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Thread: The Remarkable Progress of Renewable Energy

  1. Top | #331
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    The anti nuke lobby is not without foundation.

    Large scale nukes done properly and safely would requ9ire over here a concerted design effort to make a standard maintainable reactor.

    To build a plant today requires an investment group that thinks the cost of future lectricity will turn a profit in a reasonable amount of time. 3-5 years instead of 10 or 15.

    On top of that their are only a very few companies that design nukes. It is not routine design work compared to natural gas. It is not a completive industry with volume that drives down costs.

    I can go online and find steam turbines, boilers, and generators available. The control systems are standardized as is the instrumentation, no nuclear requirements. Add piping and natural gas.

    The conservative energy lobby is strong and well funded and has a lot of political leverage via contributions.

    Trump was more blatant about it in appointing energy execs in administration positions. Decentralized energy is a direct threat to the centralized energy industry.

    Start putting solar electricity and solar hot water heating on homes across the south and demand for electricity goes down as well as price.

    Coal is going the way of the horse and buggy. Coal interests are desperately trying to hang onto a disappearing market.

  2. Top | #332
    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
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    How A Tiny Offshore Wind Farm In Scotland Could Unseat A US President | CleanTechnica
    File this one under P for Proof that karma is a bitch. The Trump* Organization’s ill-fated legal action against a relatively small, 11-turbine offshore wind farm in Scotland took yet another twist last week when the country’s Court of Sessions ruled that Trump’s company and the Trump International Golf Club in Aberdeen are on the hook for the country’s legal costs.

    The exact sum has yet to be disclosed but it could amount to a tidy pile of Euros, considering that the lawsuit has festered since 2015.
    tRump objected that that wind farm was an eyesore. At the recent CPAC, he stated about wind energy:
    I think it’s really something that they should promote. They should work hard on it. … When the wind stops blowing that’s the end of your electric. Let’s hurry up. Darling, is the wind blowing today? I’d like to watch television, darling.
    NREL Says Don't Recycle Single Use Plastics -- Upcycle! | CleanTechnica
    The NREL researchers combined reclaimed PET with material derived from renewable sources such as waste plant biomass to create a new materials called fiber-reinforced plastics. FRPs have an economic value 2 to 3 times greater than the original PET. Not only that, the new products use 57% less energy than reclaiming PET using the current recycling process and emit 40% fewer greenhouse gases than FRPs derived from petroleum.
    PET = polyethelene terephthalate, a common kind of plastic

    Belgian Scientists Announce New Solar Panel That Makes Hydrogen | CleanTechnica

    States Target Electric Car Owners With New Fees | CleanTechnica -- because they don't use gasoline, they are automatically exempt from gas taxes. So there will have to be some other way of financing the roads that they use.

  3. Top | #333
    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
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    This Is How Coal Ends: A Whimper, Not A Bang | CleanTechnica
    Dubai Offers 900 Megawatts Of Solar In Latest Auction | CleanTechnica
    Oslo Is (Almost) Car-Free -- And Likes It That Way | CleanTechnica
    Are Self-Driving Cars Really Going to Replace All Human Drivers? | CleanTechnica -- not something that I would bet on any time soon. Full-scale automated driving would require being familiar with all the things that human drivers become familiar with, and that's a lot. Like road-maintenance workers using flags as signals, and tumbleweeds and plastic bags being harmless.
    t’s also worth keeping in mind that self-driving cars are not an all-or-nothing proposition. Many vehicles come with driver assistance functions that help manual drivers without taking control from them. Lane departure warnings, braking warnings, anti-lock brakes, automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, drowsiness detection, and many other features can increase safety. Also, part-time self-driving can help us all avoid driving when we aren’t safe drivers, such as when we are too tired, distracted or intoxicated to drive ourselves. The ease of turning such systems on and off can remove a lot of today’s temptation to drive when we shouldn’t while still enabling us to get there.
    That seems like a plausible intermediate state, with human drivers coping with the likes of road-maintenance workers, tumbleweeds, and plastic bags.

