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Renewable energy, Elon Musk, and Saudi Arabia
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speculator Offline
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Renewable energy, Elon Musk, and Saudi Arabia
Intro

Hi fellas. I have been a forum lurker for a long time and finally decided to join the party. Let me tell you that I am a staunch Trump supporter and consider myself a pragmatic conservative. I am a naturalized US citizen (former asylee) who loves this country and understands that this is the first and last place on earth that values personal freedom. There is simply no other place like this, and we need to be vigilant in order not to lose this gift. I will try to provide you with some scientifically solid talking points that you can use to demolish leftist propagandists and their minions. I took several advanced classes in physical energy, electricity, and natural resources in one of the most prestigious institutions in SoCal. My professor, a very respected scholar in his field, opened my eyes to the big fraud that is global warming.

Renewable energy

After Trump withdrew from the scam that’s called Paris accords, leftists went apeshit crazy. Surprisingly, some of you think that the days of hydrocarbons are counted and we should jump on the bandwagon of renewable energy. Capturing that energy is one thing, storing it is completely different. 99% of stored energy is in the form of elevated water behind dams. The remaining 1% is in lithium-ion and other batteries. When we capture energy from renewable sources, we don’t have enough storage capacity to harness it. It is either used or wasted. Additionally, when renewable energy exceeds 25% of total energy produced, it can congest and disrupt the grid. This is a big problem in LA County right now and if you want to sell your extra energy from solar panels to utilities, you need to pay a fee adopted last year. As you can see, we can’t indefinitely grow the number of solar panels and windmills. On the other hand, the carbon-carbon bonds in hydrocarbons are the best and most efficient form of energy storage. You just oxidize them when you need energy.

There is another phenomenon called the duck curve. There is a timing imbalance between peak energy demand and renewable energy production. The highest demand occurs after sunset when solar power is no longer available. This, combined with the unreliability of renewable energy sources (i.e. shifting winds, cloudy days, solar eclipse, etc.), make them a pain in the ass.

There has not been a disruptive change in the field of batteries, only incremental improvements. We still use the same chemicals (i.e. lithium, lead, zinc, nickel, carbon, etc.) and they are more harmful to the environment. The most efficient ones are lithium-based. However, lithium is in limited supply and is found mainly in South America. With current rates of production it will last until 2100. If we increase the rate, it will last only a couple of decades. In terms of energy density, methane/LNG/diesel/gasoline have specific energy ranging from 13,000 to 15,500 Watt-hour per kilogram. In comparison, lithium-ion batteries have specific energy ranging from 150 to 264 Watt-hour per kilogram. There is no way that batteries will become a viable alternative to hydrocarbons in our lifetime.

Elon Musk

This guy is Charles Ponzi of our times. I am fascinated by his ability to fool so many “smart” people. Tesla is the biggest corporate fraud of 21st century. How can a company that has not made a single dollar of profit throughout its existence be more valuable than Ford or GM? Tesla loses about $13k per each car produced. Elon is not a visionary but he can certainly tell fantasies that seem feasible. Without government and investor cash, his house of cards will collapse and crash this leftist utopian nonsense. I give his company six more months until his promise to deliver 500k Model 3s is broken and he can’t weasel out from that fiasco. This is the next big short and if you can predict the timing, you will become a multimillionaire.

Saudi Arabia

Unfortunately, we don’t have and won’t have any alternatives to hydrocarbons. Trump is not stupid and his choice to visit those barbarians wasn’t an accident. World’s proven oil reserves stand at 2,100 billion barrels and annual consumption is about 35 billion barrels. If nothing changes, we have exactly 60 years of oil left. However, when China, India, and Africa complete their industrialization and become service-based economies even the tripling of oil reserves won’t be enough to postpone the catastrophe. Next year US annual oil production will exceed 10 million barrels per day, a new record. That amounts to 3.65 billion barrels a year. In 10-15 years, we will run out of oil. That’s why all eyes will shift to the North Pole.

Rusophobia is a direct result of this situation. We can’t survive without Russia’s oil and gas fields. Arab oil will win some time, but the battle for the North Pole is not in the distant future. In this context, natural gas and coal can save the day. When people say that coal is dead, they are talking out of their ass. Coal is the future you morons. The elites are not stupid and they want to preserve the planet through population reduction, restriction of movement, diets, and travel. Less movement means less energy consumption. Vegan lifestyle, yoga, tree-huggers, terrorism are all means to achieve this goal. In conclusion, winter is coming and there is little we can do about it.


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06-06-2017 10:00 PM
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RoastBeefCurtains4Me Offline
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RE: Renewable energy, Elon Musk, and Saudi Arabia
This is a really good post. However, a long term lurker would know about the requirement for 50 posts to post in the politics thread (an easy threshold to meet).

Based on this strong post, I hope the OP only gets a warning.

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06-06-2017 10:09 PM
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MidJack Offline
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RE: Renewable energy, Elon Musk, and Saudi Arabia
Long energy discussion with no mention of nuclear.

Seems legit.
06-06-2017 11:10 PM
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speculator Offline
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RE: Renewable energy, Elon Musk, and Saudi Arabia
(06-06-2017 11:10 PM)MidJack Wrote:  Long energy discussion with no mention of nuclear.

Seems legit.

Nuclear energy is another overrated "renewable" source. First of all, at current rates world uranium reserves will last another 90 years. Currently, the world's total annual energy consumption is roughly 18.5 Terawatts and we need about 18,500 conventional nuclear power plants to supply that energy. There are only 449 commercial nuclear power plants in the world and 60 new ones are under construction. If those 18,500 nuclear power plants were built, the uranium reserves would dwindle in less than 5 years. Using more efficient nuclear power plants will add 5-10 extra years.
06-06-2017 11:43 PM
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The Beast1 Offline
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RE: Renewable energy, Elon Musk, and Saudi Arabia
(06-06-2017 11:43 PM)speculator Wrote:  
(06-06-2017 11:10 PM)MidJack Wrote:  Long energy discussion with no mention of nuclear.

Seems legit.

Nuclear energy is another overrated "renewable" source. First of all, at current rates world uranium reserves will last another 90 years. Currently, the world's total annual energy consumption is roughly 18.5 Terawatts and we need about 18,500 conventional nuclear power plants to supply that energy. There are only 449 commercial nuclear power plants in the world and 60 new ones are under construction. If those 18,500 nuclear power plants were built, the uranium reserves would dwindle in less than 5 years. Using more efficient nuclear power plants will add 5-10 extra years.

[Citation Needed]

This is the first time i've ever heard this claimed before.
(This post was last modified: 06-07-2017 12:28 AM by The Beast1.)
06-07-2017 12:27 AM
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RE: Renewable energy, Elon Musk, and Saudi Arabia
(06-07-2017 12:27 AM)The Beast1 Wrote:  
(06-06-2017 11:43 PM)speculator Wrote:  
(06-06-2017 11:10 PM)MidJack Wrote:  Long energy discussion with no mention of nuclear.

Seems legit.

