[ExI] Two Japanese reactors on red alert

Mirco Romanato painlord2k at libero.it
Tue Mar 15 23:41:32 UTC 2011

Il 15/03/2011 22.23, Eugen Leitl ha scritto:
> On Tue, Mar 15, 2011 at 08:26:07PM +0100, Mirco Romanato wrote:

>> I know well that wind power need gas power station to work, because
>> wind don't blow continuously and the grid don't like power
>> fluctuations.

> Do you realize that large fraction of renewable contribution require
> agile response from the other plants on the grid, and that large
> scale installations with 2-3 days of thermal inertia fail the
> requirement?

Last time I checked, power plants were built to deliver electricity to
the lowest costs for human benefit, not to compensate the deficiencies
of other power plants built to save the the souls of the proponents (and
paid from someone else).

If you choose to build a renewable power plant that is unable to
deliver, not dependable and costly, don't blame others if instead of a
single generator you need two to deliver the same continuous power.
To operate a one GW wind or solar plant you need a one GW gas plant or
like on his side. Always ready to start to cover for the lack of wind.
So you build two plants and spend accordingly to maintain them to obtain
the same power output a single plant would give you.

> Gas turbines with second stage steam actually do not too badly,
> achieving 60% efficiency at moderate thermal inertia. I much prefer
> micro co-gen though. Especially high-temperature direct methane fuel
> cell co-gen would be almost perfect, if we had these, that is.

How much cost gas? How much gas there is and can be delivered if its use
This discussion is like talking with Marie Antoinette about bread and
receiving the famous reply.

>> Colder the climate, less wind you have.
> Er. Does not. Quite. Work. That way.

In fact. The wind plants in Scotland didn't work at all when the cold
stroke the place. But people freezing in their homes is not a problem.
The answer is "Who could know? Who could foresee it?" from the same that
could foresee the earthquake after it happened.

>> Wind cost 5 times (at least) more than nuclear power and coal.

> Do you realize the large scale markets are realtime? That there are
> spatial and temporal variations? That spatiotemporal niche crossover
> happened a couple years ago and the niches can only grow?

Do you know that your answer are only indirections to don't reply to the
costs point.
If I have enough power and I have it cheap enough, I can throw it away
when there is a surplus I can not use.
Too costly and not abundant and it is like not having it.

Homes could be heated and cooking done without fires if electricity is
cheap enough. Make it costly and people start using methane from a
pipeline or propane from containers or wood. How do you count the people
dieing or harmed when gas explode, CO poisoning, or freezing and
becoming sick?

I call them "externalities". Externalities of your sustainable economy.

>> You don't run foundries with mills nor with solar panels.
> Energy is energy. See aluminum smelters in Iceland geothermal.

Iceland have 100K or so. And they smelt aluminum, not iron or silicon.
Europe have 300 M or so. And they have not abundant geothermal energy.

>> The politics could afford it, for sure.

> Which part of 'excess capacity' you don't understand? That,
> incidentally, it's particularly renewable that matches the demand
> peak most closely, and hence obliviates need for other peak?

The point is that nuclear energy in old plants (already amortized) cost
much less than renewable. So it is cheaper wasting the excess from
nuclear plants than using the renewable. And it is always useful to have
excess power, as you never know when shit happen and you are without
enough power.

>> I'm not sure the people unemployed and that will stay unemployed
>> because of the high cost of the energy will be able to afford it.

> Employment and renewable use are poor correlates, at least as far as
> Germany is concerned. And once again you miss the picture, because 
> expensive energy is much better than no energy at all.

In fact, as the Spain know, a job in renewable cause two other jobs to
be lost in other parts of the economy. I bet not your. But workers in
the steel industry or other energy intensive industries could think
differently when their jobs are sent abroad. It is happening in Italy,
now. An industry is leaving people home and moving abroad becuse the costs

>> I suppose they can afford to buy fossil fuels from dictators,
>> religious nuts and leftist caudillos.

> I agree fossil fuels are bad, mmhkay? You might have heard about the
> peak fossil thing.

Political peak fossil fuel? Sure.
Political peak energy? Yea!!!

If fossil fuels are bad, nuclear are bad, what do you think to use to
produce the energy we use now? Pixie dust or jinn fire?

>> When solar or wind will be economically independent from subsides
>> paid by nuclear and coal, they can argue as much as they want.

> The connection to reality is weak in this one.

Exactly. Solar and nuclear are poor choices if someone else don't pay
for them.

> Some slight problem: there are very few electric cars, almost no
> electric trucks, and we're stuck with

> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_density

> so we yes, definitely, very much need to be able to produce liquid
> and gaseous synfuels, and be it methanol or 
> dimethylether-/tert-butylether. Which means you've been barking up
> the wrong tree (and it's not even in the right forest, but that
> doesn't actually surprise me).

With cheap nuclear power we can synthesize hydrocarbons from thin air,
if needed. Or exploit tar sands and likes. Or power CTL or GTL processes.

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*Mirco Romanato*

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