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You are here: MacNN Forums > Community > MacNN Lounge > Political/War Lounge > Electricity, Oil, and Coal: The answer my friend, is blowing in the wind

Electricity, Oil, and Coal: The answer my friend, is blowing in the wind
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Thorzdad
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Aug 29, 2020, 06:57 PM
 
[set curmudgeon_mode=1]
     
reader50
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Aug 29, 2020, 08:10 PM
 
^^ A bunch of people should be in jail for this. Corruption and conspiracy come to mind.
     
subego
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Aug 29, 2020, 09:30 PM
 
The same thing which bothered Jereza bothered me.

They can’t add a non-existent carbon tax and then crow about how much the program saves in carbon taxes.
     
reader50
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Aug 29, 2020, 10:59 PM
 
Emissions credits have been around since at least 1990 in the US. Along with MPG rules, effectively a tax on carbon (and other emissions). They're traded among the auto industry at least, and carbon outright in CA and NY. Greater pressure on carbon is a reasonable assumption by 2038. Some countries are taking longer than others, but raising carbon regulations is the clear trend.

I thought the researchers ran simulations with and without a carbon tax. But even if they only simmed with a tax, it's far less egregious than political interference in technical research. Should the engineers have used unrealistic assumptions in planning future grid upgrades?
     
subego
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Aug 30, 2020, 01:50 PM
 
Yes, engineers should use realistic assumptions, but if the lion’s share of a project’s (edit: financial) benefits are due to the assumptions, the project is speculation on our energy future, not investment in it.

Also, while I may not like it, the administration gets to set an energy agenda, and the one which has been set is we’re going to squeeze whatever we can out of coal. This project runs counter to the agenda, so the DoE is quite simply no longer buying what the engineer has to sell.


Edit2: I recall the article saying the system will provide a $4 billion or so savings per year. This “savings” is at the cost of cratering the $30 billion per year coal industry. There’s certainly a global warming argument for killing coal, but we’re talking about savings.

Unless we go very long term, to combat global warming isn’t a savings proposition, it’s an expense proposition, which is why fixing the problem gets so much pushback.
( Last edited by subego; Aug 30, 2020 at 04:09 PM. )
     
Laminar
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Sep 1, 2020, 08:28 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Unless we go very long term, to combat global warming isn’t a savings proposition, it’s an expense proposition, which is why fixing the problem gets so much pushback.
What's the quote about planting trees whose shade you'll never enjoy?
     
subego
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Sep 1, 2020, 01:39 PM
 
Originally Posted by Laminar View Post
What's the quote about planting trees whose shade you'll never enjoy?
I’m not familiar with the quote, but I think I can figure it out.


What the quote is saying:
“The cost of the tree is worth it, even though you won’t personally realize the benefits.”


What I’m saying:
“Not personally realizing the benefits is why people don’t want to pay the cost of the tree. I make no claim as to whether the tree should or should not be planted. I bring this up because...”


What the engineer said:
“The tree has no cost.”


Which is a load of horseshit. It only has no cost if we crater the coal industry, and that’s a cost. Not personally realizing the benefits of this cost is why people don’t want to pay it. I make no claim as to whether the cost should or should not be paid.
     
reader50
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Sep 1, 2020, 04:56 PM
 
We aren't cratering the coal industry. It's doing that on its own, with no new plants built in the US after 2015. Because it's priced out of the market. Natural gas, wind, and solar generally cost less, and lack secondary costs (health of workers, nearby residents). Source link.



Why should anyone buy a higher-priced power source, with no secondary benefits? Coal is dying, even with a favorable administration trying like mad to prop it up.

Apparently we should not invest in more grid interties, because it would lower power prices for everyone during high demand. Which hurts higher-priced sources.
     
andi*pandi
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Sep 1, 2020, 06:07 PM
 
Big coal needed to see which way the wind was blowing a long time ago, and invest in alternative energy ideas of their own. Buggy manufacturers adapted to the car after all. Buggy whip manufacturers did not...
     
Thorzdad  (op)
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Sep 1, 2020, 07:32 PM
 
Oh, hey, speaking of coal...Trump admin eases pollution rules targeted at coal industry. You can never have too much cadmium or lead in your diet, y’know.
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subego
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Sep 3, 2020, 05:29 PM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
We aren't cratering the coal industry. It's doing that on its own, with no new plants built in the US after 2015. Because it's priced out of the market. Natural gas, wind, and solar generally cost less, and lack secondary costs (health of workers, nearby residents). Source link.



Why should anyone buy a higher-priced power source, with no secondary benefits? Coal is dying, even with a favorable administration trying like mad to prop it up.

Apparently we should not invest in more grid interties, because it would lower power prices for everyone during high demand. Which hurts higher-priced sources.
The LCOE shows coal is the higher-priced source for new infrastructure.

The problem is existing infrastructure. We built so much coal infrastructure, the leftover cost to generate power from it is tiny. In places where this infrastructure already exists, coal is the cheapest option.

The agents in the engineer’s simulation didn’t keep burning the shit out of coal because they’re Satan’s little helpers, they did it because it’s the cheapest option. Just like in reality.
     
OreoCookie
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Sep 3, 2020, 08:23 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
In places where this infrastructure already exists, coal is the cheapest option. […] Just like in reality.
Except that this isn’t true, these price differentials hold true for existing infrastructure as well — coal is either the most or second-most expensive option to generate power (depending on how nuclear fares in comparison). Even with zero changes to the grid you could simply use gas power plants to capacity, and crank up wind and photovoltaics as well — provided you can supply demand (which is a local question).
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subego
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Sep 3, 2020, 08:41 PM
 
Coal runs close to a quarter of the grid. Gas and renewables don’t have anywhere near the capacity to power that above and beyond what they’re already running. If they did, we’d be using it.

We can’t replace coal with existing infrastructure. We need to build new infrastructure, which is why coal is still viable. It’s competing against the massive capital outlay required for new infrastructure.