Nuclear energy is another overrated "renewable" source. First of all, at current rates world uranium reserves will last another 90 years. Currently, the world's total annual energy consumption is roughly 18.5 Terawatts and we need about 18,500 conventional nuclear power plants to supply that energy. There are only 449 commercial nuclear power plants in the world and 60 new ones are under construction. If those 18,500 nuclear power plants were built, the uranium reserves would dwindle in less than 5 years. Using more efficient nuclear power plants will add 5-10 extra years.

[Citation Needed]

This is the first time i've ever heard this claimed before.

Here's a discussion from the World Nuclear Association on the subject.

The 90 years figure is out of context.

Quote:Current usage is about 63,000 tU/yr. Thus the world's present measured resources of uranium (5.7 Mt) in the cost category less than three times present spot prices and used only in conventional reactors, are enough to last for about 90 years. This represents a higher level of assured resources than is normal for most minerals. Further exploration and higher prices will certainly, on the basis of present geological knowledge, yield further resources as present ones are used up.An initial uranium exploration cycle was military-driven, over 1945 to 1958. The second cycle was about 1974 to 1983, driven by civil nuclear power and in the context of a perception that uranium might be scarce. There was relatively little uranium exploration between 1985 and 2003, so the significant increase in exploration effort since then could conceivably double the known economic resources despite adjustments due to increasing costs. In the two years 2005-06 the world’s known uranium resources tabulated above and graphed below increased by 15% (17% in the cost category to $80/kgU). World uranium exploration expenditure is increasing, as the the accompanying graph makes clear. In the third uranium exploration cycle from 2004 to the end of 2013 about US$ 16 billion was spent on uranium exploration and deposit delineation on over 600 projects. In this period over 400 new junior companies were formed or changed their orientation to raise over US$ 2 billion for uranium exploration. Much of this was spent on previously-known deposits. All this was in response to increased uranium price in the market and the prospect of firm future prices.The price of a mineral commodity also directly determines the amount of known resources which are economically extractable. On the basis of analogies with other metal minerals, a doubling of price from present levels could be expected to create about a tenfold increase in measured economic resources, over time, due both to increased exploration and the reclassification of resources regarding what is economically recoverable.This is in fact suggested in the IAEA-NEA figures if those covering estimates of all conventional resources (U as main product or major by-product) are considered – another 7.3 to 8.4 million tonnes (beyond the 5.9 Mt known economic resources), which takes us past 200 years' supply at today's rate of consumption. This still ignores the technological factor mentioned below. It also omits unconventional resources (U recoverable as minor by-product) such as phosphate/ phosphorite deposits (up to 22 Mt U), black shales (schists – 5.2 Mt U) and lignite (0.7 Mt U), and even seawater (up to 4000 Mt), which would be uneconomic to extract in the foreseeable future, although Japanese trials using a polymer braid have suggested costs a bit over $600/kgU. US work has developed this using polyethylene fibres coated with amidoxime, which binds uranium so that it can be stripped with acid. Research proceeds.

That is, present stocks of uranium are calculated on present prices. The 90 years figure assumes that the world only uses the uranium that's easy and cheap to get at. But as the uranium price goes up, alternative methods of recovering uranium become viable; counterintuitively, as demand increases, supply gets larger -- because more people go looking for uranium as a profitable venture and more people look to alternative methods of extracting it. It's a relatively common element in comparison to, say, gold.

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(This post was last modified: 06-07-2017 01:11 AM by Paracelsus.)
06-07-2017 01:09 AM
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Handsome Creepy Eel Offline
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Post: #7
RE: Renewable energy, Elon Musk, and Saudi Arabia
Speculator, what about Thorium reactors?

"Imagine" by HCE | Hitler reacts to Battle of Montreal | An alternative use for squid that has never crossed your mind before
06-07-2017 01:10 AM
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RE: Renewable energy, Elon Musk, and Saudi Arabia
These discussions always get blurry because of how arbitrary energy measurement can be, but if you're going to count dammed water as stored energy then you also have to count refined fissile materials and petroleum products that have been extracted but not yet consumed.

Hydro is not free. You have to build and maintain a dam just like a nuclear reactor or oil rig. One technology may be cleaner or return more on energy invested, but none are zero-cost.

Since OP went immediately to the extreme case of exclusive nuclear, even though no one suggested it, it sounds like he or his super world famous professor are vulnerable to the black-and-white thinking that often dominates academic discussions on environment and energy.

The point of having nuclear and natural gas and coal and "green energy" (onerous as it is) is to have a diversity of energy sources and technologies so failure of one won't collapse an economy or civilization. Periodically some energy industries dominate others. For example, coal is out of favor right now, but in a global emergency Fischer-Tropsch could save the United States.

Either OP is fresh off some intense academics, in which case all of this can be forgiven, or we're about to learn that he actually has Q clearance and knows every secret behind US energy policy. Please be Little Dark NASA Test Pilot reincarnate.

(On the relative utility of nuclear power: If any base load denialists emerge in this thread I will laugh out loud.)
(This post was last modified: 06-07-2017 01:58 AM by MidJack.)
06-07-2017 01:26 AM
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RE: Renewable energy, Elon Musk, and Saudi Arabia
(06-07-2017 01:26 AM)MidJack Wrote:  Either OP is fresh off some intense academics, in which case all of this can be forgiven, or we're about to learn that he actually has Q clearance and knows every secret behind US energy policy. Please be Little Dark reincarnate.

That was NASA Test Pilot, not Little Dark.

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06-07-2017 01:43 AM
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RE: Renewable energy, Elon Musk, and Saudi Arabia
Unfortunately Trump administration already said that they are going only to renegotiate the Paris accord and sign again. So - the entire thing seems to be more charade, than reality.
06-07-2017 02:45 AM
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RE: Renewable energy, Elon Musk, and Saudi Arabia
(06-06-2017 10:00 PM)speculator Wrote:  Renewable energy

When we capture energy from renewable sources, we don’t have enough storage capacity to harness it. It is either used or wasted. Additionally, when renewable energy exceeds 25% of total energy produced, it can congest and disrupt the grid. This is a big problem in LA County right now and if you want to sell your extra energy from solar panels to utilities, you need to pay a fee adopted last year. As you can see, we can’t indefinitely grow the number of solar panels and windmills. On the other hand, the carbon-carbon bonds in hydrocarbons are the best and most efficient form of energy storage. You just oxidize them when you need energy.

There is another phenomenon called the duck curve. There is a timing imbalance between peak energy demand and renewable energy production. The highest demand occurs after sunset when solar power is no longer available. This, combined with the unreliability of renewable energy sources (i.e. shifting winds, cloudy days, solar eclipse, etc.), make them a pain in the ass.

I don't care about global warming or the Paris treaty but those statements are more an opinion than anything else.
06-07-2017 03:09 AM
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RE: Renewable energy, Elon Musk, and Saudi Arabia
(06-07-2017 03:09 AM)BoiBoi Wrote:  
(06-06-2017 10:00 PM)speculator Wrote:  Renewable energy

When we capture energy from renewable sources, we don’t have enough storage capacity to harness it. It is either used or wasted. Additionally, when renewable energy exceeds 25% of total energy produced, it can congest and disrupt the grid. This is a big problem

I don't care about global warming or the Paris treaty but those statements are more an opinion than anything else.

