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Old 11-14-2012, 11:12 PM   #21
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Haven't read the whole thing yet, so I don't know how legit it is (too much so to quit?).
Claims that said report support the conclusion that "Global warming has stopped" have been pretty credibly de-bunked as constituting cherry-picking of data.

The Met Office itself has also officially refuted the claim (which was made by third parties based on Met Office data) that its report makes that conclusion, or that its findings support such a conclusion.
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Old 11-14-2012, 11:19 PM   #22
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Also that's the daily mail so someone has to laugh at you for linking to the daily mail.

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Old 11-14-2012, 11:23 PM   #23
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That's fine. I was looking for more knowledgeable analysis before actually reading the thing.
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Old 11-14-2012, 11:47 PM   #24
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But, what about "D" . . . nukes are scary to the average Joe (pun intended)!!
I don't deny this, but I also don't understand it.

To me, war, social upheaval, economic collapse, widespread flooding, hyperinflation and suffocation are somewhat scarier than a large pot full of warm water.


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Also, as a combat veteran of an oil war, I feel entitled to burn some. Aren't we, after all, an entitlement society?
Help yourself. We're an equal opportunity exploiter.
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Old 11-14-2012, 11:57 PM   #25
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I don't deny this, but I also don't understand it.

To me, war, social upheaval, economic collapse, widespread flooding, hyperinflation and suffocation are somewhat scarier than a large pot full of warm water.
But the masses inherently understand (or think they understand) war, social upheaval, economic collapse, yada, yada.

Something that glows in the dark and warms water, now that's mysterious and easily lied about.

My Grandmother would never travel on an airliner . . . by far the safest mode of transport. Same thing.

BTW, many of my neighbors work at Comanche Peak.
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Old 11-15-2012, 12:23 AM   #26
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Part of me wants to be pissed off at the whole situation at San Onofre.

And I suppose that I have a right to be pissed off at Mitsubishi, which took my money and sold my power company a set of defective boilers.

And I'm definitely pissed off at all of the people who are protesting the plant's restart and sowing misinformation to foment fear and suspicion, seemingly without regard for the true consequences of their actions. (You don't want nukes? You do realize that the alternative is coal, right?)

But I just can't be pissed off at SoCalEd, or at the NRC, or even at the local government. The reality of the situation is that this is a very sensitive time for clean energy in the US, and a serious accident at the plant, even one that didn't involve a meltdown or significant radiological release, would set back the cause another 30 years.

Are they being overly cautious? Maybe. I'm honestly not qualified to say. But to me, this is proof that "the system" works. Despite the enormous financial cost, it's pretty clear that neither the utility nor the NRC are behaving recklessly. The plant operator is demonstrating extreme caution, and proceeding in a deliberate a logical manner despite the enormous financial impact that the plant's shutdown causes them every day that the turbines are idle.
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Old 11-15-2012, 09:19 AM   #27
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I might just go shopping for an '81 VW Rabbit.

Had one loved it.


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Anyway, where I come down is that I want my friends and neighbors to have the best job and progress opportunities possible. Real middle class growth and power (which, IMHO is what separates the U.S. from many other countries) can only come if there is high demand for the labors of a middle class. Without that demand, the bargaining power of the middle class ceases to exist -- whether there are labor unions or not. One does not need to look far to find clear examples of stratified societies where this has persisted (a few rich and a lot of poor). In fact, one might say it is the normal human condition in most parts of the world. I think it is important to resist it and to support a middle class through economic opportunity. Extreme environmentalism (i.e., way beyond any cost vs. benefit) is a real threat to that economic opportunity.
Which brings up a very good point. Would it not be wise for the US to have a diverse energy plan? You would now have a diversity of technologies in extraction, transport, and consumption. When one method does not work out for what ever reason, I would think it would not have such a devastating affect on the economy.
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Old 11-15-2012, 09:47 AM   #28
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And I'm definitely pissed off at all of the people who are protesting the plant's restart and sowing misinformation to foment fear and suspicion, seemingly without regard for the true consequences of their actions. (You don't want nukes? You do realize that the alternative is coal, right?)
For some reason these people think all our power demands can be met by solar and wind. I'm guessing they didn't pass high school physics.
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Old 11-15-2012, 10:02 AM   #29
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Which brings up a very good point. Would it not be wise for the US to have a diverse energy plan? You would now have a diversity of technologies in extraction, transport, and consumption. When one method does not work out for what ever reason, I would think it would not have such a devastating affect on the economy.
Where I live, we have:

1. An operating nuclear power plant.
2. A gas well on every corner.
3. An oil well for every fifth gas well.
4. Gigantic wind farms coupled with enough wind that they actually pay back.
5. Clean air and water (air is clean enough that we are EPA-exempt from smog inspections).
6. Jobs (unemployment far below the national average).

