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Strait Of Hormuz As a Breakpoint: Germany Not Taking Part In U.S. Naval Mission

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Just now, NickW said:

Both of which Europe are reliant on imports although I acknowledge the supply countries are in most cases different from the major sources of oil and gas.  

Germany is quite self-sufficient in coal, as are other European nations. 

As for nuclear, the amount of fuel required is so small and the sources so varied that importing it hardly matters - and that's before anyone's bothered developing advanced fuel cycles. 

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4 minutes ago, BenFranklin'sSpectacles said:

Germany is quite self-sufficient in coal, as are other European nations. 

As for nuclear, the amount of fuel required is so small and the sources so varied that importing it hardly matters - and that's before anyone's bothered developing advanced fuel cycles. 

Germany is self sufficient at current rates of usage.

France, Italy, Spain, the UK do have reserves of coal to the sort of levels you suggest. 

I think nuclear would have been a better choice for baseload. Its a shame that **** Bliar closed down the UK's nuclear programme in 1997. 

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1 minute ago, NickW said:

Germany is self sufficient at current rates of usage.

France, Italy, Spain, the UK do have reserves of coal to the sort of levels you suggest.  

I think nuclear would have been a better choice for baseload. Its a shame that **** Bliar closed down the UK's nuclear programme in 1997.  

I believe Poland and Great Britain also have ample coal. 

Nuclear would have been a better option for certain, and it still has plenty of room for technological improvement.  Had nuclear been allowed to run its course, it would have come remarkably close to the predicted "too cheap to meter" - at which point nuclear energy could have been used for coal-to-oil plants. 

But whatever.  Technology is advancing; we'll get there sooner or later. 

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3 minutes ago, BenFranklin'sSpectacles said:

I believe Poland and Great Britain also have ample coal. 

Nuclear would have been a better option for certain, and it still has plenty of room for technological improvement.  Had nuclear been allowed to run its course, it would have come remarkably close to the predicted "too cheap to meter" - at which point nuclear energy could have been used for coal-to-oil plants. 

But whatever.  Technology is advancing; we'll get there sooner or later. 

Poland maybe. The UK is mined out. The whole '300 years of coal' meme is a myth unless its 300 years of coal at 2-3 mt per year. 

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29 minutes ago, BenFranklin'sSpectacles said:

Unfortunately, renewables won't deliver that dream.  Europe would have been much better served with coal and nuclear. 

Don't know. likely not completely. 

My guess is that Europes energy mix largely will be made up by renewables, biogas and yes to some extent nuclear within the next 15 years. 

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1 minute ago, Rasmus Jorgensen said:

Don't know. likely not completely. 

My guess is that Europes energy mix largely will be made up by renewables, biogas and yes to some extent nuclear within the next 15 years. 

Definitely a little biogas, but mostly natural gas.  Definitely some renewables, but only because they subsidize it.  If the next generation of nuclear reactors can get anywhere near the cost of natural gas combined cycle power plants, nuclear will sweep the market.  The reason is that every other energy source has nearly tapped out its potential.  NGCC plants won't go much above 60% efficiency.  Coal might reach 55% efficiency, but that's not a huge improvement over the current 45%.  Renewables will always be raw-material intensive and intermittent.  There isn't enough biogas or hydro to run everything. 

Nuclear, on the other hand, is nigh unlimited with a plethora of untapped technological improvements.  Once the powers that be decide nuclear is in their best interest, it will be revived. 

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14 minutes ago, BenFranklin'sSpectacles said:

Nuclear, on the other hand, is nigh unlimited with a plethora of untapped technological improvements.  Once the powers that be decide nuclear is in their best interest, it will be revived.

Agree. 

 

15 minutes ago, BenFranklin'sSpectacles said:

There isn't enough biogas or hydro to run everything. 

Agree. But it is not intermittent. 

15 minutes ago, BenFranklin'sSpectacles said:

Definitely some renewables, but only because they subsidize it.

Offshore wind is now being built subsidy free. Onshore wind is even cheaper. 

I have seen proposals for electolysis hydrogen for excess offshore wind. 

------------------

Overall agree that nuclear will be part of the equation. Incidently, my guess is that climate hysteria will be the facilitator. 

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1 hour ago, Rasmus Jorgensen said:

Agree. 

 

Agree. But it is not intermittent. 

Offshore wind is now being built subsidy free. Onshore wind is even cheaper. 