His 'opinion' is accurate. I work in an industry to deals often with renewables. I run the numbers on them constantly. Everything the OP stated above is accurate. I have a draft response to a similar thread, but have been so slammed at work the past two months, I haven't had time to put a cogent post (complete with links) together.

I will say though that 'renewables' destabilizing the grid is a major issue. MIT put out a report about it a few years ago. The US problems are minor compared to what Australia and part of Europe have been experiencing.

A lot of trouble for very little power. Here in NJ, our rates went up 50% almost a decade ago to pay for solar PV. I think NJ now has the highest density (installed watts per square mile) of any state in the nation. However, solar only produced 0.7% of all the electricity generated in the state (nuclear and natural gas produced the bulk). So people here are pushed into energy poverty to pay for something that just doesn't work very well.

Energy storage? On a cost basis, a non-starter based on the life cycle costs of the batteries (batteries have to have heating and cooling systems).
06-07-2017 06:11 AM
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RE: Renewable energy, Elon Musk, and Saudi Arabia
(06-06-2017 10:00 PM)speculator Wrote:  Renewable energy

Additionally, when renewable energy exceeds 25% of total energy produced, it can congest and disrupt the grid.
This is a big problem in LA County right now and if you want to sell your extra energy from solar panels to utilities, you need to pay a fee adopted last year.

Could you please elaborate this?
Is 25% a fixed number? Could it go up in the future to 30-35-40-50% with tech advancement? 80% of power by "portuguese"(chinese owned) EDP is renewable (mostly water, sun and wind) and we do not have disruptions (at least i do not feel them).
What do you mean with congest and disrupt the grid?
What kind of fee is that?
06-07-2017 06:22 AM
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RE: Renewable energy, Elon Musk, and Saudi Arabia
I was originally going to post a new thread but OP got to it first so I will just post my thoughts here.

What is the best way to power our cars and our economy in the coming decades? This is an important question, not only for those in the energy industry but anyone looking to invest, buy a car, install solar panels on their house/factory/office to save on utility costs, or anyone that is interested in geopolitics and understands how much energy affects international relations. I think it is important to have an honest nonpartisan non ideological discussion about alternative energy and electric vehicles and their viability as well their impact on our economy as a whole.

Ok, let's get this out of the way first - I am a global warming skeptic. Who knows - maybe there is some climate change taking place, but I'm not convinced that humans are the cause, nor do I think that policy can have a significant impact, nor do I think that our models can actually predict how temperatures will change. Even completely discounting the possibility of global warming and climate change, I think these new technologies merit serious consideration.

So, let's leave global warming out of this discussion completely when talking about the pros and cons of alternative energy and instead focus on TWO main questions:

1) Given current technology trends, is it likely that UNSUBSIDIZED alternative energy and electric cars will beat their hydrocarbon competitors in terms of cost, convenience, efficiency, and scalability in the next decade or two? Are oil/gas/coal companies making a bad business decision in investing in new oil fields, coal mines, and gas pipelines? Should we short stocks in traditional energy companies that are doubling down on hydrocarbons? If you were deciding a college major or considering a career change, would it be worth investing in skills centered around oil/gas/coal extraction and burning?

And a second issue:

2) On principle, should the government play an active role in pushing this transition? Should governments account for externalities and impose a tax on carbon emitters that pollute the air? Should the government subsidize people who buy electric cars or install solar panels? Should the government fund basic R&D in alternative energy and storage technology? Should the government try to build a nationwide smart grid to link up alternative energy power sources with population centers? Should the government join international treaties to push this transition to occur even sooner?

I think these two big sets of questions accurately frame the discussion so that we can think about what these technologies mean for us and how we should treat them.

Hydrocarbons have been powering our economy for over a century. Why should we change? If it isn't broken, there is nothing to fix!

I'm going to lay out below several considerations why I think alternative energy and EVs will beat hydrocarbons and why the government should push these technologies and prepare for their ubiquity.

1) Cost - alternative energy from wind and solar is dropping drastically in price. Unsubsidized, it is now over 200x cheaper in terms of dollars per kilowatt hour than it was a few decades ago. Now, it is actually cheaper, unsubsidized, than gas or coal in many locations. As solar gets cheaper and panels get more efficient, it gets more and more competitive with coal and gas across a wider range of weather conditions. Tesla's solar roof now costs the same as installing a regular roof, so it's essentially free energy!

2) Independence and infrastructure resilience - in the event of war or a terrorist attack or a major ecological disruption, by having energy generation widely distributed among household solar roofs, utility scale solar, and wind, our grid becomes much more resilient to any type of power disruption. Absent global nuclear annihilation, the sun will keep shining and the wind will keep blowing in the areas where they are usually present. Right now, one anti-government person living in a house in a sunny location with a few large scale batteries (costing total 5,000$ or so) can pretty much live off the grid for most of the year. I think that's pretty amazing. Developing countries from India to Africa with corrupt governments and shitty infrastructure can derive huge benefit if individuals or single towns can give the middle finger to the central government and take care of their energy needs on their own by harnessing the sun and the wind. It's pretty amazing. I was recently in a medium sized city in a poor country visiting some friends, and the power went out. However, because they had solar panels attached to a battery, we were able to continue watching TV at night and had access to light for the 30 or so minutes that they needed to restore power. Batteries also contribute to grid stability by evening out demand spikes when appliances are turned on or energy sources rise and fall - it also allows consumers to save money by not purchasing electricity at peak prices.

3) Geopolitical considerations. Want to stop kissing up to the Saudis? Still pissed about how we toppled the regime in Iran, leading to the current regime? Want to stop trying to topple governments in the Middle East? Want to be completely outcome independent from what happens in Venezuela, the strait of Hormuz, or the south China Sea? Want to not remain beholden to Putin for gas during the winter? Alternative energy is your answer! Asia and Europe still depend on these volatile regions for oil and gas. While the U.S. is producing more of its own oil and gas, we remain the #1 power on the planet and it is unrealistic to think that we can completely close ourselves off from energy conflict in the rest of the world. Our oil companies will want to drill in Saudi, and we will still be pressured to bomb Syria in order to oppose new pipelines there. The number of geopolitical headaches that would be removed if most countries become energy independent is huge. Saudi Arabia is the number one funder of jihadist ideology on the planet, with significant contributions from Kuwait and Qatar and UAE. If oil and gas demand goes down, these countries will all go bankrupt and madrassa funding dries up.

4) Driverless electric cars are a game changer - the advent or driverless cars promises to make the entire concept of car ownership irrelevant. You won't have to worry about charging cars - they will do it on their own. Deaths from accidents will plummet. Maintenance costs will drop significantly. Parking lots will no longer be necessary. Cities are now realizing that they have to start planning for this. Pittsburg, in a region that depends on traditional energy, is actually testing Uber driverless cars in their city.

