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The Cost of Caring For Elderly Nuclear Plants Expected To Rise

brambus Re:Falling energy prices and weak demand? (238 comments)

Because quite frankly residential users are too unattentive to care about such details as when to run their devices. And even if the devices could be staggered, all that does is smooth out the very peaks of the load curve and even then only gently. You need to consider that residential electricity use is only ~25% of all electricity use. The rest is business and industry and you're not going to tell a car plant to stop production for a few days - they've got tight production and purchase schedules and any slow downs or stops there cost the plant millions. Electric arc furnaces that recycle steel & aluminum can easily exceed a few hundred MWs (that's a rate of power consumption almost like a large city) and these guys have already taken all economically sensible measures for efficiency (since power is the second largest item on their cost structure, right after the raw materials) and they can't stop either, because they've got train loads of the stuff coming in and out daily. Public lighting can't power off, we need it for safety.
Put simply, industry puts a hard limit on what can be realistically curtailed on the load side, so even if you were able to control residential use entirely, you'd only get the load curve down by ~10-15% - nowhere near enough to solve the intermittency issue.

4 hours ago
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If Fusion Is the Answer, We Need To Do It Quickly

brambus Ionization neutralization problem (214 comments)

I'd really appreciate if somebody with deeper fusion knowledge could take a look at this paper: http://www.aneutronicfusion.or...
It's possible that it's wrong, but if true, it would mean that tokamak fusion is fundamentally impossible (which would suck for ITER). The paper is by a bunch of alternative fusion research approach guys, so it's possible they're not objective here (not cold fusion, that's bunk).

yesterday
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The Cost of Caring For Elderly Nuclear Plants Expected To Rise

brambus Re:Falling energy prices and weak demand? (238 comments)

I disagree about the video, your video is about power generation

The subject matter is inconsequential, what matters is the relation of the manufacturer to the maker of the video, which is obviously at conflict here.

Can't say that I believed the "Geothermal sources could supply Germany's electricity needs 600 times over" statement

Then don't quote them and link to them, as that implies you agree with that. Anyway, glad we cleared that up.

Germany seems to have much better solar potential than Britain.

Germany has varied potential. The north is pretty poor, comparable to the UK, whereas the south is modestly better (though nowhere near as much as mediterranean countries). However, the suitability for an intermittent source is less important. What's more important is whether it can be used to construct a grid at large scale and with a decent fraction of generation and for wind & solar that is, as yet, quite uncertain. If the storage or backup question is sorted, then the answer is a cautious "maybe yes", because many more pieces need to fall in place for it happen (e.g. sourcing of materials for and disposal of solar panels, grid control infrastructure, market strategies for storage units, etc.).
At present, however, it remains largely unsolved, with Germany simply curtailing other dispatchable load sources or selling off the excess, often at a loss, to foreign markets. This will hit an inflection point pretty soon as renewables start to reach 100% grid demand in peak production times, which by my estimates it's going to happen when overall generation from wind & solar hits around 20-25% overall production (ATM it's lower because of hydro & biomass produce ~35% of the RE share and ~10% of the total share), as that appears to be the relation between average output and peak output (roughly linked to the capacity factor, about 3:1 for wind and about 7:1 for solar PV in general).
When this situation kicks in, you're going to start to see ever increasing frequency of wind & solar generation curtailment by grid operators to keep the grid stable and that's when the real weeping and gnashing of teeth is going to start, as curtailed generation is lost revenue for the respective generators. That is not to say that legislative remedies for this situation don't exist - you can always call it a case of insufficient transport capacity to neighboring countries for export and just collect your feed-in-tariff anyway, which obviously puts a big grin on the faces of wind & solar generator operators, but it's at the expense of the rate and tax payers (essentially paying for energy nobody needed in the first place) and it only delays the eventual problem slightly when neighboring countries get saturated and start saying "no more".
Ultimately, though, I don't worry about the rich west. We can afford to overpay for lots of stuff, rig our food prices, build out expensive infrastructure and essentially pay for toys. We're just the top 1 billion who can afford such games. I worry about the other 6, soon to be 7 billion who are getting the hell out of poverty, increasing their energy demand and do so by buy burning the cheapest fuels (which will only get cheaper by us avoiding to use them), the environmental consequences be damned.

yesterday
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The Cost of Caring For Elderly Nuclear Plants Expected To Rise

brambus Re:Falling energy prices and weak demand? (238 comments)

No, that was mot what you where talking about.

Mind reading again?

You claimed: as gas prices are collapsing at the Dutch TTF, obviously Germany is producing more power with cheap gas.

