Global warming

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Frank, Oct 22, 2010.

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  1. KimB

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    *sigh*

    These superficial similarities are completely and utterly irrelevant. The really important similarities are the ones that evolution and climate science have in common:

    1. The science for both relies solely upon evidence-based reasoning.
    2. The evidence for both rests not upon one or two facts, but upon a wide variety of mutually-supporting pieces of evidence.
    3. There has, as yet, been no evidence collected which clearly contradicts either evolution or climate science.
    4. Nearly all scientists support both, most especially scientists currently working in the relevant fields.
     
  2. KimB

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    My guess is that this sort of thing will only really be useful for transportation, and that it will rely upon biofuels, especially algal biofuels, for production.
     
  3. Xmas

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    That's assuming all the energy produced goes into storage, with no direct feed to the grid.

    For home use it would seem that combined energy and hot water storage could be quite efficient. Ideally the arrangement would be such that conversion heat would be mostly absorbed by the water.
     
  4. hoho

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    Actually my point was that the lower the storage efficiency the more power will go to waste filling it. It doesn't really matter all that much how much of it goes straight to grid and how much goes to storage. Just that the lower your storage efficiency the more power you'll need to fill it in same timeframe
    Perhaps but what's the efficiency of those "backyard" installations compared to the huge ones that we've been talking so far? My guess is not all that good.
     
  5. Mintmaster

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    On a map, you can see a ~500 mile distribution of wind in Ontario, but from the hourly output, you can see massive variation in system wide output. The changes happen in hours, and wind droughts last many days.

    People need reliability. They won't tolerate being without power even 1% of the time, so a mere drop in correlation isn't good enough. That means you need either massive amounts of energy storage (several weeks) or backup power (with all the cost and efficiency issues I raised above).

    FYI, you can do a lot of interesting things with that data, especially if you also combine it with hourly demand. Create some functions to simulate different amounts of storage, storage algorithms, slow varying coal, peaker plants, etc.
    That's precisely my point. We don't have that kind of energy storage. If some technology comes out for affordable storage, great, but right now it's not there.

    We wouldn't have peaker plants if cheap storage was available. If you could store energy for a day at 3c/kWh, buying it at night and selling during the day would make you a fortune. Unfortunately, aside from the select few areas with hydro storage, we can't do that.
    You're very wrong about that. See the data above.
    It's not stupid if it's the only option. That's what we're doing right now in most areas with significant wind generation.

    I was under the assumption that you recognized that fossil fuel backup of wind is our only option right now, so the data in that study is very relevant, but obviously you aren't there yet.
     
  6. Mintmaster

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    That breakthrough in energy storage is a very big issue. It's the same problem as with wind.

    You have to understand that this isn't a new problem that only came up due to renewables. Cheap energy storage has long been a goal for the power industry, because companies don't want to ramp up and down most of their generation plants to match demand variation because of the wear and tear from thermal cycling stress and reduced efficiency. Instead, they build different plants to handle that, but the per kWh cost of that generation is much higher. That's why the clearing price of electricity can sometimes be nearly free at night while it can reach 20c/kWh during the peak. Hydro plants will raise and lower the body of water to achieve this, but there's only so much hydro storage available.

    There are people working on thermal solar generation, but it's just not cheap enough, and unlikely to ever be. You can't reduce costs the way thin film panels have.

    Without a clear way to store electricity cheaper, we will continue to use fossil fuels to fill in the gaps, and intermittent generation will raise the price of electricity. Consider people putting solar panels on their rooftops to lower their electricity bill. After all, they can just fall back on the grid if the sun goes down, right? Well, even if you can shuffle power between neighborhoods and cities when clouds come, you still need near 100% backup from a controllable power source like coal or gas for the evening and night.

    The companies running them, however, are selling fewer kWh to the city, but can't close any of the plants down because the full capacity is needed. All they can save is fuel costs by reducing output when the sun is shining, but that adds maintenance cost as well (explained above). So the result is that they have to charge more per kWh from the consumer. Basically, by installing solar panels, you may reduce your cost when the sun is shining, but you increase the electricity cost for not only for other hours of the day, but for everyone else in the city.
     
  7. Sxotty

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    Just so you know sometimes it is actually negative. Some generators so much do not want to ramp down that they will pay you to take their electricity (think nuclear). And obviously it goes even higher during critical peak pricing.
     
  8. Mintmaster

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  9. Mintmaster

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    I've read that, but it seems to me that it would have to be a freak occurrence for the clearing price to actually settle there. If there isn't enough demand, then why not just run current though some wires and boil water or heat the ground? I can't imagine it being so expensive to waste electricity that you need to pay people to do it.
     
  10. AlphaWolf

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    It's not really a freak occurrence, it's spring in Ontario. Limited demand for heating or AC and excess hydro production. Seems like it happens every year there for at least a day or two. Set your alarm to run your Vacuum cleaner at night (or catch up on some welding) in early April.
     
  11. Sxotty

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    Like he said it happens a few times a year in a lot of places. Not like it is a big deal though. Those same generators make a boat load when the market clearing price is high b/c they are the cheap ones in terms of marginal cost of operating.

