[] On Behalf Of meekerdb
Sent: Thursday, November 21, 2013 6:55 PM
Subject: Re: Global warming silliness


On 11/21/2013 6:21 PM, Chris de Morsella wrote:

Unlike you, I don't believe there will be a need for it on a massive scale.
By the soonest time commercial rated LFTR reactors can be ready the costs
per watt and the scale of production for solar PV will have reached levels
that would make it impossible to raise the amounts of capital required in
order to build them. Solar PV is not going to suddenly stop getting cheaper,
or scaling up in terms of how much new capacity it adds to the installed
solar PV base each year. In the 20 to 30 years' time frame required in order
to ramp up LFTR reactor technology to commercially rated systems, from the
point that we are at today, solar PV will have become the electricity
generation cost leader easily beating coal and anything else. I make this
projection based on long established trend lines that have held for three

>>I don't see it as either-or.  PV and wind are both intermittent and we're
going to need either much better energy storage systems or backup from
nuclear power plants.

The issue of intermittency is being overblown. It has been seized upon by
opponents of renewable energy and presented to the world as if this was a
fatal obstacle to developing and transitioning towards renewables. Major
grid operators have published studies that show they can handle quite high
degrees of wind/solar and maintain grid conditions; AND this is the
situation as it is today. Things are developing quite rapidly on a lot of
fronts that will together act to mitigate intermittency and manage it.

Principally these consist of: 

Better storage. Utility scale batteries exist (such as sodium sulfer types);
flow battery technology looks quite promising as well. Then there is
compressed air (some propose using geologic formations that have cap rocks
over them as reservoirs to store vast amounts of compressed air in - so
potentially big storage potential in some places with the right geology
beneath. Networked electric or plugin vehicles - if this segment takes off
and becomes ubiquitous (as it is here in Seattle) the total potential
capacity of all of the car batteries together represents a very significant
capacity. If even a small part of this capacity could be available (by
incentivizing  electric car owners to arbitrage their power resources,
charging up at night and selling excess during peak demand periods) this
could add a lot of grid stability.

But it is not just storage. 

There is also demand side management - a lot of power consumption can be
worked around transient peaks and troughs, and done so in a manner that is
almost seamless to the consumer (who ideally would experience minimal
disruption to the expectation of on-demand electric power)

Better micro-weather prediction - to be able to provide grid operators
timely (real time and over various forecasting baselines) reports on actual
or expected weather conditions at a precise and granular geographical scale.
Better information will allow operators to manage variability with a lot
less expense - for example being able to provision for power for a predicted
period of deficit or conversely to try to line up consumption during periods
of excess.

For a long time there is going to be a large enough existing baseload
capacity provided by the fossil (and II & III generation obsolescent nuclear
power plants). By the time this existing capacity starts to really drop off

In addition solar and wind tend to complement each other. When the wind is
blowing hardest is often when the sun is NOT shining. The periods of time
when there is both no sunlight and no wind - for extended periods - are in
fact rather rare, especially during peak load time periods (afternoon-early

Furthermore some renewable energy systems can act as baseload suppliers. If
they can ever get the earthquake problem solved hot dry rock geothermal is
one such baseload source. Large scale CSPs that use molten salt and have the
necessary efficiencies of scale can also be somewhat baseload like - being
able to time shift their power generation to map onto peak load periods and
deliver high quality power onto the grid (smooth).

When people argue against renewables they sometimes make the mistake of
assuming that there will be no progress - in the thirty years or so that it
would take to even begin to develop a GenIV breeder reactor infrastructure
and achieve the beginnings of mass penetration solar PV, wind, batteries,
grid-intelligence, real-time (and across various future scales) electric
power markets are all evolving.

Concomitantly energy efficiency will continue to increase as  supply chains,
processes, transportation and built spaces all improve - as they are -
driven by economic necessity. This is going to have a huge impact on future
demand. Many projections of future demand fail to account for this dramatic
shift in the energy landscape.



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