I dare you to quote me to this effect. You won't be able to do it, because nowhere in that paragraph did I refer to Germany, nor to an increase of gas use, nor to an increase in gas use in Germany.

So your strange conclusion Germany is producing more power from gas and hence saves coal and hence is still producing CO2: simply was wrong

At no point did I claim that Germany, or anybody is using more natural gas than coal. What I did claim is that the reduction in wholesale electricity price is due in significance to cheap gas.

I did not read the article, I did mot comment on it.

Then how the fuck can you comment on my conclusions, when my conclusions are drawn from an article you didn't even read. How can you honestly claim I'm wrong, when you haven't even examined my data?

I pointed out your conclusions are not fitting.

Not fitting what? Your dreams? Perhaps.

Your conclusion remains wrong.

And to support your claim of me being wrong you present: dick-all evidence. No analysis of market data, just one data point that's wrong by an order of magnitude; and a complete misunderstanding of the time frame of the events discussed. You didn't even understand the point I was making, because you didn't read what I was responding to. Your ineptitude at debate is bewildering.

yesterday
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The Cost of Caring For Elderly Nuclear Plants Expected To Rise

brambus Re:Falling energy prices and weak demand? (238 comments)

Doesn't sound like a 'manufacturer' to me.

CLNR is a project of a grid operator, Northern Powergrid, British Gas (guess why they're there) and a couple of universities. The tech being displayed in the video is NEC Energy Solutions Inc: http://www.neces.com/index.htm

It'd be like me posting videos to the nuclear plant Vogtle construction project and claiming that, "Nooo, Westinghouse sponsoring the video? How dare you even imply sir!" Of course manufacturers will sponsor sleek presentation videos, it makes them look good.

I think it could easily be replaced by replacing hydro

Hydro is already developed to ~75% in Germany, so pretty much maxed out.

geothermal is also ideal for this kind of situation

Extremely site- and capacity-limited and can also produce unintended consequences (like earthquakes) - geothermal essentially works like fracking and I think we both agree that that's not a good approach.

that doesn't mean that solar + wind +storage + hydro + geothermal etc can't make up 90%+ of the energy mix.

Of course it doesn't, it depends on the location and availability. Norway is 95%+ hydro, because they are sparsely populated and have lots of resources. Germany is the exact opposite - densely populated and with not many hydro resources. Iceland, meanwhile, is pretty small and basically a geothermal bomb, so naturally geothermal there is great and they've built it out like crazy. The problem is when you try to get high penetration of intermittent sources - that would be your wind & solar - that generate sporadically and cannot be dispatched on demand. If the wind & solar guys sort their intermittency & cost, go for it, but I don't see this happening any time soon because of the fundamental physics of it.

Did the sun stop shining for 4 days

In German & UK latitudes, the sun pretty much stops shining for about 1/2 of the year - there's no way around this, it's just orbital mechanics. While we perceive the days as pretty much similarly bright, it's simply because our eyes are logarithmically sensitive, but in fact the shallower insolation angle combined with shorter daytimes and increased precipitation and cloudiness means that the shortfall is significant. At that point you need to rely on wind, which though most strong during the colder seasons, can still have 1-2 week long periods of significant lulls (again, on order of 10x). So that necessitates either insane amounts of energy storage or a second, fairly inefficient "peaker", backup grid that you maintain just for this purpose.

"Geothermal sources could supply Germany's electricity needs 600 times over," - Werner Bussmann, CEO of the German Geothermal Association

Yeah, no possible reason to stretch the truth. Another reason to suspect he might have been a little overlight on the truth factor is that 4 years after that article had been written, geothermal electricity production in Germany didn't even amount to 0.1% of just the renewables. Geothermal for home heating in geologically-active places, sure, it can work - Iceland is the example. But for large-scale power production in dense continental areas like Germany it's just not going to work.

yesterday
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The Cost of Caring For Elderly Nuclear Plants Expected To Rise

brambus Re:Falling energy prices and weak demand? (238 comments)

Again, you need to read the words I wrote. That paragraph had dick-all to do with Germany. I explained it again and again. Here, read it again:

I was referring to in my quote specifically address natural gas trading at the Dutch TTF, where many European countries trade, not just Germany

So it doesn't matter if Germany were running its energy production on pixie dust, natural gas prices still have a significant on the whole-european market, which is what I was talking about.

