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Thu Dec 22, 2011, 05:36 PM

 

Nuclear renaissance? US OKs new reactor design

Source: MSNBC

Opening the door to a new generation of nuclear reactors, federal regulators on Thursday approved a design that a nuclear watchdog group acknowledged is an improvement but still not ideal.

The AP1000 reactor, designed by Westinghouse Electric Co., is safer than the current generation of U.S. reactors, which date back 30 years or more, members of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said in voting for approval.

"The design provides enhanced safety margins through use of simplified, inherent, passive, or other innovative safety and security functions, and also has been assessed to ensure it could withstand damage from an aircraft impact without significant release of radioactive materials," NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko said in a statement.

Fears of an aircraft impact were heightened after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

More at: http://usnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/12/22/9634749-nuclear-renaissance-us-oks-new-reactor-design

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Ridiculous!!!

216 replies, 65361 views

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Reply Nuclear renaissance? US OKs new reactor design (Original post)
Playinghardball Dec 2011 OP
MadHound Dec 2011 #1
TheWraith Dec 2011 #3
MadHound Dec 2011 #6
TheWraith Dec 2011 #7
MadHound Dec 2011 #8
badtoworse Dec 2011 #93
Bob Wallace Dec 2011 #94
AtheistCrusader Dec 2011 #97
quakerboy Dec 2011 #100
Bob Wallace Dec 2011 #133
quakerboy Dec 2011 #176
XemaSab Dec 2011 #177
AtheistCrusader Dec 2011 #140
Survivoreesta Dec 2011 #109
Bob Wallace Dec 2011 #134
sulphurdunn Dec 2011 #154
mbperrin Dec 2011 #102
kristopher Dec 2011 #104
FBaggins Dec 2011 #108
kristopher Dec 2011 #124
FBaggins Dec 2011 #136
kristopher Dec 2011 #159
FBaggins Dec 2011 #106
mbperrin Dec 2011 #139
FBaggins Dec 2011 #141
mbperrin Dec 2011 #144
FBaggins Dec 2011 #148
fascisthunter Dec 2011 #186
quakerboy Dec 2011 #105
RoccoR5955 Dec 2011 #112
ProgressiveProfessor Dec 2011 #121
Bob Wallace Dec 2011 #149
jeff47 Dec 2011 #153
RoccoR5955 Dec 2011 #161
kristopher Dec 2011 #163
Bob Wallace Dec 2011 #169
jpak Dec 2011 #189
ThomWV Dec 2011 #119
kristopher Dec 2011 #129
AtheistCrusader Dec 2011 #143
kristopher Dec 2011 #162
AtheistCrusader Dec 2011 #185
jpak Dec 2011 #188
tabasco Dec 2011 #205
jpak Dec 2011 #209
Bob Wallace Dec 2011 #92
RoccoR5955 Dec 2011 #110
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diane in sf Dec 2011 #29
DissedByBush Dec 2011 #90
fascisthunter Dec 2011 #123
stonecutter357 Dec 2011 #156
fascisthunter Dec 2011 #167
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ProgressiveProfessor Dec 2011 #9
MadHound Dec 2011 #17
Throckmorton Dec 2011 #19
MadHound Dec 2011 #22
FBaggins Dec 2011 #49
MadHound Dec 2011 #55
NutmegYankee Dec 2011 #62
FBaggins Dec 2011 #63
kristopher Dec 2011 #67
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jpak Dec 2011 #191
ProgressiveProfessor Dec 2011 #201
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FBaggins Dec 2011 #78
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ProgressiveProfessor Dec 2011 #23
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diane in sf Dec 2011 #21
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MadHound Dec 2011 #44
ProgressiveProfessor Dec 2011 #101
jeff47 Dec 2011 #127
ProgressiveProfessor Dec 2011 #132
Bob Wallace Dec 2011 #145
jeff47 Dec 2011 #146
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MadHound Dec 2011 #37
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jpak Dec 2011 #194
diane in sf Dec 2011 #40
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jpak Dec 2011 #193
ProgressiveProfessor Dec 2011 #199
jpak Dec 2011 #202
RoccoR5955 Dec 2011 #111
jeff47 Dec 2011 #128
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jpak Dec 2011 #190
snooper2 Dec 2011 #151
TheWraith Dec 2011 #2
ProgressiveProfessor Dec 2011 #5
cherokeeprogressive Dec 2011 #50
FBaggins Dec 2011 #53
rhett o rick Dec 2011 #4
ProgressiveProfessor Dec 2011 #11
rhett o rick Dec 2011 #14
ProgressiveProfessor Dec 2011 #18
rhett o rick Dec 2011 #45
FBaggins Dec 2011 #58
rhett o rick Dec 2011 #72
FBaggins Dec 2011 #81
rhett o rick Dec 2011 #85
stonecutter357 Dec 2011 #198
Confusious Dec 2011 #12
leeroysphitz Dec 2011 #13
diane in sf Dec 2011 #41
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diane in sf Dec 2011 #10
ProgressiveProfessor Dec 2011 #15
diane in sf Dec 2011 #27
ProgressiveProfessor Dec 2011 #36
XemaSab Dec 2011 #20
diane in sf Dec 2011 #24
Systematic Chaos Dec 2011 #28
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diane in sf Dec 2011 #43
Turbineguy Dec 2011 #16
ProgressiveProfessor Dec 2011 #38
Bob Wallace Dec 2011 #68
FiveGoodMen Dec 2011 #26
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certainot Dec 2011 #91
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ProgressiveProfessor Dec 2011 #117
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ProgressiveProfessor Dec 2011 #131
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itsrobert Dec 2011 #142
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RoccoR5955 Dec 2011 #179

Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 05:40 PM

1. More stupidity,

 

Pursuing an energy source that is dangerous, more expensive than green renewables, and simply not needed.

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Response to MadHound (Reply #1)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 05:41 PM

3. The millions of tons of coal being burned speaks to the need.

I for one would like to stop global warming BEFORE the year 2100.

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Response to TheWraith (Reply #3)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 05:44 PM

6. Time and again, you try to paint this as a binary decision, coal or nulcear,

 

Yet you know, as well as anybody else, that simply isn't the case. It has been shown time and again that green renewables can indeed shoulder the energy load for this country. There is no need for either nuclear or coal. So please, give this false choice a rest.

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Response to MadHound (Reply #6)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 05:48 PM

7. Solar and wind still produce barely 2.5% of our electricity.

The reality is that we need new large scale generation if we're going to retire coal within the next 50 years. That means using nuclear too.

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Response to TheWraith (Reply #7)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 05:52 PM

8. Yes, you are correct, that is the current situation.

 

But that doesn't mean that green renewables can't shoulder the burden. In fact, a Stanford study found that the biggest two barriers to implementing an entirely green energy structure were social and political. The technology is there, all that needs to be done is for those invested in dinosaur energy production processes to stop spewing bullshit and get on board with green renewables.

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Response to MadHound (Reply #8)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 11:56 PM

93. That is bullshit written by people that know nothing about power grids

 

The power grid is not ready for large scale integration of renewables. It's late and I don't feel inclined to write a disertation about grid stability, but the reality is that without economical. reliable large scale storage, our ability to integrate massive new wind or solar generators is very limited.

On a power grid. energy production and energy usage need to be balanced in real time. With conventional generation, that is is done by regulating generation in response to changes in load. Renewable generation, e.g. wind and solar, cannot be managed that way, hence new technology is needed. It's being developed, but we're nowhere near ready to deal with load that cannot be controlled supplied by generaion that cannot be controlled either.

We'll get there, but anyone that says we're ready now is seriously misinformed

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Response to badtoworse (Reply #93)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 12:30 AM

94. Ever hear of the DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)?

The NREL claims that it would be possible for the Western power grid to draw 35% of its electricity from wind and solar energy sources by 2017.

Doing so would require no additional infrastructure, only operational changes. I believe those operational changes are mainly selling power in 15 minute blocks rather than one hour blocks.

http://apps1.eere.energy.gov/news/news_detail.cfm/news_id=16041

As I recall the Eastern power grid could accept 20% to 25% of its power from wind and solar and the Hawaii grid could handle 35%.

Oh, and adding a bunch of EVs to the grid would make it possible for the percentages to go considerably higher....

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Response to Bob Wallace (Reply #94)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 12:55 AM

97. Are you serious?

The western grid is backstopped by massive hydroelectric generation. Washington State gets about 75% of it's power from hydro right now. What do you back up solar and wind with in states that have no serious hydro capability, if you take coal and nuclear off the table?

Natural Gas? Oh boy.

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #97)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 01:05 AM

100. Speaking of that

The NW had to dump hydro production rather than sending it other places this last year. Due to contracts, the excess we had could not economically be used, because someone else would have had to stop burning coal or gas or whatever.

Im betting that if we had better sharing in place, we could make some small but significant cuts in the more harmful methods of power production immediately.

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Response to quakerboy (Reply #100)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 12:29 PM

133. You might want to check your facts...

My understanding is that coal and gas were curtailed.

Hydro was not 'dumped'. Wind was curtailed, hydro was put to the head of the queue.

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Response to Bob Wallace (Reply #133)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 10:06 PM

176. I was told

that we had excess hydroelectric production at several points over the last year or two in the NW, with supply exceeding demand. However, we could not share that bounty with our southern or eastern neighbors, because the contracts made it so that we would have literally had to pay them to give them the electricity.

Its possible that I was misinformed, but I am inclined to trust the person who told me this.

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Response to quakerboy (Reply #176)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 10:08 PM

177. I know there are times where there's so much wind power coming out of the Columbia River area

that the price literally drops into the negative numbers, and they pay people to take excess power off the grid.

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Response to quakerboy (Reply #100)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 01:49 PM

140. Well, we closed our last coal plant in Washington State.

Also breached two dams for environmental reasons. If we wasted some hydro output, that speaks to a need to upgrade the grid, and/or review contracts with neighboring states.

And we are bringing enormous quantities of wind turbines online. Now that the coal plants are gone, it would be nice to knock down some of the natural gas plants.

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Response to Bob Wallace (Reply #94)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 07:45 AM

109. Good!>

 

That still doesn't mean we should reject nuclear outright! Our most important goal is getting off oil!

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Response to Survivoreesta (Reply #109)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 12:33 PM

134. No, we should not reject nuclear outright.

What we should do is to figure out how to supply the power we need for the least amount of money, use the fastest to implement systems in order to get fossil fuels off our grid quickly, and pick the methods which create the least danger to us and those who follow us.

Nuclear is the most expensive new generation method.

Nuclear takes the longest to bring on line of any generation method.

Nuclear creates both melt down and hazardous waste safety issues.

Nuclear fails all three tests.

Let's install the cheapest, fastest and safest.

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Response to Survivoreesta (Reply #109)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 02:43 PM

154. Actually, our most important goal

 

should be getting off coal to generate electrical power without recourse to nuclear power and greatly reducing oil consumption to drive transportation. This was all doable 40 years ago, and the same arguments against it were used then as now by the same industry lobbies and their PR flacks.

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Response to badtoworse (Reply #93)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 02:40 AM

102. Texas has 10,000+ MW of wind generation right now, and that will double in five years

at current rates of construction.