There are dangers in this, however. Oil field service trucks can rear-end your Miata. People, empowered by employment, feel their oats and develop an independent streak. There's a secession petition circulating and a lot of people swear by Creationism despite an abundance of fossils on the ground. Go figure.
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Old 11-15-2012, 10:11 AM   #30
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Technically the only problems with solar is large capacity energy storage (i.e. battery technology) when the sun goes down or it is cloudy and its current cost. Both of these issues could be solved with technological advances. However, I still think a diverse policy is best because putting all your eggs in one basket is never a good idea. Not to mention I do not want to force any type of energy out of the market because I would rather not pay more for energy than is necessary.
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Old 11-15-2012, 10:31 AM   #31
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As a designer of downhole tools, most of them unconventional, I can affirm that we are doing what we can to get at every drop that can be made economically feasible.

Never underestimate the American workforce. Everyone in energy, from rig workers to engineers, is a pretty motivated and resourceful crew.
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Old 11-15-2012, 11:32 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by gospeed81 View Post
As a designer of downhole tools, most of them unconventional, I can affirm that we are doing what we can to get at every drop that can be made economically feasible.

Never underestimate the American workforce. Everyone in energy, from rig workers to engineers, is a pretty motivated and resourceful crew.
And as soon as the price goes up a bit there are more incentive to tweak technologies to go when no one dared to go before.

The intermittent technologies (e.g. Solar and Wind) put more stress on transfer technologies since energy needs to be cross-transferred between areas of productions and consumption (not as steady state and predictable as for steam and hydro turbines).
Building new power lines are not done swiftly.
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Old 11-15-2012, 11:53 AM   #33
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Technically the only problems with solar is large capacity energy storage (i.e. battery technology) when the sun goes down or it is cloudy and its current cost.
Cost being the much larger problem. Subsidies don't make economic sense, except for the recipients and their cronies.
I also do not believe in subsidizing any technology it so that it will come sooner; it will come when it's time (see ubiquity of blue LED's which led to LED flashlights et al), You also don't see what we could be missing out on if that productive energy were instead left to others to figure out where to focus it, for things that have more immediate payback. As a simple example, if nations had not subsidized nuclear energy research (with weaponry as a main motivation), industry may have developed it 10 years later, but focused on Thorium, and we may have lots of Thorium-fueled plants today instead of a few Uranium fueled ones.

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Old 11-15-2012, 12:09 PM   #34
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Anyway, where I come down is that I want my friends and neighbors to have the best job and progress opportunities possible. Real middle class growth .. Extreme environmentalism (i.e., way beyond any cost vs. benefit) is a real threat to that economic opportunity.
The cure for AGW (assuming you believe in it), is worse than the disease.

Danish professor and author Bjorn Lomborg argues that GW has benefits too, and that the cost to simply mitigate its ill effects, plus the cost of advanced R&D (to find a future long-term solution), will be way cheaper than the proposed solutions (which increase the cost of energy). The latter are very expensive and relatively ineffective.

And, among humankind's problems, the effects of AGW should be far down the list. In terms of bang for the buck, many other problems are better being addressed first.

Lomborg is the author of the book "The Skeptical Environmentalist"
The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World: Bjørn Lomborg: 9780521010689: Amazon.com: Books The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World: Bjørn Lomborg: 9780521010689: Amazon.com: Books

wherein he explains how the world's environment has been improving, thanks to early enivronmental laws, and improving technology. He also laments that Big Enviro has gone from being pro-environment to a political machine. He has been attacked numerous times by the academe and accused of being a shill, just because he is trying to show a new paradigm. Kind of the same way Joe summarily dismisses my anti-central banking arguments

He is pro-nuclear, for obvious reasons.

Lomborg's book "Cool it":
Cool it - The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide To Global Warming | lomborg.com

documentary:
https://movies.netflix.com/WiMovie/C...9?locale=en-US

Patrick Moore, co-founder of Greenpeace, left it because it turned anti-human. He is also a nuclear energy advocate:
Co-Founder of Greenpeace Envisions a Nuclear Future

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Old 11-15-2012, 12:13 PM   #35
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Related to the OP, the USA's CO2 emissions are now at its lowest due to the wider use of natural gas. Just happened, without fiat or force. Now why aren't the environmentalists celebrating?

