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Thread: The Remarkable Progress of Renewable Energy

  1. Top | #791
    Quantum Hot Dog Kharakov's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KeepTalking View Post
    The wind is always blowing somewhere....
    It's the wind man. The wind. Be nice.

  2. Top | #792
    Quantum Hot Dog Kharakov's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bilby View Post
    Or you could just make like the French, and build a couple of dozen nuclear power plants.
    Rule of thumb: Always trust advocates for nuclear power from a nation with large Uranium deposits and no nuclear power plants

  3. Top | #793
    Fair dinkum thinkum bilby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kharakov View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by bilby View Post
    Or you could just make like the French, and build a couple of dozen nuclear power plants.
    Rule of thumb: Always trust advocates for nuclear power from a nation with large Uranium deposits and no nuclear power plants
    I live in a nation with large Uranium deposits, and (sadly) no nuclear power plants.

    I am from a nation with no significant Uranium deposits, and many nuclear power plants.

    I was an advocate for nuclear power before I moved, and continue to be one now. I would be very happy indeed if a nuclear plant were to be built at Swanbank, which is an ideal site for such a facility (and is only about 15km from my house).

  4. Top | #794
    Veteran Member Tigers!'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KeepTalking View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Tigers! View Post
    Do they state how much renewable energy is produced during windless or low wind nights?
    The wind is always blowing somewhere, even at night.

    The majority of Australia's wind turbines, by number of units or power generated, are located in the area shown. Each year we will have some days, at least 3-4, where the turbines in that area, 1400 km across, will produce negligence power as the wind drops. Other days numbering greater than that will produce no power because the wind is too strong.
    We need power 24x7x52, not 20x6x50 or any other combination.
    And of course the solar arrays in that area are useless at night.
    NOTE: No trees were killed in the sending of this message, but a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.

  5. Top | #795
    Veteran Member Tigers!'s Avatar
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    Not a derail: -
    The recent fires in Australia were concentrated in the areas encircled in black.
    NOTE: No trees were killed in the sending of this message, but a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.

  6. Top | #796
    Contributor Cheerful Charlie's Avatar
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    https://www.bbc.com/news/business-51852637

    ...
    Coal power developers risk wasting hundreds of billions of pounds as new renewable sources are now cheaper than new coal plants, a report has said.

    The shift is mainly down to the tumbling cost of wind and solar power, researchers from Carbon Tracker said.
    They added that in 10 years it will be cheaper to close down coal plants and build wind and solar plants instead.
    But the International Energy Agency (IEA) says coal will remain the largest global power source for years.
    The report's authors say they looked at the economics of 95% of the world's coal-fired power stations.
    In most countries, including the UK, it's already cheaper to build renewable energy generation than new coal-burning plants.
    At 60% of coal plants in the world, the generating costs are higher than they would be from new renewables, the report said.

    But the study goes a step further, forecasting that within 10 years the cheapest option in all countries would be to close down existing coal-fired power stations and build wind and solar power plants instead.
    ...
    Cheerful Charlie

  7. Top | #797
    Fair dinkum thinkum bilby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cheerful Charlie View Post
    https://www.bbc.com/news/business-51852637

    ...
    Coal power developers risk wasting hundreds of billions of pounds as new renewable sources are now cheaper than new coal plants, a report has said.

    The shift is mainly down to the tumbling cost of wind and solar power, researchers from Carbon Tracker said.
    They added that in 10 years it will be cheaper to close down coal plants and build wind and solar plants instead.
    But the International Energy Agency (IEA) says coal will remain the largest global power source for years.
    The report's authors say they looked at the economics of 95% of the world's coal-fired power stations.
    In most countries, including the UK, it's already cheaper to build renewable energy generation than new coal-burning plants.
    At 60% of coal plants in the world, the generating costs are higher than they would be from new renewables, the report said.

    But the study goes a step further, forecasting that within 10 years the cheapest option in all countries would be to close down existing coal-fired power stations and build wind and solar power plants instead.
    ...
    They are not interchangeable. A coal plant produces power when it's needed; A wind or solar plant produces power when it's possible to do so.

    The appropriate comparison is not between the cost of coal generation and that of wind or solar generation; It's between the cost of coal generation and the cost of wind or solar plus the necessary storage to provide the same amount of 24x7 power as the coal plant.

    To replace 1GW of coal power, you need about 0.8GW of nuclear power; Or about 3GW of wind power plus at least 250GWh of storage, capable of charging at 2 or 3GW, and discharging at 1GW, and of switching rapidly between these states. And a place where wind power generation never falls below the median generation rate for more than a week.