Nevertheless your conclusions where wrong

You misunderstand the time frame and subject matter the article was talking about (winter, not summer, electricity, not heating fuel) and I'm the one who's wrong? God you're a joker.

yesterday
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The Cost of Caring For Elderly Nuclear Plants Expected To Rise

brambus Re:Falling energy prices and weak demand? (238 comments)

Hint: it is cheaper to sell power for a negative price than not producing and selling it ...... that is interesting, isn't it?

It isn't, it's just pure horseshit. If cost of stopping manufacture is zero (as is the case for wind power), keeping the wind turbines running is pure nonsense, provided that grid stability isn't in danger. Running wind turbines isn't entirely free - it wears the machine out. Look, it's really no that not complicated: as long as the wholesale price does not drop below approx. -8ct/kWh to -5ct/kWh, they make money, simply on the feed-in-tariff. Remove that feed-in-tariff and they'll stop feeding in pretty damn quickly.

yesterday
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The Cost of Caring For Elderly Nuclear Plants Expected To Rise

brambus Re:Falling energy prices and weak demand? (238 comments)

The LCOE for renewables is often times artificial, because it's kept low by tax subsidies, feed-in tariffs and outsourcing renewable intermittency to other power sources. This will disappear with higher penetration, as subsidies disappear and as the intermittency becomes a major drive behind the cost of the plant. If, for example, a wind farm were to account for the costs of buying, maintaining and running of its gas peaker backup plant, you'd see the LCOE run down the drain pretty damn quickly. Another problem is going to be generation curtailment as higher and higher peaks during production are going to be suppressed and the revenue generated there isn't going to get paid out.

the video I linked shows is one of the many solutions to the intermittency of wind and solar

The video you showed is just a feel-good fluff piece by a manufacturer with no quantitative data and cost analysis. If you were to really rely on this method alone and honestly account them to the renewable guys, they'd look terrible.
For example, just last december Germany would have had a whole-grid shortfall of ~4.66TWh for about 4 days, had they built 5x as much wind & solar (for a combined capacity above 300GW - mind you, current nameplate installed generation capacity in Germany is only ~180GW). How much would just the raw batteries cost to hold that? A cool ~$1 trillion. That's about $25000 per household per decade (a German household is ~2 people), just to provide the backup needed to power the whole grid off of renewables. And that's before we get to the cost of the wind & solar installs & the grid upgrades needed to carry the often times >150GW spikes in generation.

yesterday
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The Cost of Caring For Elderly Nuclear Plants Expected To Rise

brambus Re:Falling energy prices and weak demand? (238 comments)

Everything costs money to make and install. Really not sure what your point is.

Yes, everything, including the renewable generation equipment. If you remove the feed-in tariffs for renewables and tell them to operate at the real market price, they'll hate it. If you remember, there's this thing called LCOE which dictates the minimum electricity price at which your plant will be profitable over its planned life time. Having the cost of electricity go down is not good for high-LCOE sources like wind & solar, it's terrible, because it pushes them into insolvency. Their initial ROI plans estimated for the cost of power to go up as fossil fuels get depleted, which would make them profitable, not for it to go down. You'll see this effect strengthen over the years as subsidies go down and the number of times of overproduction (and thus excessively low prices) goes up. Here's just a few to give you a taste:
Prokon insolvency is part of a crisis of the Wind energy industry
After Prokon: Windwärts announces insolvency
Indebted windpark developer: Windreich announces insolvency

You'd be crazy not to install solar if your roof is pointing the right direction in the UK.

Sure, and you know why? Read further down on that website:

How do I make money with solar panels?
Solar panels allow you to earn money in the following three ways:
Feed-in tariff rate – 14.38p/kWh: Firstly, the government pays you for the electricity you generate and use, this typically add ups to about £400 per year for an average 3kW panel. The Feed-in tariff is tax-free, index-linked and lasts 20 years.
National Grid sell back rate – 4.77p/kWh: The government also pays you for the electricity you produce but don’t use. This gets sold back to the grid and will earn you about £60 per annum.

My EDF bill listed as 12p/kWh that I paid to the generator to supply me: me -> 12p/kWh -> generator.
This website suggests that with solar the government pays me to use electricity? government -> 14.38p/kWh -> me? For my electrical consumption? WTF? This is a completely messed up system that is ass-backwards. Imagine if everybody were doing this. A quick back of the envelope calculation comes to about 8 billion GBP. And that doesn't mean the UK wouldn't need a grid - these systems are still grid connected. At best it would take a bit off the demand (since residential use is only a small portion of electrical consumption).

