Author Topic: Addressing climate change  (Read 8119 times)

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Offline Omni

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Re: Addressing climate change
« Reply #75 on: May 27, 2019, 02:37:28 pm »
If you understand it so well, why do you seem to think that a duplicate grid is required for renewables to provide power?

I don't think he was claiming that a duplicate grid was necessary, only that relying on renewables can cause problems feeding power into the existing grid.

For example:

- It may be necessary to have backup gas generators on standby, should there be issues with wind/solar generation not producing enough (e.g. if its cloudy, or the wind isn't blowing.)

- On particularly sunny days, solar power fed INTO the grid from small solar panels can overload infrastructure. Extra work is needed to design the system to prevent that.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-10-11/electricity-distributors-warn-excess-solar-could-damage-grid/10365622

This is the post I was referring to. Shows a lack of understanding as to how renewables can feed the grid.

'You need to build completely redundant capacity since you can't risk blackouts if renewable output goes to zero. This doubles the capital cost of renewables"
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Offline TimG

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Re: Addressing climate change
« Reply #76 on: May 27, 2019, 02:48:13 pm »
'You need to build completely redundant capacity since you can't risk blackouts if renewable output goes to zero. This doubles the capital cost of renewables"
And you have offered no refutation of that statement largely because you have no clue how the grid works.

If you have a large fraction of your grid supplied by renewables you need to have idle capacity built and standing by in case the renewable production drops suddenly. This idle capacity is a cost that must be paid for and it is not cheap. That is why there is pressure on Germany to subsidize natural gas plants to prevent them from shutting down because they can't sell enough electricity to make them viable on their own. Germany has recently changed their system to allow gas production to be given priority over wind and solar (i.e. wind and solar power is dumped) to make the economics better for the absolutely essential gas plants.
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Offline TimG

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Re: Addressing climate change
« Reply #77 on: May 27, 2019, 02:52:30 pm »
Ya, It's backwards. Solar and wind are not as dangerous as nuclear power.
So what? Solar and wind can't supply the power we need. Nuclear can. If we are really facing a "climate crisis" then we can't be picky about how we deal with it. Nuclear waste is a problem but hardly a catastrophe compared to what you claim will happen we don't reduce CO2 emissions. 

Offline Omni

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Re: Addressing climate change
« Reply #78 on: May 27, 2019, 03:21:58 pm »
And you have offered no refutation of that statement largely because you have no clue how the grid works.

If you have a large fraction of your grid supplied by renewables you need to have idle capacity built and standing by in case the renewable production drops suddenly. This idle capacity is a cost that must be paid for and it is not cheap. That is why there is pressure on Germany to subsidize natural gas plants to prevent them from shutting down because they can't sell enough electricity to make them viable on their own. Germany has recently changed their system to allow gas production to be given priority over wind and solar (i.e. wind and solar power is dumped) to make the economics better for the absolutely essential gas plants.

What you seem to be referring to as "idle capacity" is actually existing capacity. And yes the sun goes down and the wind doesn't always blow but renewables can feed into the existing grid so we can throttle back that coal burner for a good portion of the day.
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Offline TimG

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Re: Addressing climate change
« Reply #79 on: May 27, 2019, 03:34:16 pm »
What you seem to be referring to as "idle capacity" is actually existing capacity.
Large amounts of renewables require new dispatchable capacity to provide backup. Existing baseload sources cannot provide that. Dispatchable capacity is much more expensive than baseload but the exact cost of this dispatchable capacity depends on how often they can sell power. As the fraction of renewables increases the economics of the dispatchable capacity decreases to the point where plants close without subsidies. This is what has already happened in Germany.

IOW, the dispatchable capacity needed to balance reneweables is an extra cost and the reason why wind and solar always cause electricity rates to go up despite the illusion the sun and wind are "free" resources.

Offline Omni

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Re: Addressing climate change
« Reply #80 on: May 27, 2019, 03:37:05 pm »
And here is a personal reflection that won't change the world, but it fits into this discussion in a way. I had the luck to be invited on a sailboat way back when and that experience caused me to go get one of my own. There was never a nicer moment then, when after motoring out of the harbor and hoisting sails, I could shut off that noisy, stinky, costly, fossil fuel burner and accelerate thanks to the movement of the very air we breathe. 