Big enough?

Perhaps you are unaware of the new megabatteries being built by Duke Energy. Wind generated electricity goes in as produced, and goes out as needed.

Presidio, Texas has already installed one to back up the entire needs of the city in case their one incoming line goes down.

All this from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas. Are they misinformed?

Nuclear is the most dangerous, dirtiest, most waste-producing, most expensive way to boil water ever designed. Without the massive subsidies from the government and a pass on real waste disposal, it could never have existed to begin.

And Yes, I am aggravated because a large new nuke dump is built 30 minutes from my house, and when it leaks, as they all have, the groundwater here will be ruined, and the area will be depopulated.

No loss to you, perhaps, but my family has been here for 110 years, and all they built will be nothing.

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Response to mbperrin (Reply #102)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 04:43 AM

104. do you know how much natural gas spinning reserve nuclear needs for backup?

...The UK has already provided some cost budgeting work, with National Grid estimating that, should all existing nuclear power plants be replaced, an extra £1.4bn of spend would be required to reinforce the transmission network. Additional spinning reserve costs would have to be considered ,with PB Power quoted as saying that for every new EPR build in the UK, an additional 260MW of spinning reserve would be required at £1.3-2.1/MWh.

This also raises issues in the areas of planning for new substations, overhead power lines, site connection and gaining public approval for this infrastructure. In some cases, public opposition is significantly higher in regards to high- voltage power lines than for the nuclear plants that generate the electricity....

New Nuclear – The Economics Say No
9 November 2009
Citigroup Market Analysis

That is more than wind integrated into a full renewable grid where the total large scale storage (or natural gas if you'd rather have that) is expected to comprise about 4-5% of grid capacity.

When a nuke plant goes down it does so fast and it has a very, very large footprint. It might not happen often but that doesn't reduce the need to be prepared for it 100% of the time.

Add in the expected rise in CO2 emissions to natural gas levels as high quality uranium ore is exhausted and producers turn to lower quality ore and you have good reason to question the primary claim currently being used to justify nuclear power.

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Response to kristopher (Reply #104)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 07:24 AM

108. Apparently you don't either.

You take an example well out of context (the concern was that the UK grid doesn't currently support single generation sources over about 1200 MWs while an EPR produces 1650) and apply it to "this is just how much reserve reactors need"

???

Do you think that makes sense to anyone but you?

And have you by any chance looked up how good a source "PB Power" is?

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #108)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 12:05 PM

124. 260MW of on-line natural gas back-up required for each reactor. That's a lot.

Yes, I think that makes sense to others. Lots of sense.

And a shameless overt "attack the messenger" Mr. Baggins? You really must be at a loss for a meaningful response.

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Response to kristopher (Reply #124)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 01:18 PM

136. It would be... if it were true.

There isn't any reason to believe that it is.

And a shameless overt "attack the messenger" Mr. Baggins?

Nope. Just asking you what you thought the source's credibility was. Right now this just hearsay. Missaplied even if it were true (because the author most certainly does not say that all reactors require a particular amount of spinning reserve)... and little reason to believe that it was true.

Let's put it this way. If some single nuclear proponent without renewables experience were to claim something about the reliability of a solar thermal plant... would you accept it as an authoritative source?

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #136)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 04:40 PM

159. Hearsay?

Investment reports are considered one of the more reliable sources available for this type of analysis.

You on the other hand?
Not so much.

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Response to mbperrin (Reply #102)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 06:27 AM

106. How long can the Presidio, TX battery protect the city?

The largest battery in the world (up until a couple years ago) backed up 12,000 people...

... For seven minutes.

No battery system provides the power necessary to do what you're suggesting. Those Duke batteries help deal with the momentary fluctuations inherent some renewable generation schemes (and that's VERY important), but we can't overstate their value. If you have an uncommonly calm day where the turbines stand (or lose the transmission line)... The battery doesn't do much good for the town.

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #106)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 01:44 PM

139. It's good for 8 hours for the entire town. These batteries are not for momentary fluctuations.

It's in the news.

http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/story?section=news/state&id=7507795

Perhaps you have no appreciation for the size of Texas or of the wind conditions here. If you drive from Atlanta to LA, 1/3 of your trip will be in Texas. If you drive from Brownsville to Canada, 1/2 your trip will be in Texas.

The trees here in my hometown grow at a 10-15 degree angle from south to north, the wind is so constant. And last winter, when record cold froze the incoming water lines to 24 nuclear, coal, oil, and gas plants, wind supplied 25% of the entire state's power needs. We never missed a beat here.

AND love that 6.6 cents per kwh rate I get, compared with 20 cents + for the old oil-gas-nuke-coal combo rate.

Let me repeat: nuclear power has never made a dime on its own. Without huge subsidies and a pass on environmental damage and cleanup, it is the most expensive, risky, filthy way ever devised to boil water.

Wind is here in Texas. It's only going to get bigger. Several thousand existing turbines are shutdown because their output exceeds the ability of the grid to carry it. Those new lines will be finished in early 2013, and immediately, Texas wind output will increase 25% from the turbines already built and in place.

Texas Tech has the first degree in wind energy in the US. It won't be the last - our local junior college has a two year program that is paid for by Duke to train workers. Duke covers the entire cost of their education, and then hires the grads at around $43,000 a year. Not bad for a 20 year old with an associate's degree. Several of my former students have already gone through it, and several are enrolled right now.

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Response to mbperrin (Reply #139)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 01:50 PM

141. Then you were stretching a great deal to call it a "city"

A battery the size of what was reported could only handle maybe 1-2 thousand homes for that amount of time.

And that's comparable to the largest batteries every built. Storage systems for renewables need very different technologies to handle actual cities.

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #141)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 02:01 PM

144. Okay, now you are being purposefully obtuse and insulting as well. 4,000 people are nothing to you?

Amazing. You cannot handle being completely wrong about something, such as the suggestion that a battery was only for momentary fluctuations or for just a few minutes.

The idea that technology has not only moved on, but is commercially feasible, is anathema to you. Whatever ax you have to grind, you at least could read the information supplied, or provide evidence to the contrary. You have done neither.

You have called names, you have insulted, you have now disputed whether an incorporated town of 4,000 people even counts as a city. So I will wish you and your little helpers the holiday you deserve, as well as my sincere wish that you get everything you deserve in life, and quickly.

Meanwhile, I believe that I'll just enjoy my 6.6 cents electrical rate of wind generated power and let those who wish to pay triple and swim in their own waste.

Merry Christmas.

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Response to mbperrin (Reply #144)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 02:13 PM

148. No... you're changing the subject.

You talked about a battery that was backing up a city. I know of one such city (population about 300,000) that actually is backed up by a bettery... for a few minutes.

4,000 people are nothing to you?

Oh please. It has nothing to do with how important individual people are. You were talking about another poster must be unaware of the new super batteries that will back up wind generation and gave it as an example. It's only slightly more relevant than if you said that you have a sailboat with a battery that backs up the solar panel for a couple days.

It's a question of scale.

You have called names, you have insulted

Sorry. I've done neither. If being corrected insults you... you should try harder to be right more often.

you have now disputed whether an incorporated town of 4,000 people even counts as a city.

Nope. I've just pointed out that it was wrong to give the impression that their experience means that we've now solved the intermittency problem inherent in high penetration of some renewable energy.

So I will wish you and your little helpers the holiday you deserve, as well as my sincere wish that you get everything you deserve in life, and quickly.

Lol! And you get your knickers in a wad over your perceived "calling names"? Luckily... I have a thicker skin... and wish you happy holidays.

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Response to mbperrin (Reply #144)

Sat Dec 24, 2011, 04:31 PM

186. good job

 

Talk about diffusing a tactic

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Response to badtoworse (Reply #93)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 05:13 AM

105. Bologna

The current generation potential already exists and can be used to provide that "grid stability". But then they would have to pay people to be there ready to make it work at need, while also paying to build and maintain the new generation. And they don't have to cover the cost of the environmental impacts of what they use now, so there's no advantage to them in making the switch.

Plus the people who control the energy resources at the moment would take a financial hit, which is unacceptable to anyone making the rules.

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Response to badtoworse (Reply #93)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 08:09 AM

112. How about scaling down the "grid,"

 

and producing power locally.
If each house had a windmill, solar panels, or small scale hydro, it could replace the need for large scale plants, with the exception of factories, of which there are few in the US any more.

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Response to RoccoR5955 (Reply #112)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 11:11 AM

121. What about spinning reserve, bad power days etc?

We can and should reduce the number of central plants, but eliminating them based on current and foreseen technologies is fantasy at this point for any number of practical reasons.

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Response to ProgressiveProfessor (Reply #121)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 02:14 PM

149. The more varied inputs we bring to the grid...

The less spinning reserve we need.

At this point we could minimize the number of new central plants we need to build by installing more rooftop/parking lot solar, wind, etc.

As we increase the amount of battery storage on line and the amount of dispatchable load available we can turn off the spinning reserve and push it into deep backup roles.

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Response to Bob Wallace (Reply #149)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 02:30 PM

153. More varied inputs is not compatible with scaling down the grid

Upthread the goal was to shrink the grid. Your goal is a variety of inputs. Those are not compatible. You need a larger, widespread grid to connect a wide enough variety of inputs.

Also, battery technology is utterly and completely incapable of doing what you propose. The largest battery systems in the world are many orders of magnitude too small for this task. So you're either talking about millions of the largest batteries in the world, which is extremely impractical, or new technologies that have not been invented yet.

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Response to jeff47 (Reply #153)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 04:52 PM

161. There are projects in the works to use

 

capacitors for short term power storage.

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Response to jeff47 (Reply #153)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 05:21 PM

163. You need to familiarize yourself with the way "distributed generation" works.

You don't have a proper grasp of the way the machine it refers to functions.

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Response to jeff47 (Reply #153)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 08:45 PM

169. Shrinking the grid is not my goal...

In fact, I think we need to expand the grid. It's time to tie the three US grids together and connect them to the Canadian and Mexican grids. We have the ability to create a system like Europe's Desertec in which we harvest energy where it is the cheapest to harvest and move it to the places where we want to use it.

Creating as much 'local' generation as possible gives us more reliability and cuts our needs for transmission. It's a matter of balancing out the best of all.

Of course we'll need lots of storage. Storage of cheap wind and solar electricity is going to be cheaper than nuclear generation.

We need no new technologies. (I'm assuming we're just about 'there' with batteries. Zinc-air and sodium-ion batteries are looking very promising.) We just need to build a lot with the technology we have at hand and continue to improve our technology as we go along.

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Response to jeff47 (Reply #153)

Sat Dec 24, 2011, 04:42 PM

189. Gee they have an 11 MW Li-ion battery at a wind farm in Hawaii

and AEP is installing 1000 MW of battery backup in the East

so sorry

yp

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Response to badtoworse (Reply #93)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 10:33 AM

119. I sure hope you stick around for a long time. Your reply is just plain good!

 

I think the concept of "load following" is easy enough to understand. It simply refers to the ability of the generating system to keep up with the load imposed on it by the system's users. If all the system's users decided to either turn on or turn off their air-conditioners at about the same time the system must be able to react with the appropriate increase or decrease in available power. If there is anything that a solar collector is not good at its load following.