    That storage is not just expensive; it's so expensive that it's completely unachievable with current technology - there's not enough lithium for all the batteries you would need, nor enough suitable sites for hydro storage, nor the infrastructure needed to hook such massive storage up to the generation technology.

    Handwaving away this problem is the only reason why anyone thinks wind or solar are a plausible replacement for coal. But they are simply not.

    It's possible (though hideously expensive) to install storage on a domestic level, as long as you don't mind at least some blackouts - how many and how often you can tolerate a blackout determines the cost, which increases exponentially as your tolerance for being without power falls away.

    But domestic power consumption is a tiny part of the total. Industry and commerce require reliable power - and lots of it.

    It's one thing to accept having to occasionally chuck out spoiled food from your home refrigerator; But it's quite another to envisage the local supermarket and their warehouse having to do the same - and just at the time when demand for that food peaks (because of all the domestic spoilage). And I don't see any Wall Street banks liking the idea that their trading day could be interrupted because the batteries are flat, and it's calm and cloudy.

    The economics of intermittent power generation, with the intermittency outside our control, are impossible to make work, no matter how cheap the generators become. Intermittent power isn't a commodity that has a market. The market is for power on demand.

    Intermittent power plus storage might, perhaps, one day be viable. But right now, we get intermittent power plus gas*. Which isn't a solution to climate change at all.






    * Often hidden as 'other' or 'imports' - hint: gas power plants in neighbouring states or countries are still adding CO2 to the atmosphere, even if you hide that fact behind the description 'imports' in your reporting

  8. Top | #798
    Contributor Cheerful Charlie's Avatar
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    Here in Texas, we have natural gas, which is cheaper and easier to implement that coal plants. We don't have to deal with toxic coal ash, etc. We either have nasty brown lignite, produced locally, or bituminous coal imported from Canada. Not cheap. But wind is now king here over coal. We are shutting down coal fired plants and building more wind projects.
    Cheerful Charlie

  9. Top | #799
    Fair dinkum thinkum bilby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cheerful Charlie View Post
    Here in Texas, we have natural gas, which is cheaper and easier to implement that coal plants. We don't have to deal with toxic coal ash, etc. We either have nasty brown lignite, produced locally, or bituminous coal imported from Canada. Not cheap. But wind is now king here over coal. We are shutting down coal fired plants and building more wind projects.
    Yeah. Except that natural gas is just as bad for the climate as coal. It's about half as bad from the point of view of CO2 emissions; But leaks (aka 'fugitive emissions') of methane make up the difference.

    Wind isn't displacing coal - it's enabling its displacement by gas, for bugger all climate benefit. That's great if you're a Texan fracker who doesn't give two shits about climate change, but wants to outcompete Appalachian coal miners; So it's understandable that Texas loves this change - and that Texans love to invest in wind power. Not only does it boost gas sales, it also makes the state look like it is doing something about the environment. (spoiler: They aren't).

  10. Top | #800
    Mazzie Daius fromderinside's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bilby View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Cheerful Charlie View Post
    Here in Texas, we have natural gas, which is cheaper and easier to implement that coal plants. We don't have to deal with toxic coal ash, etc. We either have nasty brown lignite, produced locally, or bituminous coal imported from Canada. Not cheap. But wind is now king here over coal. We are shutting down coal fired plants and building more wind projects.
    Yeah. Except that natural gas is just as bad for the climate as coal. It's about half as bad from the point of view of CO2 emissions; But leaks (aka 'fugitive emissions') of methane make up the difference.

    Wind isn't displacing coal - it's enabling its displacement by gas, for bugger all climate benefit. That's great if you're a Texan fracker who doesn't give two shits about climate change, but wants to outcompete Appalachian coal miners; So it's understandable that Texas loves this change - and that Texans love to invest in wind power. Not only does it boost gas sales, it also makes the state look like it is doing something about the environment. (spoiler: They aren't).
    Cheerful Charley should have expanded his comments to ambient energy harvesting so he could have included everything from devices exploiting electrostatic energy differences to to hunan motion and metabolism harvesting to wind and tide exploitation. What the hell. Here's a wiki on what I'm getting at: Energy harvesting

    I thought the capacitive storage technology piece in the article was interesting. Such can be regulated by selective impedance.


    Yeah, your arguments are sound as always. Still when push comes to shove human nature can be redirected like now when we want to flatten the coronavirus curve so medical support systems don't crash. Of course there are risks to just adding time for mutation to something really awful.

    Still the idea of harvesting from existing differences should be wide enough for us to wrap ourselves around comprehensive solutions.

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