Climate change: The Critical Decade

Discussion in 'Earth Science' started by James R, May 23, 2011.

  1. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    30,994
    Depends on how much you have.
     
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  3. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

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    No it doesn't.

    The electrical utilities with access to power systems with the largest storage, hydro dams, don't think of the dam's storage as backup to their generators.

    If one of their turbines fails they need to get the power from a back up source and the amount of water stored behind the dam doesn't matter.

    But the point you miss is that Conventional Thermal power plants, like NG, Nukes or Coal don't use any storage system, but they do have backup, but only at the section of Grid level they are interconnected to, meaning relatively small amount of back-up power sources are needed to account for peak outages.

    In contrast, a Wind or Solar system can not be baseline unless it has both Storage and Back-up generation capability. The back-up however can be quite a bit more than normal thermal requirements because of seasonal issues which can cause widespread lack of wind and of course when the sun doesn't shine for days at a time, which is where massive amounts of storage come in.

    No grid has that much Wind/solar on it yet, but still it will be interesting to see how this gets managed in real life as the percents go up. We are a creative bunch and the grid is pretty big, so I'm hoping that we can drive the utilization factors up and not have to rely on much storage to use Wind/Solar effectively.

    Arthur
     
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  5. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    Apparently you are willing to allow coal and nukes to operate without storage and with only minimal backup, and hydro with storage only that is no backup by your categorization, but insist that wind and solar include both.

    I grant you that events such as Fukushima illustrate the hazards of inadequate storage and backup. But in contemplating investment returns, apples to apples would be the better setup.

    One thing about solar and wind, for example, is that the storage - both in backup form (batteries, flywheels, fuel cells, etc) and in bulk generator feed (pumped water, hot sulphur, etc) can be distributed - not likely to go down in one event, and supportive of reliability.
     
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  7. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

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    Nope.

    I said Conventional baseload power sources don't need storage, but do need backup. Wind/Solar can only be baseload if they have both.
    Today Wind is not considered baseload generation.

    But currently the cost of Storage is not factored into the cost of Wind or Solar. Doing so will make their price per kWh just go even higher.

    Arthur
     
  8. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    30,994
    Yep. Minimal backup - just for "peak outages" - you said.

    And I pointed out that it would be better if such assessments were more reasonably balanced among the various forms of power generation - why, for example, is something like Fukushima (or smaller scale the current Missouri nuke flood hassles) not taken as yet another pile of evidence that nukes need rather more storage and backup than they now have?

    Storage, btw, is not inherently or even commonly more expensive than backup, and with various solar types can often replace backup primary generators - along with the easy and inherent wide distribution of both source and store, a basic reliability built in to such systems. The example above, from Trippy, shows that even the new, incomplete, partial, shaky and ad hoc setups can provide things like five years of lead time on major problems - Japan got about five minutes warning on Fukushima.
     
  9. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

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    Because the Midwest isn't suffering from loss of power because of the size of the grid.

    I don't think Japan is either, even with the loss of 4 nukes.

    Prove it, provide a source for this statement?

    Arthur
     
  10. cat2only Registered Senior Member

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    If you really want to solve the warming problem then build these! They are the answer to many of the problems we have now with global warming.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!



    http://i149.photobucket.com/albums/s54/hurricanedude/clip_image002-1.jpg
     
  11. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    30,994
    Forgot to clean this up:

    Refer to your classification above, in which the very cheap containment of water behind a hydropower dam is "storage", rather than "backup".

    The point is that storage is or should be inherent in solar, for the day/night fluctuation - the basic setup comes with the territory, and only needs expansion. That basic situation is inherently cheaper, a package deal - it's one of the advantages of solar. For nukes and such adequate storage or backup, in any form including overall grid capacity, is an extra expense - too often left out of the cost comparisons.

    The long stretches of high load power lines you attributed to wind farms are also necessary for grid capacity backup in nukes, for example.
    And that does not apply to solar generation, because we demand that solar systems meet different and special standards?

    OK: it isn't true. There are extra costs and demands, loss of safety margins etc, from taking the Midwest flood plants off line. If they are damaged, or in the off chance suffer serious "event", those costs and risks will grow quickly and substantially.
    Despite the drop in demand from the tsunami damage (destroyed consumers), Japan has been forced to ration electricity, curb industrial and residential usage, import diesel generators from Thailand and other places, and make various other painful and damaging and expensive adjustments.

    They didn't have enough backup, storage, etc, to deal with a single major mishap at a single nuke complex. And nukes, when they go down, go all the way down and for a long time - it's not like losing a quarter of the wind turbines on a farm, say, or the tower on a thermal solar setup.
     
  12. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

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    Yes, and it is unique to Hydro, but you were talking about Storage for Wind and Solar, and THAT storage is far more expensive than Backup.

    Nope
    There is not ONE major commercial Wind Farm in the US with an integrated storage system. So no, they are not inherently cheaper.


    Nope, because our best wind fields exist where there are no transmission lines today, so it's almost all net new transmission lines just to get to the Grid.


    More BS

    TOKYO (MNI) - Japan's industrial output rose for a second straight month in May on higher production of automobiles and machinery as manufacturers are rushing to fix quake-ravaged production facilities and supply chain networks, government data showed Wednesday.

    http://imarketnews.com/node/32912

    They are worried about PEAK demand in the late summer, but they have adequate power now.


    More BS

    the shutdown of tsunami-hit plants, have left Japan with only 19 of its 54 reactors still operating.

    So no, it was NOT at a single nuke complex.

    Still From July 1, Japan's government ordered large-lot power users in areas served by Tepco and Tohoku Electric to cut peak power consumption by 15 percent from last year.

    So only two areas are being asked to do minor conservation.

    Sheesh.