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Response to ThomWV (Reply #119)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 12:21 PM

129. You have the lesson of load following exactly backwards

You recognize the system's capability to follow a variable load.

There is no functional difference between following a variable load and accounting for the variability of wind as a portion of your generation.

As quakerboy wrote in 105 the parts of the system now dedicated to flexible generation have to work around the static nature of largescale centralized thermal to follow variations in demand and they can continue to perform that same function when the system is all renewable. Storage will be an economic choice to replace some natural gas, biofuels (mostly methane) will replaces some, and biomass will replace some.

What happens when a nuclear plant has a short-circuit in one of its backup safety systems and shuts down instantly and stays shut down for 3 days, or a week, or a month or even several years? That is a real contingency that you have to be prepared for, so what do you do?

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Response to kristopher (Reply #129)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 01:54 PM

143. Same thing you do if a concentrating solar, geothermal, hydro source goes down.

Or a switchyard feeding a large scale wind plant into the grid goes down, etc.

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #143)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 05:19 PM

162. Really?

A couple of hundred MW vs 1000MW is quite a difference if you ask me.

A short fluctuation as wind moves from one wind farm to the next is nothing like a 1GW nuclear plant having an emergency shutdown that lasts for 3 years.

It isn't the same and the difference is a strong negative for nuclear.

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Response to kristopher (Reply #162)

Sat Dec 24, 2011, 12:20 PM

185. The Grand Coulee dam rips out about 7,000mw

Though, I agree, a 3 year shutdown is unlikely for that sort of infrastructure.

Shepard Flats will run about 850wm, but being on-shore, easy to connect to the grid in many locations. Offshore wind farms will typically have fewer tie-ins, if we ever get around to building any at all..

Geysers Geothermal is running at about 750mw

SEGS is the largest concentrating solar plant for now, at 350mw.


These are not trivial numbers. The disparity between the potential downtimes of these various systems is heavily weighted toward nuclear, for long-term outages, or even never even returning to service. But on the 'loss' of a large block of generating capacity, the gap is narrowing significantly, and will continue to do so. There's nothing wrong with that at all.

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Response to badtoworse (Reply #93)

Sat Dec 24, 2011, 04:38 PM

188. Nonsense - Denmark produces 20% of electricity from wind

China will produce double-digit percentages of electricity from solar in the next 8 years.

Scale is not an issue with renewables

yup

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Response to jpak (Reply #188)

Sun Dec 25, 2011, 07:44 PM

205. Denmark is a peninsula in the Baltic Sea.

 

China? LOL. Wait and see.

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Response to tabasco (Reply #205)

Mon Dec 26, 2011, 10:23 AM

209. The steppes of northern China is a *hugh* wind source - China is the world leader in wind power

and will soon be the leader in installed solar capacity.

yup

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Response to TheWraith (Reply #7)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 11:45 PM

92. Actually...

wind passed the 3% mark this year.

In 2010 non-hydro renewables (Wind, Solar Thermal and Photovoltaic, Wood and Wood Derived Fuels, Geothermal, and Other Biomass) provided 4.1% of our electricity. Hydro provided 6.3%.

We can install wind, solar, geothermal and tidal much faster than we can build nuclear reactors. And produce electricity at a lower cost.

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Response to TheWraith (Reply #7)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 08:05 AM

110. New Large Scale Generation could be accomplished with

 

1) Small scale hydro
2) Tidal
3) Wind
4) Solar

Also, if the "grid" was decentralized, there would be little need to upgrade it. People should be generating power on smaller scales, for their communities, not large scale.

There is a river in NYC, which runs reliably at 4.5 knots peak every six hours. If NYC properly harnessed this, like I proposed THIRTY FIVE YEARS AGO, there would be no need for Indian Point, for one. Back then, they rejected my proposal. They even called it nutty. They wanted the nuke plant to keep running, rather than run a means of power with little cost, and little environmental impact. The nuclear industry keeps up their propaganda, even though they know it's costly and hazardous.


Oh, and one question for you. What do you do with the waste from the nuclear plant?

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Response to TheWraith (Reply #7)

Sat Dec 24, 2011, 04:35 PM

187. and it can NEVER be more than 2.5%

logic fail

yup

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Response to MadHound (Reply #6)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 06:28 PM

29. Thank you--this fake dichotomy is a continuous disinformation talking point

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Response to TheWraith (Reply #3)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 11:43 PM

90. I'm hoping not to just shut down coal

 

But IMHO there are some ancient nuclear power plants around that should have been replaced by modern designs long ago.

Fukushima tells us of the danger of such old plants. The reactors were built in the 60s and 70s using technology developed in the 50s -- very early in the development of nuclear power. There have been so many lessons learned since then.

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Response to TheWraith (Reply #3)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 11:53 AM

123. do you understand how dangerous nuclear is?

 

do you not realize the ends do not justify the means in this case because the danger of killing so many is always a potential with this technology? Does it not matter to you?

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Response to fascisthunter (Reply #123)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 03:50 PM

156. They.

They are going to ignore you. ...........

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Response to stonecutter357 (Reply #156)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 08:28 PM

167. well, it goes to sow how little a conscience some really have

 

I'm glad I ave one.

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Response to fascisthunter (Reply #167)

Sun Dec 25, 2011, 09:46 AM

196. ME

TO.

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Response to MadHound (Reply #1)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 05:52 PM

9. Can renewables really do the job in the northeast with the large dense cities, long winters, etc?

While some toss around number of what renewable might produce some day, the reality is that in the northern part of the US, there is not enough wind/solar energy practically available to heat homes, provide transportation, support employers, etc. Some non-renewable sources are going to be needed for quite some time. What kind to go with is a discussion with points on both sides. The Europeans are finding this out as well.

What alternatives do you suggest...abandon the Michigan and Detroit for sun belt locations?

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Response to ProgressiveProfessor (Reply #9)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 05:57 PM

17. Umm, no

 

I suggest that we ship the power generated by states like Kansas to places that don't get so much wind. Amazing technology that, the same power shipping technology that Enron employed to make money, we can apply to providing cheap, green power to the NE.

But you are also forgetting the vast reserve of wind power off the coast of the NE, not to mention tidal and water power.

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Response to MadHound (Reply #17)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 06:04 PM

19. Great Idea But,

The states that will be crossed will fight these new transmission lines tooth and nail.

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Response to Throckmorton (Reply #19)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 06:07 PM

22. Well then, I guess we'll have to use the transmission lines that we already have

 

And *gasp* I think that there are more than enough for that kind of power transmission.

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Response to MadHound (Reply #22)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 07:08 PM

49. Sorry... There isn't.

Not even close.

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #49)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 07:15 PM

55. Really? You sure about that?

 

I know several people in the electrical biz who would disagree with you. Hmm, who to believe, people who make their living in the field in question, or an anonymous internet poster

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Response to MadHound (Reply #55)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 07:25 PM

62. Well then.

How about you list their names and we the anonymous internet posters can go search what mental home they are locked up in. Seriously. You are wrong on this - give up while you can.

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Response to MadHound (Reply #55)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 07:25 PM

63. Absolutely sure. Yes.

I know several people in the electrical biz who would disagree with you.

People who think that we have the transmission capacity for the NE to be powered by renewable energy in the midwest?

No. You most certainly don't.

The lines we have now would quite literally melt at any significant fraction of that load. Oh ok... protective circuits would trip before they melted... but you get the point.

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #63)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 07:57 PM

67. Why does the NE need wind from the midwest?

Why does the NE need wind from the midwest, they have more than enough of their own. The same goes for solar, biomass, the range of hydro sources and geothermal.

It is completely possible and practical to power the world, and all areas of the US with renewable energy. Building more nuclear is a waste of money and time.

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Response to kristopher (Reply #67)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 08:29 PM

73. The wind doesn't blow every day in the NE

I know. I live here.

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Response to NutmegYankee (Reply #73)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 08:40 PM

75. Yes it does.

The Northeast wind resources are every bit as good as the MidWest.

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Response to kristopher (Reply #75)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 08:47 PM

76. You're funny.

I'll let your comment stand. It's a near DUzy.

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Response to NutmegYankee (Reply #76)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 08:56 PM

77. No, no, let's get to the bottom of this and see who is correct.

How large would the wind resource need to be for you to change your mind?

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Response to NutmegYankee (Reply #76)

Sat Dec 24, 2011, 04:51 PM

191. Do your research - wind power potential in the NE is very good - look up the maps

I won't do it for you

nope

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Response to jpak (Reply #191)

Sun Dec 25, 2011, 03:32 PM

201. Vast majority of it is offshore with markedly hight costs

If you were there full time, you might of been aware of that

Yup

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Response to ProgressiveProfessor (Reply #201)

Sun Dec 25, 2011, 03:51 PM

203. Sorry - the current goal is 2000 MW of on-shore wind capacity by 2020

But since you don't live here - you don't know that.

yup

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Response to jpak (Reply #203)

Sun Dec 25, 2011, 07:23 PM

204. That is theoritical, lets see annual yield

It also does nothing for the rest of NE

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Response to ProgressiveProfessor (Reply #204)

Mon Dec 26, 2011, 10:17 AM

208. No - that's nameplate capacity (no "theory" involved)

yup

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Response to jpak (Reply #208)

Mon Dec 26, 2011, 11:32 AM

210. Capacity != actual production

Lets see what is actually produced.

The motorcycle I ride daily is quite capable of 180MPH, but I normally do not run it quite that fast.

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Response to ProgressiveProfessor (Reply #210)

Mon Dec 26, 2011, 12:02 PM

211. That was factored into the goal of 2000 MW - we know better up here!

yup

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Response to jpak (Reply #211)

Mon Dec 26, 2011, 01:14 PM

212. You still do not understand or cannot answer the question being asked

Regardless of the 2000MW capacity, how much energy is actually being produced?

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Response to ProgressiveProfessor (Reply #212)

Mon Dec 26, 2011, 05:37 PM

213. I know all about it - sorry

Maine has 325 MW of wind capacity installed today - and maybe twice that under construction. When the EIA gets around to compiling the data, they will publish how many MWh are produced in Maine each year.

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Response to ProgressiveProfessor (Reply #214)

Mon Dec 26, 2011, 07:16 PM

215. They do not know what they are talking about

Last edited Mon Dec 26, 2011, 08:12 PM - Edit history (2)

http://www.nrcm.org/news_detail.asp?news=4306

In 2010, Maine’s three large wind farms—Mars Hill, Stetson (I & II), and Kibby—generated 486,683 megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity, which is equivalent to the amount of electricity used by 69,000 average Maine households in a year. Because the Kibby and Stetson II projects did not begin operating until well into 2010, the amount of generation from these facilities, pro-rated for a full calendar year, would be at least 620,000 MWh –enough to power 88,600 households.

For wind facilities that operated for a full 12-month period during 2010 (Mars Hill, Stetson I, and Vinalhaven), the actual generation was between 92 percent and 104 percent of the estimated output predicted in their development permit applications.