5) Economic competition. Both India and China are investing heavily in these technologies. Both of these countries have beaten their emissions targets per the Paris agreement. These countries also happen to be major economic competitors and potential export targets for our LNG. However, if they both are able to become energy dependent in the future then we will no longer have clients for our LNG. These countries will also likely export alternative-energy related technology (EVs, solar panels, and batteries) to third countries that are interested in this technology. You can hate on Tesla all you want, but let me assure you that Chinese cities are falling over themselves in offering incentives and tax breaks for Tesla to build its next gigafactory there. The Chinese are also trying to build their own national champions for batteries and electric vehicles.

6) Lobbyists against clean energy. Let's not mince words - the oil and gas companies are firmly part of the global establishment and there were plenty of Trump hating senators and companies that were against the Paris agreement. These companies have their own lobbying structure and are fully part of the swamp. Alternative energy is supported by liberals and annoying SJWs, I freely admit that. But please don't pretend that oil companies have not had disproportionate influence over our foreign policy in the last few decades.

Here are some arguments for why my analysis above is far too optimistic.

1) Country and region specific considerations. Obviously each region will have to look at what . Europe, for example, doesn't have the same solar resources as Morocco, but they do have a lot of wind. They are also quite dependent on imported oil and gas. The United States is rich in gas and is getting more and more oil independent. At the same time, some regions of the US are extremely rich in solar and wind, but they are far from population centers. Overall, I would say India is in the best position in terms of having access to solar energy and the motivation to pursue it due to pollution concerns and dependence on imported hydrocarbons.

Point being is that are the countries with the most to gain from alternative energy actually have access to these alternative energy sources? Not necessarily. However, I would say that there are regions here and there where it makes sense for them to go to solar immediately. There are other regions that need another 50% drop in solar and battery prices before it makes sense. And there are some regions where they need a 75% drop in solar and battery prices, and also need to include wind before renewables beats gas and coal. So obviously for many regions it doesn't make sense to switch now, and it may not even make sense to subsidize now.

2) Transmission issues - even within a single country, the regions where energy is needed is not the same as where the energy is available. National smart grids will have to be built in order to move this energy around efficiently and account for variation. This costs in the hundreds of billions. However, it will generate savings in the trillions through linking up power consumers to free energy from sun and wind rich regions and eliminating the need for gas pipelines. China is the best example of a country which has built a ton of renewable capacity (mainly in the depopulated west) but it is wasted because it can't get to the energy hungry eastern provinces.

3) Storage issues. The main complaint about alternative energy is that it is inconsistent. Wind drops, days end and there are clouds. Without way overbuilding renewable capacity and combining it with a large scale smart grid with peaker plants, the only other way around this is massive storage, both in individual homes and utility scale. Save the energy in the battery when it's sunny or you are not using energy, use it when the weather doesn't cooperate. Unfortunately, it will take time to produce the number of batteries we need for massive scale, and it is still a bit pricey. Prices are dropping, but it will take a few years before it makes sense.

So what's my conclusion? I think alot of the posters above are right - renewables are a money sink and don't make sense for a lot of regions. But this is the situation now, and ten years from now things will be totally different. Government may have to play a role in taking on some of the costs of the infrastructure for renewables in order to jumpstart things, but governments have ALWAYS provided public goods, like defense, space exploration, infrastructure, throughout history in order to pay for some goods and services that the free market is not equipped to handle. I think alternative energy infrastructure is part of that. In the long run it will pay off.

Ultimately no ones knows what the future will bring, but we can look at the current trends, extrapolate them, then decide what we should do now to put us in the best position ten or twenty years down the line.

And remember, this is all assuming global warming is bs.
06-07-2017 10:24 AM
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RE: Renewable energy, Elon Musk, and Saudi Arabia
(06-07-2017 06:11 AM)Hell_Is_Like_Newark Wrote:  
(06-07-2017 03:09 AM)BoiBoi Wrote:  
(06-06-2017 10:00 PM)speculator Wrote:  Renewable energy

When we capture energy from renewable sources, we don’t have enough storage capacity to harness it. It is either used or wasted. Additionally, when renewable energy exceeds 25% of total energy produced, it can congest and disrupt the grid. This is a big problem

I don't care about global warming or the Paris treaty but those statements are more an opinion than anything else.

His 'opinion' is accurate. I work in an industry to deals often with renewables. I run the numbers on them constantly. Everything the OP stated above is accurate. I have a draft response to a similar thread, but have been so slammed at work the past two months, I haven't had time to put a cogent post (complete with links) together.

I will say though that 'renewables' destabilizing the grid is a major issue. MIT put out a report about it a few years ago. The US problems are minor compared to what Australia and part of Europe have been experiencing.

A lot of trouble for very little power. Here in NJ, our rates went up 50% almost a decade ago to pay for solar PV. I think NJ now has the highest density (installed watts per square mile) of any state in the nation. However, solar only produced 0.7% of all the electricity generated in the state (nuclear and natural gas produced the bulk). So people here are pushed into energy poverty to pay for something that just doesn't work very well.

Energy storage? On a cost basis, a non-starter based on the life cycle costs of the batteries (batteries have to have heating and cooling systems).

There are integrated solutions which allow for very high percentages of renewables, check the island of Graciosa for a case study. This stuff is scalable. It all boils down to what kind of resources you have available and how much they cost. Obviously, PV in NJ is a joke.
(This post was last modified: 06-07-2017 10:56 AM by BoiBoi.)
06-07-2017 10:24 AM
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Post: #16
RE: Renewable energy, Elon Musk, and Saudi Arabia
This is a really interesting video. Perhaps a bit too optimistic, but he does present a very convincing argument for the layman. If anyone can refute him (which no one did on the other thread because no one took the time to watch the video) then I am more than happy to be skeptical of his claims.





Here are the main points:

1) Disruption can happen fast, it can take many forms, and it is often difficult to predict. Cell phones disrupted traditional phone providers. The car disrupted the horse in a little more than a decade. Uber disrupted taxis in a few years. Kodak went bankrupt in just a few years.

2) Exponential growth is powerful. For the same cost, computing power has doubled every two years. We can see the power of exponential growth in everyday life. Sensors are a thousand times more cost efficient than they were just seven years ago!

3) Battery costs have dropped 14% per year over the last 15 years. Costs half every 5 years. Battery costs drops have accelerated recently to a 16% drop per year. Tesla's gigafactory alone will drop battery costs by 30-50%. This is driven by more efficient supply chains, scale manufacturing, technology advancement, etc. By 2020, one day of storage will cost just 1.20$. Arizona charges 40 cents extra for energy during peak pricing hours, leading to extra energy costs of 2.00 dollars per day. With batteries, that 80 cents now goes into your pocket every day. With utility scale storage we will no longer need peaker electricity generators.

4) Electric cars are better and more energy efficient than ICE cars. They are 10x cheaper to charge on a per kilometer basis and cheaper to maintain. Tesla offers an infinite mile warranty.
The Chevy Bolt from 2012 to 2017 lowered the per-kilowatt hour cost of its battery by 70%! Unsubsidized, it is 37,500$. That is within the range of a high end sedan. The bolt will have far lower gas and maintenance costs as well.

