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#26 2017-11-16 14:18:50

kbd512
Administrator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 4,702

Re: Nuclear vs. Solar vs. Others

Antius wrote:

Yes.  But 1t of natural U used in a breeder reactor of some kind will provide the same amount of energy as 1t of thorium used in a breeder reactor.  The difference is that you can use uranium without the complication of a breeder cycle, whereas you cannot use thorium without breeding.  There is no energetic advantage in using thorium.

The advantage of breeding U233 is a continuous supply of abundant fuel.  Most reactors use LEU and the waste from that process is considerable.  It's not that it's impossible to use natural Uranium, but then the reactor becomes larger to achieve equivalent output.  I want reactors that can be put on a truck, heavy transport aircraft, or in a cargo container on a ship.  Using smaller reactors is the way to increase safety, reduce power losses from offline periods, and increase the flexibility of providing power.  If a series of trucks can deliver the core components to a power plant, then construction costs will go down.  The reason the things take years to construct is that they're too big.  Remember that famous "If it fits, it ships." motto?  That's the general idea.

Antius wrote:

The molten salt reactor has some promising attributes but is no panacea.  The original aircraft reactor experiments kept corrosion rates low by carefully controlling uranium oxidation state.  It lasted for months, not years.  For a commercial MSR you need to contain a complex molten mix of actinide and fission product halides in a stainless steel or nickel-alloy vessel for a period of decades without unacceptable corrosion levels.  That is a tall order.  Long-term materials degradation of primary circuit components is the number one problem that limits the life time of commercial nuclear reactors.  We have decades of experience with this in LWRs - enough for some vendors to reasonably assure 80 year lifespans for their new reactor plants.  It will be a long uphill struggle to achieve a commercial MSR that meet that sort of longevity.  The truth is that this reactor concept is still at prototype stage and it will be a very long time before commercial units are built in any number.

When you have smaller modular reactors you can start and stop in a sequential manner, maintenance becomes less of an issue.  Taking one or even several reactors offline does not have a massive impact on the grid.  Roughly 7 of the IMSR-400 designs would replace a 1GW class PWR.

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#27 2017-11-16 14:23:06

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 6,909

Re: Nuclear vs. Solar vs. Others

It was you who claimed "none" (none = not one), not me, so Puerto Rico is irrelevant as counter example to Cuba. All energy systems get damaged or closed down to varying degrees in hurricane winds. 

Re TEPCO and the sea wall...from your link: "That little-noticed action was taken to make it easier to ferry equipment to the site and pump seawater to the reactors." So they levelled the site to make functioning of the nuclear reactor easier. Not my problem - the nuclear industry's problem.

People are learning how to make PV resilient in hurricane conditions:

"More recently, Hurricane Maria’s path through Puerto Rico has given insight into the durability of solar energy systems. A 645 kilowatt (kW) rooftop solar array on San Juan’s VA Hospital installed in 2015 continued to operate 100 percent post-storm, even though it was exposed to 180 MPH hurricane winds. What kept this system intact while other local arrays weren’t so lucky? As was the case with Hurricane Sandy, the racking and anchoring systems used to keep the solar panels in place were the ultimate factor in determining wind resiliency. By utilizing flexible racking devices, the VA Hospital system was able to work like a chain link fence to bend under stress rather than staying rigid and eventually breaking. Solar panels can be installed to survive the extreme winds seen in hurricanes, and can be a source of reliable power when other parts of the electrical grid are wiped out."

http://news.energysage.com/solar-panels … urricanes/

The position in Germany is clear from the stats, so your attempts to mislead are not effective. They may be building new (less polluting) coal plants, but they are also closing down old (more polluting) ones. Coal generation of electricity is reducing. But gas is being used to bridge the gap as nuclear power is closed down. Nevertheless renewables are continuing to rise.  Yes, there may have been a rise in emissions of CO2 whilst this gap is closed but it should be temporary according to all their plans. The current plan calls for the following by 2020:  "The share of renewable energies in the electricity sector will therefore amount to 38.6%, the share in the heating/cooling sector will be 15.5%, while in the transport sector it will be 13.2%." (Wikipedia).

kbd512 wrote:
louis wrote:

"None have fared well in hurricane winds..."?  Please do some research - Cuba's two wind farms survived Hurricane Sandy:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jenniferhi … 42ec8d7ad1

Why were the wind turbines and solar panels on Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands so thoroughly damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Harvey?

If nuclear power providers have to prepare for the worst case scenarios to prevent their plants from going off line, shouldn't that also apply to other providers since the result of loss of power for any significant time is always death and destruction?

louis wrote:

How much do you think it costs to build a sea wall that can protect a huge installation like the one in Japan from all tsunamis in an Earthquake zone?  You will be talking billions of dollars I suspect and creating all sorts of problems for the local communities.

I think it wouldn't have cost a dime since it was put there by nature.  Tepco spent money to remove it.

Tepco Tore Down the Natural Seawall Which Would Have Protected Fukushima from the Tsunami

Those idiots actually spent money to remove the sea wall that nature put there.  They lopped 25m off of the 35m sea wall that nature put there.  How's that for brilliance?  Tepco actually created a problem that didn't exist before they decided that the problem should exist.  Now we're "reaping the benefits" of their stupidity.  Humans are mostly a bunch of morons and I think you have a valid point there, even though I completely debunked your argument about what it would cost since the sea wall was free of cost until Tepco spent money to remove and replace it with something that wasn't high enough.

louis wrote:

The amount of nuclear power capacity/energy produced across the world has basically flat lined now for several decades. 

https://www.euronuclear.org/info/encycl … d-wide.htm

louis wrote:

Leaving aside green energy, why would anyone choose nuclear over gas?  Nuclear power is chosen for strategic reasons and that's about it.

Quite right.  Those "strategic reasons" include, first and foremost, supplying power for your people.

