Advanced, safe, clean, affordable, reliable nuclear power is the future. Unless advanced human societies all collapse, wind and solar will always be the fickle gods of the past.
Wind and solar energy are weather-dependent, variable and intermittent, i.e., therefore not reliable, high-quality, energy sources. In New England and Germany:
– Wind energy is zero about 30% of the hours of the year (it takes a wind speed of about 7 mph to start the rotors), minimal most early mornings and most late afternoons, about 60% of all wind energy is generated at night.
– Solar energy is zero about 65% of the hours of the year, minimal early mornings and late afternoons, minimal much of the winter, and near-zero with snow and ice on the panels.
– During winter in New England, solar energy, on a monthly basis, is as low as 1/4 of what it is during the best month in summer; 1/6 in Germany.
– Often both are at near-zero levels during many hours of the year. (more)
The reliability of the electric power system is critical to the economic vitality of the nation and the well-being of society. Electricity reliability depends upon the seamless operation of three independent interconnected power systems that span North America. They are the largest machines ever created by mankind and have been called the greatest engineering achievement of the 20th century. Today, the power system is being challenged, as the infrastructure ages and new operating challenges emerge, such as the integration of variable renewable generation. Blackouts are rare, but when they occur they are front page headlines.
Forced integration of intermittent wind and solar energy into the power grid is as much a threat to grid reliability as are the ageing and decaying of the grid. In fact, forced wind and solar integration onto the grid is more of a long-term danger to power reliability than EMP, cyber-attack, physical attack on sub-stations and generating stations, and virtually any other threat to the grid one might imagine. More
An Abundant and Expansive Human Future Demands a More Constant and Reliable Fire
The Earth is a cold place, and without reliable fire humans in the more advanced nations might well freeze or die of exposure. Ancient human ancestors mastered the uses of fire for cooking, warmth, and light. Modern humans have mastered many of the uses of “electrical fire,” but they need more electrical fire — reliable, affordable electricity of high quality — to create the abundant and exansive human future (and the next level after that).
There are Those Who Still Worship the Untrustworthy Gods of Wind and Sun
Whether dumbed down by educational systems and academic lobotomies, or corrupted by government subsidies, modern worshipers of the gods of wind and sun are forcing a dangerous and deadly dependency upon modern societies. Their own children — if they deign to have any — will suffer and die for their faux piety.
There is Nothing that can Save the Fickle Ancient Gods
The pagan faithful of wind and sun claim that better energy storage, better power grids, better energy conservation, and other even more mystical and imaginary things will make the ancient gods more effective, powerful, reliable, and palatable. But cold reality tells a different story:
Economically viable energy storage systems, other than hydro, have not yet been invented, and would take many billions of dollars and decades to deploy AFTER they are invented.
At present, using utility-scale battery systems for energy storage during the day and using the energy at night has an leveled cost of energy, LCOE, of about 23 c/kWh JUST FOR STORAGE, per a David Hallquist study for the US-DOE. __ http://www.theenergycollective.com/willem-post/2308156/economics-batteries-stabilizing-and-storage-distribution-grids
And for all the $trillions spent on grid storage, because of incredible wear on grid-level batteries “green societies” would have to turn around in 2 – 5 years and spend the $trillions again for replacements. No society on Earth could afford the exorbitant expense. And for what? The entire justification for the unreliable green energy juggernaut is bogus, dependent upon massive government handouts, driven by Chicago-style corruption and lefty-green propaganda.
Bogus “mass movements” thrive in corrupt societies. Even grandfatherly Warren Buffet is thoroughly corrupted. Even mighty Google can not make the giant scam into a logical investment.
The wind farm and solar array infrastructures themselves would have to be replaced within 20 years due to rapid breakdown and degradation. Meanwhile, spending on backup coal, natural gas, diesel, and nuclear power would have to be maintained or entire fragments of grid-dependent societies would flake off and die.
There is no quick, affordable, or sustainable way to make big wind and big solar trustworthy. Would you trust the lives of your children and grandchildren to these fickle and ancient gods?
An eternal fountain of corruption
Renewable Energy Costs and Effectiveness in Germany
Germany has risked it all on wind and sun, and stands to pay a painful price — and with it all of Europe.