I have seen proposals for electolysis hydrogen for excess offshore wind.  

------------------ 

Overall agree that nuclear will be part of the equation. Incidently, my guess is that climate hysteria will be the facilitator.  

Offshore wind is now being built subsidy free in markets with extremely high energy prices.  Those high energy prices exist because of government regulation & subsidy that allowed so many renewables into the market in the first place.  In a normally functioning market, energy prices would be too low to support a meaningful quantity of unsubsidized renewables.  I.e. the current state of energy markets is only possible because subsidies and regulations were applied over many years. 

There's a more general, vitally important lesson here: the Volk don't know what "path dependence" is.  Because they don't know, they ignore the history of how things came to be and fail to see the inevitably bleak consequences of their choices.  By contrast, the people profiting from politically-motivated ventures (E.g. lawyers) are well aware of path dependence.  They use it to create laws that sound good to the public today, but funnel money towards them and their ilk in the long term.  Because the consequences are separated from the actions by time, the Volk never discover the con. 

What about the people who discover the con?  They've long since given up trying to educate a stubborn Volk, choosing instead to play the game:

image.png.17cce6a5b36bf7d4da13c942b83f47d0.png

 

Regardless, wind and solar will have their niches, but they're reaching their limits long before they're truly competitive with base-load generation.  Natural Gas is the low-cost stop-gap solution.  The Powers That Be will favor natural gas because, like oil, it keeps non-producer nations under their heels.  Also like oil, they won't be able to enforce that forever.  Nuclear will eventually take over - if not because it achieves lower costs, then because we'll run out of cheap natural gas.  The only question is "When?"

On a related note, let's talk about where different technologies make sense:

1)  Hydro: high capital costs, zero fuel costs, dispatchable, weather dependent: makes sense everywhere, but it's a limited resource.  Weather dependence (no rain = no hydro) creates risks. 
2)  Wind & Solar: high capital costs, zero fuel costs, intermittent, vulnerable to weather: Makes sense at remote locations and limited niches within large electricity markets.  Without subsidy and regulation, unlikely to keep significant market share.
3)  Natural gas: low capital costs, medium/high fuel costs, dispatchable: makes sense for base load and demand response where NG prices are low.  High risk of fuel supply disruption and fuel price spikes.  Makes sense if you need to run a plant at 50-60% capacity.
4)  Coal: medium capital costs, medium/low fuel costs, dispatchable, impervious to weather: makes sense for base load and demand response nearly everywhere.  Fuel can be stored on-site, and fuel prices are reliably low.  Makes sense if you need to run a plant at 50-90% capacity. 
5)  Nuclear: high capital costs, extremely low fuel costs, dispatchable, impervious to weather: makes sense for base-load if you can run it at 90+% capacity. 

That said: 

1) Everyone thinks energy storage favors renewables, but it doesn't.  Energy storage shaves demand peaks and fills demand troughs.  Storage works best when you have predictable, cyclical demand curves and predictable, base-load generation with extremely low fuel costs.  I.e. energy storage favors nuclear.  Nuclear is the lowest cost producer provided it can run at 90+% capacity factors.  That means nuclear's market share peaks at the lowest demand seen across an entire year.  Right now, that's something like 20% of peak demand.  As those demand troughs are filled by storage, nuclear will be able to increase its market share beyond 20%. 

2) Electric vehicles will also fill demand troughs (night charging) while raising demand across all times and seasons.  Transportation is also critical infrastructure that must function with extreme reliability.  I.e. EVs heavily favor nuclear. 

3) The shift from a slow-paced, Christian society that rests on Sundays to a fast-paced society with stores open 24/7, factories running 24/7, and people working non-standard schedules smooths the demand curve.  That favors nuclear. 

4) Much of peak electrical demand is things like afternoon cooling loads.  Improvements in building design (insulation, thermal mass, etc), A/C design (higher efficiency), and technologies to store "coldness" (run the system at night to cool a material, then use that "coldness" to cool your building during the day) will reduce peak loads and shift some of that demand to the troughs.  This smooths the demand curve, which favors nuclear.  To put this in perspective, new construction typically consumes only 25% the energy of the old buildings it replaces. 

5)  Connected appliances (Internet of Things, or "IoT") will be programmed to run when electricity prices are lowest, which smooths the demand curve.  However, while people can wait for their clean dishes/clothes until the next morning, they can't wait several days.  Thus, renewables aren't good enough.  IoT favors nuclear. 