As for why you'd choose nuclear power, it's likely because it works so well.  Gas power plants require gas.  The climate changlings aren't leaving aside "green energy".  They're treating their agenda as a club to beat people over the head with, claiming that anyone who doesn't subscribe to their agenda doesn't care about their environment.  You want to consume more fossil fuels.  So either the climate changlings don't believe their own nonsense, and if it's not nonsense and they have a valid scientific point to make then their only solution (using the least energy dense form of power which also requires record consumption rates of fossil fuels) is the antithesis of what they say they want.

louis wrote:

I'll believe commercial thorium when I see it.

Look no further than what your fellow Europeans are doing with Thorium.  They're in the process of certifying Thorium for use in commercial light water reactors, whether you believe it or not.

louis wrote:

China (Communist), North Korea (Communist) and Iran (Islamist) seems about the most enthusiastic builder of nuclear facilities in recent years.

It is strange that these "backwards" Communists are intelligent enough to understand that when your people are desperate for clean electrical power that you select the most energy dense source known to man, not the least dense sources.

louis wrote:

The danger of Islamic or other terrorism, is not just about assault from outside but infiltration either through direct human agency (employees of the organisation managing the power station) or via computer hacking.

So why are we intentionally letting these foreign invaders into our countries to rape and murder?

louis wrote:

Actually there was a huge reduction in use of coal for electricity generation in Gerrmany between 2015 and 2016 - a drop of more than 16 TwHs.  Gas was up. That makes sense. Renewables accounted for 33%. All major European countries have plans to phase out petrol/diesel usage for road vehicles by 2040.  This is only going one way.

Yet another provably false claim:

France and Germany Turn to Coal

EXCLUSIVE: German Emissions Increase in 2016 Due to Nuclear Plant Closure

France and Germany are now using more coal.  They may also be using more natural gas.  Nuclear reactors are so powerful that you need multiple fossil fuel sources to replace them.  Neither of those events are good for the environment, so say the climate changlings.

louis wrote:

Despite the "intermittency" issue, neither Denmark nor Germany have suffered any significant outage since renewables became a major source of electricity generation.

When you start burning more coal and gas, intermittency is not a problem.  That's the opposite of what the climate changlings say we need.








louis wrote:

It's true grid connections are costly but so is cleaning up after a major nuclear power incident:





http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-38131248

Okay, but how expensive?  Recall that I'm not opposed to new ideas or spending a little bit more money up front to achieve a better end result.  I only care about the mathematics involved at the macro scale.  Don't cherry pick data points.  Provide an example where this grid upgrade has been completed, provide the number of customers serviced, and tell us what the price tag was.

louis wrote:

The clean up following the Fukushima disaster is estimated by the Japanese government to cost $180billion.

What percentage is actual cleanup costs versus litigation?

There's no limit to what law suits can cost.

louis wrote:

That was, in my view, a fairly minor disaster in a relatively unpopulated area compared with what could happen in Western Europe or Eastern USA.

These estimates keep fluctuating and the estimates vary wildly, yet nobody has identified exactly where the money is going and there don't seem to be any figures available for what the Japanese government is currently spending.  The only numbers I've seen to date indicate that more compensation money has been paid out to people who were evacuated than actual cleanup funds have been expended.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#28 2017-11-16 15:44:29

Antius
Member
From: Cumbria, UK
Registered: 2007-05-22
Posts: 1,003

Re: Nuclear vs. Solar vs. Others

"The position in Germany is clear from the stats, so your attempts to mislead are not effective. They may be building new (less polluting) coal plants, but they are also closing down old (more polluting) ones."

Louis appears to be impervious to logic on this issue.  This confirms what I suspected - that he supports the idea of rolling out a solar power economy because he finds it attractive for emotional reasons, not because it makes any real sense.  I feel much the same way about single malt whisky.  Each to their own I guess.  At least his obsession won't give him throat cancer.  It won't keep him warm either.

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#29 2017-11-16 17:04:14

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 6,909

Re: Nuclear vs. Solar vs. Others

Such patronising comments aren't helpful if you want a prodcutive debate.

My comments reflect all the serious analysis of the future of wind and solar energy that I have read.

If you think coal generation of electricity increased in Germany between 2015 and 2016, please provide the evidence, otherwise, please accept the evidence I presented showing it reduced.


Antius wrote:

"The position in Germany is clear from the stats, so your attempts to mislead are not effective. They may be building new (less polluting) coal plants, but they are also closing down old (more polluting) ones."

Louis appears to be impervious to logic on this issue.  This confirms what I suspected - that he supports the idea of rolling out a solar power economy because he finds it attractive for emotional reasons, not because it makes any real sense.  I feel much the same way about single malt whisky.  Each to their own I guess.  At least his obsession won't give him throat cancer.  It won't keep him warm either.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#30 2017-11-16 18:00:19

kbd512
Administrator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 4,702

Re: Nuclear vs. Solar vs. Others

louis wrote:

It was you who claimed "none" (none = not one), not me, so Puerto Rico is irrelevant as counter example to Cuba. All energy systems get damaged or closed down to varying degrees in hurricane winds.

None of the systems that actually provide utility electrical power survived intact, from solar panels to wind turbines to diesel generators.  They all failed miserably and we even shipped replacement parts, extra diesel, and vehicles to San Juan ahead of the storm.

This isn't about powering one building.  How much did the 645kWe system on the hospital cost the American tax payers and can we afford to make all of the solar arrays that may be exposed to hurricane force winds resistant to such catastrophic damage?

From PV Magazine USA:

"The array was installed with a combination of ballast and mechanical anchors. It’s a pliant racking system that is polymer based, and injection molded from glass-reinforced nylon. This gives the array the ability to flex in multiple directions without breaking – the main reason it’s still on the roof."