    US Utilities Buy More Renewables, But Coal Cloud Looms Ahead | CleanTechnica -- some more coal mines and other such projects in the works. But coal seems to be entering its twilight years, upstaged by natural gas and renewable sources.
    Finland Approves 2029 Coal Ban For Energy Use | CleanTechnica
    “Already, most EU member states have banned new coal power plants,” explained Gerard Wynn, an Energy Finance Consultant with the Institute for Energy Economics & Financial Analysis (IEEFA) who spoke to me via email. “By approving a coal phaseout plan, Finland joins 10 other EU countries planning to eliminate existing coal power plants as well. France and Sweden lead coal phaseout plans in 2022, followed by Austria, Ireland, Italy, and Britain in 2025, and then Finland, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Portugal. Besides government-led coal phaseout plans, coal utilities face other headwinds including the falling cost of renewables and rising carbon prices, as well as pressure from investors, creditors and insurers. That could see coal come off the grid much sooner than expected in other countries, for example in Germany which recently agreed a phaseout by 2038 at the latest.”

    Just Ask Washington: Yes, Coal-Killing Solar Panels Work In Rainy Weather | CleanTechnica I have become very familiar with Pacific-Northwest climate. It's very sunny in summer, and very cloudy and rainy in the fall, winter, and spring. Not as good as (say) southern California, but still fairly good, since its clearest weather is when it gets the most sunlight.

  4. Top | #334
    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
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    Global Solar Installations Reached 104 Gigawatts In 2018 | CleanTechnica -- apparently installations per year. It's remarkable how far it has come. A nice thing about solar panels is how accessible they are. Small installations are as efficient as big ones. So one does not have to buy a gigawatt of capacity when one only wants a kilowatt. Wind energy can also scale down, even if not as well. I've found these small wind turbines:

    Breezergy Micro Wind Turbine
    Micro Wind Turbine — NILS FERBER - a portable one that can charge a cellphone

    Has anyone ever heard of a home-sized nuclear reactor? Even fossil fuels scale down much better.

    Global Wind Energy Council & World Bank To Cooperate On New Offshore Wind Development | CleanTechnica
    Trump Escalates War On Renewables, Slashes DOE Budget By 70% | CleanTechnica

    UK in deal to unlock offshore wind boom and green jobs - Renewable Energy World
    Offshore wind is set to provide more than 30 per cent of UK electricity by 2030 after the government today launched a landmark deal with the renewables industry.

    ...
    The deal will see £250m provided to UK companies working in offshore wind technologies such as robotics, advanced manufacturing, floating wind and larger turbines

  5. Top | #335
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    Quote Originally Posted by lpetrich View Post
    Global Solar Installations Reached 104 Gigawatts In 2018 | CleanTechnica -- apparently installations per year. It's remarkable how far it has come. A nice thing about solar panels is how accessible they are. Small installations are as efficient as big ones. So one does not have to buy a gigawatt of capacity when one only wants a kilowatt. Wind energy can also scale down, even if not as well. I've found these small wind turbines:

    Breezergy Micro Wind Turbine
    Micro Wind Turbine — NILS FERBER - a portable one that can charge a cellphone

    Has anyone ever heard of a home-sized nuclear reactor?
    They are called RTGs, and the Soviets were using them for heating and power in remote arctic areas in the 1950s. They also power a variety of space probes, including the Apollo Lunar Excursion Modules, and the Curiosity rover on Mars.

    Small Modular Reactors the size of a shipping container that run completely unattended for several decades are also currently on the drawing boards. No batteries required.
    Even fossil fuels scale down much better.

    Global Wind Energy Council & World Bank To Cooperate On New Offshore Wind Development | CleanTechnica
    Trump Escalates War On Renewables, Slashes DOE Budget By 70% | CleanTechnica

    UK in deal to unlock offshore wind boom and green jobs - Renewable Energy World
    Offshore wind is set to provide more than 30 per cent of UK electricity by 2030 after the government today launched a landmark deal with the renewables industry.

    ...
    The deal will see £250m provided to UK companies working in offshore wind technologies such as robotics, advanced manufacturing, floating wind and larger turbines
    Woo fucking Hoo. More battery chargers for the batteries that don't exist.

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  6. Top | #336
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    Quote Originally Posted by bilby View Post
    They are called RTGs, and the Soviets were using them for heating and power in remote arctic areas in the 1950s. They also power a variety of space probes, including the Apollo Lunar Excursion Modules, and the Curiosity rover on Mars.
    Except that RTG "fuel" is rather difficult to make. NASA has trouble getting enough for upcoming interplanetary missions. Their power output slowly declines, but it is effectively constant on shorter timescales, so it cannot be throttled. it's like how nuclear reactors are commonly run, but worse. So a home RTG would either have to be overbuilt or else supplemented with batteries. Much like nuclear reactors and renewable sources.

    Small Modular Reactors the size of a shipping container that run completely unattended for several decades are also currently on the drawing boards. No batteries required.
    I'll believe it when I see it. If it isn't preempted by renewable sources and improved storage.