    I guess I should resuscitate the energy thread if this continues. I am quite interested in all of this, I just wish there was more of a fair discussion. It always seems that people have a bone to pick and want solar or wind to be perfect or terrible. (That isn't at you mint since you actually seem to assimilate knowledge :) )
     
  12. Mintmaster

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    Nuclear doesn't fill gaps. It's baseline load. If you build nuclear capacity to handle generation when wind/solar output is low, then it will be generating power the rest of the time, too, so the wind/solar becomes pointless.

    Until we figure out how to store electricity cheaply, renewables will have to be combined with natural gas. Without storage, these are your options, in order of lowest GHG to most:
    1. All nuclear (you waste some electricity at night and seasonal lows)
    2. Nuclear (enough to meet the min demand) + CCGT (the rest)
    3. Wind/solar (~30%) + CCGT (~70%)

    Of course, you can do any combination of the three. Also, you can increase the ratio of wind/solar to CCGT in #3 if you are willing to overbuild wind/solar and dump energy in times of excess (increasing cost, naturally). I'm not sure we can even produce that much natural gas.
    Sure, if you ignore the following:
    -installation cost
    -inverters and electronics
    -real lifetime of these cheap panels you're talking about
    -increase cost of generation to supply the backup for a city when there's no sun

    If you were to make a centralized solar plant, all those costs go down, but now you have to sell for half as much because you're ignoring the distribution cost. Solar is not cheap. To give you of how much it costs to rapidly implement solar, the gov't of Ontario's feed-in tariff program has been offering contracts paying 40-80 cents per solar kWh, guaranteed for 20 years. With this, it expects 3GW of solar capacity in 5 years. Assuming 20% CF, that'll be about 3% of our electricity generation.

    We're paying 20x as much as the current wholesale rate to ramp solar up to 3% of our electricity needs.

    Solar is not even close to cost parity.
     
  13. KimB

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    Mintmaster, it would be best if you didn't completely ignore the primary points of those you are responding to.
     
  14. zed

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    true but theres some ppl that think nuclear is the answer to alles, perfect example was hoho raving on how good it is and uses a website 'do the math.com' to forward his case, even though on that very same site, they rate nuclear lower than solar & wind :) nice to see its not only _xxx_ that does these own goals.

    Question to mintmaster how much has the price of solar or wind installation dropped in say the last 5 years?
    Now how much has nuclear dropped ;) oh wait the next wave of nuclear is gonna be so much better, me - is that the new fussion wave that was promised in the 70s,the 80s the 90s the noughties but never arrives. Im still waiting for my hydrogen powered car, prolly arrive quicker

    mintmaster please tell me why havent the banks in the US funded any new nuclear stations in the US in the last couple of decades?

    All I can say is DO THE MATH :)

    donno bout that heres a real life example a lady at my previous job fitted out hr house (not connected to the grid) with solar the price was 20k all up. had it for 3 years
    now here in NZ she would of paid $100->250 a month, prolly about $200 thus are you saying she made a bad investment?
     
  15. AlphaWolf

    AlphaWolf Specious Misanthrope
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    There are two or three nuclear generators under construction in the US.
     
  16. KimB

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    Those will probably take at least a few years to finish, if they are ever completed. Meanwhile, nearly 7 Terawatts of wind generation capacity was installed last year alone:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_power_in_the_United_States
     
  17. AlphaWolf

    AlphaWolf Specious Misanthrope
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    Don't care, I was merely commenting on zed's assertion that there was 0 building. IF there was as much government subsidy for nuclear as there was for wind, I'm sure you'd see a lot more of it as well.
     
  18. Sxotty

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    The difference is nuclear is getting loan guarantees to encourage development and renewables get feed in tariffs (PTC etc).

    This is actually quite reasonable b/c it ensures that wind is installed where the wind actually blows, but you don't need to bother with that for nuclear.
     
  19. Mintmaster

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    And what would that be? The time needed to build new capacity? Or is there some other meaningless point that you're trying to make?
     
  20. Mintmaster

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    Solar had dropped, but like I showed you, we still can't get the private market to build it for any cheaper than 44-80c/kWh. For wind we have to pay 13.5c/kWh. Those prices have to be guaranteed for 20 years, inflation adjusted, with 20% escalation. Why? Because they can't compete with the market price of <4c/kWh for our nuclear-heavy grid. Oh, sorry, I'm being disingenuous by hiding the $20B debt accrued in building those nuclear plants. That's a big number, isn't it - you should go scare some people off nuclear with that, even though it only works out to 0.7c/kWh.

    DO THE MATH.

    Oh yeah, FYI wind has gone UP in price in the last 5 years (that's from a pro-renewable site).
    Ever heard of NIMBY? GreenPeace fear-mongering? Love how you flaunt the phrase "do the math", yet your posts are always full of empty handwaving talking points with no numbers, while you ignore all the hard data that I provide.
    I don't know how you expect me to parse the abomination of spelling and grammar here, but I could care less about some story with numbers you pulled out of your ass about a lady you know.

    zed, I've already discussed this with you. You're from NZ. You probably have 100x the hydro storage per capita that the US does, and very high capacity factor. It completely changes the cost equation for you.

    Until Chalnoth reveals his magical plan for energy storage in 90% of the developed world without that luxury, every kWh of wind you harvest will need a minimum of 2 kWh of fossil fuel generation to go with it.
     
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