6)  The rise of computing loads (servers, supercomputers, etc) creates a 24/7 demand.  That favors nuclear.

The future is nuclear. 

 

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On 8/5/2019 at 9:19 AM, 50 shades of black said:

 

Being part of NATO is not enough. You need good relationships with allies. I'm afraid things are not so good as we thought...

These countries don't want to pay their share so they need a lot of prodding. We owe them nothing, they owe us a lot. 

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On 8/8/2019 at 4:35 AM, BenFranklin'sSpectacles said:

Germany is quite self-sufficient in coal, as are other European nations. 

As for nuclear, the amount of fuel required is so small and the sources so varied that importing it hardly matters - and that's before anyone's bothered developing advanced fuel cycles. 

Almost all Western countries are trying to get off of coal and nuclear. They want renewables and natural gas. 

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On 8/8/2019 at 4:51 AM, NickW said:

Poland maybe. The UK is mined out. The whole '300 years of coal' meme is a myth unless its 300 years of coal at 2-3 mt per year. 

Meanwhile Nuclear plants are losing money all over America and being supported by increased charges to prop them up. No one is building any at all because of price overruns. They are an economic disaster. 

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On 8/8/2019 at 4:46 AM, BenFranklin'sSpectacles said:

I believe Poland and Great Britain also have ample coal. 

Nuclear would have been a better option for certain, and it still has plenty of room for technological improvement.  Had nuclear been allowed to run its course, it would have come remarkably close to the predicted "too cheap to meter" - at which point nuclear energy could have been used for coal-to-oil plants. 

But whatever.  Technology is advancing; we'll get there sooner or later. 

Problems with Nuclear Plants and Waste https://docs.google.com/document/d/1xhPQIIW9xpOwn92z5hCGshSF7e6TP3R9sFBAAg-eQe4/edit

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On 8/8/2019 at 7:52 AM, BenFranklin'sSpectacles said:

Offshore wind is now being built subsidy free in markets with extremely high energy prices.  Those high energy prices exist because of government regulation & subsidy that allowed so many renewables into the market in the first place.  In a normally functioning market, energy prices would be too low to support a meaningful quantity of unsubsidized renewables.  I.e. the current state of energy markets is only possible because subsidies and regulations were applied over many years. 

There's a more general, vitally important lesson here: the Volk don't know what "path dependence" is.  Because they don't know, they ignore the history of how things came to be and fail to see the inevitably bleak consequences of their choices.  By contrast, the people profiting from politically-motivated ventures (E.g. lawyers) are well aware of path dependence.  They use it to create laws that sound good to the public today, but funnel money towards them and their ilk in the long term.  Because the consequences are separated from the actions by time, the Volk never discover the con. 

What about the people who discover the con?  They've long since given up trying to educate a stubborn Volk, choosing instead to play the game:

image.png.17cce6a5b36bf7d4da13c942b83f47d0.png

 

Regardless, wind and solar will have their niches, but they're reaching their limits long before they're truly competitive with base-load generation.  Natural Gas is the low-cost stop-gap solution.  The Powers That Be will favor natural gas because, like oil, it keeps non-producer nations under their heels.  Also like oil, they won't be able to enforce that forever.  Nuclear will eventually take over - if not because it achieves lower costs, then because we'll run out of cheap natural gas.  The only question is "When?"

On a related note, let's talk about where different technologies make sense:

1)  Hydro: high capital costs, zero fuel costs, dispatchable, weather dependent: makes sense everywhere, but it's a limited resource.  Weather dependence (no rain = no hydro) creates risks. 
2)  Wind & Solar: high capital costs, zero fuel costs, intermittent, vulnerable to weather: Makes sense at remote locations and limited niches within large electricity markets.  Without subsidy and regulation, unlikely to keep significant market share.
3)  Natural gas: low capital costs, medium/high fuel costs, dispatchable: makes sense for base load and demand response where NG prices are low.  High risk of fuel supply disruption and fuel price spikes.  Makes sense if you need to run a plant at 50-60% capacity.
4)  Coal: medium capital costs, medium/low fuel costs, dispatchable, impervious to weather: makes sense for base load and demand response nearly everywhere.  Fuel can be stored on-site, and fuel prices are reliably low.  Makes sense if you need to run a plant at 50-90% capacity. 
5)  Nuclear: high capital costs, extremely low fuel costs, dispatchable, impervious to weather: makes sense for base-load if you can run it at 90+% capacity. 