5) Self driving cars are getting far cheaper due to dramatic cost drops in LIDAR technology - 70,000 to 250$ in 5 years!

6) Car as a service will start replacing car ownership - 96% of the time our cars are parked! Carpooling can dramatically cut the cost of uber rides. Parking is now obselete - it will be cheaper to use Uber than to actually drive a car.

By 2030, all vehicles will be electric, self driving, and shared

7) Solar is getting super cheap. It has gone down by 200x since 1970!!! Installations have doubled every two years!!! Just 7 more doublings - 14 years - till solar is 100%. Obviously skeptics will say that it's easy to grow when they're such a small % of the energy mix and there are subsidies.

But guess what - solar costs are going down while other energy sources are NOT getting cheaper! There are also new business models that allow homeowners to pay nothing and companies install solar on their own. Unsubsidized solar will have grid parity in 80% of world's markets this year. Solar adoption follows an S curve just like any other technology. In 2022, solar + storage will be cheaper than transmission. Solar is already cheaper than transmission in Australia.

Solar at 5 cents per kilowatt is the equivalent of oil at 10$ per barrel.


How has he done on predictions in the past?

in 2012 he predicted that prices for Li-ion Batteries will drop by 14% a year.
In his 2014 presentation he corrected his assumption to 16% based on data from the market.

Now with the numbers we have from 2016 he corrected again: Battery prices are dropping by 20%!

In 2010 he predicted that EV's would begin to become main stream in 2016, Musk unveiled the model 3 last year and looks to be on course to start production later this year, so it looks like he is at least somewhat legitimate in his record, despite his self-interest in pushing his theories.
06-07-2017 10:33 AM
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Post: #17
RE: Renewable energy, Elon Musk, and Saudi Arabia
Arado, thanks for taking the time to post that.

A few notes:
1.) The cost of self-driving cars is the same as it was several years ago. You couldn't buy one then, and you can't buy one now. I'm putting this up first, even though it's a relatively minor point, because it's evident of a pattern I see in your writing: a lot of unsourced claims, and what's far worse a lot of "The trends we're seeing right now will continue indefinitely, and this will produce the outcome I'm talking about." (This has a name, but I can't remember it right now.) All of your figures are coming from extremely biased sources who want to sell you something. (Musk in particular is known as something of a bullshitter, and his company's going to be in bad shape if/when Trump cuts his gov't subsidies.)

Exponential trends don't continue forever. We saw this with computer processors, which are more or less stuck as the same level they were 4 or 5 years ago. Eventually you start running into hard physical limits, and progress comes to a halt.

2.) If you're right, there's no particular need for the US gov't to do anything. If solar power ever does get comparable to oil power in price, then market forces will take over, and investment will swarm into the sector. Every VC in the country will be pouring his money into it. There's no danger in "losing out" to China or India. (India in particular needs to invest in toilet technology before it starts putting money into high end batteries.)

So if you're right, great! I wouldn't mind driving around a cool electric car and getting my power from a solar roof. But there's no need for the US gov't to do anything special if you are, and if you aren't, there's no point in us investing in it.
(This post was last modified: 06-07-2017 11:29 AM by SamuelBRoberts.)
06-07-2017 11:11 AM
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Post: #18
RE: Renewable energy, Elon Musk, and Saudi Arabia
(06-07-2017 01:09 AM)Paracelsus Wrote:  
(06-07-2017 12:27 AM)The Beast1 Wrote:  
(06-06-2017 11:43 PM)speculator Wrote:  
(06-06-2017 11:10 PM)MidJack Wrote:  Long energy discussion with no mention of nuclear.

Seems legit.

Nuclear energy is another overrated "renewable" source. First of all, at current rates world uranium reserves will last another 90 years. Currently, the world's total annual energy consumption is roughly 18.5 Terawatts and we need about 18,500 conventional nuclear power plants to supply that energy. There are only 449 commercial nuclear power plants in the world and 60 new ones are under construction. If those 18,500 nuclear power plants were built, the uranium reserves would dwindle in less than 5 years. Using more efficient nuclear power plants will add 5-10 extra years.

[Citation Needed]

This is the first time i've ever heard this claimed before.

Here's a discussion from the World Nuclear Association on the subject.

The 90 years figure is out of context.

Quote:Current usage is about 63,000 tU/yr. Thus the world's present measured resources of uranium (5.7 Mt) in the cost category less than three times present spot prices and used only in conventional reactors, are enough to last for about 90 years. This represents a higher level of assured resources than is normal for most minerals. Further exploration and higher prices will certainly, on the basis of present geological knowledge, yield further resources as present ones are used up.An initial uranium exploration cycle was military-driven, over 1945 to 1958. The second cycle was about 1974 to 1983, driven by civil nuclear power and in the context of a perception that uranium might be scarce. There was relatively little uranium exploration between 1985 and 2003, so the significant increase in exploration effort since then could conceivably double the known economic resources despite adjustments due to increasing costs. In the two years 2005-06 the world’s known uranium resources tabulated above and graphed below increased by 15% (17% in the cost category to $80/kgU). World uranium exploration expenditure is increasing, as the the accompanying graph makes clear. In the third uranium exploration cycle from 2004 to the end of 2013 about US$ 16 billion was spent on uranium exploration and deposit delineation on over 600 projects. In this period over 400 new junior companies were formed or changed their orientation to raise over US$ 2 billion for uranium exploration. Much of this was spent on previously-known deposits. All this was in response to increased uranium price in the market and the prospect of firm future prices.The price of a mineral commodity also directly determines the amount of known resources which are economically extractable. On the basis of analogies with other metal minerals, a doubling of price from present levels could be expected to create about a tenfold increase in measured economic resources, over time, due both to increased exploration and the reclassification of resources regarding what is economically recoverable.This is in fact suggested in the IAEA-NEA figures if those covering estimates of all conventional resources (U as main product or major by-product) are considered – another 7.3 to 8.4 million tonnes (beyond the 5.9 Mt known economic resources), which takes us past 200 years' supply at today's rate of consumption. This still ignores the technological factor mentioned below. It also omits unconventional resources (U recoverable as minor by-product) such as phosphate/ phosphorite deposits (up to 22 Mt U), black shales (schists – 5.2 Mt U) and lignite (0.7 Mt U), and even seawater (up to 4000 Mt), which would be uneconomic to extract in the foreseeable future, although Japanese trials using a polymer braid have suggested costs a bit over $600/kgU. US work has developed this using polyethylene fibres coated with amidoxime, which binds uranium so that it can be stripped with acid. Research proceeds.

That is, present stocks of uranium are calculated on present prices. The 90 years figure assumes that the world only uses the uranium that's easy and cheap to get at. But as the uranium price goes up, alternative methods of recovering uranium become viable; counterintuitively, as demand increases, supply gets larger -- because more people go looking for uranium as a profitable venture and more people look to alternative methods of extracting it. It's a relatively common element in comparison to, say, gold.