“We’re pleased that Maine’s first few wind farms are operating generally as expected, generating large amounts of clean electricity for our grid and displacing fossil fuel use,” said Dylan Voorhees, Clean Energy Director for the Natural Resources Council of Maine. “Because these projects are generating electricity, New England is burning fewer fossil fuels to meet our energy needs. Reducing our fossil fuel dependence is essential for a clean environment, healthy air, and long-term economic prosperity. And what’s exciting from this new data is that it shows just how much energy is now being provided by wind power projects operating in Maine.”

By way of comparison, the combined output of Maine’s largest three wind farms is roughly the same as the output of Maine’s three largest biomass power plants or the three largest hydropower dams on the Androscoggin River. “Wind power is clearly taking its place right alongside existing, traditional renewable energy sources in Maine,” said Voorhees.

<more>

That's 4% of the state's total generation or 5% of in-state electrical demand.

Those figures do not include the Rollins wind project that went on-line this year or the smaller Beaver Ridge and Vinalhaven projects - or the Record Hill and Spruce Mountain wind farms that will coming on-line very soon - or the Oakfield wind farm in northern Maine that was just approved by the voters there - or the expansion of Kibby Mountain - or the wind farms in Dixfield, Canton and Carthage....more than 220 MW addition capacity

Wind power will produce double-digit percentages of Maine's electricity in the next 3 years.

yup

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Response to kristopher (Reply #75)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 09:31 PM

80. And wind in Maine isn't working for shit

Hell, they won't even release the actual numbers to us, but they are far far lower that what anyone was led to believe. Until we get offshore wind running, wind power is a no go in the northeast.

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Response to Maine_Nurse (Reply #80)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 10:04 AM

116. The problem with offshore is cost

Original installation and maintenance of the infrastructure is much more expensive than shore based. Its also a mature technology that is not going to get dramatically cheaper.

Given that the rate payers in the end will have to cover the costs, is NYC willing to pay that much more for power?

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Response to Maine_Nurse (Reply #80)

Sat Dec 24, 2011, 04:57 PM

192. Nonsense - electricity costs in N. ME are declining because of the Mars Hill wind farm

Wind power is working just fine in Maine - and better than expected at some sites.

Wind power is expanding rapidly in Maine and contributing to the decrease in electricity prices.

Why?

Cuz it can out-compete natural gas-fired electricity when wind generation is high.

The more wind power we have in Maine the better off we will be economically.

yup

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Response to NutmegYankee (Reply #73)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 08:10 AM

113. What about the offshore winds? n/t

 

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Response to RoccoR5955 (Reply #113)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 09:58 AM

115. Costs are much higher for maritime installations than shore based

And maintenance of the infrastructure and the generators will be much more expensive. That has to be figured into the cost per watt.

In the end local rate payers will have to cover the costs of transition to renewable sources. With the decline of oil, we will return to all electric homes, and in areas where heating is required, the costs will make the users scream. If a modern central plant (regardless of fuel type) is lower monthly cost to them, what do you think they will support?

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Response to ProgressiveProfessor (Reply #115)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 10:38 PM

178. Yeah, BUT

 

is it higher than the cost of getting rid of spent nuclear fuel?

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Response to RoccoR5955 (Reply #178)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 11:29 PM

180. Or running a modern fossil fueled plant of some sort

Those are the kind of trades that will need to studied and analyzed. Cost is going to be one of the primary drivers, not greeness.

Its pretty clear that importing power from the Midwest is going to be prohibitive.

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Response to ProgressiveProfessor (Reply #180)

Sat Dec 24, 2011, 11:08 PM

195. Question is, will they take into account ALL costs

 

If power is created in a green manner, there would less cost overall, in the costs related to future healthcare costs of people exposed to air pollution, or with nuclear, radiation. (Figure one major nuclear "accident" every thirty years)

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Response to RoccoR5955 (Reply #195)

Sun Dec 25, 2011, 09:50 AM

197. Some I think would be

Nuclear fuel disposal or other definable cost that would have to be borne by the utility would be. Health costs not so much since the utility would not be paying them. This would not matter if its a private or publicly owned utility.

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Response to ProgressiveProfessor (Reply #197)

Sun Dec 25, 2011, 08:08 PM

206. And why should the cost of energy...

 

only reflect those costs on a corporation, and not the rest of society as a whole? That just does not make much sense to me, but what the heck do I know.

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Response to RoccoR5955 (Reply #206)

Sun Dec 25, 2011, 08:20 PM

207. Because the orginization running the plant is not considered accountable for them

The EPA, CARB, or equivalent is responsible to set standards so there is little to no impact to human health. If the plant meets those standards, that is considered adequate. That is the current working model for both private and public plants. Not necessarily endorsing it.

The reality is that central controlled and monitored plants are much more manageable than every home burning wood, oil, or coal. Solar, wind, or other renewable sources will help lower what we need in the way of central power plants, but cannot practically supplant them. We cannot reasonably harvest wind in the Kansas and then send it to NYC either. We will need some form of central generation facilities for the foreseeable future. The issue is what kind, and the studies should be open to all technologies.

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Response to kristopher (Reply #67)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 09:11 PM

78. It doesn't.

That's just the scenario that we were given.

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #78)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 09:27 PM

79. No, that is the scenario you selected to make a false argument

Here is the post in favor of renewables at the top of the subthread:
I suggest that we ship the power generated by states like Kansas to places that don't get so much wind. Amazing technology that, the same power shipping technology that Enron employed to make money, we can apply to providing cheap, green power to the NE.

But you are also forgetting the vast reserve of wind power off the coast of the NE, not to mention tidal and water power.


It doesn't take a charitable reading to put together the idea that transmission technology demonstrated in the midwest can be applied to the offshore wind from the NE. In fact the poster was a bit incorrect, however since the offshore wind resource is in close proximity to most of the major NE and midAtlantic load centers and doesn't even require the transmission.

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Response to kristopher (Reply #79)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 09:54 PM

82. WHy do you even need an online forum if you make up both sides of the debate in your own head?

I replied directly to a statement that presupposed that the NE would be supplies with renewable generation from Kansas - specifically that there existed already enough transmission capacity to do that now.

Of course that's wrong. Correcting the error is appropriate.

In more direct reply to your post... you dramatically overstate the ease with which the NE can be supplied entirely with renewable energy. On a per-capita basis, it's one of the most challenging locations to do so in the US. Comparatively little solar insolation (and far less open space with which to install it). Prime wind spots onshore are much harder to come by than in the center of the country (not as bad as Florida... but ND/SD/NE/KS/etc have them beat hands-down - and again there's the comparative open space issue). Traditional hydro power is good... but also well developed already. And can we please wait until geothermal actually gets some traction before we start assuming that it will power tens of millions of people by next Thursday?

Offshore wind holds the greatest potential to contribute in a big way in the coming decades, but I don't think that you've grasped how large a gap there is between energy demand in the NE and how that compares to current offshore plans.

Which brings us back to the transmission issue. New England is too small geographically to represent much diversification of weather. You certainly could have days and days of limited generation from that area. Jumping back to posts from months ago, I point you to your own graphs estimating the leveling impact of linking turbines all up and down the coast. Of course such an interconnection of geographic resources (absolutely necessary in any renewables model and you darn well know it) does not currently exist. The poster mistakenly assumed that it did and I corrected the error. Quite simple... but your compulsion neither allowed you to see that nor remain silent.

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #82)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 10:58 PM

88. Dude, the thread is right above us!!

The post I copied for you is the source - the one you responded to said not word one about Kansas.

You are likewise wrong about the nature of the other resources available. You are grossly exaggerating the downside of everything and ignoring a lot of positives that are also there.

Frankly I'm not too interested in this discussion. It is exactly the thing that EE should be moving beyond because the negative arguments about renewables are demonstrably false. Proven False. Not True. If DU were living up to its potential for good then the EE forum would be a place to end specious discussions like this in GD rapidly with easy to find facts.


You want to prove that the renewable resources in the NE can't do the job then show us some some comprehensive studies looking at the region that supports your claims. The NE is actually a kickass wind resource with about 400GW faceplate capacity within 50 miles of shore and there are lots of other renewables that are also able to contribute for a total that far, far exceeds any conceivable demand.

Show me the study Mr Baggins.

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #78)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 08:30 PM

168. Do you own stocks in nuclear?

 

I hope money isn't your reason, if it is, it shows how little you value life just to enrich yourself.

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Response to Throckmorton (Reply #19)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 06:29 PM

30. Put them down the freeway corridors--those are already ugly.

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Response to diane in sf (Reply #30)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 12:37 AM

95. Bury them...

Under the freeways.

HVDC (high voltage direct current) lines take to being buried like ducks to water. Go right down the middle of lanes with a slit trench and drop in cables. Use conduit to cross bridges and overpasses.

No problems with land acquisition. It's already acquired.

No "It's ugly" NIMBY problems. Out of sight, out of mind.



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Response to Bob Wallace (Reply #95)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 02:18 PM

150. No, HVDC does not "take to being buried" well

All high-voltage lines, including HVDC, produce a lot of heat. Most high voltage lines are up in the air so that the air cools them. Burying high voltage, including HVDC, means you have to either dissipate the heat, or switch to materials that can handle extreme heat.

And since the line has to be electrically insulated if it's buried, it's even harder than first glance.

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Response to jeff47 (Reply #150)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 05:47 PM

164. It is being used a lot.

So whatever the limitations they must not be deal killers.

For example google "HVDC light"

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Response to MadHound (Reply #17)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 06:08 PM

23. Not clear that mid west will have the renewable energy to spare.

Transporting the power has its own issues, which is why we have a hierarchical grid system. Those into alternative power are advocating smaller localized approaches, not massive importation from another region.

The off shore power (including wind) is much more expensive than shore based, in terms of building and maintaining the facilities. Those cost drivers are not going to drop significantly in cost.

Bottom line is that we will still need some sort of non-renewable power sources in parts of the US for some time to come. What they should be is a fair question. New nuclear should be included in the potential solutions, but it also should not be the only option considered.

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Response to ProgressiveProfessor (Reply #23)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 06:20 PM

25. Three states, South Dakota, Kansas and Texas, have enough wind power to power the entire country,

 

Including factoring in growth, through 2030. And that was found in a study using 1991 tech, wind power has made great strides since then.

However I do agree with you about decentralizing our power production. A solar roof on every house, windbelt arrays on every house, etc. etc.

That is part of the reason that green renewables face such strong opposition, implementing such a system would wipe most of the current energy giants right off the economic map.

But there is absolutely no need for dinosaur technologies like coal and nuclear. That has been shown time and again.

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Response to MadHound (Reply #25)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 06:31 PM

31. Wipe out the dinosaur energy firms along with private health insurers, they all are obsolete

and harmful to humanity.

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Response to MadHound (Reply #25)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 07:06 PM

48. Hey Texans? For the good of the country, we're going to put 175,000 wind-powered generators in your

 

back yard. What's that you say? Birds? Migratory birds? Oh, they'll be okay. Noise you say? Well it's FOR THE GOOD OF THE COUNTRY. Get used to it or move.