These power grid guys have worked out how to deal with the fluctuations:

Honestly, your argument is a promotional fluff piece for a battery storage supplier about a pilot project at 6 small sites? Wonderful talk about how they love the community, hug trees and save the environment? The question isn't whether it can be done - of course batteries can store energy, that's not at dispute here. The question is: is it economical? Small pilot projects mean nothing. You can spend a whole lifetime coming up with brilliant solutions to the wrong problems. Do the quantitative analysis, only then can you begin to grasp the scale of the problem.

yesterday
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The Cost of Caring For Elderly Nuclear Plants Expected To Rise

brambus Re:Falling energy prices and weak demand? (238 comments)

Why does germany still has so much wind power if the wind mill owners have to pay that one even takes that bloody wind power?

Because as long as the negative price is less than the state-subsidized feed-in tariff, they are net making money, even though at this point it's just from an artificial subsidy. Erase the feed-in tariff and they'd simply engage the brakes and stop some of the wind turbines as soon as the price reached the upkeep cost for the plant (since beyond that point the plant would be generating a net loss). A couple of important quotes to support my statement (since, you know, I do like to source what I claim):

  • page 2: "Second, Germany’s renewable energy policy grants priority dispatch and fixed feed-in tariffs for renewable electricity generation. Renewable electricity can be fed into the grid whenever it is produced, regardless of energy demand, and in-feed can be switched off only if grid stability is at risk (Bundesnetzagentur, 2011)."
  • page 3: "Grid operators are obliged to feed-in renewable electricity independent of the market price."
  • page 3 (footnote): "The operator continues to receive feed-in tariff payments even if the installation is disconnected from the grid due to capacity constraints of transmission cables."
  • page 33: "Currently, renewable energy is not exposed to any market risk in Germany due to guaranteed feed-in tariffs. A more market-based system would give incentives to realign renewable electricity supply with demand."

yesterday
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The Cost of Caring For Elderly Nuclear Plants Expected To Rise

brambus Re:Falling energy prices and weak demand? (238 comments)

we have summer right now

Article is from April 8, 2014 and says "fifth consecutive monthly decline in March", so the decline has in fact started over the winter. My guess is you didn't really read it, did you?

day ahead demand for GAS IS DAMN LOW! (No one is heating, e.g.)

As you completely misunderstood that the article isn't about summer, this remark is entirely off base.

As we have to much power all the time

The article also talks about price drops across Europe, not just Germany and the sections I was referring to in my quote specifically address natural gas trading at the Dutch TTF, where many European countries trade, not just Germany. Moreover, the article opens with "The Platts Continental Power Index* (CONTI) fell 8.4% in March to €35.06 per megawatt hour (/MWh) ".

I realize I could have been a bit more explicit in saying that I think a significant part of the cheap power prices across Europe is due to cheap natural gas.

we don't need gas turbines, but use pumped storages right now

As usual with your statements, reality tends to disagree.

Germanies share of power produced by gas is at the 1% edge

Damn, do I really have to fact check everything you say? Even this is trivially shown to be false. In fact, you are wrong by an order of magnitude (it's actually 10.6%).

It is amazing with what steely-eyed conviction you can be so wrong, yet feel so superior.

You are mixing up cause and effect because you draw uninformed conclusions from facts you don't understand.

And that coming from somebody who didn't read or understand the first sentence of the article under debate: "continental Europe recorded a fifth consecutive monthly decline in March ". Oh the irony is so sweet.

Hint: I work/worked in that area.

And yet you can't read a graph or table or even do the most rudimentary fact-checking of what you say?

yesterday
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The Cost of Caring For Elderly Nuclear Plants Expected To Rise

brambus Re:Falling energy prices and weak demand? (238 comments)

This is another possibility and it's actually the one less catastrophic, as these are old plants not capable of load-following and are thus mostly written off. Operating them is, from a utility's point of view, sensible as long as commercial value can be extracted. So as long cost of overproduction is lower than earnings at other times, all is well. At the same time, the surplus money can be used to construct new plants that can load-follow. However, renewable projects aren't yet "old" in order to be written off (well, maybe a few, with the heavy help of subsidies), so for them to be getting an overall lower earning in the years to come is very, very bad. And what's worse is that the problem will amplify (due to their intermittency and uncontrollability) the more they are deployed, which sends a very bad signal to investors: the later you invest or the more people invest, the more risky the investment (in fact, this is how pyramid scheme risk works, though for different reasons; I'm not saying RE projects are pyramid schemes).