That said: 

1) Everyone thinks energy storage favors renewables, but it doesn't.  Energy storage shaves demand peaks and fills demand troughs.  Storage works best when you have predictable, cyclical demand curves and predictable, base-load generation with extremely low fuel costs.  I.e. energy storage favors nuclear.  Nuclear is the lowest cost producer provided it can run at 90+% capacity factors.  That means nuclear's market share peaks at the lowest demand seen across an entire year.  Right now, that's something like 20% of peak demand.  As those demand troughs are filled by storage, nuclear will be able to increase its market share beyond 20%. 

2) Electric vehicles will also fill demand troughs (night charging) while raising demand across all times and seasons.  Transportation is also critical infrastructure that must function with extreme reliability.  I.e. EVs heavily favor nuclear. 

3) The shift from a slow-paced, Christian society that rests on Sundays to a fast-paced society with stores open 24/7, factories running 24/7, and people working non-standard schedules smooths the demand curve.  That favors nuclear. 

4) Much of peak electrical demand is things like afternoon cooling loads.  Improvements in building design (insulation, thermal mass, etc), A/C design (higher efficiency), and technologies to store "coldness" (run the system at night to cool a material, then use that "coldness" to cool your building during the day) will reduce peak loads and shift some of that demand to the troughs.  This smooths the demand curve, which favors nuclear.  To put this in perspective, new construction typically consumes only 25% the energy of the old buildings it replaces. 

5)  Connected appliances (Internet of Things, or "IoT") will be programmed to run when electricity prices are lowest, which smooths the demand curve.  However, while people can wait for their clean dishes/clothes until the next morning, they can't wait several days.  Thus, renewables aren't good enough.  IoT favors nuclear. 

6)  The rise of computing loads (servers, supercomputers, etc) creates a 24/7 demand.  That favors nuclear.

The future is nuclear. 

 

Sorry, Nuclear is dead in all Western countries. Dangers of Nuclear Plants and Waste https://docs.google.com/document/d/1xhPQIIW9xpOwn92z5hCGshSF7e6TP3R9sFBAAg-eQe4/edit

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1 hour ago, ronwagn said:

Sorry, Nuclear is dead in all Western countries. Dangers of Nuclear Plants and Waste https://docs.google.com/document/d/1xhPQIIW9xpOwn92z5hCGshSF7e6TP3R9sFBAAg-eQe4/edit

Nuclear is dead in the US because Natural Gas is almost a waste product and thus very cheap for all the combines cycle gas plants that have been popping up all over the country. If/when the shale boom ends and NG prices return to historical prices Nuclear will probably be looked at a bit differently. Here in the US anyway. 

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22 hours ago, ronwagn said:

Almost all Western countries are trying to get off of coal and nuclear. They want renewables and natural gas. 

 

22 hours ago, ronwagn said:

Sorry, Nuclear is dead in all Western countries. Dangers of Nuclear Plants and Waste https://docs.google.com/document/d/1xhPQIIW9xpOwn92z5hCGshSF7e6TP3R9sFBAAg-eQe4/edit

That will change when Westerners realize how expensive renewables are. 

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1 hour ago, BenFranklin'sSpectacles said:

 

That will change when Westerners realize how expensive renewables are. 

Natural gas will do the job. Nuclear is not economically feasible considering the long term safety measures that are unaffordable. 

See Dangers of Nuclear Plants and Waste. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1xhPQIIW9xpOwn92z5hCGshSF7e6TP3R9sFBAAg-eQe4/edit

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2 hours ago, BenFranklin'sSpectacles said:

 

That will change when Westerners realize how expensive renewables are. 

Apparently you haven’t kept with Texas wind an now an exploding solar market. The greenies and Nat Gas fans can claim victory as the coal loses market share and new production ramps up. Electricity goes for 12-13 cents per watt far below what Europe pays. Texas simply has great wind and sun. Texas also fracks and had cheap nat gas. Renewables will continue to grow for decades. The next debate will be can batteries replace nat gas. But fear not you anti renewable boys, Texas electricity will still be price competitive because the market will decide. When the market decides consumers win.

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7 hours ago, ronwagn said:

Natural gas will do the job. Nuclear is not economically feasible considering the long term safety measures that are unaffordable. 