Why did the agents in the Seams simulation use coal? Did the engineer code them to be wasteful and destructive?
( Last edited by subego; Sep 3, 2020 at 08:52 PM. )
     
OreoCookie
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Sep 3, 2020, 09:13 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Coal runs close to a quarter of the grid. Gas and renewables don’t have anywhere near the capacity to power that above and beyond what they’re already running. If they did, we’d be using it.
You are missing that cheaper prices for consumers isn’t necessarily in the interest of the electricity companies. If you have a coal power plant with a valid operating license, you want to use it for as long as possible to generate revenue against that huge up-front investment.

In many electricity markets you actually have a surplus. This is the case in Germany, where we had so much oversupply that we could afford to switch off all nuclear power plants after 3/11 (which accounted for ~22.4 % of electricity production at the time) and still export electricity to our European neighbors. Prior to that, the nuclear industry spread lots of FUD about brown outs and all that, and the Merkel government parroted those talking points.
Originally Posted by subego View Post
We can’t replace coal with existing infrastructure. We need to build new infrastructure, which is why coal is still viable. It’s competing against the massive capital outlay required for new infrastructure.
That’s only true if you focus on renewables. Gas power plants pollute less and are cheaper to operate — and they slot right into the old base-mid-peak-load paradigm. Plus, there is the whole fracking industry with tons of supply and a huge interest to sell their gas. The only reason coal is viable is because politicians place undue emphasis on coal workers as a symbol. (The German government is at least as bad, ignoring job losses in the hundreds of thousands in the renewables sector due to intentional, punitive regulations, but spends €€ billions and lots of political capital on the coal industry.) IMHO that’s why coal is on the losing end: you have another fossil fuel behemoth with even more political influence.
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reader50
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Sep 3, 2020, 09:34 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
... This is the case in Germany, where we had so much oversupply that we could afford to switch off all nuclear power plants after 3/11 (which accounted for ~22.4 % of electricity production at the time) and still export electricity to our European neighbors.
I wondered about that. Nuclear is carbon-free power, and was already constructed. Were the plants unreliable, or was it all political?

I like nuclear, if it wasn't so expensive to build. The latest news of a compact reactor design being approved is encouraging. Small modular reactors look to solve a lot of the cost & safety concerns that have dogged the industry.
     
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Sep 3, 2020, 10:14 PM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
I wondered about that. Nuclear is carbon-free power, and was already constructed. Were the plants unreliable, or was it all political?
In the early 2000s the government coalition between Social Democrats (center-left) and Green Party decided to end nuclear power generation in Germany by 2022. The main reasons were the dangers that nuclear waste posed and the operation itself. This has broad support in the German population across political affiliation. Even though this was expected to be a fait accompli (since the operators of nuclear power plants were involved in the deal), the Merkel government extended the operating licenses by 10 years till 2032 just before the nuclear disaster in Fukushima. What Merkel did was revoke it, because the opposition to the extension could cost her the next election. There was a fear factor coming from the accident in Fukushima, but it was based on pre-existing, wide-spread opposition. (Merkel's extension cost the state additional billions, because the operators successfully sued for damages.)
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
I like nuclear, if it wasn't so expensive to build.
Nuclear has many, many problems:

(1) Expensive even if you do not include extraneous costs. Solar power has come down over 90 % in cost-per-kWh over the last 10 years. Wind has also become price-competitive.

(2) Nuclear waste.

(3) Inherent dual use capability.

Thus, not every country will be allowed to have nuclear power plants. (Think Iran.) Other countries maintain nuclear power also because of their nuclear arsenal or because they could produce a nuclear arsenal in short order. So it is a power source that we actually don't want many countries to have. For small reactors the dangers might shift more to theft of nuclear material for e. g. building a dirty bomb.

(4) Non-obvious technological limitations

During the heat wave in Europe, many nuclear power plants had to be turned off, because they could not be cooled sufficiently. Many are located next to rivers, and the river water was too warm. Funnily enough, nuclear power plants are impacted by global climate change.


(5) The large reactors still assume a power grid made for more centralized power generation.

In many locations, e. g. Australia, it is financially viable to rely on local power generation (e. g. with solar and power storage) and only use the power grid in terms of shortfalls. So you could get away with a much cheaper power grid in some areas.


The best argument IMHO is whether to keep existing nuclear power plants up and running while phasing out coal and gas power plants earlier. Depending on where you are, I am open to entertaining this argument (more so in tectonically stable regions of the world and less so in poor and tectonically active regions).
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
The latest news of a compact reactor design being approved is encouraging. Small modular reactors look to solve a lot of the cost & safety concerns that have dogged the industry.
I seriously doubt this economically and technically feasible. A lot of ideas for alternative reactor designs have been around for decades, the other big one being thorium reactors. Thorium reactors would be neat in that they could be used to process radioactive waste that will be dangerous for thousands and thousands of years, and convert it into nuclear waste that will be dangerous for hundreds of years.

These smaller reactors would need to be fool proof as in yes, a real-life Homer Simpson could operate it safely without causing any nuclear accidents. This is a very tall ask, and I am not sure it is actually doable. The closest nuclear power plants in terms of size would be something like the reactors you'd find on a nuclear submarine or a modern aircraft carrier. The people operating the reactors are highly specialized and Mike Wuerthele of MacNN fame (who did exactly this during his service in the Navy) pointed out that there are fewer nuclear specialists than there are Navy Seals.
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reader50
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Sep 3, 2020, 11:47 PM
 
Wind and Solar are great, but they are secondary power sources. ie - they come and go, requiring other sources to stabilize them. Traditionally fossil fuel plants (gas peaker plants especially). Other stabilizing methods are the long-range power grid (distributing surpluses), dams, and batteries (only starting to roll out).

Plus diversity of sources - it's very unlikely multiple source types will all go down at once. Homogeneous power sources are about as secure against disruption as any other homogeneous category.

Nuclear is the only primary power source (can be operated at will) that is both carbon-free and "large".

Primary power sources:
Fossil Fuels
Nuclear
Geothermal (plants run forever, but are "small")

Secondary power sources:
Wind
Solar

Storage-based power sources: (can provide at will, but for limited time)
Dams
Batteries

Most suitable hydropower locations already have dams. Exception: Canada. Batteries are starting to roll out, but grids will be competing with transportation demands. In my estimation, battery demand will outstrip global supply for at least a decade. So I don't see grid-storage being rolled out beyond handling momentary peaks duty. Not until the 2030s anyway. Once the car fleets are satisfied, and trucks. Possible use in ships and trains. Likely use in short-range aircraft, including air taxis being tested today.