Thanks to fracking, U.S. carbon emissions are at the lowest levels in 20 years. - Slate Magazine
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Old 11-15-2012, 01:30 PM   #36
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Which brings up a very good point. Would it not be wise for the US to have a diverse energy plan?
Would it? I'm not sure that I'm qualified to say.

Diversity is a funny thing. It's great in some applications, like where you want to create biological life. Genetic diversity among a population of animals is a key factor in improving the quality of the breed over time (by way of natural selection), and it also decreases the probability that any one specific pathogen will wipe out the entire species.

In technology, diversity is usually a bad thing. In hardware design, engineers strive to reduce diversity of component selection on a board, as this decreases cost and tends to improve reliability. In software design, diversity of operating platforms increases workload on the designers and tends to lead to more bloated code, increases the likelihood of bugs or other unintended operation, etc. One of the primary reasons that computers such as the Macintosh and the Amiga gained a strong reputation in the 1980s for high-performance and high-reliability is that the hardware platforms were not at all diverse- every single one was exactly the same, which allowed code (both OS and application) to be highly optimized for that specific configuration.

Diversity is also bad in manufacturing and industrial applications. Having diverse machinery means that a much larger inventory of spares must be kept on hand, and the staff responsible for maintaining them machinery is required to trade depth of proficiency for breadth of proficiency, which leads to decreased operational efficiency. There is a reason that fleet operators tend to buy a lot of the same type of (bus / police car / taxicab), and that Boeing puts four of the same type of engine on every 747.


As hornetball pointed out, our energy infrastructure is already highly diverse. We have coil, natgas, nuclear, and hydro as high-availability options.


In the Greenpeace version of a "clean" energy infrastructure, increased diversity would be a necessary evil. Of the energy-production methods which they espouse, no one of them would even be capable of operating alone.

And in a fossil-fuel economy, diversity can be beneficial as well. If the price of coal skyrockets, producers can shift load to natgas or oil-fired plants.

But in a nuclear economy? Well, a breeder reactor is already diverse all by itself. It can burn uranium or plutonium in any form, and if need be it can actually create its own fuel in real-time by switching to thorium or other "fertile" materials. (Yes, I know it sounds counterintuative, but there are actually some types of reactors which PRODUCE nuclear fuel while also producing electricity. It is quite literally a modern-day version of alchemy.)




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For some reason these people think all our power demands can be met by solar and wind. I'm guessing they didn't pass high school physics.
One of my favorite treatises on this subject was written by Dennis Silverman, a retired professor of physics and astronomy at UC Irvine and (get this) environmental activist.

There is a group which has suggested that the troubled San Onofre plant (located on the Pacific coast between San Diego and Orange County) be permanently closed, and replaced with a photovoltaic solar farm. This inspired Mr. Silverman to engage in some research on the subject. His findings should be completely unsurprising to anyone who actually understands the basics of energy production, but help to put things into perspective for the liberal-arts crowd. An excerpt:
We start with the cost part, which is a shorter calculation. The power output of the two reactors of San Onofre combined is 2.2 billion Watts, operating steadily throughout day and night. The average cost of building solar photovoltaic power facilities in California was about $4.00 per Watt of peak power in mid 2011. Since the 24 hour year round average power of these facilities is only 1/5 of peak power, to get a given average energy replacement from them requires 5 times as much peak power as you are replacing, for an energy cost of $20.00 per averaged Watt. Multiplying this by the steady power of San Onofre of 2.2 billion Watts, gives $44 billion dollars, for the equivalent amount of clean energy. By the way, the newly approved modern reactors were projected to cost $7 billion each, so even a complete replacement of both reactors at $14 billion would be 32% of the cost of replacing them with solar power.

For the area of photovoltaics needed, it depends on location, and whether the cells are angled at the angle of latitude for maximum efficiency. But then you have to space them far apart to be effective near sunset when there is considerable shadowing. So the number we get has to be taken as just a rough estimate, depending on deployment desired. The solar insolation near Irvine from the somewhat imprecise insolation map for a tilted cell is 6kWh / m^2 / day. This includes a 24 hour yearly average. But now we have to multiply by the efficiency of a typical solar cell, which is only about 15%. Since it is only a rough calculation we take the rounded result as 1kWh / m^2 / day. In one day, San Onofre generates 2.2 million kiloWatts x 24 hours = 52.8 million kWh / day. Dividing by the solar cell result requires 52.8 million meter squared of photo cells. Since 1.61 kilometers equals a mile, dividing this by (1,610 m)^2 gives 20 square miles of photocells. How big is 20 square miles? It is ten times the size of the Orange County Great Park.