See Dangers of Nuclear Plants and Waste. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1xhPQIIW9xpOwn92z5hCGshSF7e6TP3R9sFBAAg-eQe4/edit

I'm well aware of the "dangers" of nuclear "waste".  Nuclear waste is actually fuel; the US simply chooses not to reprocess it because someone convinced Jimmy Carter to make it illegal.  When the Powers That Be decide nuclear is in their best interest, there will be a reversal of policy, and suddenly nuclear "waste" won't be a problem. 

 

5 hours ago, Boat said:

Apparently you haven’t kept with Texas wind an now an exploding solar market. The greenies and Nat Gas fans can claim victory as the coal loses market share and new production ramps up. Electricity goes for 12-13 cents per watt far below what Europe pays. Texas simply has great wind and sun. Texas also fracks and had cheap nat gas. Renewables will continue to grow for decades. The next debate will be can batteries replace nat gas. But fear not you anti renewable boys, Texas electricity will still be price competitive because the market will decide. When the market decides consumers win.

Your first problem is that you're extrapolating beyond the valid range of your data.  For all the gains renewables have made, they're still a small percentage of generation.  As their percentage increases, base-load generation won't be able to subsidize them by carrying the weight of grid stabilization.  At that point, they become prohibitively expensive.  E.g. Germany. 

Your second problem is that these statistics are given in nameplate capacity (GW) and not energy generated (TWh).  1GW of coal, gas, or nuclear is not equal to 1GW of solar.  You need 3-5X the installed renewable capacity to match a base-load plant - if you're lucky.  The world is still deploying coal, gas, and nuclear; these account for the majority of new energy generated. 

Your third problem is cherry picking.  There are a select few places in the world where renewables make sense at relatively low market penetration.  There are a few other places where the populations have been duped into paying more for electricity.  Finally, there are rare cases - such as islands - where renewables make sense at high market penetration.  These cases are deploying as quickly as possible and account for the "victory" you claim.  Unfortunately for your argument, these cases are a small percentage of energy markets.  Your "victory" will be short-lived. 

You're wrong, but I'll grant that your response was a good chuckle.  It was particularly entertaining because it betrays your complete dependence on current trends.  You appear incapable of foreseeing long-term consequences, which means a savvy person could play you like a fiddle.  Unsurprisingly, that seems to be exactly what the politicians, financiers, and renewable energy companies have done. 

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(edited)

On 8/11/2019 at 11:40 PM, ronwagn said:

Meanwhile Nuclear plants are losing money all over America and being supported by increased charges to prop them up. No one is building any at all because of price overruns. They are an economic disaster. 

I would remind readers that nuke plants are only massively expensive because the politicians and bureaucrats have quite deliberately made them so.  Nuclear power is quite benign:  the total number of deaths in the West from nuclear plants is precisely zero.  There have been NO events where nuke plants have posed a threat.  The one plant that caused problems, and deaths to the helicopter pilots who volunteered to drop buckets of sand on the molten core, was to a Russian cruddy design located in what is now Northern Ukraine, on the border with Belarus. The only other incident with a nuclear power unit was in the sinking of the Russian submarine Kursk, up outside Murmansk, where the Russian commanders simply abandoned the submariners to their deaths instead of accepting a US Navy offer to get them out with a special air-lock device over the forward hatch.   Other than that, the US Navy has been running nuke plants for some sixty years without incident. 

People who don't understand the technology get all bent out of shape when you mention the word "nuclear."  Yet nuke plants have a spectacular success rate, and have produced cheap power for over half a century.  The reason is the incredible energy density of nuclear material.  You can say:  "I don't like nukes, ban them they are dangerous!" and it will make you feel better, but it has nothing to do with reality. 

If society ever gets around to stripping out all the nonsense that politicians have pushed onto them, then nuclear power will, once again, be incredibly cheap, probably literally too cheap to bother metering.   That is the reality.