I like diversity of power sources, and Nuclear is a good power source. The two headline disasters we've had all traced to bad choices. Chernobyl didn't have a containment vessel, and the USSR cheaped out on safety regulations. Fukushima was caused by regulatory capture, with all critical safety upgrades postponed. If the diesel backup generators had been moved to higher locations, cooling pump power would not have been lost. Higher sea wall would have prevented the flooding - again letting the diesels operate.

Waste is a problem, though more of a NIMBY problem than an engineering one. And the breeder or throium solution greatly improves the waste issue, at the cost of being able to synthesize plutonium.

Essentially foolproof designs already exist. Inherently safe reactors, that shut themselves down safely, even with complete loss of cooling power. The main problem is construction cost - nuclear is terribly expensive to build. Mostly because each one is custom-built on site.

Your (5) isn't a concern. We need more long-range power grid capacity, not less, to work around secondary power limitations. So the grid will be friendly to large sources for the indefinite future.
     
OreoCookie
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Sep 4, 2020, 02:36 AM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
Wind and Solar are great, but they are secondary power sources. ie - they come and go, requiring other sources to stabilize them.
You don't need other sources, you can use a combination of more localized energy storage and longer-range power transfer. Basically, you have to move away from the base load-mid load-peak load paradigm. If you transfer power over a large-enough geographic area (say, on the scale of the European continent or the entire United States) this isn't a problem. Especially since there are regions with very predictable wind patterns.

These ideas already work on very large scales. On average renewables (PV + wind) contribute close to 50 % of the energy in Germany, at times a lot more than that. And yet, Germany still exports energy on average.
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
Traditionally fossil fuel plants (gas peaker plants especially). Other stabilizing methods are the long-range power grid (distributing surpluses), dams, and batteries (only starting to roll out).
Newer ideas use batteries on different scales, including recycled car batteries or e. g. molten salt storage. You could also think about using H2, which, yes, is less efficient, but if you have “free energy”, why not? When it comes to switching to a green economy, usually the answer is “all of the above” rather than having to decide between A and B.

Chile is leading the way, too, they are hypercapitalistic and they pretty much only build renewable power plants these days. The biggest disputes are over hydro power, because those usually involve altering the landscape and you don't necessarily need it. Of course, they have the advantage of having a large desert where you don't just have sunshine in abundance, but more importantly nobody cares if you build a large wind and/or solar park because there is no one there to care.
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
Plus diversity of sources - it's very unlikely multiple source types will all go down at once. Homogeneous power sources are about as secure against disruption as any other homogeneous category.
Diversity is achieved through geography I'd say. In the past what you meant by diversity was broader, you perhaps wanted a mix of coal, gas and nuclear because the countries you'd depend on for, well, coal, gas and uranium were different. And let's face it, countries that sell these were often, well, politically problematic (e. g. Saudi Arabia and Russia). Just imagine what politics looked like if we were not dependent on Saudi oil or Russian gas, for example?
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
Nuclear is the only primary power source (can be operated at will) that is both carbon-free and "large".
The old paradigm was base load-mid load-peak load, the distinguishing factor being how quickly you can regulate the power plant. Nuclear power plants and big coal power plants contribute to base load. Coal power plants in particular are very inefficient if you run them away from full load. The number that stuck in my mind (but I don't have a source off hand) is that you need 80 % of the coal at 50 % load.

Mid load and finally peak load power plants are more expensive, but just necessary. Peak load power plants are e. g. water reservoirs and what you call “dam” (although that's a bit ambiguous). They are the most expensive power source, but simply a necessity.

Renewables do not fit neatly into this scheme, because you cannot regulate them in the same way. The sun and wind do what they want to do. Yes, you can always shut off your wind mills or solar panels, but the present paradigm wasn't meant for them.

So instead, you switch to a smart grid, which works on two assumptions: (1) On average you have enough electricity at hand, but you may need to redirect it over larger distances. And (2) people produce part of their own power (e. g. by putting solar panels on their roofs), which reduces demand. And it needs to be smart, because redirecting so much power over long distances is no mean feat. That's why electricity in Germany is so expensive, Germans are paying to revamp their entire electricity grid. Once this is done, they will have a huge advantage.

One of the largest obstacles were the power companies, and what saved us was the move towards splitting up the big power behemoths into power production companies and those responsible for the grid. Renewables are often more delocalized, so they don't make sense for these large companies. They are geared towards large-scale installations.
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
Most suitable hydropower locations already have dams.
Fun fact: Canada has so much hydro power that they call it your “hydro” (utility bill) rather than “electricity”. That was very confusing when I arrived (why do I have to pay for water and hydro …).
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
In my estimation, battery demand will outstrip global supply for at least a decade. So I don't see grid-storage being rolled out beyond handling momentary peaks duty. Not until the 2030s anyway. Once the car fleets are satisfied, and trucks. Possible use in ships and trains. Likely use in short-range aircraft, including air taxis being tested today.
Apart from having a smart grid, local batteries will be part of the solution. You don't necessarily need to compete with cars and trucks, you could recycle old car batteries this way. An old Tesla battery can power several houses easily, and even if you only got, say, 50-80 % capacity, that might be more than good enough. Even better, what if your car acted as the battery for your home? Moreover, in a lot of parts of the world, I reckon people in urban areas will move away from cars to some degree. Tesla is really smart, because while they are ostensibly a car manufacturer, they could very easily become a battery company. While Musk is, hmm, problematic in a lot of respects, he is one smart cookie. I think there are plenty of solutions once you think this through.
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
I like diversity of power sources, and Nuclear is a good power source. The two headline disasters we've had all traced to bad choices. Chernobyl didn't have a containment vessel, and the USSR cheaped out on safety regulations. Fukushima was caused by regulatory capture, with all critical safety upgrades postponed. If the diesel backup generators had been moved to higher locations, cooling pump power would not have been lost. Higher sea wall would have prevented the flooding - again letting the diesels operate.
To me the time of nuclear power has passed. The problem in Japan is way deeper: statistically roughly every 100 years there is a giant earthquake and much of the coastline is close to or over a fault line. So the risk calculus is way different than in, say, France, where you rarely have strong earthquakes and most nuclear power plants are far away from the coast. For other countries like Iran, you have to include the political situation into your risk calculation. Secondly, the risk in case a nuclear accident happens (and surely for the nuclear waste) is borne by the state, i. e. by all taxpayers. For Fukushima the projected damages exceed (last I remember) $200 billion. Plus, it is what allows Japan to become a nuclear power (they have all the pieces for nuclear weapons).

