Germany. Solar and Wind are still going in there. The amazing thing about Germany’s renewable development is they have done so much with so little …and their grid is more stable, not less …and it is help cut power costs, not increase them.

            I see Germany as a poor example of what we can do in the US. Their solar resource is very poor compared to the whole Southern half of the US. That Southern US resource is not as good as Australia and the power prices are not as high as there or Hawaii, so the Southern US is between Germany and Australia/Hawaii for viable (economically sensible) Solar PV development.

            You are cherry picking when you just point out Germany’s use of coal. What about the decrease in coal use in Australia? What about the decrease in oil use in Hawaii? What about the huge savings they are seeing? What about the increasing viability of saving money while doing this in the Southern half of the US …as Solar PV, Wind, and Storage continue to drop in cost???

            FUD cherry picking.

          • falstaff77

            “You are cherry picking when you just point out Germany’s use of coal. “

            Germany was first in *your* list. This article is about the shutdown of nuclear plants. How more relevant could Germany be? Germany has built 35 GW of wind, 35 GW of solar, yet come the shutdown of some nuclear plants coal consumption is on the increase.

            Hawaii, being an island, has a good case for investing in expensive (relative to the mainland) local renewable sources, as the transport of traditional fuels makes them more expensive. Iceland is 96% “renewable”, renewable there meaning hydroelectric and geothermal, not wind and solar.

            “What about the increasing viability of saving money …”

            From wind and solar? The US is not saving money. With the subsidies and state renewable mandates a given homeowner might save some money, but that’s because somebody else is paying for it in taxes. One can argue that this cleans the air, reduces earth extractions, etc. But save money? No.

            If this a religious or dogmatic argument, that it simply should be done because it should, then why not just say so and then start chanting?

          • globi

            Again, partially thanks to Wind and Solar Power, Coal consumption in Germany is actually on the decrease this year:
            Brown coal: – 5.2%
            Hard coal: – 11.6%
            Wind: + 20%
            Solar: + 16.9%

          • mds

            “This article is about the shutdown of nuclear plants.”
            Fair, you are correct. I lost site of the context.

            “Hawaii, being an island”
            Also, fair and reasonable. You skipped Australia. Not convenient to your point of view?

            “From wind and solar? The US is not saving money.”
            Residential and business customers are saving money by installing solar
            in the continental US. The ITC is a part of this now, but costs are
            continuing to fall and the savings situation will continue to be the
            case. Any realistic plot of cost data shows Solar PV and Wind costs
            continuing to drop below any other source of new built electricity.

            You, of course, are skipping the point that fossil fuels and nuclear continue to the large total dollar amount of subsidies …and these do not expire, as the Solar and Wind subsidies do. You probably don’t even want to consider the historic levels of spending on fossil fuels and nuclear. US spending on Wind and Solar PV is building viable industry that will benefit us many times over going forward. This should be obvious by now. The cost trends are very, very clear.

            “If this a religious or dogmatic argument”
            Says you. You’re projecting on me. The number most consistent dodge of nuclear fan-boys. “I’m rational. You are not. …just because I say so.” Yeh, right. You really got me with that one. Maybe that’s really you.
            I have been waiting for Solar to become economical for decades, but I’m taking the economic high ground here. Screw CO2 output. Solar PV and wind are already saving money in Germany, Australia, and Hawaii. The trends are very, very clear. In a number of areas Solar PV and/or Wind already has the cost advantage. Who is religious/dogmatic here? Solar is being installed without any incentives in Chile and the Philippines. (Want the web links?) Solar is being installed via lease and loans now in the US. With current cost trends that will continue without trouble past the sunset of the ITC. What about nuclear? Ready to for-go US government backed loans and insurance? Ready to pay your own disposal costs? Ready to pay for retired plant clean up? I’m not creating those problems or campaigning against nuclear in any way shape of form. I’m just say’in. …and you? Your view point assumes a great deal about me. Why? Unrealistically biased any?

          • falstaff77

            Nuclear industry pays for its own plant shutdowns and retirements, pays for waste disposal, pays for huge licensing fees,always has. Liability caps cost the taxpayer nothing, unlike tax credits and subsidies for solar, wind, oil, gas , etc. Nuclear receives other money esp via research budgets; I favor those.