Edited by Jan van Eck
corrected area where Kursk sank
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(edited)

Cheap power? That idea started with Eisenhower and never worked out. You have to consider the total timeline which apparently never ends. At least not for Americans. We are propping up the nuclear plants that we still have and no more will be built in America IMHO. In Illinois we have many nuclear plants and many coal plants, both are the worst choices for producing electricity when we could be using natural gas which Illinois has available right here. Our politicians are easily bought off by money from nuclear and coal proponents and then saddle the customers with higher energy prices to take care of their outdated plants. The nuclear plants around the country are already beyond their expected lifespan and we have nuclear waste scattered all around the country. California had to shut down San Onofre, Near San Diego and has never torn down any part of it. It sits right above the beach. We have zero need for new nuclear plants. The consumer foots the bills to keep nuclear and coal plants alive. No wonder they don't want any more. 

https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=228&t=21 

https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=427&t=21

Dangers of Nuclear Plants and Waste  https://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/markets-set-sell-off-argentina-030759812.html

Edited by ronwagn
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8 hours ago, ronwagn said:

Cheap power? That idea started with Eisenhower and never worked out. You have to consider the total timeline which apparently never ends. At least not for Americans. We are propping up the nuclear plants that we still have and no more will be built in America IMHO. In Illinois we have many nuclear plants and many coal plants, both are the worst choices for producing electricity when we could be using natural gas which Illinois has available right here. Our politicians are easily bought off by money from nuclear and coal proponents and then saddle the customers with higher energy prices to take care of their outdated plants. The nuclear plants around the country are already beyond their expected lifespan and we have nuclear waste scattered all around the country. California had to shut down San Onofre, Near San Diego and has never torn down any part of it. It sits right above the beach. We have zero need for new nuclear plants. The consumer foots the bills to keep nuclear and coal plants alive. No wonder they don't want any more. 

https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=228&t=21 

https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=427&t=21

Dangers of Nuclear Plants and Waste  https://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/markets-set-sell-off-argentina-030759812.html

Ron, I spent some time studying Nuclear Engineering and rubbing shoulders with experts in the field.  I have to disagree with you on this one: it was the government that made nuclear expensive. 

Your quest to advance natural gas is noble, and many times you're correct,  but this isn't one of those times. 

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23 hours ago, BenFranklin'sSpectacles said:

I'm well aware of the "dangers" of nuclear "waste".  Nuclear waste is actually fuel; the US simply chooses not to reprocess it because someone convinced Jimmy Carter to make it illegal.  When the Powers That Be decide nuclear is in their best interest, there will be a reversal of policy, and suddenly nuclear "waste" won't be a problem. 

 

Your first problem is that you're extrapolating beyond the valid range of your data.  For all the gains renewables have made, they're still a small percentage of generation.  As their percentage increases, base-load generation won't be able to subsidize them by carrying the weight of grid stabilization.  At that point, they become prohibitively expensive.  E.g. Germany. 

Your second problem is that these statistics are given in nameplate capacity (GW) and not energy generated (TWh).  1GW of coal, gas, or nuclear is not equal to 1GW of solar.  You need 3-5X the installed renewable capacity to match a base-load plant - if you're lucky.  The world is still deploying coal, gas, and nuclear; these account for the majority of new energy generated. 

Your third problem is cherry picking.  There are a select few places in the world where renewables make sense at relatively low market penetration.  There are a few other places where the populations have been duped into paying more for electricity.  Finally, there are rare cases - such as islands - where renewables make sense at high market penetration.  These cases are deploying as quickly as possible and account for the "victory" you claim.  Unfortunately for your argument, these cases are a small percentage of energy markets.  Your "victory" will be short-lived. 

You're wrong, but I'll grant that your response was a good chuckle.  It was particularly entertaining because it betrays your complete dependence on current trends.  You appear incapable of foreseeing long-term consequences, which means a savvy person could play you like a fiddle.  Unsurprisingly, that seems to be exactly what the politicians, financiers, and renewable energy companies have done. 

Sigh, google Texas wind consumption please and explain how 19% of consumed electricity from the leading consumer of electricity in the states is a small amount. And the prices are still historically cheap. I believe that data to be valid. 

I have read that at present with todays technology wind alone can supply up to 40% of the ERCOT grid without a lot of additional cost. Wind continues to expand and now solar is beginning to take off.

My post was about Texas electricity. You can call it cherry picking but hey, I live here and that is why I track it somewhat. Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa, N Dakota and now Wyoming all seem to disagree with your assement.

The silly worry about to many renewables causing grid instability. How is that possible when electricity has/had a pretty healthy margin of extra grenetation capability on standby. Anything less than an adequate amount is just stupidity by somebody in charge. In an emergency situation where there is a blackout there better be plenty of extenuating circumstances or off to court they go. 