Nuclear accidents are very low probability, but super-high impact events. So far we have gotten lucky. Japan was lucky that the wind blew towards the ocean and not inlands that day. They were lucky that the operators in Fukushima were ingenious enough to jury rig a power source for critical valves by putting a bunch of car batteries in series. I'd rather not rely on luck. I don't think I have an irrational fear towards nuclear power, I currently live about 100 km from Fukushima.
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
Waste is a problem, though more of a NIMBY problem than an engineering one. And the breeder or throium solution greatly improves the waste issue, at the cost of being able to synthesize plutonium.
I would like a thorium reactor just to deal with the waste, but there isn't one. (This youtube channel has a bunch of interesting videos on nuclear power.) It seems a problem like fusion, everybody says it is 20 years away, but it's been 50 years and counting. Speaking of another energy source that doesn't get enough funding, fusion is one. A fusion power plant would be much safer and produce very little radioactive waste.
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
Essentially foolproof designs already exist. Inherently safe reactors, that shut themselves down safely, even with complete loss of cooling power. The main problem is construction cost - nuclear is terribly expensive to build. Mostly because each one is custom-built on site.
So you have one solution that has a large upfront cost, is not available to most countries, has a large upfront political cost not least because you have to think about small probability-high impact events. And you compare this with wind and solar, which carry pretty much no risk to the population or the environment and are cheaper and are decentralized. The financial incentives seem to line up with the environmental ones, I think.

I'd have a much harder time to argue with you if nuclear power were still cheaper than renewables. And for a long time this was true.
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
Your (5) isn't a concern. We need more long-range power grid capacity, not less, to work around secondary power limitations. So the grid will be friendly to large sources for the indefinite future.
Well, I would say it is a concern now, and once you overcome it, then you have an energy grid made for renewables.


But let me ask you something: you mentioned micro reactors earlier, which seems to be the new focus of the nuclear industry. Also these seem to follow/lead the trend (depending on how you look at it) towards more delocalized energy production and are an attempt to make nuclear power cheaper by mass producing smaller reactors rather than custom designing them. And if something goes wrong, well, the problem is presumably much smaller. Where do you see them slot in the energy mix of the future?

PS Nice discussion we have going here.
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Sep 4, 2020, 03:25 AM
 
Small modular reactors (SMRs) could be used for decentralized smaller production - but that's not why they're talked about. The idea is a centralized production line. Manufacture reactor modules in a central facility, with an assembly line. Each reactor is precharged with fuel, then sealed up. Ship as many modules as needed to a power plant site. Some SMR designs allow refueling on site, but I prefer the designs that avoid that.

You hook up the coolant lines to each module, and the control cables. Run it until the fuel is used up. Then ship back to the factory for refueling / servicing / disposal. Whichever is appropriate. The module is never opened on site, and it's built durable enough to be its own containment vessel. Which will handle most explosives / bullets / IEDs / etc.

So you get safety against breeches. And if (insert villian) breeched a single module, it would be vastly smaller than a reactor breech today. You get the economics of assembly lines, and the scalability of adding modules whenever needed. Or reducing modules if long-term demands fall. The power plant does not need a monster containment vessel, or staff qualified to open a reactor. Radiation concerns are removed from local plants to a central factory, which is prepared for the risks.
So you have one solution that has a large upfront cost, is not available to most countries, has a large upfront political cost not least because you have to think about small probability-high impact events. And you compare this with wind and solar, which carry pretty much no risk to the population or the environment and are cheaper and are decentralized. The financial incentives seem to line up with the environmental ones, I think.
I disagree with your summary of nuclear today. We have established plants capable of supplying a significant percentage of the world's power. These plants are already paid for, and the operating cost of electricity is comparable to renewables. Note: I've had trouble finding just the operating cost. Estimates always include amortizing the constructions costs, which we know are huge. I believe the costs after construction payback are among the cheapest. It becomes a self-powered steam turbine, with a staff to watch it and change the light bulbs.

We have inherently safe designs since the 1990s - see the link I gave for complete loss of cooling power. That goes to an experimental breeder reactor. They invited industry experts from other countries, then pulled the main breakers for the cooling pumps. Alarms went off. The visitors looked at the locals to see if they'd start running. Temperatures rose to a peak, then fell off just as fast. The reactor shut itself down without damage.

With long distance (high voltage) power grids, we're already ready to wire up reactors. Actually, they're already all wired up. And SMRs might be shipable to other countries, as they don't get opened on-site. Inherently safe designs largely remove the political cost. That leaves the up-front costs, which is a technical problem with likely solutions.

I'm very much in favor of more wind and solar rollout. Some future extensions, like undersea currents (sea-bottom windmills) should qualify as primary power sources, operating all the time.

But I'm not ready to write off a large carbon-free source like Nuclear. I think we should keep our options open, including more fusion research too. At worst we're missing a fuel disposal method (solvable) and a good cleanup method for disasters (probably not solvable, but extremely unlikely).

Edit - almost forgot the used batteries. I'm familiar with the plan to reuse EV batteries for the grid. It's workable, but not available for at least a decade. The problem - EV batteries are proving extremely reliable. Tesla batteries appear to be good for 500,000 miles, with persistent rumors of a million-mile battery soon. Some Model S cars have passed 400K miles, with no battery changes so far. Tesla also has plans to recycle old cells for raw materials, to make new batteries.

Anyone who competes with Tesla will have to match their batteries. At 500K - 1M miles per pack, there won't be a supply of used batteries for at least a decade. Bummer for the grid, but good news for EV owners.
( Last edited by reader50; Sep 4, 2020 at 03:37 AM. )
     
subego
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Sep 4, 2020, 01:52 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
You are missing that cheaper prices for consumers isn’t necessarily in the interest of the electricity companies. If you have a coal power plant with a valid operating license, you want to use it for as long as possible to generate revenue against that huge up-front investment.