            These facts are discoverable easily with a couple hours of diligent pursuit, and a humble recognition that starting out you don’t know much of anything about nuclear technology.

          • mds

            “pays for waste disposal”
            Not true. ..and the long term storage problem has not been solved. Not solving the problem means it is waiting till the general public pays for it.
            “Liability caps cost the taxpayer nothing”
            Unless we have a Fukushima. Why are my tax dollars underwriting that when no insurance company will? Why are my tax dollars underwriting construction loans to the nuclear industry? I smell a rat. Get off the dole here before you criticize Solar and Wind in any way.
            “Nuclear receives other money esp via research budgets”
            Uh yeh, like construction of plants and other facilities. Care to quantify that? If it’s called research, then it doesn’t count as a subsidy? Re-evaluate that view.

            I’m not pro-nuke. I’m not anti-nuke. …but nuke fan-boys

            “These facts are discoverable easily with a couple hours of diligent pursuit”
            Do it yourself and put it on the table. I’m not at all interested. I’ve already participated on discussions on that. …enough to suspect you are reclassifying definitions of subsidy to align with your view. Then you will accuse me of the same. Besides is doesn’t matter. Nuclear is not flourishing. Why? Nobody is supressing it. Solar PV and Wind are flourishing. Their growth rate is second to none. …even under constant attack from well-funded coal, oil, and utility interests. …even with the PTC going up/down like a toilet seat for Wind and the ITC expiring soon for Solar PV. …and no complaint from me, or many other strong solar proponents, that the ITC expires. Their is a fly in your ointment without even getting into the inequity of subsidies.

            Agian, you focus on a small area and miss the big picture. I am not apposed to nuclear. It is not worth the trouble. It is not economically viable compared to other sources. The market has spoken. It still is. The cost trends are very, very clear. You are not blind, but will not see.

          • falstaff77

            “Not true.”

            “The 1982 NWPA created a “polluter pays” funding mechanism to ensure that the full costs of disposing of commercial spent fuel would be paid by utilities (and their ratepayers), with no impact on taxpayers or the federal budget. Nuclear utilities are assessed a fee [$750 million per year] on every kilowatt-hour of nuclear-generated electricity as a quid pro quo payment in exchange for the federal government’s contractual commitment to begin accepting commercial spent fuel beginning by January 31, 1998. Fee revenues go to the government’s Nuclear Waste Fund,”


          • mds

            You didn’t get most of what I wrote.
            “Why do you imagine anyone is interested in your adjectives? Do you have a
            rough idea of how many nuclear reactors are under construction in the
            United States? As in today, right now. How many gigawatts?”
            Good example. Same to you. Put the numbers down. You’re weird. You can win this argument. I was never really in it.
            Nukes will save us from CO2 and high energy costs and they’re always safe. I’m converted. ciao

          • eveee

            Who is paying for the remediation of the thousands of uranium mines, many open pit, dotting the American West, and the same in Canada? The ones in Australia? Defunct corporations?

            There are 14,811 locations in a recent EPA database. Those are the ones we know of. They are not all reclaimed. How about those? Nuclear power is not paying for them.


          • falstaff77

            “There are 14,811 locations in a recent EPA database. Those are the ones we know of. They are not all reclaimed.”

            No, only a minority of those “records” are actually mines. From what I can see, problems at the actual *mine* sites are mainly due to high levels of lead and arsenic, as is the case at old mines for many materials (copper, zinc, etc). Yes those materials warrant clean up: by the mining companies or EPA.

            The reclamation effort does not especially have much to do with Uranium: about 95% of them have U concentrations below the EPA standard.

          • eveee

            Why is it that whenever a nuclear cheerleader talks a subject, everything negative is dismissed if it does not have to do with radiation. Who cares why a uranium mine is toxic? What does that have to do with anything. It has not been cleaned up. I don’t even want to go on to your comments diminishing the problem. You made the claims that nuclear pays for everything. Don’t defend them by attempts to diminish the impact of parts of the nuclear fuel cycle your eyes have just been opened to in the last day. Stop making excuses. And don’t mock other people about a couple of hours of diligent pursuit when you are woefully ignorant of possibly the largest source of problems with nuclear and have just found out about it in the last day. Start reading all of that information and spend months researching it and then we might talk. Until then you are not showing any respect for the body of information you blithely ignored all these many years. Do that, and really study. Then we can talk. Otherwise you are just trying to make points.