How heavy is the ballast, what's the cost of the mechanical anchors, and can we do that to the PV farms that clearly didn't survive or do we have to start from scratch?

louis wrote:

Re TEPCO and the sea wall...from your link: "That little-noticed action was taken to make it easier to ferry equipment to the site and pump seawater to the reactors." So they levelled the site to make functioning of the nuclear reactor easier. Not my problem - the nuclear industry's problem.

Actually, the idiots at Tepco turned it into everyone's problem.  Drilling a tunnel for a pipe is easier than leveling a mountain.

louis wrote:

People are learning how to make PV resilient in hurricane conditions:

I know it can be done.  We can make steel airplanes fly.  The Russians did it decades ago.  The question is, at what cost?

louis wrote:

The position in Germany is clear from the stats, so your attempts to mislead are not effective. They may be building new (less polluting) coal plants, but they are also closing down old (more polluting) ones. Coal generation of electricity is reducing. But gas is being used to bridge the gap as nuclear power is closed down. Nevertheless renewables are continuing to rise.  Yes, there may have been a rise in emissions of CO2 whilst this gap is closed but it should be temporary according to all their plans. The current plan calls for the following by 2020:  "The share of renewable energies in the electricity sector will therefore amount to 38.6%, the share in the heating/cooling sector will be 15.5%, while in the transport sector it will be 13.2%." (Wikipedia).

Germany's greenhouse gas emissions from electrical power production have been increasing compared to previous year levels.  Why is it that the emissions are increasing in a country that gets 85% of its power from "renewable" resources?

Hmm...  I wonder what could possibly cause that?  It couldn't possibly be BURNING MORE COAL!

I think these "renewable energy" clowns have an agenda and it's not economics or the environment.  The prices of electricity are high in Deutschland because their customers are paying through the nose for "renewable energy" in the form of higher electricity bills while they do their part to increase pollution.

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#31 2017-11-17 06:53:46

Antius
Member
From: Cumbria, UK
Registered: 2007-05-22
Posts: 1,003

Re: Nuclear vs. Solar vs. Others

louis wrote:

Such patronising comments aren't helpful if you want a prodcutive debate.

My comments reflect all the serious analysis of the future of wind and solar energy that I have read.

If you think coal generation of electricity increased in Germany between 2015 and 2016, please provide the evidence, otherwise, please accept the evidence I presented showing it reduced.


Antius wrote:

"The position in Germany is clear from the stats, so your attempts to mislead are not effective. They may be building new (less polluting) coal plants, but they are also closing down old (more polluting) ones."

Louis appears to be impervious to logic on this issue.  This confirms what I suspected - that he supports the idea of rolling out a solar power economy because he finds it attractive for emotional reasons, not because it makes any real sense.  I feel much the same way about single malt whisky.  Each to their own I guess.  At least his obsession won't give him throat cancer.  It won't keep him warm either.

Maybe that was small of me.  But the fact remains that for the really big decisions in life that profoundly affect people's lives, you need a better reason for advocating an option other than finding it emotionally appealing.

From a consumer's point of view, it really doesn't matter very much where electricity comes from, the service it provides is still the same and a kW is a kW.  But the price really does matter a lot.  And renewable electricity will always be much more expensive than historical prices of electricity from fossil fuels and nuclear power.  This is because there has to be another power plant to provide back-up, which has to be paid for whether we are using it or not.  This cost is reflected in the real electricity prices of countries:
https://gailtheactuary.files.wordpress. … -price.png

This is the situation where intermittent electricity represents a small proportion of total energy use, before we need to start implementing even more expensive energy storage systems.

Why is this important?  Two reasons:

1.    Rolling out a renewable energy economy maintains our dependence on fossil fuels, with all of the toxicity and energy security problems that that causes.  Having seen the statistics on the number of deaths caused by air pollution, I am strongly opposed to anything that might prolong fossil fuel use.  It is equivalent to having a Fukushima scale nuclear meltdown somewhere in world every single day.

2.    On a global level, GDP is a more or less linear function of energy consumption.  Expensive energy is therefore likely to suppress living standards.

The world is very close to a prolonged economic contraction resulting from falling EROI of fossil fuels.
https://ourfiniteworld.com/2017/10/18/t … ic-crisis/
https://ourfiniteworld.com/2017/11/08/w … bt-crisis/

The 2008 recession was a clear warning that fossil fuels could no longer provide sufficient energy surplus to maintain global economic growth.  Since then, global growth has been weak and has come at the expense of huge increases in debt across the world.  Very soon, we will be facing a global economic depression as bad as or worse than 1929.  When that happens, what do you think will happen to mankind's prospects of colonising Mars?

Expensive energy, from intermittent and low-power density sources, will only make our problems worse.  It is the rising cost of energy that is causing this problem in the first place.  There is no point in advocating a solution that has no realistic chance of being useful.  That is why I tend to be opposed to renewable energy solutions.  Ultimately, the more expensive your energy is, the poorer you will be and we will need to be rich in order to get to Mars.

Governments across the world appear to see the writing on the wall.  Global investment in renewable energy systems levelled off after 2011 and now shows clear signs of decline.
https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles … gs.rxBKqss

As an aside, I am not interested whether the German's provide back-up using a little more coal or a little more gas.  It makes very little difference at the end of the day.

Last edited by Antius (2017-11-17 07:12:13)

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#32 2017-11-17 07:32:54

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 6,909

Re: Nuclear vs. Solar vs. Others

1.  Natural gas generation of electricity outside urban concentrations contributes very little to overall air pollution levels. It is the ICE, in particular as used in diesel vehicles, that creates air pollution (along with construction , tyre wear and wood burning - so renewables aren't completely exempted from the problem of urban air pollution let me say before you do).  The choice as far as I am concerned for the next 20 years or so is renewables plus improved transmission plus storage plus gas before we gradually move towards renewables plus storage.