In many electricity markets you actually have a surplus. This is the case in Germany, where we had so much oversupply that we could afford to switch off all nuclear power plants after 3/11 (which accounted for ~22.4 % of electricity production at the time) and still export electricity to our European neighbors. Prior to that, the nuclear industry spread lots of FUD about brown outs and all that, and the Merkel government parroted those talking points.

That’s only true if you focus on renewables. Gas power plants pollute less and are cheaper to operate — and they slot right into the old base-mid-peak-load paradigm. Plus, there is the whole fracking industry with tons of supply and a huge interest to sell their gas. The only reason coal is viable is because politicians place undue emphasis on coal workers as a symbol. (The German government is at least as bad, ignoring job losses in the hundreds of thousands in the renewables sector due to intentional, punitive regulations, but spends €€ billions and lots of political capital on the coal industry.) IMHO that’s why coal is on the losing end: you have another fossil fuel behemoth with even more political influence.
When I say “infrastructure”, I mean the whole kit-and-caboodle, including the cost of the power plant. If we want to use gas to replace coal that’s great, but the operative word is “replace”. We need to build a brand new gas plant to replace the coal one, and power plants of all varieties are heinously expensive.

This is what makes coal competitive. It’s cheaper to run an existing plant than to build a brand new one. Likewise, the existing plant accounts for a metric ****ton of sunk cost.


Edit: I ask the same question I keep asking... why did the agents in the Seams simulation who stuck with coal decide to do that? Did the engineer code them to respect the symbolic importance of coal workers?

Is it not far more plausible they were coded to respect the financial bottom line?
( Last edited by subego; Sep 4, 2020 at 02:51 PM. )
     
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Sep 4, 2020, 05:59 PM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
Note: I've had trouble finding just the operating cost.
Your wish is my command!

https://www.eia.gov/electricity/annu...epa_08_04.html

This table is useful for nuclear, coal, and hydro, but very irritatingly mashes gas together with non-hydro renewables.

If we choose that dubious accounting method, nuclear beats everything except hydro when it comes to combined fuel, operation, and maintenance expenses. The fuel for nuclear is apparently extremely cheap per kW-h generated. Cheap enough it more than makes up for nuclear’s high O&M cost.
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Sep 4, 2020, 08:46 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
When I say “infrastructure”, I mean the whole kit-and-caboodle, including the cost of the power plant. If we want to use gas to replace coal that’s great, but the operative word is “replace”. We need to build a brand new gas plant to replace the coal one, and power plants of all varieties are heinously expensive.
I was quite specific, I’m talking about using existing capacity to replace coal power plants. In many places, coal power plants can be and has been shut down with zero impact on the power grid’s ability to satisfy demand. That lowers prices for customers and ROI for the operators of coal power plants.

This suggestion isn’t idle pie-in-the-sky speculation, it’s happening all over the world. Britain is successfully phasing outs its coal power plants. Spain is doing the same.
Originally Posted by subego View Post
This is what makes coal competitive. It’s cheaper to run an existing plant than to build a brand new one. Likewise, the existing plant accounts for a metric ****ton of sunk cost.
Most coal power plants in the Western world are old and have long generated profits for the operating company, the large upfront investment has already been recouped long ago. For them it is just a question of how much return they can extract from their investment. Note that in many parts of the world, the coal industry has received large subsidies from the government — usually not on the power generation side, but on the coal extraction side (which kept fuel prices artificially low).
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Sep 4, 2020, 09:02 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
I find this table not very useful (which isn’t your fault): it mixes gas power plants with “small scale” power plants. There are, of course, big gas power plants, and electricity is cheaper than coal. And I do not see renewables at all apart from hyrdoelectric power (again mixing very different power plant types).
Originally Posted by subego View Post
If we choose that dubious accounting method, nuclear beats everything except hydro when it comes to combined fuel, operation, and maintenance expenses. The fuel for nuclear is apparently extremely cheap per kW-h generated. Cheap enough it more than makes up for nuclear’s high O&M cost.
Nuclear power plants are significantly more expensive to build than fossil fuel power plants. According to this comparison between similarly sized nuclear and gas power plants it takes about 13 years for a nuclear power plant to recoup the investment and turn a profit, and it takes between 15-20 years to generate more profit than the gas power plant. A coal power plant would be less competitive (the end of the video contains a graph that compares energy product costs between 1995 and 2012 — right where the crossover point between coal and gas occurred).