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Response to cherokeeprogressive (Reply #48)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 07:09 PM

51. Umm, did I say anything resembling the words you put in my mouth

 

No, I didn't, but hey, I understand. You've got to continue to resort to snark and hyperbole because you have no facts to back you happy ass up with. Carry on, your rants are amusing.

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Response to MadHound (Reply #51)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 07:17 PM

56. You didn't say those words, no.

 

But someone will have to.

Are you saying you haven't heard from animal rights activists concerning the problems migratory birds have in areas where wind farms exist? Never heard about the noise issue?

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Response to cherokeeprogressive (Reply #56)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 07:20 PM

59. Gee, ever thought that the tech has gotten beyond wind farms.

 

Windbelts, rooftop arrays of windbelts. Geez, keep up on the technology.

But as far as large turbines go, modern ones, with lower tip speeds, and proper placement, have drastically cut down on bird deaths. Far less bird deaths than those big old skyscrapers. But hey, we never hear about the danger to birds that skyscrapers pose, just when somebody brings up wind power.

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Response to MadHound (Reply #59)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 07:23 PM

61. If the technology is so dated

Why are new wind farms being proposed all over Northern California?

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Response to MadHound (Reply #59)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 07:36 PM

64. I'm sorry... are you saying that you think windbelts are ready for prime time?

Wasn't the first experimental installation barely a year ago?

So far you can charge consumer electronics with them... you can't run a home's A/C or cook with it.

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Response to MadHound (Reply #59)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 12:43 AM

96. We've recently discovered...

Significant geothermal potential in West Virginia.

Tidal is beginning to be installed. The Northeast is already hooked up to Canada and some of that great Bay of Fundy energy is likely to be flowing southward.

Lots of tidal potential along the East Coast.

Wave technology is starting to work.

Don't dismiss solar. Most of the NE averages 4.5 solar hours per day.

And biomass, good or not good, you've certainly got that in the NE.

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Response to cherokeeprogressive (Reply #48)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 02:54 AM

103. Actually, Texas has more wind generated electricity than any other state. It will double in 7 years.

Birds are not a factor. Turbine blades turn at 2 mph. You want to see dead birds? Check an airport - perhaps you will lobby to shut them down.

Noise? Never heard a pumpjack, drilling rig, or workover rig, have you? There are 100,000 producing oil wells here in the Permian Basin alone. That's noise. Wind generators don't even make a whoosh.

Oh, and I AM enjoying the 6.6 cents per KWH rate I pay for the electricity generated at the Notrees Field 15 minutes from here. I was paying 20.7 cents for the old nuclear-oil-coal-gas stuff.

According to the state, we have enough wind in just a few categories to supply nearly 500% of Texas electric needs by wind alone, without allowing for any further refinement in technology. Here's a link to the state agency in charge of energy:

http://www.window.state.tx.us/specialrpt/energy/renewable/wind.php

So yes, we'll be happy to take all the jobs created by the construction and maintenance of all the wind farms we can get. Send money now to get it done more quickly.

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Response to MadHound (Reply #17)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 12:08 PM

126. So in your world the grid is made from superconductors?

You can't ship enough power from Kansas to Massachusetts. Those big honking power lines do have some resistance.

Hydro? Already done where feasible, and it's not enough power for the Northeast. There's not that many good places to put a hydro dam, and you're causing one massive environmental damage in order to avoid another massive environmental damage.

Wind doesn't always blow, so you need some massive storage which hasn't been invented yet.

Also the tides aren't always flowing (Think of the hour around high tide. Not much flow.) So again you need some massive storage which hasn't been invented yet.

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Response to jeff47 (Reply #126)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 08:54 PM

170. HVDC and UHVDC...

Covered elsewhere. We can move large amounts of power long distances if that turns out to be the least expensive, most reliable way to power ourselves.

Hydro, we've got something like 80,000 existing dams in the US and use only 2,500 for generation. Based on a 2007 review of dams on federal land a sizable portion of the remaining dams, perhaps as much as 10% are good candidates for power production.

We've got several existing dams in the process of conversion to producers and the Department of Agriculture just made funds available to convert four more.

We've already invented pump-up hydro storage. We built almost 25GW in order to shift nuclear-electricity from off-peak to peak hours. We've got thousands of existing dams that could be converted to pump-up storage if we desire. But it's more likely utility scale batteries are going to be cheaper.

Tides do ebb and flow, but they ebb and flow at different times along coasts and are very highly predictable, even hundreds of years into the future.

I don't think you've considered the fact that utility operators are constantly dealing with ebbs and flow in supply and demand. People wake up and turn on stuff, factories start a shift, retailers close down for the day, people turn stuff off and go to bed. Power plants go off line, sometimes scheduled but sometime unexpected. (Like the two reactors which went off line in Virginia last fall in the earthquake. And stayed off for months.)

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Response to ProgressiveProfessor (Reply #9)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 06:06 PM

21. They've got wind, wave, and solar options in the NE.

There is a ton of low hanging fruit in terms of making buildings vehicles, appliances, etc. as efficient as possible. You can heat a well-insulated house in these cold climates with excess heat generated from the hot water heater--there are people doing it as we speak. There is a ton of future employment waiting in making efficient buildings too.

You can also drill down and use the earth's constant temperature to heat and cool buildings in these areas. The upper Midwest does get plenty of wind. Iowa, and the Dakotas and down to Texas can be connected to the grid. There is enough wind power available in these areas to more than supply the energy needs for the entire US (the grid issues make that impractical now--and in general it's more practical to generate energy where you're using it).

You can get solar power in the NE for the same reason you can get plenty in the fog belt in SF--it doesn't require ideal conditions to generate some power and the solar technologies are becoming more efficient.

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Response to diane in sf (Reply #21)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 06:32 PM

32. The cost of such retrofits often exceed the value of the structures

At the macro level, it would almost make more sense to abandon Detroit and move the people to the sunbelt. Build clean efficient cities and recycle/clean up the ones left behind.

The renewable energy numbers being tossed around that say the midwest could cover the northeast are pretty much fantasy at this point. The amount of infrastructure required would dwarf the cost of new central plants (regards of fuel type)

Yes solar will help a little in places like SF, but its not clear its an effective cost trade at this time. (Cost of equipment vs power generated). I recently was at a friends place in North Beach. Typical narrow 3 apartment building. There is not enough room on the roof for panels to cover one apartment energy load, let alone all three, and that would be if it was in the Socal Desert, not the foggy SF. Even with the generous incentives CA offers, it would never pay for itself. The numbers just aren't there.

Today it takes notionally a 16 panel array to cover the annual energy use for modern detached single family home in SoCal with low HVAC requirements and natural gas appliances. That's grid tie, so alternative sources are need for night and bad weather. That is a practical baseline to use when considering what residential solar can really do.

I have a large solar array here in Socal. I make money from it daily (now that they have changed the rules). I am looking to triple it when the math works. However, its never going to keep the lights on in Riverside...

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Response to ProgressiveProfessor (Reply #32)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 06:38 PM

35. Sorry, but watt for watt, nuclear is the most expensive form of power generation going.

 

And you also need to factor technology into your equation. No longer are vast rooftop arrays needed, but rather solar panels can be rolled out like shingles. Furthermore, a breakthrough now promises an ten fold increase in solar panel efficiency within just a few years.

Meanwhile, you can now generate power from windspeeds as slow as four mph, without a turbine, but rather a rooftop windbelt array.

It has been show in study after study that the green renewables can carry the full load, but the biggest barriers, as you are proving, are social and political ones.

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Response to MadHound (Reply #35)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 06:56 PM

42. I am not supporting nuclear, just point out that the central plants of some sort will be with us

for the foreseeable future.

I currently have a large solar array here in SoCal, well in excess of my needs. I get paid (somewhat) for the extra power. When the number work, I will triple it, maxing out the line capacity. It will still not light up Riverside or even Corona.

The solar industry is replete with "wondrous improvements right around the corner" press releases. As one who is hands on with it, I know better. For example, this is the second or third time around for the "solar shingle" concept which fails for the same obvious reasons every time. Renewable power is great thing, but its being tremendously oversold and over hyped by the industry and those of us wanting to do the right thing are lapping it up. People need power to live, and the approaches to providing it need to be practical and achievable.

Those studies are at the macro level and while showing the energy is potentially there ignore at various levels the real issues associated with harvesting and distributing it. For example...if the decision is made to power NYC from power from the mid west, is NYC going to pay for generation and transmission of it when it is so much cheaper to replace an aging local plant? The potential is there, but no one is really addressing the costs of development and transportation adequately. Cost per watt is only part of the cost model.

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Response to ProgressiveProfessor (Reply #42)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 06:59 PM

44. Solar shingles fail?

 

Apparently you're not the expert that you think you are. I know of a half dozen houses that have had solar shingles put on them within the past two years. They work well, are more efficient than standard panels, and no, the roof doesn't leak.

Keep arguing your limitations, and sure enough, they're all yours.

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Response to MadHound (Reply #44)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 01:07 AM

101. There are cost, building code, and interconnection issues with them

Their acceptance in the industry is minimal. At this point they are targeted for installations where std panels won't work or fit.

While some are claiming more efficient in terms of energy collection, cost wise they are more expensive that standard panels. Their lifetimes are also an unknown.

Keep arguing from the press releases...those of us who are hands on know better.

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Response to ProgressiveProfessor (Reply #42)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 12:13 PM

127. You can't power NYC from the midwest

Power lines have resistance. There is no practical way to push enough power from the midwest to power NYC.

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Response to jeff47 (Reply #127)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 12:27 PM

132. Hey, no fair using science

Everyone knows the only acceptable sources are press releases and self serving statements

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Response to jeff47 (Reply #127)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 02:03 PM

145. HVDC

High voltage direct current transmission lines. The higher you crank the voltage the less power you lose per wire size.

They are currently carrying power from the Pacific Northwest to Southern California.

China is currently building Ultra HVDC transmission lines that are 1,200 miles in length. There is a 1,600 miles HVDC line under construction in South America.

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Response to Bob Wallace (Reply #145)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 02:12 PM

146. Still can't get enough power for the 8M people in NYC from the midwest

Getting that much power would require cranking up the voltage to the point where the wires melt. Alternatively, you need a hell of a lot of wires. The Pacific NW to So Cal line you are talking about is a very small portion of So Cal's needs.

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Response to jeff47 (Reply #146)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 09:07 PM

172. Who rode the straw horse into the room?

No one is talking about powering 100% of NYC with Midwest wind.

But we very well might want to bring some Midwest wind to the East Coast and we might want to, at other times, move some East Coast offshore wind or hydro to the Midwest.

Voltage does not melt wire. You might want to spend some time reading up on HVDC, you're operating with a faulty database.

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Response to Bob Wallace (Reply #172)

Sun Dec 25, 2011, 03:30 PM

200. There was a whole posse on them

But then again their claims are pretty much specious as was pointed out

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Response to diane in sf (Reply #21)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 06:36 PM

33. You have no idea what you are talking about.

Well-insulated houses? Heat from a hot water heater? In new England?

Try that in a standard 50-150 year-old New England home when it's -10 outside.