Total Cost is always factored in future development. If renewables grow to a point it is to expensive to have backup power at scale you simply quit adding renewable capacity. Silly  So far that hasn’t happened in Texas. 

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On 8/8/2019 at 2:52 PM, BenFranklin'sSpectacles said:

Offshore wind is now being built subsidy free in markets with extremely high energy prices.  Those high energy prices exist because of government regulation & subsidy that allowed so many renewables into the market in the first place.  In a normally functioning market, energy prices would be too low to support a meaningful quantity of unsubsidized renewables.  I.e. the current state of energy markets is only possible because subsidies and regulations were applied over many years. 

There's a more general, vitally important lesson here: the Volk don't know what "path dependence" is.  Because they don't know, they ignore the history of how things came to be and fail to see the inevitably bleak consequences of their choices.  By contrast, the people profiting from politically-motivated ventures (E.g. lawyers) are well aware of path dependence.  They use it to create laws that sound good to the public today, but funnel money towards them and their ilk in the long term.  Because the consequences are separated from the actions by time, the Volk never discover the con. 

What about the people who discover the con?  They've long since given up trying to educate a stubborn Volk, choosing instead to play the game:

image.png.17cce6a5b36bf7d4da13c942b83f47d0.png

 

Regardless, wind and solar will have their niches, but they're reaching their limits long before they're truly competitive with base-load generation.  Natural Gas is the low-cost stop-gap solution.  The Powers That Be will favor natural gas because, like oil, it keeps non-producer nations under their heels.  Also like oil, they won't be able to enforce that forever.  Nuclear will eventually take over - if not because it achieves lower costs, then because we'll run out of cheap natural gas.  The only question is "When?"

On a related note, let's talk about where different technologies make sense:

1)  Hydro: high capital costs, zero fuel costs, dispatchable, weather dependent: makes sense everywhere, but it's a limited resource.  Weather dependence (no rain = no hydro) creates risks. 
2)  Wind & Solar: high capital costs, zero fuel costs, intermittent, vulnerable to weather: Makes sense at remote locations and limited niches within large electricity markets.  Without subsidy and regulation, unlikely to keep significant market share.
3)  Natural gas: low capital costs, medium/high fuel costs, dispatchable: makes sense for base load and demand response where NG prices are low.  High risk of fuel supply disruption and fuel price spikes.  Makes sense if you need to run a plant at 50-60% capacity.
4)  Coal: medium capital costs, medium/low fuel costs, dispatchable, impervious to weather: makes sense for base load and demand response nearly everywhere.  Fuel can be stored on-site, and fuel prices are reliably low.  Makes sense if you need to run a plant at 50-90% capacity. 
5)  Nuclear: high capital costs, extremely low fuel costs, dispatchable, impervious to weather: makes sense for base-load if you can run it at 90+% capacity. 

That said: 

1) Everyone thinks energy storage favors renewables, but it doesn't.  Energy storage shaves demand peaks and fills demand troughs.  Storage works best when you have predictable, cyclical demand curves and predictable, base-load generation with extremely low fuel costs.  I.e. energy storage favors nuclear.  Nuclear is the lowest cost producer provided it can run at 90+% capacity factors.  That means nuclear's market share peaks at the lowest demand seen across an entire year.  Right now, that's something like 20% of peak demand.  As those demand troughs are filled by storage, nuclear will be able to increase its market share beyond 20%. 

2) Electric vehicles will also fill demand troughs (night charging) while raising demand across all times and seasons.  Transportation is also critical infrastructure that must function with extreme reliability.  I.e. EVs heavily favor nuclear. 

3) The shift from a slow-paced, Christian society that rests on Sundays to a fast-paced society with stores open 24/7, factories running 24/7, and people working non-standard schedules smooths the demand curve.  That favors nuclear. 

4) Much of peak electrical demand is things like afternoon cooling loads.  Improvements in building design (insulation, thermal mass, etc), A/C design (higher efficiency), and technologies to store "coldness" (run the system at night to cool a material, then use that "coldness" to cool your building during the day) will reduce peak loads and shift some of that demand to the troughs.  This smooths the demand curve, which favors nuclear.  To put this in perspective, new construction typically consumes only 25% the energy of the old buildings it replaces. 

5)  Connected appliances (Internet of Things, or "IoT") will be programmed to run when electricity prices are lowest, which smooths the demand curve.  However, while people can wait for their clean dishes/clothes until the next morning, they can't wait several days.  Thus, renewables aren't good enough.  IoT favors nuclear. 