The 90 years number I used was the most optimistic one. That quote does not portray the real picture which is not very positive. First of all, there is a conflict of interest and you should take World Nuclear Association's numbers with a grain of salt. In this regard, Nuclear Energy Agency is more impartial and their numbers are not arbitrary projections. The total identified and inferred uranium resources have increased by a mere 0.1% since 2013 according to their most recent report. There is only 7.64 million tonnes of uranium left, both reasonably assured and inferred. And most of the inferred uranium is under Siberia's permafrost. This will last us 135 years at CURRENT RATES of consumption. Current rates will increase in near future and that 135 years will become 35 years in no time when India and China complete the construction of dozens of new nuclear power plants in the next five years.

https://www.oecd-nea.org/ndd/pubs/2016/7...m-2016.pdf
06-07-2017 11:22 AM
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RE: Renewable energy, Elon Musk, and Saudi Arabia
(06-07-2017 01:10 AM)Handsome Creepy Eel Wrote:  Speculator, what about Thorium reactors?

Although Thorium reactors are considered "safer", that is far from truth. Thorium is 3 times more abundant than uranium and that is the only advantage. You still need uranium or plutonium, as a source of neutrons, to bombard Thorium and transform it into Uranium 233. And the gamma rays produced meanwhile are very hard and expensive to contain. Plus, the melting point of thorium dioxide is the highest among oxides, 3,300 degree Celsius. And you use hydrocarbons to obtain that heat. In conclusion, you still need uranium and hydrocarbons to make this work.
06-07-2017 11:29 AM
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RE: Renewable energy, Elon Musk, and Saudi Arabia
I will try to answer the remaining questions in a single post.

@MidJack -- I could have counted refined fissile materials and petroproducts as an energy storage although they are not comparable to hydropower in terms of quantity and quality. But my main point was to underscore that energy captured from renewables cannot be stored in big volumes necessary to power cities like LA or NY. We simply can't create so much storing capacity. The 160-pound lithium-ion battery produces the same amount of energy as 1 liter of gasoline. We simply don't have enough lithium to create so many batteries. Have you seen the dimensions of Tesla's Powerpack 2? It weighs 3,600 lbs and is 218 in x 82 in x 131 in. We need millions of these oversized batteries to power LA or NY which is not feasible.

Coal is not falling out of favor anytime soon cause 40% of world energy comes from coal. Diversification of energy sources is very hard to implement because dollars are going to flow to the most profitable and least costly source. And with government intervention we have Solyndra. Easier said than done. You also mentioned Fischer-Tropsch model which definitely can't save the US in a global emergency. In this model you use other HYDROCARBONS or HYDROGEN to transform carbon monoxide into gasoline or kerosene. But if you have other hydrocarbons, what is the point of this very expensive and unstable process?

@BoiBoi -- My statements are not opinions but fact that you can look up for yourself. I will add some links to make it easier. Regarding the island of Graciosa, managing such a small grid is a piece of cake. You can't do the same for Tokyo or Mexico City cause there are too many factors to manage. Building a smart grid is not as easy as it sounds and requires huge capital investments. You basically need to build a new grid in 90% of locations.

@Wreckingball --25% is not a fixed number and it can fluctuate. If the renewable energy is consumed at the same time as it is produced, you won't notice any grid disruption even at 80% levels. But when there is a mismatch between energy production and consumption, the grid will fail. Look at the article below for reference.

http://www.latimes.com/local/politics/la...story.html

@Arado -- Capturing renewable energy is very easy and cheap. I completely agree with you on that point. I am very familiar with this topic cause my friend owns one of the biggest solar panel installation companies in the country. As you said, it is like installing a roof. The main issue is with energy storage. The first trillionaire will be the one who solves this problem. As I mentioned above, we need millions of huge batteries on every step of energy production to solve this problem which is not feasible. Renewable energy works on a small scale but for cities like LA you need more stable sources otherwise you will create a chaos.

The EU Commission Report on Energy Storage

Uranium Reserves
06-07-2017 12:52 PM
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Post: #21
RE: Renewable energy, Elon Musk, and Saudi Arabia
(06-07-2017 12:52 PM)speculator Wrote:  @BoiBoi -- My statements are not opinions but fact that you can look up for yourself. I will add some links to make it easier. Regarding the island of Graciosa, managing such a small grid is a piece of cake. You can't do the same for Tokyo or Mexico City cause there are too many factors to manage. Building a smart grid is not as easy as it sounds and requires huge capital investments. You basically need to build a new grid in 90% of locations.

There are parts in Denmark which have 100% renewables as we speak. Obviously, this won't happen on a large scale, but it is possible.
06-07-2017 01:06 PM
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Post: #22
RE: Renewable energy, Elon Musk, and Saudi Arabia
Arado, You lost me at point #1.

1) Cost - alternative energy from wind and solar is dropping drastically in price. Unsubsidized, it is now over 200x cheaper in terms of dollars per kilowatt hour than it was a few decades ago. Could be true. If it was $1,000,000 a few decades ago, now it's $5,000. I'd believe that. Now, it is actually cheaper, unsubsidized, than gas or coal in many locations. What? Not where I live. I'd like to see the stats behind this. And let's not ignore the amount of hydrocarbons required to simply build alternative energy sources. As solar gets cheaper and panels get more efficient, it gets more and more competitive with coal and gas across a wider range of weather conditions. Tesla's solar roof now costs the same as installing a regular roof, so it's essentially free energy! The first statement is purely guestimation. The Tesla solar roof costs the same? Let's see the numbers. Let's say rural Wisconsin, 1,500 square foot house, must withstand 50# snow loads. Quote out both ways. I highly doubt the price is the same.

And I do understand the point that our military is subsidizing oil to some extent.

Why don't people simply appreciate the almost unbelievable miracle that hydrocarbons provide for us. This is why I liked the OP so much. Hydrocarbons are, quite simply, amazing in their storage of energy. The way we've learned to hardness them has been a miracle for humanity.

“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”
(This post was last modified: 06-07-2017 01:38 PM by heavy.)
06-07-2017 01:35 PM
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RE: Renewable energy, Elon Musk, and Saudi Arabia
(06-07-2017 01:35 PM)heavy Wrote:  Arado, You lost me at point #1.

1) Cost - alternative energy from wind and solar is dropping drastically in price. Unsubsidized, it is now over 200x cheaper in terms of dollars per kilowatt hour than it was a few decades ago. Could be true. If it was $1,000,000 a few decades ago, now it's $5,000. I'd believe that. Now, it is actually cheaper, unsubsidized, than gas or coal in many locations. What? Not where I live. I'd like to see the stats behind this. And let's not ignore the amount of hydrocarbons required to simply build alternative energy sources. As solar gets cheaper and panels get more efficient, it gets more and more competitive with coal and gas across a wider range of weather conditions. Tesla's solar roof now costs the same as installing a regular roof, so it's essentially free energy! The first statement is purely guestimation. The Tesla solar roof costs the same? Let's see the numbers. Let's say rural Wisconsin, 1,500 square foot house, must withstand 50# snow loads. Quote out both ways. I highly doubt the price is the same.