Of course, these numbers only account for construction and do not include

But because of lower fuel and operating costs costs
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Sep 4, 2020, 09:23 PM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
Small modular reactors (SMRs) could be used for decentralized smaller production - but that's not why they're talked about. The idea is a centralized production line. Manufacture reactor modules in a central facility, with an assembly line. Each reactor is precharged with fuel, then sealed up. Ship as many modules as needed to a power plant site. Some SMR designs allow refueling on site, but I prefer the designs that avoid that.
I thought SMRs are not meant to compete with large-scale power plants, but something like diesel generators or so. AFAIK the power output of an SMR is in the range 15-50 MW, so 3-10 average-sized wind mills.
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
I disagree with your summary of nuclear today. We have established plants capable of supplying a significant percentage of the world's power. These plants are already paid for, and the operating cost of electricity is comparable to renewables. Note: I've had trouble finding just the operating cost. Estimates always include amortizing the constructions costs, which we know are huge.
Compared with fossil fuels, operating and fuel costs are significantly lower. Have a look at the video I linked to in one of my replies to subego. I don’t claim it is gospel, but it seems to give a reasonable estimates. Although I noticed that the guy making the videos relies on outdated numbers in some of his other videos, though (e. g. on the economics of PV, where he seems to use numbers from ~2010; prices per kWh have dropped ~90 % in solar over the last 10 years, though).
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
We have inherently safe designs since the 1990s - see the link I gave for complete loss of cooling power. That goes to an experimental breeder reactor. They invited industry experts from other countries, then pulled the main breakers for the cooling pumps. Alarms went off. The visitors looked at the locals to see if they'd start running. Temperatures rose to a peak, then fell off just as fast. The reactor shut itself down without damage.
I think you are referring to reactor designs “with a negative temperature coefficient”, although I thought (perhaps incorrectly) that Western nuclear power plants had this safety feature for much longer. In fact, I thought it was mandated. In contrast Eastern Bloc designs like Chernobyl did not.
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
And SMRs might be shipable to other countries, as they don't get opened on-site. Inherently safe designs largely remove the political cost.
Honest question: do you think there’d be no opposition to sending SMRs to, say, Saudi Arabia or Nigeria or even Iran? Once you are talking about shipping hundreds of reactors, I think the amount of nuclear material will become an issue, too. I don’t see a way to disentangle nuclear proliferation from nuclear energy if the scale is large enough.
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
But I'm not ready to write off a large carbon-free source like Nuclear. I think we should keep our options open, including more fusion research too. At worst we're missing a fuel disposal method (solvable) and a good cleanup method for disasters (probably not solvable, but extremely unlikely).
Just to clarify your stance here: are you arguing that nuclear power plants are the last power plants to be switched off when transitioning to renewables? Or would you be in favor or constructing new, larger power plants?
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
Edit - almost forgot the used batteries. I'm familiar with the plan to reuse EV batteries for the grid. It's workable, but not available for at least a decade. The problem - EV batteries are proving extremely reliable. Tesla batteries appear to be good for 500,000 miles, with persistent rumors of a million-mile battery soon. Some Model S cars have passed 400K miles, with no battery changes so far. Tesla also has plans to recycle old cells for raw materials, to make new batteries.
That’s one of the big advantages of EVs, the power train requires much less maintenance than ICE cars. Eventually, we will have left-over batteries, though.
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
Anyone who competes with Tesla will have to match their batteries. At 500K - 1M miles per pack, there won't be a supply of used batteries for at least a decade. Bummer for the grid, but good news for EV owners.
Tesla already offers solutions for homeowners and even large scale power plant operators, so you wouldn’t have to compete against Tesla’s EV branch, but against their power storage branch They built a industrial-scale “battery” to buffer mismatches in power production and demand within something like 75 days from “offering” (i. e. Elon Musk tweeting “It will take <= 100 days or you will get it for free”) and opening up the facility. I’m not an expert on the construction of power plants, but I think it is safe to say this is unheard of.
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Sep 4, 2020, 11:52 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Honest question: do you think there’d be no opposition to sending SMRs to, say, Saudi Arabia or Nigeria or even Iran?
I'd want to hear commentary from experts, and know more about the specific design. For example, an SMR might be booby-trapped against opening. Which releases only after the fuel is used up. The details matter.
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Just to clarify your stance here: are you arguing that nuclear power plants are the last power plants to be switched off when transitioning to renewables? Or would you be in favor or constructing new, larger power plants?
The argument for existing plants is strong, as most should be well past payback. Particularly in the US, I've read that many plants are past their original design lifespan. Upgrades and better analysis of their designs allow license extensions. But payback is guaranteed today, as no one would finance a plant that would pass break-even after its original design life.

I think further development is warranted too. Anything else smacks of "Things mankind was not meant to know", which is always suspect. Nuclear power works. Its problems are technical, which means they are solvable. Though probably not via larger reactors. The financials don't work, and smaller modules are easier to control in a pinch.

The current track for fusion research isn't so good: ITER (big) -> DEMO (even bigger). Showing that it works is valid research. However, it ultimately needs to be cheaper to compete. Large facilities that need half the 1st world to finance, does not equal cheap power tomorrow.

Btw, we need continued nuclear development anyway. SpaceX is about to open the solar system to travel, and solar power isn't practical beyond Mars. By the Jovian moons, you need 27 square meters to equal the power yield of 1 square meter on Earth. Even the asteroid belt is around an 8x multiplier in panel size, while Saturn is close to 100x the panel size.

Wind power isn't applicable most places we could go. Titan is the only place I can think of.

If you want to synthesize fuel for the return trip, or even have generous LED lighting, nuclear is the only option in the outer solar system.
     
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Sep 5, 2020, 12:21 AM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
I'd want to hear commentary from experts, and know more about the specific design. For example, an SMR might be booby-trapped against opening. Which releases only after the fuel is used up. The details matter.
I'd say that to be really viable, both financially and politically, SMRs should be made widely available. I'm not necessarily arguing that we must be willing to hand one to Iran or North Korea, but if we basically exclude all countries who don't yet have nuclear power it'd be a difficult proposition.
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
The argument for existing plants is strong, as most should be well past payback. Particularly in the US, I've read that many plants are past their original design lifespan. Upgrades and better analysis of their designs allow license extensions. But payback is guaranteed today, as no one would finance a plant that would pass break-even after its original design life.
For operators there is always the temptation to extend the operating life of their power plants. Especially on a nuclear power plant, each year of operation essentially means “free” money since fuel and operating costs are comparatively cheap.

However, I think one important paradigm change that must happen is that we account for all costs in everything we do. The chemical industry had insane profit margins as long as it was free to pollute the environment and wasn't held accountable. Burning coal emits way more radioactivity than a nuclear power plant operating normally. Not to speak of the impact on the climate. And the subsidies coal extraction receives. And the consequences for the communities that coal extraction has. (Surface mines for coal are literally swallowing up entire villages.) Black lung disease. The list is long.

But the same has to be made with nuclear, I think. Their subsidies are more subtle. The German state, for example, has effectively taken over responsibility for nuclear waste. The nuclear power companies split off their nuclear from their non-nuclear business (presumably so that the nuclear business can go out of business while not affecting the other half of the company) and accepted a one-time payment from the operators to deal with the waste. Disassembly of nuclear power plants likewise seems like a very costly and difficult proposition.
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
I think further development is warranted too. Anything else smacks of "Things mankind was not meant to know", which is always suspect. Nuclear power works. Its problems are technical, which means they are solvable. Though probably not via larger reactors. The financials don't work, and smaller modules are easier to control in a pinch.
Usually the problem with such big-scale development projects is that they need state involvement and the state has to have a good reason for a multi-decade involvement. Apparently this is why we don't have thorium reactors, governments had to pick between the uranium and thorium route and for right or wrong ended up picking uranium.