          • falstaff77

            “Who cares why a uranium mine is toxic?”

            Because if the toxicity has little or nothing to do with uranium then, like all mines, including those for the minerals that go into wind turbines and solar arrays* they should be cleaned up and paid for by the people that own and operate the mines, not the nuclear industry.

            (*e.g. iron, nickel, manganese, vanadium, chromium, silicon, copper, aluminum, silver, bismuth, boron)

            “a couple of hours of diligent pursuit”

            That’s not diligence. You dream. That’s fine, it is fun to dream, and I do too. But reading clean energy blog articles written by Nimrod the Activist and considering that research is not diligent pursuit of science, it is pursuit of dogma.

          • eveee

            So all your comment about nuclear paying their way have no meaning. The biggest costs are outside the time when the reactor is running. Glad to see you are admitting your short sightedness. Good luck with the trope.

            If the toxicity has nothing to do with uranium then the nuclear industry should not have to pay for it?

            How screwed up is that thinking? Like an oilco saying their drilling produced radiation, but they are not in the business so they don’t have to clean it up? Thanks for proving my point.

            “Why is it that whenever a nuclear cheerleader talks a subject, everything negative is dismissed if it does not have to do with radiation.”

            You have an incredible blind side.

            You claim there was a couple of hours of diligent pursuit, but that is not what I have done. Thats you. Remember.
            The guy that said,

            whats the problem, some leakage of chemicals

            You have no idea or respect for the damage done by uranium mining and yet you have now decided you know all about it a mere 24 hours after your ignorance has been exposed.

            Spend months researching uranium mining then come back when you have some idea of what you are talking about. Did you look up Church Rock? Do you know what TENORM means yet? No. Just drivel.

          • heinbloed

            Plain rubbish you’re dribbeling ….
            In the UK (see the article) it is the state, the taxpayer who is responsible for the atomic waste. No one else.

            And so it is in Europe and Asia.

            The atomic industry is part of the national and international armed forces.Without the cold war there would no atomic power plant.
            In nearly all countries atomic power plants are operated by gouverments.

            Take history lessons.

          • falstaff77

            In the U.S. the nuclear industry pays, heavily, as indicated in the references.

          • eveee

            It doesn’t pay a dime for cleaning up uranium mines. That comes out of the EPA. The vast majority of the thousands of abandoned mines, many that have not yet been found, still have not been remediated.

          • falstaff77

            I don’t know much about U mines. What is the issue, solvents left behind?

          • eveee

            You don’t know much about the thousands of abandoned uranium mines across the United States? Is there is any point in telling you if you are already convinced and don’t even know about this? I mean maybe I should be telling some one who actually cares and really wants to know.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Wow! I had no idea there were so many. 15,000 or more.

            Between 500 and 1,300 on the Navajo reservation alone.

            We’ll never get that mess cleaned up.

          • eveee

            yeah. Its disheartening hearing crap like

            “I don’t know much about U mines. What is the issue, solvents left behind?”

            When you are hearing

            “These facts are discoverable easily with a couple hours of diligent pursuit, and a humble recognition that starting out you don’t know much of anything about nuclear technology.”

            Neither humble or knowledgeable. Granted not everyone is the nerd I am. Maybe there should be an article about the tragedy of uranium mines, but ct is about a different subject, maybe, i dunno. I have studied it, and when you enter it, … start reading about the Navaho workers, their families, Church Rock disaster, uranium tailing ponds. The front end of the uranium fuel cycle is completely overlooked.


            Sovacool covers it in bird deaths of all things. I won’t link because you can find it easily.

            Here is uranium mining details. We are not even getting into making UF6 and enrichment. Paducah had a giant coal plant running for years. They claim a better method is used now that uses less energy and puts out less CO2, but it just started. There have been accidents. A few months after Paducah closed, a tornado ripped through it. Other than that, the environment is just swell and there are no problems.


            To me, nuclear has to clean up its mess before it goes another step.