2. Talking as if there is a "one for one" full cost back up requirement for renewables is silly. It's nothing like that. Look at the levelised costs for energy in the UK:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cost_of_e … _by_source

Onshore wind is already at a much lower cost than nuclear, about a third less. That means you have up to 50% of the cost of wind energy to invest in back up if nuclear is seen as the sole competitor. But this doesn't have to be full cost. Some of it can be covered by increasing output from other facilities (there is always some scope for doing that at hydro, biomass, energy from waste,and gas plants). Some of it can be covered at marginal cost by tapping into other countries energy systems e.g. hydro in Scandinavia. Some of it can be covered by storage. And some of it will at least for the next few years require some emergency back up. However, we really aren't at the  stage yet where renewables require major back up.

3. There is absolutely no linear relation  between non-renewable energy consumption and prosperity. Denmark has just about the highest renewable energy proportion of any significant country and it scores high on prosperity, welfare and general health and wellbeing - much better than US or China.

4. There is no shortage of fossil fuels. The planet's got the stuff coming out of its ears and the non-existent shortage had nothing to do with the recession. If you took away the cartels like OPEC, the price would collapse worldwide but ulitmately there is a price floor associated with the real expense of getting stuff out of holes in ground or ocean floor.

5.  Regarding decline in global investment in renewables...I take it you read the article. You will see there has been no falling off of renewables energy output, only more focus on transmission and ensuring there is no waste of existing renewables generation - sensible stuff. ENergy ouput is the important figure and that has been rising steeply and will continue to rise steeply.

6. The reason I corrected you and others on Germany's use of coal and gas is because the opening of new coal plants by Germany is used as a propaganda tool to mislead people on what is happening with respect to Germany's renewables programme.





Antius wrote:
louis wrote:

Such patronising comments aren't helpful if you want a prodcutive debate.

My comments reflect all the serious analysis of the future of wind and solar energy that I have read.

If you think coal generation of electricity increased in Germany between 2015 and 2016, please provide the evidence, otherwise, please accept the evidence I presented showing it reduced.


Antius wrote:

"The position in Germany is clear from the stats, so your attempts to mislead are not effective. They may be building new (less polluting) coal plants, but they are also closing down old (more polluting) ones."

Louis appears to be impervious to logic on this issue.  This confirms what I suspected - that he supports the idea of rolling out a solar power economy because he finds it attractive for emotional reasons, not because it makes any real sense.  I feel much the same way about single malt whisky.  Each to their own I guess.  At least his obsession won't give him throat cancer.  It won't keep him warm either.

Maybe that was small of me.  But the fact remains that for the really big decisions in life that profoundly affect people's lives, you need a better reason for advocating an option other than finding it emotionally appealing.

From a consumer's point of view, it really doesn't matter very much where electricity comes from, the service it provides is still the same and a kW is a kW.  But the price really does matter a lot.  And renewable electricity will always be much more expensive than historical prices of electricity from fossil fuels and nuclear power.  This is because there has to be another power plant to provide back-up, which has to be paid for whether we are using it or not.  This cost is reflected in the real electricity prices of countries:
https://gailtheactuary.files.wordpress. … -price.png

This is the situation where intermittent electricity represents a small proportion of total energy use, before we need to start implementing even more expensive energy storage systems.

Why is this important?  Two reasons:

1.    Rolling out a renewable energy economy maintains our dependence on fossil fuels, with all of the toxicity and energy security problems that that causes.  Having seen the statistics on the number of deaths caused by air pollution, I am strongly opposed to anything that might prolong fossil fuel use.  It is equivalent to having a nuclear meltdown somewhere in world every single day.

2.    On a global level, GDP is a more or less linear function of energy consumption.  Expensive energy is therefore likely to suppress living standards.

The world is very close to a prolonged economic contraction resulting from falling EROI of fossil fuels.
https://ourfiniteworld.com/2017/10/18/t … ic-crisis/
https://ourfiniteworld.com/2017/11/08/w … bt-crisis/

The 2008 recession was a clear warning that fossil fuels could no longer provide sufficient energy surplus to maintain global economic growth.  Since then, global growth has been weak and has come at the expense of huge increases in debt across the world.  Very soon, we will be facing a global economic depression as bad as or worse than 1929.  When that happens, what do you think will happen to mankind's prospects of colonising Mars?

Expensive energy, from intermittent and low-power density sources, will only make our problems worse.  It is the rising cost of energy that is causing this problem in the first place.  There is no point in advocating a solution that has no realistic chance of being useful.  That is why I tend to be opposed to renewable energy solutions.  Ultimately, the more expensive your energy is, the poorer you will be and we will need to be rich in order to get to Mars.

Governments across the world appear to see the writing on the wall.  Global investment in renewable energy systems levelled off after 2011 and now shows clear signs of decline.
https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles … gs.rxBKqss

As an aside, I am not interested whether the German's provide back-up using a little more coal or a little more gas.  It makes very little difference at the end of the day.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#33 2017-11-17 09:59:37

Antius
Member
From: Cumbria, UK
Registered: 2007-05-22
Posts: 1,003

Re: Nuclear vs. Solar vs. Others

louis wrote:

  Onshore wind is already at a much lower cost than nuclear, about a third less. That means you have up to 50% of the cost of wind energy to invest in back up if nuclear is seen as the sole competitor. But this doesn't have to be full cost. Some of it can be covered by increasing output from other facilities (there is always some scope for doing that at hydro, biomass, energy from waste, and gas plants). Some of it can be covered at marginal cost by tapping into other countries energy systems e.g. hydro in Scandinavia. Some of it can be covered by storage. And some of it will at least for the next few years require some emergency back up. However, we really aren't at the  stage yet where renewables require major back up.