Fission will have to compete with fusion, and I don't see either getting much traction. Fusion has a little bit of funding, but it is a pittance compared to the subsidies the fission industry has received and is still receiving. (I'm a big fan of fusion, originally, I wanted to become a plasma physicist and work on the next generation of fusion reactors. But the field leans too heavy on numerical simulations, which I found out is not my cup of tea.)
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
The current track for fusion research isn't so good: ITER (big) -> DEMO (even bigger). Showing that it works is valid research. However, it ultimately needs to be cheaper to compete. Large facilities that need half the 1st world to finance, does not equal cheap power tomorrow.
I'm totally on board with doubling down on research for fusion reactors, and they do not present the same danger as fission. Probably the biggest danger is if one of the superconducting magnets quenches and you'd get a massive (ordinary) explosion from the coolant evaporating and the magnet melting. (This means that the superconductor for some reason becomes an ordinary conductor in some part and then a massive current flows across a resistor, which creates a ginormous amount of heat. You can't see the superconducting magnets in the video, but compared to the coils in a fusion reactor like Wendelstein 7-X or ITER I assure you these are positively tiny.) But the danger from the actual plasma is essentially non-existent. In other industrial (e. g. chemical) plants you have to deal with similar dangers.

Unfortunately, it currently takes decades to plan, design and build test reactors, not least because grant money on that scale is hard to get. You'd need political buy-in to fast track development. The challenges are vast and at the current pace, I don't think we'll have a commercial fusion reactor in my lifetime. I'd love to be proven wrong, though.
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
Btw, we need continued nuclear development anyway. SpaceX is about to open the solar system to travel, and solar power isn't practical beyond Mars. By the Jovian moons, you need 27 square meters to equal the power yield of 1 square meter on Earth. Even the asteroid belt is around an 8x multiplier in panel size, while Saturn is close to 100x the panel size.

Wind power isn't applicable most places we could go. Titan is the only place I can think of.

If you want fuel to come back, or even generous lighting, nuclear is the only option in the outer solar system.
That's a fun detour from where this journey started: wind power on a planetary moon

Overall, it seems reasonable that for certain specialized applications we'd still want or need nuclear power. (Until we get something like an arc reactor the size of a human heart.)
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Sep 5, 2020, 04:31 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
I was quite specific, I’m talking about using existing capacity to replace coal power plants. In many places, coal power plants can be and has been shut down with zero impact on the power grid’s ability to satisfy demand. That lowers prices for customers and ROI for the operators of coal power plants.

This suggestion isn’t idle pie-in-the-sky speculation, it’s happening all over the world. Britain is successfully phasing outs its coal power plants. Spain is doing the same.
Number of coal plants in UK: 4
Number of coal plants in Spain: 8
Number of coal plants in US: 359

We don’t have anywhere even near the existing capacity to replace coal. I already said this.

Why did the agents in the Seams simulation who stuck with coal decide to do so? Answer the question.
     
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Sep 5, 2020, 05:30 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
We don’t have anywhere even near the existing capacity to replace coal. I already said this.
What is the total capacity? And why do you think it can’t be replaced, do you have any numbers?
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Why did the agents in the Seams simulation who stuck with coal decide to do so? Answer the question.
I have no idea what you are talking about. I have never mentioned any of this.
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Sep 9, 2020, 07:36 PM
 
Sorry for the delay!

Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
What is the total capacity? And why do you think it can’t be replaced, do you have any numbers?
I do have numbers.

The ability for US generation capacity to meet demand varies by region. The best equipped use 79% of their available capacity to meet typical peak demand. The worst use 95%. To put it another way, the safety margins range between 5% and 21%

For a region with only a 5% safety margin, coal plants stay open no matter what. Even if they build new capacity, they need to keep their coal plants operational because their safety margin is so disastrously low.

In the middle, a region has enough of a safety margin they can begin to close coal plants, but only if they build new capacity to make up for the loss.

At the other end, a 21% safety margin isn’t really a safety margin anymore, it’s a surplus. These regions can in fact shut down coal plants without building new capacity.

Here is the breakdown by region of available capacity needed to meet typical peak summer demand. I removed the three who make little use of coal.

PJM: 79%
SERC-SE: 80%

SERC-C: 85%
WECC-RM: 86%
WECC-NW: 88%
SPP: 88%
SERC-E: 89%
SERC-FP: 89%

WECC-SW: 92%
MISO: 92%
ERCOT: 95%

Only two regions have a surplus, and can close coal plants with no issue. The middle 6 would need new infrastructure to make up for the loss of closing a coal plant. The bottom three can’t close shit.

So, yes. There are regions in the US with the existing capacity to get rid of some coal. The vast majority of the country does not have this capacity.

Source.


PS: since totals were requested.

Total installed capacity: 950.6 GW
Typical available capacity: 901.3 GW
Typical peak summer demand: 781.3 GW

Which works out to a 14% safety margin.


Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
I have no idea what you are talking about. I have never mentioned any of this.
It’s from the article in the OP.
( Last edited by subego; Sep 9, 2020 at 09:49 PM. )
     
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Sep 10, 2020, 09:07 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
I find this table not very useful (which isn’t your fault): it mixes gas power plants with “small scale” power plants. There are, of course, big gas power plants, and electricity is cheaper than coal. And I do not see renewables at all apart from hyrdoelectric power (again mixing very different power plant types).

Nuclear power plants are significantly more expensive to build than fossil fuel power plants. According to this comparison between similarly sized nuclear and gas power plants it takes about 13 years for a nuclear power plant to recoup the investment and turn a profit, and it takes between 15-20 years to generate more profit than the gas power plant. A coal power plant would be less competitive (the end of the video contains a graph that compares energy product costs between 1995 and 2012 — right where the crossover point between coal and gas occurred).

Of course, these numbers only account for construction and do not include

But because of lower fuel and operating costs costs
Further apologies. I had missed this post.

I’m at a loss as to what I’m supposed to take from it. The request was for operating costs of nuclear, which the table provides. What do construction costs have to do with operating costs?

Likewise, I noted the “gas turbine and small scale” category was deficient. One of its deficiencies being it includes PV and wind renewables in the same category. This is stated at the bottom of the table.

I tried, but was unable to fill in the blanks with the two sentence fragments at the end.
     