1. Regardless of how much variable RES [Renewable Energy Source] is installed, thermal generation remains necessary in order to ensure system stability and security of supply.
2. Nuclear power is a necessary part of the thermal generation if CO2 emissions reduction targets are to be met.
3. New (unspecified) mechanisms will be needed to manage a large amount (40%) of variable RES, to maintain stability and ensure security of supply.
4. To achieve 60% of Europe’s electricity generation from RES (20% from hydro and biomass and 40% from variable RES (wind and solar PV)), about 500GW capacity in total of thermal (350GW), hydro (120GW) and biomass (30GW) and about 700GW of variable RES capacity will be needed.
5. 700GW of variable RES will result in large variations in daily variable RES production, by up to 50% of European total demand. Extreme hourly variations in net demand (>70GW/hr) will occur, with frequent upward and downward variations of >20GW/hr and >10GW/hr respectively.
6. There will need to be an increase in network infrastructure at local (distribution) , national (transmission) and intra-national (inter-connectors) levels.
7. Demand response mechanisms will need to be developed.
8. The security of supplies will become a more important issue as synchronous generators are replaced by asynchronous generators.
9. Island grids (such as Ireland and the UK, connected to Europe by HVDC interconnectors) will have particular difficulties with frequency control.
10. In order to meet CO2 emissions targets, low carbon conventional generation is needed; increased usage of nuclear power is the best option.
The great green orthodoxy is rife with criminals and confidence games at all levels. It is a grand road paved with good intentions, leading directly to perdition — for those idiotic enough to follow it.
We have seen how the gods of wind and sun have turned Warren Buffet into a corrupt confidence man, and Google’s top management into a pack of fools. Top levels of functionaries in government, academia, media, and most other cultural institutions were already corrupt and dishonest, so they gladly joined the orthodoxy of fickle ancient gods without prompting.
For additional, more detailed information on this topic see the following posts: “Transmission Planning: wind and solar”, “More renewables? Watch out for the Duck Curve”, and “All megawatts are not equal”.
The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) recently issued anannouncement stating that “New generation resources must provide adequate levels of frequency support, ramping capability and voltage control to maintain the reliability of the bulk power system during its ongoing transformation”. ThisNERC Report provides more detail as do these basic introductory videos on load ramping, voltage and frequency. They describe the collective desirable characteristics of generation known as essential reliability services (ERSs).
It is the rest of us who had best beware the future “our betters” have planned for us.
Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst. It is never too late to have a Dangerous Childhood.
Other energy items of interest:
Consider that despite all of the turmoil in key oil-producing regions, namely the Middle East, oil prices have not spiked. Nothing — not Russian intervention in Syria, not ISIS attacks on Libyan oil infrastructure, not the torching of the Saudi Embassy in Tehran — has been able to stop the oil price collapse. What is going on here?
As quoted in:
Oil prices are not likely to stay in the $30 bbl range for long. But prices are likely to remain below $60 bbl for years. Such price levels make it more difficult for rogue nations such as Iran and Russia to do their mischief.
Meanwhile, North American shale oil continues to defy the doomers’ predictions of collapse, several years wrong and counting.
In the Bakken field, Oasis Petroleum (NYSE: OAS) has managed to grow production 10% this year while reducing capital spending by 57%. Its costs per well are down 30% and drilling time per well is down to 16 days from 24.
Don’t focus on the moment-to-moment fluctuations in market prices. Anyone who focuses on the moment-to-moment changes in markets is focusing on the wrong time scale for meaningful analysis.
“For reasons I have never understood, people like to hear that the world is going to hell…” “Yet pessimism has consistently been a poor guide to the modern economic world.” __ Deirdre McCloskey (PDF)
Everyone seems to want to watch the world go up in flames. Perhaps that is why leftist ideologies have such a strong hold on those who control government, media, academia, and most other cultural institutions. It is an elitists’ death wish trying to become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
… a survey of the major websites and books quickly brings up apocalyptic titles like dieoff.org, oilcrash.com, The Death of the Oil Economy, The End of Suburbia,and The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight. Peak Oil writings are sprinkled with predictions that billions will die, civil order will collapse, and even that civilization will end. Scientists, too, aren’t immune. During geologist Ken Deffeyes’s Peak Oil presentations, he displays the words “war,” “famine,” “pestilence,” and “death”—the four horsemen of the apocalypse.
