The Ergosphere
Monday, January 01, 1990

Compendium post for replies at The Energy Collective

TEC cannot get its act together regarding HTML filtering and moderation; comments are sent to moderation for trivial things, and not rescued on a timely basis (or at all).  This post will serve as an archive for these comments, with anchors indexed by the TEC comment number to which they're addressed.  I've set the date for it to 1-Jan-1990 for the sake of getting it out of the normal post stream.

Comment posted 7-14-2016, hung up in moderation:  reposted 7/16/2016:
Perhaps old Greens should quit with the lie that anyone promised anything.  Here are the actual scripted remarks of Lewis L. Strauss, chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, presented in 1954.  He leads with this (emphasis added):
I know from talking to some of your number who have been my long-time friends that there is a good deal of chafing for more information in order to put together the puzzle of what our program is and where it is going.  This, of course, involves forecasts, and the Commission as a serious governmental body ought not to indulge in predictions.  However, as a person, I suffer from no such inhibition and will venture a few predictions before I conclude.
If that sounds to you like anything resembling a promise will follow, you're very, very deluded.

This speech is only 10 pages and should be read in full.  I'd particularly direct readers to eye-opening statements like the one at the top of page 7, but here's the actual meat of the "too cheap to meter" kerfuffle:
Transmutation of the elements, -- unlimited power, ability to investigate the working of living cells by tracer atoms, the secret of photosynthesis about to be uncovered, -- these and a host of other results all in 15 short years.  It is not too much to expect that our children will enjoy in their homes electrical energy too cheap to meter, -- will know of great periodic regional famines in the world only as matters of history....
In other words, Strauss was speculating "as a person" and made no promises.  Further, he was right about almost everything except the business arrangements for nuclear power.  If you were allowed to lay down $5000 and a small monthly fee for maintenance and get 1 kW continuous 24/7/365, nuclear power could provide that to a million subscribers per reactor.  However, regulators do not permit such deals.
Or all the global electric grid, water resources, and waste management solutions they’ve addressed.
They've gotten rid of one of the biggest waste management issues facing humanity, the use of the atmosphere as a dump for billions of tons of GHGs per year... and gotten exactly no credit for it.
Not to mention the capital resources consumed and batteries not yet seen.
Greens are the ones whose vision relies on batteries yet unseen.  Uranium is its own energy storage.
And the unpersuasive claims of nuclear fuel abundance and that low level radiation is harmless.
Low-level radiation IS harmless.  Generations of people living in Guarapari, Kerala and Ramsar have proved that conclusively.  Even some Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors showed health benefits from moderate doses:
I can give a young innovator some slack for over-optimism about algae.
There was a first time for everything that's ever been done, true.  The young need to learn lessons somehow, that way is better than most.

Comment posted 7/11/2016, reposted 7/16/2016 due to moderator malfeasance:
The page you linked defaults to the E101.  If you can't hard-link to the specific turbine you want, you need to note that.  1472 kW is roughly 1/3 of the E141's rated output; WELL below what would be required to feed the rest of the country from one windy area.

The E141 EP4 generates about 0.5% of rated output at 2 m/s wind.  It's scarcely worth talking about.

EDF is losing money with teir existing nuclear fleet.
The Google translation of first article is not specific about the cause of the operating losses.  The second is not specific either, but goes on about costs of post-Fukushima updates (which should be nil; France is subject to neither major earthquakes nor tsunamis) without mentioning the impact of the dumping of subsidized German wind and PV power on the French market.

EDF should simply demand countervailing duties against the dumped German electricity, equal to the value of the subsidy.  This would be equivalent to paying EDF the amount of the German environmental fee, which it deserves for generating GHG-free electricity.  EDF should also demand duties on polluting German lignite-fired generation.  Angela Merkel and the Greens would have to shut up, because they can't excuse these things without being obvious hypocrites.

# Reply to Sean:

Midday prices have dropped, and will continue to drop.
They're already well below payback rates for PV.  The only reason PV keeps getting installed is because of subsidies.  When the subsidies become too onerous, they'll be rescinded and the phenomenon ends.
They are installing battery storage for a few reasons but the most apparent is the late afternoon peak.
The biggest battery system in the works is a whole 100 megawatts.  The prospective duck-belly ramp is 10,000 MW.  Fixing this problem requires scaling up battery storage by at least 2 orders of magnitude in just 4 years.  No contracts have been signed yet; it's not going to happen.

Even if it did it still doesn't fix the fossil-fuel dependency problem, it just pushes off the problem of rolling blackouts from too-rapid changes in net demand.
California will also be getting like 6gw of wind from montana and idaho as soon as the lines are completed.
The same Montana and Idaho which are part of the BPA and have periods of near-zero wind lasting 2 weeks at a time.
The “baseload” grid model is outdated, and it is being replaced with an “efficiency” model which should be cheaper, easier to operate and more reliable.
The "efficiency" model relies on "demand-side management", which is a code word for individualized, per-application blackouts.  You still can't work, but at least you'll still get 50 watts to run a few lights and charge your phone.
I don’t think nuclear or coal will make any sort of comeback. The costs are too high.
Nuclear has been legislated out of the game.  It can be legislated right back.  It looks like it was just done in New York.

# Comment posted 7/27/2016:
Comment with full links posted at The Ergosphere.
a) average airconditioner in US is/was until recently efficiency class B (When I looked for advertisements in the US it was difficult to find out at all how much power the system needs for cooling, nobody seems to care about this) typical sale in germany is A+++.
There you go again, using a ratings system which is peculiar to your region instead of converting to common units.

US units are rated by SEER, which is BTU/hr/kW(e).  To convert this to CoP, you divide by roughly 3.4.  A quick check of a major domestic retailer's selection finds window units of SEER 11,2 in the cheapest, 11.8 for a slightly more expensive unit, and SEER 10.7 for a much more expensive multi-function unit.  These numbers correspond to CoP of ~3.4, ~3.5 and ~3.1.

A newer ductless heat pump with a much larger outer unit has a SEER of 19, CoP about 5.6... but it costs more than 4.5 times as much as the cheapest window unit.  Further, someone who rents cannot modify the building.

Producing the same 15,100 BTU/hr with both the cheapest and ductless units would show a power difference of 553 watts.  At 13¢/kWh, this is a cost difference of 7.2 cents per hour; at 500 hours per year, you'd save a whole $36.  Paying interest on the $1450 cost difference at 3%/year is $43.50.
On top of this again comes the poor efficiency of the airconditioners in use. in the US.
Owner-occupied dwellings in hot parts of the USA almost always have central air.
having a badly insulated house with loww building mass, which does not allow to cool tha house by opening some windws during the night and keep the cold inside till next evening
This is impossible in many areas.  Phoenix, AZ often has overnight temperatures which do not fall below 90°F (32 C).  Areas eastward to Texas are not all that much better, and then you run into tropical coastline humidity.

Thermal mass is a waste in such areas.  It is more efficient to let an empty dwelling heat up during the day and minimize its conductive heat gain, then bring the temperature down quickly when people are home.  True, it would also help to have some "thermal mass" in the form of ice storage which could cool the space quickly without placing demands on the electric grid, but that works in conjunction with a low-mass building.

BTW, as I write this I have a fan bringing in cool outside air to chill the bedroom, and a dehumidifier to keep the basement dry.  I have no other climate-control systems running.
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