And I do understand the point that our military is subsidizing oil to some extent.

Why don't people simply appreciate the almost unbelievable miracle that hydrocarbons provide for us. This is why I liked the OP so much. Hydrocarbons are, quite simply, amazing in their storage of energy. The way we've learned to hardness them has been a miracle for humanity.

Just look at this cost curve -
[Image: solar-price-installation-chart.jpg.662x0...-scale.jpg]

This is pretty amazing. Did you not read my post above? I said that solar is cheaper in many locations, not all locations. Obviously, when factoring in the price of solar you have to look at the total sun hours (how much power can be generated) against the cost of the panels and installation. As the weather conditions become less favorable, the power becomes more expensive.

Here is a location where solar is cheaper than coal - India, which, as I outlined above, would be the best place for solar to jump start right now.
https://qz.com/984656/solar-power-is-now...-no-sense/

Quote:In the last three months, solar tariffs have dropped by over 25%, with much of the recent action focused around Rajasthan’s Bhadla solar park, a 10,000-hectare facility on the edge of the Thar desert.
At an auction for 500 megawatt (MW) of capacity at the park on May 12, the state-run Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) managed to discover a record-low tariff of Rs2.44 per kilowatt-hour (kWh). The previous low was two days before that when tariffs hit Rs2.62 per kWh during auctions for another phase of Bhadla solar park.

At such rock-bottom prices, solar power is even cheaper than India’s coal-based thermal power plants. The country’s largest power company, NTPC, sells electricity from its coal-based generation units at a princely Rs3.20 per kWh.

Of course, there are issues with perhaps the companies overestimating how much money they will be able to make and therefore underbidding. And of course their situation is different from America.

You can't argue with the trends, though. Ten years ago this would have been unthinkable.

Now, to the Tesla roof - let's take a look.

[Image: Tesla_Solar_Roof_Cost.png]

How about that! Tesla roof is on par with other roofs. Obviously, this is for NEW roof installations. For houses currently in the market it doesn't make sense to remove your roof and install a new one - easier just to put up solar panels. However, for any new construction it seems like a Tesla roof is a no brainer. Get enough houses in a neighborhood to link up with Tesla roofs and a couple of powerwalls each, and boom, you have a neighborhood that can probably go electricity independent.

I'm not going to argue that hydrocarbons have not contributed a ton to human progress. They have, and it is amazing how much energy they pack in. However, just because it worked in the past doesn't mean we can't move on to something better eventually. Think for a bit about how much pain humanity has had to suffer because of the concentration of hydrocarbons in some countries as opposed to others.

Can you really estimate the costs?

I would put it in the tens of trillions, if you look at all the terrorism and fundamentalism coming out of the Middle East. Not only that, but the geopolitical tensions from the Strait of Hormuz to the south China sea, to gas pipeline tensions with Russia, added up over the decades since Japan bombed us over the oil embargo during world war 2, and all of the bullshit we've had to deal with since then. Our issues with Saudi are just a fraction.

All because we can't find a way to break free of these hydrocarbons. Don't you think it's at least worth it for governments to give it an honest try to give their people a chance to enjoy prosperity and cheap energy, free from the geopolitical wrangling of trying to get hydrocarbons from countries that hate them?

China and India are trying, and they will inspire dozens of other countries to follow their lead. I'd rather be taking the lead instead of clinging to the past and bowing to the Saudis.
06-08-2017 06:13 AM
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Post: #24
RE: Renewable energy, Elon Musk, and Saudi Arabia
(06-07-2017 01:09 AM)Paracelsus Wrote:  The 90 years figure is out of context.

That is, present stocks of uranium are calculated on present prices. The 90 years figure assumes that the world only uses the uranium that's easy and cheap to get at. But as the uranium price goes up, alternative methods of recovering uranium become viable; counterintuitively, as demand increases, supply gets larger -- because more people go looking for uranium as a profitable venture and more people look to alternative methods of extracting it. It's a relatively common element in comparison to, say, gold.

Yeah running out of uranium in the short-mid term is simply not a concern: the actual fuel costs associated with producing nuclear energy are so minuscule compared to the massive construction costs of a modern nuclear reactor that even a 10-fold increase in the uranium price would barely change the kilowatt-hour cost of electricity.

There are much more pressing issues in the nuclear industry.

First of all, the costs of building a nuclear reactor have only continued to increase over time due to standards of safety being held at a much higher bar after some of the unfortunate incidents that we have experienced in the past.

To expound on this somewhat, here is the WNA's definition of a generation 3/3+ nuclear reactor:
Quote:So-called third-generation reactors have:
-A standardised design for each type to expedite licensing, reduce capital cost and reduce construction time.
-A simpler and more rugged design, making them easier to operate and less vulnerable to operational upsets.
-Higher availability and longer operating life – typically 60 years.
-Further reduced possibility of core melt accidents.*
-Substantial grace period, so that following shutdown the plant requires no active intervention for (typically) 72 hours.
-Resistance to serious damage that would allow radiological release from an aircraft impact.
-Higher burn-up to use fuel more fully and efficiently and reduce the amount of waste.
Greater use of burnable absorbers ('poisons') to extend fuel life.

http://www.world-nuclear.org/information...ctors.aspx

The fact is that current producers of modern generation 3, 3+ nuclear reactors (modern, safer, more efficient designs) are woefully inadequate at keeping to their production schedules and budgets. Honestly it seems the world is facing a lack of expertise in building modern nuclear reactors that can be built in line with both the requirements for construction (cost and construction time), as well as for the objectives running of the reactors themselves (i.e. uptime of the plant: the percentage of the time in which the plant is running and producing electricity).

Case in point- the EPR reactors being built by EDF in Finland, France, and the UK.

In Finland:
Quote: Unit 3, an EPR reactor, is still under construction, but various problems with workmanship and supervision have created costly delays which have been the subject of an inquiry by the Finnish nuclear regulator Säteilyturvakeskus (STUK).[1] In December 2012, Areva estimated that the full cost of building the reactor will be about €8.5 billion, or almost three times the delivery price of €3 billion.[2][3] A license for a fourth reactor to be built at the site was granted by the Finnish parliament in July 2010,[4][5][6] but discontinued by the government in September 2014. TVO has the option to reapply for the license in the future.[7]

According to Financial Times in December 2014 construction of unit 3 has descended into farce as it is currently expected to open nine years late and several billions of euros over budget.[8]

In Flamanville in France:
Quote:First concrete was poured for the demonstration EPR reactor at the Flamanville Nuclear Power Plant on 6 December 2007.[47] As the name implies this will be the third nuclear reactor on the Flamanville site and the second instance of an EPR being built. Electrical output will be 1630 MWe (net)[6] and the project was planned to involve around €3.3 billion of capital expenditure from EDF.