Offline TimG

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Re: Addressing climate change
« Reply #81 on: May 27, 2019, 03:39:16 pm »
I could shut off that noisy, stinky, costly, fossil fuel burner and accelerate thanks to the movement of the very air we breathe.
But hell would freeze over before you would go out to sea without the option of using that fossil fuel burner. You are experiencing naive nostalgia for a world that no one wants to return to.
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Offline Omni

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Re: Addressing climate change
« Reply #82 on: May 27, 2019, 03:40:11 pm »
Large amounts of renewables require new dispatchable capacity to provide backup. Existing baseload sources cannot provide that. Dispatchable capacity is much more expensive than baseload but the exact cost of this dispatchable capacity depends on how often they can sell power. As the fraction of renewables increases the economics of the dispatchable capacity decreases to the point where plants close without subsidies. This is what has already happened in Germany.

IOW, the dispatchable capacity needed to balance reneweables is an extra cost and the reason why wind and solar always cause electricity rates to go up despite the illusion the sun and wind are "free" resources.

Nobody ever said wind and solar were free. They have in many areas simply become cheaper than fossils, not to mention the improvement in air quality. California is one good example.

Offline Omni

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Re: Addressing climate change
« Reply #83 on: May 27, 2019, 03:42:02 pm »
But hell would freeze over before you would go out to sea without the option of using that fossil fuel burner. You are experiencing naive nostalgia for a world that no one wants to return to.

Sailboats plied the seas long before there were diesels.

Offline segnosaur

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Re: Addressing climate change
« Reply #84 on: May 27, 2019, 03:42:14 pm »
What you seem to be referring to as "idle capacity" is actually existing capacity.
Yes and no.

Yes, there are existing gas/oil/coal/hydro capacity that can be kept in reserve. The problems:

- Not all types of generators can be 'fired up' when needed. Gas and hydro are very flexible, but Coal doesn't work that way. Coal is good for base-line generation, but its not good at ramping up or down depending on demand. So you can't keep coal plants in reserve. If that's all the grid has, you would need to build new gas plants

- Even if a generator is sitting idle waiting until its needed, its not exactly a cost-free scenario. Even an idle generator requires maintenance and probably staff. And eventually it will require replacement.

Offline TimG

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Re: Addressing climate change
« Reply #85 on: May 27, 2019, 03:44:24 pm »
Nobody ever said wind and solar were free. They have in many areas simply become cheaper than fossils, not to mention the improvement in air quality. California is one good example.
And I am saying there is no way solar and wind are cheaper than fossil fuels once you include the cost incurred by the backup dispatchable power required to make them useful. It will likely always be cheaper to build one base load plant and run it 24x7 than to build a bunch of solar/wind capacity with backup fossil fuel plants because you need to build double the capacity.
« Last Edit: May 27, 2019, 03:57:52 pm by TimG »

Offline segnosaur

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Re: Addressing climate change
« Reply #86 on: May 27, 2019, 03:46:31 pm »
Sailboats plied the seas long before there were diesels.
Yes they did. But they did so at a much slower pace.

In the early 1800s, it took ~6 weeks to cross the atlantic. (With the occasional storm increasing that time significantly.)

In the 1900s (with boats powered by fossil fuels) that time has dropped to less than a week.
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Offline Omni

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Re: Addressing climate change
« Reply #87 on: May 27, 2019, 03:58:18 pm »
And I am saying there is no way solar and wind are cheaper than fossil fuels once you include the cost incurred by the backup dispatchable power required to make them useful. It will likely always be cheaper to build one base load plant and run it 24x7 than to build a bunch of solar/wind capacity with backup fossil fuel plants because you building double the capacity.

Well there are numerous examples of renewables being more cost effective than fossils, but as already mentioned, the sun does go down and the wind does recede. You seem to ignore the concept of making the air we breathe less toxic, as well as prepping for the day when those old fossils finally run out. 

Offline TimG

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Re: Addressing climate change
« Reply #88 on: May 27, 2019, 04:01:40 pm »
Well there are numerous examples of renewables being more cost effective than fossils
No there are aren't. There are only examples of dishonest accounting done to make renewables look cheaper than they are by omitting necessary costs.

Offline Omni

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Re: Addressing climate change
« Reply #89 on: May 27, 2019, 04:03:28 pm »
Yes they did. But they did so at a much slower pace.

In the early 1800s, it took ~6 weeks to cross the atlantic. (With the occasional storm increasing that time significantly.)

In the 1900s (with boats powered by fossil fuels) that time has dropped to less than a week.

Ha ha. Yes I am well aware of that. I was referring to tim's comment that I wouldn't go to sea without my motor. As a matter of fact I did numerous times when it broke down and I was in a place where I couldn't get parts to fix it. My main point is that we can get things down by harnessing things nature gives us.