  7. Top | #337
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    Quote Originally Posted by lpetrich View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by bilby View Post
    They are called RTGs, and the Soviets were using them for heating and power in remote arctic areas in the 1950s. They also power a variety of space probes, including the Apollo Lunar Excursion Modules, and the Curiosity rover on Mars.
    Except that RTG "fuel" is rather difficult to make. NASA has trouble getting enough for upcoming interplanetary missions. Their power output slowly declines, but it is effectively constant on shorter timescales, so it cannot be throttled. it's like how nuclear reactors are commonly run, but worse. So a home RTG would either have to be overbuilt or else supplemented with batteries. Much like nuclear reactors and renewable sources.
    'Rather difficult to make' is a very, very low hurdle, compared to the problem of sufficient storage to make intermittent renewables viable. To dismiss an exitant technology that has been in use for decades as 'rather difficult', while airily hand waving into existence batteries that have six orders of magnitude more capacity per unit price than anything we have ever made is an astonishing double standard.

    Small Modular Reactors the size of a shipping container that run completely unattended for several decades are also currently on the drawing boards. No batteries required.
    I'll believe it when I see it. If it isn't preempted by renewable sources and improved storage.
    It's always better to have it but not need it, than to need it but not have it.

    A power source that can't be throttled can just be connected to a sink of some kind. Either you can throw away the energy you don't need, or use it for some purpose that's not time critical, like desalination of seawater.

    This is NOT a similar problem to that of an intermittent power source, which requires some kind of backup to fill the holes where you need power that you don't have.

    It's the difference between saving money when you get an unexpected bonus at work that exceeds your normal household budget (you can save the money, but if savings accounts haven't been invented, you can give it away to charity, or at worst just throw it in the bin); and saving money so that you don't starve during long and unpredictable periods of unemployment - if savings accounts are not available, then you are totally fucked.

    Seriously, you need to start critically examining what cleantechnica publish - these guys have never once let facts get in the way of their preferred narrative, and their relentless cheerleading without reference to reality is beginning to rot your brain.

    The French already showed us that nuclear plus hydro is an effective way to produce power that matches demand, without CO2 emissions.

    The Germans have spent more time, and more money, than France ever did, trying to demonstrate the same thing can be done with wind and solar. They have completely failed.

    To pretend that this abject failure is unimportant, and that the same strategy will one day work if only we throw vastly more money at it, is to misunderstand what constitutes success.

    If Germany did finally, one day, achieve French emissions levels without regular power outages, after having spent vastly more to achieve the exact same outcomes, then that would STILL be a clear indication that the French strategy was FAR superior.

    The game is over. French strategy beats German, when trying to provide on demand and affordable electricity to an industrialised nation without contributing to climate change.

    The only remaining question is 'when are people going to stop navel gazing and accept the observable facts?'. I shalln't be holding my breath.
    Last edited by bilby; 03-10-2019 at 08:54 PM.

  8. Top | #338
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    It was a while back. Sandia Labs and a commercial company were working on small portable generators. Encased in concrte, not refuelable, and no need for water cooling. Intend for community level power. Small enough to be delivered on a flatbed truck.

    The idea was mass produce a small simple system and reduce cost. Not a bad idea.

    That idea is the same threat solar and wind represents to utilities and coal.

    Decentralized power takes away a monopoly of the few power providers.

  9. Top | #339
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    Quote Originally Posted by bilby View Post
    A power source that can't be throttled can just be connected to a sink of some kind. Either you can throw away the energy you don't need, or use it for some purpose that's not time critical, like desalination of seawater.
    Yeah. Most places in the world have a water shortage problem. Kill two birds with one stone, run the desalinators on the power the grid doesn't need. Or do a variation on pumped-hydro: When the grid doesn't need the power you pump the water high enough to provide the pressure the desalinators need. They actually run on the water coming down from the elevated location and thus can run all the time.

    This sort of approach also means the grid is much more tolerant of intermittent sources of power being added.

  10. Top | #340
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    Project Sunroof Enter one's home address and it will do a Google Maps display of your home, complete with its roof being colored to indicate how much sunlight it gets: black to brown to orange to yellow. It will also make an estimate on how much you are likely to save with solar panels on your roof.

    I checked it out for places where I currently live, recently lived, and lived in the past. Central and southeastern Pennsylvania, upstate New York, and northern California are good places for rooftop solar panels, but western Oregon isn't.

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