… catastrophism is largely a manifestation of our primary cultural myth: that all things end with suffering, death, and then resurrection. Belief in apocalypse is programmed into western civilization. Given our heritage, “the end is nigh” is the nearly unavoidable personal and collective response to times of uncertainty and rapid change.
__ Toby Hemenway
It is a perverse fascination that draws doomers to the doomers’ lairs and holds them their virtually as unmoving and unconscious as drones or zombies.
Humans are not rational creatures as a rule. Everything they think they know, just ain’t so. And that is putting it kindly.
Perhaps the little monkey-brains think of “the end of the world” as an entertaining grand finale from the mother of all fireworks displays?
… while people tend to be optimistic about their own future, they are deeply pessimistic about the future of their nation or the world. Tali Sharot, associate professor of psychology at UCL, has popularised the idea of an innate optimism bias built into the human brain.1 That is, we tend to be optimistic rather than realistic when considering our individual future. If you were to ask newlywed couples to estimate the probability they will divorce in the future, they would likely reject the possibility outright. Yet today roughly 40% of marriages in the UK end in divorce! Another example is asking smokers to estimate their chances of getting cancer and again, most would underestimate their risk. This optimism persists even when people are presented with the relevant statistics.
People believe that even Carbon dioxide, an odorless and colorless gas, is a pollutant!
Try talking to those very same people about nuclear, and they will start hyperventilating…
CO2 might be odorless and colorless, but if you’re stuck in a room full of it you’ll end up in trouble! The Radiative Forcing of CO2 has been known for nearly 200 years now. Global warming is no conspiracy, and no surprise either. But yes, it is frustrating that the Naomi Klein’s of the world who uncover fossil-fuelled climate denial then turn around and accuse Dr James Hansen (the world’s most famous climatologist) as having a form of ‘denialism’, that of ‘denying’ wind and solar can run a modern grid. Um, hypocrisy much? Who does Klein think she is to accuse the world’s most famous climatologist of being a ‘denier’? This blog is right. Nuclear is the future, and could run the world for billions of years on uranium from seawater fed into breeder reactors.
Thanks for your comments, E.N. I am intrigued by the fact that you seem to have once been a peak oil activist/doomer and a wind/sun enthusiast, but have since backed away from the extremes of those positions. It takes a great deal of work to shift one’s attitudes once they are deeply entrenched and strongly felt. Well done.
As for “climate change,” “global warming,” or more specifically — catastrophic anthropomorphic climate shift — I once felt much the same as you express in your comment. Only by separating out the different components of interlocking complex beliefs can we intelligently decide whether to confirm those beliefs or modify them.
The use of the terms “global warming” or “climate change” do not seem to me to be precise or specific enough for intelligent conversation. One must pin down what the nature and extent of global warming one refers to, or what type of climate change in particular one expects to occur, and why.
Radiative forcing of CO2 is an interesting and supported scientific phenomenon. But by itself it is not a catastrophic phenomenon, nor does it guarantee consistent, long-term, quasi-monotonic increases in global temperatures. In fact, of all the factors that influence global climates, radiative forcing from CO2 may be one of the least significant, when all is said and done.
I suspect that eventually, as you step away from the group belief and build the components of your own individual belief system on climate, you will modify your current stance somewhat — on your own.
Around here we have a saying: “Everything you think you know, just ain’t so.” Those of us who have experienced the exhilaration of changing our minds multiple times — based on the evidence — understand what that means, somewhat.
Humans are not rational creatures. Most of our beliefs are not rational. When our beliefs are influenced by our friends’ beliefs, our professors’ beliefs, or the beliefs of any political or quasi-political group we may affiliate with, irrationality reigns. Pursuit of truth is a lonely and humbling experience. Most moderns lack the humility or the ability to set out on one’s own.