In April 2015 Areva informed the French nuclear regulator ASN that anomalies had been detected in the reactor vessel steel, causing "lower than expected mechanical toughness values". Further tests are underway.[61] In July 2015 The Daily Telegraph reported that Areva had been aware of this problem since 2006.[62] In June 2015 multiple faults in cooling system safety valves were discovered by ASN.[63]

In September 2015 EDF announced that the estimated costs had escalated to €10.5 billion, and the start-up of the reactor was delayed to the fourth quarter of 2018.[46]

In April 2016 ASN announced that additional weak spots had been found in the reactor steel, and Areva and EDF responded that new tests would be conducted, though construction work would continue.[64]

In February 2017 the Financial Times stated the project was six years late and €7.2 billion over budget[65] while renewed delays in the construction of the EPR-reactors at Taishan Nuclear Power Plant prompted EDF to state that Flamanville 3 remains on schedule to start operations by the end of 2018, assuming it receives regulator approval

In the UK it's a similar story in the construction of the Hinkley Point C nuclear reactor (same reactor model)- years behind schedule, billions over budget, and requiring 10's of billions of subsidies over its lifetime in order to break even.

As for the actual running of these newer generation nuclear reactors, it actually also becomes quite a sad affair once you start looking into the numbers.

For example, if you take a look at the technical specifications for the Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR), which is a generation 3 nuclear reactor design you will find this as the design objectives:
Quote:The design of the advanced boiling water reactor (ABWR) represents a complete design for a nominal 1350 MWe power plant. The inclusion of such features as reactor internal pumps, fine motion control rod drives, multiplexed digital fiber-optic control systems, and an advanced control room are examples of the type of advancements over previous designs that have been incorporated to meet the ABWR objectives.

The ABWR design objectives include: 60 year plant life from full power operating license date, 87% or greater plant availability, less than one unplanned scram per year, 24 month refuelling interval, personnel radiation exposure limit of 100 man-rem/year, core damage frequency of less than 10-5/ reactor year, limiting significant release frequency to 10-6/reactor year, and reduced radwaste generation.
source:
https://aris.iaea.org/PDF/ABWR.pdf

You might say fine, the 87% plant availability (uptime of the plant in which it is producing electricity) is simply the design objective, it will be probably be somewhat lower than that.

Take a look at the actual uptime of the plants that were built. Note that these numbers are taken from before the Fukushima incident as well.

The average uptime for these expensive monstrosities that were sold to the government with a promise of 87% availability ultimately turned out to be not even 60%!.

I guess my point is that the current state of the nuclear industry is pretty damn bad- if we want to move significant fractions of our base-load power generation away from coal and gas to nuclear, the governments (and ultimately consumers) will have to subsidize the hell out of it in order for it to be remotely economically feasible. With this in mind there are a hell of a lot more important concerns than running out of uranium (and again, playing around with reserve/production ratios doesn't say much about when or if we're going to run out of it at all until a very long time from now).

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06-08-2017 08:19 AM
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Post: #25
RE: Renewable energy, Elon Musk, and Saudi Arabia
(06-07-2017 11:11 AM)SamuelBRoberts Wrote:  Arado, thanks for taking the time to post that.

A few notes:
1.) The cost of self-driving cars is the same as it was several years ago. You couldn't buy one then, and you can't buy one now. I'm putting this up first, even though it's a relatively minor point, because it's evident of a pattern I see in your writing: a lot of unsourced claims, and what's far worse a lot of "The trends we're seeing right now will continue indefinitely, and this will produce the outcome I'm talking about." (This has a name, but I can't remember it right now.) All of your figures are coming from extremely biased sources who want to sell you something. (Musk in particular is known as something of a bullshitter, and his company's going to be in bad shape if/when Trump cuts his gov't subsidies.)

Exponential trends don't continue forever. We saw this with computer processors, which are more or less stuck as the same level they were 4 or 5 years ago. Eventually you start running into hard physical limits, and progress comes to a halt.

All the new Teslas have a self driving function, and driverless technology is being tested on a large scale in several cities. So the technology is much farther along now than it was five years ago. Are you really ready to bet that self-driving technology is still decades away? 5 years ago no one was talking about self driving cars.

My claims are not unsourced - they are based on open source information from trends that are clear to the layman. Moore's law is not dead, by the way, at least according to Intel. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/20...ntel-boss/) Either way, quantum computers will likely pick up the slack soon enough.

This goes to a much more fundamental question: how should we prepare for the future? By assuming that things will continue more or less as they are now, or that technology will bring changes? If the latter, then we have to look at the trends in technology and extrapolate. Of course, no one knows what will happen and if the trends are to continue. But we have to take SOME measures to prepare for the future. There is no sign that solar panel costs are about to flatline, given that for decades the cost curve has been going straight down and automation is taking over in manufacturing.

Quote:2.) If you're right, there's no particular need for the US gov't to do anything. If solar power ever does get comparable to oil power in price, then market forces will take over, and investment will swarm into the sector. Every VC in the country will be pouring his money into it.

So if you're right, great! I wouldn't mind driving around a cool electric car and getting my power from a solar roof. But there's no need for the US gov't to do anything special if you are, and if you aren't, there's no point in us investing in it.

This is a great point and the core of my second question - should government do anything to push these technologies ahead? I think so. Government policy plays a tremendous role in determining which technologies get enough funding to finally achieve economies of scale where the free market can take over. We are at the cusp, but not quite there yet with solar + storage. By building a smart grid and by subsidizing panels and battery R&D, that will keep the market growing and expand production to the point where it can definitively beat hydrocarbons. At that point, I'm more than happy for government to step out of the way and end all subsidies and let the best man win.

At the very least, don't you think it is the least the government can do given how they did not tax coal producers in the past for pollution emissions, as well as starting multiple wars and revolutions to keep the oil flowing? I don't think 100 billion in subsidies for renewables to completely free us from hydrocarbons is really that bad in comparison to all the crap the oil&gas lobby has put us through.

Quote:There's no danger in "losing out" to China or India. (India in particular needs to invest in toilet technology before it starts putting money into high end batteries.)

Well, take a look at this graph.
[Image: manufacturers.jpg]

The worldwide top 7/10 solar producers are in China. You really don't think this is something to be concerned about? Once a firm gains dominant market share, it's not that easy to take it away from them unless you can beat it dramatically in function or price. China's Made in China 2025 industrial policy aims to control the world's production of new energy vehicles and batteries. Do not underestimate them and assume that once these technologies are viable our companies can easily catch up with the Chinese without government support. These companies in China are receiving research grants, protective tariffs, and subsidies up the wazoo to bring them to viability. We are lucky that for the last few decades the U.S. has never had a true economic competitor but with the rise of China's state-driven capitalism it will quickly become obvious that the libertarian approach will leave our companies crushed by China's state champions. Thank god Tesla is getting government support, otherwise the U.S. would have no companies leading us into the renewable energy era and Chinese companies would instead own all the core technology.

No one knows definitively what the future will hold, but that's no excuse to sit tight and let it happen and let shareholders driven by short term profits be the arbiters. Instead, we have to look at what is likely to happen and take action to place us in the best position.
(This post was last modified: 06-08-2017 08:32 AM by Arado.)
06-08-2017 08:27 AM
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