          • falstaff77

            We are talking about the same naturally occurring element in periodic table right? Of which there’s about 3×10^19 tons on the planet? Not kryptonite?

          • eveee

            The issue would be the same even if it were only a pile of dirt left behind. It has not been cleaned up. Its not just a plle of dirt. These areas are radioactive. Thats not a thing you want left around. But thats not all. Do your own research. The field is new to you. Go find out a list of toxic chemicals that are in uranium open pit mines. Maybe research all the work DOE is doing. Read about TENORM. Do you know what that is? Try googling Church Rock. Don’t come back with a smattering of all of them. I am just suggesting so you can open your mind. Then report back just on uranium pit mines and toxics in them. Stop the wise cracks about kryptonite.
            Whats the issue, solvents left behind? You crack me up.

          • falstaff77

            “These areas are radioactive.”

            And you are radioactive. I don’t want you left lying around, though not because you are radioactive.

            “The field is new to you.”

            Yes many things are new to me, but not radioactivity or energy. I’m a licensed professional engineer. Moving on …

          • eveee

            Your comments are increasingly vapid and facile. So who cares if you are an engineer. You are the only one? And that makes you what, infallible? An expert on all matters even outside your expertise? You just admitted ignorance of the damage done in parts of the nuclear fuel cycle you had no idea about. Maybe the cycle. Not the damage. Don’t pull that radioactivity is good and we are all radioactive nonsense. It won’t fly here. And tailings from uranium mines are like sugar on your cereal. Right. Uranium mines and remediation is new to you. Give it up. Drop the attitude. You got caught bragging about how nuclear pays for everything. It doesn’t. Changing the subject to whining about how other industries do it too only weakens your argument and shows the paucity of your conviction, if not the lack of concern for the environment. Add another field of study. Biological Effects of Ionizing radiation. Are you a physician with that specific training and specialty? Have you published peer reviewed papers in that field? Of course not. Yet you confidently claim that nuclear is paying its way and its all good, and why should nuclear have to clean up toxic mining wastes. Such a good citizen.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I hadn’t heard about Church Rock. Here’s the first part of the Wiki –
            The Church Rock uranium mill spill occurred in the US state of New Mexico on July 16, 1979 when United Nuclear Corporation’s Church Rock uranium mill tailings disposal pond breached its dam.[1][2] Over 1,000 tons of solid radioactive mill waste and 93 million gallons of acidic, radioactive tailings solution flowed into the Puerco River, and contaminants traveled 80 miles (130 km) downstream to Navajo County, Arizona and onto the Navajo Nation.[2] The mill was located on privately owned land approximately 17 miles north of Gallup, New Mexico and bordered to the north and southwest by Navajo Nation Tribal Trust lands.[3] Local residents, who were mostly Navajos, used the Puerco River for irrigation and livestock and were not immediately aware of the toxic danger


          • Bob_Wallace

            There has been a small increase in fossil fuel use in Germany following their decision to shut down their reactors. But the increase has been small, essentially “noise” in the data.

            And were other countries not purchasing electricity from Germany their coal use would be a lot lower. Germany’s 2013 CO2 per capita output for domestically consumed electricity was lower than 2010.

          • No way

            Well, keeping them running would have meant a fairly large decrease in coal instead, which would have benefitted the environment.
            With that said I do not agree with much of the banter above because the point is not to put renewables and nuclear against each other since both are a great way forward.

            The real point here is that renewables and nuclear are never replacing each other, it’s always fossil fuels that make up the rest of the energy not produced by those sources.

          • globi

            Actually, partially thanks to Wind and Solar Power, Coal consumption in Germany is on the decrease this year:
            Brown coal: – 5.2%
            Hard coal: – 11.6%
            Wind: + 20%
            Solar: + 16.9%

          • eveee

            Its a short term trend, and a myth.


            Meanwhile, in 2014, coal use is down to date.


          • falstaff77

            ‘Its a short term trend, and a myth.”

            Which? Can’t be both.

          • mds

            It is both. The idea that it is a long term trend is a myth. Duh.

          • heinbloed

            A myth is a story from the past, hardly believable.

            Germanys electricity generators are selling electricity on record levels abroad. AND are reducing the coal consumption in German power plants.
            The myth could be spun further:
            “The USA is increasing its coal consumption – because of increased exports.”
            Whilest in fact they aren’t.