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Response to NutmegYankee (Reply #33)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 06:42 PM

37. Living in a hundred and fifty plus year old house myself,

 

In the Midwest, yes, I can tell you that you can retrofit houses to be pretty energy efficient. Various forms of insulation, siding, can all be used. My house is nice and tight, and despite its age, it takes very little energy to warm it in the winter and cool it in the summer.

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Response to MadHound (Reply #37)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 07:02 PM

47. How do you heat and what does it cost in the winter?

As for cooling, I open windows.

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Response to NutmegYankee (Reply #47)

Sat Dec 24, 2011, 05:10 PM

194. I Maine they are using ceramic electric heaters that use cheap off-peak electricity to heat homes

at the equivalent cost of $2.50 per gallon oil

wave of the future

yup

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Response to NutmegYankee (Reply #33)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 06:48 PM

40. Those old houses need to be retrofitted--and should be--that's a lot of employment opportunities.

In California we pay our power companies to conserve energy, not build new plants. They subsidize homeowners to retrofit--windows, insulation, etc., get efficient appliances, etc. It was done by legislation on a state level.

I'm not joking about the efficient houses. There has been a builder in Chicagoland making houses that don't need a central furnace since the 90s--that's old technology. You use good insulation, windows, and seals--your upfront costs end up the same or lower because of good design. He's mentioned in Natural Capitalism, Lovins, Lovins, Hawken.

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Response to diane in sf (Reply #40)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 07:10 PM

52. You have to be joking.

You are talking about millions of homes. Old leaky homes that even with insulation and siding improvements will never be up to modern standards. And a lot of those homes are heated with Oil, using baseboard radiators. The homes are still good dwellings, and the bills for heat for many are reasonable (mine included), but retrofitting as a solution to an energy shortage is a pipe dream. Where is the money going to come from?

As for the Oil heat, when the oil runs out, those homes will convert to electric heat. Electric demand is going to skyrocket.

I went through two weeks of foggy cloudy weather with no wind back in May (temps in the 50s for highs). There would have been no solar power. There would have been no wind power. And yet the demand was just as great. How about winter storms, like the classic Nor'Easter - The wind turbines are shut down at those speeds and there is no sunlight. The need for heat doesn't shut down.


Be realistic!

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Response to NutmegYankee (Reply #52)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 07:55 PM

65. Here's realistic...

1) Weatherize. Insulate, weatherstrip, and replace windows and doors as necessary.

2) Install geothermal heat pumps. The cost seems to be running from $10k to $18k for drilling, heat pump and installation.

A $10k geothermal heat pump financed at 5% for 10 years will require about a $100/month payment. A 18k geothermal system about $200/month.

Where will the money come from?

Elect a Democratic Congress next November and make federal loans available. Converting a million homes per year would require about $15 billion per year in financing. Chicken feed.

And installing millions of ground effect/geothermal heat pumps would create thousands and thousands of jobs.


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Response to Bob Wallace (Reply #65)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 08:13 PM

70. Loans? Heat pumps?

Do you realize most homes here don't have a central forced air system to retrofit? Most like mine don't even have Air Conditioning. Retrofitting is going to cost way too much for the average homeowner. And loans? Seriously?

We must look like a bunch a dumb Swamp Yankees to you with your beautiful view in that Ivory tower of yours.

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Response to NutmegYankee (Reply #70)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 10:22 PM

86. How much are you "dumb Swamp Yankees" paying...

per year for heating with fuel oil?

Are you heating only a single room or circulating heat throughout your houses?

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Response to Bob Wallace (Reply #86)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 02:25 PM

152. Not that much.

Oil-fired heat isn't extremely expensive, which is why it remains so incredibly popular in the northeast.

If it was extremely expensive, more houses would switch from oil-fired boilers to gas-fired boilers. Swapping out the boiler is relatively inexpensive.

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Response to jeff47 (Reply #152)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 06:29 PM

166. One person's "not that much"...

is another person's "not that many years to pay off a geothermal system".


Here's the data I found. If you use heating oil in the Northeast you'll spend about $2,200 per year.

If you spend $10k for a geothermal heat pump it will pay for itself in five years. (I'm allowing a couple hundred for electricity to operate the system.) That's a 14.4% return on investment.

If you spend $18k for a geothermal heat pump it will pay for itself in nine years. That's a 8% return on investment.

And you've locked in your heating costs against rising heating oil prices.

Remember, after the heat pump is paid off in a few years that $2,000 per year goes away....


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Response to NutmegYankee (Reply #33)

Sat Dec 24, 2011, 05:04 PM

193. Efficiency Maine retrofits older homes in Maine with effective insulation and reduces energy costs

by 50% or more.

Solar hot water systems work independently from central heating systems - but they can be plumbed-in to supplement existing heating systems...and...

Many Maine businesses are using PV systems to power geothermal heat pumps that provide all their heating needs.

I live there - I know

yup

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Response to jpak (Reply #193)

Sun Dec 25, 2011, 09:51 AM

199. Sometimes

As I recall you are a FL snowbird.

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Response to ProgressiveProfessor (Reply #199)

Sun Dec 25, 2011, 03:45 PM

202. No - I live there all the time

yup

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Response to ProgressiveProfessor (Reply #9)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 08:07 AM

111. Yes they can. With tidal, and small scale hydro. n/t

 

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Response to RoccoR5955 (Reply #111)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 12:16 PM

128. Small-scale hydro can't make enough power, and the tides don't always flow

Right around high tide and low tide, the water isn't flowing much. So to get through those you need some sort of power storage that has not been invented yet. The largest batteries and flywheels in existence come nowhere close to handling that demand.

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Response to jeff47 (Reply #128)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 04:51 PM

160. Keep doubting.

 

That's a fine way to move this technology. You have to start somewhere, and there are projects working on using capacitors for batteries, which could be used short term.

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Response to ProgressiveProfessor (Reply #9)

Sat Dec 24, 2011, 04:48 PM

190. Yes it can - offshore wind potential alone = 4 TW off the East Coast

add in PV and on-shore wind and tidal and biomass - with EV battery storage and yes it can.

yup

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Response to MadHound (Reply #1)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 02:20 PM

151. I agree, take 150 Billion from DoD budget and invest in fusion reactor technology!

 

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 05:40 PM

2. The AP1000s are actually pretty impressive hardware.

Modular and produced assembly line style instead of having to have each one custom built. Gravity fed cooling system, with enough surplus for days of normal operations even if you lost primary, secondary, and emergency power. China's building at least 8 of these, and they're talking about a bunch more.

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Response to TheWraith (Reply #2)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 05:44 PM

5. They are clearly a major step forward in nuclear generators

How many we will actually need to build is a fair question. Out west, once we get serious about things, solar and other renewable sources can take much of the load. Northeast not so much.

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Response to TheWraith (Reply #2)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 07:08 PM

50. Are these the "pebble bed" reactors I read about not long ago? n/t

 

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Response to cherokeeprogressive (Reply #50)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 07:13 PM

53. Nope

No pebble bed reactors in The US any time soon.

The reactor itself is fairly standard... But with dramatically superior safety designs.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 05:42 PM

4. Please tell me they dont store spent fuel rods above the plant. nm

 

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #4)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 05:53 PM

11. I thought that was done in Japan due to the lack of land

And was either uncommon or not done elsewhere.

There were other safety updates that were not done to the TEPCO reactors as well.

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Response to ProgressiveProfessor (Reply #11)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 05:55 PM

14. I dont think the design was specifically made for Japan. I believe there are a few

 

similar plants still active in the US, but I may be mistaken.

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #14)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 05:58 PM

18. As I understand it placing the storage ponds on top of the reactor vessel was a local choice

and not intrinsic to the reactor design.

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Response to ProgressiveProfessor (Reply #18)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 07:01 PM

45. I may be wrong but I believe it is intrinsic. nm

 

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #45)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 07:17 PM

58. It is - for that type of reactor.

The spent fuel needs to be kept submerged, so the spent fuel pool is roughly level with the top of the reactor.

The AP1000 is a bit different, and the spent fuel pool is actually inside the primary containment. A dramatic improvement (though not unique to that design).

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #58)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 08:23 PM

72. I am going by memory but dont agree. In the design in Japan the pools were above the reactor.

 

Also, I believe the primary containment is the reactor vessel.

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #72)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 09:42 PM

81. Both wrong. Sorry.

The plug and top of the RPV is removed and the entire chamber flooded. When that's done, the surface of the water is level with the water surface in the fuel pool. The bottom of the SFP is well below the top of the reactor. What's more, there's nothing about it's that's unique to Japan. It's standard for that family of reactors.

Also, I believe the primary containment is the reactor vessel.

Nope. The drywell is the primary containment. People often mistake "primary" for "first" (though even that would be wrong since the fuel cladding is really the first line of defense).

Note both in the image below.

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #81)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 10:22 PM

85. Dont be sorry. I was wrong. The spent fuel is stored below the top of the RV. nm

 

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #81)

Sun Dec 25, 2011, 09:51 AM

198. That is the scariest Shit i've seen.

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #4)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 05:53 PM

12. No, that's where the water sits for the passive cooling system. nt

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #4)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 05:55 PM

13. What could go wrong? n/t

 

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Response to leeroysphitz (Reply #13)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 06:51 PM

41. LOL

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Response to leeroysphitz (Reply #13)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 07:56 PM

66. Nothing...

Trust Homer....

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 05:53 PM

10. The ecomics still don't support investing in nuclear, even with an improved design.

The day of large, centralized plants--coal and nukes--is passing. We are moving to a wide array of networked local power generation utilizing a smart grid and storage. Wind and solar are at or very close to grid parity, and that's not even taking all the environmental costs into account. Solar panels installed 25 years ago are still going strong, they don't require, mining, dealing with toxic wastes, etc. Wind and solar can be installed fractally as needed.

Added bonus, this kind of distributed power is very resistant to terrorist attacks. What's a poor terrorist to do? Bomb every roof in California?

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Response to diane in sf (Reply #10)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 05:56 PM

15. Do realize that SF can never be enegry self supporting?

Like Los Angeles, San Francisco expects the surrounding areas to accept its waste and toxins associated with its dense design. That includes power generation by products.

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Response to ProgressiveProfessor (Reply #15)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 06:26 PM

27. All cities are part of their region. My flat is a lot more energy efficent than a typical suburban

home. I also don't have to drive to work, shop, see friends, or be entertained. Many people are also growing food in their back yards here. I'm subsidizing people in suburbia who are using way more water, electricity, gasoline per person than I am.

Northern California buys hydropower from Oregon and Washington in the winter when they have a surplus.We could be generating a summer solar surplus. I view the whole thing as an interdependence.

There are also many ways of making it all work better. We were having a terrible drought in California in the 80s, we couldn't flush our toilets up here and people in LA were growing lawns (in a desert!!!), hosing down their driveways, and trying to snag more of our water to do this unnecessary stuff.


I would like to see an arrangement like you see in Germany. Dense walkable cities and discrete towns in the countryside surrounded by farmland.

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Response to diane in sf (Reply #27)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 06:40 PM

36. At a macro level, cities plunder the surrounding areas for resources

LA exports toxic waste to Kern County, stole the water from Inyo and Mono counties, and then postures itself as a "green city". You may have a small footprint, but your immediate environs do not. You are in no way subsidizing suburbia.

