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Gender: Male
Current location: New Jersey
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 24,189

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Committed Carbon Releases for the $7.2 Trillion in New Power Plants To Be Built in the Next 10...


Many people seem to believe that we're doing something about climate change, the claim usually being involved with with that offshore oil and gas drilling hellhole Denmark or that coal and gas dependent hellhole Germany, or horseshit about California, where they plan to shut their single largest climate change gas free piece of infrastructure, the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant.

It's all nonsense. We are doing nothing but marketing fossil fuels with pretty pictures of (destructive) wind turbines and similar garbage, like the future toxicological nightmare represented by solar cells.

As I noted recently in this space, despite our delusion, concentrations of the dangerous fossil fuel waste carbon dioxide in the planetary atmosphere is just shy of 412 ppm, after being just shy of 388 just ten years ago.

The rate of accumulation of this dangerous fossil fuel waste is accelerating, not decelerating.

The following is from an open sourced paper in the primary scientific literature which I quote here for convenience.

The power sector is expected to invest about 7.2 trillion USD in power plants and transmission and distribution grids over the next decade (IEA 2016). The average expected lifetime of generators can range from 20–25 years for solar PV up to 70 years and longer for hydroelectric generators (EIA 2011, IEA 2016). Coal-, gas and oil-powered generators have a typical lifetime of between 35–40 years (Davis and Socolow 2014). These lifetimes probably represent only economic rather than technical lifetimes, however, since many power generators operate long beyond their expected end of life. The relatively long payback periods for such assets expose investments to the risk of future changes in economic and regulatory conditions. Changes in input prices, the competitive landscape, or regulation can have large impacts on the profitability and economic viability of such assets, before they have a chance to pay their investment back (Caldecott et al 2017). These long lifetimes mean that any investment made today in carbon dioxide (CO2) emitting infrastructure will have a considerable effect on the ability to achieve required CO2 emission reductions in the future—even if these desired reductions are many years away (Davis et al 2010, Rozenberg et al 2015).

The full paper, again open sourced, is here: Committed emissions from existing and planned power plants and asset stranding required to meet the Paris Agreement (Alexander Pfeiffer, Cameron Hepburn, Adrien Vogt-Schilb and Ben Caldecott, Environmental Research Letters, Volume 13, Number 5)

There's no reason for me to quote any more of it; if you're interested, you can read it yourself.

In 2018 dollars, the Oyster Creek Nuclear Reactor, where I live in New Jersey, and due to shut this year, 10 years before its license expires, cost $576 million to build. (Around $90 million in 1969 dollars.) Ground was broken in 1965 and the plant came on line in 1969. It's rated power in 619 MW, and it was built by engineers who had very poor access to computing power compared to what we have today; much of its design certainly involved slide rules.

It's capacity utilization in 2017 was 102%, meaning that it produced 19.9 petajoules of energy last year, or 37.7% as much energy as the 9,452 commissioned and decommissioned wind turbines in that offshore oil and gas drilling hellhole Denmark and did so in a single small building.

If we were as smart and as competent as the nuclear engineers who designed the Oyster Creek Nuclear Reactor using technology from the 1950's and early 1960's, for 7.2 trillion dollars in the next ten years, we could build 12,600 Oyster Creek Nuclear Reactors.

If they performed as the existing Oyster Creek Nuclear Reactor did in 2017, they would produce about 252 exajoules of energy, as compared to the 576 exajoules humanity was consuming annually as of 2016.

IEA 2017 World Energy Outlook, Table 2.2 page 79 (I have converted MTOE in the original table to the SI unit exajoules in this text.)

In 2016, 81% of the 576 exajoules produced by humanity was provided by dangerous fossil fuels, up from the 80% of 420 exajoules humanity was consuming in 2000. Of course, avoiding the "percent talk" so popular among advocates of so called "renewable energy" the situation is even worse. In absolute terms, since 2000, world consumption of dangerous fossil fuels has increased (from the already unacceptable 337 exajoules) by an additional 130 exajoules.

The Oyster Creek Nuclear Reactor saved lives that would have otherwise been lost to air pollution, but nobody gives a shit. It will shut in October, and people will die as a result.

My son is studying to be an engineer right now, and I know from my vicarious enjoyment of his work that he has far better tools than 1950's and 1960's engineers had, but somehow, it's difficult to explain exactly, despite historically haven proved to be very affordable - my electricity rates here were very affordable until some assholes started hanging solar cells off telephone poles around here - in recent decades, nuclear energy has been declared "too expensive." (Tomorrow my son will be flying to France to do research. France has electricity rates that are less than half those of Denmark, although there is a movement afoot to destroy French power generation infrastructure to make it as stupid as Denmark's.)

Go figure.

Go figure.

I imagine it is "cheaper" to completely destroy the planetary atmosphere by upping the concentration of the dangerous fossil fuel waste by more than 20 ppm every ten years.

We live in an interesting, if toxic and most likely doomed world, the dooming being an outgrowth of cancerous stupidity. Too bad the cancer of ignorance isn't one of the curable cancers apparently.

Have a nice weekend.
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