            The article is about the UK btw., did you read it?

          • falstaff77

            Consumption is a different category from exports. The posted figures last three years are G consumption.

          • heinbloed

            WAS on the increase !

            Where did you get these numbers from? And what has that got to do with “windpower replacing atomic power”

          • falstaff77

            BP annual energy reference.

            If a nuclear plant is shut abruptly in a country sourced primarily by coal, as Germany clearly is, coal consumption must increase at least for a time. Wind may increase as well, but coal must. It has.

          • Bob_Wallace

            The use of coal hasn’t risen in Germany as much as it ceased to fall for a short period. If one isolates a few recent years and looks at the numbers it appears to be a meaningful increase in coal use. If looked at on larger scale, it’s just “noise”.

            Germany is apparently now beyond it’s “coal pause” and has applied to close a large amount of coal capacity. You can unclutch your pearls.

          • Ulenspiegel

            Nice try, you use primary energy, which includes coal for steel production to explain the “failure” of the electricity generation part of the Energiewende.

            What are the correct numbers for coal consumption of the electricity generation?

          • Dropandgiveme20


          • falstaff77

            Powerful argument.

          • eveee

            Your version of reality needs a wake up call. Read the news and find out that UK has 15% electric renewable generation. Yes, by all means, lets start by educating you about what is actually going on in UK, from real, government sources.

          • AltairIV

            I call bull… er, false equivalence on your first statement.

            Sure, if you only look at fatalities then wind operation is worse than nuclear, but that’s not really the most reasonable way to look at it. The “danger” is not just about counting dead people, it’s a question of the total absolute impact on society.

            When a wind turbine fails and kills one or two lives, that’s tragic, but we simply bury the dead, mourn for them, rebuild the turbine and life goes on. The total impact is local and short-term.

            But when a nuclear plant fails, it can have serious long-term regional impact. The Chernobyl meltdown led to the evacuation of an entire countryside, including an entire small city, and in some regions the radiation levels will remain dangerous for thousands of years. Rates of cancers and birth defects in affected areas have gone up significantly too. The second most serious meltdown also requires a large quarantine zone, and large amounts of radioactive material was dumped into the environment. And since it happened in my own backyard, I am personally affected by it, at least in terms of the social and economic ramifications, if not the ecological ones. And haven’t even scratched the surface of problems yet, such as the problem of handling the waste (you can get back to me on 4th generation “waste burning” reactors when they cease to be vaporware).

            *This is not what I’d call safe*.

            As for this:

            ‘It’s ridiculous to say or think that “renewables will cover nuclear” since both nuclear and renewables almost always will be used as much as possible and the rest of the energy used will come from fossil fuels, the only question is how much the rest is.’

            I do not consider it ridiculous at all. In fact I think its inevitible. There is enough potential solar and wind capacity available to supply all of our energy needs thousands of times over, and no insurmountable technical limitations to harvesting it. This means that there is absolutely no need for nuclear at all (outside of a few specialized applications). All we need is the political will to make the transition. And judging by the way all the trend lines have been moving, we’re headed in that way anyway, because the economics favor it too.

            My prediction is that in less than fifty years both nuclear and fossil fuels will be completely and utterly dead. Dead as a doornail, bereft of life, pushing up the daisies… and good riddance to it.

          • eveee

            The first line of defense for a nuke fan is deaths. They do not count displacement from homes or areas lost nearly permanently to the service of humanity. Then, too, their list of deaths gets pared down with exceptions, because they don’t count any death unless its radiation. Thats how the numbers are tweaked. Its hard to find actual fatalities, but if you scrounge, you find plenty of ordinary industrial accidents. Compare that with wind where a parachutist counts as a death. So I question if wind is worse than nuclear. But its pointless. Wind never rendered giant areas of earth uninhabitable, (not counting the pit mine lakes, etc)

          • Offgridman

            There is a new posting on this site, “V. C. Summer Nuclear Reactor Delays Drop SCE&G Credit Rating to Negative”, to help demonstrate why new nuclear plants hurt the end consumers financially. Now perhaps you might want to tell me that these construction delays and cost over runs don’t happen there the way they always have in the US, but I seriously doubt you can find any proof of that. Actually it is just the opposite with the constantly increasing budget for the plants that the French are supposed to be building for you.