(full article: Cost and Area of Replacing San Onofre Nuclear Energy by Solar Photovoltaics | Energy Blog)
And, of course, the author of that paper lives in Southern California, where it's sunny 364 and a half days a year. How much of the population of the US lives in the northeast?


Oh, and there's one other thing. If you live in an area in which residential solar power is common, you've probably heard radio ads from solar solutions vendors advertizing their "linear performance guarantee." They are guaranteeing that your brand new solar panel, if properly maintained, will degrade in performance by a certain amount each year.

For a high-end commercial photovoltaic panel, we typically expect the panel to degrade to 80% of rated output after 25 years. Degradation is fairly linear in nature, so it's reasonable to project that outwards.

Now, 25 years may seem like a long time, but in terms of energy production, 25 years is the break-in period. Most of the fossil-fuel plants in this country are 50+ years old, and even the nuke plants are getting on in years. No new reactors were constructed in the US after TMI-2 failed in 1979, so by definition, the very youngest reactors in the US are nearly 35 years old. Many are over 40.

The question then, is how much does the output of nuke plants degrade over time as compared to solar?

It doesn't.

In fact, all else being equal, the power output of nuclear reactors tends to increase very slightly over time, owing principally to increases in operating efficiency made possible by periodic overhauls which include new turbine designs, new boiler technology, and improvements in reactor control.


Heck, we already have enough problems with population growth causing energy demand to increase over time, and its only going to get worse when we all start plugging in our cars overnight. Why on earth would we want to invest in a technology which is guaranteed to perform more poorly in the future than it does today?



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Originally Posted by NiklasFalk View Post
The intermittent technologies (e.g. Solar and Wind) put more stress on transfer technologies since energy needs to be cross-transferred between areas of productions and consumption (not as steady state and predictable as for steam and hydro turbines).
Building new power lines are not done swiftly.
*ding ding ding*

We have another winner.

Even if we had an infinitely efficient battery storage technology to level out the energy production when the sun isn't shining and the wind isn't blowing, the power distribution grid in the US just can't handle that kind of load. Could we change that? Sure. I could make a Dacia Sandero go 200 MPH if I had enough money. But it wouldn't really make sense to do so.
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Old 11-15-2012, 03:23 PM   #37
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Hmm, this article seems to contradict the original post about energy independence:

The Oil Drum | The Big Deal About U.S. Energy Self-Sufficiency
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Old 11-15-2012, 03:36 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by JasonC SBB View Post
Hmm, this article seems to contradict the original post about energy independence:

The Oil Drum | The Big Deal About U.S. Energy Self-Sufficiency
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Originally Posted by The Oil Drum
I am encouraged by the slight reversal in U.S. oil production but see no way that we will become oil independent.
This is why the (more useful) talk is "energy" independence, not "oil" independence. Oil exports can increase, but being a net exporter is unlikely.

For example, I have been talking about the increase in use of domestic natgas combined with the reduction in oil import demand (which peaked before the financial crisis) for a number of reasons - like the increase in broad fleet fuel efficiency.
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Old 11-17-2012, 10:47 AM   #39
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Joe, at the risk of sounding totally ignorant and arrogant, do you really feel electric cars are a net win environmentally over fossil fuel cars? Aren't we trading one thing for another, or worse.

I for one am all for getting rid of fossil fuel consumption just so the the sheiks and Chavez can sit down every day and drink a crude smoothie for breakfast since they wont be able to do anything with it. Yes yes I know there are other things made from crude but you get what I mean.
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Old 11-17-2012, 12:43 PM   #40
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The measurement for "net win" will be in what's called "well to wheel" efficiency.

Last time I looked, the best "wheel to well" efficiency is from CNG cars, and next would be electric cars. The latter's efficiency depends on the source of the electricity - i.e. the fuel, and the efficiency of the power plant.

BTW I just had an interesting conversation with a guy who was planning to get into the businesses of planting thousands of acres of Acacia Mangius trees to be turned into wood chips for a new wood-burning power plant, in Southeast Asia. He said you harvest and replant them every 4 years, and 200 hectares (500 acres), will can be burned to generate 1 MW worth of power continuously. I tried checking the numbers online but didn't get very far.
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