That may be so, and yet watch you don’t go so far as to fall into Bulverism.
As CSLewis said:
“You must show that a man is wrong before you start explaining why he is wrong. The modern method is to assume without discussion that he is wrong and then distract his attention from this (the only real issue) by busily explaining how he became so silly.
In the course of the last fifteen years I have found this vice so common that I have had to invent a name for it. I call it “Bulverism”. Some day I am going to write the biography of its imaginary inventor, Ezekiel Bulver, whose destiny was determined at the age of five when he heard his mother say to his father — who had been maintaining that two sides of a triangle were together greater than a third — “Oh you say that because you are a man.” “At that moment”, E. Bulver assures us, “there flashed across my opening mind the great truth that refutation is no necessary part of argument. Assume that your opponent is wrong, and explain his error, and the world will be at your feet. Attempt to prove that he is wrong or (worse still) try to find out whether he is wrong or right, and the national dynamism of our age will thrust you to the wall.” That is how Bulver became one of the makers of the Twentieth Century.”
Yes it took a lot of work for me to undo the anti-nuclear memes I had inherited through group think. But on climate, I have moved the other way, from accepting certain sceptical memes to having them completely smashed by peer-reviewed science. Any time I track down a sceptical meme, I find the peer-reviewed guys have solid answers. Why do you know more than the experts? Don’t Bulverise me. 😉
Look at it this way: is it better to wean off fossil fuels that kill 2.6 million people a year, poison environments, actually change the climate the way the climate-experts say it is changing, face vulnerability as national oil or gas groups cut supply in some geopolitical ambush (ala 1970’s oil crisis or today’s Russian gas cuts to the Ukraine), and remain vulnerable to the fact that they *will* one day peak (even if that’s further off in the future than the alarmists predicted), or start weaning onto cleaner nuclear power now? National energy security, cheaper oil prices, cleaner air, and a far cheaper national health bill. What’s not to love? Nuclear power + recyclable boron could replace coal and oil and gas. We don’t need to fear climate change science or give in to the (very powerful) denialist group-think that the Koch brothers have funded to infiltrate every sector of society. There’s no reason to feel you’re betraying your politics. Physics and chemistry don’t lie. Nor do the global temperatures of late.
I certainly do not want to change your mind. You must do so yourself for it to be genuine, and for you to be able to move on and build upon the changes.
A thorough study of the current state of scientific fraud in all areas of scientific publication, including peer-review, might be warranted before placing absolute faith on contradictory “studies.”
You yourself have lost respect for Naomi Oreskes for some of her recent statements. Perhaps you should look into some of her quasi-fraudulent earlier claims which you may have inadvertently taken at face value — when in fact they amounted to pulling wool over the eyes.
Be sceptical of everything — but especially of what you think you know without doubt to be true. For you (and all of us) will certainly be wrong in many regards. It is the nature of human knowledge that we fool ourselves on a routine basis.
Again, I do not want to “change your mind.” It is impossible, for one thing. And it is a waste of time to think it is possible. If you are bright and independent enough, you will do what needs to be done. 😉
It’s not impossible. After all, the Brave New Climate blog changed my mind on nuclear, using data and facts and sound, logical arguments. But you’re right. I’m not interested in rehearsing the top 100 climate denial myths again. It’s too boring and frustrating. I don’t know why you were vulnerable to denialist memes. Our personal epistemology certainly can get messed up! Just claiming that I need to be sceptical of everything isn’t really an appeal to knowledge. How sceptical is too sceptical? I’m open to it not being true: I would *love* that to be the case. But it just is true. You must believe in a global conspiracy more powerful than anything the ruling elite have ever hatched before to believe that *every* national academy of science on earth has been hoodwinked. Every. Single. One.
Doesn’t that in itself make you question your position?
Very interesting, thanks.
We can agree that wind/solar energy is not the way to go unless one wants civilisation to collapse, at least.
As to the rest, blog comments have always proven to be a singularly unproductive setting for resolving entrenched beliefs that are typically more ideological than scientific.
My general approach in most areas of human thought is to gauge what beliefs are most widely held by “experts,” and assume that the opposite is more likely true. But that is where the work begins.