There is a difference between 'Price' and 'Cost'.  The first is what you pay; the other is what it costs to produce.  Entirely different things.  The auction price of wind farms is at record low levels, largely due to a price war, but also due to deflation in the price of all commodities, including steel and rare earth metals; record low interest rates and the slump in North Sea oil and gas exploration, which means that wind operators can lease ships and offshore crews at bargain rates.  When these factors are coupled with the huge economies of scale that now exist in the wind industry, operators are able to offer wind contracts at ludicrously low cost levels.  But they are taking huge risks.  Profit margins are already low and there are clear signs that their costs are depressed.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/201 … to-unthin/

Your statement regarding renewable energy not needing major back-up is incorrect at any level of renewable penetration.  Every MW of intermittent electric power added to the grid must be backed up by at least 1MW of dispatachable supply.  Whilst your wind turbine is generating, the backup plant will sit idle accruing labour, capital and maintenance payments.  The only thing the wind turbine will accomplish is to reduce the amount of fuel being burned.  The real cost of that MWh of electric power must cover both the generating cost of the wind turbine and the marginal capital, maintenance and labour cost of the backup plant.  That is why Germany and Denmark have such substantially greater electric power costs.

louis wrote:

  There is no shortage of fossil fuels. The planet's got the stuff coming out of its ears and the non-existent shortage had nothing to do with the recession. If you took away the cartels like OPEC, the price would collapse worldwide but ulitmately there is a price floor associated with the real expense of getting stuff out of holes in ground or ocean floor.

The last part of your statement is true, the rest is false.  The rising price of oil and other energy sources due to supply constraints in producing nations were the direct cause of the 2008 Great Recession.  Whereas other resources can be substituted to a limited extent, economic  output requires the expenditure of energy, because energy is the capacity to do work.
https://ourfiniteworld.com/2013/01/24/h … recession/

If conventional oil and gas were abundant, the world would not be pouring money into tight oil & gas and deep offshore condensates with much higher production costs.  The marginal costs of production have steadily risen across the world since the early 2000s.  Exclude unconventional oil sources, and non-OPEC oil production has tanked since 2008 and whole world conventional oil production is on a declining plateau.
http://www.artberman.com/the-crude-oil- … -peak-oil/

Price is depressed because the energy utility of these fuels put a ceiling on what consumers can afford to pay.  Oil hitting $147/barrel literally bankrupted the world economy back in 2008.  It never recovered.  Hence the huge levels of debt that are building in most nations.  It won't be long before something gives.
https://ourfiniteworld.com/2016/10/11/w … mf-missed/

Last edited by Antius (2017-11-17 10:03:05)

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#34 2017-11-17 11:04:23

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 6,909

Re: Nuclear vs. Solar vs. Others

I was looking at levelised cost comparisons.

Meanwhile, in the UK nuclear energy is feather-bedded with a guaranteed minimum purchase price.

Wind energy costs will go down further as more efficient second generation turbines will be fitted to towers that don't need to be constructed. In many case the blades will probably last another 25 years as well though that remains to be seen (but we have planes with wings that have flown for 40 years, so probably quite likely).

"Every MW of intermittent electric power added to the grid must be backed up by at least 1MW of dispatachable supply."  That's simply not true. The wind is blowing at some point on the planet at all times, just as the sun is shining at some point on the planet at all times. So intermittency patterns to some extent cancel each other out. No gas or EfW plant is operated at full whack 24/7.  There is always down time. You can effectively postpone that downtime while supporting intermittent power sources.

I'll come back to this.


Antius wrote:

There is a difference between 'Price' and 'Cost'.  The first is what you pay; the other is what it costs to produce.  Entirely different things.  The auction price of wind farms is at record low levels, largely due to a price war, but also due to deflation in the price of all commodities, including steel and rare earth metals; record low interest rates and the slump in North Sea oil and gas exploration, which means that wind operators can lease ships and offshore crews at bargain rates.  When these factors are coupled with the huge economies of scale that now exist in the wind industry, operators are able to offer wind contracts at ludicrously low cost levels.  But they are taking huge risks.  Profit margins are already low and there are clear signs that their costs are depressed.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/201 … to-unthin/

Your statement regarding renewable energy not needing major back-up is incorrect at any level of renewable penetration.  Every MW of intermittent electric power added to the grid must be backed up by at least 1MW of dispatachable supply.  Whilst your wind turbine is generating, the backup plant will sit idle accruing labour, capital and maintenance payments.  The only thing the wind turbine will accomplish is to reduce the amount of fuel being burned.  The real cost of that MWh of electric power must cover both the generating cost of the wind turbine and the marginal capital, maintenance and labour cost of the backup plant.  That is why Germany and Denmark have such substantially greater electric power costs.

louis wrote:

  There is no shortage of fossil fuels. The planet's got the stuff coming out of its ears and the non-existent shortage had nothing to do with the recession. If you took away the cartels like OPEC, the price would collapse worldwide but ulitmately there is a price floor associated with the real expense of getting stuff out of holes in ground or ocean floor.

The last part of your statement is true, the rest is false.  The rising price of oil and other energy sources due to supply constraints in producing nations were the direct cause of the 2008 Great Recession.  Whereas other resources can be substituted to a limited extent, economic  output requires the expenditure of energy, because energy is the capacity to do work.
https://ourfiniteworld.com/2013/01/24/h … recession/

If conventional oil and gas were abundant, the world would not be pouring money into tight oil & gas and deep offshore condensates with much higher production costs.  The marginal costs of production have steadily risen across the world since the early 2000s.  Exclude unconventional oil sources, and non-OPEC oil production has tanked since 2008 and whole world conventional oil production is on a declining plateau.
http://www.artberman.com/the-crude-oil- … -peak-oil/

Price is depressed because the energy utility of these fuels put a ceiling on what consumers can afford to pay.  Oil hitting $147/barrel literally bankrupted the world economy back in 2008.  It never recovered.  Hence the huge levels of debt that are building in most nations.  It won't be long before something gives.
https://ourfiniteworld.com/2016/10/11/w … mf-missed/


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#35 2017-11-17 11:22:00

kbd512
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Posts: 4,702

Re: Nuclear vs. Solar vs. Others

louis wrote:

1.  Natural gas generation of electricity outside urban concentrations contributes very little to overall air pollution levels. It is the ICE, in particular as used in diesel vehicles, that creates air pollution (along with construction , tyre wear and wood burning - so renewables aren't completely exempted from the problem of urban air pollution let me say before you do).  The choice as far as I am concerned for the next 20 years or so is renewables plus improved transmission plus storage plus gas before we gradually move towards renewables plus storage.