There is no way SF or any other large city could ever generate enough renewable power to be self sustaining. Its just not there in a manner that could be effectively harvested. They need external power sources, water, and waste disposal. It not that cities are intrinsically bad, but we need to acknowledge what they are and are not.

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Response to diane in sf (Reply #10)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 06:06 PM

20. Solar panels don't require mining?

Where do you think they come from?

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Response to XemaSab (Reply #20)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 06:13 PM

24. Solar panels don't require mining for their continuous energy production,

unlike coal and nukes, doh!

Of course there's mining for mfg materials for them.

Then they sit on a roof for 25 years or more, quietly and cleanly making electricity from sunlight. No nuclear disasters, no mercury pollution, no destroying mountain ranges to run them.

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Response to diane in sf (Reply #24)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 06:27 PM

28. Tell that to the people in China, dying by the thousands in "cancer villages..."

created by the waste products of solar panel manufacture being indiscriminately dumped all over the place.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/08/AR2008030802595.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/20/jinko-solar-holding-company-toxic-waste-cleanup_n_971419.html

Just two examples out of many.

I'm sure you were aware of these matters, though.

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Response to Systematic Chaos (Reply #28)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 06:38 PM

34. Tell that to the Indians dying from uranium mining and the people in Appalachian coal country--

and the people who were living on Love Canal, etc. All industrial processes have their cost and virtually all of them could be done in a cleaner way. You have to regulate industry to do that. China is not a country with a workable structure for creating and enforcing laws.

If we got corporate money out of our electoral process, we could write our laws to prevent letting our mfg going offshore and keep it here where we could regulate it.

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Response to diane in sf (Reply #34)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 06:46 PM

39. Well then let's bring ALL the solar panel manufacture back here. Makes perfect sense.

Then we'll see how we cope with that white, bubbly goo that you can't do a damn thing with that isn't just as horrible as dumping it willy-nilly on the ground.

Of course, you already knew that the only reason why panels are so cheap is because they're being made in a country with zero regard for human life and the cheapest labor costs almost anywhere. This while US manufacturers go pear shaped every time you blink. Right?

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Response to Systematic Chaos (Reply #39)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 06:57 PM

43. Ask the people in Chernobyl and Japan how they're coping with their "clean" invisble radioactive

contamination. Effluent can be dealt with, manufacturing processes can be changed and/or regulated.

I'm not a fan of offshoring mfging.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 05:56 PM

16. It's better to put in newer, safer reactors

than to keep re-licensing the old junkers. And it's even better to go to all renewable energy production. As a transition, it's a step forward.

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Response to Turbineguy (Reply #16)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 06:44 PM

38. We will indeed need central plants for the forseeable future

Hopefully less and less as time goes by. What kind they are should be open, new nuclear may or may not be the right answer, and some of the variable will include location.

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Response to Turbineguy (Reply #16)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 07:59 PM

68. It would make sense to install newer, safer reactors...

than to keep playing Fukushima roulette with the junkers we're now patching together.

But it makes a lot more sense to go with energy sources which are cheaper, faster to build and bring no safety issues to our back yards.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 06:25 PM

26. What could go wrong?

(did I hear about something in Japan...?)

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 07:02 PM

46. Secretary Chu Statement on AP1000 Reactor Design Certification

http://energy.gov/articles/secretary-chu-statement-ap1000-reactor-design-certification
[font face=Times, Serif][font size=5]Secretary Chu Statement on AP1000 Reactor Design Certification [/font]

[font size=3]December 22, 2011 - 3:25pm

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu issued the following statement today in support of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) decision to certify Westinghouse Electric’s AP1000 nuclear reactor design, a significant step towards constructing a new generation of U.S. nuclear reactors. In February 2010, the Obama Administration announced the offer of a conditional commitment for a $8.33 billion loan guarantee for the construction and operation of two AP1000 reactors at Alvin W. Vogtle Electric Generation Plant in Burke, Georgia.

“The Administration and the Energy Department are committed to restarting America’s nuclear industry – creating thousands of jobs in the years ahead and powering our nation’s homes and businesses with domestic, low-carbon energy,” said Secretary Chu. “Today’s decision certifying the AP1000 reactor design marks an important milestone towards constructing the first U.S. nuclear reactors in three decades.”

[font size=4]BACKGROUND INFORMATION[/font]

The Energy Department’s offer of a conditional commitment supports two new 1,100 megawatt Westinghouse AP1000 nuclear reactors at the Vogtle plant, supplementing the two existing reactor units at the facility. The project is expected to create approximately 3,500 onsite construction jobs and 800 permanent jobs once the reactors become operational.

The Energy Department has also engaged in cost-share agreements with industry to provide technical assistance and application support for new reactor design certification, including for the Westinghouse AP1000. These efforts have served to help American companies lead the way in obtaining certification and licensing approvals, helping to streamline these processes for future investments in the U.S. nuclear industry. [/font][/font]


http://www.ap1000.westinghousenuclear.com/

http://www.ap1000.westinghousenuclear.com/ap1000_safety.html
[font face=Times, Serif][font size=3]



The AP1000® pressurized water reactor works on the simple concept that, in the event of a design-basis accident (such as a coolant pipe break), the plant is designed to achieve and maintain safe shutdown condition without any operator action and without the need for ac power or pumps. Instead of relying on active components such as diesel generators and pumps, the AP1000 relies on the natural forces of gravity, natural circulation and compressed gases to keep the core and containment from overheating. However, many active components are included in the AP1000, but are designated as non safety-related.

Multiple levels of defense for accident mitigation are provided, resulting in extremely low core-damage probabilities while minimizing occurrences of containment flooding, pressurization and heat-up.

The AP1000 meets the U.S. NRC deterministic-safety and probabilistic-risk criteria with large margins. Results of the Probabilistic Risk Assessment (PRA) show a very low core damage frequency (CDF) that is 1/100 of the CDF of currently operating plants and 1/20 of the maximum CDF deemed acceptable for new, advanced reactor designs.

The following features contribute to defense-in-depth of the AP1000:

Non-Safety Systems
Passive Safety-Related Systems
In-vessel Retention of Core Damage
[/font][/font]

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Response to OKIsItJustMe (Reply #46)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 11:45 PM

91. all that denial and the subsequent delay makes centralized solutions more 'imperative'

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Response to certainot (Reply #91)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 01:00 AM

99. Or less imperative...

Quickest power to get on line? Solar.

Next quickest power to get on line? Wind.

Next quickest power to get on line? Geothermal.

Slowest power to get on line? Nuclear.

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Response to Bob Wallace (Reply #99)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 06:44 AM

107. but they've done pretty good at preventing those solutions on large scale - when it comes to

politicians looking for large scale urgent solutions i keep thinking they'll leave the alts to the 'free markets' and give the big tax money to the GE s, halliburtons, and the 'big solutions'

one of the RW talking points they spew every day from our university-endorsed RW radio stations is that that alternative technology is a scam because it takes too much fossil fuel to make the stuff so it's producing more CO2 than it's worth (vs nuclear)! that's one that the GOP and teabaggers believe.

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Response to Bob Wallace (Reply #99)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 08:37 AM

114. To my knowledge, this is generally true

However, if we were really serious about fighting Climate Change, and thought that nuclear (fission) power was the way to go, we could radically change our model.

  1. Take construction out of the hands of private companies, and put it into the hands of a government agency, like the Department of Energy or the Nuclear Regulatory Commission or some new body, or some semi-governmental agency, like France’s EDF.

  2. Let that government agency, working closely with the EPA determine sites for construction of new plants. Put site selection and approval on a “fast track,” just as we’ve done for solar in the Southwest US.

  3. Stop making every plant a “one-off” where each construction is like a cathedral, sharing many features but each unique in its own way.


If we wanted to, if we really wanted to, we could build nuclear plants faster than we do today.

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Response to OKIsItJustMe (Reply #114)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 10:08 AM

117. Solar in the southwest, particuarly California has not been fast tracked

Environmental issues and the lack of transmission lines are key factors. Brown administration, despite press releases and pronouncements, has not markedly changed things.

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Response to ProgressiveProfessor (Reply #117)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 10:33 AM

118. 2011 Renewable Energy Priority Projects

http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/prog/energy/renewable_energy/priority_projects.html
[font face=Times, Serif][font size=5]2011 Renewable Energy Priority Projects[/font]
[em]Last Updated: December 20, 2011.[/em]

[font size=3]The Bureau of Land Management continues its work on environmentally responsible development of utility-scale renewable energy projects on public lands as part of the Administration's efforts to diversify the Nation's energy portfolio. Renewable energy projects that are under construction by the end of 2011 (or meet safe harbor provisions) may be eligible for the Department of Treasury’s 1603 grant program.

In 2011, the BLM has given priority status to 18 projects (9 solar, 4 wind, and 5 geothermal) representing about 4,279 MW. BLM developed this priority list in collaboration with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service, with an emphasis on early consultation. The 2011 priority projects were selected based on a variety of criteria, including progress of the necessary public participation and environmental analysis under NEPA and applicable state environmental laws. BLM also used the screening criteria for priority solar and wind projects, developed through BLM policy memoranda issued in February 2011, to assist in evaluating and prioritizing the projects on this list.

…[/font][/font]

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Response to OKIsItJustMe (Reply #118)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 11:07 AM

120. Bureaucratic Nonsense

Look at actually review and approval throughput, the metrics that really matter.

Its not that they are being overtly obstructionist, but things are still moving slower than molasses in the Arctic Circle in the winter despite such statements.

To stop the replacement of aging power plants with new plants, we need to get the renewable projects moving. While not out of malicious intent (my opinion), multiple level of government need to get their asses in gear and take it seriously.

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Response to ProgressiveProfessor (Reply #120)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 11:32 AM

122. I believe that one level of “Bureaucratic Nonsense” has been streamlined

This does not mean (nor would I want it to mean) that a “gold rush” model of development has resulted.

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Response to OKIsItJustMe (Reply #122)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 12:26 PM

131. The metrics do not support that conclusion

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Response to ProgressiveProfessor (Reply #131)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 01:31 PM

137. Really!?

How many utility-scale solar projects were built in the Southwestern US during the Bush administration?

(i.e. What are you using as a basis for comparison?)

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 07:15 PM

54. Well, "You can be sure, if it is Westinghouse." eom

 

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 07:17 PM

57. The AP1000 is dated, archiaic technology that the nuclear industry wants...

...because it makes its money on creating nuclear fuel as opposed to operating the plants themselves. The last thing the nuclear industry wants is an end to their fuel monopoly.

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Response to joshcryer (Reply #57)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 07:21 PM

60. Fuel is a very small proportion of the cost of nuclear power.

There's no way that the entire industry revolves around fuel sales.

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #60)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 08:10 PM

69. Yes, the cleanup when they break is probably the biggest expense--the Japanese accident

is going to cost more to clean up than the total amount of profit for the industry there.

And how do you compensate people for their damaged and shortened lives?

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Response to diane in sf (Reply #69)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 09:58 PM

83. Of course it isn't.

That's like saying that the biggest cost of building a skyscraper is cleaning up the rubble when terrorists run a plan into it. Yeah... it's the biggest cost for THAT building, but not for reactors in general.