2 days ago
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The Cost of Caring For Elderly Nuclear Plants Expected To Rise

brambus Re:Falling energy prices and weak demand? (238 comments)

While I agree that it's a fool's errand trying to reduce CO2 emissions without a large-scale reliable zero-CO2 baseload power source, I'm not convinced that CO2 emissions by Germany and Europe at large are going to increase in the future. The data seems to suggest a downward trend and while I do think that this trend will hit definite limits unless the generation side is radically addressed (and what the Germans are doing isn't going to cut it, for various other reasons), it isn't entirely obvious simply from trend data. In order to claim that CO2 emissions from these places will rise, you need to make some pretty broad technical assumptions and I'm not prepared to commit to firmly.

Now as for whole-world CO2 emissions, there the historical data is much more clear: emissions will continue increase unless something really drastic is done.

2 days ago
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The Cost of Caring For Elderly Nuclear Plants Expected To Rise

brambus Re:Falling energy prices and weak demand? (238 comments)

Like for example the people who built the renewables and took out huge loans to be able do so? Loans they must repay? Are you seriously suggesting you don't understand that those pretty wind turbines and shiny solar panels cost real money to make and install?

2 days ago
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Is Storage Necessary For Renewable Energy?

brambus Re:Expert?? (431 comments)

On the raw physics, you're absolutely correct, but as I said, I mostly meant it as a distinction between energy storage solutions (which utilize only gravity) and true energy generators (where gravity is simply a part of the conversion process). My point is, gravitational potential energy isn't a fuel or feedstock, from an engineering perspective, though it can be utilized as a means of energy extraction.

2 days ago
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The Cost of Caring For Elderly Nuclear Plants Expected To Rise

brambus Re:The true cost of nuclear power (238 comments)

Reprocessing is just one step. In order to achieve a true closed cycle, we'll need fast neutron waste burners. We've built them. We've got designs ready to go. Some pilot commercial plants have already been built. And we've got refinements in the pipeline that will make them even better. Unfortunately, the modern environmental movement has turned into a religion and some of them are mistaking Slashdot for their soap box.

2 days ago
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The Cost of Caring For Elderly Nuclear Plants Expected To Rise

brambus Re:Falling energy prices and weak demand? (238 comments)

Interesting article. Couple of important quotes from it:

“German power prices for March 16 delivery turned negative as wind power output rose above 24-GW combined with stronger solar production,” Franke said.

Translation: we've overproduced by such an amount that we're paying for people take our crap.

If the legislative environment weren't such that grid operators were forced to take unneeded generation, wind & solar would have to be curtailed and you'd see the owners of those facilities cry bloody murder, because that's lost revenue and a big hit to ROI. What's funnier is that this situation isn't going to get less frequent with more wind & solar buildout, it's going to get more frequent. Much, much more. The politicians have essentially made grid operators pay for the unreliability of wind & solar, instead of the people who actually own the thing and earn money from it. It's like making a public transport company pay for the lost wages of people who continuously oversleep and show up late for work, despite the public transport running on time.

Contrary to many wind & solar advocates' claims, negative energy prices are not good - it means something's seriously messed up in the grid.

At continental Europe’s most liquid natural gas trading hub, the Dutch TTF, the average price of day-ahead natural gas was €22.76/MWh in March, down 4% on February and down 29% year-over-year.

“The decline has accelerated in recent days,” Richardson said. “TTF prompt delivery gas has dropped below €20/MWh in early April trade, the first time we’ve seen it this low since December 2011. Norwegian gas flows have been healthy and demand for heat and storage have been low.”

So a significant part of the cheap power price is also natural gas, which is most decidedly not renewable and not zero-CO2.

2 days ago
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The Cost of Caring For Elderly Nuclear Plants Expected To Rise

brambus Re:Another Brilliant Revelation (238 comments)

Will happily do. Do you know of any attractive real estate trading at low prices there ATM?

2 days ago
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Is Storage Necessary For Renewable Energy?

brambus Re:Expert?? (431 comments)

Until you can show in that post where I said that all energy is nuclear energy, please don't try to speak for me. You apparently didn't even read all of that comment to notice that I've already admitted one slight correction to my initial statement here:

I guess I could refine my original argument to be "gravity by itself", i.e. a system where there is no other fuel input than the gravitational potential energy.

My point was to distinguish between purely gravitationally-based systems like pumped hydro, which really aren't energy sources, just energy storage units, and true energy generators. I realize that I should have been clearer in my original statement.

Now stop being so rude and butthurt, it's not good for your health.

2 days ago
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Is Storage Necessary For Renewable Energy?

brambus Re:Expert?? (431 comments)

Energy storage != energy source. I'm well aware of grid level storage.

2 days ago

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