Natural gas produces 50% to 60% less CO2 emissions than coal, on average.  Obviously that's dependent upon the efficiency of the gas turbine plant design because the total quantity of fuel required to produce a given number of units of electrical power must be considered.  That's still a lot of CO2 emission.  More importantly, the amount of Sulfur, Mercury, and other nasty chemicals or heavy metals is far below that of coal.  The problem is that these countries that claim to be "going green" are in fact using lots of coal when the sun doesn't shine or the wind doesn't blow.  When we start electrifying everything from cars to light aircraft, the demand for electricity will more than double, which means CO2 emission levels will be right back where we started unless we get cost effective battery storage or molten salt heat storage.

To me, "improved transmission" means point use of solar power because losses from transmission using any technology are incredible and solar can ill-afford those losses as a function of the energy density of sunlight and the average efficiency of affordable panels.  I'm totally unopposed to point use where it's practical and if you read my responses you'll note that next year we'll be installing our own solar array to smooth our demand curve for grid power.  This is a simple economics proposition for me.  It's cost effective to do it in a way that's intended to offset grid usage.  If everyone did it, then it probably would be possible to supply the rest of a relatively flat demand curve using a combination of solar (PV for peaking and solar thermal molten salt for night energy storage) and wind.  As long as the demand curves vary so wildly based upon time of day (running AC or heating units and operating factories), then it's not economical at a macro scale and the advocates keep making excuses for why we're continually increasing fossil fuel usage even in places where the majority of the installed generating capacity is solar and/or wind.

There is no doubt in my mind that the insolation and current flow (wind or water) is sufficient to power the planet and then some, but at incredible cost.  We need technology to catch up to where you want to go.  It's not even close to "there yet".

louis wrote:

2. Talking as if there is a "one for one" full cost back up requirement for renewables is silly. It's nothing like that. Look at the levelised costs for energy in the UK:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cost_of_e … _by_source

Onshore wind is already at a much lower cost than nuclear, about a third less. That means you have up to 50% of the cost of wind energy to invest in back up if nuclear is seen as the sole competitor. But this doesn't have to be full cost. Some of it can be covered by increasing output from other facilities (there is always some scope for doing that at hydro, biomass, energy from waste,and gas plants). Some of it can be covered at marginal cost by tapping into other countries energy systems e.g. hydro in Scandinavia. Some of it can be covered by storage. And some of it will at least for the next few years require some emergency back up. However, we really aren't at the  stage yet where renewables require major back up.

You're being silly because you have to combine the costs of solar or wind with the costs of gas or coal since you need both to produce power 24/7, unless you guys shut off your lights, AC, or heat when there's no power to be had from the Sun or wind.  There are no free lunches to be had.  Someone has to pay and that someone is the consumer.

louis wrote:

3. There is absolutely no linear relation  between non-renewable energy consumption and prosperity. Denmark has just about the highest renewable energy proportion of any significant country and it scores high on prosperity, welfare and general health and wellbeing - much better than US or China.

There is a direct correlation between loss of electrical power and death and/or destruction.  What's the cost of living like in Denmark?  Making more money doesn't mean squat if all of it is spoken for before it's ever deposited into your bank account.

louis wrote:

4. There is no shortage of fossil fuels. The planet's got the stuff coming out of its ears and the non-existent shortage had nothing to do with the recession. If you took away the cartels like OPEC, the price would collapse worldwide but ulitmately there is a price floor associated with the real expense of getting stuff out of holes in ground or ocean floor.

So there's no real thought about limiting our use of the stuff.  This "green energy" scam is just a means to increase energy costs and usage.  Good to know.

louis wrote:

5.  Regarding decline in global investment in renewables...I take it you read the article. You will see there has been no falling off of renewables energy output, only more focus on transmission and ensuring there is no waste of existing renewables generation - sensible stuff. ENergy ouput is the important figure and that has been rising steeply and will continue to rise steeply.

I noticed that on the HDI, Deutschland is a whole .006 higher on the HDI than the US, but ranks #20 on per capita income while the US ranks #10.  Again, someone is paying for this nonsense.  Things that don't work at a macro scale depress wages and economic potential, like the ability to buy your own home solar system.

louis wrote:

6. The reason I corrected you and others on Germany's use of coal and gas is because the opening of new coal plants by Germany is used as a propaganda tool to mislead people on what is happening with respect to Germany's renewables programme.

You haven't corrected anything.  Germany is getting more than 80% of their generating capacity from wind and solar, yet their CO2 emissions from electrical power generation keep increasing.  Your Denmark and Germany examples are also absurdities on cost grounds.  They're both paying an average of $.3/kWh while the US is paying $.09/kWh for electricity in the same time period.  That's more than 3 times the cost for people who, on average, make the same or less money as average Americans.  If it really is cheaper, then why are they paying more than triple the cost for the same product?

This is coming from an online site that promotes the use of clean energy:

Clean Energy Wire - What German households pay for power

30 cents is still more then 9 cents, last time I checked.  The German government is also subsidizing the hell out of solar and wind, so it's costing the tax payer far more than just the insane prices German consumers pay for electrical power.  They use less electricity than Americans because they can't afford to use any more.  I would like my fellow Americans to reduce their consumption to the extent feasible, but new electric vehicles are only going to sharply increase demand.

Apart from your good point about human stupidity and resultant nuclear accident cleanup costs caused by human stupidity, possibly the best and only reason not to use nuclear power, you don't have any math-based arguments about what things actually cost to build, maintain, or the resultant costs to the consumer.