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Sep 10, 2020, 10:23 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
I’m at a loss as to what I’m supposed to take from it. The request was for operating costs of nuclear, which the table provides. What do construction costs have to do with operating costs?
Both determine whether investing in a certain type of power plant is profitable. Lower operating expenses and fuel costs equate to higher profits. But at least for the first decade+, the power company will not make any net profit, because it has to recoup its construction costs. Gas and coal power plants of comparable capacity are cheaper to build, and turn a net profit earlier. But at least if you only account for construction costs, operating expenses and fuel cost, over the projected lifetime a nuclear power plant will turn a higher profit than a fossil power plant. (Disassembly of a nuclear power plant and waste management are likely to cost billions, and should be taken into account. Also, nuclear power plants are effectively insured by the state since no insurance company is big enough to cover the damages in case of an accident.)

Renewables are cheaper still and most types have zero fuel cost.
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Likewise, I noted the “gas turbine and small scale” category was deficient. One of its deficiencies being it includes PV and wind renewables in the same category. This is stated at the bottom of the table.
It seems you are mistaking my criticism of the data as a criticism of you. Even if we bracket renewables, mixing base-load, mid-load and peak-load power plants make gas power plants less attractive than they actually are.
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Sep 10, 2020, 10:25 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Sorry for the delay!
I'll dig into the data later this weekend.
Originally Posted by subego View Post
It’s from the article in the OP.
Sure, but it is not an argument I have made and it feels weird that you ask me to justify something in it as opposed to the OP.
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Sep 10, 2020, 10:55 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Both determine whether investing in a certain type of power plant is profitable. Lower operating expenses and fuel costs equate to higher profits. But at least for the first decade+, the power company will not make any net profit, because it has to recoup its construction costs. Gas and coal power plants of comparable capacity are cheaper to build, and turn a net profit earlier. But at least if you only account for construction costs, operating expenses and fuel cost, over the projected lifetime a nuclear power plant will turn a higher profit than a fossil power plant. (Disassembly of a nuclear power plant and waste management are likely to cost billions, and should be taken into account. Also, nuclear power plants are effectively insured by the state since no insurance company is big enough to cover the damages in case of an accident.)

Renewables are cheaper still and most types have zero fuel cost.

It seems you are mistaking my criticism of the data as a criticism of you. Even if we bracket renewables, mixing base-load, mid-load and peak-load power plants make gas power plants less attractive than they actually are.
I’m genuinely not seeing it as a criticism of me. I was trying to understand the point. Load types weren’t mentioned, so there was no way for me to know that was the issue you have.

Now that’s been clarified, I am in agreement this is a further deficiency in the table.

I’m still lost by the nuclear thing. I said nothing about construction.
     
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Sep 10, 2020, 11:20 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
I'll dig into the data later this weekend.

Sure, but it is not an argument I have made and it feels weird that you ask me to justify something in it as opposed to the OP.
It is evidence against the argument you provided. I ask you to justify your argument in the face of evidence against it.

My position is coal gets used because it makes economic sense. If I understand your argument correctly, your position is that it is does not make economic sense.

In the simulation, there were coal plants which stayed open.

If this does not make economic sense (as I understand your claim to be) then why did the coal plants in the simulation stay open? Were the agents coded to respect the American coal worker, or as I said, is it not vastly more probable they were coded to respect the financial bottom line?


Past that, I look forward to your analysis of the data.

Please let me know if you need any clarifications. NERC has a rather... unique way of presenting their data, which leaves important nuances obscure.
     
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Sep 10, 2020, 11:38 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
I’m genuinely not seeing it as a criticism of me. I was trying to understand the point. Load types weren’t mentioned, so there was no way for me to know that was the issue you have.
Load types were mentioned: one of the columns is labeled “Gas Turbine and Small Scale”, which indicates to me that they are amalgamating all gas power plants independent of size (as well as renewables as you pointed out). Ditto for hydroelectric, which combines large hydroelectric power plants with small pump power plants, the latter contributing to peak loads.
Originally Posted by subego View Post
I’m still lost by the nuclear thing. I said nothing about construction.
Profitability of power plants is not determined by operating costs alone. And I only brought up nuclear power plants to say that coal power plants have the lowest profitability of any type of large-scale power plant.

To add to that: some studies claim that for many coal power plants even operating and fuel costs are higher than all-in costs of building renewable power plants of the same capacity. Of course, this depends on the geography, wind power is substantially more lucrative in the wind corridor located in middle America (have a look at pp. 6-7 of the linked report) and the Great Lakes than, say, Florida.

Of course, lower prices are not in the interest of power companies that operate coal power plants — as long as they turn a profit and continue to enjoy the outsized political support they will make money for the operators.
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Sep 11, 2020, 01:34 AM
 
That is an interesting paper. Thank you!

For whatever it’s worth, the method they used I assume is similar to what formed the basis of the agent logic in the Seams simulation.

However, this is where the NERC data becomes relevant.

For example, this paper says Texas has a little over 6 GW worth of coal which can be replaced at a savings.

However, the NERC assessment shows Texas has the worst infrastructure in the country. In my big list of percent of capacity needed to meet demand, Texas is the “ERCOT” region. It needs 95% of its available capacity to meet typical peak summer demand.

If Texas suddenly dropped 6 GW, they’d need 104% of their available capacity just to meet normal demand, let alone if it was hotter than normal, or it was a low wind year.

To put it another way, in this particular case it doesn’t matter if renewables are cheaper. Texas simply cannot close any power plant, period. Renewables being cheaper doesn’t change this. Existing Texas capacity is too far in the hole.

Similarly, and I believe I saw this mentioned in the paper, wind is not a reliable source of energy. We can (and should) make use of it while it’s available, but it can’t substitute non-renewables 1-for-1 because availability isn’t guaranteed. That wind is cheaper doesn’t change this.


Edit: to give a couple more examples, the “SERC-FP” region is Florida. It already needs 89% of available capacity to meet demand. Not much room to maneuver.

In contrast, “SERC-SE” is Georgia, along with parts of Alabama and Mississippi. This region only needs 80% capacity. Georgia and Mississippi both rank high on the graph from your paper, and definitely should be phasing out some coal.
( Last edited by subego; Sep 11, 2020 at 02:00 AM. )
     
   
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