    Arthur
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2011
  13. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

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    That's a difficult one, especially if you try to sort out what parts of the basic science/R&D subsidy is for "nuclear power" and which is for "nuclear weapons." But regardless, many billions per year - going back for several decades - seems both reasonable and conservative as an initial estimate.
     
  14. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

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    There has never been any such thing as a piece of nuclear infrastructure that doesn't "have anything to do with the military." I doubt very much that there ever will be. If you don't understand that, then you really don't understand some very basic things about the nuclear industry and how it relates to militaries, politics, etc.
     
  15. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    30,994
    You have not explained how expanding integrated storage setups already in place (presumably) for solar would be more expensive than building spare power plants hither and yon.
    How did you conclude they weren't cheaper, without any to analyze?

    The small and marginal wind systems built so far rely on the same backup systems the nukes rely on - so they aren't any more expensive, either, although perhaps as shortsightedly designed. But we weren't limiting the discussion to the already installed windmills right? We were discussing wise investment and future expansion of current generating capability - into solar, wind, nuke, coal, etc. Cost comparisons.
    Fascinated by wind power, apparently - all else forgotten. OK: So that means we don't count the old lines as part of the cost of the old systems, in estimating costs by comparisons? Hardly seems informative.

    Besides: We would have to expand the grid for all the new nukes, and will be replacing much of the existing grid anyway. All those long lines it takes to provide grid backup for nukes are going to cost a lot.
    It was you specified "four nukes". And the fact is the Japanese are suffering and facing considerable hardship and power shortage from the loss of the Fukushima complex. It was not backed up adequately, considering the nature of the typical nuke disaster - very long term loss of capability, when they go down hard. Providing backup for that kind of event would be quite expensive.
    Such vulnerability should be avoided in the US - agreed?
     
  16. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

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    Japan eyes first nuclear restart since quake, power worries stay

    It seems (to me at least) that there is a distinction to be made between those reactors/plants that were - for want of a better word - destroyed by the earthquake and Tsunami (the 4), and those reactors that were scrammed at the time of the Earthquake, and came through the earthquake un-damaged, however have remained offline since the earthquake while saftey procedures have been revised, and checked, or other saftey concerns are addressed (the remainder).
     
  17. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    30,994
    Yep. Add that to the list of vulnerabilities characteristic of nukes, that have to be considered and prepared for - and included in the cost estimates, somehow.
     
  18. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

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    And has been avoided in the US.
     
  19. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

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    You keep confusing backup with storage. They aren't the same.

    Because they are an extra expense over and above the cost of the original production, so they have no choice but to increase the cost.
    More to the point, the generation system for wind and solar storage is a different system than the original generators, so that additional cost, plus the storage medium, plus the losses inherent in the process are all extra costs in a storage based system.

    Nope, the nukes are much closer to our population centers, we build them that way, with Wind we have no choice where to build them, thus Nukes are cheaper to integrate, and always will be.

    See previous post, apparently they are not as they are looking at only the largest users making small cuts in the peak summer months.
     
  20. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    30,994
    That's "comparing", not "confusing". They both cost money. We are comparing projected costs.
    As would the features they were being compared with. You keep dodging the central issue of comparison of costs - why?
    Yes. On that expensive land they require.

    But population centers are not that close to each other - so grid backup requires long, cross country, high capacity wires. Unless you plan on building spare nukes nearby, large storage of some kind, etc.
    That's not necessarily true of thermal solar. It's not necessarily true of wind either - setups are available that route through a central generator that feeds the grid, for example. A small loss of initial efficiency buys windmill backup for cheap.
    That previous post documented a 15% rationing cut in peak power to the very largest and most economically significant consumers, on top of the tsunami destruction of overall demand, the purchase of various expensive auxiliary power supplies, and all the other hardships and rationings so far imposed by the loss of Fukushima.
    Not yet. Depends on the nature of our upcoming investment.
     
  21. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

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    And will always produce a stream of hazardous waste that is very expensive to deal with - so much so, that despite billions in government-sponsored research on such, and lots more on political lobbying and environmental assessments and so on - over decades - we are still at the point of simply stacking up spent nuclear fuel in sheds next to the reactors. How many more decades of billions-per-year subsidy is it going to take, before we get to a point where we actually have a workable nuclear fuel cycle and not simply a stopgap solution that steadily piles up hazardous waste?
     
  22. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

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    Slight niggle with this point.
    According to Wikipedia, Japan produced (or should it be used?) about 1,000 TWh of Electricity in 2008, however, Fukushima Daiichi contributed around 30 TWh of electricity - or around 3% of the total production.

    Which is related to the point that I made/alluded to earlier - that the 15% savings that are required are not because of Fukushima Daiichi being down, but because currently (based on 2008 statistics) 15% of Japans total electricity supply is currently offline.

    You can do the math for yourself if you want.
    54 - 19 = 35 Nuclear Power Stations offline.
    This is equivalent to 65% of Japan's Nuclear Generation capacity being offline.
    In 2008, Nuclear power contributed 23% of Japans electricity generation.
    65% of 23% (IE the percentage of this energy source that is currently offline, as a percentage of Japans total electricity generating capacity) is 14.95% - which rounds to 15% which is the total savings that is being requested.

    So the 15% savings is because of the fact that 65% of Japans nuclear power generation capacity - which represents 15% of its total power generation capacity is currently offline (some of which is ready to be bought back online, and has been since April, but is undergoing additional saftey checks), rather than the fact that Fukushima Daiichi has been rendered inoperable, which is what your post seems to suggest.
     
  23. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    20,575
    Personally I think that is a far better solution than the coal industry has come up with - just releasing radioactive waste into the air and water.

    Imagine how cheap spent nuclear fuel management would be if we followed the coal model.
     

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