          • Offgridman

            One more thing that I found out about your part of the world is that Scotland is going to have half of their electricity production coming from renewables by next year (2015). With a plan to have all of it coming from renewables by 2020. Would that be a glass that is half full enough for you?
            What a wonderful world we are living in if you could just look around you and see what is happening.
            The reference can be found on a couple of days ago.

          • No way

            That is definitely glass half full… :) They are doing great in Scotland, using an energy source that works well for their climate during all part of the year and they have been adding renewables at an impressive pace.
            Go Scotland!
            If only they would vote for becoming an own country too, then the UK would have to meet their goals without the inclusion of Scotlands renewables.

            You know, I’m very much for renewables (but even more against fossil fuels). And Scotland and many other parts and regions shows how it’s possible to make big changes in short periods of time without putting your economy down the drain (rather the other way around).

            What I can’t stand is people cheering on slowly developing countries which don’t cut their fossil fuels in any significant amounts and still gets cheered on like they are the saviours of the world.
            Those places (like Germany) could and should do so much more to reduce fossil fuels (and add renewables).

          • Offgridman

            Good to see that the situation is looking a little better to you, I know that it has no reference to the quantity of renewables, but for myself the glass became half full maybe a decade back when the conversations started changing to being that the switch to renewables is feasible, technically and financially. Here in the US that conversation had been cut off or stated as something only possible for the far future since the Carter administration. And while the US has nothing to brag about on our progress, the fact that over the past couple years that in some months only renewable generation has been added to the grid supply is a good sign. Also with the opponents of off shore wind finally being defeated in the courts, and the supporting policies of our energy and environmental agencies it is going to start showing progress.
            As for Germany with the renewable sources they have now and the need to send it out of the country at low or negative prices during peak production it makes sense that they are concentrating on grid improvements, storage, and efficiency measures right now. And while coal use has continued, there have been no big increases while their nuclear is getting shut down. That was the choice of the people and I can understand why getting rid of the nukes first was a priority, given my life experience and having the option would have made the same decision.
            Even in the UK you are going to see some nice changes over the next 5-10 years, with or without Scotland. The nimbyism over solar and wind farms onshore has gotten the crown estates starting some very big offshore wind and tidal development. Some of these projects have shown up here on cleantechnica but for a more expensive listing check out They discuss not only the big projects but the amazing changes being done on the historical estates, and what is considered as public parks, that we would call national preserve properties.
            Have a great day, and try not to get to down about what seems like slow progress. It takes time for people and situations to change, and at least there are a lot of signs of that change if you try to see them, so it is happening.

          • Dropandgiveme20

            3 mile island, Chernobyl, Fukushima, ………. nuclear is not perfect so we better steer clear before we render most of this planet uninhabitable because of radiation

            convincing the utility shareholders to go clean and get off the oil and coal is going to take alot of work. anyone who says it does not work needs to look at Germany and their production of electricity with wind and solar, 28 % so far this year

            http://oilprice. com/Alternative-Energy/Renewable-Energy/Germans-Happily-Pay-More-For-Renewable-Energy-But-Would-Others.html

          • eveee

            Sorry, No way, but no way. You are not even close. The renewables portion of electric generation in the UK increased to 15%. I would consider growing to 15% instead of 8%, a sign that you are underestimating renewables.


          • No way

            You are talking electricity, I’m talking total energy. You know that fossil fuels come in many forms and shapes and is used for different things. It does little good if we don’t look at the whole picture since the nature doesn’t care your reason for polluting, it only feels the impact of it.
            So I’m not only close, I’m probably above the real number.

          • eveee

            And by the same metric, nuclear is less than 4% of total energy. So, by all means look at the big picture.

          • Bob_Wallace

            What you are doing is working to find ways to minimize the growth of renewables. In this case by moving past electricity, where renewables now operate, and extending your argument to energy.