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#36 2017-11-17 13:23:34

Terraformer
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From: Logres
Registered: 2007-08-27
Posts: 3,363
Website

Re: Nuclear vs. Solar vs. Others

Please could a mod split this into a thread about Nuclear vs. Solar vs. Others in the science forum?


"I guarantee you that at some point, everything's going to go south on you, and you're going to say, 'This is it, this is how I end.' Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work." - Mark Watney

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#37 2017-11-17 21:22:43

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 23,328

Re: Nuclear vs. Solar vs. Others

Success..

Here on earth the rules for mass and movement of it to create are not factored in but when going to mars its of a huge importance and not just its cost but the wattage that we can achieve when we start with just how much equipment or prework on the site before power can be activated.

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#38 2017-11-17 21:28:55

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 23,328

Re: Nuclear vs. Solar vs. Others

Antius wrote:

The LOX/Methane plant is something Musk can do.  Zubrin built one for a few tens of thousands of dollars back in the 1990s.

The power supply is more problematic.  Musk can either take the hit and pay for the mass of the solar power system, or he can team up with another agency and develop something like this:
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/ELENA_reactor

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#39 2017-11-19 17:57:33

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 6,909

Re: Nuclear vs. Solar vs. Others

I think this is a very good assessment of where we are and where we are heading:

https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles … gs.EqReyC4

Solar is making huge strides towards non-subsidised economic viability and wind energy is already there.

However the complete domination of the energy market by green technologies is being held back by battery storage costs. So we will need to see further deep cuts in storage cost before we see very deep penetration by green energy.  But there are signs that might happen.

The trend to electric vehicles will increase, further boosting green energy and accelerating the decline in fossil fuel usage.

I would add that at some point green energy electric heating of homes is going to win out over gas boilers (given the expense of purchasing and maintaining such boilers).

Last edited by louis (2017-11-20 04:41:08)


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#40 2017-11-19 19:48:08

kbd512
Administrator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 4,702

Re: Nuclear vs. Solar vs. Others

I think I've made my points relatively clearly.  My only "agenda" is affordable and clean as we can reasonably make it power for humanity.  The current state of commercially available components for electrical engineering, as it relates to photovoltaic panels and batteries, is not amenable to complete reliance on solar and wind power on a global scale.  That will remain the case for at least another decade or two.  If the solution to the energy storage problem is using more fossil fuels, which presumes that the solar power advocates aren't actually serious about their climate change agenda, then they can stop brow beating everyone for using available fossil fuels.   If they're unwilling to use nuclear power, then that's exactly what their solution mandates for another decade or two until battery technology improves.

I will not support coal, gas, nuclear, solar, wind, or any other electrical power generation technology simply because it exists and if we're willing to pay any price then we can use it.  That's just a means of denying electrical power to the impoverished, which is an inhumane way of treating people less affluent then some of the rest of us.

In a perfect world, all these new solar and wind technologies would work as well as their advocates claim, but they mislead themselves and others by ignoring what things actually cost.  I have no doubt in my mind that solar and wind technologies will continue to improve, just not fast enough for global scale implementation in the next two decades.

Along with molten salt reactors that do not use water as coolant, affordable 50% efficient solar panels and 1kWh/kg batteries should be the new "Manhattan Projects" that the US undertakes.

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#41 2017-11-20 04:42:58

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 6,909

Re: Nuclear vs. Solar vs. Others

We can perhaps agree on the objective of "affordable and clean" even if we are completely at odds over how to achieve that objective.

kbd512 wrote:

I think I've made my points relatively clearly.  My only "agenda" is affordable and clean as we can reasonably make it power for humanity.  The current state of commercially available components for electrical engineering, as it relates to photovoltaic panels and batteries, is not amenable to complete reliance on solar and wind power on a global scale.  That will remain the case for at least another decade or two.  If the solution to the energy storage problem is using more fossil fuels, which presumes that the solar power advocates aren't actually serious about their climate change agenda, then they can stop brow beating everyone for using available fossil fuels.   If they're unwilling to use nuclear power, then that's exactly what their solution mandates for another decade or two until battery technology improves.

I will not support coal, gas, nuclear, solar, wind, or any other electrical power generation technology simply because it exists and if we're willing to pay any price then we can use it.  That's just a means of denying electrical power to the impoverished, which is an inhumane way of treating people less affluent then some of the rest of us.

In a perfect world, all these new solar and wind technologies would work as well as their advocates claim, but they mislead themselves and others by ignoring what things actually cost.  I have no doubt in my mind that solar and wind technologies will continue to improve, just not fast enough for global scale implementation in the next two decades.

Along with molten salt reactors that do not use water as coolant, affordable 50% efficient solar panels and 1kWh/kg batteries should be the new "Manhattan Projects" that the US undertakes.


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#42 2017-11-20 06:42:56

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 6,909

Re: Nuclear vs. Solar vs. Others

The cost of solar electricity has now dipped below 2 cents per KwH!!!

https://electrek.co/2017/10/08/how-is-s … -analysis/

Yes, it's Saudi Arabia...a somewhat sunny place (at least as far as the weather goes) and perhaps it's "free land" in effect. But even so, this is an astonishingly low rate while we have yet to see the full potential of PV realised (e.g. we still don't have commercial  printable PV available even though that is considered a feasible technology by most analysts).

At these sorts of rates, you have a lot of cash left over to subsidise storage.


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#43 2017-11-20 07:50:29

Terraformer
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From: Logres
Registered: 2007-08-27
Posts: 3,363
Website

Re: Nuclear vs. Solar vs. Others

I've posted a link to this post before - A Nation-sized Battery. Also, Is There Enough Lithium to Maintain the Growth of the Lithium-Ion Battery Market?