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #60)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 08:17 PM

71. As plants retire which part of the industry suffers the most?

The only part of the industry that has something to lose as plants retire is the MOX fuel industry. They need and want new nuclear plants that use that fuel.

That same industry would not like the production of IFR or LFTR type plants because, they also wouldn't rely on the same fuel cycle, and in fact would destroy fuel waste for valuable electrical generation.

Let's be clear, the nuclear industry in the United States have been effectively stagnant for the past 30 years.

And the way forward with archaic nuclear technology is only to maintain the status quo.

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Response to joshcryer (Reply #71)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 10:03 PM

84. How much MOX do you think is out there?

If a plant retires early then yes, the fuel supplier "suffers" some. But it's just a drop in the bucket for the industry as a whole.

Let's be clear, the nuclear industry in the United States have been effectively stagnant for the past 30 years.

Again... "industry" sounds like "cartel" as if it's all one animal. The real answer is that different parts of the industry have been impacted differently. Fuel about as you surmised, but there's also maintenance and operation... and construction (dead for decades) is starting to pick back up again.

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #84)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 12:56 AM

98. We have something like 5 years to start pumping out one Gen III+ nuclear plant a year...

...to equal the retiring / decommissioning plants. The plants that currently exist and the fuel type that is currently being manufactured is for LWRs. The US has no immediate plans to build reactors that breed or burn up fuel, and I'm saying that's because there's more interest in the LWR fuel cycle.

It's simply too big of a risk to invest the several tens of billions it would take to design and certify one of those plants (IFR or LFTR). And yes, the nuclear industry isn't doing it, and I think fuel processing does play into it, because this is a dramatic shift in how you do nuclear. You take the waste that is sitting around in a nuclear plants holding area and you burn it up. Or you take thorium stockpiles that are sitting covered in dirt somewhere and burn it up.

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Response to Octafish (Reply #74)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 10:33 PM

87. Did you notice what the Obama "insider" is saying?

"Exelon executives recently have stepped back from supporting an expansion of nuclear plants. In December, Charles Pardee, Exelon Nuclear’s president and chief nuclear officer, said the company “can’t make the numbers work” for building plants."

John Rowe, Exelon's CEO, has been publicly stating that new nuclear is priced off the table for at least ten more years, perhaps twenty or more. Only a significant carbon tax that drastically pushed up the cost of natural gas generation would make nuclear builds possible. And, of course, that doesn't take into account the rapidly dropping price of solar and the already low price of wind-electricity

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 11:43 PM

89. one of the benefits of all the global warming denial is demanding centralized high end solutions

and out universities help sell the denial by endorsing right wing denial radio with sports broadcasting- a fucking crime

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 12:08 PM

125. It can never happen here.

MOX.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 12:23 PM

130. I own stock in uranium miners

 

So this news is A-OK with me!

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Response to Eliminator (Reply #130)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 02:12 PM

147. So it's all about whether you make a dollar?

Welcome to DU. Enjoy your stay.

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Response to XemaSab (Reply #147)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 03:56 PM

157. As opposed to oil and coal?

 

Nuclear is the only way forward to meet the worlds energy needs. This is a basic fact. That's one of the major reasons to be investing in uranium plays right now.

Or we can continue to burn fossil fuels if that pleases the anti nuclear people around here.

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Response to Eliminator (Reply #157)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 04:12 PM

158. FWIW, I'm fine with nuclear being a stepping stone to 100% renewables

which makes me a charter member of the so-called "pro-nuclear group" here.

I don't, however, root for certain technologies over others based on my investment portfolio.

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Response to XemaSab (Reply #158)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 05:52 PM

165. Sure you do

 

You'd just invest in those instead.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 01:07 PM

135. nuclear would be great if it wasn't for a fucking nuclear catastrophe every 20 years or so...

 

this is a tax money grab - lots of tax cash for nuke operators and CEOs.

Bottom line? If you want to poison 100,000+ with the cancers, birth defects and other medical problems for then next couple of hundred years following a nuclear plant disaster, then support the sensible centrists aka right winger republicans taking advantage of a spineless democratic leadership hoping to pick up some campaign cash.

After all, the same sensible corporate centrist told Obama nuclear power is perfectly safe. Like torture and wiretapping and deep water drilling. Lightning never strikes twice, right?

After all just before the nuke plants started exploding in Japan, Obama said USA needs to be more like Japan who has proven nuclear power is perfectly safe.

Or maybe we could construct a uranium theme park out of the spent fuel?

This is about a giant funnel of tax money subsidizing corporate CEO and exec staff lifestyles.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 01:43 PM

138. Yay!

I'm afraid to post this here, but I and all my otherwise liberal engineer/scientist friends think nuclear power is the only way to go. (and no, I'm not up for a debate right now, sorry)

This is one reason why I have trouble supporting environmentalist groups.

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Response to a2liberal (Reply #138)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 09:11 PM

173. If you're an engineer/scientist type...

Why would you pick the most expensive, longest to implement and most dangerous route away from fossil fuels?

Why wouldn't you take a look at the data and pick the cheapest, fastest and safest route?

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Response to Bob Wallace (Reply #173)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 10:04 PM

175. It is the one that is the most viable in the long term

without limiting how much humans can do. Conservation is a limiting idea that can't really fly in the long run without limiting everyone's quality of life and other alternative energy sources don't give us enough power (they only maybe replace current consumption). It is only expensive because it is not used/researched enough.

Don't get me wrong, I think it should be the government doing it instead of subsidizing private companies, and should be much more strictly regulated, but it should be actively pursued/developed (especially fusion research where the US has lagged behind in supporting international efforts)

As the article says, there are MUCH safer designs ( see http://www.google.com/search?q=safer+reactor+designs ) that have been held back (both research and implementation) be irrational fear-mongering of nuclear power based on the first generation and even nuclear weapons fear-mongering. (Much waste can be reprocessed instead of having to find storage -- win-win, but that was banned for the longest time due to some ridiculous fears about it being used for weapons)

Anyway, I didn't really want to get into a debate about this, just express my happiness at the news. I'll let someone else have the last word on it if they want because I'm honestly not interested in trying to change people's minds right now.

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Response to a2liberal (Reply #175)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 11:51 PM

181. 30 year engineer here, family of engineers and scientists, power generation, power plant design

 

"conservation is a limiting idea that really can't fly..."

Your post reads like some bullshit press release from the chamber of commerce.

Are you fucking serious? For 40 years we actually have OVER SUPPLY of power generation because of conservation!!!

Anyone who thinks nuclear is viable knows nothing about the technology, the people and the motives behind nuclear power generation.

Nuclear is dangerous, expensive, and massively tax payer subsidized (like oil).

Fear mongering my ass. Go tell that to the next 200 to 300 years of birth defects in Japan and Russia. While plant operators at three mile island were telling everyone everything was safe, they told their families to get out of town. Goddamn control room got so hot the phones melted and these fuckers were trying to safe a few bucks. Just like in Japan. The same fuckers at CEO level were telling operators to delay actions that would risk shutting down the plants because the fuckers were running a loss.

You think this shit is easy to control?

This is about 100s of billions in tax payer funded subsidies for giant multinational corporations. IF we spent as much subsidizing conservation and efficiency and alternate sources the idea of a big, readioactive shit hole would be immediately dismissed.

Once you put a nuke plant on line, you can't just turn the fucker off - it's a guaranteed cash cow for the CEO for next 30 years no matter how badly it performs, no matter how much it costs tax payers.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/43455859/ns/us_news-environment/t/safety-rules-loosened-aging-nuclear-reactors/#.TvVVdVZ218E

"Fear mongering" God damn it I hate this industry bullshit propaganda. That picture of FDR might as well be Ronald Reagan.

Go take a long drink of water from one of those pipes spewing tritium into the water supply. Go ahead - put your own kid's mouth up to that pipe and have them drink that.

What next? Fracking is perfectly safe?

Google- nuclear plant pipes leaking

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Response to scentopine (Reply #181)

Sat Dec 24, 2011, 04:22 AM

183. I don't appreciate the implication that I'm an industry shill (n/t)

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Response to a2liberal (Reply #183)

Sat Dec 24, 2011, 11:55 AM

184. "irrational fear-mongering" "nuclear weapons fear-mongering" "ridiculous fears"

 

Your post doesn't qualify for an energy star, your post qualifies for a black hole.

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Response to scentopine (Reply #184)

Tue Dec 27, 2011, 08:28 PM

216. Regardless of whether you think I'm wrong

it is unfair to assume I am an industry shill just because I support nuclear power. Especially when I explicitly stated that I would prefer that it be government-run. In fact if you check my posting history (mostly on DU2) you'll see that I'm pretty much as anti-coporatist as they get. You can disagree with me on the merits of nuclear power, but no need to go accusing me of shilling for the industry.

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Response to a2liberal (Reply #175)

Sat Dec 24, 2011, 01:29 AM

182. Bull...

"Conservation is a limiting idea that can't really fly in the long run without limiting everyone's quality of life and other alternative energy sources don't give us enough power (they only maybe replace current consumption)."

Is your quality of life crushed because you use a LCD monitor that pulls 35 watts rather than a CRT monitor that pulls 150 watts? Crush you to drive a 40MPG car rather than a 14MPG car?

As for not getting enough power from alternative energy sources, we could power ourselves many, many times over with only solar power. Or with only wind power. We could get 150% of all the power we use in the US from our offshore wind potential alone.

We could get the power we want/need from nuclear. But it would be the most expensive of all our alternatives. It would be the slowest to implement. And it would bring unnecessary dangers to us and to those who come after us.

Give this a read. You need to understand that we have much, much better options than building hundreds of new nuclear reactors.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=a-path-to-sustainable-energy-by-2030

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 01:51 PM

142. Westinghouse?

Aren't they known for appliances that stop working after warranty expires?

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 03:08 PM

155. I'm torn about the issue of nuclear power

On one hand, we've gotten ourselves into this mess with our unceasing demands for energy.

Nuclear power is dangerous, but so are all of the other viable alternatives at this point. Fracking, anyone?

The only way to turn things around would be meaningful investments in alternative fuels and clean energy. I don't see that happening any time soon, though.



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Response to Politicub (Reply #155)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 09:00 PM

171. You're missing the big solution...

We could power our lives almost 100% with renewable energy. Not only our electricity, but also our transportation and heating.

We could do the job with technology which we already have in hand. With technology that is currently connected to the grid.

Give this a read. It's a blueprint, a rough outline, of how the entire world could get off fossil fuels in 20 years. You'll see that the authors state that the problem is not technology or materials, but political will.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=a-path-to-sustainable-energy-by-2030

Why don't we put Democrats back in control of Congress next November and then we can accelerate the installation of clean energy?

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Response to Bob Wallace (Reply #171)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 09:59 PM

174. Agree completely in re: to political will being the greatest barrier

Great article, btw. Thanks for the link!

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Response to Bob Wallace (Reply #171)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 10:50 PM

179. That's a great article

 

Thanks for the link.
Political will is always the problem we have to overcome with these issues.

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