          • No way

            Is not all energy important and don’t all fossil fuels used count?
            I’m cheering on real change, real reductions of fossil fuels and real growth in renewables.
            Not fake alibi additions without real reductions like Germany do. But if you want me to cheer then tell me everytime a coal plant or a coal mine gets closed down in Germany (or anywhere else in the world) without opening new ones and you will definitely see me cheer. :)

            If Germany really wanted to change then they would just put a ban on new coal mines opening within the country and a ban on any new coal or gas plants (of course including replacing old ones).

          • Bob_Wallace

            German utilities have applied for permission to close 7.9 GW of coal capacity. (Utilities cannot close plants without a government review.)

            Germany can’t go cold turkey off fossil fuels and have their economy survive. No country can.

            Germany has installed renewables, become more efficient, and greatly reduced their fossil fuel use. And they have a plan for moving to a largely fossil fuel free grid by 2050.

            Why not use your bile on some place which is doing nothing, such as Russia? Or a country which is attempting to reverse the progress it has made, such as Australia?

          • No way

            That is good. And hopefully Germany will have actual reductions from this point on. It looks pretty promising for the first part of 2014 after a few disappointing years.
            But they are still opening new coal mines and bulding coal/gas plants which they easily could have covered with renewables instead.
            If Germany wanted to then they could have a fossil fuel grid in 10-15 years. And if they would have been serious by reducing fossil fuels they probably could have had it basically fossil free by now.
            Fossil free grid by 2050 as a goal is ridiculous since EU regulations probably will have their grid fossil free earlier than that anyway. And their renewables out of total energy goal is 60% by 2050. That is nothing but lousy and less than some european countries have today.
            Germany are not even striving to hit the minimum goals that their neighboring countries are forcing them to.
            It would be no problem for Germany to close down 5-10 GW of coal/gas capacity per year, especially considering that they have plants who do nothing but export coal power, and have their grid fossil free in 8-16 years, and doing so in an economical way.

            Of course there are other countries that should get a lot of negative pressure too. With Germany doing a bare minimum of required regulations there are those who do nothing and even try to reduce the progress.

            You say Australia and Australia is definitely a black sheep. And there are others to be mentioned of developed countries who should know better. Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Australia, the US, Germany, Israel, Czech republic, the UK, Canada, South Korea to name a few…
            Any development in South Africa and Kazakhstan would also be welcomed.

            And then you have developing giants like China and India that are big polluters but also trying to change that (especially China which are basically doing everything they can).

            And also very special places like Russia, which you will never get to do as you want them to do. The positive parts about Russia are that if we limit our use of oil and gas then Russias exports and production will hopefully be reduced, Europe is by far the largest importer of russian energy.
            And their nuclear program is pretty ambitious which also will help with large reductions in pollution.
            It’s far from optimal but considering the people in charge it’s at least something. And they are one of the largest producers of renewables in the world so the situation to start with could have been a lot worse too.

          • eveee

            You can’t have it both ways. Nuclear can’t be significant if renewables are insignificant. Your case was UK. Now they are similar. Either admit nuclear is not doing it or renewables are more than a drop in the glass. It can’t be both.

          • No way

            Of course I can have it both ways since one was from a global perspective and the other is from a micro perspective.

            Renewables can very much be significant if you look at the right country, region or right part of the energy consumption like for example electricity.

            For UK the point was that everything is needed and renewables are not covering nuclear and nuclear are not covering renewables since what will be used as replacement when nuclear and/or renewables are not producing at their maximum levels is always fossil fuels.

            When you have like 4% of total energy coming from renewables like in the UK then you have 96% coming from something else.
            And then saying something stupid like “chill, wind power is stepping in for nuclear” is just pure bull and it’s blatantly ignoring the enormous problem we are facing with getting rid of fossil fuels.

        • Dropandgiveme20

          the point of using wind is to reduce our dependence on fossil; fuels and nuclear as well. you call nuclear green energy did you consider that radiation has a shelf life of a million years? and that nuclear waste harms the environment just as fossil fuels? what about where to store that nuclear waste? does N.I.M.B.Y. mean anything?

          people need to learn you do not need all that electricity you use. it is called conservation and then you need to teach them efficiency as well. Use LED bulbs over CFL, buy more efficient appliances, unplug your cell phone chargers and computers when not used.

          Efficiency is always first and foremost. encourage others to get off the grid or feed the grid. either way you will save money, the environment and our health

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