The US Geological Survey estimates we have ~40 million metric tonnes of Lithium that we could extract (including that which isn't economically viable at the moment). This suggests that a figure of 200g Lithium per kilowatt-hour is a reasonable estimate. Using Do The Math's figure of 336 billion kWh of storage (just for America!), we'd need 67.2 million tonnes of Lithium. Just for America. Significantly more that the USGS believes we actually have. Assuming they got it for the low price of $6000/tonne, that's just over $400 billion for the Lithium. Surprisingly low, and far better than the Lead-acid battery would be.


"I guarantee you that at some point, everything's going to go south on you, and you're going to say, 'This is it, this is how I end.' Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work." - Mark Watney

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#44 2017-11-20 11:44:22

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 6,909

Re: Nuclear vs. Solar vs. Others

The USA isn't the only source of lithium. Planet Earth isn't the only source either. Mars has lithium and I am guessing some asteroids probably do as well. Chemical batteries aren't the only mode of storage and lithium isn't the only chemical basis for a battery. All in all I think we will be OK.  smile 

Terraformer wrote:

I've posted a link to this post before - A Nation-sized Battery. Also, Is There Enough Lithium to Maintain the Growth of the Lithium-Ion Battery Market?

The US Geological Survey estimates we have ~40 million metric tonnes of Lithium that we could extract (including that which isn't economically viable at the moment). This suggests that a figure of 200g Lithium per kilowatt-hour is a reasonable estimate. Using Do The Math's figure of 336 billion kWh of storage (just for America!), we'd need 67.2 million tonnes of Lithium. Just for America. Significantly more that the USGS believes we actually have. Assuming they got it for the low price of $6000/tonne, that's just over $400 billion for the Lithium. Surprisingly low, and far better than the Lead-acid battery would be.


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#45 2017-11-20 12:02:01

Terraformer
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From: Logres
Registered: 2007-08-27
Posts: 3,363
Website

Re: Nuclear vs. Solar vs. Others

louis, those figures are global figures - and the figure for the lithium we can economically extract at current prices is significantly lower. That's before you account for every other country that wants to keep the lights on. Using other metals isn't a solution unless we can somehow create an iron-iron battery, since we'd hit the same limits with them. Maybe sodium-sulphur batteries would do the trick for grid storage. Flywheels would also help for dealing with the diurnal cycle for solar.

Of course, planning for current global energy use assumes we either perpetuate current inequalities in energy use, or western countries have to accept significantly reduced energy use. Which we could do, but it would mean giving up on cars and consumerism.


"I guarantee you that at some point, everything's going to go south on you, and you're going to say, 'This is it, this is how I end.' Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work." - Mark Watney

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#46 2017-11-20 13:21:48

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 6,909

Re: Nuclear vs. Solar vs. Others

There are lots of places we can expect to find lithium but these haven't been properly explored and assessed yet. Cornwall in the UK is one such place:

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/201 … ct-lithium


Terraformer wrote:

louis, those figures are global figures - and the figure for the lithium we can economically extract at current prices is significantly lower. That's before you account for every other country that wants to keep the lights on. Using other metals isn't a solution unless we can somehow create an iron-iron battery, since we'd hit the same limits with them. Maybe sodium-sulphur batteries would do the trick for grid storage. Flywheels would also help for dealing with the diurnal cycle for solar.

Of course, planning for current global energy use assumes we either perpetuate current inequalities in energy use, or western countries have to accept significantly reduced energy use. Which we could do, but it would mean giving up on cars and consumerism.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#47 2017-11-20 13:43:31

Terraformer
Member
From: Logres
Registered: 2007-08-27
Posts: 3,363
Website

Re: Nuclear vs. Solar vs. Others

Don't you think the USGS will have considered that as part of total resources?

I wonder if a solar plant combined with sodium sulfur batteries would be profitable?


"I guarantee you that at some point, everything's going to go south on you, and you're going to say, 'This is it, this is how I end.' Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work." - Mark Watney

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#48 2017-11-20 15:53:09

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 6,909

Re: Nuclear vs. Solar vs. Others

No one can agree on total oil reserves. Why would anyone agree on total lithium reserves? 

From Wikipedia:

"...lithium is widely distributed on Earth, it does not naturally occur in elemental form due to its high reactivity. The total lithium content of seawater is very large and is estimated as 230 billion tonnes..."

I really don't think there is any shortage of lithium on Earth. We will find ways to tap those resources.  At present, advanced industrial countries tend to leave the dirty work of lithium processing to poorer countries like Chile and China. But there are ways of extracting lithium without so much damage to the environment and visual amenity.  Things will change.

Terraformer wrote:

Don't you think the USGS will have considered that as part of total resources?

I wonder if a solar plant combined with sodium sulfur batteries would be profitable?


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#49 2017-11-20 17:22:28

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 6,909

Re: Nuclear vs. Solar vs. Others

For the remaining sceptics out there, take a look at the graph showing record low price progression for solar:

https://electrek.co/2017/11/16/cheapest … lar-power/

In just four years it's dropped from about 8 cents to 1.77 cents per KwH!!!  This is stupendous performance.  Moreover the reduction is set to continue - falling to 1 cent per KwH in 2019 according to this article.

Given the scope for future technological development, it seems pretty clear to me that eventually these sorts of prices currently being achieved in high insolation areas, will be reached in temperate zones as well.

Yes, we will still have to deal with intermittency but these sorts of prices will make it a whole lot easier.


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#50 2017-11-21 03:20:42

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 6,909

Re: Nuclear vs. Solar vs. Others

Another very interesting article, this time on battery storage pricing.

https://thinkprogress.org/chart-of-the- … 752a30a42/

We are seeing stunning falls in the cost of battery storage. Already lithium batteries are becoming competitive with gas peaker facilities for utility scale electricty.

Battery costs per KwH of capacity have declined by about 53% between 2013 and 2016.  A further 50% fall is predicted in the next decade or so.

Additionally, technical improvements re no. of cycles appear to be in the offing, so the cost per KwH delivered to the grid may well decline further.

Add to that, we now have HDVC transmission lines capable of delivering electricity over 1500 miles away, which is also a game changer.


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