6)  The rise of computing loads (servers, supercomputers, etc) creates a 24/7 demand.  That favors nuclear.

The future is nuclear. 

 

well written post and I don't disagree with anything you have stated. That said, from a European perspective, I think that renewables (I include biogas and landfill gas) in spite of higher prices atleast in the near to medium term future be a larger part of European energy mix for the following reasons

1) I think thorium reactors need to be working before Europe will truly embrace nuclear

2) there is already a considerable renewable energy supply chain in Europe with political influence

3) Existing renewables infrastructure is already in place and the potential extend their life for example by replacing existing turbines will offer increased / more efficient capacity at relatively low CAPEX. This would add another 25 - 30 years of life to windfarms (in particular this is relevant for offshore windfarms where operators would also kicks the decommissiong costs down the road).... 

I was discussing this with a friend in the energy business recently. His guesstimate was that Europe would build out renewables to the point that is practically possible (and storage will likely push this limit) and then replace baseload with nuclear and NG. What happens in the medium to long term I dare not guess about. 

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35 minutes ago, Boat said:

Sigh, google Texas wind consumption please and explain how 19% of consumed electricity from the leading consumer of electricity in the states is a small amount. And the prices are still historically cheap. I believe that data to be valid. 

I have read that at present with todays technology wind alone can supply up to 40% of the ERCOT grid without a lot of additional cost. Wind continues to expand and now solar is beginning to take off.

My post was about Texas electricity. You can call it cherry picking but hey, I live here and that is why I track it somewhat. Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa, N Dakota and now Wyoming all seem to disagree with your assement.

The silly worry about to many renewables causing grid instability. How is that possible when electricity has/had a pretty healthy margin of extra grenetation capability on standby. Anything less than an adequate amount is just stupidity by somebody in charge. In an emergency situation where there is a blackout there better be plenty of extenuating circumstances or off to court they go. 

Total Cost is always factored in future development. If renewables grow to a point it is to expensive to have backup power at scale you simply quit adding renewable capacity. Silly  So far that hasn’t happened in Texas. 

Unfortunately in the 2D world of many wind critics they fail to see we live and operate in a 3D world. The turbines of the 1990's were lucky to have a blade tip height of 100 metres. Current models are 200 metres plus. The wind resource goes up exponentially as you go higher. The law of diminishing returns does not work here because as turbines get taller they can access higher wind speeds and winds which are more consistent.

See the difference for 50,100 & 200 metre wind speed availability.

https://www.wasp.dk/dataandtools#wind-atlas__global-wind-atlas

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2 hours ago, Boat said:

The silly worry about to many renewables causing grid instability. How is that possible when electricity has/had a pretty healthy margin of extra generation capability on standby. Anything less than an adequate amount is just stupidity by somebody in charge. In an emergency situation where there is a blackout there better be plenty of extenuating circumstances or off to court they go. 

Sorry, Boat, there is a built-in flaw in this logic chain.  And that is that that "standby extra generation capability" cannot react fast enough to rapidly changing conditions of the wind and solar outputs, with the exception being modified solar reflector towers, where the underside of the tower boiler has a back-up flame generator (either gas or fuel oil based) that can turn on instantly.   Nat-gas driving a gas turbine has a reasonably fast reaction time to start-up, probably five minutes or so, but even those have to get up to a stabilized temperature or you get into problems with the interior metals and their expansion.  For a coal plant, forget it; those things take forever to get up to operating temperatures. 

Wind machines in particular have this tendency to get off-cycle and you need these rotary condensers to stabilize the output in a narrow band of voltage and frequency to make it work in a grid setting.  Those machines are very expensive. If you start loading up any grid with wind and solar then you also have to expect both voltage and frequency fluctuations, which cause all kinds of problems for users who need good signals without harmonics in there.  Now, you could in theory require users that demand pure power signals to go install their own fancy filtering systems, which could even include using grid AC motors to turn DC generators to drive into a battery bank and then use a DC motor to turn an AC on-site generator with a pure signal, but hey, what customer is going to put up with that?  

Will prosaic bank-teller machines and their computers work on power that has voltage and frequency variations and harmonics?  Nope. How about the prosaic check-out machines down at your local Lowe's?  Nope.  Supermarket?  Nope.  And there is your problem. 

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